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harmonic technology

Pro-9 Reference SE2009 speaker cables

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

 

 

 

 

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), E.A.R. 534 stereo amplifier, 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.

 

The boys at Harmonic Technology never rest. They are driven by supreme audiophile Jim Wang to improve their designs and indeed they do! I wrote about the under-priced and over-performing Pro-9 Reference bi-wire speaker cable, the first cable in their reference series, just two years ago. It was a terrific speaker wire and one I used as reference against many more expensive designs. [Even ARC used it at RMAF in 2007.] The 2009 version, now shipping, pushes its performance so far that you must, absolutely must, check out a trade-in immediately of your original version.

Yes, you have read it before, why consider a more expensive cable with the Pro-9 2009 around. The retail price is $1499 for Spade connections and $1699 for Banana connections for 2.5 meters, external bi-wire. Its convenient connection of one pair of spades on one end and a pair of spades and a pair of bananas on the other is still there. However, the cable is more flexible …make that very flexible…and the tweeter wire is now about 80% as big as the woofer wire. HT uses more high tech Teflon insulation increasing the isolation of the wires. They are 100% super pure single crystal copper. I love their added flexibility for winding around tight corners.

Overall, I hear easily 25-30% more definition throughout all frequencies. Gone is even the tiniest fuzziness and phase distortion. Grain structure and lack of etch is almost state of the art. Tambours are improved and totally natural with my fabulous E.A.R. 534 Tube Amplifier. Imaging is stunning and way improved…a real surprise for me. This Pro-9 2009 is very, very close to the best I've heard to date at any price. To exceed this performance level, be prepared to spend $3000+ for a similar length and don't expect a leap in performance! The Pro-9 is sophisticated and un-apologetically superb for all systems, even Wilson and Quad [and Avalon, too.]

My favorite instrumental CD reference is Dialoghi from Yarlung Records, CD 78876, distributed by Eastwind Import, http://www.eastwindimport.com/. The cello and piano are telling me this cable is mighty fine. Imaging is spot on right, airiness and ambience are superbly rendered, and tambours are about perfect. I hear the room the recording was rendered in and the breathing of the musicians. WOW! This is a leap in performance characteristics over the original Pro-9.

Listen to Best Audiophile Voices from JVCXRCD, 27901. The vocals are mellifluous and alive. The sophistication and harmoniousness of the instruments are lively and right. I love the extreme top and bass regions for their perfect blending into the vital mid-band of the music. What a fun speaker cable! You can now have a truly huge slice of the top Nordost, Kimber, or Kubala-Sosna presentations for a fraction of the cost. The Pro-9 2009 is a gift to audiophiles!

To me vocals tell the tale. The ear is very sensitive to the human voice and any problems are obvious. With the Pro-9 Reference SE 2009, I hear clearly through the recording chain and vocals are pristine and warmly seductive. I would have told you this exalted level of performance was not possible at this price point just last week. Now, all has changed. What a great hobby!

In Conclusion

The Pro-9 Reference SE 2009 Speaker cable is amazingly musical and defined considering its midline audiophile cost. Its lack of grain and etch is trend setting. Imaging and overall sophistication of definition are off the chart. The 2009 version is hugely improved across the board and a must own if you are considering a speaker cable purchase in this price category. I'd trade in your 2007 version for this one in a heartbeat! Harmonic Technology has a winner with the Pro-9 Reference SE 2009 and they are now my “real world priced” references in my E.A.R./JM Labs reference system against which all others will be judged. You should consider these even if you want to spend much more! My highest recommendation. Robert H. Levi

Pro-9 Reference SE 2009 speaker cables
Retail: $1499 a pair

Harmonic Technology
web address: www.harmonictech.com

 

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