August 2, 2009

John Player Special! JPS Super Conductor 3 Speaker Cable.

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

JPS = John Player Special, remember the JPS sponsored Tyrell F1 winning team from the 70's?

After knowing that I've being smitten by the JPS Aluminata power cord, but couldn't quite afford it just yet, Nelson Chia, Center Circle Audio boss, asked me to try out their JPS Super Conductor 3 speaker cable. "It's cheaper!" he said that with the 40% discount still applies to the final 2 pairs available. At RM$13.5K list price, the JPS Super Conductor 3 is the most expensive speaker cable to graze my system! Heck, it's even more expensive than my pair of Audio Physic Spark speakers. My friends are already giggling on the theme of "the tire is more expensive than the car"! So how does it sound?

In one word, "SUPERB!" The JPS SC3 is a supremely transparent speaker cable, almost top dog JPS Aluminata level transparent(vis a vis the JPS Aluminata powercord I played with in May)! What separates the top dog from the JPS SC3 is the finer level of nounces and subtleties in the musical passages are more well presented by the more expensive cable. I feel the overall level of performance capable in comparison to the JPS Aluminata is about 10% or perhaps 15% max.

The JPS Super Conductor 3 review sample came terminated with high quality WBT spades.

The band width of this speaker cable is widest I come across. So wide, it's probably showcasing the extremes of what my system is capable of, the lows and highs extension that is.

This speaker cable has no tonal balance or should I say imbalances to show, the highs, mids and lows are so evenly represented on it's tonal palette. There's very little character to speak of in fact, it's almost chameleon like in behavior when used with different power amplifiers, driving my pair of above mentioned speakers. There's a few things that are consistent in the JPS SC3's performance. The highs are always fully extended yet somehow never hint at brightness. The mids are always weighty, and vocals presented in full scale. The bass, always tight and tuneful. The bass will extend as deep as the equipment in the system will allow.

The overall sonic presentation of the JPS SC3 is extremely coherent. If the system can portray staging and and imaging well, the JPS SC3 will give you the widest, deepest most realistically room less sound stage possible, with all the audiophile air to breath too! Imaging is dense and solidly believable. It presents all the very minute sonic cues, harmonic subtleties and low level information is the most organic fashion, never letting the listener feel overwhelmed or distracted by it all, even when all is happening at the same time.

In it's 2 weeks with my system, I've partnered it with a number of systems. The first was the arrival of the Bryston 4BSST2, which proved to be a better match with the JPS SC3 than my usual Straightwire Maestro II and a pair of Siltech G5 LS-88 on loan. However, the Bryston was a poor match to the Pass X2.5 pre amp and it showed easily, via the JPS SC3.

The speaker end of cable. Why does it have to be so..... stiff?

It's been a really crazy two weeks for me, as a friend asked me to help him replace the aging 6H30 tubes in his Audio Research Reference 3 pre amp while he was away for 2 days. Fresh tubes installed, and for that 2 days, with my Marantz CD7 front end, Audioquest Sky interconnect, ARC Ref 3 pre amp, Cardas Golden Presence interconnect, Bryston 4BSST2 power amp, JPS Super Conductor 3 speaker cable and Audio Physic Spark as my system chain, proved to be the most enjoyable time I've had for a while now since the temporary departure of the Pass Alephs. That combo made me forget about missing my Pass Alephs if only for just 2 days!

As if my audio life couldn't get any better, the Bladelius Saga and Ymer pre/power combo arrived for a timely review! Now with the JPS Super Conductor 3 in tow, the sound took on a whole new different dimension! If the earlier system combo made me just forget about my Pass Alephs, the newly arrived Bladelius combo in the system proved that when hifi is so good!, it ceases to exist, and only the music remains! I totally forgotten about the hifi! I played disc after disc for hours, never feeling fatigue or tired. I just kept addictively wanting more music!

I can't reveal further about the findings of the above two system combo's sound, as I still have to do the Bryston and Bladelius combo in their own respective reviews to come soon.

What I am trying to say is that the JPS Super Conductor 3 is so sonically neutral, it can very easily fit in to many a system combo and still come out showing all the system's glorious qualities. If the system sounds awful after inserting the JPS Super Conductor 3, don't blame it, it's just the messenger telling you, there's something not right and you'll need to investigate the cause, take remedy action.

Panzer dreaming of another early X'mas present? I luv ya Santa, can ya hear me??? he,he!......

I only have 2 grieves about the JPS Super Conductor 3, first of all it's a little too stiff for easy handling. It stubbornly sticks out in to any directions it deems fit! You cannot bend the JPS SC3 too much, or you'll end up snapping it, your musical joy will be ruined and that's a guarantee! The said stiffness also puts a lot of pressure on to the WBT spade terminations at both ends. Even the spades are at risk of detachment if you can't accommodate the bending angle just enough. Also, older amps and speakers with very closely mounted terminations will be at risk of shorting if the JPS exerts too much pressure at the terminations, causing them to turn, even after they are securely fastened. I am very careful to check for turned terminations(resulting in positive/negative contact) before switching on power amps, otherwise I risk not only shorting amps that do not belong to me, but my speaker cone drivers or tweeters may pop too!

The other grieve is the price or the timing! I know, I know, good things are never cheap. Listed at RM$13.5K, factor in the 40% promotional discount, it's still cost RM$8.1K to acquire the JPS Super Conductor 3. That, for now is something I still can't afford until I finished paying off the Torus Power purchased earlier. Now, if only Center Circle Audio will do another JPS cable promotion in a few months time? That'll be perfect timing!

If you've got a thing for the JPS Super Conductor 3 speaker cables, hurry!
Only 2 pairs left with the 40% promotional offer.

JPS Cables are sold by Center Circle Audio, tel: 03-77282686

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