Do No Harm: The seemingly forgotten responsibility of the cable loom.
An Audiophile’s cable loom (a true system component) has three, very straightforward responsibilities.
- Supply power to your components.
- On demand
- Transmit signal between components.
- Do no harm to the system.
Unfortunately, most cable looms, not only poorly execute responsibilities #1 & #2, but consistently harm the performance of audiophile quality systems. They FAIL!
Why? What’s the problem???
- Power (On Demand): When an Audiophile listens to a whisper quiet classical masterpiece…and a roaring crescendo builds…the amplifier needs POWER! If the required power doesn’t make it to the amplifier, the crescendo plateaus, the tympani doesn’t make its presence known, and the windows don’t rattle. Dynamic contrast, which adds emotion and drama to music, is lost. FAILURE!
- Popular remedy #1 (The 40lbs garden hose): To enable power on demand, some manufacturers create HUGE, inflexible power cords that are harmful to audiophile equipment. Often, these cords require acquisition of cable management systems and a complete re-arrangement of system components, shelves, etc... Due to sheer weight, I’ve seen similar cords unplug from components, separate/detach from their connectors, and/or damage the IEC connector of the component. FAILURE!
- Popular remedy #2 (Amp specific power cord): Some manufacturers believe you CAN NOT reduce noise AND deliver power on demand. These manufacturers abandon noise reduction for high output cords…used specifically for amps. Noise introduced to the amp, at the end of the audiophile system, is reproduced by the speakers WITH the desired source music...as unwelcome/uninvited accompaniment. FAILURE!
- Power (Clean): We all belong to a power grid (i.e. BIG CIRCUIT). Our appliances, our neighbors’ appliances, light switches, computers, TVs, radio frequency interference (RFI), electromagnetic interference (EMI), and the squirrel caught in the transformer….ALL add NOISE to the power grid. If this noise finds its way into an audiophile’s system, it will be reproduced along with the desired source music. FAILURE!
- Popular remedy #3 (Power conditioners): Power conditioners promise to remove NOISE. Many power conditioners are expensive and promise more than they actually deliver. Often, these conditioners introduce their own NOISE and limit power on demand. Lesser failure???
- Popular remedy #4 (Source/pre-amp specific power cords): Similar to Popular remedy #2 (above), some manufacturers believe you CAN NOT reduce noise AND deliver power on demand. So these manufacturers build cords that reduce noise (w/ low output) for source components and pre-amplifiers. Like power conditioners, these cords are often expensive and promise more than they actually deliver. In addition, they often modify the signal (more on that later). Noise introduced at the beginning of the audio system becomes part of the musical event....so much for fidelity. FAILURE!
- Transmit signal between components: Unfortunately, most interconnects and speaker cables mutate the signal in some fashion. The signal goes in one end and comes out modified on the other side. The cables systemically modify the original signal... emphasizing and/or de-emphasizing, treble, bass, midrange, dynamic contrast, transients, etc. …dependent on their design flaw/character. The common Audiophile trap has been to pick the cable loom that has the sound characteristics COMPLIMENTARY to your system's FLAWS (i.e. Cable/system matching). It’s a choice between poor options or a false choice. FAILURE!
- Comparison video between ZAFIRO & $45k competitor – Both cable looms have great detail. However, the $45k competitor systemically modifies the signal to overemphasize treble…in pursuit of MORE DETAIL.
- Example #1: During the Miles Davis excerpt, there is a cymbal splash that is TOO MUCH when played though the $45k competitor loom. It rings on and on forever. It’s unnatural. This unnatural sound effect eventually leads to listener fatigue. The Audiophile brain strains to make the unnatural, sound natural, but eventually becomes fatigued and stops the listening session.
- Example #2: During the Leonardo Trincabelli excerpt, the echo of the female singer in the recording space rings on forever with the $45k competitor…as if the recording occurred in a glass room without sound treatment. It unnatural and illogical. Listener fatigue sets in quickly.
- Do No Harm: The FAILURES above make it a CERTAINTY that similar cable looms WILL harm performance of Audiophile quality systems. FAILURE!
What’s the solution - ZAFIRO by CH Acoustic
Let me explain. Within 10 seconds of utilizing the ZAFIRO cable loom, I was sold. The improvement (i.e. lack of design flaws and FULL achievement of cable loom responsibilities) was clearly AUDIBLE and PERSISTENT in EVERY system iteration.
- Power – On Demand…without being a garden hose.
- Power – Clean, without the need of a power conditioner or any limitation on power transmission.
- EXTREME dynamic contrast without the use of a power conditioner.
- Transmits signal with fidelity and nothing extra. You hear the selected source music via the best your system components can offer.
- No harm came to ANY system, regardless the configuration. The ZAFIRO brought out the best in every component.
Value is a subjective concept that differs for each and every audiophile. However, a system with a ZAFIRO cable loom as the foundational component (i.e. the cable loom SHOULD be treated as a system component) is compelling. I’ve been amazed at the performance of various system configurations (even BUDGET systems), when they’re not constrained by the persistent flaws of many competing cable looms. The ZAFIRO cable loom is the gateway to higher audiophile enjoyment. Take it!
UPDATE Summer '22 - We now offer the lower cost ONIX cable loom, which dellivers a significant portion of the ZAFIRO cable loom at a much reduced cost.