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2012 Year in Review

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Customer email newsletter dated: January 15, 2013.

2012 Year in Review
January 15, 2013
The last 12 months at The Cable Company have been eventful from both the perspective of new product developments, and also the extension of our Cable Library concept to the world of high performance headphones. Launched in the Spring, our Hi End Headphone Library has been well-received by our customers interested in exploring this world of what you might call “personal audio.”

AC Line Conditioning:
Other System Enhancements and Analog:

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Headphones are also exciting for the audiophile because it puts the “best of the best” within reach: even the highest end headphones and headphone amps cost south of $5k, and near state of the art is attainable for under $2000. In our world of 5 and 6 figure loudspeakers, the appeal is obvious. You will, however, also want to keep an eye (and your ears) open to the benefits of upgrade cabling (headphone cables from companies such as Cardas and Jena Labs, and headphone amp power cords from the usual suspects), resonance control for the headphone amp, and other audiophile tricks of the trade such as upgrade fuses. Really headphones can serve as a most excellent tool for analyzing and appreciating the impact of performance upgrades, and everything about this category is enticing for the audiophile from a value perspective.
Meanwhile back in our core cable category, 2012 was an excellent year for exciting new product introductions. Along with further evolutionary development of their cable lines from:

-Shunyata Research with their Zitron technology now appearing in both their signal cables (interconnects and speaker cables) and in their new AC cable series,

-Cable Research Lab (the reworked topline Gold Reference series),

-Audience, who have just raised the bar to “SE” level on their well-regarded Au24 series interconnects (RCA only), and numerous upgraded models from value champions Voodoo Cables and Black Cat Cables, …we were pleased to add the LessLoss, Jena Labs, and Pranawire lines to our Cable Library for your in-home evaluations.

Also noteworthy from a high end perspective are new cables from:
- JPS Labs (their over-achieving new Superconductor V speaker cable),

- Purist Audio Design (their new Genesis and Corvus model lines offering high value at modest and moderate price points),

-Cardas Audio (the Clear Light and Clear Sky extensions to their topline Clear series),

From a technology perspective, one of the most exciting new cable developments in 2012 was the launch of the new High Fidelity Cable line, which we have mentioned several times in recent customer emails. Using a concept he calls “Magnetic Conduction” designer Rick Schultz has created quite a buzz with his initial CT-1 series of interconnects (RCA only so far). An upgrade “e” version is now available, along with the release this month of the companion speaker cables, the first samples of which we are anxiously awaiting.

AC Line Conditioning:
Also released in the last year are upgraded tools for taming nasties on the AC lines:

-Shunyata Research released the add-on Typhon module to take their top-level Triton model to a new performance level,

-Audience continues to refine their top-line adept/response models, now available in the latest, greatest TSS series,

-Voodoo Cables released a terrific $1500 Powermatic 8” line filter/distribution strip.

-Silver Circle Audio released their new top-line Tchaik 6 line conditioner in their transformer-based product line. A contender for state-of-the-art in this category.

-PurePower is a brand with a back story. The short version is that this line of battery-based, sine wave-regenerating AC line conditioners was designed in Canada, and built for many years in Taiwan. A nasty two year trademark dispute between the USA importer, who aligned with the Taiwan manufacturing facility, and the Canadian designers, was finally resolved in late 2012 with the Canadian designers now doing their own manufacturing in Canada and offering a newly upgraded Purepower + series of these high end uninterruptable “off the mains” units, which are especially useful in situations where power outages and serious voltage stability problems are prevalent.

Other System Enhancements and Analog:
Other developments in the field of Resonance Control devices include the fleshing out of the Stillpoints Ultra Series of isolation devices, now consisting of three levels: Ultra-Mini, Ultra, and Ultra-5 footers. The Ultra-5 also serves as the basis of a very nice LP clamping system.

Resonance Control firm, Symposium, also released a new, affordable, analog-oriented platform series called Segue.

Of course if we are talking analog we can't resist mentioning what must be the favorite product for those analog-lovers on our staff, Audio Desk Systeme's Vinyl Cleaner, which our regular readers probably get tired of reading about, but this automated ultrasonic LP-cleaning system really does represent a breakthrough. It is uniquely effective in cleaning everything you can and can't see from your precious vinyl, and if you are into analog, you can only marvel at the lifting of veils that results. An Absolute Sound 2012 (HP's) Editor's Choice, and Stereophile Product of the Year, it justifiably should appear near the top of every serious analog-lovers wish list.

Other system enhancements which we came to know and love in 2012, and which we would consider to be technological break-throughs:
The QOL signal completion stage answers a question we didn't previously know to ask, and once again proves that you usually don't know what could be “better” until you hear it. QOL is a box usually connected between pre and amp, which corrects phase relationships. Once you hear the improvement in “naturalness” from your high resolution system, you won't want to go back. Definitely worth checking out a sample from the Library.

WA-Quantum is a difficult to explain, but very powerful technology carried in “chips” inside of what look like adhesive-backed stickers. We were admittedly skeptical to start, but the results we achieved in our own systems could not be denied. Our ever open-minded customers echoed our own growing enthusiasm. Inexpensive, easy to use and experiment with, these application=specific “chips” come with a 30 day money back guarantee. Definitely worth trying at home.

DSPeaker has been a go-to recommendation for our customers using subwoofers. Their automated mono and stereo subwoofer DSP equalizers are easy to use and incredibly effective. In 2012 the company released their DualCore unit, which can not only provide for subwoofer equalization, but can also be used for full range acoustic room equalization. The incorporation of a high performance DAC into the DualCore alone justifies the $1199 price, but the real beauty of this device is the powerful addition of the room equalization function. Well worth exploring.

So in all we would call 2012 an A+ year for high end audio.

Watch for our upcoming CES report for some cues on what to watch for in 2013.

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