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REVIEW: VH Audio UniCrystal AirLok Hookup Wire Cable

Model: UniCrystal AirLok Hookup Wire
Category: Cable
Suggested Retail Price: $3.99
Description: 18 AWG UniCrystal OCC Copper hookup wire with AirLok dielectric
Manufacturer URL: VH Audio

Review by jonbee on August 28, 2011 at 12:29:22
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I have re-wired many good speakers over the years, using many types of wire, from 5-9s silver, silver clad ofc copper, high purity copper, and dissected speaker cables from various mfrs. Results range from no change to excellent, but given the work involved I decided I would only do it in rare cases.
This year I bought a pair of Selah Audio Tempesta 3 way standmounts, which use very high resolution drivers, including RAAL ribbons, Accuton mids, and Scanspeak Illuminator woofers.
As I wrote in my earlier review of them, I'm very taken with the Selahs- they are extraordinary standmounts by any comparison, and by my standards one of the best speakers I've ever heard.
That said, I made a couple of minor crossover changes in consultation with Rick Craig at Selah, and noted that the internal wiring was pretty mediocre looking stranded copper wires. I started thinking about a re-wire and surveyed the options, and was impressed by the VH Audio (well known AA inmate Chris VenHaus) UniCrystal OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) Copper wire with AirLok insulation. Here's Chris' description:
"Our OCC wire is meticulously drawn through special dies, dead soft annealed in an inert nitrogen atmosphere, and follows special handling protocols to minimize any surface marring, before the insulation process begins. Our unique AirLok insulation is a proprietary form of foamed/cellular Teflon that achieves a dielectric constant of less than 1.45! By comparison, the dielectric constant of solid Teflon is 2.1-2.2, and a perfect vacuum is 1.0. May be stripped by simply using your fingernails- so no nicking of the conductor with a wire stripper!"
The price was acceptable for such quality, so I bought 21 guage for the tweeters, 18 ga. for the mids, and paralleled 21 and 18 ga. for the woofers and main crossover feed.
As Chris states, it is very easy to strip; I did indeed do all the stripping using my fingernails. Nice.
So- how does it sound? In a word- marvelous, even stunning. I don't hear any difference in the bass, but the detail and focus in the mids and highs improved dramatically. Any trace of hash is gone, and I can hear into the soundstage further than ever before with ANY speaker I've ever heard. Smooth, refined, balanced. A beautiful result, more than I had expected or achieved from any other re-wire job I've done.
I paid around $150 for the wire, and I must say that in the context of the speakers' cost and overall quality, it is a dead bargain. The re-wire took about 6 hours, and I'm thrill by the result. I'm not sure that I've ever hear better, more musical overall reproduction than what I'm getting now. For hi-rez copper hookup wire I can't image better results.
BTW, they sounded a tad dynamically constricted for the first 20-25 hours, but then opened up. All good now!

Product Weakness: A bit pricey, but by my measures a great bargain!
Product Strengths: Easy to work with, cleans up the sonic window much more than expected. This is super stuff!

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: cullen modded PS audio GCC-500 (Icepower)
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): none
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Sony 9100/modwright sig. truth CDP
Speakers: Selah audio Tempesta/ James EMB1000 sub
Cables/Interconnects: Zu- Libtec, Mission,and Mother
Music Used (Genre/Selections): lots
Room Size (LxWxH): 17 x 20 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: lots of glass, eats bass
Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 week
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): PS audio Quintet
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: VH Audio UniCrystal AirLok Hookup Wire Cable - jonbee 12:29:22 08/28/11 (8)


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