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KBL Sound Signature Series Himalaya Interconnect + Speaker Cable

09-30-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła | Issue 81


It is hard to find own niche on the market. The smaller the industry the smaller potential customer group and thus the more difficult is to reach them. On top of that there is this, sometimes even unaware, preference audiophiles have for products made in Western Europe, USA or Japan. If you consider all that it might seem that a customer choosing some Polish product, especially cables, is as rare case as someone climbing K2 without oxygen mask.

But as they say—no pain (risk) no gain. Even more so today because it seems that it's a good period for such small companies offering something different. Why? First of all music fans from many countries are bit bored with well established brands and they look for something new, fresh. Secondly companies like KBL Sound, are not only "fresh" but also very professional. I mean that they offer complete products—these are perfectly made, packed in elegant boxes, and offering fantastic performance. Often their products offer better value than their competitors from Great Britain, USA or even Japan.

The above mentioned KBL Sound belongs to, in my opinion, most interesting and still very young manufacturers. Power cables Red Eye and power strip Reference Power Distributor with KBL's logo are a part of our B reference system doing there a great job (see HERE). The Red Eye for a long time was the top one in this manufacturer's portfolio. But some time ago we received information that KBL was already developing new, top line, that will be made for customers only upon order. Finally it is here and it is called: Himalaya. Below a quote from manufacturer's website:

The new flagship Signature series, Himalaya, is the culmination of our long-term efforts to create such cables allowing the highest standard of top hi-end audio equipment to reveal their full potential. One cannot hide the fact that cables—the necessary connections within the system—always, to some extent, hinder such potential. Electronic devices have the possibilty to sound better than what we currently hear. The challenge is to minimise this degradation of the transmitted signal. We are proud of the product series Himalaya, because we have evidence that their loss factor is really negligible and that they persist in this respect even the most advanced products of the world market, and even in some aspects exceed them, while retaining several times lower price. Therefore, just as it is with all the cables from any level, they are best used in the system of their corresponding class, since only then will their advantages as well as of the devices be displayed.

Manufacturer also claims that they used "costly and time-consuming solutions", as well as expensive conductors and connectors. Among some proprietary solutions manufacturer emphasizes the key rule of cable's geometry, that minimizes resonances and stress. Cable are made manually and tested on multiple stages of the process, and finally broken in (or formed) using a professional cable cooker. So when they finally reach customer they are almost ready to deliver optimal performance. Yes, one should let them play a bit in one's system, but the time before they reach their optimum is significantly reduced.


An appearance and functionality

These cables are relatively flexible and light, which makes it quite easy to connect them to any system. The WBT RCA nextgen connectors base on a very interesting design and if only possible they should be plugged in sockets from the same series. My Ayon preamplifer, that I used for this test, sports such sockets, but CD Player and phonostage use classic RCA sockets by Furutech.

The WBT spades are also very well made, but they are also quite small so they won't fit all speakers posts—one should check this aspect before purchase to avoid a problem. If these spades are too small manufacturer can offer cables with different, bigger ones.

These cables look really good, they are professionally made. Speaker cable at one end sports wooden rings that first of all look really nice, and secondly they also damp vibrations. Cables are delivered in very nice wooden boxes with company's name engraved on it. A certificate of authenticity is a nice touch, and a practical one too as I'm pretty sure that some will try to copy these cables (illegally of course).

A few simple words…




For Himalaya interconnects we decides to use the same type of conductor as for previous flagship model, Red Eye Ultimate, but we doubled their number and topology is more complex. They are made of mono crystal silver manufactured using OCC (Ohno Continuous Casting) process. This unique metallurgy process which ensures that the conductors obtain a perfectly homogeneous molecular structure, with the highest clarity. Single crystals of metal reach a length even of several hundred meters

As a result, the electron beam passes through such a conductor without facing any barrier and does not degrade. The signal transmitted in this way has the highest smoothness and accuracy due to the absence of phase delay and distortion.

The insulator of the wire is Teflon, additionally foamed with very fine air bubbles, which significantly improve its desired properties in this application. This is the most expensive solution, but there are no better dielectric for use in practice. Additionally, the cable is shielded in several ways against EM and RF interferences. A special multi-layered jacket protects the cables from external vibrations.


The ends of the wires have been configured as a result of extensive tests so that the character of the cables sound did not deviate from neutrality. Connectors have reduced contact surface to the minimum necessary to eliminate eddy currents and other distortions arising from the excessive mass of connecting elements together. Single ended (RCA) version of this model comes with WBT 0152 Ag nextgen Signature plugs. Balanced (XLR) version use Oyaide Focus connectors, made with photo camera precision. 

Also Himalaya phono cables are available terminated on one end with RCA connectors (WBT) and with 5 DIN (Cardas), or RCA (WBT) on the other. Standard lengths are: 1, 1,5, 2 m.


Speaker cables

Himalaya speaker cables have been designed completely from scratch and some unique solutions were applied. Handcrafting of these cables is a time-consuming process, but just like with the rest of the Himalaya series, we assumed that what finally matters is the uncompromising result and manufacturing costs do not play a role.

They are based on multi-strand mono crystal copper conductors OCC and specific wire structure design. Their complex geometry completely protects the sensitive signal from the impact of the increasingly ubiquitous electronic smog, or any kind of radiation from the outside. Another feature of this solution is very low inductance, which is favourable for this type of cable. The insulator is Teflon foamed with very fine bubbles of air, the material that also protects the metal from corrosion, but does not absorb the current flow energy like other dielectrics.

The cables have tuned, experimentally developed resonance absorbing system. This help to eliminate magnetic distortions generated by the current flowing through the conductors and also mechanical lapping with the environment that disturbs their work. One of its components are anti-vibration rings of selected wood.

WBT NextGen Signature series spades are a perfect choice for termination due to reduced contact surface that eliminates eddy currents and mass storage effects.This solution ensures that the sound is freed from the ballast that can weigh it down. it acquires more freedom and spaciousness, and also becomes more substantial. Other terminations are available upon request. Standards lengths include: 2 x 2 m, 2 x 2,5 m, 2 x 3 m.


I conducted ABA comparison with A and B known. My reference cables were: Royal Signature Series Double Crown Empress and 聖HIJIRI  HGP-10R Million ICs and speaker cables Tara Labs Omega Onyx and Cardas Audio Clear Reflection.

Speakers cables rested on Rogoz Audio 3T1/BBS anti-vibration elements. Interconnect connected  Ancient Audio Lektor V-Edition CD Player with Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier, as well as RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC phonostage with Ayon preamplifier. Speaker cables worked between Soulution 710 and Harbeth M40.1 loudspeakers.


Recordings used for this test (a selection):

  • Enya, Enya, BBC Entertainment BBC CD 605, CD (1987)
  • Frank Sinatra, In The Wee Small Hours, Capitol Records/EMI 88654 12, 180 g LP (1955/2009)
  • Hilary Hahn, Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, Sony Classical/Sony Music Japan Entertainment SICC-30087, "Best Classics 100 | No. 78", Blu-spec CD2 (1997/2012)
  • J.S. Bach, Goldberg Variations BWV 988. 1981 Digital Recording, perf. Glen Gould, Sony Classical/Sony Music Entertainment Hong Kong 88765440092, "No. 0197", gold-CD (1982/2013)
  • Kankawa, Organist, T-TOC Records UMVD-0001-0004, "Ultimate Master Vinyl", 4 x 45 rpm 180 g LP + CD-RIIα + 24/192 WAV
  • Kate Bush, 50 Worlds For Snow, Fish People 72986615, 2 x 180 g LP (2011)
  • Mark Knopfler, The Trawlerman's Song EP, Mercury, 9870986, CD (2005)
  • P.U.R. Collective, Nichi Nichi Kore Ko'nichi, Fortune 0056 (006), CD (2015)
  • Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin, Hush, Sony Music/Sony Music Hong Kong Ltd. 543282, "No. 0441", K2HD Mastering, CD (1992/2012)

Law of diminishing returns

I can't really remember where did I write about it, most like in one of my texts for American magazine EnjoyTheMusic.com—it was about how users perceive audio products, how, subjectively, we all perceive increase of products quality/value against its higher price. In fact it could be described using asymptote—such curve runs almost vertically and then, at some point it turns and runs almost horizontally. In our case for a long time small increase of price gives us a significant improvement in performance and at some point to achieve any further, even small progress, one has to pay a lot for it. It is called a 'law of diminishing returns'.

This law is a fact, no reason to even discuss it. What I'd like to discuss or explain is a wrong interpretation of this law used by many audiophiles who believe that spending more money on their system makes sense only while there are still in this vertical part of the curve. Some say that once this curve changes direction for almost horizontal, there is no use to spend any more money as there is no real performance progress anymore.

It is a wrong approach caused by a wrong perspective. It works this way only if you're still down the vertical line—you have, let's say, a 10.000 PLN amplifier in your system and your trying to assess performance improvement (against price increase) of a 100.000 PLN one. Having no, or little experience with products from the higher price range, man may not even notice some differences—there is nothing wrong with that, but this man should not claim that his finding is an absolute truth. Perspective changes if man already uses top-high-end system. I can assure you—from this perspective each, even minimal improvement seems like a real break-through. And to experience this break-through every day man is able to spend a fortune on it.



It so happens that Himalaya cables belong to these exclusive products that, regarding their price and performance, belong already to the group of products on a vertical part of our curve. It is already this point on the curve where a significant price increase ensures only tiny improvements of performance that people without proper experience wouldn't most likely even notice. But from the perspective of absolute top-high-end these tiny changes are obvious, high price justifiable and even expected.

Performance of Polish cables is excellent, refined. It reminded me of the most expensive models of  Siltech—from both Double and Triple Crown lines. They deliver very focused, dense, rich with harmonics sound. And while these are silver cables one won't find here any brightness, harshness, or even a hint of hardship of the sound often present in the sound of less expensive silver cables. I'd even say that the sound is a bit darker than what most copper cables offer, even such one as Cardas Clear Reflection, who's tonal balance is shifted towards lower part of the range. The less expensive Siltechs, for example from Classic line, offer sound with tonal balance shifted up (in comparison) and exhibit more of the above mentioned features than KBL. Other silver cables also follow the same direction but go even further.

Polish cables, Himalaya, preserve a wonderful tonal coherence and so called "flow". With them music becomes a complete event. Listener won't focus on details, as these are usually recording artifacts and not elements of the music itself. They deliver also a lot of information and only the most expensive lines from Siltech and Tara Labs can offer a bit more. If you don't compare them head-to-head multiple times, if you don't know Siltechs very well, you probably won't even notice any difference in the resolution and selectivity between Himalaya and Double Crown, or it will be so small you won't really care, especially considering that the latter is a few times more expensive.

If anything will attract attention, and I can't be even sure it really will, it will be a tonal balance. Siltech and Tara Labs interconnects have the tonal balance set bit lower, with treble slightly rolled off. And while Himalaya never sound bright, my reference cables seemed darker with tonal balance set lower. These two offered better extended bass. I think that Polish cables presented bass in a similar way as  Cardas, but without emphasis on the upper-bass (which is an inherent feature of American cables, especially speakers ones).

It's not easy to describe how detailed, how bright/dark cables are. We define these words differently when using them to assess less expensive products, and differently when it comes to high-end ones. I would say that the more expensive cable the darker its sound. I mean subjectively, because objectively this "Darker" presentation takes us closer to a live performance offering more information.


When it comes to less expensive cables sound must be bit brighter, literally, because a limited resolution does not allow proper differentiation. It is achieved by a more aggressive attack. Expensive products are resolving enough not to do that. Rolling treble off is not a solution, of course, and the darker sound, I am talking about, comes from a larger number of information being delivered and not from any tonality manipulation.

That's why Himalaya cables might seems darker sounding than other cables from the same price level. Their performance and sound signature suggest they should be rather compared to much more expensive competitors. At the very top level Siltech and, in my case also, Tara Labs cables proved that there is still some room for improvement for Polish cables.

In head-to-head comparison these two cables offer even better differentiated, more engaging sound. Sound stage in all cases was similar although with little accents placed in different places. Polish cables slightly emphasize upper midrange which makes them sound bit more open, more "fresh". This also makes them similar (I mean the IC) to the Japanese 聖HIJIRI  HGP-10R "Million". They offer similar tonality, attack and its power but the Polish cable is even more refined when it comes to presenting small relations between elements of the music and to "drawing" soft textures.



Differences on such a high level of performance are not about more bass or treble, or better or worse spacing. For a person without proper experience all the cables from this price range will sound equally perfect. The real difference between them is the interpretation of a signal they transfer and about how we, the listeners, perceive a particular interpretation. System with Siltech and Tara Labs delivers performance with a better bass extension, with tonal balance set lower, with deeper and denser sound.

Siltech leaves more room for listener for interpretation of what he/she hears—one uses delivered information and interprets them in one's own way. Himalaya on the other hand proposes already some level of its own interpretation of music, leaving less room for the listener. It is still a brilliant set of cables, absolutely remarkable, but these tiny, little differences are what sets it apart from the very top-high-end.

Having said that I need to remind you that Himalaya set cost a few times less than reference cables it was compared to. And the difference in performance is very, very small, for many probably even impossible to notice. These are the best Polish cables I had a chance to listen to, up to this day at least.



These are excellent cables. The simple fact that I had to use a few times more expensive cables as my  reference speaks for itself. I never imagined that a small Polish manufacturer using bought (as opposed to made in house) wires could create such a refined, wonderfully sounding cables as KBL did. The RED Fingerprint award fully deserved.

KBL Sound Signature Series Himalaya Interconnect + Speaker Cable

Price (during test):

- interconnect: 14 250 PLN/1 m | RCA

- speaker cable: 20 899 PLN/2 m


696 551 492

[email protected]



Text: Wojciech Pacuła

Images: Wojciech Pacuła | KBL

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