Review: Acoustic Zen Hologram II Speaker cable

Category: Cables

I have already posted a review of my DIY speakaer cables to the Audience and Shunyata speaker cables. I felt that the DIY cables held there own and sounded more natural than those two cables. IMHO, those cables were not worth the difference of $1000.

Enter the AZ Holograms. They are very thick cables and they were mono runs, not bi-wired to my B&W speakers. Were they better or just different than my DIY speaker cables?

First off, IMO, the AZ cords have their own characteristic that makes your system sound refined, detailed and very smooth. First thing I noticed was better bass, it simply went lower, and was pretty well defined. It was hard to compare the bass definition becasue my DIY cables did not go as low. Second, the AZ cables have a blacker background making the sound different, drums, cymbals, vocals sound natural and very balanced against each other, maybe a little less snap to the snare. The DIY cables are a more forward cable so they sound a little more opened and definately more in your face first row versus tenth row with the Holograms. I like both sounds for differenct reasons. Third, the AZ cables sound more extended and refined in the high frequencies. Not that the DIY cables are edgy but they are not as smooth or refined sounding. The DIY cables do offer a slightly more open (wider) sounstage and IMO, slightly better image focus. The DIY cables also have less depth that the AZ so that may have something to do with it. Having the added bass response improved the sound in that it added more weight to the notes like piano, and stand up bass plus a longer holding of notes which adds a different tonal texture to the music.

I can explain the differences in these two cables as the DIY cables sound like the Rolling Stones recording where the music is not as refined sounding but natural in a bar band kind of way, where the AZ sounds more refined like Jeff Lynn from ELO had a hand in the design. Just listen to the Traveling Wilbury CD where Lynn really processes the sound. The AZ are not overly refined to that extent but I was just using that to paint you a picture for comparison. Which is better, I dunno. I like them both, but I would probably pick the Holograms for longer term listening and maybe re-position my speakers to be less toed in to open up the sound stage.

Hope you liked this review and Happy Listening. YMMV.

Associated gear
Sony SCD-777ES, AZ Sil. Ref. ICs, Pass Labs X-1, Pass Labs X-250, B&W Matrix 803 Series II speakers, JPS Labs Digital AC, Power AC and Audience Power AC, separate dedicated AC lines.

Similar products
Audience AU24, Shunyata's new speaker cables, DIY 6awg speaker cables.
Have you compare the Satori against the Hologram II?..
I'm also curious as to why the Hologram only make Bi-wire
for the 2 way speaker only?...Is it better to go single of
the Hologram II or is better to go with the Bi-Wire of the


I cannot answer your questions. There was a reviewer who said that if the Satori's are A then the Holograms are A+. I quit uiing the bi-wire because I read somewhere about the pros and cons, maybe the Audience web site if I remember correctly. I use long speaker runs so Robert at AZ told me to use the Holograms for more copper. The biggest improvement to my system was changing my speaker placement and getting them out from the rear wall, about 4' when I do my listening. The only way to see if the bi-wire Satori or mon Hologram cables will be best for you is to call AZ and have them ship you both pair and decided for yourself. I was going to do that but changed it upon RObert's advice. He also told me he uses the mono runs on hiw personal set up with B&W speakers. Go figure.
Have you compared the Holograms and the Hologram IIs?

If so what are the differences?

I moved from Satori single run to Hologram single run and it is a step up with the biggest difference for me being a more refined and detailed high end and the bass was tighter, otherwise the two are very similar in tone and balance.

Your review seems pretty close to what I hear.


Are you guys Single Run with the Hologram with the solid
bar going from your two bottom terminal to your two top terminal?....Sound like Single Run sounded it better the
going with Bi-wire ehh?...

I'm confused. the bi-wire is definately more expensive to go?...but if it doesn't help the sound, then why go bi-wire right?
Never compared the two Holograms and the you need to hear the difference with your system before anyone can tell you anything difference. It comes down to what you prefer. Call AZ and see what they can do for you with sending out both the bi-wire and non-bi-wire cables so that you cna hear for yourself.
I run the cables to the bottom half of the speaker and use a cheap mapleshade foil jumper.
For Longho and Bigkidz,

Long, the original Hologram was designed to be able to biwire 2 way speakers. Many people wanted a single cable (internal) biwire setup for their 3 way speakers. Robert Lee responded initially by making some modifications to the cable. He then released a new version, the Hologram Mark II, which IS designed for most all 3 way, as well as two way speakers. There is a different balance in the amount of wire dedicated to the upper range: The Mark II has a heavier gauge wire going to the upper portion.

Bigkidz, it's my experience that in a 3 way speaker, it's better to hook up a non-biwired cable to the upper posts, and jump down to the low. This is because higher frequencies tend to be more sensitive to the additional connection than bass would be. A ribbon jumper may be best suited to go the other way around though, so you may want to experiment with a heavier jumper. In a two way speaker, I'd say it's best to experiment to see if hooking up to the cable to the tweeter or woofer is better.

Jeff Delman
Value Audio - Authorized Acoustic Zen Dealer
Peter, of course I've never heard your DIY cables, but based on my experience with the Satori mono's replacing Cardas Cross with my Thiels, your description matches very closely with my own impressions on all points - you've really nailed it. I am extremely impressed with these speaker cables for the price. I guess the Holograms couldn't be that much different except in direct comparision with the Satoris, but I'm happy and am not thinking about switching (although another member who's had these and liked them swears I need to try out the Audience - it's always something!). I know speaker cables are highly system-dependent when it comes to matching gear, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that anybody in the market check out one or more of the AZ products. The biggest question I have asked myself is how similar the Harmonic Tech's might be, some of whose interconnects I also own and am pleased with.

P.S. - Nice advice, Jeff.
Guys thanks for a very informative chat. I'm looking for a rewire and after placing a thread on the cables discussion forum, Acoustic Zen came up strongly, both for interconnects and speaker wires. I was planning a single run to my Living Voice Avatars and also contemplating Hologram jumpers, but they are $200, serious money if you are looking at 2nd hand cable.
It came up in you're discussion, but I'm still not clear on whether Hologram 1 and 2 are that different in single runs, any thoughts? Also any thoughts on the best type of jump connections on the speakers. I can'nt really try them out, I'm in the UK and the cable is not that available. Thanks again for a considered discussion.
Though I haven't heard the Holograms, your observations are pretty similar to my impressions of my Satori mono's. For the bucks especially, I feel they are great cables, and I'm going to stay here for the indefinite future.
For mono runs youshould be using the IIs not the Is as was stated by Jeff above. My Pass X-250 loves the larger size copper cable so that is why I think the DIY cable works so well in my own system.

Happy Listening.
It is quite amazing just how often the AZ cables come out with such high reviews. I own an AZ digital cable and I really like it. I have not bothered testing others as so many here like it that I am convinced. I am in the market for some speaker cable and it looks like AZ gets my business again.
Funny - I just realized that I first answered this thread back in January, and then again in August when it popped up for a second time, thinking I hadn't done so before. Hey, at least my responses are generally consistent with each other, even if I might be getting a touch of old-timer's disease coming on...
Following my earlier input, I've now aquired 2 metres of Hologram 1 mono wires. They do'nt come up much in the UK, so I grabbed them when I could. Good? absolutely,the detail and base are great. What really struck me was that they made music more musical. It sounded less recorded, more like the real thing. I've recentlly upgraded my Living Voice Auditoriums to Avatars and thes cables made as great an improvemnt to the sound and in a similar way. I agree with one response, the sound is clearly better with the cable connected to the treble and jumpers to the base. Nowone has answered my query, are Hologram jumpers worth $200. The UK importer has never stocked them, so I would have to buy without an audition. Any advise anyone?