Sound & comparisons. Devices and accessories from Audioplan are never tonally bright, silvery, harsh, hard or in any other way exhausting. Anyone who chats with Thomas Kühn for even just a bit invariably learns that a neutral soundscape is always the overriding objective but that any form of listening stress must also be avoided at all costs. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why Audioplan have developed a steadily growing fan base since their founding over 40 years ago. At least in my assessment this often includes experienced music lovers who listen intensively. This is undoubtedly why our Audioplan reviews thus far all included "more forgiving" or "warmer" sonic impressions than "uncompromisingly hard high fidelity." I'm going for an early spoiler now. Against this background but not exclusively so, the Ampère L passed for something unique. But first things first. Let's start with compulsory exercises and at the same time what's most obvious: on tonality there surprisingly was no sign of a warmer tuning or softened treble. Neither was there any lean tuning or aggressive upper register which was less surprising for an Audioplan cable. The recently reviewed HMS Energia Suprema seemed warmer not least due to its more discreet treble tuning while the also very neutral Kondo KSL-ACc Persimmon had a somewhat more sparkling top end. In the midband, the Ampère L played the role of incorruptible studio monitor. But wait, how could the neutral Kondo power cord be more sparkling, the Audioplan even more incorruptible? We'll get to that in the freestyle section of my report.
Pure copper pins with special hardening treatment.
First some words on soundstaging. It's arguably technically crude to expect that a more barrier-free power flow to an amp—I had the Ampère L on both my Funk MTX and Norma Norma Revo PA 150 power amps—should pump up its spatial imaging Still, I often perceive a more expansive larger soundstage with high-quality power cords. This was also true for the Audioplan Ampère L and on par with the HMS and Kondo. My less expensive if quite superb-for-the-money Quantum Powerchord narrows the stage somewhat. My different power cords proved equal on bass depth except that the HMS Energia Suprema produced truly phenomenal LF darkness as one of its best features. By contrast the timing of the Ampère L felt even more light-footed. One of the HMS cord's other specialties is the perceived blackground so reduction of subliminal haze compared to many others. This results in more precise less ambiguous spatial delineation between performers. Here of course immunity to interference plays a role, too. With regard to these qualities, the Audioplan Ampère L again was a match for the HMS and in case of doubt even outperformed it.
On transparency and the capture of even the finest sonic sub structures, the Ampère L proved untoppable; and without gimmicks such as a particularly fresh treble. This further promoted the definition and spatial delineation of images. However, the precision of the Audioplan wasn't by chance but due to three unique qualities. I already mentioned purity which perhaps was even more remarkable in the Ampère L than Energia Suprema since it didn't attenuate the HF. True, my Kondo KSL-ACc Persimmon sparkled even more in the upper registers but the real difference and for me second quality that paid to the Audioplan's precision was something that could be shown very well on hi-hats. Where the Japanese created a subtly diffuse aura around and over their fine impulses which could be viewed as fog or increased airiness even sparkle, hi-hats via the Ampère L seemed more clearly delineated, less frayed so surrounded by less agitated but clearer air. It also revealed more subtle information about the textures of these only seemingly simple sounds.
Minor fraying of the outer sleeve.
The slightly airier more open feeling thus surrounded the Kondo. Nevertheless I found the Audioplan Ampère L to be more defined, focused and ultimately authentic. Influence N°3 on precision and a particular highlight of the Audioplan was the accuracy, straightforwardness and undistorted nature of its micro and macro dynamic swings. It's a trait one notices both in analytical listening (fast hi-hat transients do not blur) and in more holistic simple enjoyment which felt a tad more energetic or vibrant. Bottom line, with the Audioplan Ampère L I followed the tunes just as spellbound and effortless. Only a more laid-back listener for whom a bit of glossing over may suit better might have a different reaction. Over the weeks I spontaneously changed various power cords on my Norma power amplifier without straining my ears into work mode. The Ampère L subliminally brought this special drive to the music each and every time to gift me with a more involving coherent feeling.