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cable research labs
as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
I knew nothing about CRL Cables until I read Myles Astor's comments in his Writer's Choice Awards for 2007. They are sold direct and have been used by the recording industry for several years. Recently acquired by Harry Winston in 2006, he has reportedly improved the cable's performance, reduced the price so more could afford it, and upgraded its fit and finish. CRL also burns in the cables at the factory in Florida before shipping; a practice every high-end manufacturer should emulate. There are three models available. The one reviewed here is the Silver model which utilizes multiple solid core strands of copper with silver connectors. It sells for $1500 per meter in balanced configuration. By the way, no solder is used. All connectors are attached with high compression.
The Gold Series of interconnects appears to be a shotgun version of the Silver at almost double the cost. The Silver may be the sweetheart of the line. Anyway, I'll cut to the chase. Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to you the new winner of the under $2000 interconnects sweepstakes: The CRL Silver interconnect. With the sweeping definition of Acrolink's designs, the giant sound staging of Cyberlight, and the black, black background of Nordost, the CRL Silver is a cable to be heard and owned. I was astounded and amazed when I replaced just one meter of the cable in my system. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't best of class! Myles is 100% right. This stuff is ultra revealing and a delight to listen to.
Again, very Acrolink like… mountains of silky definition and sparkle and is perfection in a tube circuit. I hear air and purity like this with my references and other exotica. You can now have it at the under $2000 per meter price level for the first time. The CRLs are a breakthrough at the price by a wide margin.
Powerful and detailed, the mids are expansive and full. They are very neutral in this range and highly revealing. You'd better have top gear before considering these. Though just a tad thinner than the best, you'll be carried away by your involvement with the music. Plus, vocals are just right. I love sopranos with this cable. There may be a touch less richness exchanged for vividness though it's subtle. Midband ambience is lively and pronounced. Depth perspective is almost up to the best around.
The real story here is the quietude. In blackness of background, it is the best I've heard to date. It tops my references and everything else around I know of. Fantastic! Musical definition literally pops into the room. Macro dynamics are bold and tuneful. Micro dynamics are amazing. All of this occurs while the presentation is smooth as silk. Imaging is consistently outstanding. What a design!
Excellent, neutral, powerful, and detailed are adjectives from my notes. Also, super fast and swagger come to mind. The CRL Silver's are a touch less rich in the bass than the best with less wood on bass fiddles and the like. Imaging is again very exacting. Did I say fast? These cables operate at the speed of light. Even the Silversmith Palladiums can't outrun them. If you have multiple woofers of something over 10 inches in diameter, fasten your seat belts. These cables are amazing on classical, and astounding on jazz and rock.
You must order at least one meter to connect even gear sitting next to each other. The Silver is stiff and hard to work with. Also, if you are running solid state gear that is unforgiving and tuned to the edge, so to speak, the Silver's may not be for you. CRL has a generous try before you buy program, so do. I'd bet right now you will keep them. If you do, they have a ten year warranty. Meanwhile, I have their loudspeaker cables in the house so I will return to CRL soon, so stay tuned.
The CRL Silver interconnects' performance on all kinds of music is ear popping and delicious. Their sound staging and background blackness is stunning. Musical definition pops like the really super expensive cables and their dynamics excel. If you were going to push to the $1500 per meter cost, push for these! The CRL Silver interconnects are a breakthrough design and best of class. They are available only direct. Maybe that's how they do it? Very highly recommended. Thanks Myles! Robert H. Levi
Cable Research Labs
Revised Interconnect rankings to include the highly recommended CRL Silver Interconnects with cables ranked within price categories as follows:
Over $4000 per meter:
$2000 - 4000 per meter:
$1000 - 2000 per meter:
$450 - 1000 per meter:
$250 - 450 per meter: