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Positive Feedback ISSUE46
Dynasty interconnect and Emperor speaker cables
as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
It is unusual for me to spend time with cables in the price range under $450 per meter, but recently top manufacturers have been focusing real attention on audiophiles who don't want to bet the bank on wires. I have been impressed by these new comers in Argentum's Mythos and Harmonic Technology's Pro Silway 3+ whose recent price breaking, bang for the buck performances have been very impressive. Let's now welcome Dynastrand to the party. Dynastrand is led and designed by the highly regarded Jed Hacker, previously designer of the very successful Soundstring Cables. With über definition and fabulous ergonomics, the Dynastrand Dynasty and Emperor wires are a cost conscious audiophile's trip to musical nirvana with very possibly the best cost/performance ratio around. They scream bargain, bargain, and bargain!
Per the designer, the unshielded Dynastrand Dynasty cables feature "Cellular" insulation, a unique micromesh of ultra pure oxygen free copper with a tolerance of .0002", and a pearl essence white exterior finish which ‘eliminates' EMI color interaction. Filler material is moisture proof polyester to minimize shock and noise vibration, and also withstands temperature extremes. The RCA connectors are a new design requiring no solder, center compression pin, and an exterior barrel connector made from real Canadian maple wood. The Dynastrand Dynasty interconnect cables are 100% made in the USA. Only single ended interconnects are available right now. Balanced interconnects and AC cables will be ready soon.
I listened to the interconnects right out of the box, but ultimately preferred them with 50 hours warm-up on the Cable Cooker and then 24 hours in a system under load. That's when they came to life and I mean a "in the room" "you are there" sort of life. The Dynastrands pop with musical energy and definition. Since they are so even from top to bottom, they remained composed with all types of music while being just slightly on the vivid side of things. That is, there's a touch of emphasis in the lower/center mid-band, but it is so very natural it does not really matter all that much in terms of one's musical enjoyment. These are very modern sounding cables reminiscent of a great current production tube amp.
The Dynastrands are also ultra flexible; the most flexible cables I've used. You can even tie them in a bow! What a joy! They are almost invisible in their lovely pearl colored jacket… excellent wife appeal here. They don't draw attention to themselves physically or musically. At their price they are just simply amazing. The Dynastrand Dynasty's are not just a taste of the high-end, but a big gulp!
I compared them to all my favorite cables. They sounded open and smooth rather like the $1500 CRL Silver Interconnects and the $1400 Kimber all-silver Select wires while retaining a similar tonality and overall presentation. They also have a good deal of the openness and solidity of my favorites: the Jorma Primes and Kubala-Sosna Elations. They do very little wrong and a lot right… which is quite wonderful when one considers the cost.
They have Kimber KCAG definition with Hero smoothness, though the bass is a bit less dramatic. And the mids lack that last bit of focus and definition of the 10 times more expensive wire. Nor are they are as involving or as organic as the best wires. Even so, if they sold for $1000 a meter, I'd still solidly recommend them… and even buy them. At $439 for a one meter length, yikes what a deal!
This is most important: I was surprised how well the Dynasty did with musical timbres. Instrumental color was spot on and a stone's throw from cables costing $2000. Vocals were excellent and rendered with mellifluousness and sweet energy. They were energetic, yet smooth… a very sophisticated performance overall and shocking at the price. This cable does air and ambience quite well. Compared to several much more expensive designs, the Dynastrand sounded almost as open on the top with a wide soundstage. You lose some depth and focus, but you will need a first rate system to hear this drop-off in performance. You'll hear a lot more definition than you ever thought possible anywhere near this price point. This is the kind of performance for the money that makes this hobby fun and hooks new audiophiles for life!
At this price: none.
Emperor Speaker Cables
Finished with gold plated spades, the Emperor speaker cables are solder free, robust, and quite flexible as well. They are made of the same high purity copper and beautiful pearl white jacket. They are even better than the Dynasty interconnects when it comes to performance versus cost. Six feet for $589? I am flabbergasted. At double the cost, I know of nothing that is competitive with these cables. At triple the cost, the Harmonic Technology Pro 9Reference is a bit more dynamic, but is no more detailed. The Emperor's are uncolored, very detailed, very open, superb with timbres, and lovely to listen to regardless of one's musical choices. They sound like something new and very expensive… very 21st Century. They sound like they should be two inches thick and inflexible… which they aren't. This design has trumped anything and everything at its price with the potential to be improved upon in its future versions.
Yes, the 10-15 times more expensive Kubala-Sosna Elations and Jorma Origo were more composed, more finely tuned, and had more overall definition and depth. The differences, however, were surprisingly not huge. The Emperors were very similar in overall presentation, tonality, timbres, and evenness of tone from top to bottom as the vastly more expensive wires. The Emperors were not the least bit embarrassed by the exalted competition!
There's a lesson here. The Emperor's are a clever, cutting edge design that does so much so very well that the audiophile is left with needing to spend really huge bucks to get to that next level in overall performance. End of story.
At this price: none.
By the way, I tried the Dynasty interconnects as a tonearm cable. Though not shielded, there was no hum. With its lovely openness and aliveness, it did well with my Koetsu Rosewood Signature. I prefer the 14 times more expensive Elation interconnects but so what. It's the battle of "good enough" versus "the best." If all you have is $439, the Dynasty is a no brainer.
I also heard a small increase in overall volume every time I switched to the Dynasty interconnects. I have no idea what this may be indicative of, but it's not a bad thing for sure. You do need to be gentle with the interconnect as they are not soldered. Install or uninstall gripping the wood barrel. The speaker cables appear bullet proof.
With price shattering sound, the new Dynastrand Dynasty interconnects and Emperor speaker cables are the incredible deal of the century. The sonic flaws at their respective prices are irrelevant. There is no real competition unless you are willing to spend a lot more. The Dynasty interconnect is a fabulous way to enjoy a big chunk of what the high-end is all about. The Emperor speaker cables are just plain amazing. Other speaker cables in this price range are simply trounced by the Emperors. Is this the future? Are wonderful, musical cable designs finally trickling down to earth bound pricing? Are there other über designers like Jed Hacker who have a great idea and decide to offer audiophiles a good deal? We shall see. Meanwhile, welcome Dynastrand. Most highly recommended. Robert H. Levi
Emperor loudspeaker cables
Revised interconnect rankings to include the latest listening sessions with cables ranked by reviewer preference within price categories as follows:
Over $4000 per meter
$2000 - 4000 per meter
$1000 - 2000 per meter
$450 - 1000 per meter
$250 - 450 per meter
Under $250 per meter