Positive Feedback ISSUE 69
Diamond Reference Interconnects
as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
Without a doubt, DanaCable, made in America (distributed by Gingko Audio), warms the heart with one of the sweetest and most refined musical presentations I have heard from either of my two reference systems. Their top Diamond Reference models, both XLR and RCA, and both shielded, replicate the warmth and glow of rare gold and silver mega-wires from Europe now selling in the marketplace at upwards of $10,000 per meter, and do it with unique copper formulations and windings at way, way less. You want elegant, ultra smooth, liquid musical joy, while maintaining a solid sense of reality? The new Diamonds are yours for the asking.
So how much for these gems? The Diamond Reference goes for $1500 for 1 meter RCA, and $1800 for 1 meter XLR. The XLR is actually studded in faux jewels! The connectors are first rate. I particularly like the RCA locking connectors. They are totally unique and work better than WBT! No kidding. I gave the cables 100 hours run-in on an FM tuner, more than requested. I was told not to use the audiodharma Cable Cooker, but do not know why. The cables are most flexible and easy to use. They are not marked as to right/left, so you have to trace them when you hook them up. They have no directional arrows, so you have to look for printing on the sliding cable connector. Both of these could be easily fixed.
I compared the DanaCables to my reference interconnects including Kubala-Sosna Elation, Jorma Origo, Kimber 1036, and the new WyWires Platinum.
I started out with the Blue Spec of Kind of Blue, CD, SIPC 20001, the best PCM digital Blue around, and mightily enjoyed the sweet angst of the playing. Piano notes were more delicate and gentle, but very real. Horns were rightly brassy and smooth and well defined. Everything was very emotional and trim. Very good depth and imaging was obvious. Nicely in-the-room sound. Cymbals were brassy and colorful. Coltrane sounded warm, textured, emotional, and a bit less powerful and tightly focused than I recall. All was very enjoyable and seductive and it was very hard to go on to the next disc! The DanaCables are organic in a very special way as to truly appeal to my heart.
I next tried a powerful vocal, Roberta Gambarini, So In Love, 55 CD, FNCJ-5529, which pushes the CD medium to pegging power. Though the sibilants were still there and the most slam was still obvious, the overall mood and pace was somehow more gentle and refined. Who knows? This could be the more neutral approach. I now found this CD just as enjoyable and exciting. I did notice less definition, with a new way certain instruments popped into the room. It was wonderful and very realistic. You could still tell this was solid-state mastered, just warmed up a bit like gold cable does. By the way, bass impact and decay is very, very good with lots of textural colors... maybe more layering than I normally hear.
You like classical? These wires are made to make you a happy camper! Try the Tutti Sampler from Reference Recordings, the SACD layer, and fasten your seat belt. Everything I have tried hard to describe comes to the fore in this SACD. You will hear layers and layers of textural colors, instruments expressing themselves then disappearing, drums powering up and decaying away, and hall sounds emerging from the distance. You trade a little snap and power for organic elegance and richness. I know plenty of classical lovers who will dine on these DanaCables and skip dessert, and I only had two pair in my systems. They would trade hyper-definition for elegance—and you get such wondrous elegance with the DanaCables.
I just had to listen to the new Time Out SACD from Acoustic Sounds, SACD 8192, mastered by Bernie Grundman on a tube production chain. Oh, did it sound right as rain, and so very appealing. It got very close to my LP sound with the DanaCable on the Modwright Sony 999 and 9100. I listened to cut 3, "Take 5," four times, as each time I heard a little something different to put in my notes. I found this one an uber-enjoyable cable/SACD match. I certainly noticed that 1959 sonic flavor. The DanaCables did not obscure it. I noticed the lovely bass echo, very natural, though a tad slower with less slam. I just wanted to enjoy it, as it was so very seductive and charming.
What is Neutral?
Not all engineers/designers of wire think "neutral" means "naked". It may be necessary for a reviewer to reduce colorations to a bare minimum to evaluate components, and thereby put up with a less than emotional and organic system as a result. For the audiophile, however, you can do whatever you want! Right or wrong is in the ears of the beholder. So enters DanaCable. Neutral with a bullet: no. Neutral with a shotgun: maybe so. It IS more neutral than the European silver and gold wires I have auditioned. It is, strictly speaking, somewhat warmer and richer than the more neutral references I use, giving up some power and definition for lovely nuance and elegance.
At its price point, the DanaCable Diamond Reference is a miracle of musical magic with very fine definition. Whoever designed these wires truly loves music!
From Gingko comes the DanaCable Diamond Reference, their new tip top cable offering for the audiophile market. Terminated with gorgeous connectors and made in America, they are priced more than fairly, and represent great value, even for the jaded audiophile. I loved them. They are emotional and organic, the way those European super-expensive silver/gold wires portray music, but with more realism than these European brands offer. These organic-sounding wires will give you hours and hours of non-fatiguing, wonderful, luscious music, and are extraordinary for classical music. If your system is slightly crisp and a tad solid-state sounding, the DanaCables are particularly perfect, though I certainly enjoyed them on all-tube systems.
My strong recommendation as a bonafide music lover for the DanaCable Diamond Reference. Robert H. Levi