August 2, 2009

Is This Your Lifeline?

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

(posted on 2/4/09)
This is GCK's current fave, the Liveline interconnects from Acoustic System International. He was nice enough to let me take them for a spin for a couple of weeks.

(posted on 7/4/09)
Does you system sound unexciting? Does listening to music put you to sleep? If your answer is 'yes', this Liveline will be your lifeline.

The Acoustic System International Liveline is a pair of unassuming looking interconnects. Compared to some thick-as-a-hose-and-stiff-as-a-steel-rod interconnects (like my JPS Superconductor 2) or others that come with their own 'accessories' (like my Audioquest Sky's DBS battery packs), the Liveline is plain Jane. And therein lies its friendliness, the Liveline is easy to install and causes no anxiety in use, other than the caution that they should not be bent at a sharp angle as it is solid core in construction.

I put them between my cdp and preamp for my listening sessions, replacing the Audioquest Sky.

If you look to inject a bit more life and energy into your system, you must audition the Liveline, these were its most obvious qualities during my first listen. It imbued music with a youthful liveliness that easily grabbed the listener's attention, I found that I was usually rapt in attention when I was listening to it. This ability was also helped, in no small measure, by the Liveline's speed. In fact, I found the Liveline to be speedier than my AQ Sky even.

Further listening revealed a very open midrange and highs. With this openness also came excellent image delineation and very good portrayal of details. It is indeed quite transparent. The Liveline could unravel all manners of complexity in music, on Hugh Masekela's 'Hope' album, track 3 'Mandela', I could almost count the heads in the audience as they responded to the band. I could hear who was doing what, both in the band and in the audience, it was uncanny. Coupled with its speed, the entire performance just galloped along. A lively and exciting listen, cool!

While doing all these, the Liveline did not tip itself into the dark side - it was neither cold, nor hard, nor harsh, nor rough.

Compared to my AQ Sky, the Liveline was more incisive and emphasized on focus and clarity, whereas the Sky had a little more bloom and a slightly more fluid and organic sound. Listening to the AQ Sky was a little more relaxing, whereas the Liveline challenged your senses with interesting musical details. The Liveline sounded more neutral while the Sky had a touch of warmth. However, I do not want to make too much out of these, as which attributes you go for may depend on subjective preference. Most importantly, both were capable of conveying musical enjoyment to the listener, which is the most essential hifi quality in my books.

If there was anything at all, it was the Sky's fuller body which I personally preferred in my system. Of course, this is also a matter of system matching - I would root for the Liveline's slight leanness if I suffer too much of, say, the stereotypical 'fat tubey sound'.

If you want to grab your music by its collar, shake it out of its slumber, and shave some pounds off it in the process, the Acoustic System International Liveline interconnects is a must-listen.

It will help you raise your music from the dead.
(phew... getting a little dramatic, am I not?) :-)

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