EnKlein David Series of cables (interconnect, speaker & power) [English]
EnKlein David complete cable loom review [English]
The perfect storm!
This is one of these reviews that are going to be a little different from the usual or at least my usual way of reviewing a high fidelity sound product (emphasis on “high fidelity” since what I am looking to get from a stereo system is the reproduction of exactly the information that is contained in the recording, nothing more, nothing less). The procedure I follow normally every time is to describe the product visually and technically, give any info that I have gathered form the manufacturer and from visual inspection and finally describe the audio characteristics of the components in the context of a system (nice sounding or better, I never review a bad sounding –at least in my system – component, I believe it is a waste of my time and yours). This time though, I will start with the sonic impact that the set of the EnKleinDavid cables, a very expensive set of cables (indeed) had on my system first, and then try to “decode” their performance through their technical design and inspection. I will also discuss the really different approach that they force the user to have concerning their system building procedure. Yes, these cables have made me rethink (this was actually something that started a few years ago after another great cable made its appearance into the chain of my system but the David cables positively confirmed that way of thinking in a most convincing way) the way we should approach the whole audio “system building” and I will explain later why.
So, the sound of my system changed for the better, but not in the direction that you may think, since it did not readjust my system’s sound colors. What it did wasit “calibrated” in the most realistic way the color temperature and hue of these sound colors, making the notes coming out of it so natural and true to real life as I have never experienced in my system, in all my 25 years of system building. It changed it for the better, way better to tell you the truth, and by that I mean the most realistic version of the event I have ever experienced, aso much more “there” sense, the kind that persuades you in the most definite matter that what you are experiencing is the “truth”, it is all the info that is encoded to the musical file that is the facsimile of the original event, in all its glory. The introduction of these cables to my system brought way more darker backgrounds that I have ever experienced (like all noise that existed disappeared completely), it delivered way clearer defined spaces around every instrument and/or performer (by defining the edges of their bodies in the most focused way, making every other cable that I had on hand seem like with it the total picture was fuzzy and blurry), it generated way better image focus in every point of the soundstage (even at the most deep and darkly lit sectors of it), giving the resulting soundstageway the most palpable 3D, anaglyphexistence. On the last department (soundstage) while the dimensions of it becamedid not get that much bigger in every axis,and while keeping every instrument’s and performer’ssize the sameit seemed that everything had more convincing presence, with more and most importantly, way denser images all over the frequency spectrum that –amazingly- were combined with so much more clarity and transparency, hence the amazing air and clearer defined gaps between the instruments and performers.It also improved the bass reproduction (more body, more control and definition, lower extension)! Finally itdefinitely improved the system’s dynamics in a most naturally convincing way.All in all, it made me believe that all my system needed to satisfy me in the most convincing way was a set of these cables, everything else was pretty much as it should be.
The change started with the insertion of the interconnects between my pre and my power amp (which accounts for about 50% improvement of the total deal), went a big step further with the introduction of the speaker cables (35% of the total) and finally reached its destination when I introduced in the pre/power combo the power cables (the last but significant percentage that completed this incredible illusion). You may argue that these impressions I describe are no different than everything that everybody senses when they introduce a much better set of cables to their system. True, but the difference in my case is that every other “better” (than the ones I own and use as the control) cable set that I have introduced to my system in the past (and I have tried quite a few, even some of the most known and expensive that exist out there – but definitely not all of them) always, besides showing these fine attributes in some bigger or smaller percentage, always, I repeat, introduced a “character” into the final sound signature of the system, making me always aware of their existence in that system,making me aware of some imbalance no matter what (I had the same problem with many components all these years, eventually always “hearing” their sonic contributions in the system, thus never being interested in them). The David set of cables, from EnKlein, completely (as far as I am concerned) removed the“physical”presence of the necessary evil that are theconnecting cables,from my system, leaving everything else to, short of,speak for themselves. It brought a level of tranquility and absolute balance that I never believed my humble equipment would reach, and did it in the most convincing way I have ever experienced. Being lucky that I have eventually combined some very synergistic components together (a product of about 25 years of studying, researching, developing and extensively testing – you see taking advantage of my reviewer’s ability to test pretty much everything I thought that was interesting, and even sometimes improving on their abilities, is one of the perks of the profession) this cable combination, a very, very expensive one mind you, is probably the last cable set that you will buy. Why? Because it simply does its job in an almost perfect way, just carrying the signal unaffected from one component to the next without making themselves in any way that I could detect, present in the process. And that is what an “ideal” cable set should do, and that is what makes these cables so special and worthy of such praise.
But how do they do it?
The key is in the way the very cooperative (in sharing information that is) people from EnKleinuse the special shielding techniquesto protect the signal from all outside factors (EMI/RFI), providing at the same time the most clean and clear pathfor the signal to travel through from one component to the other, being that either active (pre-power) or active/passive components (power-speakers). They use very high quality single strand (solid) wires (one per side for the interconnects, silver for the signal, copper for the ground, or multiple silverfor the speaker cables) combined with their patend pending shielding and construction techniques (Dragon Skin, Uni-Tube, Forward Feed Shielding system) that exist in each cable permitting the signal to travel through their conductors with the minimum amount of addeddistortion, thus effectively removing the “cable’s” sound from the system. Some of these technologies have patent pending, as they use special filtering (on the shield, through special use of materials and construction geometry) to practically get rid of all the noise that can and does pollute the signal pretty much in every other cable in the market.
Here are some information that is published:
“The “David” analog interconnect incorporates two of our new design concepts; Dragon Skin shielding along with our patent pending shield energy dissipation controller, and a new noise rejection cable topology. The concept of the shield energy dissipation controller has been extended to remove noise from each of the individual conductors within the cable. The body of the David is constructed with our proprietary “Uni-Tube” sealed air tubes to maintain an atmospheric balance not affected by changes in barometric pressure or humidity. This way we can control the electrical characteristics of the conductors. Each fine silver conductor is hedged by our patent pending Forward Feed Shielding technology incorporating a shield energy dissipation controller. This method reduces conductor distortions and interactions providing increased air in the upper octaves paired with a controlled, deeper low end. Pairing with our Dragon Skin shield technology creates an environment for your music to thrive! The Dragon Skin concept is a 4 part shield topology using “Super Metals” alloys of Cobalt and Nickel, aluminum, copper, and steel. Dragon Skin electromagnetic shielding protects the signal from outside electromagnetic interference and reduces electromagnetic interference generated by the cable. Eliminating or reducing the electromagnetic influence between cables reduces the noise floor introduced by the cables of an audio system. Each layer is specifically designed for each cable type to perform a specific task, and when added together creates an extremely effective electromagnetic barrier”.
The David Power Cord builds on the excellence of the Taurus platform. Incorporated is our groundbreaking Electromagnetic Interposition Shielding System (aka “Dragon Skin”). This new noise reduction method results in power supplies working less to deliver the music. This is highly audible in amplifiers where the significant reduction in noise increases the amount of actual music amplified. The black background of the David power cord unleashes previously hidden emotional content to draw the listener into the music. This meets a primary goal of the David series cabling; exact the fine nuances the artist is conveying within the performance. The current carrying conductors are made from 37 strand silver plated copper in a 10 gauge bundle coated with a thick layer of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Our studies have shown that PTFE is not only a high performance dielectric; it’s extremely low coefficient of friction aids in intra mechanical vibration reduction within the cable assembly. The ground conductor is multistranded 12 AWG high quality copper coated in PTFE. The termination includes beryllium copper base metal connectors with a coating of platinum and a final protective coating of pure palladium.
The “David” speaker cable incorporates two of our new design concepts; Dragon Skin shielding along with our patent pending shield energy dissipation controller, and a new noise rejection cable topology. The concept of the shield energy dissipation controller has been extended to remove noise from each of the individual conductors within the cable.The body of the David is constructed with our proprietary “Uni-Tube” sealed air tubes to maintain an atmospheric balance not affected by changes in barometric pressure or humidity. Each fine silver conductor is hedged by our patent pending Forward Feed Shielding technology incorporating a shield energy dissipation controller.”
Now, every visitor that I had in my studio during the review period, and believe me there were manyduring the stay of the David cables in my system, was pretty much blown away (as was I every time I listened to a song, any song that I thought I “knew”) from the absolute realism that the sound of the system, with these in place, emitted. It was like all the albums that we heard during that time were made using better microphones, better sound consoles, better skilled sound engineers! Even poor quality recordings sounded so much more enjoyable, like the noise that existed before the David cables “poisoned” the musical experience, reducing it to a chore instead of a pleasing event. Whow!
In the end…
…the EnKlein David cables presented in my system an amazingly balanced character in every respect, and behaved way less than what I usually have in mind as cable behavior, compared to every other set that I have ever tested. They made me think that every time I heard of a piece of music it was for the first time, even if that music was one of my favorites, even if I have heard it for hundreds of times before. It is like my system with them hit the magical combination, that it created the perfect storm, everything became so much more intense and real! For all of the above I conclude that they are easily the best I have ever, yet, encountered, hands down. You definitely should give a very thorough listen to them. They are some of the very few components (yes I definitely think that about them) out there that I would buy, even at that extreme price. Now, if only I could forget their existence…
And a short interview with Tom Kleinbeck of Enklein System LLC.
- Q: What parameters (capacitance, inductance, resistance) do you think is more important on the final sound character of each type (power, interconnect, speaker) of the cables? Does the way you lay down each leg (+,-) of the speaker cable change the sound character of the cable?
A: No single factor is more important than another. Our cables are directional, you can test this easily with the speaker cables. In fact, I would try changing the direction of the speaker cable on the RED terminals, you may notice the biggest difference and you will like it better in one direct than the other.
- Q: What are the main advantages of your cables compared to the rest of the competition out there?
A: We believe we are on the forefront of cable design and are design work is beyond what is typically found in text books on the subject.
- Q: You make a big point mentioning the importance of eliminating every kind of noise / interference from each of the conductors of each cable since you are using all that technology to eliminate it. How is that possible to achieve and why do you think it is so important?
A:The attenuation of noise regardless of source yields a cable with more accurate performance characteristics which many people consider more pleasurable.
- Q:What kind of metals and how many do the conductors of your cables use and why? Please refer to each cable (interconnect – David 2(?), speaker cable, power cable) individually.
A:We use silver and copper in the conductor assemblies within out cables. Each conductor is surrounded by a sealed Uni-Tube which affects the electrical characteristics of the conductors. Interconnects use single strands while speaker cables are multiple strands. Wire gauges are chosen based on our proprietary engineering data.
- Q:Do the connectors that you use on your cables make a significant difference (if they are top notch) from brand to brand on the final sound of your cables? I have seen in past reviews where you were using different brands (Eichmann, WBT, Furutech) each time.
A:In the past we have used a variety of connectors. Today we use WBT for single ended products, for balanced connectors we are using Neutrik, on the Zypher cables, and Furutech power connectors
- Q:Your cables do not look very “expensive” compared to other brand cables out there, but are amongst the most expensive in the market. Where do the money go in your case? How difficult is to build them?
A:The complexity of the cables is high, they are difficult to produce, and they are fabricated by hand because it is simply not possible to produce them with any known machinery. It can take as much as a 100 or more hours to produce a single set of speaker cables. The materials we use in our cables are extremely expensive when you are discussing the “David” series. To put it simply, we can produce pretty cables at greater expense, but most people look at the equipment not the cables.
- Q:From what I have heard during my evaluation of your cables in my system and from what I have read from your site, you are trying basically to eliminate the contribution (always detrimental) of the cables and the interference from the surrounding space to the sound of the system, providing the cleanest path for the signal between the components. But on the other, hand by doing so, you are revealing the sound character of the rest of the components in the system, good or bad. What is your advice to the potential customer of yours so that they will not confuse the extreme transparency and character reveal of the rest of the components “sound character” as the characteristic sound signature of your cables (which I believe does not exist in the same way that it happens with other cables) and what should they pay attention to so that they appreciate your cables?
A:This is at best a complicated issue. Enklein cables will point out the sound characteristics of equipment, but well-designed equipment using quality parts will usually perform better with them in the system. Early on, during the early development of consumer products, it was noticed that you could listen to the work of a particular recording engineer and pick out when recording equipment was changed or when the engineer changed studios. Usually the first thing a person notices is the clarity and detail of the sound, many of our customers write and tell us it is like hearing their recordings for the first time. We have a collection of equipment from several manufacturers and our cables have been installed on many more. It is actually rare for our cables to highlight an unsatisfactorily performing piece of equipment. When it does happen, it has most often pointed out a piece of equipment is in need of repair. Usually the case is the equipment has never sounded so good to a customer. Our recommendation is for customers to buy great cables before buying equipment, they may discover the cable upgrade will bring the total system performance levels up to satisfactory levels.
When you are discussing appreciating a cable, I am reminded of a reviewer that made mention of all our redeeming qualities and then the reviewer commented that he actually enjoyed the noise of cables in the reference system. Within the first few minutes of exposure to cables like ours a person usually decides if they like the sound or not. Some people really cannot tell the difference at all, or so they claim; these are the same people that say cables do not make any difference in the performance of a system. Our opinion on this issue is, to each his own.
- Q:You offer a less expensive line of audio cables, the Zypher. Can you tell us some key features of that line, how they differ from the David series?
A:Our less expensive line of cables is indeed the Zypher series. The Zypher series uses some of the same technologies as the more expensive “David” series. The Zypher series does not have the extensive shielding of the David series or the extensive conductor technology. This translates to the David series has greater timing and conduction accuracy yielding a cable with more clarity. In addition, the more extensive shielding in the David reduces to total noise in a system to a higher degree yielding a system that is extremely quiet. On the other hand, we have no problem doing cable shoot outs with our Zypher up against cables that cost 10 times as much as a Zypher (we expect to win and to date have never lost).
Best regards, Tom Kleinbeck
Enklein System LLC
EnKlein cables in Greece at: