October
2020

Country of Origin

Korea

ZL-8000S

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, Denafrips Terminator Plus, Soundaware D300Ref SD transport & USB bridge; Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amplifiers: LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; Headphone amp: Kinki Studio; Headphones: Final D8000; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Second system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: Denafrips Terminator or COS Engineering D1; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R or Crayon CFA-1.2 or Berning Meteor Siegfried; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model One w. Franck Tchang magnesium 360° super tweeters, Zu Submission subwoofer, LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers; Power delivery: Puritan Audio Lab PSM-156; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headphone amp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Audeze LCD-XC; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 150
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Headphones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: 
Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €5'600/3m/pr as reviewed

The ZL-8000S Zero Loss speaker cable is Kang Su Park's first OFC silver cable for his Allnic Audio portfolio of South Korea. Using the same 1000°C hot-welded terminations he champions for all of his cables, the same Rhodium-plated curved-upon-themselves tension spades of his prior ZL-3000/5000 speaker leashes—silver bananas are a new option—and their fat PVC jacketing, the tube audio maestro remains as tight-lipped about other details as before. That didn't prevent me from, years prior already, kitting out our main system with a complete ZL loom. Only two wall-to-power-distributor junctions are covered by other brands. That's because at the time, Allnic didn't offer UK power plugs. Where our copper ZL-5000 speaker cable demands €3'800, this new and still thicker 18mm silver version increases to €5'600. You won't play here if your amp's an €800 integrated and your speaker a fine €1'500/pr monitor.

The one extra hint KS is happy to give us today? His low-gauge 8000S isn't just silver. Non-plated copper factors as well. To his ears, pure silver's resolution advantage in the treble is offset by its relative leanness in the bass. Already this tells us that our man doesn't design with only a distortion analyzer. Critical though subjective listening factors as well. You'll have figured as much. Pure scope jocks tend to shun tubes, certainly the direct-heated triodes Kang Su favors; and the 9" Supravox Alnico widebander with Fostex super tweeter in his 98dB S-9000 speaker. It's also why I inserted his direct-coupled tube preamp into the picture. That's relevant. It illustrates aural references and certainly a love of tone.

 Anyone buying into the notion that silver sounds turned up and bright must assuredly rewrite such expectations for the ZL-8000S. The exclusive earlier use of copper predicts that this new cable remains informed by a heavier fuller aesthetic and just adds silver as refinement not radical revision. At least that was my assumption. To be sure, our equivalent ZL-5000 pair would represent an all-copper alternative.

That ought to be telling?