Jan 312012
 

The debate, nay war, continues to rage on across internet forums, on the real and virtual pages of audio magazines and I guess in bars up and down the country, even world, where audiophiles meet to discuss music (I hope) equipment (I am fairly sure) and the reality of signal and mains-cables making a difference to sound quality or not as the case\maybe. No doubt during such debates the nay sayers, who tend to be objectivists, will question the sanity and listening ability of those who say they can hear a difference and those who can, mostly subjectavists, will wonder how it is that the objectivists can’t.

Anyway that debate is for another place and time, as I am very much in the camp of those who can and have heard differences with both signal and mains-cables over the very many years (almost too many now to want to recall them) that I have been a music/audio enthusiasts, member of the audio trade and in recent years a reviewer.

I recall my first exposure to an after-market mains-cable, a Kimber one in a black plastic ribbed sleeve, with an M&K tough plug (silver internal fuse no less, very audiophile form a domestic and commercial supplier of electrical hardware; supplied as standard back then) as the connector and a plain IEC or Figure of eight at the end that pushed into the equipment. I heard a difference and not just a change but one that fundamentally improved the way the piece of equipment sounded/reproduced music. Shortly afterwards Sonic Link (2) released mains-cables onto the market, as part of their range of signal cabling and they too offered improvements over the basic leads normally supplied gratis with audio separates.

Over the last few months I have had a fair number of TrusoundZ cables installed in my reference system and these have pretty much included all the cables TrusoundZ make under the Revelation designation. These have included signal cabling: interconnects, both rca and xlr and speaker-cable and also mains related products. Having written about the signal cabling recently it is now the turn of the mains related products in the Revelation range, the TSZ-0966 mains-cable and the TSZ-0982 distribution block.

System Used

For the last month or so I have been falling in love with my Chapter Audio Preface Signature pre-amplifier and Couplet power-amplifier combination all over again, and the Chapter Audio amplification has also responded well to the TrusoundZ power-cables as had the Meridian G02 and G56 beforehand, so I have decided to keep these in place for this review.

The exact list of components used was thus….

Moon Andromeda CD player, Marantz SA7, Modified Technics 1200/SME5/Audio Technica AT33EV, BAT VK10Se phono-stage, Chapter Audio Signature pre-amplifier, Chapter Audio Couplet power-amplifier, Anthony Gallo Ref 3.1 speakers. Atlas Mavros speaker cable, xlr and rca interconnects, TrusoundZ rca and xlr interconnects and speaker cables. Equipment supports were Clearlight Audio Aspekt racks, SSC platforms, mana reference platform. Mains cabling was Audience AU24 and main distribution was from a Russ Andrews distribution block and M&K hospital grade metal box units.

In order to get a detailed overview of the improvements the TSZ-0966 brought to my system I had to embark on an extensive period of swapping them in and out of the system. I decided to concentrate on the mains-cable first before adding the TSZ-0982 distribution block to proceedings.

Music Used

Quite a large range was used but in the main, for comparisons, I stuck to only a few recordings thus making my life easier.

Thomas Dolby – Aliens Ate My Buick


Nitin Sawhney – Beyond Skin


Dali Demo CD


Product Description

The TrusoundZ Revelation TSZ-0966 mains-cable is beautifully made, and while a little stiff, is still  fairly easy to manipulate into position even in the tightest of places (and behind my system qualifies as that easily) a fact of which I was very grateful for as it made pulling it in and out relatively easy or maybe I should say it did not add to the degree of awkwardness I have in performing such tasks already.

The cable comes fitted with a Furutech FI-1363 Gold UK Plug and at the equipment end a Furutech FI-11 IEC connector and the inner core is of 2.5mm square. On the TrusoundZ website they describe the inner cores thus…..

‘The cores themselves are constructed from many fine strands of pure copper wire in accordance to VDE0295 Class 5 / IEC 60228 Class 5. These 3 conductors are oversheathed with a soft flexible PVC jacket which is then covered with a fine tinned copper braided screen and then oversheathed with an outer flexible PVC jacket. We then finish this fine cable off to suit our own finished standard by braiding it with a black polypropylene monofilament expandible sleeving held permanantly in place by adhesive lined heatshrink material.’

Furthermore the following comments are made about the cables connection hardware and construction…..

‘The 3 pin U.K. standard plug we use to terminate this fine cable is designed and manufactured by the Japanese company Furutech and they are built and finished to incredibly high standards using their Alpha Copper Alloy for the conductors which are then heavily gold plated. The body / housing is made from fire proof ABS.’

‘The female IEC connector at the opposite end is again made by Furutech with the conductors made from Alpha Phospher Bronze which is also heavily gold plated and features their ‘Earth Ground Jumper System’. The front body of the IEC is made from Nylon fiberglass and the back shell from polycarbonate.’

‘All of these wonderful components are meticulously assembled together by our skilled engineers in such a way that prevents virtually all EMI and RFI from being emitted from the power cable resulting in a much improved sonic performance from your system.’

Having chatted with Peter Sidebottom of TrusoundZ he also shared with me a few extra details about his mains products some of which I can share and some I can’t, but delightfully as with his signal cables this was totally ‘foo free’ and basically outlined some aspects of construction and the origin of these products, which are in the case of the mains distribution block extensively modified to fit in with TrusoundZ philosophy to quote Peter….‘they are significantly modified by us in house. Several hours of work have to be spent on each block to produce the final high standard finished product that we require.’

The specific way the mains-cables (and distribution blocks) are constructed (I can’t reveal exact details) are designed to do the following…….‘ The cores and the screen are wired to the plugs in a specific way to create what is known as a Faraday Cage around the 3 conductors. The purpose of this is to contain any RFI / EMI interference that is likely to be radiating from the cable thus keeping it within the confines of the cable itself and then being discharged to earth rather than it being allowed to radiate out from the cable and polluting the area in the vicinity of the Hi-Fi equipment.’

Peter goes on to say…. ‘I think that a good way to look at it is that the purpose of the screen on say an interconnect cable is to prevent unwanted EMI / RFI interference from penetrating or entering the cable thereby degrading the signal whereas the screen on a power cable prevents any RFI / EMI interference from exiting the cable and discharges it safely to earth before it has a chance to cause any signal degradation between the Hi-Fi components.’

For a fairly modest price £179.01 for a 1m cable, compared to many similar cables on the market, this one will, at least in material terms, construction and appearance guarantee pride of ownership, but how does it affect a system/components sound quality, is the question and one we will look at next.

Listening

For ease of access most of the cable comparisons were done with my Marantz SA7 SACD/CD player as access to my other equipment is somewhat limited to allow quick switch off, removing a mains cable, re connecting and switching back on, so the SA7 is the best candidate for a review like this one. On average I could perform this task in about 60 seconds, thus keeping the internal circuitry warm and optimised.

First of I listened with my reference Audience AU24 (the Russ Andrews Kimber wired distribution block was used at this stage of the review) mains cables providing the power and the usual CD playback performance levels were heard. I initially used Thomas Dolby’s track Pulp from Aliens Ate My Buick and expanded this to include Stimela by Hugh Masekela and tracks from Broken Skin by Nitin Sawhney.

Swapping the AU24 for the TrusoundZ mains-cable  brought an instant audible improvement, with increased bass (but with no bloating) detail and texture, a wider soundstage with increased depth and more spaciousness. Fine details in the mix had more air round them and stood out more, but not to the expense of cohesion. Music also gained a wee bit more body in the midrange but not in such a way as to thicken things up.

Swapping the AU24 back in resulted in all the improvements vanishing. The way music was reproduced by the SA7 this way was still very good but having heard it with the TrusoundZ TSZ-0966 one could not go back to how it had been before.

Now I should make it clear at this point that while this improvement was audible and clearly so, the differences were not massive but not subtle either. It was very much like the oft used adjective in audio writing, that the window which was thought clean was cleaned a bit more, and the addition of the TrusoundZ mains-cable let a wee bit more light shine upon things.

The TSZ-0966 I feel reduces the noise floor somewhat more than the AU24s thus letting the components hooked up with it perform more fully than without. The same results were also audible with the Chapter Audio pre-power but to a slightly lesser extent than with my Marantz SA7.

Towards the end of the review period, a Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) came in for review (at this stage I can’t say what it is but there will be a review to come soon) and I tried the TrusoundZ mains cable out on it as well which resulted in an improvement in resolution, sound staging, instrument separation and bass.

At this point I decided to introduce the distribution-block into my system.

The Trusoundz Revelation TSZ-0982 six way mains-distribution block.

Product Description

The TrusoundZ Revelation TSZ-0982 is a six way metal bodied and plastic topped distribution block (also available as a four and eight way) wired with TrusoundZ mains-cable (available with 1 to 5 M long power-cable. The one reviewed was 1.9 m long) and fitted with a Furutech FI-1363-L gold plated 13 amp UK plug. Construction fit and finish is excellent, with little key slots in the plastic top and bottom caps to allow for fitting to the wall or skirting board (some would claim that mounting these this way has negative effects on sound, as vibration in the walls, generated by the speakers, can enter the unit and travel up into the equipment it is connected to and loose floor mounting is preferable. I was not able to test for this so I can’t comment one way or another) if wide enough. There is a lighted on/off switch in the end of the block where the cable enters.

Peter during our conversation mentions the following additional information about this particular product…… ‘the TrusoundZ ‘Revelation’ distribution blocks have been taken a stage further, over the mains cables, by cleverly utilizing the aluminium outer casing of the block thus allowing the Faraday Cage effect created around the cable to extend its reach to encompass both the block and the cable.’

Listening

Next up I wanted to introduce the TrusoundZ mains distribution-block to proceedings to see if adding it to the equation added more improvements or over-egged things. I used it initially with the AU24 rather than the TSZ-0966 mainscable in the main to see if this pairing offered more than the AU24 with my Kimber wired Russ Andrews metal distribution-block and low and behold it did. I was a tad sceptical that it would, as having a light in it (frankly I think these flicker and introduce noise by doing so) I felt would put it at a disadvantage to the non light fitted Russ Andrews but it didn’t. Using the TrusoundZ opened the performance up more in exactly the same way as the mains-cable had. I swapped things back and forwards a few times and each time I went back to the Russ Andrews and the soundstage shrank slightly and inner detail and the bass lost a degree of resolution and extension.

Using the TrusoundZ mains-cable and distribution-block resulted in a further improvement in sound quality but not a massive one over using it with the AU24. Music gained a wee bit more refinement and inner detail and the soundstage gained a little more depth, the bass remained unchanged. I was relieved as I thought it just possible that the two together might edge things slightly into the warmer richer side of things but thankfully it didn’t.

Conclusion

I have had these cables in my system,  for quite a number of months now and they have without any drama got on with providing power to all the components I had hooked up to them and with an audible improvement over my normal reference power-cables from American company Audience the AU24.

I can certainly say that during this period I have tried these products with more components than during any other review I have done to date, that they have largely been consistently compatible with  all I have tried them with, bringing an improvement to the way music has been reproduced. However in saying that I must point out that this comment has to be seen in the light of the caveat, in my system, in my room and with my choice of music, but the level of consistency displayed here means that I can strongly recommend that anyone interested in trying mains-cables/distribution-blocks, would be potentially missing out if they did not short list these particular ones for audition.

From right at the beginning of the StereoKnight pre-amplifiers reviews I found that the TrusoundZ mains cabling has sounded somewhat better than my Audience references and as I needed consistency during the review period I mostly kept them in place, bar a few comparisons as I introduced new elements into my system and each time I did so, the TrusoundZ mains-cables performed better than the AU24s, and that was with or without the other system signal cables being from TrusoundZ.

Both the mains-cable and distribution-block represent excellent value for money (3) in terms of fit and finish, build quality, materials used and above all a pretty big bang for what it is a relatively low buck both used individually or together towards improving the sound of your system.

If you don’t have a decent distribution-block I would suggest trying it first and then add the mains-cables latter on or if funds allow purchase the block and main source and amplifiers mains-cables together. However regardless of what way round you are doing things, you are in for a treat as your system will reproduce music much better with them, than without them.

Well done Peter Sidebottom/TrusoundZ for bringing to market such high performance products for very reasonable money.

Strongly recommended.

Neil

Coming very soon the final part of the TrusoundZ series of cables reviews, the ‘Digital Data’ transfer cables.


(1) This was during a time (late 80’s to mid 90’s) when Russ Andrews distributed Kimber cables to high street audio retailers instead of as he now does, sell direct.

(2) Graham Naulty behind Black Rodium was the man responsible for Sonic Link cables and audio equipment back in the early 90’s

(3) TrusoundZ have recently decided to sell direct and as a result have reduced their retail prices by up to 35% thus making them an even bigger potential bargain if they suit your system. More details can be found here. http://www.trusoundz.net/

Products being reviewed:

TrusoundZ Revelation TSZ-0966 mains-cable 1m long £179.01

Trusoundz Revelation TSZ-0982 six way mains distribution-block, with 1.9m long lead £210

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 us 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 2011 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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