Review: ZSleeve Ultra Tweak
I have always been one that enjoys trying the latest tweak. As far back as the introduction of Sorbothane and the first exotic speaker wire, which if I remember right, was marketed by Polk Audio. If you are like me, you've tried many tweaks that have made a wide range of changes, both negative and positive. In the early days, I experimented with any new product that hit the market. Although I still try many of the new tweaks that come along, I have become more conservative with age.
I now tend to consider the retail vs. the actual construction cost more than the retail vs. the sonic gain. This thought process stopped me from initially trying the Zsleeves for the retail cost is obviously far greater than the cost to produce. On the other hand, with a 30 day money back guarantee, I could decide later whether to pay a high price for technical know-how.
I decided to try the Ultra Zsleeves at $299 per speaker wire. The product is designed to absorb RFI without the negative effects of using ferrite rings. I currently have speaker wires of 17ft length, so if the product performs as advertised, I should hear a nice improvement.
Prior to the first listening session with the Zsleeves installed, I warmed the system up for an hour. The Zsleeves immediately provided an improvement with little change over the next four hours of listening. Apparently there is little break or settle-in necessary. The session consisted of a wide range of Red Book and SACD's covering contemporary jazz, pop/rock, and classical. On every disc there was the same type of improvement.
Specifically......Inner detail was improved with better separation and layering, bass definition improved, with dramatically better air and openness. The most unusual change came with the improvement of many mediocre selections. The first selection I experienced this with was #12 on Joe Sample's Sample This CD. Although overall a nicely done CD, I would normally pass #12 over. With the Zsleeves in place, this cut becomes more exciting and very listenable. This happened to a number of other CD's that we listened to that evening.
The improvement is so pleasing overall that it is almost hard to describe. I am going to borrow a description I first heard when asking of the differences between the Maggie 3.6's and 20.1's. “It seems as though my system is on steroids.” Funny, but true. All aspects of the system are improved without affecting balance. The system is "weightier" as if the power supplies have been upgraded.
If there was any negative, It may be the removal of some transient attack. Drum licks seemed to be less alive although not to a great degree.
I highly recommend taking advantage of the 30 day offer and trying these in your system. I must give credit where credit is due....since I don't have the technical know-how to design and produce these myself, the price is fair for the sonic gain.
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