July 9, 2011

Power Trip! Entreq Challenger JV - The Absolute Reference & Discover Power Cords.

Energy Transforming Equipment!
Noticed if we've gone easy on cable reviews? That's because as Odiosleuth puts it ever so elegantly, "I don't really wanna sweat over the small stuff". That means cables normally don't excite us with significant enough performance advantage, over the ones we already have in our systems.

So I was rather surprised to find significant leap in performance with these Entreq power cords. Entreq is the latest brand to be represented by Swedish Statement, whose dealers include Ultimate Reference AV, Audio Art(Ipoh) and Audiomatic. Entreq products are all designed and made in Sweden by Per-olof Friberg, a self confessed farmer, who lives in harmony with nature. His products reflects his life's philosophy and hi-end audio art. Go Goggle for Entreq if you wanna learn more about this interesting man and his audio references.

The shot gun configured Challenger JV-The Absolute Reference is the alpha power cord in the Entreq range.
Now, we get to the cables in question. There are 2 samples submitted to us, first is the shot gun configured Challenger JV-The Absolute Reference, which is the flagship model. Then there's the mid range Discover model. Both 1.5 meter cables are well built, with cotton sleeves(especially the black Discover, which looks much like a standard kettle cable from the 70's!), and are terminated on both ends with quality Furutech plugs(the Challenger comes with the best that is the FI-50 series plugs, which are carbon fibre bodied). The shot gunned Challenger JV also sports a wooden clamp, presumably to align the 2 separate cores and provide some form of resonance damping. It's packed with a wooden box made of recycled pine.

A nice recycled pine wooden box to pack the Challenger JV.
I first plugged the Challenger JV in to my Pass Labs X-2.5 pre amp, as it offers the easiest access. Compared to my existing PS Audio xStreme Statement SC power cord, the Entreq is a total different level of beast all together! The sound of my system took on a much more organic, softer, and less edgy quality. The high frequency reproduction deserves a special mention, in regards to it's smooth, refined, and naturally airy quality, which is not really hard to do, right? But what makes the highs so out standing is that it's as if my system took on a pair of diamond tweeter ed Kharma Exquisite Reference speakers, in place of my usual PMC Fact 8! The mid range density is oozing with a certain healthy glow. The bass remains supple but does not hit particularly hard. This power cord also improved transparency as a result of it's silent back ground.String instruments, the violin, viola and piano in particular were rendered exceptionally life like. I played the Jz 8 CD, with Maestro in making Tey Cher Siang on piano, I remembered I had to previously confirm with Maggielurva, if he had actually used a grand piano in the recording of the album? He answered YES! But all this while, I got the impression in my system that it sounded more like an up right, than a grand piano. If previously the "grand" is missing from the piano, with the Challenger JV powering my Pass Labs pre-amp, the grandness of the "grand" piano is now audible, as reflected in the recording.

There's an overall lushness to the presentation of music which suited most acoustical and un amplified music just fine. However, I must caution that in some systems which are already some what biased towards warm tonality, then adding the Challenger JV may manifest as too much of a good thing perhaps?

Lastly, priced at RM$11,000.00, the Entreq Challenger JV ain't exactly a bargain either, but in the context of a suitably super high end system, it has qualities that can make those too analytical/clinical a system shine.

The Discover model is mid range and mid priced too. 
Next, I substituted the Discover power cord in place of the Challenger JV, still using my Pass pre-amp as the point of change. I found the cheaper Discover cable to be more tonally balanced, yet still affording a tinge of warmness, enough not make this power cord sound sterile. That special Kharma speaker like high frequency reproduction is now no more, replaced by a still smooth, and refined, if some what less airy presentation. The mids are a little more open, with less density and body. The bass takes on a tighter and more solid foundation. I also found a slight back ground "haze" a.k.a. white noise present. The "grand" sensation in the grand piano of the same Jz 8 recording is also reduced accordingly. The transparency factor is still excellent, if less so compared to the Challenger JV. The Discover cable will present music with more immediacy too, which I enjoyed tremendously.

However, with it's more balanced tonality, the Discover will do rock and pop music with great verve and energy. It does not have that overly lush characteristic of the Challenger JV, which makes it more compatible with more systems in general.

With a price tag of just RM$3,055.00 the Discover will certainly find it's way in to more systems meaningfully. I totally enjoyed my time with the Discover cable, even after stepping down from the more capable Challenger JV.
The Discover is terminated with Furutech FI-11 Cu on both ends. The little wooden tag is a nice touch.
 While at the Ultimate Reference AV showroom, I was also treated to the Entreq range of speaker cable and interconnects. I find them to out perform their price range and do provide exceptionally good value for money. Still have your doubts? Go try give the Entreqs a try.
The Challenger JV comes with product literature and manual too!
Entreq is sold by Ultimate Reference AV, contact Ms Goh at 03-77314999.

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