Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 12.2), PureMusic 3.02, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Questyle QP1R (AIFF), Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, S.A. Lab Lilt [on loan]
Preamplifier: COS Engineering D1, Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8, FirstWatt S1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; April Music Stello S100 MkII; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Sounddeco Sigma 2; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Audio Essence w. Gallo TR-3D subwoofer; Voxativ 9.87 system [on review]
Headphones: ALO-rewired Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1 & T5p, Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-XC, AKG K-702; stock-cabled HifiMan HE-6, HE-560 both with upgraded pads; MrSpeakers Alpha Dog and Alpha Prime; Aëdle VK1; Ortofon eQ5; Hifiman HE1000
Headphone amps: Bakoon AMP-12R, Eximus DP1, Stello HP100MkII, Questyle CMA800R (x2)
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event MkI and MkII; KingRex uArt double-header USB; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s and subwoofer
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves and Krion or glass-based Exoteryc stand/s for amp/s
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, Verictum X Block Silver on preamp and amp
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail: 1/m interconnect €1'690; 3m/pr speaker cable €3'990, 1.5m 8A power cord €1'590; 1.5m 15A power cord €1'890

For human knowledge
, omniscience would mean knowing all about everything. It's the ultimate renaissance man ideal. Generalized knowledge knows a little about a lot. Experts know a lot about very little. The ultimate expert would know everything about nothing. That's a silly scenario for how extreme specialization focuses down on smaller and smaller foot prints until there is nothing left. A family doctor used to be a general practitioner. He was capable of dealing with most common ailments. Today we have specialty doctors for pretty much any organ or bodily function. The implication is that by knowing a lot more about a lot less, such experts can do better work in their chosen field of specialization. That this entails the risk of no longer considering the whole person/patient is oft overlooked. Snip.

Hifi lacks standardized specifications and protocols. I/o Ω, speaker Ω and phase across the bandwidth, overall system gain, input sensitivities and a lot more are variable. In fact, anything at all which makes sound—and doesn't self destruct or trip circuit breakers doing so—may be sold and is. Hence consumer options to mix and mismatch are endless. That being so, most designers opt to make generalized equipment. It's supposed to play nice with everything. As a result, perhaps it isn't truly great with anything? As we get to one-brand systems or at least partial integration, there's potential for higher optimization. Active fully DSP-adaptable speakers are perhaps the ultimate integrators. With separates, we mostly get into generalized gear. This should be an ultimate match with very little. Unless one dealt with active WiFi boxes, cables remain a requirement. Here too the theme remains one of generalization versus specialization. Shielding or no shielding? Floating or fixed? Charged or uncharged dielectric? Organic or synthetic? High or low gauge? Copper, silver, alloy, Carbon fibre, graphene, rare earth metal? Solid core, hollow core, ribbon, stranded, braided, Litz? Twisted pairs, coax, stacked ribbons? Bandwidth? What are the ideal values for capacitance, inductance, resistance and length? Once again, an extreme cable would play fabulously well with just a very select group of gear as that to which it happens to be ideally (but likely unpredictably) matched. All the same, it'll pass signal to "make noise" with absolutely everything. All that's common sense. So is that what constitutes fabulous results differs from listener to listener. Not only lacks hifi proper standardization, even the expectations which end users have toward it are variable and ill-defined. No wonder there's such endless variety and circle-jerking disagreement!

Hollow silver pins for hot and return, solid-core silver conductors, wooden RCA barrels and central wooden identifiers over the Indian rubber sleeve make up the OCC Silver interconnect.

In the wake of my first June 2015 exposure to Samuel Furon's latest Organic Cable Concept aka OCC Silver, these facts arose. With our Frenchman now making home in Montreal, he spends a few months each year in the south of France. It's near his ancestral estate where a business partner continues to handcraft Ocellia speakers. Only cable and electronics production migrated with Samuel to Canada. At the onset of his year 2015 Tour de France, he stopped by our Swiss digs. He wanted to hear a loom of his wires in our system and gauge my response relative to a review. To mimic his PHY-driver widebander concept with valves, I set up for him Martin Gateley's Swiss soundkaos Wave 40 widebanders as our most similar speaker concepts. Those were fronted by a FirstWatt F6 stereo amp driven by the COS Engineering D1 as preamp preceded by the Aqua Hifi LaScala II tube-buffered DAC. Replacing the usual Zu Audio loom with his power and speaker cables caused a drastic improvement well beyond any conceivable component upgrade. There was patently more bandwidth on top and bottom. There was a far more liberated in-room presence with a very powerful out-of-the-boxes sensation. Frankly, the delta of performance was shocking. To call the previous setup broken wouldn't be hyperbolic for once. If I thus listened exclusively to the soundkaos speakers—I do not—I'd feel forced to acquire the entire Ocellia set hook, line and sinker. And I'd probably still want the 6m long interconnects which Samuel hadn't brought at the time since he was waiting on more of his custom connectors. Unknowing/wanting this difference afterwards would be quite impossible. Ouch.