Thursday, May 29, 2008

Acrolink 7N-A2070 & Oyaide MTB-6

A long Hiatus away from audio blogging indeed!

There have been many changes to my system:

1) It started off with the changing of my interconnect from my CDP to the amplifier. At that time (January/February), i was contemplating whether to spring for the Acrolink 6N-A2400 RCA interconnect as i like the weight and bass definition that it gives to my system. Alas, there was s used Acrolink 7N-A2070 RCA at one of the local forums and the price was really appealing! Yummy :p

So i tell myself, why not go for this cable since the price is so good and bypass the A2400...that's how the story goes and i bring home a pair of the A2070 lol. The box is really heavy and huge. No wonder it is so expensive- the shipping cost must have been quite a bit.

I managed to compare the A2400 to the A2070.

Physically, the RCA plugs of the latter is really much bigger than the former- potential buyers beware of the separation of the RCA inputs of your equipment- the A2070 RCA plugs might be too big! Luckily for me, the RCA inputs of my CEC player are spaced far apart hehe :) The A2070 cables are also more substantial in size and weight compared to the A2400.

How do all these translate sonically?

The A2070 carries on the strength of the A2400 and brings them all to the next level. The music is organic and fluid. The A2070 is very revealing. There is much more information from both ends of the spectrum compared to the A2400.

It is because of this characterisic of the A2070 that i find my setup being rather bright to the extent of the vocals being harsh and unbearable. Often i do not feel at ease listening to the music that my listening session become very short. Indeed, this very revealing characteristic of the A2070 prompts me to look into my audio signal chain and to find the culprit.

Ok, maybe it is the Oyaide Across 750 interconnect used as a jumper between the pre and power of my integrated. i replace it with the A2400. Hmmm... the music is more fluid but the brightness and harshness is still there.

Is it my Korsun v8i amp that 6moons review to be a little bright?

It was then that i recall from my mini headphone meet with Yotiao that the RCA out from her CEC TL51XR player also sounds quite bright and unpleasant. Could it then be the CEC player at fault? Reviews from Positive Feedback and forums indicate otherwise. So what could be wrong? The CEC has both RCA and XLR output. Maybe the XLR output will sound better? So off i go to get the Neutrik RCA-XLR converter. Indeed, the sound is more rounded and more bearable.

However, the music is still rather unpleasant.

Both Yotiao and me are using the PS Audio Duet. Could our power be at fault?

One easy way to try out will be to bypass the Duet and plug all the equipment direct to the wall outlet. The nose floor increases. At the same time though, the bass seems to be more punchy and extends further. Vocals sound warmer and easier on the ears. So far, it seems to me that the Duet might not be suitable for me. I need to try out the Duet in another system.

I know that Steven from Audio Basic will be more than happy to allow me to do an A/B comparison of my Duet with his Oyaide Power Distributer/ Conditioner. Actually, he joked during the session that the abbreviation of his shop is AB lol. It is indeed through AB that we know which products are superior! lol

In our test, with three other customers in his shop, the Duet distinctly filtered off the lower bass of the music. This is very obvious in our test track involving drum rolls- the resonance of the skin of the drum is simply not there with the Duet. On the Duet, the vocals and the instruments sound as if they have their treble tuned up. No wonder that my setup sounds unbearable.

All is not lost for the Duet though. In a setup with rolled off highs and excess lumpy/rounded bass maybe the Duet might have a place (lol :p) or simply, stick to unrevealing/sonically coloured cables. For me, I like my system to be as truthful to the source material as possible.

I was then considering between the Oyaide MTB-6 and Audio Magic Mini Reference. The latter is making waves in forums around the world. There is also a favourable review on it at In the end, however i got the Oyaide mainly because, my cables are entirely Acrolink/Oyaide. I am told my the local distributor that i will need Audio Magic cables for the Mini Reference to shine. As i have already invested quite a bit of time and energy auditioning and being convinced by the Acrolink/Oyaide, i do not want to start all over again-too heavy on the wallet and draining of my energy :p Afterall, our final goal is the music :D

At the end of the day, i brought home the Oyaide MTB-6. Immediately, there is increased extension on both extremes of the frequency response. The music sounds a little thin initially. After running-in, the weight of the music improves and my listening experience is much better. I can finally listen to the music for hours.

However, the longer i listen to the music, i find that the imaging is rather hazy and also the music is a little muffled. Is this a sign that i should upgrade my equipment? lol