Review: Marigo Audio Labs Apparition 5.6 Signature BNC-BNC Interconnect
I listen mainly to 60'-80's rock and jazz fusion as well as acoustic jazz. I am partial to live recordings. My system was Large Advent speakers, a Rotel belt drive TT and Japanese sand from 1972 through the mid-80's with the Advents providing my first taste of reasonably uncolored and full frequency reproduction. The woofers were gone by '85, and I put audio on hold till 2000 for family and career. Then, with spare cash, kids grown and a basement family room given to me by the boss, I incrementally built the system I have today. I had a lot to learn. The evolution began with full frequency/authority, adding soundstaging, frequency optimization and, finally, imaging.
A recent dedicated overhaul of my listening room with the CARA software and diffusor/absorber panels was an amazing revelation and well worth the large time investment required. Once I arrived at the flattest frequency response preserving "sparkle" (FWIW, I found that, for 2 channel audio, Mr. Rives is right - diffusion in front of the listener, absorption behind), while maintaining soundstage, I began to appreciate true imaging (from bass on up) for the first time. But I still didn't hear that "air" around instruments and voices described by people on this site and elsewhere - not even on my best recordings. While talking with Ron Hedrich of Marigo Audio Labs about his Orpheus Crossbow CD mat and how it audibly reduced glare from my worst cds, he went into extensive detail about the digital signal and optics by way of explaning how the mat "works". Physics and engineering background aside, Ron impressed me most as a music lover. Like me, he started on this hobby in the early 70's and is partial to live music. Impressed me enough to buy his digital interconnect. The Apparition 5.6 Signature replaced an Acoustic Zen MC2=Zen cable of identical length and termination and has been in use for about 50 hours. What has it done for $995 that its $320 predecessor didn't? It brought "air" to my system - in a big way.
"Get Your Ya-Yas Out" (Stones) - EVERY instrument is heard in its place (esp "Sympathy for the Devil"). Keith's vocal harmony on "Street Fightin' Man is palpable - air
"You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol. 2" (Zappa) - Frank has his guitar miked with some sort of stereo effect -always a bit muddy. I can now discern the individual notes on even the fastest solo flurries (esp "Inca Roads" and "Pigmy Twylyght")
"My Goals Beyond" (Mahavishnu John McLaughlin)- The true beauty of his acoustic playing has emerged. Every note is almost holographic. Also, I can now clearly hear John's guitar playing on the two ensemble pieces ("Peace One/Two"). These pieces had always eluded me, as the wind and violin solos seemed to lack a foundation. John's playing is it.
"Bright Moments" (Rahsaan Roland Kirk) - I've yet to hear a live jazz recording that even comes close to this one for capturing the energy and magic of a club on Saturday night. The "air" now present puts the band members exactly where I remember them. On "Fly Town Nose Blues" I can almost reach out and touch Ron Burton's piano, front left. Rahsaan's nose flute and scat have body (and soul). Habao can be heard rear left center, shaking a gourd throughout.
The effect is not a noise floor thing, it's coherence. I never thought I'd review any component, no less a cable. I was, frankly, shocked by what a difference the Apparition 5.6 made. It completed my system. I am blessed to be able to afford the gear I have, and understand that this cable is not for everyone. Even with components that make such a purchase rational, a couple of caveats (IMO) apply. If you've not tamed your listening room, I can't see how any cable can create a real semblance of imaging/"air". If you own speakers with significant phase anomalies by design, ditto. But if you've been looking for that extra bit of added coherence to help create the illusion of performers in your room, the Apparition 5.6 Signature may be a worthwhile investment.
Musical Design T-1 Signature CDT
Audio Note DAC 4.1x Signature
Musical Design SP-3 (ss) preamplifier
Blue Circle BC-28 (hybrid) power amp
Meadowlark Blue Heron speakers
Cardas Golden Reference analog ICs
Stealth Ultimate Ribbon speaker cables
RPG diffusor panels at first-order wall and ceiling reflection points and placed elsewhere in the front of listening position, with sonex absorbers on all walls behind listening position
Zu Cable Firemine RCA-RCA
Acoustic Zen MC2=Zen BNC-BNC