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REVIEW: VH Audio AirSine Cable

Model: AirSine
Category: Cable
Suggested Retail Price: $1199
Description: VH Audio's
Manufacturer URL: VH Audio
Model Picture: View

Review by George Hoenninger (A) on September 05, 2005 at 18:09:27
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for the AirSine

Below are the comments I gave to Chris after auditioning the AirSine in my system. Most of the time I compared the AirSine to the Flavor 4 (my previous reference), but I did also try it against some other products I had on hand.

Just like in the past, I used a select few songs for the critical comments. Here they are:

Ben Harper – Fight For Your Mind (tracks 4, 5, 6, 9)

The Bad Plus – These Are The Vistas (track 2)

Sam Cooke – Night Beat (track 2)

Natalie Merchant – Tigerliliy (tracks 5, 7,8)

AirSine vs. Flavor 4 with Gold Option + Siliclear (I prefer the Gold on the Tact over the Rhodium) on Tact RCS 2.2X preamp plugged into Haley

Ben Harper

* Track 4 opens with acoustic guitar and the weight on each sting pluck is greater with the AirSine as is the texture of each note.

* Track 5 shows off the greater extension of the AirSine in both directions. This track has a lot of cymbals, bells, and percussion instruments as well as a very strong baseline. The AirSine has an airy, more extended treble as well as being more solid in the bass. The bass line was solid and clearly defined. Very well balanced presentation. By comparison, the Flavor 4 seems slightly out of balance (better bass than treble).

* Track 6 starts with great bongos and bass guitar. The AirSine gives greater attack or bite to each hit. The instruments also seem more fleshed out and three dimensional.

The Bad Plus

* Track 2 is quite simply bass to the right, piano to the left, and drums in the middle. The AirSine continued to show off its better dynamic range. The piano had a weight and body to it that was never there before. The bass line in the middle of the track with added punch and speed was sooooo engaging!! The Flavor 4 was slower and lacking in detail by comparison. With the Flavor 4, I felt like maybe I was listening when I was tired and just couldn’t fully appreciate things…

Sam Cooke

* Track 2 is Sam singing with a stand-up bass and simple drum kit. The AirSine lent a presence to his voice that made it more natural and realistic. It was also a touch cleaner sounding. Both these properties translated into a feeling of being there vs. just hearing it.

Natalie Merchant

* Track 5 opens with some great percussion and yet again the AirSine shined. Same as before…the greater weight, speed, and texture made it just jump up and grab me. At the end of the song, there is a horse clopping with people talking – I was able to hear things more clearly and easily. The Flavor 4 sounded a little bloated in the bass and little flat in the soundstage.

* Track 7 is a simple piano and female vocal. Having seen Natalie many times live, this was as close to live as I have heard her! I closed my eyes and felt like I was getting a special concert just for me. Her voice was more silky and seductive. I never thought there was any graininess with the Flavor 4, but I heard it when doing an A/B comparison. It was like going from an A to an A+ Also, the piano notes seemed a little soft and rounded on the Flavor 4.

* Track 8 is also fairly simple – guitar left, vocals/piano center, violin right. Same spooky realism as on track 7. The instruments has more air around them and really seemed to float in their own space. The violin had just the right amount of edge to it to make it sound more true. With the Flavor 4, it was slightly less detailed and also not as 3-D.

So overall the AirSine simply bettered the Flavor 4 in every area. It also showed some shortcomings in the Flavor 4 that I hadn’t really noticed previously. In areas of dynamics, extension, and presence I didn’t need extensive A/B tests. To notice the slight grain and improvement in detail it was easier to hear it at first doing A/B tests. Once you hear it though, it was more obvious and easy to spot.

Also, I can’t stress enough how nice it is dealing with a pc that bends and can’t actual lift the component off the cones or platform it is on!! 

For the other comparisons, I will just give you general summaries:

AirSine vs. Flavor 4 with Furutech Rhodium + Siliclear on Haley (Flavor 4 with Gold option on Tact)

* Image size increased

* Highlighted that the Flavor 4 Gold isn’t as balanced as AirSine

* Made the Flavor 4 Gold a little less rounded and coaxed a little more life into the music

* Not as big an impact as on the Tact preamp

* Would have really loved to have a second 15amp AirSine to hear how things improved…

AirSine vs. BPT L-9 on McCormack DNA-500

*This really was no comparison as the AirSine’s were significantly better, but I didn’t have anything else to compare it against…

The AirSine was:

More dynamic with better weight and authority

Had a deeper and more three dimensional soundstage

Significantly more detailed and produced a blacker background

More extended on the top end - the BPT was compressed and shut in by comparison.

Able to get the texture and nuances of the music – the BPT homogenized it.

Kept me interested in the music (I found myself wanting to surf the net with the BPT cord in place)

Product Weakness: Will help reveal weaknesses elsewhere in the system.

Won't act as a tone control.

Product Strengths: Transparency, speed, dynamics, and imaging are state of the art!

Also love that it is flexible and easy to use.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: McCormack DNA-500
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): TacT RCS 2.2x w/Aberdeen PS upgrade
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Empirical Audio modified Sony S-7700 as transport
Speakers: Salk Sound Veracity HT3's
Cables/Interconnects: VH Audio Pulsars (balanced and rca)
Music Used (Genre/Selections): a little bit of everything
Room Size (LxWxH): 25 x 18 x 7
Room Comments/Treatments: Dedicated room with generous use of MiniTraps by RealTraps as well as products from EightNerve
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Running Springs Audio Duke and Haley
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: VH Audio AirSine Cable - George Hoenninger 18:09:27 09/05/05 (2)

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