VH Audio AirSine comments
Below, you will find the unedited comments from actual users of the AirSine power cables.
Chris: Here are my initial thoughts on the (AirSine).
1. Resolution! Resolution! Resolution! After a couple days burn in I could start to hear the recording venue very clearly. Even if it was a (good) studio recording with minimal mixing, I could envision being there in the studio with the musicians. Live recordings were almost scary in their presence. This is not the same as being on the stage as with some other forward-sounding cords (usually silver), but back a several rows from the performance. This perspective is probably due to the copper conductor. But the imaging and timbre of instruments was very well defined and lifelike.
2. Tonal Balance. Started out somewhat warmish with pronounced bass. With burn in the bass has recessed back into good balance with the rest of the spectrum and tightened significantly. Highs are a little pronounced as well, but I expect they also will mellow with further burn in.
3. Dynamics. Very good micro and macro dynamics that make instruments sound very lifelike. I expect this also will improve further with more burn in.
4. Noise floor. This is a very, very quiet cord. I'm sure this plays an important role in the high resolution this cord is capable of.
With further break in I'll do more direct comparison against my Electraglide Ultra Kahn Statement II, which I assume is really what you are interested in. I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks or so.
Chris: Here are my thoughts comparing the AirSine cord to my Electraglide Ultra Kahn II. Comment: The Ultra Khan II retails for over $4,000
In my mind the three most important sonic comparisons between the cords are as follows:
1) The AirSine has a lower noise floor than the Ultra Kahn. This results in higher resolution both in terms of detail and in the ability to see into the performance and place musicians and instruments accurately within the soundstage. I suspect the sheer volume of conductor material in the Ultra Kahn may play a role in this perceived greater noise. I find myself playing music louder with the AirSine in the system and being able to enjoy longer listening sessions with absolutely no fatigue.
2) The AirSine seems to have a more natural portrayal of attack and decay of the individual musical notes. The silver in the Ultra Kahn tends to highlight the leading edge of notes more, whereas the copper in the AirSine balances the leading edge with the middle and end of each note. Decay of notes is pretty comparable for both cords, with the AirSine perhaps extending just a second longer (perhaps due to the cryo treatment?). It is important to note that while the AirSine may not present as much leading edge information, there is absolutely no hint of rolled off high frequency information or smearing of transients. Through excellent design (grounding?) the high frequencies are very articulate and in good balance with the rest of the frequency spectrum.
3) The more I listened to the AirSine the more it struck me that while the Ultra Kahn sounded like a really good power cord, the AirSine didn't really have much of a sonic signature at all. With the AirSine I merely heard more of the musical performance portrayed in a more realistic, natural way. I guess for me that's one of the AirSine's greatest strengths. It gets out of the way and lets the music through in a very lifelike way. I simply enjoyed listening to music more through the AirSine than the Ultra Kahn.
Here's my evaluation of your beta PC. First, my system:
Sonus Faber Electa Amator II speakers
Art Audio Carissa amp w/ volume control
Audio Note 2.1 balanced DAC (direct to amp) Accustic Arts CD transport REL Stadium subwoofer Analysis Plus ICs and speaker cables Hydra 2 for amp and subwoofer Equitech balanced unit for the remainder Power cords are from Shunyata Research (Taipan on digital and Python on the rest) Assorted tweaks, e.g., bronze pucks, and cones, Bright Star platforms
The (AirSine) power cord definitely takes 400 hours burn-in although the sonic effects are noticeable within the first 100-200 hours. Initially, I noticed connected to my amp, it added greater harmonic body (compared to the SR); both male and female singers extended to the floor. Really surprised to hear this as before there was definite roll-off, now jazz singing, for example, produces a much more fuller portrait. Bass drums have punch and kick.
After full break-in, what's so great about this PC is it's ability to maintain constant rhythmic focus to the music. Talk about Pace, Rhythm and Timing--it's got it! The deep, taut bass it helps produce anchors the music, creating excellent image stability (beats the SR by yards).
In addition, it's make the amp very tonally accurate, adding very credible harmonic body to the music. For example, a piano sounds like a piano, you hear the "substance" of the cymbal splash, not just the sizzle.
Initially, I had doubts about how transparent it was, leaning a little to the dark side. Given a little more break-in time, it balanced out in this regard. It's funny, the SR Python on the amp now sounds too transparent, if there can be such a thing. What your beta PC does is
(again) add harmonic weight and body, but not at the expense of transparency.
Finally, I switched it over to my subwoofer, not expecting much. To my surprise, the beta PC snapped my system into focus. The REL sub is almost like a musical instrument in some regards. If properly dialed-in, with the sub-bass at a flat response (no crossover with the main speakers), it adds this awesome ambient dimension to recordings, beginning from the subsonic floor up. As a result, the beta PC gives it an even surer foundation (rhythmic snap and focus), and with the RELs subtle extension upwards, it helps the REL impart tonal texture and harmonic weight to the music. Violins have body, they don't sound light or transparent as before, guitar strings have weight as they're strummed, singers are firmly standing on the floor (so to speak). These effects are more apparent as recently (per a suggestion from a local
dealer) I've been listening to my speakers from a "near field" perspective (sitting six feet from them as they are now well away from the back walls). This allows more front to back depth perspective and 3-D imaging.
At this point, I am most impressed with what your (AirSine) does to my system (in of all places) with my subwoofer. I plan to keep it with this component. Like just the right spice, it adds the correct natural tonal balance to my system. By the way, I'll buy this beta cord from you. I think you have winner! Hands down it's the best PC I've had in my system.
The following is a review of your power cord as compared to Synergistic Research cords in my system. I use SR Resolution Reference on my transport and Reference on my preamp.
First, I'd like to address the fit, feel, and construction. Upon opening the package and removing the cable I was at once impressed by its construction. The cable was heavy feeling yet very flexible. This was very welcome as the Synergistic Cables in contrast are stiff and sometimes hard to make connections with. However a friend brought over an Elrod, (I'm not sure of the model) that was probably 3 times the size of the Synergistic Research and your cable. It was so inflexible it proved difficult to make connections with, and I felt that if care was not taken could tear your receptacles and IEC's up.
The plugs on your cable were of much higher quality than any model of SR cable I own. At best the SR work. They make a loose connection that when bumped pull out of your components disconnecting your equipment much to one's consternation. Contacting SR about their plugs brought about the following solutions and comments, "Our connectors are the best we've found, but you could buy after market plugs and we will attach them for you.” Or they sent out some 4 each connectors to plug into their powercords with molded IEC connectors to plug into your equipment with. Between each connector is a unknown piece of wire, which would "Have little effect on the sound." This has proven false. At any rate both the male and female connector on your power cord were of first rate quality and when bumped or if the equipment was moved did not become unplugged.
As a result, your cable had a big advantage in the sonic battlefield as the better the connection the better the sonics.
I listened critically with friends and by myself to the cables 3 different as they broke in.
I listened to your cables in two different places in my equipment the 31.5 transport, and the #32 preamp. I could not use it with my #360s DAC as it uses a right hand connector. I also did not try it on my amplifiers as I would need 4 powercords as I'm vertically biamping with Levinson 436 monoblocks.
The first night I plugged it into the 31.5, I was impressed by the dynamics and apparent deeper bass, also the imaging was different then with the SR however it was steely sounding and obviously needed to break in. The differences were less pronounced when used on the preamp. I would recommend that you break in this cable before shipping it to customers, as breaking it in for 400 hours takes the fun out of buying something new. Most custys want to hear the cable now not two weeks later. Comment: VH Audio now “pre-cooks” the raw cabling before final assembly. Approximate break-in time is now reduced to about 50-100 hours.
I next listened with a friend who has helped me construct my system for the last 5 years one week later. These are the differences we found when replacing my Resolution Reference on the 31.5.
The bass was deeper, bigger, bolder and more controlled with your cable. The micro dynamics were more explosive... Organ music really displayed the differences in the bass. The organ sounded fuller, and the individual notes were separated and better defined. It was easier to track different instruments in the orchestral programs.
Vocals just flowed more naturally out of the system. The SR Reference cable was brighter and harsher sounding across the music’s spectrum. Female vocals had a more delicate quality.
The room’s soundstage and depth were also increased by your cable. Instruments were more layered back to back. The side to side dimensions were also increased. One strength of the SR Research cables has been that the music just pops out of a velvety background, and your cable easily equaled this effect without the active shielding that Synergistic Research uses.
When we switched your cable to the preamp, the differences were very slight in comparison to the SR. But they were of the same type just not on the same scale. Perhaps the ML#32s electric regeneration system, supplies the current the #32 needs (which it should) that power cords have less effect.
In anticipation for what we’d hear next week, we now took your cable out to continue its break in period of two weeks.
The Final Show Down: After 400 Hours.
Next we hooked up your cable to the 31.5. Man were we in for a treat. Everything that we had noted with your cable, was now better and even clearer. The differences were subtle between 200 hours and 400 hours, yet profound. It was like switching the objectives on a microscope from 200 to 1000 power. The images were sharper, the instruments and vocals jumped out of a black, silky background. The bass was even more robust, dynamic, and well defined. The micro dynamics just snapped out. Everything we’d liked from the first listening session was better in every important detail and way. Your cable is a winner!
We then switched back to the SR Reference AC Master Coupler ($650.) and again were dismayed at the lack of detail, clarity, imaging, smoothness and bass resolution this cable had in comparison with your new cable. Your cable was the preferred choice.
A note on how comparisons were done. My system was listened too as hooked up first, then your cable was put in place, we would listen to our reference tracks then the cables would be switched. Great care was taken that the volumes between the listening sessions were exactly matched which was easily done since the #32 displays the volume digitally.
In conclusion, I would easily buy and recommend your new cable as an outstanding addition to a high resolution system. In such a system the differences a good power cord makes are not subtle and can easily take your system to the next level. Components with built in power regeneration like the #32 do not seem to benefit as much from using high quality power cords as do digital components. I suspect that on any components without such a feature the differences your cables would make to the system would be nothing but profound.
I would note these differences and use these four criteria in making a purchase:
1. Your cable’s "blackness and quietness" which are trademarks of SR’s active shielding are easily equaled or beaten by your cable without all the mini power couplers and devices Synergistic uses and are such a pain to hook up and sort out.
2. The voicing of your cable is better. Your cable lets the music out and it just sings.
3. The connectors. The Synergistic Research male and female connectors are cheesy by comparison and do not "lock" onto the components. If bumped, or if you move your equipment, they "pull out" breaking the electrical connection. As a result, I feel that what ever the benefits of SR’s active shielding system, or nullified by their use of poor connections. To bad for Synergistic.
4. Flexibility. After a seeing and handling a friend’s Elrod cable which sounded good, but was a pain to use, and the stiffness of the SR, your cable was a joy to use. This alone, is a great reason to purchase your cable. Stiff power cords are a pain!
I figure I have just about 400 hours of burn-in on the computer and of course on my CD player. I have tried the AirSine on my CD player and on a VTL 5.5 preamp which I auditioned this last weekend. I have compared it to the Flavor 1 and a Transparent Powerlink XL 20amp power cord (also auditioned this past weekend).
First, I love this power cord. Compared to the Flavor 1, the soundstage is about 1/3 wider. But the greatest asset is the clarity of the mid to upper range. As I said at about the 100 hour mark, there is just more air in and around the notes. After break-in the upper end softens up a bit. Initially it was a little too bright. However, after break-in while the sound was less harsh it did not sound rolled off. Compared to the Transparent power cord there was more life in the upper range of the Airsine. Somehow the Airsine presents the cymbals, the chimes, the stringed instruments and the brass instruments in a more lively but natural way. It is more dynamic without making you wince at the strike of the cymbals because they sound too digital.
Differentiation. Differentiation is another strength of this cable. It seperates the instruments and puts air between them like the best high-end equipment seems to be able to do in a way other equipment can't.
In overall character the Flavor 1 presents a more laid back sound than does the Airsine. The bass range is very good. Compared to the Flavor 1, it was hard to tell them apart. However, I would say the Airsine might be a bit tighter and faster on the bass notes and kick drums, etc.
When I inserted the VTL 5.5 preamp into the chain, I was disappointed at the sound. I had hoped for that beautiful tube sound. I had hoped to get more depth. Running my CD directly into my Krell amplifier - while having extreme clarity - can sometimes seem to be too 2-dimensional. I wondered what the problem was. I certainly was not going to spend $3,500 on this VTL preamp for sound degredation. Then I thought, "Hey, what if I switch the power cords (the VTL was powered by the Transparent cord). Wow! I could not believe the life that returned to the music. It was the second time in the two weeks that I have had this pc that I said, almost out loud, I can't believe that a power cord can have this kind of effect. Come to think of it, I did say that out loud to my wife. Mind you, I have never been a big power cord fan. The Flavor 1 changed my mind. Then the Airsine made me a lifetime believer. With this set-up I had the Flavor 1 on the CD player and the Airsine on the preamp. This was the best arrangement. It would have been nice to have two Airsines to further see the whole difference it could have made.
After my audition with the VTL 5.5 preamp in the chain comparing it to the CD player running direct with the Airsine powering it, I realized the benefits of adding the preamp was a toss-up. The Airsine just makes my Resolution Audio Opus 21 sing with such clarity and richness that it would be throwing money away to buy that preamp.
As I said over a week ago after the first 100 hours, "the Airsine gives me that tinkle of the chime in the background that I did not notice before, and the sound of the friction of a finger on a guitar string. These are the things that help me reach into the recording and feel like the performers are in the room with me. This is one of the reasons I love this hobby so much. It is that quest for more of everything without having the sound become unnatural or digital." The Airsine has helped me take a significant step in the right direction.
If you have any specific questions about the process or the results of my listening don't hesitate to ask. I've listened to hours and hours of Jazz, female vocals, rock, and new age music on the Airsine.
Just like in the past, I used a select few songs for the critical comments. Here they are:
Ben Harper – Fight For Your Mind (tracks 4, 5, 6, 9)
The Bad Plus – These Are The Vistas (track 2)
Sam Cooke – Night Beat (track 2)
Natalie Merchant – Tigerliliy (tracks 5, 7,8)
AirSine vs. Flavor 4 with Gold Option + Siliclear (I prefer the Gold on the Tact over the Rhodium) on Tact RCS 2.2X preamp plugged into Haley
The Bad Plus
So overall the AirSine simply bettered the Flavor 4 in every area. It also showed some shortcomings in the Flavor 4 that I hadn’t really noticed previously. In areas of dynamics, extension, and presence I didn’t need extensive A/B tests. To notice the slight grain and improvement in detail it was easier to hear it at first doing A/B tests. Once you hear it though, it was more obvious and easy to spot.
Also, I can’t stress enough how nice it is dealing with a pc that bends and can’t actual lift the component off the cones or platform it is on!!
For the other comparisons, I will just give you general summaries:
AirSine vs. Flavor 4 with Furutech Rhodium + Siliclear on Haley (Flavor 4 with Gold option on Tact)
AirSine vs. BPT L-9 on McCormack DNA-500
This really was no comparison as the AirSine’s were significantly better, but I didn’t have anything else to compare it against…
The AirSine was:
o More dynamic with better weight and authority
o Had a deeper and more three dimensional soundstage
o Significantly more detailed and produced a blacker background
o More extended on the top end - the BPT was compressed and shut in by comparison
o Able to get the texture and nuances of the music – the BPT homogenized it.
o Kept me interested in the music (I found myself wanting to surf the net with the BPT cord in place)
AirSine on Duke
Posted at Audiocircle.com:
Just wanted to add
my two cents about the Airsine...I don't usually post
reviews, but these cords produced a significant level of improvement in my
system versus PS Audio xStream Statements.
My system: Marantz SA-14 Sacd player-->McIntosh MA2275 Integrated-->Coincident Partial Eclipses. I'm using the Airsine on both the cd player and the amp, Balanced Pulsars as interconnects, and Audience Au24 speaker cables. I also have a compliment of NOS and aftermarket tubes in the MA2275--an absolute necessity for top performance, as the stock tubes sound mediocre to my ears (unfocused/hazy, and unbalanced in their frequency response).
Thoughts on the Airsine:
Objective differences: The background noise level (audible hiss heard when no signal is being produced) is much lower with the Airsines in place. I have to be within inches of the tweeter to hear anything at all. Also, with the xStreams my Tube integrated used to produce what I guess is termed "filament hum" from the power tubes (the tubes had a slight buzz, like a misbehaving light bulb). This noise is no longer an issue--the tubes are dead silent.
Subjective impressions: The music seems to have greater dynamic range, textural nuance, detail, and be better balanced in terms of frequency response. More specifically, it seems like the PS Audio cords rolled of the highs, leading to an impression of greater bass. Installing the Airsine led to better overall balance across the frequency spectrum, the highs are extended, and the bass is similarly extended and tight.
This is what I heard in my system, YMMV.
Hi Chris, got my 6' AirSine today all safe and sound. Hooked it up to my cdp figuring on burning it in for a few days before I listened to it. I bought it primarily for my CJ premier 140 amp. Thought to myself, even at the intro price, this is alot for my budget to pay for a pc, but if it doesn’t meet the wow factor I can always return it and just lose the shipping costs. Well, I had to peek. I'm listening to it on the cdp with just about 2 hours on it. I just have one question, how long is the intro offer for! I hope I can save enough before then to pick up a couple more.
Chris, recieved my airsine today, I am absolutely amazed by the improvement in my system. I rarely become overly enthusiastic over audio equipment but the improvement garnered by this cable running into my BPT 3.5 is too great to keep to myself. The improvement wrought by this cord surpasses most major equipment changes I've made in the past. I've been slowly optimizing my present setup for over a year, and perhaps this is just the culmination of all past upgrades. Still, I'm quite impressed by the airsine.
I've been experimenting with power cords, interconnects and speaker wires for the past year or so and recently demoed the Elrod 3a signature on the amps and the power conditioner. In spite of rave reviews I found the Elrod to somewhat dark and opaque on both, thus I've only been able to directly compare the airsine to the elrod on my power conditioner. I find the airsine in this configuration to be aptly named, the openness and air is incredible; palpability, or the breath of life is spoken here! Congratulations on such a fine cable, you must have golden ears! Now I just need to sell some equipment so I can afford to put the airsine on my preamp and amps. I will also be interested to see how they compare to the Shunyata Cobra and Python VX on my digital setup.