Reviewer:
Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Vinnie Rossi LIO with AVC module, COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; ; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE UP NC500MB; Linnenberg Audio Adagio
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan], Black Cat Cable Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: ‚ā¨1'250 regardless of model


"Dear Marja and Henk. I hope you spent some nice time in Warsaw during our AudioShow 2016. First off, I'd like to thank you for the 5 minutes you gave me and my USB cables. You might remember the bright green braid and wooden box. But I know you meet a lot of people so perhaps you don't remember. Actually, we first met one year ago at the AudioShow 2015. You came on Friday to the DestinationAudio room when our setup wasn't quite finished yet. That time Henk said 'we come here just to listen to Nils Lofgren again'. I was one of the DestinationAudio team. About me, I'm a private person. So far I haven't established a company. If it happens, the company name will be StavEssence. You could already see the logo on the wooden plugs of my cables. I cooperate with DestinationAudio, LampizatOr and other Polish and Italian DIY mates. I've designed speaker systems for years. Constructing audio systems (tube amplifiers, DACs, cables) is my passion. I feel it is time now to share my experiences with others. A few words about my USB cables. To prepare them I use seasoned pure copper, a pinch of gold, a skein of cotton, a piece of wood and a few drops of bee's wax. I combine all things by hand at home. My wife and I invested all our passion in this cable to make it nice to touch, unique in sound and worthy on design. I'm responsible for the electrical and wooden parts, my wife for braiding the waxed cotton strings manually. To make one cable we need 10-12 hours. The cables can come with PIN (+) or without (LampizatOr's DACs use internal DC supply). The USB cable you had in your hands in Warsaw is ready to become a commercial product. All my mates tested them already and I received very positive feedback." - Karol Staworko


Karol's email through the Siemens server dated November 2016. Marja & Henk forwarded it to me for a reply. "Dear Karol, we don't review prototypes or one-ups. And it makes no sense to review anything online if there isn't a website readers can go to afterwards to learn more about the product; and where/how to purchase it. I suggest you contact us again when a/ you have a website with English pages, b/ are in full production and thus, in business. "If it happens" isn't, I'm afraid, good enough. We understand the risks and costs involved of going into business. Unfortunately we're not an in-between solution. We're for people who have already taken the risk, started a company, gone into production and have a proper web presence. We're not about spreading word of mouth on a DIYer who may or may not go into business. I'm sure you can understand the difference."


Of course he could. "Dear Srajan, I really appreciate that you read my enquiry. I fully understand your approach. You are right. I will do my best to speed up going into business. All listeners who had our Salamandra or Cooyaviak in Poland (these are the types and names of my cables) fell in love with them. People with LampizatOr DACs (Golden Gate, 5 Series), Avantgarde or DestinationAudio hornspeakers, Ayon or Integrity amps, they want to keep my cables after the audition and buy them. Even owners of very expensive Entreq USB cables like the Atlantis convert to my cable. Now I need your professional opinion to know if it's international sound or Polish local preference only. My goal is to reach your star as a Michelin's star for restaurants. I'll contact you again."


"Hello Karol, it's often good to first focus on one's domestic market and pursue reviews there. That gives you a solid base from which to 'withstand' more international reviews even if they are not as enthusiastic. After all, any given market is limited to the product that's imported. Those imports become your competitors. On the global scene, the number of competitors rises drastically. Suddenly, results could be different. It's good strategy to time one's emergence on the global market for a good roll-out." The next time I heard from Karol was on July 19th. "Dear Srajan, I'm back. On 1st April 2017 I founded my sole trader enterprise StavEssence in Poland. In a few days my website will go live and I would now like to send you three different cables - the USB Eunoia and USB Apricity and the Ethernet Eloquence for streaming applications. I would be happy to order delivery of my cables by courier to you as soon as possible." Everything was a go now so I told Karol to decide on who he wanted to write the review - Marja & Henk whom he'd met twice at the Polish show; or the wild card yours truly. The above correspondence is reproduced to show how such appointments may come together.