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In use, the Absolute Fidelity speaker cables proved quite rigid and the short tails on each end did not easily bend into position. After a quick email exchange, Mr. Koh indicated that future production would adopt longer leads to provide greater flexibility and convenience. Sonically the Absolute Fidelity speaker cables can be described as almost as fast and articulated as the ASI LiveLine but with more body and tone. The key word is almost. If you are tuned into the finest dynamic nuances, if ultimate articulation is your goal, then the Absolute Fidelity falls just a fraction short of the very best I know, the ASI LiveLine.

But in some ways it is more balanced. It gives up that last fraction of dynamic realism to add a little more tonal richness and upper bass emphasis, a touch more bloom and body. Its treble presentation compared to the ASI is slightly less shimmering, cymbals don't have the same ultimate sparkle but it is probably a little more forgiving (though with the Genesis circular ribbon tweeter being particularly good, I am not sure it needs forgiveness). At the other end of the spectrum, the ASI LiveLine is tighter, straighter and leaner while the Absolute Fidelity has slightly more bloom and weight.

I won't waste your time with pages of descriptions. The two cables are very close indeed and the above talks about subtle nuances to capture what they do as well as I can. Both cables offer magnificent flow and have a natural ease. They simply have two slightly different takes on the music but nothing radically opposed. They are far more similar than not as they should, being speaker cables that are not looking to be tone controls.

The slight differences can be easily appreciated when one remembers that Genesis speakers are known for their open undistorted sound that harmonically can seem a little dry especially when transitioning from paper drivers. That their favored connectors would be a little warmer and richer makes perfect sense then. The ASI Lifeline on the other hand seems to best fit systems with already rich yet highly dynamic speakers and is becoming a favorite with SET amplifiers. That it should focus on timing and ultimate articulation over harmonic bloom also makes sense when you consider that Franck Tchang plays the guitar.

I did not say much about how the Absolute Fidelity compares to the Zu Libtec. In a few words, the Genesis cable is slightly better in almost every way - timing, resolution and certainly tonal realism. The operative words are slightly yet noticeable just as the ASI was a clear step-up over the Libtec. The ASI and Absolute Fidelity add that extra level of realism and refinement.

One topic remains pricing. My role is not to judge or tell you what to spend your disposable income on. I'll simply point out that the ASI LiveLine costs €1400 for 2.4m (roughly $1750 at today's exchange rate) and can be purchased through a normal brick and mortar network. The Absolute Fidelity in the same length would cost about $3500 or exactly double. Yet in the context of my system the ASI was just slightly preferable. Though not quite as good, the Zu Libtec comes close indeed for $1200 (3m pair). In this case we must invoke the law of diminishing returns to explain how a little extra gain comes at a very steep price. (Zu sells direct without the ability to listen at a retail store. Many including me would argue however that their 60-day return & refund policy trumps any dealer listening option).

In the end and in the context of my system's dense and rich speakers, the half-priced ASI LiveLine was simply a better match though I can easily see that with more transparent speakers lighter on harmonic density, the Absolute Fidelity speaker cables might be more desirable. My wallet is simply thankful that this isn’t the case at my house.

Quality of packing of the cables: Simple and effective.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: Can't be easier
Condition of component received: Flawless.
Quality of owner's manual: N/A but the website is very informative
Human interactions: Helpful and prompt
Suggestions: When it comes to cables in this price range, we are clearly in an area of fast diminishing returns yet for low distortion transparent speakers (think not only Genesis but most electrostatic panels, speakers with ceramic drivers and certain Wilsons) the Absolute Fidelity cable will be a superb match. For denser darker speakers like Zu or WLM, there are better suited more affordable solutions.

Gary Koh comments:
Thank you for publishing yet another honest and revealing review by Frederic Beudot. I can see clearly why in the context of the dense and rich loudspeakers he uses, he would prefer the ASI Liveline. As Frank Clark writes, "We find comfort among those who agree with us... growth among those who don't." Based on Mr. Beudot's comments, it looks like I would have to design a companion high-efficiency version of the cables for owners of high-efficiency loudspeakers that require even lower current capability than the Genesis loudspeakers.

Incidentally, after Mr. Beudot's review of the G7.1f loudspeakers where he wished that they had a more sensuous midrange, I made the upper bass/lower midrange richer - and my dealers, customers and I thank Mr. Beudot. His critical comments resulted in a better loudspeaker. One point I would like to note is that we offer a 100% return and refund guarantee on the cable products. We are also working with our dealers to offer the same, and hence with the Absolute Fidelity cables, your readers can get both the dealer listening option as well as the return and refund option after an extended personal home review.

Gary Koh
Absolute Fidelity website