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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 5
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dh labs silver sonic

Revelation interconnects

as reviewed by Dave Clark

 

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DAVE CLARK'S SYSTEM:

LOUDSPEAKERS
Reimer Speaker Systems Tetons (with the Hi-Vi Isodynamic Planar tweeters and series crossovers).

ELECTRONICS
Clayton Audio M100 monoblock amplifiers. E.A.R. 834P phono stage. Blue Circle BC3000 preamplifier w/Tunsgram tubes and BCG3.1 power supply.

SOURCES
Cary 306/200 CD player. Transrotor 25/25/60 Leonardo turntable with a Clearaudio Virtuoso wood MM cartridge. Sony RCD-W1 and Magnum Dynalab MD-90 tuner. Sennheiser HD540 headphones and Audio Alchemy headphone amplifier.

CABLES
JPS Superconductor+ and Silver Sonic Revelation interconnects, and NC speaker cables. Sahuaro Slipstream XP (digital), Elrod EPS2 (preamp), Blue Circle BC63 (phonostage), and JPS Kaptovator AC cables (amps and Stealths).

ACCESSORIES
Two Audio Magic Stealth Power Purifiers (one for analog, except BC3000 preamp, and a Digital unit for the digital sources), Blue Circle BC86 Noise Hound (amplifier circuit) and Audio Prism QuietLines (throughout the house). Dedicated 20 (amps) and 15 (everything else) AC circuits. Tons of Shakti Stones and On-Lines and Original Cable Jackets (frig's AC and on DSL phone line). Various Marigo VTS Dots used extensively throughout the system and room (window behind listening seat). Echo Buster acoustical treatments and Shakti Hallographs. BDR cones and board, Blue Circle Cones, DH Jumbo cones, Vibrapods, Mondo racks and stands, and Townshend Audio 2D (speakers) and 3D Seismic Sinks (CD player and preamp). Walker Audio Ultimate High Definition Links. Various hard woods placed here and there along with numerous Peter Belt treatments.

 

Cables are among the hardest things in audio to get a grasp of—a one-meter pair of interconnects can be had for a few pennies or as much as a trip to Timbuktu and back. Construction and materials can range from simple to Department of Defense overkill. And of course, simple does not necessarily mean inexpensive, nor does complex equate to expensive. Some of this relates to the means of construction. Hand-made cables tend to cost more than machine-made ones, and naturally, the more complex the hand-made cable is, the more it can cost. Nevertheless, some of the simplest machine-made cables cost WAY more than some of the most elaborate hand-made ones.

Within this diverse environment, one is also faced with the stereotypical "sound" one expects to hear from the actual elements used in the cable. Silver sounds "silvery" with detail and clarity. Copper gives you bass control and more of a "copper" sound—warm, rich, and yadda, yadda. Different dielectrics also affect the sound—air is better than Teflon, Teflon is better than… you now the drill. What is nice is when one finds the unexpected.

The DH Labs Silver Sonic Revelation interconnects feature a relatively simple design based around silver and Teflon. What makes them a bit different is that they use six silver conductors in an interleaved, helical array. The silver wire is very pure and highly polished, and each conductor is individually insulated in an air-spaced, tape-wrapped version of what DH Labs calls their Air Matrix dielectric. This means that while the cable does use Teflon as the dielectric, it is applied in such a way that it mimics the use of air. The cable is jacketed in an attractive blue woven fiber, a nice alternative to the black or white nylon poly materials used by way too many other manufacturers. What you end up with is a beautiful cable that is fairly flexible and does not mimic a large black snake.

The cables I had for review had high quality, locking RCA plugs reminiscent of those offered by Vampire. More recent Revelations feature custom-machined RCA plugs. DH claims that the majority of RCA plugs are made from brass alloys that are at best 60-80% copper, with the other 20-40% being a combination of zinc, lead, even tin. They feel that the issue here is the loss of conductivity, so their new plugs use a 99% copper alloy. Meaning that the conductivity number is more than twice that of conventional connectors—at least by the literature supplied from DH Labs. Not having heard the Revelations with the new connectors, I cannot say whether they are better, though one can only assume, that greater conductivity should be an improvement, especially with small signal levels.

Substituting the Revelations for my usual JPS Superconductor 2s between my CD player and preamp resulted in—are you ready for this?—a revelation. First, they did not sound he least bit stereotypically "silvery," and second, they sounded WAY better than their price would suggest. The Revelations though did not transform my system or elevate it to another level, what they did do is offer me the ability to change the tonal presentation—not drastically, but enough to suggest an alternative "musical window" to the one I am used to hearing. Better cables will do just that—allow one to make subtle but important changes harmonically or tonally without messing things up. I listened to a wide variety of music, and the Revelations were consistently musical and enjoyable, regardless of the mood I was in. The descriptors that came to mind were: "detailed," "warm," "airy," "palpable," "dynamic," "visceral," "harmonically complex," "subtle," and "fast," with great dynamic swing and pace. All of this came in a natural and musical way that did not sound etched, hard, glassy, or bright—all descriptors of silver cables at their worst. I should mention that the Revelations did not sound like DH’s previous upper-end cables, the Air Matrixes, which are great cables at a reasonable price, but they can sound "silvery." Hearing them in my system a while back, I found them to be very detailed and open, but mentally comparing them now to the Revelations, the Air Matrixes will come across as a tad too bright and less refined. Keep in mind, though, that a cable may sound bright in one system and well balanced in another.

In comparing the Revelations to several cables that all cost considerably more (Pure Note Epsilons at $500 a meter, JPS Superconductor 2s at $700 a meter, and Audio-Magic Clairvoyants at $2200 a meter), in no case were the Revelations embarrassed, though the Clairvoyants were in a completely different league. Compared to the Pure Note and JPS cables, the differences were "a tad more of this and less of that," with no serious shortcomings or differences. The Revelations simply sounded too damned good for the money. Although the JPSs went deeper, with more power and slam in the bass, and offered a bit more extension and clarity than the Revelations, the differences were truly a matter of "seasoning." I think both are killer cables for the price, though the JPSs are so stiff that tradeoffs do come into play. The Pure Notes offered more presence, detail, and a sense of "silkiness" to voices that was very captivating, but again, this was more an issue of taste than one of either cable being "better" than the other. Again this is more reflective of subtle coloring or seasoning that the better cables can offer the audiophile. The Revelations also added a touch of warmth—like a very good SET minus the colorations and distortions—which the Pure Note and JPS lacked. And unlike an SET that has problems of extension at the two frequency extremes, the Revelations are very well extended and dynamically fast.

At $350 per meter pair, the Revelations provide a richly-colored, open and clear window on the music. If you have a well-balanced system, but are looking to upgrade your cables, I would put these on the list. You will give up a bit of detail and openness compared to other cables, as well as some heft in the lowest reaches, but at this price the Revelations are simply a steal. They offer a silent "blackground," are flexible and beautiful to look at, and are a reference for just how good an inexpensive cable can be. Be patient, as the Revelations require a substantial break-in period. I found that two to three days on a Cable Cooker, along with a few hundred hours of playing music, was needed before things came together. Before that, images could be fairly non-specific and the bass a bit bloated and loose. Once time has served them, however, these cables are a real marvel. Highly recommended! Dave Clark

 

 

 

Revelations
Retail: $350 meter

DH Labs Silver Sonic
TEL: 561. 745. 6406
web address: www.silversonic.com

 

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