"Pissin' the night away"
Towards the end of 1997, while I was hanging out at Ultimate Sound, the girlfriends were shopping at nearby Union Square. Sorry, I don't have any holiday photos, so you'll just have to make do with this COVID-era shot. Anyway, the girls (well, by then we were actually young adults, but didn't see ourselves as such) and I were hosting and DJ'ing a party.
We didn't have much room, so I cobbled together a system comprising California Audio Labs, Classe', and the stand-mounted Sonus Faber Concertino. We had two cable looms: (1) XLO Signature interconnects and Ultra 12BW; (2) Kimber KCAG and discrete bi-wire 4TC (blue-and-black color scheme). We played a variety of popular music, and Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" was exceedingly well-liked. Sorry, we don't have any photos from that 1997 party, so you'll have to make do with one from the mid-2010s.
The XLO Ultra 12BW was fuller, denser, less detailed, spacious, and extended up top. The Kimber 4TC was more open, detailed, extended up top; but overall thinner or leaner. But on the Concertino, the 4TC's resolution, contrast, and treble extension made it the better match.
After the party, many audiophiles had the Totem Model 1. The Kimber 4TC was an excellent and price-appropriate choice. A few had the ProAc Response One SC, whose boom-and-sizzle tonal balance was not a good match for the 4TC.
Now, we have Kimber 4TC in the white-and-clear outer jacket. And most importantly, we have an audiodharma Cable Cooker. A regular stereo pair of 4TC should see 3 to 4 days of Cook time. For the discrete bi-wire 4TC, do 2 to 2.5 days on each leg.
The Cooked bi-wire 4TC is just a superb match for Totem's current-production Sky, which has replaced the Model 1 Signature. By being clean, open, quick, and lively, the Cooked 4TC allows the Sky to show what it can do. Assuming the system is capable, little percussive instruments now lie just to the outside of each speaker. The more open "Tubthumping" makes you feel as though you are partying with 25 others, even though in real life you may be alone. Although the bass register is lean, it is detailed. You can see, though not really feel, the waves from a bass guitar amp or synthesizer. Although not as gutsy and powerful, kick drum is fast and detailed, and again, you "see" the jolt of force or air, coming at you. Fleet-of-foot drummers will challenge you to keep up!
In 1998, I reached a new frontier or plateau, and brought in the multi-thousand dollar cables, such as XLO Limited Edition, Tara Labs The One, and Kimber Bi-Focal XL and Select KS-3033. When I had extra interconnects lying around, I stuck the XLO LE and Tara Labs The One on the $99 Sony Playstation. When I reported the (positive) sonic results, the audiophile community spammed me with vitriol, hate mail, and other bile. Their behavior then was far worse than the grumpy old goats poisoning the well in today's AA. But then again, audiophiles don't come anywhere near the trash talk, you had to endure in sports. Audiophiles just hide behind the computer screen; in sports, you have to break up the scrums and actual scuffles.
No, the 4TC does not come close to the Bi-Focal XL's performance. When you move up to the latter, you will easily observe how it better preserves the sense of 3D imaging. Those images are more stable within the soundstage. Thus, they feel as though they have more body. And now that allows your speakers, if they are capable, of scoping out tiny details, textures, notes, expressions, contrasts, and contexts.
With the Bi-Focal XL, more of the music's power is preserved. It's not just the deep bass. It's in the control of the midrange. So not only do the images have more weight and detail, they have more soul, presence, and natural force.
With the Bi-Focal XL, the Totem Sky is not just less lean. While maintaining the Sky's alacrity and dexterity, the Bi-Focal XL makes it seem as though the Sky is having an easier, more effortless, time.
Replacing the little Sky with Totem's own Fire confirms the 4TC's shortcomings. Above, we have already covered the shrinkage of image size, density, and power. But at least the images are well-defined. While the system is free to reproduce the stick hitting a drum, there should be more "puff" or "push" emanating from the image.
Although the Cooked 4TC's detailing is quite good, going up to better speaker cables shows off the 4TC's loss of micro resolution. Music comes across as slightly glossy, though not nearly to the degree expressed by the XLO Ultra 12BW. This somewhat reduces the contrast between music and the background silence.
Still, compared to the old and un-Cooked blue-and-black 4TC, the new and Cooked 4TC is a pleasant surprise. It is not as grainy and bright, as we had thought. It is cleaner and more accurate and transparent, than we previously thought.
Now, the 4TC has reached a level, where, for a lot of reasonably-priced high-end audio systems, it is "good enough." You'll be having such a good time, singing, "I get knocked down, but I get up again," that you'll turn your attention to the $$$$ speaker cables.
If you are not bi-wiring, the 4TC may hold you, until you can afford the likes of Carbon 16. And if you find the KS-3033 to sound too plodding, and the 4TC really does mate well with your system, the 4TC will buy time, until you find the expensive 4AG with WBT connectors.
If you are bi-wiring, then the 4TC can hold you, until you can find the Bi-Focal XL.
-Lummy The Loch Monster
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Topic - Kimber 4TC, Part 5 - Luminator 23:06:36 04/18/21 (0)