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harmonic technology

MagicLink Two Interconnects

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

 

 

 

ROBERT H. LEVI'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Avalon Eidolon and REL Stadium TwoI subwoofer.

ELECTRONICS
E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, E.A.R. 890 amplifiers (ran as monos), NuForce Reference 9 SE amplifiers, Pass X1 preamplifier, and an E.A.R. 834L Tube Line Stage.

SOURCES
VPI Scout/JMW 9 tonearm, VPI SDS Controller, ZYX R100H phono cartridge. E.A.R. Acute CD player, ModWright Sony 999 SACD/CD Player with Signature Truth, Mod/Bybee Filters and Revelation Cryo Silver Umbilical. Alesis Masterlink 24/96 Recorder/Playback Deck, Theta Pro Gen.5a DAC Modified for 24/96 Playback, and the Benchmark DAC 1 revised. Grado Statement Phono Cartridge. Pioneer DVL 919 LD/DVD Player. Magnum Dynalab MD-108 Reference Tuner, Marantz 10B FM Tuner, Day Sequerra Reference FM1 Tuner, AQ 7500 FM Antenna, Stax 7t Electrostatic headphones, Grado Reference 1 headphones, and a Grado headphone amplifier.

CABLES
Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Harmonic Technology CyberLight, Dual-Connect, interconnects, Dynamic Design THB Nebula, Soundstring, Kimber Select balanced, Kimber TAK phono AG, Kimber Hero balanced and single ended interconnects, and Acoustic Zen Silver Reference Two balanced interconnects. Kimber D-60 Digital Interconnects. Kimber Select 3038 Silver, Kubala-Sosna Emotion, and Harmonic Technology Magic Reference Silver speaker cables. Kimber Palladian, Tara RSC and Decade, Tice, Soundstring, and Kubala-Sosna Emotion AC power cords.

ACCESSORIES
Monster Reference 350 Mark Two v2 Power Conditioner, World Power Power Wing, Tice Clock, and Audio Prism Quiet Line Twos. Cable Cooker 2.5, Winds Stylus Pressure Gage, Bedini Ultra Clarifier, VPI Record Cleaning Machine 16.5. Audio Magic's Quantum Physics Noise Disrupters.

 

Are you looking for the most revealing and musical interconnects around, but don't want to spend over $1000 per meter? Want them flexible …you bet. Want them well made …absolutely. Need them terminated in gorgeous cutting edge Furutech connectors …certainly. Then you'll be wanting the HT MagicLink Two. At $820 per meter single-ended and $920 balanced, these are the best of the best in stunning high-end musicality at under a grand.

A solid step up from the MagicLink One, this newest generation of Harmonic Technology metal wire features a recently discovered advance in geometry unique to Harmonic Technology. Furutech provides termination specially made just for the MagicLink Two. No other cables in the world at any price have them. As you read this, the new Twos should be reaching your local dealer.

I was doubly surprised by the Two. In direct comparison to the similarly priced One, I heard more sophistication, more definition, better imaging, and a blacker background. I heard an increase in lushness and textural nuances. Their definition matched the best of the Kimber Select formulations. Their speed and swagger reminded me of several $2000+ designs. Overall, their ultra high value was indisputable. Though I liked the MagicLink One, the Twos are a realization of significantly greater overall performance and world-class design.

I was also quite surprised how similar the superb Cyberlights sounded to the new MagicLink Two. The Ones were good, but bettered across the board by the Cyberlights. The Cyberlights with the Battery Pack 3 sound like nothing at all. Their openness and lack of grain is addictive. The MagicLink Two is about 85% of the way to Cyberlight sound. They are also ultra open and relaxed. They demonstrate very low grain and effortless dynamics. It is obvious to me that the Cyberlights were used as a design benchmark for the Two. With reduced colorations, strong dynamic energy, and more accurate musical colors, the Two successfully close much of the gap found between metal and fiber; such as we hear in the Cyberlights. This is no small achievement.

Made of about 80% ultra pure silver and 20% ultra pure copper, I ran the Twos for the recommended 80 hours before reviewing. Half of that time was spent on the Cable Cooker. I'd classify these as generally flexible cables [more flexible than the One], but you'll need a few inches behind components to make room for the locking collar and strain relief. Their colorful but elegant cloth jacket is very cool. Their connectors in both single ended and balanced versions are as good as I've seen anywhere. The locking single-ended [silver] RCAs were rock solid and assuring once connected.

In comparing the One to the Two, the new single-ended Two were a good 20-25% better in all ways musical to the single-ended One. The new balanced Two demonstrated significantly more dynamic range and swagger, but were 10% or so better in over all detail retrieval to the One. I liked the balanced Two quite well on loudspeakers which had big dynamic capability. The JM Labs Mezza Utopias just sounded bigger and more open with the balanced Two. So did the Avalon Eidolons. The balanced Two were better, but not leaps forward like their single-ended brother. On the JM Labs Cobalts in my SET system, the single-ended Two offered much of the transparent and elegant sound of my finest and most expensive references. On the Marten Design Miles II, the single-ended Two showed more overall definition, grace, and realistic musical colors by a wide margin over the One.

The MagicLink Two fall into the category of the full bodied and the highly textured. This is rare at this price point. They are not lean and crisp, nor are they intensely or relentlessly detailed. They remind me of the compelling musical balances heard with my favorite references over $2000, though with less overall definition and depth retrieval. The words lush, powerful, and emotional came to mind as I auditioned the Two on various systems …never dry, never boring. Imaging was first rate. Highs were very open and exquisitely detailed. The mids were charming, involving, and organic. The bass was deep, highly textured, and powerful. A bit behind the best available in overall definition, but wondrously right sounding and at home with tubes or solid-state components. Under $1000 per meter, nothing that I have heard can touch them!

Quibbles? I tried to find some, but came up mostly empty handed. About all I can hear is a reduction in both mid bass energy and overall detail compared to cables costing twice as much. Frankly, I'm not sure that matters if you have no intention of spending that kind of money. Mechanically, the Two are well made, attractive, and flexible. I am at a loss for words to criticize the Two's sonics compared to comparably priced cables—this is very unusual for me.

With improved internal geometry and exclusive Furutech connectors, the new Harmonic Technology MagicLink Two interconnects look and sound superb. A solid improvement over the MagicLink One, the Two offer more definition, dynamic range, and more of what makes the Cyberlights such fabulous interconnects. I loved their open, effortless presentation and the involving sophistication of the Two. This kind of performance was unheard of at this price point until now. The folks at Harmonic Technology did their homework and have advanced the cause of high value audiophile interconnects once again. If you are shopping for the best performing cables in three figures, the MagicLink Two are strongly and highly recommended. Robert H. Levi

Revised Interconnect rankings to include the highly recommended Harmonic Technology MagicLink Two balanced and single-ended interconnects. Brands are ranked within their price ranges:

  • Over $4000 per meter:

Jorma Prime (balanced and single-ended)*

Acrolink 7N-DA6100 (single-ended)

  • $2000 - 4000 per meter:

Harmonic Technology Cyberlight with Battery Pack II (balanced and single-ended)

Kubala-Sosna Emotion (balanced and single-ended)

Nordost Valhalla (balanced and single-ended)

Dynamic Design THB Nebula (balanced and single-ended)

Acrolink 7N-A2500 Mexcel (single-ended)

Silversmith Palladium (balanced and single-ended)

Kimber Select WITH Bybee Golden Goddess "Super Effect" RCA IC Tails (single-ended)

  • $1000 - 2000 per meter:

Stereovox 600-SEIi (balanced and single-ended)

Dual-Connect Gold

Kimber Select Silver

Acoustic Zen Silver Reference Two

  • $450 - 1000 per meter:

Harmonic Technology MagicLink Two (single-ended and balanced)

Harmonic Technology Pro Sil-way II

Xindak Gold

Kimber Select Copper

  • $250 - 450 per meter:

Soundstring Pro

Eichmann Express 6 Series 2

  • Under $250:

Kimber Hero

*state-of-the-art

Harmonic Technology
web address: http://www.harmonictech.com

 

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