August 2, 2009

Dabbling In The Dark Side - Shunyata's Dark Field Cable Elevator

This is an old post of ours in the blog we previously contributed to.

The Shunyata Dark Field is a support used to lift a cable off the floor. Shunyata says that the Dark Field will drain away static electricity build-up and also control vibration in the cable (aah..... that vibration / resonance control thingy again). It is made of foam-like materials, but of a rather hard variety. Shunyata does not reveal the exact material make-up on its website though.

I took home 4 pieces from V&V Audio, Shunyata's local distributor, to try out. I was told that while the Dark Field's effect could be heard immediately, it needed some time to 'run-in' for the full effect to come through, especially if a lot of pieces were used. Honestly, I took it with a pinch of salt initially. :-)

I put the Dark Fields under my speaker cables, they felt quite sturdy in use. I chose the speaker cables because all the other cables - interconnects and powercords, were too crammed together for me to get the Dark Fields in. I had only 2 pieces of Dark Fields per cable, I placed them closer to the speaker end, as such not the entire speaker cable's length was elevated.

The Shunyata Dark Field under my speaker cable

In the first hours of listening, I could hear that the Dark Field Cable Elevators did have an effect on the sound. These initial effects could be described as having a more 'saturated colour' for the sound, while shaving a bit off the highs. Though these changes were not night and day, I could not agree to them entirely, it did not sound natural to me. So I decided to let the Dark Fields sit over night.

The next morning, I listened again. The first effect that I caught was from Jennifer Warnes' "Famous Blue Raincoat" track (Famous blue raincoat 20th Anniversary Edition 826663-10490), there were fewer of the ear-poking moments I got with the trumpet on this track in my system, however the trumpet still retained the requisite bite, which was good. The next effect that I caught was that minute details became better defined and more apparent. Only later on did I find that background noise also receded, each music note was heard coming off from a quieter background. I also thought that the sound had a little more bloom added to it, though I can't be sure whether it was the effect of the Dark Field, or the effect from my Shunyata Hydra 8 coming off more due the lower noise floor.

The overall feeling was that it was slightly more relaxed for me to listen to music.

While these changes could be described as small or subtle, I thought they were quite beneficial at the end of day.

I do not know how cumulative the effect will be if one were to go beyond 4 pieces. I don't plan to add more as I am already satisfied with the effect I got. Conceivably, the sound may become darker with more, just like what their name says :-). However, since that is not the direction I need for my system, I decided not to go down that way.

Tweaks such as this would be system independent, so one needs to experiment with their placement and especially the quantity used. I'd advise that the Dark Field Cable Elevators be added incrementally into the system and the owner going back and forth to find the eventual balance.

This quartet will stay in my system.
Looks like more and more tweaks are being added to my hifi now. Yes, I am going over to the Dark Side! :-)

List price for the Shunyata Dark Field Cable Elevator is RM100 per piece.
Shunyata is carried by V&V Audio - 016-3302049 Mr. Ng.

No comments: