Product: Type Reference Sublimis Greek-Pi (p) interconnects
Manufacturer: White Gold Electronics
Italian distributor: Extreme Audio
Approx. price (terminated 1-meter pair): 1.945 Euro (analogue signal)
Approx. price (terminated 1-meter): 1.300 Euro (digital)
Reviewed by: Stefano Monteferri - TNT Italy
Reviewed: May, 2003
I've always been very impressed by those documentaries where you are shown, as symbols of productivity and high-tech, complicated, computerised robots, that, in a short while, are able to produce the most complex objects. "To produce those objects," I mumble, " once it would have taken days, while nowadays...".
That's when, in my mind, I start imagining a little studio, where the wise and expert work of an exacting artisan, aided only by hand-tools, apparently simple yet refined with use and experience, gives birth, one by one, to products that are at the same time perfect yet unique and irrepeatable.
I guess that this last picture is particularly apt to introduce the cable system investigated in this article, the White Gold signal interconnect "Type Reference Sublimis Greek-Pi (p)". As far as I know, no commercial cable matched the specifications defined by this White Gold series' designer, Gianfranco Fanucchi. Hence, the necessity to start from scratch in the design and its consequent implementation of a cable specifically aimed at achieving specific results, both technical and acoustic. It seems that an attempt at production line automation failed. The result, I have been told, is that at this moment, in this very Italian firm from Porto Viro (RO), just one person is able to produce those cables, i.e. in a totally handcrafted way (!).
To build signal and digital White Gold Type Reference Sublimis Greek-Pi, some litz-type conductor is used, which is braided according a particular geometry, that also gives the signal path a specific direction, obtaining inductance, capacitance and resistance values that the firm claims as "optimal".
In particular, a specific system is used - defined "Greek-Pi (p)" - that braids the "litz" copper and the negative-pole conductor. In the firm's opinion, this allows for the attainment of a sound that is particularly solid and extended, 3-d, extremely rich and detailed.
Available also in balanced mode, the White Gold signal interconnects sent me for this test are terminated with unusual and very beautiful gold RCA plugs (whose negative pole is strangely "retractile"...), and their look is enhanced by hardwood blocks on which the firm's logo and the signal direction can be read.
Let's go in medias res. These cables lay claim, without the slightest understatement, to the position at the apex of production in their sector. Design and implementation choices, unrestricted by considerations of cost, don't leave room for further doubts.
White Gold Type Reference Sublimis Greek-Pi, Signal - The producer suggests, for both signal and loudspeaker cables, a break-in period of at least forty hours to let them express their "musical" characteristics at their best. Yet, I didn't restrain my curiosity and started my listening from the very first moment - also so as to track any changes during the burn-in period.
Straight out of the box, these cables can surprise you by the extreme transparency with which they treat musical signals - really "unforgiving". They naturally transmit the sensation of an high level of quality in all the usual parameters, suggesting their top-model status.
Further on, my curiosity stimulated, I patiently waited until the suggested break-in period ended. Then, to my surprise, although their character significantly sweetened, those transparency characteristics that so much struck me remained as they were. Yet, any trace of "unforgivingness" disappeared...
As usual, I am going to try and describe for you the character of these cables. The low frequency range is really very extended and powerful, and gives an impression of very high solidity and power handling. Rich in density and impact, the next highest range transmits a great feeling of completeness and energy, but never without control and articulation. Full, harmonic and decisive, the mid-range impresses for its feeling of presence and body, matched to a liquid fluidity, a clearness and a really uncommon accuracy. The top ranges are exemplary for their accuracy, transparency and air, and are characterised by a solidity and a consistency that I have heard on only very few other occasions.
Every tiny detail emerges from the harmonic carpet with a clearly marked dynamic strength and with great velocity. The microdynamics are so good that the contour of the most minute sounds, even at low volume levels, often galvanise the attention of the listener who can find himself turning his eyes towards the instruments that are producing them.
Even macrodynamics are high level, so that this pair of cables seemed to play louder, just as if I had turned up the volume control little bit. These characteristics give the reproduction a notable rythmic sense, so that the emotional interest significantly rises.
Soundstage reconstruction is superb and joyous. Very expansive in all three dimensions, it enables a very high level of intelligibility, in a context characterised by a frankly exceptional performance (in terms of focus and stability). Speed and transaprency make for a sort of "materialisation" of the elements of which holographic reconstruction is made - with the little impulsive sounds that looks as though they are spotlighted one by one. The feeling of air and interinstrumental blackness are very evident, much to the benefit of the recognition of different instrumental planes. These White Golds, moreover, are extremely respectful of the instruments' harmonic content that is never "cut away", as sometimes happens with lower level cables, but, instead, sweetly lightening their contours, like a sort of diffused air...
White Gold Type Reference Sublimis Greek-Pi, Digital - The accuracy and precision with which the digital White Gold treats musical signals are exceptional. The general character is similar to what we saw for the WG Signal, being well matched as far as timbral balance is concerned, and the sound profits from a really uncommon clarity and intelligibility.
Fast and lucid, it makes reproduced instruments vivid and glittering, yet avoiding any hint of coolness and aggressiveness. "White Gold" seems a particularly good denotation, in this case...
Interinstrumental silence is most remarkable, and underscores a particularly good chromatic contrast. It makes for good dynamics in general, and microdynamics in particular. The harmonic content allows for the representation of a remarkable quantity of information, that can be naturally perceived, with any effort in concentration.
As with the signal cable, when speaking of soundstaging, it renders a performance that is really excellent. The grain is fine, with a spacious airiness, and individual elements are stable and precise. There is a very beautiful rendering of reverberations, that transmits an emotional feeling of ambience, matched to a truly impeccable level of intelligibility.
I must admit that this listening experience with this White Gold Digital cable was illuminating in many aspects. Before becoming aware of the added value effectively obtained from the Sublimis series digital cable, I didn't account that much relevancy to transmission links . Actually, the transport and the DAC I used were capable of a remarkably higher performance than what I was accustomed to from them, because I had been stifling them with a piece of digital link that, although performing honestly, really acted as a limiting factor to musical signal flow, even in the digital domain.
There's really not much to say, these White Gold signal and digital cables are really excellent. During the test, according to my evaluation criteria, they didn't show any criticisable aspect; instead, they succeeded in enthusing me! Thanks to that, the review, as often happens with particularly authentic products, was extremely pleasant.
Cables of very high level, we were saying, characterised also by a proportionately high retail price. So, an audiophile might wonder, rather spontaneously, how cost-effective it would be to "invest" such an amount of money in this kind of product instead of replacing ones electronics with better stuff. It is a very reasonable question, particularly if you consider that, if you have a source connected to a pre/power combo, cable homogenization is twice as expensive...
There is an answer, and it's also a rather obvious one. A cable set of such a high level performances can really make the difference in all those cases in which - obviously dealing with HIGH quality systems - the electronics used are very synergistic together; i.e. having reached a good level of optimisation among the several elements (room included), with a musical result that is already pleasant. And, for sure, also in all cases in which we already have a "top" level system - both in price and in performance - where you simply cannot improve your electronics, or the mere idea of doing so would imply spending a four-digit figure (meaning Euros/Dollars). Products like these Sublimis Greek-Pi, in such a scenario, really would make you able to transform the performances of your system to the musically sublime; placing your electronics in the best conditions to express themselves at their best, reducing to the minimum the "bottle neck" effect that cables usually produce.
A particular "thank-you" goes to Aldo Zaninello, manager of Extreme Audio, for their kind cooperation.
© Copyright 2003 Stefano Monteferri - http://www.tnt-audio.com
Translation: Carlo Iaccarino - Supervisor: Peter Janssen