New to phono enthusiasts is Ray Kimber's latest and greatest tonearm cable concoction which will definitely delight and amaze you. The Kimber Select KS 1236 Phono Cable is compact, elegantly constructed, and made of the purest polished silver in the world. Terminated with tip-top silver WBT connectors, WBT 0102AG in the RCA version I tested, it is available in any configuration you may desire, and in any length you want. My review sample was one meter with RCA plugs on both ends. The tonearm cable is available in copper, KS1216, which I did not test.
I gave the cable a 48 hour run-in on Alan Kafton's Cable Cooker before using the KS 1236 in a circuit. They have a conveniently attached ground wire, and the whole beautiful affair is very compact and flexible. It is well-shielded, too.
I had on hand my reference WyWire Gold Phono Cables, Yorma Origo Interconnects, and the Kubala-Sosna Elation Interconnects. These were available for use with the Grado Statement V2 Cartridge, Koetsu Rosewood Signature, Stein Adventurin V6, and Kiseki PurpleHeart NV. I used the Kimber with all four cartridges, and was truly impressed.
Here's the score card.
With the dynamic and extremely detailed new Grado Statement V2, the Kimber revealed a sophisticated nuanced side to this cartridge. The Kimber KS 1236 enhanced delicacy and brought out a tad more warmth than my other wires. Depth perspective was improved a bit, as was left-to-right imaging. The Kimber was as home with this combo as any cable I have heard at any price in my collection. The KS 1236 reveals to me quite clearly that the Grado Statement V2 is America's best-made cartridge and Grado's best effort ever.
With the Stein Adventurin V6, this powerful cartridge design was musically rounded ever so slightly, and yielded even more realism. Images were more palpable than I recalled, and time seemed to slow a bit as the musical content became a bit richer and more fully fleshed out. I liked this combo a lot!
With the Kiseki, I heard more delicacy mixed into the soundstaging with the Kimber, and backgrounds got a bit blacker. This is very quiet wire, and was obviously carefully designed from an electrical standpoint. Again, the Kimber KS 1236 gave the Kiseki that touch of warmth that just made the recording sound more like a performance in the room. The Kimber truly did maximize the performance of this winning cartridge.
With the Koetsu Rosewood Signature, the Kimber behaved unexpectedly. The Koetsu actually sounded more dynamic and exciting than what I expected. There was plenty of lushness still, but snap and slam were somewhat enhanced. I might have confused the Koetsu for the Kiseki with the Kimber KS 1236. This leads me to believe that the Koetsu may not be as lifeless or overly romantic as its detractors state, but just needs some tender loving care in setup! If you have a Koetsu, then the Kimber may be the magic bullet for your system.
I thought the new Kimber Select KS 1236 was miles ahead of the TAK Phono I once owned. I use Kimber 1036 and 1136 in both my systems with wondrous results. Therefore it is no surprise that I think that the phono cousin to this outstanding wire would be so superb. Even at about $2400 per meter depending on termination, it performs just as convincingly as my two- and three-times more expensive references. This is a miracle of engineering for anyone except Ray Kimber, who comes from that part of Utah where miracles do happen. The current miracle is called Kimber KS 1236, and you can have yours anytime you want.
The Kimber Select KS 1236 Phono Cable is very highly recommended for the pickiest audiophiles, and should match and maximize any high-end cartridge I am familiar with. It will become my reference tonearm wire as I test the latest in top cartridges.
Way to go Ray!
Kimber Kable Select KS 1236 Phono Cable
Retail: MSRP about $2400 for one meter, depending on termination. Any length available.