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Original Message

Stereovox/Sterelab XV-Ultra - Great digital cable and better than XV2

Posted by Ned on June 14, 2010 at 18:08:34:

I recently purchased a Stereolab XV-Ultra digital cable and it is outstanding, IMO, and a significant improvement upon the superb Stereovox XV2.

I had delayed buying the Ultra since I was concerned that the improvements versus the XV2 would be relatively small. I should have known better, since I've owned all the digital cables designed by Chris Sommovigo (sp?) and there were improvements in each. I've owned the Illuminati Orchid (still used by John Atkinson - see the July issue of Stereophile), and the Illumations D-60 - both of which are world reference standards by now - and also the Stereovox XV2, which I thought was better than both the Orchid and D-60 and a truly outstanding cable. And, I feel the Ultra is better than all of them.

When compared with the XV2, the Ultra's improvements were very apparent. The Ultra provided greater resolution and detail (a strength of the XV2!) combined with a more "refined" sound (refined in the good sense of the word) - a rare combination. Refined usually means overly polite, lacking in attack and rhythm, but with the Ultra there was improved dynamics coupled with a certain cohesiveness and "rightness" to the sound And, surprisingly, the bass was much improved with the Ultra, something that I really didn't expect.

As a result, with the Ultra music was more compelling, background instruments were more clearly defined and audible, textures in voices were more apparent - all grounded on a firmer bass foundation.

As would be expeced, the improvements with the Ultra were most pronounced on higher resolution vocal, jazz and classical recordings. On some rock, even remastered versions, the improvements were not as apparent. And, of course, a high resolution system will display the improvements better.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase and wanted to share my experience with other Asylum member. I have no connection with Chris V. -just a very satisfied customer.