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JPS The SuperConductor 2 - Breath in the air

European Premiere!

[The SuperConductor 2 logo]

[JPS SuperConductor 2]
[Italian version]

JPS Labs is a US Company founded in 1990 by Joe Skubinski, a man who knows how to design HiFi gear in a really different way.
His cables are made out of aluminium and, thanks to the fact that Joe doesn't spend much money in advertising, the quality/price ratio of his products is very interesting.
Joe makes three interconnects: budget (UltraConductor), mid-priced (SuperConductor), hi-end (SuperConductor 2). A very clever choice, just three products to suit every need.
Audiophiles and HiFi reviewers do prefer a simple and clear choice, instead of 40+ models which are confusing and, hence, useless. Just keep it simple: budget, mid-priced and hi-end. Hats off to Joe.
The same policy applies to speaker cables and power cords (one for digital, soon on these pages, one for analog sources and one for amplifiers). Simple and effective.
Joe has sent us the flagship of his interconnects, the SuperConductor 2, a huge cable with an aluminium central conductor and a copper tube as shield. Yes, a solid tube.
This makes the SuperConductor a nightmare for us poor reviewers when we try to test the same product on different HiFi systems: the SuperConductor is made for being bent before installing and this bending process is not easy.
Plus, the cable is even quite heavy, which means that lightweight CD players or preamps can be *moved* by the weight of this cable.
Standard audiophiles will just need to decide WHERE to install the SuperConductor 2, bend it to fit properly and leave it that way for years :-).

The SuperConductor 2 is very well crafted and uses very nice locking RCA connectors by WBT.
The list price for the SuperConductor 2 is 695 US $.

Tech Specs

IMHO, the most impressive datum is the usable bandwidth of the cable.
The JPS cables are sold with a reasonable period of burn-in though some extra playing time is recommended (just let your CD player in *repeat* for a couple of days, playing some test-CD).

The Sound of Music

The presence of the SuperConductor 2 into any HiFi chain is noticeable, both visually and sonically.
Once it has been properly installed into your HiFi system (between the CD player and the preamp or between the latter and a power amp, for example) it gives you one of the most impressive sounds I've ever heard.
Let's state this clear: if you think that the difference between a 700 $ interconnect and a 200$ one is negligible, you should listen to this cable.
The difference is so HUGE that even someone passing near your HiFi chain will hear it. A friend of mine asked me if it was a kind of joke, since he couldn't believe to his ears.
Even when compared to similarly-priced interconnects the JPS SC2 is outstanding.
The mid-range and the high-range are crystal clear but not too much analytical, clean and sharp in a very natural way, that is.
And this cable gives you so much information in the high range that going back to a cheaper interconnect can be dramatic. You wouldn't believe how much detail can be lost.
With female voices the performance is simply outstanding: it seems that our fav singers have paid us a visit into our listening room.
The breath, the vibratos and the feeling of their voices is very, very close to the real live experience, so that you can tell exactly when they grasp for breath and when they open their lips to sing.
Don't think this means a razor sharp kind of performance. No way! Imagine it as the most natural performance possible.
Actually the SC2 isn't a overbright interconnect, after a proper burn-in period I'd rather say it is nicely warm and smooth.
And forget any *electronic* feeling: these cables can bring you to the heart of your fav Music.
Then there's the bass range, one of the big pluses of the SC2: unbelievably extended, round and articulated, it will shake the windows panes of your listening room, provided your loudspeakers do have a reasonably extended frequency response.
I'd dare to say that even the bass range of the JPS SC2 has some breath in it, exactly like the mid-to-high range. You'll hear every single note of the bass developing into your listening room, with fast attacks and natural decays, exactly like it is in *real life*.
If you think your loudspeakers have a poor extension in the bass range you should try to listen to them with the SC2 into your HiFi chain. It won't do miracles but you'll be able to tell how LOW can your speakers go.

I've heard this kind of effect with every HiFi system I've tested, from hi-end level to budget-conscious chains.
This means that it is the cable to make the same kind of difference with the bass range.
This powerful and *breathing* bass range is a perfect match for the mid-range, giving you a lively and faithful musical reproduction.
It seems that this cable sets your Music free from any contraint and compression.
The dynamical performance of the SC2 is top-notch, indeed.
You have the same feeling when switching from a low-powered integrated amp to a big hi-end power amp. The attacks are outstanding though you don't miss the grace of the real musical instruments.
Clearly a state of the art performance even with respect to this parameter.
Then there's 3D imaging: the virtual soundstage this cable creates is HUGE, especially with respect to width.
The virtual 3D image is very wide, well beyond the space between the loudspeakers. The size of the instruments is very similar to the real one, but not bigger. The soundstage height and depth are very impressive too. Maybe I'd have preferred a better focus, but I realize that I'm searching an excuse to not admit that even with respect to the virtual soundstage parameter, the performance of this interconnect is simply state-of-the-art.

So, is it an always good-sounding cable? No. For example, when used between a phono preamp and the preamp (analog front-end: Linn/Grado Reference) the JPS SC2 sounded pretty dark and lifeless, a fact probably due to a mismatch of capacitance/inductance values.
But this is quite normal: hi-end stuff tends to be very critical and a wrong interface with the other components into an HiFi chain can be nearly a disaster.
With CD players the SC2 is simply exciting. Even when used with mid-priced players it can bring new life to their otherwise lifeless sound.
It has been capable to make a cheap CD player sound like (well, almost ;-)) a top-quality analog front-end, which was quite incredible to my ears.
Of course any hi-end cable on a cheap CD player is a nonsense but this experiment has proved me (one more time, if necessary) that interconnects CAN make a huge difference in performance. And I think of all those audiophiles (?) who still don't believe in the role played by a cable into a stereo system.


The JPSLabs Superconductor 2 isn't exactly cheap. But its price becomes reasonable when compared with the most expen$ive hi-end cables in the market (which can cost even 5 times more) and, mainly, when properly installed into your HiFi chain.
The performance of the SuperConductor 2 is of the State-of-the-Art kind and the price of the cable can be -hence- even considered LOW.
The JPS cables do have an outstanding quality/price ratio, one of the best in the market, for sure.
Do you think that 700 $ are an outrageous amout of money for an interconnect?
Well, you can listen to the cheaper SuperConductor (295 $ /meter) or to the budget UltraConductor (hi-end on a budget, as Joe claims).
You can live without listening to the Superconductor 2, unless your system is of the Hi-End kind. Then a SERIOUS listening test is a MUST. And please, don't compare the SC2 with similarly priced hi-end cables: compare it with the best ones in the market. It won't disappoint you.

More infos about the JPS cables can be found at the nicely crafted JPS Labs Web Site.
A HUGE thank you to Joe Skubinski for having sent us his cables as European Premiere. Though the JPS products are available almost anywhwere in the World you can buy them directly (if a local dealer is not available, as in Italy, for example) over the Internet following the instructions you find into their Web site.

Hats off Joe!

© Copyright 1998 Lucio Cadeddu

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