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In Reply to: RE: ELF Cables/Ernest Farley posted by Tidycat1 on December 30, 2016 at 19:44:16
Cables arrived today.Will start my auditions on Wednesday.
I'm glad they arrived safely...let me know your initial impressions once you give them a listen.
I do it all in the name of music!!!
Mt first impressions,straight out of the box.
These are not a broken-in pair of High Fidelity CT-1s.
They started out somewhat soft and congealed,a bit muddy.
Left them to play,while I had dinner.Came back after about 3 CDs.They were sounding better,but.Then a transformation began to occur.The top-end became smoother and more open (still hoping that will continue-no reason to think it won't).
Dynamic,low-level detailing and percussive touches are handled very well.
Good sense of weight,though I won't want to speculate on the bottom two octaves (using dual LS-50s).That said,everything that these speakers "do" well,is there to be had.
RCA connectors are very rigid and sturdy.Cable is gossimer-like,think spider webs.Very light and easy to manuever.A directionality arrow or note to this effect would be handy,along with R/L designation.
Two items that I will watch and check progress on:
(1) The "bloom" capabilities-will these open up even more and gain a little liquidity
(2) a slightly "dry" presentation-this will be tested soon,as I expecyed my PrimaLuna in today:No show via Fed_ex. Some of the "dryness" could certainly be a sonic characteristic of the Winsome Labs Mouse,which is filling in during the amplification change.
It mated well with the modified Lineaum tweeter/speakers,but that tweeter is forgiving in nature and subtly warm/soft.
Hopefully have some tubes in to compare tomorrow.
When I feel the cables are more broken-in,I will substitute the ELF Silver Helix in place of the Clear Day /Eichman that I use as a "digital reference".I'm sure it will have an affect,good or bad-we will see.
I'm thinking this is a no-brainer at $100/1M/pr
Back at it again tonight.
The cables have progressed a large distance.
They appear to be unraveling some low-level detail in the upper bass lines that I had not noticed.
A bit of the "dryness and extension in the top-end disappeared.Why?
The PC feeding the Winsome Labs had been a Fusion Audio Magic rhodium.It had not been something that I had considered,before.After installing the Shunyata Anaconda CX PC,it changed the entire presentation.Now there is a liquidity and dimensionality that is quite wonderful.The other was good,but kept me from just relaxing and enjoying the music.
Tomorrow,the Primaluna integrated will go into the system.I will also change out the digital S/Pdif cable to the ELF silver.
I have been a big fan of Pauls' Clear Day cable.From the bottom up to the lower treble,I find it hard to beat.The Silver Helix tends to be a top down affair.I cannot comment on the bottom two octaves,as I have gotten rid of my subwoofer arrangement.I don't see why they shouldn't be as good down there,from what it does above those frequencies.
Color me impressed, and I have been through many cables (as a small dealer and working at Salon 1 Audio-before its' demise).
Let us see what tomorrows 'changes bring forth.
I am happy to say that the Elf silver IC does not prefer tubes over solidstate.It is equally conveying the music with either format.Its' qualities or characteristics would not influence my decision on amplification.
It has appropriate depth and width,height also.Dynamic touches are very well communicated.
All that being said,it doesn't perform as a digital cable to the same degree as the Clear Day/Eichman 1st generation cable.
It is a little better in terms of body and liquidity.Soundstage is larger also.
I guess the "real test" will be returning the High Fidelity CT-1 back into the mix and judging the performance.
To be fair,I will re-install the ELF,when the CT-1 returns to the system.Synergies can occur from anywhere,as the effect of the power cord showed me.
I am certainly glad that I had not thrown these into the HT system and forgotten about them.
As they have broken-in,their quality has emerged.Very quick and airy.Detailed,but not thin sounding.
The Mercury/Dvorak Cello Concerto in B Minor and Wasserman Duets have never sounded so good.Good spatial presentation and excellent dynamic gradiation.Always very open with good focus.Fairly effortless,barring the complte break-in of parts in the PL Dialogue Premium HP.
Will report more after the "next" speakers come in.
Sorry for the delay in reporting.Had to recover from being sick.That's no time to listen critically.
These cables are stunningly good.Was a real treat to hear them with the HP and Elipsa SE.Huge soundstage.Ambience retrieval with great width and depth/air.It has a start/stop quality that reveals other treasures in harmonics and transient ability.
In the next few days, I will put the Clear Day in and also the High Fidelity CT-1.
Those will be my final commentary on these and the other two.
ELF Silver Helix Vs High Fidelity CT-1
I liked what the CT-1 did for pianos and voices.Nice cushion of air.Pedal action on pianos and most of their over-tone structure.
ELF has more transient edge definition.Over tones on most instruments sound more alive.Bass is good,but slightly better fleshed out on the CT-1.While I liked the CT-1,it moved me slightly further away from the performance.Voices focused better with the ELF.
I probably wouldn't complain in the least,if the switch hadn't been back-to-back.
Immediately upon switching,the ELF transient seemed a little sharp.As things warmed up,that impression seemed less bothersome.The ELF gave the impression of a bigger soundspace.
A lot of this can be system/room dependent,and of course my personal preference.
I plan to put the Clear Day in over the next few days.But,I imagine that its' slightly soft upper octaves will take away some of the immediacy.Will report.
After noting the results from the previous evening,I started to wonder "what more" was waiting in the upper end ELF cable (Super Helix Gold).
I gave Ernest (ELF) a call and discussed what I was hearing.He made two suggestions:(1) the Gold and (2) a prototype that he was working on.
So,I have him sending one of each interconnect for evaluation.I will report my findings.
What a nice thing to be able to move up the line and it not costing hundreds or even thousands for a sound improvement.Time will tell,but I know it will be an easily affordable experience.
Thanks for the extensive report in Cable Asylum. I appreciate the effort put into sharing your personal findings based on insightful observation and evaluation. Even fully subjective *exclamation points* are of great value when it comes to sharing this hobby craft from an audiophile's POV. Otherwise, it's just about wire and plastic without the qualification of an individual listener's aesthetic values and enjoyment ;-)
Thank you,Duster.It is ingratiating to know that this may have advanced someones' appreciation of their hobby.Kind words,go a long way w/me.
I wanted to provide some follow-up to my comments made on my last outing.
I moved the speakers about 1/2 an inch closer together.This brought a large degree of that CT-1 focus and dimensionality that I thought I had lost.
The other issue I thought might be a reservation, concerning the weight/fullness of the sound.
After being back in the system for 24 hours,this issue is not an issue-after all.
Last night I played Herbie Hancock/Gershwins' World.It sounded excellent.What really sent me whirling,was the disc I had picked up the day before. Friedrich Goulda-As You Like It.The acoustic bass on the right,was well balanced and nimble.Gouldas' piano was just left of center and angled slightly forward.Real physical size and Oh! those piano runs,up and down the keyboard.The over and under tones jumped from the strings and sounding board.Even the slightly "dry" sound that a piano makes as you play adjacent keys-the sides of the keys make a noise as they are depressed.Talk about detail retrieval.
The ELF Super Silver Helix is now my reference cable.I don't know what to expect from the next two coming in,but I'm sure they will be musical.I can't comment on whether he will build XLRs.
And the very best part of this equation is that this wasn't an expensive cable and kept me going back to the rack to figure out what I should listen to next.A great deal of insight into the music,without ever tipping its' hand to dispell the illusion.Fantastic!!!
One other commen:,Ernest is very friendly and down-to-Earth.After my request,he assembled the cables and shipped the very next day.Many thanks.
ELF Silver Helix Vs ELF Silver Prototype (all silver wire)
As you know,having followed this thread:I like the Silver Helix.
The Silver Prototype is less agressive in the top-end.It is a little more polite,while still retaining the transient edge-just ever so slightly dialed back.Depth/Width are very good.Delicacy and percussive touches are also well accounted for.
In my slightly warm acoustic/system,the SP is good,but my preference is still given to the Silver Helix.
I would imagine that this cable would be completely at home in a system that had chosen one of the big Magico/Wilson speakers,that have a slight tendency to provide large amounts of detail in the upper frequencies or a set-up that is slightly "forward".
Don't get me wrong> I don't find it weak or lacking in any area,just not as good a "fit" for my system.That being saidif I hadn't taken a liking for the other or it wasn't available,I could easily live with the Silver Prototype.
Now ,to see where it gets priced.
Next up,the ELF Gold Helix.Now breaking in.
Just spent my first evening with the Gold Helix.
My initial impression is that I am a Helix kinda guy.
Both of the ELF Helix are very open and energize the soundstage.Both bring a lot of detail retrieval.The Gold has a way with bass guitar,both stand-up and electric.Tympani and percussion have a "rolling thunder" affair to them.The piano pedal sustains are very evident and decay quite naturally.
Womens' vocals are handled extremely well,giving a very emotional connection.
I am going to continue the break-in on the Gold,it has a little bit of cobweb still lingering.
The difference between these two Helixes appears to be in the "attack,sustain and decay" characteristics.Both focus ver well and are articulate.The Silver Helix tends to be impressive on the transient,but ever so slightly lesson the sustain.The Gold Helix slightly gives up a little ground to the Silver as far as "lightening transients.It ,however,gives the piano and female vocals a focus that is beguiling.The slightly "fleshier" presentation conveys an emotional connection.
In comparison,the transients of the piano are in evidence with the Silver.The Gold backs off on the immediacy,but offers a fuller tonality as frequencies decend.
Percussion is still articulate with the Gold,just not as lightening fast.
I could live with either presentation.For a more laid-back,introspective and very emotional presentation-it's the Gold and rolling thunder.
The Silver is slightly more immediate and reveals more of the high frequency detail of the piano and the keyboard play-such as adjacent keys rubbing.
I plan to throw a few recordings at these cables to determine who will be first-string.
Yori Horning Trio-Walking on the Moon,Anita Baker-Harvest Moon and Tom Waits-Take It With Me when I go.
I have heard these pieces enough times that I absolutely know what to expect.They can reveal weaknesses and the subtleties of a cable and system.
Any further follow-ups will deal mainly with the Helix Gold.I have commented on my reactions to the Silver Helix.
If you try one of these cables and are not impressed,I would be surprised.Keep in mind the difference in systems and taste.Maybe these comparisons will guide you into the proper cable to suit your taste and system.
Further listening to the Gold Helix has revealed a wonderful sense of ambience.As performers "stop",they reveal the soundspace.They appear to have 80-90% of the "attack" that distinguishes the Silver Helix.Where they come into their own,is in the sustain and decay.You can hear how the note is "held" or "bent".
Still,it is hard to leave the "attacK' capabilities of the Silver Helix-I am torn-between two lovers??
That said,for $450 you could get all three.Not much more than you might pay for a single set of "brand name" cables and you would have alternatives.Say that you switch residences and find your former preference didn't "gel" .You could switch a cable and find you're self back in "nirvana" (not Kurt).
If I could wish for "perfect",I might ask to melt the two Helixes together and come away with a single set.Nothing is perfect,but to achieve this level of musical conveyance at this price-point is remarkable.
I have a small system that I am putting together that will allow me to use two sets of cables cascaded.If this yields anything noteworthy,I'll report and designate my preference for "first in line".
I'd love to hear from those who decided to take a chance and audition a set.
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