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7N-DA6100 Mexcel interconnects
as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
After my delightful experience with the excellent Acrolink 2500 interconnects last month, I got my mitts on a pair of the tip-top interconnects of the Acrolink line, the 7N-DA6100s, at a startling $5000 per meter. The flaws of the 2500s were minor (as they should be at $3750 per pair), so I was anxious to run in and listen to Acrolink's assault on the state of the art. I consulted their website for the construction and specs of the 6100s:
Acrolink is the sole producer of stress-free 7N copper in the world, and as such requires the most advanced refining facilities available. Entirely new conductors were produced through joint development with Mitsubishi Cable Industries Ltd, the top-ranked cable manufacturer to the space industry.
Mexcel DA series is a single core co-axial structure with an additional shielding layer. The center conductor is comprised of 7N Cu Mexcel, twisted 0.58mm dia. x 7 strands for DA6000, and 7N Cu Mexcel, single core 1.6mm dia. for DA6100. The first shielding layer (cold pole) comprises braided rectangular 7N Cu Mexcel ribbons. The outer shielding is comprised of braided 4N copper (silver plated) round wires. Mitsubishi has developed the Medis electro-deposited-insulation-system to enable perfectly even coating around the edges of the rectangular ribbon—a feat that was previously unachievable. Acrolink has utilized this technology in all 7N Cu round wires used in this series as they result in far superior sound quality when compared to conventional polyurethane coating.
Acrolink also developed special new RCA and BNC plugs to match the quality of Mexcel.
Every little section was critically re-examined and re-designed, utilizing leading edge high-tech materials and structural technologies in order to achieve the ultimate in uncompromising efficiency and performance.
I compared the Acrolink 6100s to other stellar interconnects in two systems. In addition to my own system, I heard the Acrolinks at the home of Dan Meinwald—US distributor of Marten Design loudspeakers, Jorma Design cables, and E.A.R. electronics—where we used the new Marten Miles III loudspeakers and the same CD player I have in my system, the E.A.R. Acute. We compared the 6100s to the Kabala-Sosna Emotions ($2750) and the Jorma Primes ($7000). All interconnects were terminated with RCAs.
On the Miles IIIs, we listened to three CDs: Gil Evans, Out of the Cool (Impulse 186 2), Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (Columbia/Sony CK 64935), and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring performed by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra (Phillips 289168035-2). The first interconnects we heard were the Jorma Primes that normally reside in Dan's system. They sounded much as they did when I reviewed them several months ago, with flawless definition, incredible depth, and a sense of realism that is unequaled in my experience. Next we listened to the Kabala-Sosna Emotions, which performed well. They had a bit less definition than the Jorma Primes, with a richer, thicker presentation, excellent depth, and a very, very fine, organic realism. They performed at the top of their class, which I put at a $4000-per-meter threshold. The Emotions had a lot in common with the Jormas, but were less refined.
We then listened to the Acrolink 6100s. These are killer interconnects. They are top of the heap in quietude and lack of phasiness. Their eye-popping definition and stellar drive fully equaled that of the Jorma Primes, and clearly exceeded that of the excellent Emotions, which the Acrolinks also bested in terms of focus and blackness. The 6100s also equaled the Jormas in air and high-frequency reproduction. The Acrolinks were absolutely devoid of coloration or smearing. They were fast, fast, fast, and very smooth. The Jormas were a bit fleshier in the mids and bass and more realistic overall. The Acrolinks sounded a tad leaner, with more upper-mid and high-end energy. The Jormas had more energy in the mid to upper bass. The Acrolinks were snappier, the Jormas more relaxed. Both were ultra-refined, but the Jormas were even more sophisticated.
The Acrolink 6100s complemented my system better. Their speed and precision were very fine on the Eidolons, and their lack of discernable coloration was obvious. Though I no longer had the Jorma Primes for comparison, I thought the Acrolinks were closer in performance to the Primes in my system than they were in Dan's. They had the kind of accuracy and definition I heard with the Silversmith Palladium cables. They were a bit more reserved in bass slam than the Emotions, but nonetheless superb. I loved the way they focused images within the soundstage, and their airiness was as good as it gets.
The 6100s are definitely a step up from the 2500s. They improve every parameter, and are even more neutral and quiet. The 6100s will make poor tone controls, as they have nary a lump or bump from the bottom to the top of their considerable frequency range. If you want more bass and midrange energy than the 6100s offer, try the Jorma Primes. The two cables sound rather different, but both are outstanding.
I was very impressed by the utra-exotic Acrolink 6100s. They are faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap the finest interconnects in a single bound. The 6100s nudge the state of the art in almost every way, and their clarity and purity are unsurpassed. Of the interconnects I have heard, only the Jorma Primes outperform them, and I'm familiar with dozens and dozens of high-end challengers. Are they a bargain at $5000 per meter? Hell no, but who cares? If you have that kind of dough, who am I to recommend stock funds instead? Buy them and enjoy them. The Acrolink 6100s will not easily be eclipsed for many years to come. Robert H. Levi
Interconnect rankings (revised to include the Acrolink 6100s):
CDs used in evaluating the Acrolink 6100 interconnects with the Avalons included:
Acrolink 7N-DA6100 Mexcel interconnects