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cable research labs

Copper Series interconnects

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

copper 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, VPI Heavy Weight Super Platter, 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.

 

These may be the bottom of the CRL line, but they would be the top of the line for a number of other manufacturers I could name. The CRL Copper Series Interconnects, sold direct by CRL and made to order, are a superb design and excellent performers produced by the super friendly Chip Winston. With lots of fine detailing, neutral with a touch of warmth, very good speed, and always offering the musical tambours one craves, these right sounding cables are a bargain and a half at $895 for a single ended meter. They have such low resistance and are so well shielded that they can even be used as top notch phono cables with a low output moving coil cart. Very nice Chip.

Flexible and magnificently terminated with expensive Bochino connectors, the Copper Series are about half as thick as the killer Silver Series and sound just a bit thinner and less detailed overall. What they do have is a slice of life sound, a realistic presentation, and a lack of any colorations that get in the way of the music. Like the Kimber Hero at $200, the Copper Series is the go to cable for most applications for audiophiles at its price point. Offering solid performance across the board, I was particularly surprised by its ability to offer the delicate, micro dynamics of the much more pricy designs. I could live with these cables and not look back. I am a big fan of harmonious neutrality and the Copper Series deliver and do it in any real world system around.  They are also flexible and easy to work with.

A must for audiophile interconnects is their ability to deliver an evenness of output at all frequencies no lumps or bumps. The Copper Series is the best interconnect I have tested at this price with no obvious humps or suck-outs in frequency response on either of my reference systems. Even mannered, they just work predictably right out of the box. Yes, CRL breaks in their cables before shipping! How nice folks! These cables are both sophisticated and realistic on classical, and very, very good on jazz and rock.

Quibbles? They are not quite as fast as Id like overall or as richly detailed as say their $1500 CRL Silver cables. They certainly sound cut from the same sonic cloth. I know lots of folks want to spend less than $1000 on interconnects so the CRL Copper is a perfect choice for you and should be on your very short list. My reference cables are $3000 per meter and I can tell you the CRL Copper Series will deliver a big majority of that performance and have no problem colorations to report.

The Copper Series CRL Interconnects are a serious contender for the best of class of under $1000 per meter. The Copper Series is the least colored, most truly neutral [in a musical sense] and linear interconnect from $20-20k Ive encountered to date at this price point. This is no small achievement and CRL has done their homework. Even usable as excellent phono cables, I did not find a system, tube or solid state, where the Copper Series did not excel. What a deal! Highly recommended for audiophiles who are searching for that interconnect overachiever at real world pricing. Robert H. Levi

Cable Research Labs
web address: www.cableresearchlab.com

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

  • Over $4000 per meter:

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

Nordost Odin [balanced and single ended]

Acrolink 7N-DA6100 (single-ended)

  • $2000 - 4000 per meter:

Harmonic Technology Photon Interconnects 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)

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]

CRL Copper Series Interconnects [Single ended tested]

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

Kimber Select Copper [balanced and single-ended]

Xindak Gold [balanced and single-ended]

  • $250 - 450 per meter:

Dynamic Design New Generation Lotus SE

Soundstring Pro [balanced and single-ended]

Eichmann Express 6 Series 2

  • Under $250:

Kimber Hero [balanced and single ended]

 

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