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Positive Feedback ISSUE 7
revelation audio labs Prophecy IS2 interconnect
as reviewed by John Brazier
Recently, while surfing the net, I stopped at one of my regular sites, www.audiogon.com, and came across an IS2 interconnect called the "Prophecy." I felt it was worth considering as an upgrade to my Perpetual Technology DAC and Digital Correction Engine, so I contacted the seller and we began to shoot emails to and fro. His name is Brad Vojtech, and his company is Revelation Audio Labs. His company is new, and its primary marketing plan relies on audio websites.
I eventually convinced Brad to send me a review sample. Its construction is top notchthere are five conductors, one each for master clock, data, word clock, bit clock, de-emphasis, and ground, and all are made of drum roll, please cryogenically-treated, 24-gauge, oxygen-free, 99.999% (5n) pure solid-core silver wire. According to Brad, "The silver wire used in the 'Prophecy' is rare and expensive, made by a company that specializes in high-end audio and RF specific silver wiring technology." I took note of the custom-made Neutrik connectors, Tough and heavy, they are touted by Revelation Labs as being the finest available. With details like 24-K-gold-plated connector pins, it is easy to see why, especially since the gold pins are slightly larger in diameter than those on all other IS2 connectors, providing a much tighter fit. I can attest to this by the amount of oomph the hookup took.
As far as the insulation and shielding goes, the silver conductors are each placed within 100% pure virgin Teflon hollow sleeving. The cable is designed with three layers of heavy shielding, and two of tin-plated, stranded copper braid. As Brad states it, the thought behind this multi layered shielding is as follows:
Sound good? Let's hear.
I was about halfway through my critical listening time with the Emmeline HR-2 headphone amp when the Prophecy arrived, and I replaced the stock IS2 with the Revelation Audio IS2 immediately. Unfortunately, what I heard was a complete muddying of the sonic waters. It was as if cotton were wadded and stuffed in to my ears. I quickly moved to remove the new interconnect and replace the old, then set aside the Revelation IS2 for a few weeks. I would occasionally think that I should give it another go, but was able to resist the urge, as I wanted to focus on the Emmeline review.
Moments after I had submitted my HR-2 review, I again replaced the stock IS2 with the Prophecy, hit "Play," then "Repeat," and left town for the weekend. When I got home, I gave a listen and returned the headphones to their stand. Still no go. 48 hours turned to 60 to 70 then it was time for another sample. Nope, not yet. 80 hours 100 hours then, at 140 hours, I concluded that this was how the cable sounded, and that this would be a short review. However, I am pleased to say that after that offensively long period of burn-in, the cable had finally stabilized, and I heard added nuance and improved stereo articulation.
Harmonies sounded just righta perfect blending of the musical layers and well-defined and audible interlacing between the players. Before I go on, allow me to expand the traditional notion of "harmonies" to be applied to this review. Typically defined, I think of 2 or 3 vocalists harmonizing somewhere off the side to the lead vocalist. Where I depart from this traditional notion is that I encompass one or more instruments playing the same notes, in unison, to be "harmonies" as well. The same way vocalists compliment the lead, so too can another instrument compliment a soloist. I am sure I am not breaking any new ground with the above definition but I wanted to relay what I feel is to be inclusive.
On Angie Stone's soul disc, male voices seamlessly interlocked with the females', in much the same way that the teeth of a pair of zippers flow together. Complex musical passages also became better defined. Musicians and vocalists sounded as one, not separately recorded and later mixed. I was able to feel and hear that certain music was much more complex than I had previously experienced. With a lesser cable, what you cannot hear cannot be missed.
The Prophecy's interpretation of "Venom Wearing Demon," on Junior Brown's disc Semi Crazy, was just plain fun. There is a certain amount of fun imbedded in the lyrics, but Brown's deep-toned guitar picking, "harmonizing" with his deeper vocals, made for a super-fun tune. Brown's voice connected to the notes of the guitar in a more purposeful way that I had never experienced. I heard many other discs as if I were listening to them for the first time.
The second strength of the Prophecy is its ability to articulate stereo. This, I posit, differs from a component's ability to create or refine a soundstage. Good stereo requires no more than left/right channel separation, whereas soundstage is more an "interpretation" of the signal. With the Revelation IS2, I clearly heard cymbals, drum hits, and vocals in either the left or the right channel, and this demarcation did nothing to diminish nor champion a well-executed soundstage. Almost every disc I listened to exhibited these benefits. A perfect example is one of my new fav's; the White Stripes, and their disc elephant has been in heavy rotation around my home. In the simple little ditty they call "Well, its True That We Love One Another", the vocal track neatly come from their corners of the studio. Not an overly orderly way but in a natural secure way.
Almost every disc I listen to exhibited theses above benefits. Classical, jazz, blues. I dusted of Robert Cray's Take your Shoes Off; I love it when I find a CD that I forgot I had and get to rediscover it all over again. His rendition of "24-7 Man" meets the two major strengths of this cable. The harmonies of the tracks contained in the tune and the spot on signal separation.
The third major strength of the Revelation IS2 is that it doesn't do anything wrong. The highs were as effortless as I have ever heard, while bass was deep and tight. The Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy was a solid step forward. It may not have been the "revelation" that I experienced when I went from the stock Sennheiser HD 600 headphone cable to the Cardas, but it was a joy to hear. Simple put, it never hindered the music. If you are looking for a worthwhile upgrade to your IS2, send Brad Vojtech an email. You won't regret it. John Brazier