Review: Revelation Audio Labs Precept II Power cord
In June I purchased a first one and then a second Revelation Audio Labs Passage cable to replace the umbilical provided with the Musical Fidelity X-PSU. The cables powered a MF X-DAC and An X-10 tube buffer – all version 3. The RAL Passage cables had an impressive effect on the system, which I tried to articulate in a review posted on Audiogon on June 21st.
Based on the great success I had with the Passage I decided to try a few additional Revelation Audio Labs cables. First up was the Precept II power cable, which I used between a PS Audio UPC 200 and the Musical Fidelity X-PSU. My reasoning was simple - given the sonic improvements wrought by the Passage cables in providing power from the X-PSU to other MF components, the next logical step would be to address the power provided to the X-PSU.
I ordered a 0.75 meter Precept II from Brad at RAL, who was happy to provide the shorter length at a lower cost than for the standard 2 meter version advertised on the Revelation Audio Labs site. I decided to use a short run primarily because I didn’t want to have to deal with routing all of the extra cable and 0.75 meters was all I need. The fact that it was cheaper certainly didn’t hurt.
The Precept II replaced a Signal Cable power cord, which was quite good especially considering its cost. However, as with the Passage cables, the Precept II had a very real and very positive effect on the music produced through my system. As with the Passage cables, it does take a minimum of 100 hours of break-in to sound its best. Right out of the box there are noticeable improvements in the highs, but the mids and bass are constricted and overall the cable lacks the richness of real music/instruments. This changes dramatically as the cable breaks in.
Cutting to the chase, the Precept II is a definite keeper in my system. It has a synergistic effect with the Passage cables, and clearly is cut from the same cloth. Overall, it has provided an enhanced sense of realism to music played through my system, and a greater sense of ease and life. It helps by painting a more complete or vivid picture of the music being made and the place in which it was created – either a real space such as a concert hall or club, or an artificially created studio environment. If I had to characterize the Precept II in just a few words I’d summarize the cable as fuller, faster and more articulate, with enhanced focus, definition and dynamics.
For those of you who are interested in such things, following is an overview of the changes I heard in my system after allowing the cable to break in for 120 hours. Note: If you have checked out my review of the Passage cable on Audiogon, the only piece of equipment I have changed since then is to replace the Counterpoint SA 3000 pre-amp with a Placette Passive 3 input unit. The Placette, as most of you know, is designed to maximize transparency and as a passive unit will usually allow one to hear differences in associated equipment and cables readily.
• Bottom end:
o The Precept II cable provided low end and bass that was faster. Bass instruments and the recording acoustic were both bigger and had more tangible body
o Deep bass notes were clearer, cleaner and my speakers were able to go deeper than prior
o Bass was also much more punchy – bass drums came through the mix more distinctly and with more drive
o Like the bass, the mids became fuller and more articulate as well as smoother
o There was increased body to instruments and more definition in ambiences
o More reduction of sibilance – at least on CD’s that are well recorded. In some cases I know that we’ll never banish it completely. It was interesting to note that power provided by the Precept II cleaned up some discs better than others, and even different cuts on the same disc. If there is one thing I would dearly love to remove completely from my system with virtually every disc played it would be every last vestige of sibilance!
o Highs were more extended and (here we go again) faster and cleaner
o And as with the Passage, the Precept II provided enhanced resolution of reverb, ambience and space
o The soundstage grew in every direction – it was higher, wider and deeper
o There was increased separation between instruments noticeable, as well as enhanced focus
o The front of the soundstage seemed to move a bit more forward in front of the speakers, especially with albums such as Steely Dan’s “Two Against Nature” and to become more enveloping
o Voices in choruses became more separated and segregated in terms of their tone, essentially becoming more “individual”
o Music emerged from a “blacker” background. I had read this term many times but only now do I understand it via experience
o Silences between cuts and around instruments/voices improved
o Dynamics increased, enhancing the sense of realism
I haven’t tried many other power cables out there – and I know there are many hundreds. So there might be other products that offer similar benefits in other systems. But I can say that in my system the Precept II, like the Passage cables, provided a more thrilling and realistic picture of the musical event in virtually every case. The Revelation Audio Labs power cables have been, for me, a revelation (I tried, I really tried, to come up with a better term but that word truly encapsulates my experience). They have helped my rather modest audio rig (by high end terms) become decidedly more revealing, transparent and enjoyable – much more like music. This cable is certainly worth checking out and, given the asking price, seems a bargain in the high end cable world. In my experience it has delivered significant audio improvements across the board, with no negatives, and all for a modest outlay. What more can one ask?
PS Power Port
PS UPC 200
Pioneer Elite PD65 used as a transport (on a Cambridge Audio isolation base)
Musical Fidelity X-PSU, X-DAC, X-10 (all v3)
Placette Audio Passive Line Stage (3 input version)
NYAL Moscode 300 (mod by Gasworks) on the floor on a Cambridge isolation base
Opera SP3 Speakers
Lovan Stand (each shelf on its own points)
Shanling, Revelation Audio Labs and stock power cords
PS Audio Statement Digital Coaxial
PS Audio Plus interconnects
Kimber 8TC speaker cable