February 22, 2012

Wow! Wow! ASI AES/EBU XLR Digital Cable & Power Cord.

Guess how this posting's title came about? John(CMY Audio & Visual boss) was telling me if I liked the 75ohm RCA ASI digital cable(which I wrote about sometime ago), wait till I plug in the XLR version, "you'd go Wow!" he said. He continued that if I proceeded by adding ASI's power cord, that I'd go Wow! again. He further added that for one to completely benefit from ASI cables, the full cable loom is the way to go.

I brought the 110 ohm XLR digital cable and a pair of ASI power cords home to power my Bryston BDP/BDA-1 combo for this review. the ASI cables dressed in blue/black breaded sleeve are rather thin and feels some what stiff, but nevertheless, well built. I've been told not to bend them too tightly, for they might snap! The XLR digital cable are terminated with standard Neutrik male/female connectors on both ends, while the power cord is terminated with male/female Yarbo IEC sockets.
110 ohm AES/EBU XLR digital cable, in it's wooden box and certificate.

I first plug the XLR digital cable in between the Bryston BDP-1 media player and BDA-1 DAC. I recalled it had all the same qualities of co-axial version version but takes them a few notches up. I reported a very fast transient response and dynamic sounding cable, accompanied by a warm, rich and smooth top end with quiet back grounds, in my original encounter with RCA version. The XLR version of the ASI digital cable was even faster, harder and deeper in bass and dynamic penetration(does this sound a bit like porno promo here? Ha! Ha!)  The XLR version is quieter too in the musical back grounds, which allowed for easier to discern of finer details within the musical mix. I found the highs retained their warm, rich, smoothness, yet added a bit of sparkly sheen and crispness to sizzling high hats and cymbals. This cable starts and stops like a speedy Gonzales. It's exciting and "live like" as in concert energy wise. Wow! indeed.
ASI power cord, in it's box and certificate.

A few days later, I proceeded to add the pair of ASI power cords in to the mix, replacing my usual AOR Reference 003 to power my Bryston digital combo. Here, the power cords added a dimensional aspect of time and space to the equation. The ASI combo reminded me again of the JPS Aluminata digital cable, which is my reference to date. The staging and imaging factor now feels more complete and realistic with elbow room for each musician and "air" around the instrument, while maintaining the tight, exciting rhytmic flow.  One of the most highly entertaining cable combos I've tried to date. Wow! Again.

Prices for the ASI cables are as follows:

1 meter AES/EBU XLR digital cable = RM$2,350/pc.
1.8 meter power cord                        = RM$4,230/pc.

ASI is sold by CMY Audio & Viusal, contact John Yew at 03-21439206.

5 comments:

elhefe said...

Good write up. Myself however had a different experience when testing out the XLR digital cable. I was looking for an XLR digital cable to connect my CD transport to a DAC to make my whole system 'truly balanced' as I am already using XLR cable from DAc to amp.

1 week usage of ASI XLR cable was not really entertaining to my ears. It made my system sounds harsh and the high notes gives a pinch to my ears. The overall presentation of ASI in my system was dull.

I believe ASI does need a good matching system for it to excel. I end up purchasinga Siltech XLR.

Big E said...

elhefe,

Nice of you to respond to our postings. Reviews are based around what we heard in the context of our own system, and reported with a pinch of our very own subjective sound bias included.

The ASI cables seemed to work well in my warmish sounding system, but you may be right that in certain systems, such as yours, they may be too much of a good thing. I appreciate that you are sharing your experience of the ASI cables in your system, because I believe that your experience is just as valid as mine.

In comparison, I'd agree that Siltech cables tend to have a softer, less emasculating feel about their sound. Their highs are particularly some of the silkiest around. They also present music more elegantly, which in a way make the ASI cables sound rough by comparison. I am also a Siltech user, just so you know, and understand where you are coming from.

In the end, while cables are just as important as any other component, system matching takes precedence in the end. That's how we end up with so many brands of cables to choose from.

Finally, thanks for pointing out the other side of the coin!

elhefe said...

Big E,

Your welcome.Yes, system matching for ASI is paramount importance. The difference in sound between ASI and Siltech is like night and day for me. But I am not implicating that Siltech is better than ASI. I too is a regular to CMY and I must say ASI matches well to their set up in OU.Hence, thats why I request for them to loan me the ASI cable as well.

Oh, FYI, my set up is a full Musical Fidelity set up from source to amp except my TT. And the amp is driving ProAc D18. I have moved QED to Siltech for all Interconnects and now pending to demo Siltech speaker cable.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

When a single cable creates such a drastic day and night difference, there must be something wrong somewhere.

A good cable should sound consistent regardless of system. The only perceivable difference should be how much better it sounds compared to others.

I am just throwing these 2 hypothesis for discussion.

I heard the ASIs and thought it was quite good.

elhefe said...

CCSI (sorry, too long of a nickname :)

On the contrary, I do not believe one cable (or even component) is better than another. I only believe that each unit gives out different sound signature, hence a good matching is important to me.

The ASI used in the set up in CMY sounds very good to me but unfortunately when demoed with my system at home, it did not provide me with the sound signature that I wanted. For that fact, even the chosen Siltech, it may still not be another person's cup of tea if they listened through my system.

Subjective it is...but thats why all of us is in this hobby :)