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Positive Feedback ISSUE 36


Audio Ramblings - Ground disruption to the extreme, the Ground Disruptor from Audio Magic ...and two cool AC cords: the Red Wave from DH Labs and Tel Wire's latest!
by Dave Clark


In previous Ramblings I have found the need to raise my voice on the merits of cleaning one's system of noise and residual crap that does whatever it does to diminish one's musical enjoyment. Many an item has entered into our home that, to varying degrees, has wrought a sonic improvement to our system. Each tends to some targeted noise and whatnot that rides within and around each musical note making things just that much better. Where the bottom lies… no one can predict, but we may be getting closer with another new entry from Jerry Ramsey. Yes, that is Mr. Silver of Audio Magic to you, who, after a brief conversation with me one afternoon, came up with the idea of an AC filter device to cleanse the ground. The Ground Disrupter removes unwanted noise from the incoming ground to one's system. The Ground Disrupter simply plugs in to any unused socket in your system. Noise on the ground, hot and neutral is then "drained" into 3 separate grids inside the box which contains four passive and one active device. These five devices are to remove any noise present on the grids. Retail is $600. While my unit is an early version, later ones feature a binding post on the outer box to which you can attach, via a wire, the case of any component, thereby allowing one to drain noise directly into the Ground Disrupter. The Disruptor is a smallish plastic box (say about 6" d x 6" w x 2.5" h) with an attached AC cord.

No the Ground Disruptor will not eliminate the need for other devices and such that also remove noise and crap, since the Ground Disruptor is clearly targeted at the noise riding in or on the AC ground. But by what I hear with the unit in place, there has to be a lot of noise and crap on the ground; the system sounds just that much better with than without.

What I hear with the Ground Disruptor is even more resolution in the sense of dimensionality (ambiance, space, and such), palpability, and overall musicality. Now this resolution is not presented in an "in your face" spot-light analytical way, no it is all quite natural and musically right. You just get more of what is there and less of what should not be there. You hear music with a stronger sense of tactile-ness, presence, and well… heck it simply sounds better. The music goes deeper (in every sense of the word) with more life and less crap. Heck, everyone needs less crap in their life.

Images also move further towards that real-ness that we all strive for in our systems and, with Ground Disruptor, one hears these images presented with more liquidity and ease. There is even more flow and rhythmic drive than without. Very spooky, groovy nice.

Now I am not suggesting that my system or music seemed to lack any of this prior to the Ground Disruptor, no, it sounded rather right on, but with one in the system …well it is just that much better in this respect. It is rather amazing just how far one can go in the direction of removing or mitigating noise and crap in one's music/system that we tend to take for granted. The Ground Disruptor is quite audible in how it makes one's music just, well …superior to what it was before being disrupted. Plug and play. Highly recommended.

Audio Magic

A couple of AC power cords have also come my way: one from the good guys at DH Labs Silver Sonic and the other from a relatively newcomer to the ranks of cable-dom, Chris Kline of Tel Wire.

The Red Wave from DH Labs uses three 10-awg conductors wound with 1,386 strands of extremely pure, silver-coated OFC copper in an ultra low inductance, double-shielded construction. This is done to provide complete immunity to both low and high frequency noise. The Red Wave is terminated with the gold plated P-079 and C-079 Oyaide connecters. While the Red Wave is somewhat big and stiff, it is rather easy to work with and looks the part of high-end audio being all red and sparkly.

I tried it in several locations: direct from the wall into the Clayton M200s, feeding the Cary SLP-05 preamplifier from the Audio Magic Transcendence and as the power source for the Equi=Tech ET1.5Q that feeds our HT system. In the first scenario the Red Wave superseded the 9-foot JPS Aluminata ($4500), in the second scenario the Red Wave took over from the Audio Magic 4-foot Clairvoyant Special Edition ($3000 per 1.5 meter), and in the last case a 5-foot JPS Kaptovator. All these cords present stiff competition for the $800 a meter Red Wave. So how did they perform?

Quite well indeed. The Red Wave offers a vividly exciting more "upfront" sound that is startling, "alive", and visceral. The cables moved the music more out into the room and did so with a greater sense of clarity and presence than I hear with my regular reference cords. Like I said, these are vivid cords and highly resolving, but they are not analytical or over the top. They are vivid in the musical colors they put out into the room, and are resolving in the sense that one hears musical lines with great clarity and presence. Yes, the silver over copper does present a sonic quality that is easy to identify, but I found these cords to be quite enjoyable. Not glary or lean, they are though best described as being more neutral than warm or dark. Differences—and these differences should be read in terms of preferences and system synergy—ranged from the Aluminata coming across as more lush (as well as being smoother and richer, with deeper and more robust bass) to the Clairvoyant Special Edition sounding so unlike that of the oh so clichéd silver, but simply like that of a great cable: high in resolution and ease while being very palpable and dimensional, both of which the Red Wave was unable to quite match. The Red Wave was running with some top-flight cords here and yet, they were not embarrassed in the least.

In system balancing, AC cords are the final touch in bringing things together. One can use them to add or take away just the right amount of whatever to make things just right. I have done this with the cords mentioned above—to the point of complete synergy—and see the Red Wave as a perfect fit where a bit more vivid liveliness or sparkle are the order of the day. Place these in a darker all-tube system and wow… things could get super good really fast. Highly recommended for those who are in need of a bit more tactile and viscerally "alive" musical presentation. Like in our HT system where the Red Wave is a wonderful match for the Equi=Tech ET1.5Q. Images are just that much more right and colorfully real. A killer product for not much cash!

DH Labs

The Tel Wire consists of OCC copper conductors in a braid or what Chris refers to as a self-shielding geometry. The cable features the Oyiade P-004 Beryllium Copper/ Platinum, Palladium Plating plugs. The Tel Wire cord is quite well built, but compared to the Red Wave, well …it does have that appearance of coming from more the side of an accomplished DIY'er, which is not to discredit or detract from what is a flexible and quite nice sounding product. No this is the real deal.

The $799 Tel Wire has more of that copper sound while coming across as being clean and neutral. I only tired the cord between Clayton M200s and the wall (in place of the 9-foot JPS Aluminata) and felt that the Tel Wire is perhaps lacking in dynamics and slam compared to the much larger gauged cable. The Clayton M200s do draw a butt-load of AC from the wall, so perhaps this was not the best match, but the word was that they are a great cord for amplifiers. While they did loose out in some areas, they did maintain a nice neutral perspective and can best be described as not really imparting any character of their own into or onto the music. The Tel Wire cords are, well …neutral. Tonally they sounded a lot like the Aluminata, though minus the slam and ultimate sense of power and weight that the bigger boys can bring to the table, but that is no doubt more an issue of where I was using them than anything else. Yeah, nor are they as lush and rich sounding either, but one could argue that we are now into the color range of what cords can do. No doubt so, but the Aluminata are a better match for the system at the amp end as they were chosen just for this placement—they really sing with the Claytons. But then again, the Aluminata should be seen as a benchmark for what an AC cord should do with one's music!

The Tel Wire will not light up your system or make up for any need of this or that, they just send electricity to a component and do so without adding much, if any, any sonic signature to the mix. If that is what you are after, then give them a listen. I am handing these off to another PFO writer for a second opinion, so stay tuned for more.

Tel Wire
(610) 351-3083