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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module), COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE Up NC500MB monos; Linnenberg Allego monos
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; Ocellia OCC loom: KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra and Three 11R
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: starting from €185 - €460 for standard lengths


Vovox.
This Swiss cable firm launched in 2002 under materials engineer Jürg Vogt. He plays the bass. His band's guitarist had replaced his musical instrument cable with hifi cable and heard clear changes. Sacrilege. This incident became the impetus for Vogt's research into cables. Logically, his professional background looked at the issue not so much from an electrical as materials perspective. His musical background explains why Vovox pro audio sales (for musical instruments, stages, concert halls and recording studios) eclipse consumer audio. As a musician, it's not only where Jürg is from and began but, from a materials perspective again, professional installations need far longer looms than domestic systems. Despite lower pricing for their pro cabling, one may sell Vovox by the kilometre not metre. Back to consumers, I first encountered Jürg's black polyester-sleeved leashes with trademark orange labeling—those cloth flags double as directional markers for the load—in Soulution's factory system. Vovox have long collaborated with their Swiss electronics colleagues to define their good-better-best hifi lines of vocalis, textura and textura fortis.


Common to all Vovox hifi cables is material reductionism. It shrinks conductor surfaces to minimize boundary effects. Hence no silver plating or bunching of multi-stranded thin wires. It exploits large conductor spacing for low capacitance and high bandwidth. Again, no multi-stranding but solid-core pure copper. This is continuously cast long grain for textura, oxygen free for vocalis. Between the two texturas is a x 10 difference of conductor diameters. There's cryogenic post treatment and a preference for nude over shielded. Where longer lengths do require shielding against hum, specific models convert from direct to protect mode. That adds a floating shield which connects to the plugs on just one end. Vovox cables also avoid plasticizers, PVC and colour pigments. And they use natural fibres between conductor and dielectric polymer to eliminate triboelectric friction effects.


With Jürg soliciting a review without preference, I invoked editor's privilege of 'know thy readers'. Given their exhaustion with costly cables, I asked for his entry-level rather than premium stuff, albeit as a complete loom for total Vovox immersion. Here a 1m pair of RCA interconnects gets €355 direct/unshielded, €385 protect/shielded. A 1m XLR fetches €395. A 2.5m pair of speaker cable (this also comes in white or grey to appease the interior decorator) wants €460. A 1m USB 2.0 link is €267. Vovox power cords come in initio and textura flavours. For one metre, those cost €185 and €380 respectively. A standard hifi can thus be wired up vocalis style without a Swiss numbered bank account. For our system, getting vocal meant a 1m USB from iMac to DAC, 1m XLR from DAC to preamp, 6m XLR from preamp to amps, 3m speaker cables, numerous 1m power cords terminated US style to fit our Vibex power filters, one 1m and one 3m cord terminated with UK plugs for between the wall and the source/amp AC filters. For a look at the Vovox textura range, refer to our syndicated review by fairaudio colleague Frank Hakopians.
... to be continued

Vovox website