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cable research labs

Silver interconnects

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

silver series speaker cables

 

 

 

ROBERT H. LEVI'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Avalon Eidolon and REL Stadium III subwoofer.

ELECTRONICS
E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, E.A.R. 890 amplifiers (ran as monos), NuForce Reference 9 SE V2 amplifiers, E.A.R. 912 preamplifier, and an E.A.R. 834L Tube Line Stage.

SOURCES
VPI Scout/JMW 9 tonearm, VPI SDS Controller, ZYX R-1000 Airy 3-XSB phono cartridge, E.A.R. Acute CD player, ModWright Sony 9100 Player with tube power supply, ModWright Sony 9100ES with Signature Truth Modifications, Mod/Bybee Filters and Revelation Cryo Silver Umbilical. Alesis Masterlink 24/96 Recorder/Playback Deck, and the Benchmark DAC 1 revised. Grado Statement Phono Cartridge. Pioneer DVL 919 LD/DVD Player, and a Marantz DV8400 DVD/SACD/CD player. Magnum Dynalab MD-108 Reference Tuner, Marantz 10B FM Tuner, Day Sequerra Reference FM1 Tuner, and Scott 350B FM Stereo 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, Harmonic Technology Magic 2, 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 II 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 II v2 Power Conditioner, World Power Power Wing, Tice Clock, and Audio Prism Quiet Line IIs. Cable Cooker 2.5, Winds Stylus Pressure Gage, Bedini Ultra Clarifier, VPI Record Cleaning Machine 16.5. Audio Magic's Quantum Physics Noise Disrupters.

 

I knew nothing about CRL Cables until I read Myles Astor's comments in his Writer's Choice Awards for 2007. They are sold direct and have been used by the recording industry for several years. Recently acquired by Harry Winston in 2006, he has reportedly improved the cable's performance, reduced the price so more could afford it, and upgraded its fit and finish. CRL also burns in the cables at the factory in Florida before shipping; a practice every high-end manufacturer should emulate. There are three models available. The one reviewed here is the Silver model which utilizes multiple solid core strands of copper with silver connectors. It sells for $1500 per meter in balanced configuration. By the way, no solder is used. All connectors are attached with high compression.

The Gold Series of interconnects appears to be a shotgun version of the Silver at almost double the cost. The Silver may be the sweetheart of the line. Anyway, I'll cut to the chase. Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to you the new winner of the under $2000 interconnects sweepstakes: The CRL Silver interconnect. With the sweeping definition of Acrolink's designs, the giant sound staging of Cyberlight, and the black, black background of Nordost, the CRL Silver is a cable to be heard and owned. I was astounded and amazed when I replaced just one meter of the cable in my system. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't best of class! Myles is 100% right. This stuff is ultra revealing and a delight to listen to.

Highs

Again, very Acrolink like… mountains of silky definition and sparkle and is perfection in a tube circuit. I hear air and purity like this with my references and other exotica. You can now have it at the under $2000 per meter price level for the first time. The CRLs are a breakthrough at the price by a wide margin.

Mids

Powerful and detailed, the mids are expansive and full. They are very neutral in this range and highly revealing. You'd better have top gear before considering these. Though just a tad thinner than the best, you'll be carried away by your involvement with the music. Plus, vocals are just right. I love sopranos with this cable. There may be a touch less richness exchanged for vividness though it's subtle. Midband ambience is lively and pronounced. Depth perspective is almost up to the best around.

The real story here is the quietude. In blackness of background, it is the best I've heard to date. It tops my references and everything else around I know of. Fantastic! Musical definition literally pops into the room. Macro dynamics are bold and tuneful. Micro dynamics are amazing. All of this occurs while the presentation is smooth as silk. Imaging is consistently outstanding. What a design!

Bass

Excellent, neutral, powerful, and detailed are adjectives from my notes. Also, super fast and swagger come to mind. The CRL Silver's are a touch less rich in the bass than the best with less wood on bass fiddles and the like. Imaging is again very exacting. Did I say fast? These cables operate at the speed of light. Even the Silversmith Palladiums can't outrun them. If you have multiple woofers of something over 10 inches in diameter, fasten your seat belts. These cables are amazing on classical, and astounding on jazz and rock.

Quibbles

You must order at least one meter to connect even gear sitting next to each other. The Silver is stiff and hard to work with. Also, if you are running solid state gear that is unforgiving and tuned to the edge, so to speak, the Silver's may not be for you. CRL has a generous try before you buy program, so do. I'd bet right now you will keep them. If you do, they have a ten year warranty. Meanwhile, I have their loudspeaker cables in the house so I will return to CRL soon, so stay tuned.

The CRL Silver interconnects' performance on all kinds of music is ear popping and delicious. Their sound staging and background blackness is stunning. Musical definition pops like the really super expensive cables and their dynamics excel. If you were going to push to the $1500 per meter cost, push for these! The CRL Silver interconnects are a breakthrough design and best of class. They are available only direct. Maybe that's how they do it? Very highly recommended. Thanks Myles! Robert H. Levi

Cable Research Labs
web address: www.cableresearchlab.com

Revised Interconnect rankings to include the highly recommended CRL Silver Interconnects with cables ranked within price categories as follows:

Over $4000 per meter:

Jorma Prime (balanced and single-ended)  State of the Art.

Acrolink 7N-DA6100 (single-ended)

$2000 - 4000 per meter:

Harmonic Technology Cyberlight with Battery Pack 4 (balanced and single-ended)

Kubala-Sosna Emotion (balanced and single-ended)

Jorma #1 [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:

CRL Silver Interconnects [balanced and single ended]

Stereovox 600-SEIii [balanced and single-ended]

Kubala-Sosna Expression [balanced and single-ended]

Dual-Connect Gold [balanced and single-ended]

Kimber Select Silver [balanced and single-ended]

Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II [balanced and single-ended]

$450 - 1000 per meter:

Harmonic Technology Magic II [Balanced and single ended]

Harmonic Technology Pro Sil-way III+ [balanced and single-ended]

Xindak Gold [balanced and single-ended]

Kimber Select Copper [balanced and single-ended]

$250 - 450 per meter:

Dynamic Design New Generation Lotus

Soundstring Pro [balanced and single-ended]

Eichmann Express 6 Series 2

Under $250:

Kimber Hero [balanced and single ended]

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