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Cable Asylum: REVIEW: Acoustic Zen Satori Speaker Cable, Matrix Reference IC, and Silver Reference IC Cable by MJ

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REVIEW: Acoustic Zen Satori Speaker Cable, Matrix Reference IC, and Silver Reference IC Cable Review by MJ at Audio Asylum

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As I try to write this, I am beginning to have more respect for audio reviewers. What a precarious situation it is to try and write what I hear and feel. To be succinct, these Acoustic Zen cables have made an order of magnitude improvement in my system. Looking over this past sentence, I realize that if I read this in a cable review I might scoff at such a statement, never before believing that cables could improve a system so greatly. I was simply unprepared for the results. For some perspective, I have tried/owned numerous cables in my system over the past year. The list includes JPS, Harmonic Tech, Analysis Plus, NBS, Nordost, XLO, and Cardas to name a few. In fact, I was living quite happy with the Analysis Plus cables until I stumbled on the fact that Robert Lee (of Harmonic Tech fame) has come out with an all out assault on cable design. Knowing some of the virtues of the HT cables, my interest was piqued, and with a three week trial period I figured I had little to lose.
Let me attempt to convey in words what I heard in my system. With the Analysis Plus cables, performers like Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Natalie Merchant used to occupy space between my speakers with an amorphous-like quality. Center fill was excellent, but voices seemed detached from a body. With the Acoustic Zen cables in place those same performers had a body along with a head, and you could tell that they were standing on the floor instead of floating between my speakers. Images not only had height, but more importantly, all of the music I played had a palpability/presence that was absent before using these cables. It was as if the musicians were alive in my room. The Acoustic Zen cables also had an uncanny sense of capturing the pace and rhythm associated with live music. Playing pieces that I used to sit down and enjoy now made me snap my fingers, tap my feet, and engage in some type of pseudo-dance (I say pseudo because I cant dance for the life of me). I didn't even realize what I was doing until my g-friend popped her head in a few times and made fun of me! Where's the love? Pitch, timbre, tonality, actually just throw in a term from the typical audiophile lexicon and these cables have them in spades. These cables had such resolving capabilities that I was able to detect whether a musician was playing with a Gibson or a Strat. This feat may be easy for some people, but for the first time I didn't have to concentrate on any particular nuance. All of the music just came through in a natural way. It was as if I was hearing more detail, but without any sense of treble/mid-treble emphasis. On some CD's, I could hear vocalists that clearly needed a glass of water to quench a bad case of "cotton mouth". Really wild. Playing one of my favorite love songs (which shall remain nameless for fear of being emasculated) one night, I felt a sense of emotion and sorrow sweep over me. You can attribute this to whatever you want. Maybe it was the moon, perfect late night electricity, or a vulnerable emotional state (haha). Whatever it was, I really don't care. What I do know is that I never felt that way before using these cables.
I guess my last role now is to differentiate between the speaker cables and the interconnects, and then between the matrix reference IC (which is a copper IC) and the silver reference IC. The satori speaker cable and the IC's really retain the same sonic signature. As I expected, the positive effects were additive (i.e. my system was much better with Acoustic Zen speaker cables AND IC's rather than one or the other). Not much else I can say on that comparison. In reference to the IC's, I do have a little more to say. After numerous hours of listening and swapping it became clear that the silver reference is better. For me, this was a little shocking since I have never really enjoyed silver cables in general. As to be expected, the silver reference IC was able to extend a little more effortlessly in the highs coupled with a better sense of air. Transparency was marginally better as well. What wasn't expected though is that the silver reference had more authority/punch in the lower registers than the matrix reference. Go figure. Please do not misinterpret this to say that the matrix reference cables aren't fabulous IC's in their own right. In fact, if I didn't hear the silver reference, then I would have bought the copper IC's (matrix reference) in a second and they still would have been the best I have heard in my system.
Overall, I don't know how to say it any better than this: with the Acoustic Zen cables in place I am enjoying the music more than I ever have! Now I cant wait to try their power cords!

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Topic - REVIEW: Acoustic Zen Satori Speaker Cable, Matrix Reference IC, and Silver Reference IC Cable Review by MJ at Audio Asylum - MJ 09:33:39 11/29/00 ( 6)