Review: Revelation Audio Labs Testament, Paradise, Precept Speaker cable

Category: Cables

Revelation Audio Labs: A System View

I would like to share my experiences with the Revelation Audio Labs cables including their Precept power cables, Paradise RCA and XLR interconnects, Paradise phono cable, and Testament speaker cables.

My first exposure to Revelation Audio Labs began with the purchase of a Precept AC cable in December of last year. I wrote a review of this cable and compared it to two other well-known and respected AC cables.

This was the finest AC cable I had ever heard due to its revealing midrange; great speed and power in the bass, and a detailed, but non-fatiguing high end.

Three months latter, I purchased a Graham Phantom tonearm and decided to replace the Graham IC 70 cable I was using with a RAL Paradise phono cable.

Here are the results of that experience:

I was so impressed with the phono cable, that I ordered speaker and interconnect cables from Brad at Revelation Audio Labs. I am using two sets of XLR interconnects and one RCA set that runs from my preamp to my Wilson Watchdog subwoofer. I was using Silversmith Silver speaker cables and Cardas Golden Reference XLR interconnects.
Compared to the Silversmith Silver speaker cables, the Testament speaker cables were faster with far greater resolution from low to high. High-end details were simply something else; a Martin guitar sounded like a Martin; a Gibson mandolin sounded like a Gibson. On the other hand, the Silversmith speaker cables were slower and darker in comparison. Most of all, the dynamic qualities of the Testament speaker cables were simply the best I have ever heard. The Testament bass was very fast and defined with great power and slam.

The Cardas cables have been reviewed by a number of Audio sites recently, but the most accurate review in my opinion was that of Robert H. Levi of Positive Feedback Online:

The Paradise cables were faster with a greater sense of blackness to the background than the Cardas. The bass was not as prominent, but more detailed. The highs were also more detailed and had a greater sense of ease or speed, but were less prominent than the Cardas Golden Reference. Both cables had a wide and deep soundstage.

In summary, I heard the same qualities in the speaker and interconnect cables that I heard in the Precept AC cables. I did notice a synergistic effect when all the cables were Revelation Audio Labs. The first thing that struck me was the degree of enhancement of background silence. Very small details emerged from this silence that was previously obscured by the other cables. The natural beautiful midrange of the RAL was enhanced and had almost a “tube-like” midrange quality. The third enhancement was to the soundstage width and depth. It became huge. Two other audio enthusiasts have e-mailed me their impressions of RAL cables. The common thread that seems to run in everyone’s impression is the uncolored and engaging quality to the midrange most often described as “musical”.

Given the cost of high end cables today, the Revelation Audio Labs cables are truly a bargain.

The Revelation Audio Labs Web Site:

My system and pictures can be found at Audio Asylum under Mercman.


Associated gear
Levinson 32 Preamp, Levinson 33H Amps, Wilson 7, Wilson Watchdog, Basis V Vacuum, Graham Phantom Koetsu Jade Platinum, Esoteric UX-1. PS Audio P1000, 300, Walker Audio Velocitor, Audience adeptResponse

Similar products
Silversmith Silver Speaker Cables
Cardas Goldn Reference XLR
Hi Steve,

I found your impressions of the RAL cables very enticing. They are great cables, no doubt about that in my mind.

Like yourself, I too have used the Cardas Golden Reference cables previously. Biased as I may sound, I GREATLY prefer the Cardas interconnect and speaker cables to the RAL alternatives, and like yourself I've tried both as well. Powercords are a different story. I believe RAL has the upper hand here by a wide margin and even the precept II shames the cardas golden reference on sources. As I'm sure you already know, the precept is a big step up on the precept II.

I found the precept AC cord to be my favorite offering by RAL. And Brad is such a professional gentleman ... doing business with him is a great experience.

But I have some reservations about his use of 5N silver throughout his cables. I do not find them lacking in sonic coloratios. In fact, I find a strong silver sonic content permeates the highs of his interconnects and speaker cables ... yes they do sound very open initially with great extension but they also bring out so much sibilance that some beautiful vocal music becomes unlistenable through them (Patricia Kaas: Piano Bar). In my system, these interconnect and speaker cables clearly dissociated the highs from the midrange, and colored most brass instruments. Apart from that (which was a deciding factor for me), these cables convey a great sense of liveliness with excellent speed and dynamics, quiet backgrounds, excellent transients and visceral bass (as opposed to the authoritative and deep bass conveyed by the cardas golden reference which I also preferred in my system).

The precept II is a good powercord for digital. But it doesn't even come close to the shunyata anaconda vx in my system. The difference was not small here, try to audition one if you get a chance (and let it settle in for at least 1 week prior to auditioning) ... I don't think the results will dissapoint.

The precept is a very good powercord. It certainly offers great returns at its price. Awesome 3-D soundstaging and transients, micro and macro dynamics are first hand, even the bass is awesome. This cord would have been a keeper in my system ... but for those "silvery" highs ... they drive me crazy. In my system this powercord did not match my other choices. Overall, the cardas interconnects and speakercables with shunyata powercords and powerconditioning where the way to go. The precept is left from the wall to the hydra, I have no problem with it there.

Associated equipment:

Audio Aero Capitole MKII SE
Whest Audio DAP.10u
YBA passion integre (using amp stage only)
Revelation Audio Mistral S6 with sub6
Symposium rollerblocks series 2+ on all equipment (double stacked on cd player and amp, with grade 3 balls under cd player)

Different systems, different results!
FWIW i had the revelation audio paradise rca for awhile and they didn't have any piercing treble i could detect. in fact i found them very soft up there. i would say the cables sound more like copper/gold than silver.
the real strength of the paradise cables is the midrange. very revealing with great body.
The results were present in both my systems (I use electrostatics in the other) and they had 250 hours of break-in/settle in in the HT system, 120 hours in the 2 channel system, after which they went back to the HT system for another 300 hours. Same results every time: excellent resolution but highs overemphasized and colored IMO. compared to the Cardas alternative, but definitely more lively. And I agree with you on the mids of the RAL cables. I wanted to buy more of his cables, but did not feel they were my cup of tea after trying them out in both systems. I haven't sold them yet.
Soundwise, I find them an improvement on my old Tara Air 1 cables. They have greater extension and air than the Taras. I felt I had removed something from my system, not added it--there was less "speaker cable" there. Of special interest is the more full and defined bass. I have had poor luck with silver cables in the bass and I felt I might need to go back to the Taras if the Testaments did not measure up in that area. Some discussion with other audiophiles leads me to believe that the less satisfying bass found in many silver cables is due to the makers using too thin a gauge of wire. This is often suggested as the reason for the perceived brighter highs, as well. Perhaps simply using a beefier gauge of silver wire is Brad's secret---I don't know! In any case, I'm pleased.
While the B&W802D is not considered a bright speaker, I did not hear any of the signs of "silver brightness" at all. (Frankly, I consider the whole "silver brightness" issue to be wildly overrated. Either that, or it's one of those things that some people are oversensitive to.)
I also note that while the Taras were very sensitive to outside interference (they really had to be up on cable elevators and dressed away from the steel stand) the Testaments seem, to my ears at least, to be pretty much immune. Again, this is impressive and speaks well to the effectiveness of his shielding technique.
Overall, I'm very happy with the biwire pair and consider them one of that rare species, the genuine audiophile bargain.
The Taras have since been sold via Audiogon. (^_^)
I bought the RAL umbilical for my Musical Fidelity Nu Vista and was very guarded as I abhor the silvery sound. Brad assured me that they were smooth with no top end etchiness. How right he was. I then tried the interconnect. Still no etchiness. If anything the top is full of wonderfully sheeny. The midrange is tubey with voices in the room and the bass absolutely natural. They have elevated my system to anotherlevel and I have now ordered the PSU cables for the amplifier and Precept II for both my amplifier and CDP.
The interconnect is the best I have heard and have used Nordost SPM, Acoustic Zen Golden Reference, Chord Signature and most recently Chord Indigo ($2000) which is recognised as the best interconnect made in the UK. Well done RAL