Take 1: The Sound of Fractals
Although a couple of years old by now, I am still enjoying as if just bought the wonderfully atmospheric 1 Giant Leap [PALMCD 2077-2, 2001]. Producers Duncan Bridgeman and Jamie Catto recorded tribal and indigenous rhythmatists from throughout Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East, then mixed these ethnic traditional drum patterns with electronica, contemporary instruments and "happening musicians, authors, scientists and thinkers" to create poignant music celebrating human harmony and "to explore the unity in diversity".

Track 3, "The Way You Dream", is an emotive piece featuring Michael Stipe of REM fame and legendary Indian artist Asha Bhosle. A great test for resolution, the complex mix of male and female vocals, electronic beats, bass, acoustic guitars and tabla can sound confused and mished-mashed if your system/cable combo is not up to it. No problems here. The Eichmann cables permitted the system to resolve the instrumental lines distinctly and intelligibly. In fact, micro detail was quite superb. The transient minutiae inherent in guitar plucks and vocal intonations were easily discernible from the rest of the musical content, albeit not by over-emphasizing, just very well-defined details embedded in the whole. All this and excellent smoothness - very promising for cables in any price range.

Early into the piece and quite apart from the above-mentioned superb resolution, three very impressive qualities jumped out at me about this cable (and applying to the interconnect to a greater extent): Bountiful detail, smoothness and timbral accuracy in the midrange. As I will continue to describe in further musical examination, these cables exorcise grain. Remaining totally involving, they don't veil or reduce the impression of correct detail yet don't highlight it, an obsession perpetuated by modern Hi-Fi equipment belonging to the accuracy school of design. So, in the mid-band and indeed, on to the top end, we have clean detail without a hint of hardness if not utmost top-end extension. I suspect the correlation/side benefit of this is the ability for a system to now display accurate timbre. All of the above-mentioned qualities compared favorably to my twice-the-price reference. Once again, remarkable at the price.

"Jean de Nivelle", track 3 on the superbly recorded A Dorian Banquet [DOR-9006, 1995] has a wonderful sense of instrumental detail, venue ambience and air. It is a simple piece consisting of percussion, string and female vocal that nevertheless is quite demanding as a test of system transparency. Whenever listening to this track on friends' systems and mine, we consciously and collectively await the percussive side-of-drum whacks about ¾ way through the track. Aren't we dorks! The strikes should resonate through the acoustic of the venue and in turn replay that semblance in your room. It's that transient micro-dynamic thing referred to earlier. The Eichmanns did it and did it well, if not accompanied by the ultimate in air.

Let me be clear that the following comments are relevant to the interconnects and were arrived at after much swapping, changing, listening to interconnects with my reference AC cables and then vice-versa. Compared to my reference cable, itself not the "King of the World" but maybe the Prince, when it comes to midrange dynamics, primarily Jazz and Rock music suffered at the hands of the Eichmann eXpress 6. I am used to more power and slam from Tool's title cut, track 1 on Aenima [ZOO 61422-31087-2, 1996]. This superb Rock recording produced by David Bottrill and mastered at Gateway can almost literally blow your socks off with powerful drumming and bass played by some of the best Rock musicians around.

Tragically (but mixing humor into tragedy), the track tells a story based on a Californian pulp newspaper report about a poor schizophrenic 12 year-old boy who believes he is receiving radio wave messages from God via his dental braces, then warns the world of impending Armageddon. Although the track still retained plenty of wow value –- hard for it not to -- it lacked the ultimate chest-cavity demolition potential I've experienced with other cable combinations. The kick drum lacked weight and drive while the rest of the drum kit seemed recessed. In fact, the presentation seemed distant and detached.

As a result, I felt unable to become emotionally involved with the music. My brain intellectually processed and indeed rejoiced in the copious yet smooth detail, fast transients and presentational ease - yet something emotionally was lacking. Ease, smoothness and distant perspective tipped the balance into a lack of presence territory. The problem was then further compounded by the above-mentioned slight compression of ultimate dynamics. I like my main rig to sound present and involving yet not too forward. If I need to relax with music, I catch the nearest lift with on-board muzak or a few zzzs with the clock/radio on the ABC station softly playing in the background.

Numerous Rock and Jazz CDs revealed the same result and a little more. In my system, the Eichmann cables lacked ultimate bass power but perplexingly not deep lower octave bass extension. You may think that could be room-induced but I beg to differ. I have not experienced this phenomenon with the multitude of cables I've tried in this same room. For example, where the kick drum lives, I found the tone lacking in power and punch although detail was good. Yet deep bass where the organ lives sounded as full and extended as my reference. I suspect that this trait in conjunction with the already mentioned qualities would suit classical orchestral music more satisfactorily.

And indeed, said resolution, detail, smoothness and timbral accuracy really sounded glorious with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Solti conducting Beethoven's Eroica [Decca Legends 467-679-2, 2001]. The resolving power and delicious detail recreated the music in its entirety, whole and full regardless of the over 40-year old recording and subsequent remastering. The soundstage was captured in its immensity with especially noteworthy depth, with all instruments in their proper place and the symphonic forces reigned and in turn freed at will by the uncompromisingly controlling Sir Solti.

Ditto for Jascha Heifetz playing the ""Finale" of Bruch's Concerto 1 in G minor, with the New Symphony Orchestra of London under Sir Malcolm Sargent [RCA 6214-2-RC, 1962 recording re-mastered 1987] where that distant perspective lent the recording a cavernous acoustic. Seemingly and eerily, my relatively modest room dimensions were transformed into the vastness of the Walthamstow Town Hall acoustic, playing to a particular strength of the Watt/Puppy combo when married to the appropriate ancillaries and cables. However, that lack of dynamic shading and the distant perspective smoothed over Heifetz' instrument and decreased the illusion of a real violin's presence.

After hearing this piece and revisiting the other pieces above, this very phenomenon became more obvious. One way of explaining this particular aural trait seemed as a shortfall in harmonic and tonal coherence as though the music failed to become part of an emotive whole.

Take 2
Many of you will have read my report on the Super-Fi show staged here in Sydney a few weeks ago. It was there that I met up with Rob Woodland for the first time, face to face, mano a mano. We discussed many things audio as one does at Hi-Fi shows. To Rob's credit, he never once asked me how the review was coming along. However, I felt it would be fair to mention my concerns in the areas described. Rob's answer? To really understand and indeed reap their full performance potential, Eichmann cables need to be thought of and used as a system solution. In other words, Eichmann cables all round - the holistic approach. Color me cynical but normally, I'd file this under "unbridled, unashamed marketing/sales propaganda". Coming from Rob however, I filed it under "I respect his opinion, give him the benefit of the doubt". Hence a few days later, I received another cable for the power amplifier to complete the AC quota and a set of high-purity copper, Teflon-insulated, passively buffered Eichmann eXpress 6 loudspeaker cable with the new bayonet/ banana plug. Back to that listening couch!

Well Rob, a thousand apologies! What a difference. Now music was gelling together far better. I was once again able to connect with the music's emotional color and intent. Dynamics were not state-of-the-art yet but noticeably better and the kick drum came back and rejoined the music. The perspective was far less distant, moving slightly forward and thereby increasing the illusion of presence and aliveness whilst retaining that signature smoothness and lack of grain. These cables need to work together. Given the fact that I now look upon them as holistic system solutions, I will not embark in futile explorations of progressively eliminating cable numbers and types so as to lay blame or glory on the "interconnect from DAC to pre" or "the AC used on the power amp". Nor, in light of these findings, will I start to isolate for the purpose of evaluation the Eichmann AC cables plus my reference interconnects against my AC plus the Eichmann interconnects and so on and so forth. I am going holistic, not ballistic.

A dramatic fact to bear in mind: This is no system solution of the ilk of an MIT Oracle, Nordost Valhalla, Kimber Black Pearl or Transparent Reference approach. Those SOTA offerings will do most if not all things exceptionally well in individual applications. As a team or complete system rewire -- unbeatable as they well might be -- they become a field of dreams few of us can afford to play in. Not so the Eichmanns.

The world of relative truths

In holistic philosophy, an out-of-kilter event is a manifestation of a dysfunction of the whole rather than a singular isolated individual phenomenon. Deal with this event and you restore and cure the whole. In keeping with this analogy, in my system, the dynamically reticent, soft and distant Eichmann interconnect cables represented an out-of-kilter event that disrupted the whole. In conjunction with the Eichmann AC and eXpress speaker cables as a system solution, the balance was restored. Together, these affordable cables from Down Under exorcised grain and harshness, enhanced micro-dynamic and transient detail and recreated soundstage information when present in the recording, to restore emotive involvement as a result of preserving the music as the whole.

The Eichmanns are modestly priced cables that together work extremely well and won't break the bank. If used throughout as recommended, they will transform bright and lean systems and will also match well with more neutral components within their station and above. In the context of such systems, they present a strong argument. At the price, you couldn't ask for more.

Eichmann Technologies International replies:
I'd like to thank Edgar for getting to the core of the Eichmann "holistic" paradigm, as heard in the Eichmann eXpress cable system. From day one our objective was to offer an "affordable" high-end product that captures the essence of those mega-buck cables we audiophiles lust after.

The "holistic" approach was a result of looking at electron flow from wall socket to loudspeaker – and how we can enhance this flow. Hence the Bullet Plug connector, the Bayonet (banana) connector, the fractal technology used in the AC Cable, the Ratio and EMF buffer technology used in the interconnects and speakers cables.

eXpress cable system is a chain of innovative technology that offers maximum benefits when the chain is complete. And our thanks to Edgar for taking the time to evaluate the "system" and for his complimentary "Take 2" comments.

Of course, we're not alone in recommending that interconnect and speaker cables are best used together. Most cable manufacturers are in complete agreement here. And the premise is not based on one cable making up for inadequacies in the other – but rather, to complete a synergistic whole, with the design philosophy carried through.

In saying that, we have hundreds of customers around the world who have great success in using only one part of the Eichmann cable system. So, our cables complement many other cable products and components in many different Hi-Fi and Home Theatre systems. However, a special magic can occur when the "holistic" approach is adopted - as Edgar has rightly pointed out.

Thanks again for a fine review.

Rob Woodland
Managing Director
Eichmann Technologies International

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