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This review first appeared in the August 2010 issue of of Poland. You can also read this review of the ASI LiveLine Cables in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of - Ed.

Reviewer: Marek Dyba
Source: CEC 51X, Michell Gyro SE, Technoarm, AT33PTG pickup, ESE Labs Nibiru phonostage
Integrated amplifier: Art Audio Symphony II
Cables: Gabriel Gold Extreme MkII, Binaural Focus Monolith Ag, Gabriel Gold Revelation MkI, DIY Acrolink 6N-PC4300
Loudspeakers: Modified Project Jerycho with FSAC-2B
Review Component Retail: 1m RCA €650, 1m XLR €900, 2.4m speaker cable €1.400, 1.8m power cord €800

By now Franck Tchang is a distinct somebody in the audio world. Many think of him as a voodoo priest because of his acoustic resonators made of wooden bases and proprietary alloys bowls mounted on top of these bases. Nobody can really explain why they work so it's easier to claim they can't work. If one additionally considers Franck's own statement of “I don't know how to make normal products”, disbelievers can’t be blamed for their conclusions. When Franck decided on creating his own audio cables, he made the assumption that it was not only about transmitting signal but also—or perhaps most of all—transmitting emotions.

That caught my attention. When I listened to music, I always crave emotions. Without them music wouldn't be enjoyable at all. It's never only about the notes a composer wrote but about their meaning - the story they tell and the emotions that are encoded in it. It's up to the performers to deliver them of course but it's also about the elements of our systems if we listen to a recording. I can enjoy music without wall-flexing bass or endless reverberations but not without musicality and emotions. When I read that this was Franck’s goal for these cables, I asked for review samples. For many different reasons it took a year before they arrived but they finally did – RCA interconnects, speaker cables and power cords.

The cables came in nice and solid but certainly far from fancy boxes – well protected during shipment without having the packaging unnecessarily raise the price of the cables. In each box I also found a short note explaining how the cables are directional and not supposed to be bent too much due to their solid-core construction. Surely few would pick these on appearance. There’s nothing fancy here, no garden hose girth or batteries, just rather thin cables with regular Techflex sleeving and good but not boutique connectors. If you need cables to impress your friends with, look elsewhere. The interconnect runs Neutrik RCA connectors which were carefully chosen. If you take a closer look, you will find some holes drilled into them, removing mass and apparently undermining vibrations as one of this designer’s favorite tricks. One can special-order fancier connectors like WBTs.

The most interesting part remains hidden. The general principle of the design is known but not the details. According to Mr. Tchang, it is not necessary to craft the entire cable length from super-fine material. It’s sufficient to add short splices. He used solid-core copper for the conductor and added small bits of the same metals we already know from his acoustic resonators – silver, gold and platinum. That’s how he could achieve great performance while keeping manufacturing costs down and sell prices reasonable. Another unconventional solution is that while the hot run is copper, the return is solid-core silver. Franck claims that it allowed the sound to be faster. That's out-of-the-box thinking again. Other manufacturers would make a cable all silver to go faster – and then silver up the price as well. With the LiveLine, the dielectric is a Teflon tube to be mostly air.

The real voodoo are the aforementioned 2mm short precious metal splices. They are affixed to the ends of each conductor in different sequences and also at the center point of the cable. The physical labor involved in the production seems quite intense. It’s probably worth mentioning that Franck Tchang was in the diamond business before. Working with diamonds must have prepped him for precision work and patience. His knowledge of metal alloys was used already for the resonators (which also make appearances in the Tango speakers) and flowed into the cables as well. While he won’t divulge his exact recipe, he claims that even somebody cracking “the code” couldn’t be bothered copying the design as it is too time-consuming to make. Besides the admitted voodoo aspect, there’s one very practical thing with the speaker cables. The terminations are interchangeable and the cables are delivered with both bananas and spades.

Franck's approach seems based more on intuition and less on known physics which is why many refuse to accept his concepts. While I can appreciate that, we’d still live in the stone age were it not for out-of-the-box thinkers who often were misunderstood or overlooked in their lives. I for one wouldn’t be surprised if one day formal Physics had explanations for Franck Tchang’s inventions. Until then I encourage you to forget about Physics and just give his products a try. You might like them a lot. If not, you can always join the pack of non-believers but now with personal experience backing you up.