Now let's inspect the differences between both Cybershaft cables. These were far from minimal and silver brought out subjectively wider bandwidth, more precise timbres as well as better dynamics. On the Respiro Quintet's album Herencia, everything was better outlined and more focused. "Taquito Militar" let through more air with the silver BNC. It also added extra weight to each piano and double bass note, improving the overall articulation of melodic lines. Moving on to Igor Stravinsky's Capriccio (Matsuev/Gergiev), the Mariinsky orchestra with the silver cable seemed far less gloomy. The reverb of the recorded ambiance was clearer. Bow friction on the double basses was stronger, the range of dynamic swings wider. There was more overall clarity and better definition. But the biggest breakthrough came where least expected. Clock-syncing my LHY SW-10 network switch gave me an astonishing qualitative advance.
Already I was very satisfied with my triple-switch array cascading an AQVOX SE into Silent Angel's N16 double switch. Having scoured many high-end switches, I had arrived at an interesting sonic balance which went much farther than my previous Waversa SmartHub switch without bothering with the lifespan and somewhat capricious recharging ritual of its lithium batteries. Having recently tried the combination of Silent Angel's Genesis clock and Bonn NX switch, my personal cascade remained competitive without yet any sync to a shared external clock though I admit that the Silent Angel switch went just a bit further with the external Genesis clock than it did on its own. With my LHY SW-10 switch connected to one of the OP21A-D's four BNC ports, this performance gap became far more pronounced. So hard was it to go back to my resident solution that I eventually fell for this combination. The OP21A-D's contribution to the LHY SW-10 switch impacted all audible criteria: better definition, better dynamics, more timbre variety, an even more structured soundstage with better relief. For good form I must add that the LHY SW-10 switch already houses a top quality clock itself. The significant contribution of the Cybershaft thus meant real upgrade potency!
Conclusion. The Cybershaft OP21A-D clock is the result of very specific and careful R&D. It's hard to fault and expectations based on its technical prowess reflect in the listening experience. The designer also managed to be very price competitive including his power supply and BNC cables. Long story short, I bought my review sample, the external linear power supply and a set of 4 BNC cables, three in silver. This obviously represents a significant budget to allocate to my Esoteric N05-XD/K-03 combo. But the resultant evolution of my system's performance exceeds a simple upgrade of DAC or SA/CD player. Moreover, the improvements form a kind of continuity which doesn't disturb my own tuning. They're content to lift a veil on what came before which clarifies all sonic characteristics without altering them. I must also salute the level of quality control and extensive documentation provided with the device and cables as a degree of professional seriousness we don't often see in our sector. I encourage you to clock-sync your entire digital chain and not just a single component. It strongly argues for the 4 x BNC version. The small additional cost really nets disproportionate improvements. It is therefore only natural that I award the Cybershaft OP21A-D clock with our Grand Frisson 2023 distinction.
Postscript: For some products compatible with today's review subject, there are Esoteric's Grandioso K1X, K1, P1X, P1X, P1, D1X, D1, K-01XD, K-01Xs, K-01X, K-01, K-03XD, K-03Xs, K-03X, K-03, K-05Xs, K-05X, K-05, K-07Xs, K-07X, K-07, D-02X, D-02, D-05X, D-07X, P-021, P-02X, N-01XD, N-01, N-03T, N-05, G-0, G-0s, G-0Rb, G-02, G-03X and G-25U; Tascam's CG1000; dCS's Vivaldi, Paganini and Scarlatti clocks; Mutec's iClock, MC-3+ and MC-3+USB; Antelope Audio's Isochrone OCX HD, OCX-V, OCX, Trinity, Pure2 and Zodiac Platinum; Brainstorm's DCD-8; Phaseteck's HD-7A; Phasemation's HD-7A192; Sforzato's DSP-Vera, DSP-Dorado, DSP-Pavo, DSC-Vera, DSC-Drado, DSC-Grus, DSP-01, DST-01, DSP-03 and DSP-05; TEAC's UD-503, UD-505, NT-503 and NT-505; SPEC's RMP-X1; Sound Warrior's SWD-CL10; TechDAS's D-7 and D7i; Ratoc's RAL-DSDHA2; M2tech's Evo DAC Two Plus and HiFace Evo Two; CH Precision's C1 and D1; Aurender's W20; Soulnote's D-2 and S-3; SOtM's sMS-200ultra, tX-USBultra and sNH-10G with master clock input function; Gustard's U16; Singxer's SU-2; iFi Audio's Pro iDSD; UpTone Audio's EtherRegen; Audio Gd's DI-20HE, DI-20, R-7HE (version 2020) and R-7 (version 2020); and SMSL's D3.
Publisher's comment: As soon as we use an external clock running at 10MHz or higher, cable-induced clock jitter is an obvious challenge over an internal oscillator which separates from its DAC chip by just a short circuit trace. The external cable adds greater length, moves the transmission out of the box with two connector junctions and causes potential impedance and EMI/RF exposure issues. It thus shouldn't surprise that a well-shielded quality digital cable specifically made for ultra-bandwidth speeds is of paramount importance. Joël's tiered findings on using his own BNC cable then Cybershaft's standard then their silver bears this out beautifully.
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