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Reviewer: Glen Wagenknecht
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: Wyred4Sound and Auralic Altair server/streamers
DACs: Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Ideon Ayazi, Auralic Altair
Preamplifier: Audio Space Reference 2S, Tortuga Audio LDR6 Passive, Auralic Altair
Amplifier: Bel Canto 200.4, Audio Zone D-2
Main Speakers: Audio Space AS-3/5A, Mark & Daniel Maximus Mini Monitor, Mark & Daniel Maximus Monitor Mk2, SVS SB3000 subwoofer
Rack: Codia Acoustic Design Stage 3000 BAB
Stands: Charisma Audio Function stands, Target stands
AV Speakers: JohnBlue M3s
Desktop Audio Speakers: Swans M200 MkIII
Desktop DAC/Pre Headphone Amp: DA&T U-2
Cables: Arkana Physical Research Loom, Audio Art SE and Classic cable looms, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 speaker cables, Madison Audio Lab E3 Extreme 1 Interconnects/Extreme 2 speaker cables, Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects, optical and coax digital cables, Audio Sensibility Impact SE balanced interconnects, Statement S/PDIF and Impact USB digital cables, DH Lab Power Plus AC cable.
Resonance control: KAT Audio Terminator 1 Feet, Solid Tech Feet, EquaRack Footers, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers, Audio Exklusiv Silent Plugs, Audio Exklusiv d.C.d. Footers, CA Electronics Standard Cones, Feet, Cable Clamps, Isoacoustics L8R130, Aperta and L8R200 SUB speaker stands
Powerline conditioning: Exact Power EP15A, GutWire Ultimate Ground cable
USB conditioners: Ideon 3R Renaissance
Listening room 1: 12' x 17'
Listening room 2: 10.5' x 16.5'
Review component retail (Canadian currency): $350/1.5m power cord, other lengths in 25cm increments available to order at extra cost; $750 power line conditioner
German firm Audio Exklusiv, founded in 1979 by designer Gerd Pütz and resurrected in 2009 by Andreas Schönberg, are today an established major player with extensive diversity and depth of product. Boasting three tiers from Eco to Classic and now a new Reference line, there's a wealth of hardware for audiophiles of different wallet sizes. Audio Exklusiv have all the big-ticket items to grace the listening room with preamplifiers, amps and integrateds as well as a CD player, reference turntable plus three phono pickups. There are even two full-range electrostatic speakers, the sonically stellar P 3.1 and larger P 6.1. Then there's what most audiophiles deem the small stuff, the tweaks or accessories as those items often critical to maximized performance. Audio Exklusiv opted for two branches of accessories, mechanical and electrical. These offer universally applicable improvements that can enhance any system and employed in the context of an Audio Exklusiv system of familial components guarantee predictable results.
In the mechanical accessories lineup, there are a multitude of effective vibration control devices from the remarkable Silent Plug up to the DcD base. The electrical accessories number only two, a single power cable and a power line conditioner, the PCD 1. These are the two items on review today. I was curious about the development and construction of the power cord and conditioner and why the decision to offer just one universal power cord when many competitors have multiple choices. The designer was kind enough to answer my questions.
Power cord: "At the beginning of 2016 we started to check into some new resistors and capacitors. Since our original development of the Classic and Eco ranges, there were a lot of new items available in the German market. Also a friend was always teasing me to try them. To be sure that our results weren't influenced or manipulated by things like power cords or the grid itself, we started the tests from that point. We collected 81 power cords from €80 – €6'800 and tested them all. During our auditions we used our CDP, preamp and power amp in four different chains from a variety of manufacturers, not only with our AE products. Four listeners were involved. In the process we were surprised to find that we had a wide range of sound in this test group, from thin and edgy to fat and slow. Then we tried to uncover the reasons for the differences.
"One of the key points seemed to be the conductor thickness. Even in the high-end scene, "thicker is better" is often the assumption but not factual. Specialists like physicists and electrical engineers explained to me that the best 'golden' diameter is 2.5mm. Other diameters which may create positive gains in one parameter will have a negative effect elsewhere so we conducted our trials on the basis of this premise. The thickness spec also had the added advantage that in construction the cable wasn't too heavy and considerably more flexible, making it far more practical in application. For the core material, we established that our conductor should be good copper."
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