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UBYTE-1 and X-3.0 cables - Listening test

[Italian version]

Just few days after his e-mail I received the interconnect cables made by our English contributor Thorsten Loesch.
He was a little enigmatic when we had a talk about those interconnects and their features: something very special was expected to happen in the listening test...
That's how the story was.
First of all I've tried each cable separately, just to make myself a general opinion about their respective basic features.
I plugged them between CD and preamp, leaving our TNT semi-balanced Shielded cable betweeen pre and amplifier.
Later I used both of them at the same time in alternate configuration to find the best sequence to suit my system .

UBYTE-1 (...or something about power...)
The UBYTE-1 is a real tonic cure for every cd player that suffers the typical harshness and harmonic poverty of low and mid-priced digital sources.
We all know very well that a cable can NEVER add something to signal, but, with this UBYTE-1 I'm on th way to consider some kind of exception :-).
Warm and rich sounding, with a direct and sincere response, it doesn't boost the sound but tends to complete it, as if it would re-create what was lost in the analog-to-digital conversion.
Lower frequencies recover their correct weight with a great presence and definition that never, however, invade or put a shade on the nearest frequencies. High-range response is very well balanced, no disturbing *shh*, no listening fatigue: if only it had more transparency and detail it would be The Cable .
But, at this point, I want to remind you all that in a well-done and well projected cable there's no good points or flaws: just peculiar features. So it's up to us taking advantage of those features with of intelligence, skills and good sense.
The real miracle happens in the middle range of frequencies: here Music shows off. Sweet and liquid, detailed and extremely intellegible. The stage is wide and it's enlightened by a golden, brilliant light; the performers are well located far out of the speakers, dynamics are good, in a velvet-like musical texture.
It privileges Music above all, with its fine reconstruction of the event for a real listening pleasure.

X-3.0 (or...something about grace...)
One can suspect just at first glance something about the way it will sound for us. It's so light, delicate to handle, with its intriguing geometry. Just plug it in and get surprised!
Differently from the UBYTE, it tends to calm analysis and introspection , with a light watercolor brush touch, almost a rich embroidery on old damask-linen.

Its sonic personality is crystal-clear and brilliant and this time the stage is covered by a sky-blue light. Its excellent micro-contrast reveals any whisper, every detail, any harmonics in the performance.
The stage is very wide and well expanded in the three dimensions and has a rare gift: it materialize the performers between listener and speakers.
Take for example the fine introductory celtic harp of the Van Morrison's track in that Chieftains' masterpiece called The long Black Veil : I always have heard it *flying*, suspended in the upper portion of the stage and I thought is was a intentionally projected effect. The X 3.0 set everything right and an harpist soon appear, sat in the left corner, with a real, physical presence.
After all this speaking about analysis, detail, crystal clear ect don't you think of the X 3.0 as a cold, surgical cable. No way! Never a hiss or an applause or a fiddle has disturbed my ear: but now I'm getting very curious about having a listening test of the X 1.5 (almost a twin) that should have the same features but with a warmer note due to its different crossing geometry.

Now: just think at the sound of a recording studio and soon after to the sound of a friendly and relaxing jazz-club. Or else think to the different feelings in listening a solid state hi-end system and an analogue all-tubes gear. This is the magnitude of differences between the two. Very different but complementary, each one with its own personality.

After having put some bookmarks for their stand-alone behavior, I worked hard to find the right sequence to connect both of them in my gear. It took some day and some more night to find the right configuration, the best synergy. Guess what it was? Ok: UBYTE-1 between CDP and preamplifier followed by X-3.0 between pre and amplifier.
For this nice pair I gladly steal a phrase from a valiant music criticist: "It was since the time of Cassius Clay that I didn't see so much strenght and grace put together".

The listening session of my favourite records was neverending. I listened everything over and over: and I was not really trying to find something good or wrong in that cables. I just enjoied the Music.
When I came back to the real world, I had a thought over Thorsten's cables: they were human, invisible, respectful to Music. They were like the team that silently works hard and sweats for the champion.
Since here at TNT we already have Merlin (the magician) maybe we could call them respectively Lancelot (strong, fearless and faithful knight) and Guinevere (delicate, white-as-snow queen of infinite grace).
Their big, very big defect come to my mind just now that I'm at the end of this article: they'll soon have to take their way home.
Thorsten's waiting for them to be back.

Copyright 1998 Mimmo Cacciapaglia

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