These cables, along with Dream State Veridical and Lucid Dream power cords, were graciously lent to me by Eric Love of Audio Surroundings (www.audiosurroundings.com). Eric did not ask me to write a review of his cords, but I plan to audition a good bit of equipment this year, and intend to memorialize each audition for my own records and hopefully the benefit of others. While these cables are made by Eric, I have taken care to write a review that is true to the cords. Not a difficult task, because...
These cables stand on their own as one of the best values on the market right now. As it goes with all gear, and particularly cables, listening preferences, hearing loss, age, and associated equipment will all play roles in an individual's assessment of the "best" cables, and to a small degree comparable cables relative to each other.
As with the other review of these cords, please skip to "Analysis" if you're not interested in my personal biases regarding equipment and cables.
For me, I rank cables on one objective criterion before making judgment calls based on the factors mentioned above. First, if I'm forking out cash for an aftermarket cable, I expect it to be free of colorations. Piano seems to be the best test for me. It's astonishing to me how many high end cables can't get the tone, much less the attack and decay of a piano note correct. Brass instruments also seem to be a stumbling block for certain types of cords.
After listening for coloration, I sit down and listen critically to see if I cnn determine what the cable is doing. If I can easily tell, I have to figure out if I like what it's doing. Generally, though, if I hear some sonic signature I'm going to rank the cable lower than I would a more transparent cable, since my philosophy is ideally I don't want to hear a cable. I want to hear music, and let my equipment determine the sonic attributes I hear.
At some point I just let go, and listen more passively. I ask myself, If that "toe tapping" quality is lacking in the cable, I'll notice it pretty quickly in this phase. This can be the kiss of death to me, because for me this hobby is about emotionally connecting to the music and being able to step out of reality for a bit and step in to a world of memories, imagination, or both. The better the reproduction of the music, the easier it is for me to just drift off in to La La Land.
Pop/rock from the 60s forward, with emphasis on the 80s; Country over the last 20 years; jazz; some classical (mostly stuff I played while in band in high school and college); contemporary christian and praise and worship dating from the early 80s.
Personal preferences in cables
I enjoy a warm cables as much as the next guy. Unfortunately, warm cables IME deprive rock and country from the excitement of the percussion, and particularly cymbals/high hat. Order of importance for sonic attributes after coloration is: speed, soundstaging, detail, tonal balance, dynamic range. I like a lot of detail, but not to the point of coldness. My Cary 303/300 prevents most cables from falling off the cliff in the cold department, though.
ANALYSIS OF FUSION IMPULSE/ENCHANTER POWER CORDS
Coloration: None noted. Piano and brass instruments sounded natural. All other instruments and vocals sounded natural as well.
Sonic signature: Detected, though only when swapping interconnects to test soundstage. I did not hear the fairly dramatic difference between my KCI Silkworms, Gabriel Gold Revelations, and Straley Reality Cables that I hear when the Stealth Dreams are in. I did hear more of a difference than when the Dream State cords were in, however.
Speed (PRaT): Very nice. On par with my Stealth Dream cords.
Soundstaging: Also very good. Not wall to wall good, but as good as my Stealth Dreams and the Dream State Audio Veridical and Lucid Dream. Swapping a Gabriel Gold Revelation interconnect in helped this a bit. Regardless of surrounding cables, these presented a nice middle ground between "forward" and "laid back". I suspect this contributes to the much better than average layering of the stage I experienced with these.
Detail: Eric had set me up to expect the cords would take a big hit here; they did not. They actually had better detail than any of the warm cords I've tried, and were more detailed than the older model DCCA cords I used to own. There is some diminshed detail in the sense of hearing the recording venue, but in terms of the individual notes I found the cords plenty detailed. These are about the right balance between "detailed" and "musical" for me. There is certainly no hint of coldness or sterility in these cables.
A subcomponent of detail is background blackness. These were obviously excellent in this area, as it is prerequisite to the level of detail I like from my system.
Tonal balance: balanced. Midrange not lush but not sterile, either. Top was present and palpable. Very nice job on the opening of "Subdivisions" (Rush, "Signals", Mofi remaster) with the percussion. Getting that right isn't an easy task. Bass is tight. Not overpowering, which is to be expected if the cable is balanced, fast, and detailed as this one is. Bass is certainly adequate by most people's standards.
Dynamic range. The best I've heard, period. The antithesis of the Dream State cords (this was the one big flaw of those cords) and even blew away my Stealth Dreams in this area. I tested three genres for this: classical, jazz, and pop with orchestral background accompaniment. Where the Dreams go from Piano to Forte these babies go from pianissimo to fortissimo! I don't know what about the construction of these cords gives them such dynamic range, but the boys are on to something here.
Toe-tapping enjoyment of the music: It's there. These are "fun" as well as "serious". They lend themselves to either listening type for me. I've been listening to music as I type this review with the Fusion cords in place, and I've had to stop several times because I wanted to really pay attention to an upcoming passage because I'm enjoying the music.
I'd never heard of these cords, and really only listened to them to humor Eric. Wow, I'm glad I did! They surpassed my expectations by a huge margin. I expected them to be somewhat like my old DCCA Source/Extreme Reference II cords, but not as good. How wrong I was. I would rank them in the same class as the DCCA cords: small company, good value, performs very close to the very best cords on the market. I would rank them ahead of the old version of the Source and Extreme Reference II by a moderate margin. I have not heard the newer DCCA cords to compare to these. At the end of the day, I'd say I'd actually keep these in my system over the much more expensive Dream State power cords, because these sound more "right" to me.
Objectively speaking, I would say these are cables anyone with a budget greater than entry level should hear. I would think at worst they would be found "not your cup of tea", but very meritorious. And for those looking for honest cables with good balance, these just might be the cords you've been looking for at a fraction of the price you thought you'd have to pay for top-tier performance.Associated gear Click to view my Virtual SystemSimilar products
DCCA, Stealth, Dream State, Vitual Dynamics, Kubala-Sosna, Tara Labs, some others that weren't memorable.