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Positive Feedback ISSUE40
as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
I just love surprises! Well folks, I got a big one when I first hooked up a pair of single ended Argentums Mythos interconnects (a subdivision of Ultralink/XLO Products, Inc.) and they sounded amazingly close to my reference $2500 Photon interconnects. WOW! Plus, they retail for only $400. WOW, again! The phrase "high value" just doesn't cut it. I'd call these a "phenomenal value" and a brand new price/performance leader in today's cable marketplace!
Here's the scoop on the way they are made from the Argentum website:
The Single Ended Mythos
Slipping on my copy of Blue Monk with Richard Davis and Junior Nance, King Records, JICJ 541CD, from Eastwind Import, the natural spaciousness of the piano and woody sonority of the bass fiddle just hit the spot. 90% of the definition and tambours are beautifully rendered just like my top references. There's a tad less depth and a bit less sophistication, but they are really close. I'm certainly not going to claim these are $400 Odins, but my Harmonic Technology Photons sound very much like the Odins [in a direct comparison on Grande Utopia EMs in another reference system] and the Mythos sound a whole lot like the Photon's. You connect the dots!
Part of what has me so very astounded is the lovely purity and naturalness of the Mythos harmonics. Just delicious! Imaging, too, is extraordinary and right sounding. Though not quite as tightly focused as my 8 times as expensive references, I could easily live with the Mythos. This is the least expensive cable I have ever said that about. Rendering of space and ambience is tantalizingly close to both my reference cables and the Mythos have that "in the room" presence audiophiles crave… a REVOLUTIONARY BREAKTHROUGH at this price point. Is it the cryo, which is a new feature, in interconnects? Is it the metallurgy of especially pure copper? Is it the real pure gold plated connectors? My ears tell me the Mythos offer way over the top sonics for this price, and I report it as I hear it on both the Avalon Eidolons and the Focal Cobalts.
One thing's for sure. The Mythos are "best of class" in their price category and THE perfect choice for audiophiles looking for ultra high musical performance under $500 per meter. This is price shattering performance!
The Balanced Mythos
I spent a good deal of time with the balanced Mythos which cost just a bit more at $500 per meter. They are actually even a better value than the single ended version. The balanced Mythos are within spitting distance of my balanced references. The balanced Mythos have a bit more depth and harmonic correctness…in other words, they are fleshier than their SE brother. The Mythos are still missing some sparkle up top and have a slight bass emphasis. The mids are slightly less fleshed out and detailed and ambience in the mid-band is slightly reduced when compared to my expensive Kubala-Sosna Emotion references. Otherwise, the Mythos could easily be mistaken for $2000+ interconnects by many audiophiles. No kidding! I would probably be embarrassed in a blind listening session as the Mythos have so little signature of their own!
This is most important. Let me tell you what the Mythos "do not do" when comparing them to other cables in their $500 price range. The Mythos have no thinness. They have no crispness or brightness. They are not edgy. They are not fat or lean sounding. They are not vague. They do not lack micro or macro dynamics. They do not lack much definition or have a readily identifiable signature. All other recommended cables in this price category suffer from one or more of these sonic maladies. The Mythos do not have flaws that are easy to identify unless you have top category ultra pricey reference cables handy for comparison and it's still tough if your system is not highly sophisticated and transparent!
The Mythos have double or triple the definition of their similarly priced competition. Their evenness of response from top to bottom is super close to the best around. Tonality is essentially neutral and always non-fatiguing. Perspective is mid-hall and natural. Though a bit stiff, I had no trouble routing them as needed. They have very fine fit and finish though no locking connectors.
Once I had wired the balanced Mythos from my E.A.R. Acute CD Player to the E.A.R. 912 preamp to my E.A.R. 890 monoblocks, my reaction to their performance was even more positive. If they have a fully wired system synergy, it's shown as enhanced musicality and realism. I hear more definition and nuance with all Mythos links than when they are interspersed with my $3000 reference links. The Mythos are some of the most lifelike interconnects on the market at any price. Plus, the Mythos are ultra quiet cables with very, very black backgrounds.
I don't understand how Argentum can produce these at this price, offering this kind of cutting edge performance. I actually emailed the manufacturer to double check the pricing in case their review sample invoice had a decimal misplaced! The Mythos are a true breakthrough design at its cost. At only $140 more than the renowned Kimber Hero, the Mythos clearly and dramatically outperforms the Hero in direct comparison in every sonic parameter. It performs just like the kissing cousin of the super high-end brands. Try a meter and send me a thank you note.
Overall, the Mythos Interconnects sound eminently satisfying and just glorious. They are truly a stunning achievement and a treat for budget challenged audiophiles. They will teach new audiophiles about the delicacy and reality of reproduced music in high end systems and that, in itself, makes them mighty special. Seasoned audiophiles will find the Mythos to be a winning offering at a bargain price for both the balanced and single ended models. Best of class, they are actually in a category all by themselves. They are so very much better, overall, than their similarly priced competitors; I had a difficult time figuring out where to list them. Plus, I can't imagine what Argentum Acoustics will do for an encore. The Mythos are most highly and emphatically recommended. Robert H. Levi
Revised Interconnect rankings to include the highly recommended Mythos Interconnects with cables ranked within price categories as follows: