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My Adventure with Kimber Cable

Laszlo's high end cable adventure

Audiophiles are perpetually trying to make their systems sound better. It makes no difference how good the sound is already. They fear that they might be overlooking some tweak, some device, some treatment that would improve the sound. Preferably the "thing," whatever it is, will be expensive, glowingly reviewed in audio magazines, and beautiful to look at. So I decided I had to look into ultra high end cables.

As it happens the Appassionata interconnect cables presently in my system are no slouches. They were made by the Silver Audio company (sadly no longer in business) and are pure silver, meticulously drawn through precision dies and carefully assembled with Teflon and air insulation. When I bought them in 2002, they cost $1000 each. Today the same cable would most likely sell for $2000 to $2500. But in 2023 there are cables selling for $25,000, so mine are downgraded into the moderately priced category.

The Cable Company in Union PA will allow people to borrow cables for the modest fee of 5% which can then be applied to a purchase. I decided to order the Kimber Kable KS 1036 which retails for $4100 for a meter length. I hooked them to my Luxman CD/SACD player and my Quicksilver FF preamp. That's the most delicate connection point and would reveal more subtlety than the preamp to amp connection. Here's how it went.

Phase One
Goodness! These Kimber cables sound brash. I think it's exaggerating certain tones in the mid range. Saxophone especially stands out with an emphasis I have not previously noticed. My Appassionatas are more mellow and more balanced. It seems the Kimbers would actually degrade my system.

Phase Two
Hey, maybe I was wrong. Maybe the Kimbers are actually presenting sound that is truer to the source. Maybe what I called brashness is more like truth. I'm starting to like these. There may be something to ultra high end cables after all.

Phase Three
Wait a minute. If I turn the volume up on my preamp about three notches, then my Appassionatas match the Kimbers very well. Seems that the main difference between the two all along was simply
volume level. The Kimbers put our a stronger signal to my preamp. The difference between them boils down to nothing more than greater loudness. So I'll just keep what I presently own.

This is not to say that there may be subtle tonal differences as well. But subtle is the key word here. The tonal differences, should they exist, are simply too subtle to be meaningful. This experience leads to three possible conclusions:

1. My Appassionatas are a better cable than I gave them credit for. They match the performance of a far more expensive cable.

2. Differences between cables, once you pass a certain level, are insignificant.

3. There are no significant differences between cables.

Of the three conclusions I reject no. 3 because I have experienced very audible differences between budget and high end cables. But I have no idea whether no. 1 or 2 are true.

You're welcome to chime in.

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Topic - My Adventure with Kimber Cable - LaszloPhoto 23:18:29 02/01/23 (6)


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