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Reviewer: Frederic Beudot
Financial Interests: Click here
Digital Source: Esoteric X-03SE
Analog Source: Acoustic Solid Classic Wood, AS WTB211, Grado Reference Sonata 1, Denon DL103, Clearaudio Nano, Nagra BPS [on loan]
Pre-amplifier: Wyred4Sound STP SE
Amplifier: Yamamoto A08s, First Watt F5
Speakers: FJ OMs, Rogers LS 3/5a, Zu Essence
Cables: ASI LiveLine interconnects and speaker cables, Zu Varial
Power Cords: Zu Mother, ASI LiveLine power
Powerline conditioning: Isotek Nova [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Isolpads under electronics, ASI resonators and sugar cubes, ASI HeartSong racks
Room size: 21' x 13’ x 7.5'
Review component retail: Absolute Fidelity speaker cable ($3000/2m, $1200 each additional meter))

What to do when you’ve collected a few items—actual hardware plus simple tricks and observations—none of which would fill an entire review? I’ve chosen the Odds & Ends solution to cover three unconnected items in one sitting. I trust the associated manufacturers will, if so inclined, link to this article from their respective websites or excerpt the relevant portions to make up for my chosen format’s difficulty of cleanly fitting any given bill. – Frederic Beudot

Absolute Fidelity is Genesis Advanced Technology's brand of cables
. The story goes that Gary Koh, owner and soul of Genesis, wasn’t completely happy with how the vast majority of cables interfaced with his speakers. Therefore he did what Mr. Koh does when faced with a less than ideal solution - he designed his own. The heart of the issue is the very high bass impedance exhibited by all Genesis speakers with active bass systems. Think the G7.1f I reviewed a year ago or the excellent yet under-praised G5.3. They actually require little current in that range while the midrange and treble have more normal, at times quite low-ish impedances with a different set of requirements.

The ailment being identified and understood, the engineer went back to basic electrical and physical characteristics of cable design. He wanted something that worked for his needs. As it happens, he ended up with a cable that seems to sound just fine with more speakers than just his. Their website has one of the simplest yet most comprehensive overviews on the various physical attributes of cables and how they influence music reproduction I've come across yet. I don't think there’s anything new or revolutionary but for the first time I understood why two cables measuring flat from zero to infinity may actually sound different. Rather than try and paraphrase what Mr. Koh so successfully described, I'll let you read his site and forge your own conclusions.

The solutions Genesis adopted for their cables are all tried and true – high-purity silver-coated copper, Teflon insulation, cold-forged connectors to avoid the ‘diode rectification’ effect from solder and a double shield of conductive mesh on the outside to protect against static charges.

The only surprising element—although not completely so for anybody who has heard of the ASI LiveLine cables—are the copper connectors on one end and silver at the other. With the interconnects, Genesis recommends the copper on the source and the silver connector on the load. With the speaker cables, one end terminates in silver bananas, the other end in gold-plated spades. Although Genesis indicates that both directions sound slightly different, they do not seem to indicate one being superior.

Because the Cardas connectors on my Zu Essence speakers are unfriendly to bananas, I tested this cable with bananas on the amplifier and spades on the speaker end. I also tried it both ways between the McIntosh MA2275 integrated and FJ OM speakers in my office and heard no difference. But then that's not the most revealing setup I own either. To be complete, I should mention that a high-current version of the cable exists for speakers with more demanding current needs than Genesis' or mine. I did not test it and really do not own any speaker that would need them.