Review: Master Built by Dephi subsidiary Signature Speaker cable
You may not believe what I am about to tell you, because I barely do and I am listening first-hand. I was willing to accept that wire (above high quality but non-stratospheric) made a small difference in mega systems, but that it was probably not as important in normal systems as a serious upgrade to preamp or source.
I heard many power cords, interconnects and speaker cables, in the $500 to $1,500 range and auditioned and purchased many CD transports, preamps (tube and solid state) and amplifiers. Using live acoustic music and a grand piano in the same room with the system as reference, I finally had my system to a very nice place where all commented that it was clean, clear, resolving without harshness, and involving. It should be noted that I am blessed with very clean power. I am the only house on the outside transformer and the system is wired into a panel separate entirely from the main house.
When asking Albert Von Schweikert (distributor for these cables) for help in deciding what’s next, with me considering new amps, and possible subwoofers, he suggested that I try wiring my system completely with the Master Built Signature series. Having learned to trust him, and the generous return policy – I assented and he sent three power cords, one balanced IC and a set of biwire speaker cables, already broken in.
I used two CD’s compiled with all my reference tracks spanning orchestral, classical solo (particularly piano and violin), jazz, pop, and rock. Immediately I noticed sound that was about 5% cleaner and clearer, with 10% more air, bloom, and a better sound stage. But the “HOLY COW!” part was that the music was at least 25% more natural and 50% more liquid. As days passed, I used torture tests: harpsichord, harmonica, organ, brass, woodwind, strings, and percussion all were realistic and wonderful. I tried Metallica and Led Zeppelin to make sure that the liquidity was not artificial and when the music was supposed to be driving and edgy – it was in spades. Yet lovely and liquid music was more so than I have ever heard on any system. Piano which is both liquid and percussive with wood, string, and felt-hammer timbre was spot on.
The overall presentation is shockingly better and more natural. Timbral density and attack/decay at the very high and low frequency extremes is greatly enhanced. Also lowest level detail such as the variations in in-breath for singers from one phrase to another is more naturally apparent – adding greatly to the excitement and realness of the performance. As I relax into listening, the feeling of enjoyment is very close to the best vinyl rigs in density, richness, and naturalness but with the strengths of digital. When I open my eyes the sense of of the singers and instrumentalists being in the room with you actually increases, speaking to a big increase in presence without any forwardness. This is more than a significant equipment upgrade – it is equivalent to an entire system upgrade! It is substantially better than the changes noticed when I auditioned equipment at four times the current prices of my stuff. I would encourage an audition for people with revealing systems at any price. The investment, while significant is likely to produce more significant satisfaction than any other change you could make.
Ayon CD5’s with 1980 NOS Reflector tubes (Transport, DAC and preamp combined). Nuforce Reference 9 V3SE monoamps (highly modded with on/off and fuse circuits removed, Furtech IEC, Mosaic boxes on top and mass-loaded with lead bags, isolated mechanically and electrically). Von Schweikert VR5 Anniversary MK2 speakers.
I heard and owned many power cords, interconnects and speaker cables, in the $500 to $1,500 range, including Guerrilla Audio, Morrow Audio SP6, Gold Silkworms, Audio Horizons Reference IC