I had been using Gary Koh's Absolute Fidelity speaker cables for about five years as my reference. I yet had to find cables that were less coloured, more resolved yet as tonally rich. As outstanding as these really are, a 15-foot custom pair would retail for a breathtaking nearly $11'000 - about the same as all my electronics and other cables combined. It wasn't anything I was comfortable with or could afford after taking a bath when selling our house on the East coast. Being a reviewer does not mean that pecuniary considerations no longer apply. Similarly, the new phono cable needed to be roughly 1.5 metres in length. Although the Lounge Audio phono cables work quite well with their own phono preamplifier, they did not perform as well with the Nagra VPS under review. So I also needed new phono cables that would be more broadly compatible.

Finally, as a reviewer I needed cables that exhibit minimum voicing of their own whilst letting through maximum information and keep the bill manageable. The speaker cables had to be fully compatible with my high-efficiency speakers but not be limited to them. It's why I love the Absolute Fidelity cables' versatility to pick them over Ocellia's own which mate perfectly with my main speakers but as Srajan showcased in his review of them, are far less universally compatible. When faced with this kind of dilemma, the best place to turn to is the boss himself; not Bruce Springsteen but Srajan. A few emails later, I had confirmation that he found his Zu Event cable loom still more than good enough for his own system and all the diverse gear he handles. That seemed a path to follow for me as well. I had little doubt that the Event now in MkII guise would be a great fit based on my experience with the Zu Libtec, Varial and Mother which I still own and use regularly. A Zu phono cable would be a new direction, however. Considering how Zu make a killer cartridge and run most of their demos with vinyl, I decided to jump in with the Event MkII phono cable as well.

As always, the guys at Zu were amongst the friendliest, most relaxed and helpful chaps in the industry. Within a few days, my new 15-foot speaker cables and 1.5m phono cable with optional silver RCA connectors were on their way. I keep referring to them as MkII. What makes them different from the originals? Being completely ignorant of cable design and having no desire to pass for an expert, the explanation is best left with Sean Casey of Zu. Goals for the Event Mk.II loudspeaker cable were to meet or exceed the resolution of intelligence realized in our Ibis loudspeaker cable of years gone by and still retain the tone and relaxed nature we made with the original Event loudspeaker cable. After lots of time, engineering and testing, we introduced Event Mk.II. How did we find more resolution and better tone? The majority of our engineering and testing was centered around the dynamic impedance characteristics of the cable.

It was while on this Smith Chart path that we discovered better ways to realize E&M and sonic targets while reducing noise and increasing dynamic range. We introduced more air into the dielectric space, increased DC conductance and the silver-to-copper ratio (more silver), then improved RF shielding through materials and process engineering. This wasn't all done at once. There was a good bit of round'n'round and thousands of hours of burn-in and testing, with several years bracketing the project. In short, there was a lot of time and effort put into this new loudspeaker cable. As always with Zu products, design and engineering were only serving the
'how does it sound' listening/living tests; and much more listening than the typical afternoon half-baked hifi get-togethers accomplish. Each change was first fully burnt in and then lived with, observation notes compared over weeks and sometimes months.