Mar 222012
 

This is the last in my series of TrusoundZ cables reviews and up until a few years ago it would have been seen as being about a fairly anachronistic topic (certainly re two channel audio) in so much that separate digital to analogue converters (DACs) had been out of vogue for quite awhile and thus not particularly mainstream. Of course some folks still using older DACs with transports probably bought in the 90’s when the DAC was a much more popular item and could be found in many audiophiles systems would have still been interested in digital cables.

In more recent times the transfer of Dolby or DTS digital information in a Home Cinema context has required the use of a digital cable to transfer the movie soundtrack info between the DVD player and the Home Cinema amplifier and with the recent advent in computer based audio, DACs are very much back in vogue, and while USB cables are mainly used with computer hook ups, many of these DACs have RCA, AES and BNC connections for the hook up of older legacy CD players and other items that have a digital output; so digital cables are once again required for audio use. Several of the cables TrusoundZ sent me to review recently are for digital data transfer and these are the focus of this review.

The timing of their arrival was auspicious in so much as I also had two DACs in for review at the same time and it was more than useful to check my existing reference cables off against these newer ones from TrusoundZ before I began the review of these DACs; or so I thought. In reality the reviews of the DACs and cables kind of happened together at more or less the same time; thus complicating things slightly and breaking with my normal choice to only review with base line items I use and know intimately. However on this occasion I broke with tradition in part; though I did still use items I know very well.

Product descriptions

Both cables are made from excellent quality materials just as the other cables I have reviewed from this stable of products were, construction is first rate and both cables were very flexible and easy to use and come already broken in. During use I did not notice a significant improvement in sound quality; unlike some other makes/types of cables.

The following info about both cables is taken from the TrusoundZ website.

XLR to XLR TSZ – 0050 £72.55 1m

‘TrusoundZ ‘Revelation’ bespoke hand made 110 Ohm AES / EBU digital cables are a true 110 Ohm cable in every way from the precision made 110 Ohm AES / EBU cable developed specifically for accurate digital 110 Ohm transmission to the specialist XLR connectors we use also developed specifically for 110 Ohm use.

The cable is fitted with a special ferrule at each end ensuring the integrity of the cable screen is perfectly maintained from component to component whilst the female XLR is also equiped with a circumferential ground spring which when mated with its male counterpart, ensures a tight positive earth connection between connector and component thus ensuring that the weak digital signals being transmitted / received are fully shielded against any unwanted external interference penetrating either the cable or the XLR connectors.’
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RCA to RCA TSZ – 0015 £90.51 1m
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‘TrusoundZ ‘Revelation’ bespoke hand made 75 Ohm S/P DIF digital coaxial cables are a true 75 Ohm cable in every way. The cable we use is precision made for accurate 75 Ohm digital transmission as are our connectors of choice, the superb WBT-0110 Cu 75 Ohm RCA with nextgen® technology, which unlike other RCA / phono type connectors are actually manufactured specifically for use where accurate 75 Ohm transmission and reception is required.’
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System Used

There were a few differences of significant note in my normal reference system during this review over and above the presence of two Digital to Analogue Converters (1) in for review and that was that my Anthony Gallo Ref 3.1 speakers had been substituted for a pair of Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5s and secondly the only Digital to Analogue Converter I had to hand with which a comparison between AES/EBU and RCA digital cables could be made was my Micromega Classic Dialog. This is a compact DAC from the late 90’s which uses the Philips TDA1547 DAC. I also used the matching transport, the Classic Data, which uses a Philips CDM12 laser and has both RCA and AES/EBU digital outputs.

The rest of the system was as follows: Chapter Audio Preface Signature pre-amplifier, Chapter Audio Couplet power-amplifier, Moon Andromeda CD player, Clearlight Audio Aspect Racks, Atlas Mavros cables, TrusoundZ speaker cable and RCA and XLR interconnects. Mains cabling was via TrusoundZ, Audience AU 24 and Analysis Plus Power Oval 2. No mains conditioners were used during the review.

Music Used

I used a large number of familiar recordings during the review period but for simplicity here I will only refer to these two albums.

Nitin Sawhney – Beyond Skin

The Dali Demo CD

Listening

One of my personal quirks has rescued or aided me in doing reviews on many occasions over the last few years and that is my predilection towards collecting audio equipment and this review was one such occasion. As mentioned earlier on I needed a DAC with multiple inputs and the only one I had to hand with both AES/EBU (XLR) and RCA inputs was a Micromega Dialog DAC, which I pressed into service for this review, with its matching transport, and as both needed warming up I left both on for a week before doing the review proper.

I decided to start of with the AES cable first and spent some time listening with the XLO version in place before switching to the TrusoundZ cable.

The Trusoundz AES cable was more open and detailed than the XLO one by quite a large margin which allowed the music from Nitin Sawhney’s Broken Skin album to really come to life within my listening room. The track Broken Skin had more depth and width to the soundstage with much better separation of instrumentation. Voices during the opening moments of the track had more definition and stood within their own clearly defined space as did lead vocalist Sanchita Farruque who now had solidity whereas with the XLO she was less three dimensional and her singing was less pin point within the soundstage. Via the XLO her vocals were spread wider almost like a bug flattened against the windscreen of a car. Bass was more open and detailed with more weight and articulation via the Trusoundz and the treble was lacking a fine layer of grain and glare that was present when using the XLO.

I used various types of music during the review period and found the same results I had with Nitin Sawhney so I won’t bore you with numerous comparisons here but I will say that the TrusoundZ digital cables worked well within the context of an all TrusoundZ cable loom or with others; in the case of this review those others were Atlas Mavros interconnects and speakercable.

Switching to the Trusoundz RCA cable and comparing it to the equivolent XLO digital cable showed very similar results in exactly the same areas as the Trusoundz AES cable had beaten the XLO cable but switching back and forwards a few times using the track Broken Skin left me with a strong preference for using the AES connection over the RCA one. This was interesting as in the past comparing AES to RCA had usually left me feeling that RCA was the better connection. I should however point out that this was with different DACs and Transports which I no longer had to hand to try these cables on.

Regardless of whether it was AES or RCA the Trusoundz cables outperformed my long term XLO reference digital connecting cables which I have been using for very many years (2) and by a significant enough a margin to make it pretty much a no brainer that at least for me, that funds allowing, I will be retiring these particular XLO cables from front line digital duty  in preference for the TrusoundZ cables. This was also the case when I used the XLO RCA cable and TrusoundZ in a recent (yet to be published) pair of DAC reviews (coming very soon).

Conclusions

Once again TrusoundZ have produced an excellent value for money re performance and materials signal connecting cable and whether your DAC uses RCA or AES connectors (no doubt the BNC version is just as good) you should shortlist these cables for audition. A no brainer……

Highly recommended.

Neil

(1) Deltec PDM3 and the Calyx 24/192

(2) These particular XLO cables are quite old and thus may well not be up to the current specification or the sound quality of contempary XLO cables. However I have used these as they are my long term personal references, which I selected at the time as being the best then, and I have compared them with many other digital cables more recently and I have always preferred them, that is until now.

Products being reviewed:

TrusoundZ Revelation RCA to RCA TSZ – 0015 £90.51 1m

Trusoundz Revelation XLR to XLR TSZ – 0050 £72.55 1m

Source Of  Product Loan – Manufacturer/distributor.

SurebuyZ / TrusoundZ

15 Blackshaw Road,

GLOSSOP,
Derbyshire,
SK13 7SN,
United Kingdom.

Website http://www.trusoundz.com/indx.html

Contacting Trusoundz:

Either directly United Kingdom ~ 01457 869889

From outside the United Kingdom ~ +44 1457 869889 (substitute the + symbol for your countries exit code)

You may contact by facsimile using the following landline number (charged at standard rates):

From within the United Kingdom ~ 01457 866764
From outside the United Kingdom ~ +44 1457 866764 (substitute the + symbol for your countries exit code

© Text and Photos Copyright 2012 Adventures in High Fidelity Audio…..except for TrusoundZ product photos and album covers. Copyright belongs with their original publishers.

NB No part or portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without written permission.

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