Review: Wireworld Supernova III+ Toslink Interconnect
The common wisdom is that toslink is inferior to 75 ohm digital RCA interconnects. My past personal experience certainly agreed with that. Unfortunately, I am currently using a Sony CD player as my transport and it only offers a toslink out. For about 6 months, I have been running the Sony into a Bel Canto DAC2 using a Transparent toslink cable. The Bel Canto was a big step up from the Sony's DAC, but the digital glare (particularly bad because I use horns) could become fatiguing. Worse, there were occasionally times when the Bel Canto could not effectively convert the data being sent by the Sony, which would lead to drop outs and noise (I've been told that this has to do with the Sony sending out a signal with inadequate voltage). I tried changing to the top of the line Monster toslink, but all I got was less detail than I had with the Transparent toslink and no decrease in the glare or other problems.
Then I read that Wireworld was making a glass toslink cable (most toslinks are plastic) and I decided to see if it would have any impact on the problems I was having with my digital front end. It was also relatively affordable (about $100 retail)and I have previously had uniformly positive experience with Wireworld products, so I figured there was little risk in trying it.
HOLY COW! As soon as I plugged the Wireworld Supernova III+ in between the Sony and the Bel Canto, there were very remarkable differences in the sound coming out of my speakers. At the high end, the digital glare of crash cymbals was gone and replaced with an airy, shimmering much more lifelike sound. But the real surprise was the change in the mid range: it went from analytical to meaty and gorgeous. And the low end? Well, I have been unimpressed with digital bass since I bought my first CD player back in the '80s. But now I am hearing bass that sounds like actual instruments being played, rather than the one dimensional "whump" that is so common in digital.
One thing that I was not expecting is that this new cable did take a few hours to really show what it could do. After about three hours, the sound became more liquid and integrated (sorry, hard to describe this in a more technical way). The next day, this improvement was even more pronounced. The change was particularly noticeable in the midrange.
The bottom line: this glass toslink cable more than addressed the problems I was having with my digital front end; it has made me re-think some of my long held prejudices against the CD digital format.
If, like me, you have to use a toslink interconnect, I strongly recommend you give the Wireworld Supernova a try. In fact, even if you are currently using a RCA digital interconect, you may want to give the Supernova a try. I would guess that it would compare favorably.
Bel Canto DAC
Sony ES CD player (as transport)
Wireworld Equinox III+ ICs
McCormack 125 Amplifier
McCormack RLD preamp
Speakerlab K-Horn speakers
Dynaudio Audience 52 speakers
Monster Toslink (top of the line)