Review: Purist Dominus Interconnect

Category: Cables

As some of you may know I posted a thread asking which set-up would sound better; 1) using short interconnects and having the equipment rack between the speakers, or 2) moving the front-end equipment off to the side and having only the amplifier between the speakers. The second set-up required the use of a much longer run of interconnect.
I received several answers telling me to avoid long interconnect while other suggested the improvement would be profound. One of the people (Albert Porter) who will remain nameless offered to loan me a 3.5-meter pair of Purist Dominus.
Now I have to digress. Several years ago a friend loaned me a 1-meter pair of Purist Colossus which he was auditioning. He was unsure of the cable and asked me to listen for a few days. After a few days of break-in I sat down to listen. After only a few minutes I said to myself, I don’t care what this costs, I’m buying it. Greg told me it cost $1200. I was sad to see it go, but I could not justify the cost and even if I could I did not have the money. I have since added Colossus to my collection and enjoy it very much. When the nameless AudiogoNer offered to loan me a cable several levels higher than I had ever heard I jumped at it.
After a few days a package arrived via FedEx. I spent the next several hours moving, leveling, and replacing the equipment on my DIY rack. For the next 48 hours I ran a signal through the Dominus. Most of that time I used the Purist burn-in disc but also mixed in miscellaneous CDs. On the third day I sat down for some serious listening. Serious listening involves the playing of LPs as opposed to CDs, although I did use a Blood, Sweat, & Tears SACD for a while.
As good as the Colossus sounded when I first heard it, the Dominus was that much better. I give it the highest compliment, which can be given, it was musical! It did not cause me to listen to the pre-amp, or speakers, or cable, I just listened to music. It was easy because there was so much less in the way of the music. The timbre of instruments was much more natural. Bass was tighter, with much more thump to it. The all-important midrange was lush and pure. The treble roll-off I experienced when I bought the Pass Labs Aleph Ono was gone. Treble which tended to sound shrill on CDs before was tamed.
The soundstage was dramatically altered. There was depth behind the speakers I never had before. It sounded like the rear wall was pushed back another foot. Voices and instruments were tighter and smaller with more air around them. Detail, which had been difficult to discern in the past, was obvious.
Much of the listening I did was with my new Simply Vinyl LPs. Even the old Elvis LPs had incredible presence. I was not aware how well some of those older LPs were recorded. Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks Lp revealed music much more involved than I originally noticed listening to the cassette back in the 70’S.
When I played Simon and Garfunkel for some friends they were amazed to hear two voices on the recording than the blend normally presented. Hoyt Axton's Gypsy Moth from the Fearless Lp was almost frightening. It sounded like he was there in the room with his acoustic guitar. Every recording I listened to revealed things I had missed in the past. In many cases it was like meeting an old friend who was actually more interesting than I realized.
This too shall pass, and pass it did. Much sooner than I was willing to part with the cables their rightful owner required their return. The feeling I had when I returned the Colossus ten years earlier was back. So close but stills out of reach. Seven thousand dollars is as impossible now as $1200 was ten years ago. “Were those cables worth $7000?” I can hear you demand.
I don’t know. How much would I have to spend on electronics to get the same level of improvement in my listening room?
I can tell you when I replaced the Dominus with my own cable the music seemed lifeless and dull. Everything the Purist added was back to normal for me. Last month it sounded just fine, but tonight as I write the review it sounds like someone replaced my HiFi with a boombox. I’ll get used to it and things will be fine in a few weeks but I am secretly socking away my pennies for some new Purist interconnect. If there was a weakness in this cable I will have to leave it to someone better than me to point out. I didn't hear any.
So, which set-up sounds better? It’s hard to tell because the Dominus interconnects are so much better than the Colossus or the Cardas I own. Having the rack out from between the speakers sounded very good and I think you can affect similar improvement without spending the amount required for the Dominus, I will keep this set-up even without the ICs because there was an improvement. Over the next few weeks I hope to get a better understanding of what happened and why, but if you can get your hands in the longer ICs give this set-up a try.

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

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Nrchy, I was gonna say that the most interesting question raised by your experience, was whether you think the improvement you heard from moving your rack out from between the speakers was due to removing the acoustic obstacle from the soundstage area, or from putting more distance between your source electronics and the speakers.

But on second consideration, all I want to ask is: Why have I been wasting all this time not directing my system concerns directly to Albert?!
Nice write up and good logic. I can see how one might confuse the benefits of moving the rack ( which we KNOW would be beneficial ) and going to a much higher quality albeit longer interconnect. Chances are, you noticed both at the same time and it would be impossible to judge which contributed the most gain to the system unless you had an identical length of your old cables to do a head to head comparison.

I hope that you have learned one thing through all of this. You should never let anything into your house that you can't afford. It will only break your heart if you end up liking it : ) Sean

PS... Albert said that you should ship those cables directly to me. Don't worry about contacting him to verify this. Everything is fine. Just trust me : ) .......
Excellant review. You have asked an great question,

“Were those cables worth $7000?” I can hear you demand.
I don’t know. How much would I have to spend on electronics to get the same level of improvement in my listening room?

I've asked the same question to myself, and often felt the cables, even at these prices were a bargain compared to what the same cost in electronics would provide. This of course is a sliding scale issue. If the equipment is worth $5000 total than I'm thinking $12,000 of electronics will top $5000 with the Dominus. It does beg the question of "at what price?" For me the cable budget is much higher than the recommended. This goes for DIY too Sean. A high quality DIY if built right can get as good as some of the very costly cables. Either way the cables bring the system to a level far beyond simple electronic synergy.
Nate, nice writing. You conveyed your dilemma quite well. If you are anything like me, you may as well get the Dominus, because you'll have no rest until you do. This is why I never audition anything on my system without the money to buy it(or the expectation that I will sell, beg , borrow, or steal to get it). However, I can listen to someone else's system that may far exceed mine, with no psychological difficulty. But if I put a really good improvement into my own system, Oh Brother! I had better be ready to dig into the pocket.
I agree with Twl: Nrchy was foolish to try this without being prepared to steal the cables from Albert.
Albert sent the cables to me with the understanding that they were just a loan. He was not looking to sell them, and when he made the offer I had no idea how good they were going to sound. One of the big drawbacks with the Dominus was they are 3.5 meter and I really need 5 meters to put everything where it should be positioned. I've contacted someone about getting a pair of Proteus IC cables which are one model down from the Dominus. I am also going to get a pair of Purist speaker cables too. I am hoping with the upgrade of my speaker cable and using the Proteus to retain most if not all of the improvement of the Dominus.
Zaikesman, I wish I could have done a direct comparison between my old cables and the Dominus but the Colossus I have is only 1 Meter so it was really impossible with the cable I had to remove the amp from the rack and try this arrangement. I made too many changes at one time but I still attribute the majority of the huge improvement to the cable. That said; I will not be moving the rack back between the speakers even though it breaks my heart to listen right now. I have a 5 meter pair of Nakamichi IC between amp and pre-amp. After the Dominus it's like going from HiFi to boombox. I hope I can swing the deal for the new 5 meters of Proteus this weekend but we'll see. I will let everyone who's interested know what happens when I get the new IC and speaker cable.
Sorry guys, I couldn't bring myself to steal from Albert.
I know at least one person who is very pleased with your honesty.
Darn it, I guess this means Albert won't be sending me anything anytime soon. Maybe if I come up with a tactic more persuasive than deadpan humor...
Begging and tears tend to be more persuasive. Although I must admit a person can be disarmed by a good laugh. Don't give up, the journey is at least half of the reward.
Nrchy, i don't think that anyone here was actually advocating "stealing" from Albert or anyone else for that matter. I think that Albert has more than shown himself to be a complete gentleman and would garner nothing less than the ultimate in respect.

I would hope that if such a situation were to occur to one of the "regulars" on this forum and we lived reasonably close to the "thief", that we would at least put forth an effort to do what we could in terms of the helping to recover the stolen merchandise. I know that i've offered to pay a few locals a "visit" for others that they had ripped off. I think that they figured that the seller was too far to stop by in person and that they would get away with stealing the items hassle free. So much for that theory. Quite honestly, i'm still waiting to hear back from one party as to whether they were able to get things straightened out or not. Sean
I hope no one, especially Albert misunderstood my poor attempt to end with a joke. There is nothing in the world valuable enough to make it worth stealing to me. A person never wins by stealing, and I can attest to Seans honesty. When I was put in the position of having had a deal go sour once I sent the money Sean offered to try to help.
Don't take things too seriously guys, were here to have fun (that includes angela100).
For what it's worth, I never for a moment considered any of you had bad intentions. In fact, I laughed out loud at several of the posts. Audiogon would be way too dry if we didn't post a few crazy remarks.

As for the Dominus, Nrchy ( Nate )and I spoke on the phone and from that moment on, I knew he was trustworthy. There are probably two dozen other members that I would consider loaning equipment to without concern.

It works both ways too, several months ago Sean contacted me in private and offered to burn in some audio cables ( for free ). This is a good community.

Hopefully we will continue to treat each other well, keeping this an oasis, away from the "background noise" of the rest of the world.
Nrchy, i forgot all about that situation. How did that end up working out for you ? Sean
Sean, I got the money back which wasn't really what I wanted. I wanted the phono section. I ended up getting an upgraded Pass Labs Aleph Ono which kicks the buttocks of the Krell IMO. So all things considered it worked out better for me. After listening to the Krell and the Pas Labs the Aleph Ono sounded much better. The hassles gave me several grey hairs. Thanks again for your offer though!
I am currently breaking-in a 5 meter pair of Purist Proteus. This is one model down from the Dominus. Watch this space for updates if you are interested.
As a new comer to your world, I am fascinated and humbeled by the passion that all of u exude. As an avid music listner I allways had my doubts about all this cable stories but forget about the placement , length, kind etc, my question is how long does it take to hear what u r hearing?

feeling a little inadequate, alex.
Alex, I'm not sure what you are asking. Are you talking about the "break-in" period?

I ran signal through the Dominus non stop for about a week, using the Purist burn-in disc and different CDs. This is one of the things for which CDs are actually good. The sound quality continued to improve throughout that time period. I suppose I had a few hundred hours on the cable by the time I had to send it back. As it broke-in the cable began to reveal in part what it finally sounded like when ready (subjectively.)

If this isn't what you were asking about let me know and I will try to answer your question more accurately.