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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.
Is there any update on this?
I have been trialling the Black Cat Veloce. Great cable. Incredible value. However, I am wondering if I should pull the trigger on the XV-Ultra which is the upmarket version of the Black Cat.
BTW. Because I live in AUS there is no possibility to try before I buy.
FWIW, I also have the Veloce. I think the Veloce is approx. equal to the XV-2. Sometimes I think the Veloce is better, sometimes I think the XV-2 is a bit better and sounds a bit crisper, which I like. Both are really fine cables.
But, the Ultra is clearly superior to either one, IMO, assuming you have a revealing system that can demonstrate the improvements. Since my last post, I tried out the Ultra on my "video" system connected from my Blueray player to my DAC and the sound was, again, noticeably improved. I used some Blueray concert videos with the sound played through my audio system. The same improvements were there.
I know others have said there were definite improvements also versus the XV-2 but felt that the improvements with the Ultra were not pronounced. For me, they were significant improvements and well worth the extra $$ so I just bought another Ultra to use on the Blueray player.
IMO, to get a significant improvement for only an extra $150 or so versus the XV-2 is a bargain in today's audiophile world.
Whether you want to spring for the additional money involved is your decision. The quality is there. Though the price is $350, you can shop around online and perhaps get 5-10% off.
As mentioned, I just bought another one and a friend also just bought one, after hearing the improvement on my system. Maybe someone else has some comments to add.
Do they have the same godawful connectors as the XV2? The ones with the RCA adapters built in?
Nice report, thanks :-)
Another idea to toss in is the Xhadow Precision RCA (Stereovox meets Vampire) mated with an Oyaide FTVS-510 continuous cast pure solid core silver RG-6 digital cable (meaty silver center conductor!) -- Very musically hi-rez :-) No notable silver sonic signature, IME.
Cheers, Duster :-D
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