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Positive Feedback ISSUE 51
september/october 2010

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kimber kable

KS 1016 and KS 1116 Select Interconnects

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

kimber 1016

 

 

 

 

ROBERT H. LEVI'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Marten Bird Loudspeakers 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
E.A.R. Disk Master Turntable with two Helius Omega Tonearms, 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. Koetsu Rosewood Signature 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 Elation Interconnects, Speaker Cables, and Power Cords. 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.

 

Always the sweetheart of the Select range of reference interconnects in my humble opinion, the new all copper Selects are more delectable than ever. The new KS 1016 terminated in RCAs and the new KS 1116s terminated in XLRs are truly wondrous upgrades for pennies! With over 50% more copper and numerous other refinements plus an amazing boost in definition, the new formulations are quite possibly the best deal going for all around reference listening to audiophile sources. They are also the least fatiguing, most universally compatible design Iíve auditioned under $1000 per meter to date!

The original all copper Selects: KS 1011/RCA and KS 1111/XLR remain in the line at $80 per meter less than the new formulations. With all due apologies to Kimber, why? The new versions do everything the older versions do and much more. I heard increased definitionÖsay 25%...increased air and superior imaging, tonal colors and timbres enhanced, more overall openness, and quieter backgrounds. Itís your call, but for $80 more, Iíd buy the new wires for sure!

kimber 1116

I tried the 1016 and 1116 in every spot I could get to in both of my reference systems. They were never less than winning and appealing. There is no subtle thinness or lack of air or slam that the original wires seem to have.  Bass is just plain superb. No more finger pointing at the Heroís as being superior here or anywhere in comparison to the Selects. At $780 and $800 per meter respectively, these are a superb selection for the audiophile who just canít go over $1000 per meter and wants to sacrifice as little as possible. Ray Kimber truly thought through this new interconnect. He took over 10 years to produce a better Select and what an excellent wire it is.

In my PFO review of the new higher priced copper/silver and all silver Select interconnects, I was equally astounded by those advances. Nevertheless, the new copper Selects remain the phenomenal value they were when they first were introduced.

When replacing the $5250 per meter Jorma Origo between the E.A.R. Acute CD Player and E.A.R. 912 Preamp, the 1016 and 1116 were not embarrassed in any way. I heard a bit less air and definition, but both interconnects sounded cut from the same sonic cloth. The musicality and truthfulness of the Jormaís signature was present in the Kimber. There was a bit less depth, but not as much as you would expect. The Jorma sounded right. The Kimber sounded right. One can carry this neutrality thing to the extreme, but the Jormas are the most neutral and the Kimbers are neutral enough, certainly for the price!

In my second reference system, I replaced the new all silver Selects with the 1016. Again, you can hear the differences clearly, but my oh my are the 1016s alive and smooth. I am a detail maven and will leave the silver Selects in place, but I could be happy with the 1016s! I then tried the 1016s between my McIntosh MR71 Audio Classics modified and restored FM Tuner and my E.A.R. preamp. I replaced the more expensive Harmonic Technology Magic 2s. Oh, the grand smoothness and increased definition of the 1016s with the Mac tuner. Even tonally from top to bottom, the 1016s proved their brilliance. Overall, I have never heard an interconnect under $1000 so beautifully integrated from tip top to lowest octave as the new 1016 and 1116. No splash, no hash, you will hear a sense of verisimilitude and sophistication that eludes most interconnects under $2000 per meter and is new to this price category. I would not hesitate to trade in your original 1011 and 1111 for the 1016 and 1116 at your Kimber dealer. This is the easiest and surest recommendation Iíve made this year!

They need 100 hours of run in time to be fully broken in. I ran them for an extra 24 hours on my Cable Cooker to get them to sound fully open and detailed. Thereís a lot of metal in these wires. The WBT connectors and Neutrik XLRs are first rate. There is no difference musically between the balanced and single ended wires.

I also tried the 1016s in place of the Kubala-Sosna Emotion Interconnects between the E.A.R. Preamp and the spectacular E.A.R. HP 4 headphone Amp in for review. Using the fabulous Grado PS1000s, the $3000 K-S cables and the $780 Selects were close!! Itís like putting cables under an X-Ray machine when you listen with headphones. I heard a bit more definition with the 4 times more expensive K-S. I heard very similar airiness and tonal integration. Differences were small and the Select compared very well overall. Nicely done Ray.

In Conclusion

From the hand of resident genius Ray Kimber, Kimber Kable has revised the Select line and brought us new and gorgeously improved all copper 1016 [RCA] and 1116 [XLR] interconnects. A sonic leap over the original formulations, I hear more of everything and a realistic, but relaxed presentation, thatís just magical. I truly believe this is the sweetheart of the line and a perfect under $1000 per meter for those who want a big chunk of the best reference sound, but cannot reach the exalted heights of ridiculous money. Integration of frequencies from top to bottom are near perfect. These are truly lovable wires and never stress your ears. The Kimber Kable Select KS 1016 and 1116 are most highly recommended. Robert H. Levi

KS 1016 
Retail: $780

KS 1116 
Retail: $800

Kimber Kable
http://www.kimber.com
support@kimber.com
2752 South 1900 West
Ogden ,UT , 84401 USA
801-621-5530

Revised interconnect rankings to include the new Kimber Select Interconnects from the latest listening sessions with cables ranked by reviewer preference within price categories as follows:

Over $4000 per meter

TIE: Jorma Origo (single-ended and balanced); Kubala-Sosna Elation [balanced and single-ended] State of the Art Category.   

Jorma Prime (balanced and single-ended) 

Nordost Odin (balanced and single-ended)

Tara Labs The Zero (single-ended)

Acrolink 7N-DA6100 (single-ended)

$2000 - 4000 per meter

Kimber Select KS 1136 and KS 1036 [balanced and single-ended]

Kubala-Sosna Emotion (balanced and single-ended)

Jorma #1 (balanced and single-ended) Bybees on board.

Clarison Teresonic Gold (single-ended)

Nordost Valhalla (balanced and single-ended)

Wireworld Platinum Eclipse (balanced and single-ended)

Acrolink 7N-A2500 Mexcel (single-ended)

Silversmith Palladium (balanced and single-ended)

Harmonic Technology Photon Interconnects [fiber optic] with Power Pack 4 (balanced and single-ended)

$1000 - 2000 per meter

CRL Silver Interconnects (balanced and single-ended)

Stereovox 600-SEIii (balanced and single-ended)

Kimber Select KS 1126 and KS 1026 [balanced and single-ended]

Kubala-Sosna Expression (balanced and single-ended)

Jorma #2 (single-ended)

XLO Signature 3 Interconnect [balanced and single-ended]

Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II (balanced and single-ended)

$450 - 1000 per meter

Kimber Kable Select KS 1016 and 1116   [single ended and balanced]

Audience AU24e [Balanced and single-ended]

Harmonic Technology Magic II (Balanced and single-ended)

Kimber Select KS 1011 (balanced and single-ended)

Nordost Heimdall (Balanced and single-ended)

CRL Copper Series Interconnects (Single-ended tested)

Harmonic Technology Pro Sil-way III+ (balanced and single-ended)

$250 - 450 per meter

Dynasty by Dynastrand [available again soon]

Mythos by Argentum Acoustics (balanced and single-ended)

Dynamic Design New Generation Lotus SE

Soundstring Octaphase Alpha Series (single-ended Unshielded Interconnect)

Soundstring Octaphase Omega Pro Line (single-ended/Balanced Shielded Interconnect)

Under $250 per meter

Kimber Hero (balanced and single-ended)

Kimber Timbre (single-ended)

 

 

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