Graceline cable from Black Cat cables
I am once again pleasantly surprised at how a fairly inexpensive cable from Black Cat cable, this time under their new Graceline moniker, can be so amazingly competitive with cables from other manufacturers whose wares are far higher priced!
For those of you who are new to Black Cat cables, they are the brain child of Chris Sommovigo, the cat(pun intended) behind several of the Kimber designs of the past...and now behind the amazing value for money...Black Cat cable line.
The cable I am listening to is the entry level model in Chris’s new Graceline catalog. These cables are a separate line to his ongoing Black Cat line, but are a more ‘upscale’ version of his previous thinking in cable design. The model up from the one under review is based on his Old Setsuna model and is called the Graceline 2/Setsuna..with a Graceline 3/Mezame also being available, both of which I have not heard, and both of which are considerably more expensive. This model, aka the Graceline 1/Kibou is available as a ic pair, and as a speaker cable...the ic is what this review is about.
My sample is a one meter cable with the standard RCA’s at both ends, therefore not balanced. The RCA’s are the standard Lovecraft connector, which I have been told is now being replaced by the Lovecraft Reference connector, at no additional cost! Just a word on these connectors, while they are good, imo, they are far from SOTA...and as such probably part of the reason that Chris’s cables are so reasonably priced. Compared to the upline Furutech’s or WBT’s, they are a possible detriment to ultimate SQ, but impossible to tell...and the Lovecraft don’t seem to get in the way that much...if at all.
At first listen on my system ( see member systems for the gear line up) I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Gracelines are certainly more resolved than my Coppertone pair, and match up well in the digital realm of my system...unlike some other cables that are primarily silver based. The Gracelines immediately brought about a sense of calm to the presentation, one that prevailed throughout my listening session. This calm was in contrast to the slight ‘confusion’ that was now evident with the other cables that were in prior sessions. How does calm equate to music...well in this case, with the Dire Straits MFSL reissue of Communique on the platter, the sound of Mark Knopflers Strat was more accurate and integrated into the whole mix than before. Not something that one notices, until that is the change is brought about. The other aspect that impressed me with these new Graceline cables is that they are obviously not veiling any information...at least not that I could hear...and certainly not compared to the far more expensive cable which they replaced. Resolution of minor details like harmonic decays and small background cues is more in evidence.
The Graceline Kibou is a nicely flexible, fairly light weight cable, I like this as the days of heavy/pricey thick unwieldy TexFlex covered cables are behind me. This cable is nicely presented with a cloth covering, thereby insuring longevity, and with ease of attachment and routing...something that I have grown to value.
The Graceline level one cables are a winner, in pricing and in SQ. Grab a listen to a pair if you can...highly recommended.