Review: Revelation Audio Labs Passage Umbilical Cord Power cord
The review below is my review of the Revelation Audio Labs Passage umbilical cord that I originally posted on Audiocircle.com under the Mapletree Audio forum. I posted the review shortly after I received this cord and directed my comments to users of the Mapletree Audio Ultra 4A preamplifier which uses an umbilical cord to connect the linestage to a separate power supply. After living with this cord for a time, I am hard pressed to contain even greater enthusiasm for this cord than I had initially. The Rev. Audio cord has transformed the Ultra into a world class preamp. Although I have no experience in using this cord with other components other than my Ultra preamp, I believe that this cord should be a "necessity" for anyone that has a use for an umbilical cord. I don't usually speak so highly in recommending cables, but the music, the relaxation, and the joy that this cord has brought to my involvement with my system is deserving of the praise.
I've been in the audio hobby for a few years and have gone through more than my share of cables, interconnects, speakers cables, power cords and the like. I should know better than to expect miracles when plugging in a new cord. Still, for some reason, everytime I hook up a new cable, I have the unrealistic expectation that it is going to transform my system into the greatest stereo on earth. As if the heavens would open up and drop a pair of $20K Wilson Sophia speakers or, better yet (for me at least), the 12K Magnepan 20.1s. But, no, that has never happened, does not happen, and did not happen today. I connected the Rev. Audio umbilical cord between the Ultra preamp and the PS 2 power supply and turned on the music. My first reaction: it sounds like it did with the old stock cord. No change; no miracle. The same Ultra that was playing last night was playing now. Or, at least so I thought.
I know you can't perform critical listening within the first few minutes of plugging in a new cable, much less the first few minutes of turning on one's system, but I was impatient. I started putting on CDs I usually use to evaluate a new component. Something unusual started happening. With the more than a handful of CDs that I use to review equipment, I often don't get through more than a minute or two of certain select songs that I am all too familiar with before changing the song or CD. That wasn't happening here. There were no jumping and running to the CD player for quick changes. I was sitting there captivated actually listening to entire songs. The music was flowing easy and grabbing me. The sound filled the room and lingered in space like I've never heard before. There was a revealed emotion and passion in the sound that hooked me.
The Revelation Audio umbilical cord is made of cryogenically treated 99.999% pure silver conductors. It does not change the sonic signature of the Ultra. It does, however, allow the Ultra to be more of what it already is, a mighty fine preamp. I don't know how an upgrade of an umbilical cord can improve the performance of a component just as I don't know how a power cord can either. Afterall, neither of these cords are in the signal path. But, both of them do effect performance. Further, I cannot recall hearing a cable, be it an interconnect or power cord, that didn't have a sonic flavor or tone of its own. Yet, the Rev. Audio cord did not seem to have any tone whatsoever. It was not just neutral, it was completely getting out of the way and letting the juice flow. This is the reason I heard nothing when I first put it on the Ultra. It wasn't changing or interferring with the Ultra and its own character. It simply let the music play.
The cord being made of silver did what silver in a cable does best--soundstage. With the Rev. Audio cord, the soundstage grew beyond my expectations, both wide and deep. With an increase in perceived space of the stage, there was also the perception of more space between each instrument. The images were clearly defined and lingered in the air. The lines of images were clear clean and distinct, but also smooth and never edgey. There was an increase in resolution and detail. You could hear fingers sliding on guitar and bass strings, breathiness of a singers voice, the air passing through the reed of a sax, and the bristles of the brush skating across the drum head. Little neuances and textures were being discovered for the first time. Although there was no change in the overall tonality, the Ultra still sounded like the Ultra, there was a sense of being able to dig deeper into that tonality. More ambience, more weight, more clarity, all brought me once step, no, make that two steps closer to the music.
As stated, the cord is exceptionally neutral. I could not detect any character to describe this cable other than musical. And, though the cord is well balanced from top to bottom, I suspect it is not adding any extension to the Ultra. Nonetheless, with an increase in resolution, the bass does sound deeper and the highs a touch more open. These qualities already exist in the Ultra and the Revelation cable is following its namesake by simply "revealing" more of those attributes.
I have no connection or affiliation with Revelation Audio and they offer a 30 day money back guarantee so you have nothing to lose by trying it. Still, I'm amazed at how much this cord has improved the sound of my system, how much more musically engaged I am. This cord has truly been an upgrade, not just a tweak.
Mapletree Audio Ultra 4A SE preamplifire w/ Mapletree Audio PS 2 power supply
Stock umbilical cord