Reviewer: Edgar Kramer
Source: Sony XA-5ES as transport; Bel Canto Designs DAC 2
Preamp/Integrated: Blue Circle BC21.1 with Shallco attenuator option; Supratek Chardonnay [on review]
Amp: Gryphon Tabu 2/100 power amp; Blue Circle BC26 MKII
Speakers: Wilson Watt Puppy System 6
Cables: Harmonic Technology Magic Digital; Harmonic Technology Magic and Truthlink; MIT MI-330; DanA Digital Reference Silver interconnect cable; Harmonic Technology PRO-9+ loudspeaker cable; Harmonic Technology Fantasy AC; Shunyata Research Diamondback power cords
Stands: Lush 4-tier, partly sand filled
Powerline conditioning: PS Audio P-300 Power Plant
Sundry accessories: Sundry custom cones and shelves and mysterious rubber compounds, Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions around DAC, Densen CD demagnetizer
Room size: 16' w x 21' d x 10'/11' h [stepped ceiling] in short wall setup with open adjoining office room
Review component retail: $195 1m eXpress 6 interconnect; $295 2m eXpress AC
|The Holistic Approach. This late 20th century byword has been used and misused for the last 20 years. The holistic mantra has been associated mainly with the health industry and alternative medicine where the interpretation is one of attention to a person's overall well-being in terms of lifestyle, diet, exercise, conventional and alternative medicines and so on, in order to maintain a healthy whole. The purity of this principal has been corrupted however by its use in marketing and sales language. There it is used to describe the benefits of the holistic philosophy within technology to do with the latest motor vehicle, television, condo and vacuum cleaner.
The Edgar Kramer understanding or interpretation is as follows: The meaning of holistic comes from the ideology or philosophy of a totality of concept where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and the holistic approach thus the greater reality. My time with the Eichmann cables has been a profound and literal manifestation of the above philosophy and concept. Mind you, we are talking audio, not the meaning of life. But read on and you will really understand the essence of holistic as it applies to our chosen audio context. Let me be another corruptor.
Buffers, Ratios and the Magic Bullet
Although not yet ubiquitous, the Eichmann Bullet plug is the preferred RCA connector for many well-known cable manufacturers such as Silversmith Audio, Luminous Audio Technology, Cable Talk, Final Labs, HMS, Prana Wire and Z Cable, to name just a few of over fifty manufacturers. The Bullet plug design addresses the inconsistencies associated with less than perfect plug/socket interaction and the resistance, signal arching, eddy currents and contact issues inherent in the average RCA plug. By directly connecting the hollowed center pin to the conductor and using a single solid pin return, a simple yet clever method has been discovered to virtually eliminate all of the above-mentioned problems.
The eXpress 6 Series 2 is the latest updated version of the top-of-the-line Eichmann interconnect cable and naturally uses the Bullet Plug. The US $195/m eXpress 6 is a high-purity copper design with a bright blue jacket. According to Rob Woodland of Eichmann Technologies International, it employs a newly discovered ratio between the signal and return conductors wherein the return leg has a greater cross-sectional area and mass than the signal.
"The ratio forces the return conductor to respond rapidly to signals being transmitted through the signal conductor, at the same time providing a balance of reactance between signal and return. This ensures that all frequencies and their harmonics are transmitted in a more perfect state." More perfect than perfection? EMF interaction is further prevented by the installation of a buffering system which comprises a set of passive buffer conductors between the signal and return on either side.
On to the US$295/2m Eichmann eXpress power AC enhancing cable. This very flexible and impressive-looking lead is a little different from any other I've ever seen. The eXpress AC is terminated by an ultra heavy-duty plug and IEC and curiously, at the cable's half-way mark, looking like something Tim the Tool Man would be proud of: The Black & Decker power tool (at least that's what it suggests to these eyes). A nicely curved plastic box for lack of a better word contains fractal technology to improve and enhance performance. Though not a filter, this interface addresses RFI, EMI and other parasitic harmonic resonances carried on the AC power signal. I am not at liberty to elaborate. However, let it be said that the patent-pending technology inside reduces embedded resonance and enhances voltage and current flow to the power supply of an attached component. Said box does not contain capacitors or any other electronic components. Therefore the cable proper is high-current capable (25 to 30 amps) and suitable for any component including the most brute of amplifiers.
The construction and design of both interconnect and power cord reflect some degree of lateral thinking, and the novel ideas incorporated seem clever and cost-effective. The technology descriptions certainly make for superb marketing copy and as the packaging demonstrates, Eichmann Technologies International does not squander this opportunity. More importantly and as already hinted above, Eichmann is presenting its product with a high level of technology and build quality at a very moderate asking price.
The eXpress 6 interconnects connected the Bel Canto DAC 2 via the Blue Circle BC21.1 preamplifier to the amplifiers. The eXpress Power AC cables were used on preamplifier and DAC. The amplifiers were hooked up with my reference Fantasy AC from Harmonic Technology. Loudspeaker cables were my reference Pro-9+ again from Harmonic Tech. Little did I know but the last sentence would have a profound influence on this reviewer's eventual conclusions. Stick around for Take Two.
In light of the prolonged saga I underwent whilst running in the Harmonic Technology Magic cables for my last review, I made sure that Rob Woodland cable-cooked all his gear prior to freight. Regardless, I clocked a further 30 or so hours prior to formal listening sessions.