"...nothing gets you closer to the music."
The Omega Mikro 100 Watt "Red" power cable, showing off its red dot. This is
Handle with care: The IEC end of the Omega Mikro Active 100 Watt power cable, showing the battery pins that are inserted into the battery case after final placement.
A closer view of the battery pins in their protective bag.
“... The cables are interestingly, constructed using most of the parameters I have found to be important in AC cords...First, they look beautiful and are very malleable, thus easy on the eye and to bend around corners.”
”The wire polarity seems to be somewhat more important than the shield potential. One can tell immediately when the proper polarity wire is in place, as the soundstage opens up. I even had my wife come in and change the wire polarity type, and I heard the difference 100% of the time. One can also hear a moderate improvement in soundstage with the shield potential activated, but it is not of the same extent as the wire polarity. “
”...With the proper polarity and with the electric field activated, the wire has no sound. On each piece of low wattage equipment I have tried it on, it has dropped the background noise level compared to all other wires. Its greatest effect has been on digital equipment where it wipes out digital high frequency anomalies and (especially with SACD and DVD-A) opens up the soundstage, probably by allowing very low volume hall sounds to be heard. It made a tremendous difference on my EAD Theatermaster Signature Pre-Pro, especially with Dolby Digital and DTS DVD-V's where there is less information to begin with. I now have it for my Denon 2900 combi player, the EAD Theatermaster, both of my pre-amplifiers and my two Electraprint DRD SET 300B amplifiers. Each Omega wire added has improved the sound. “
”...I am planning on buying several more for the rest of my low wattage equipment, but just cannot afford to do the entire system. Each 5 foot passive cable costs $485 and the active shield LCX version costs $955. While expensive, especially compared to the price of most digital equipment, the LCX can not be beat. Is the active shield worth double the cost? Considering the cost of two 9-Watt batteries, the small wooden box and the two fine wires that lead into the cable, the added expense is high yet well worth it. You get what you pay for, and in high-end audio quite often not. But the Omega Micro LCX is definitely worth the admission price... “
Link to full review
Back Issue Article
Lunatic Fringe: Omega Mikro Cables
“For solid engineering reasons, the Omega Mikro cables are the most different-looking cables I've ever encountered. Designer Ron Bauman of inSound explained in person. "Omega Mikro follows the less-is-more approach -- eliminate all conventional insulation to avoid dielectric absorption and time-delayed release of signal portions, and use the skinniest conductors possible to transcend skin effect."”
“...Cable directionality can be reversed with extended exposure to current traveling the other way. According to Bauman, not. He had me swap the otherwise identical power cords. The difference hit me over the head, and it's not something that break-in will cure. While the "wrong" cable will improve slightly with use, it will be trounced by the "right" one cold out of the box,,”
“...It thus seems that Omega Mikro is for the seriously dedicated go-fast music lover who is willing to suffer for beauty. And things of beauty they are, these cables. The suffering is relatively minor if you can dedicate your room to your hobby, have a swollen purse and aren't a reviewer who disconnects things on a regular basis.”
“...I've covered every single reason why you should avoid these cables at all costs -- except for one. It's the same reason why you should want these cables: They're so much better than anything you'll likely have encountered before. Their performance validates the seemingly wigged-out construction...”
“...Yes, you could find religion with these cables. I considered my previous wire high class -- Analysis Plus's finest had eventually been replaced by Acoustic Zen's best, neither of them chopped liver by any stretch. Hadn't I loved that sound just a day ago? Sure enough. I just had no idea that something this superior existed...”
The back of the rack with all cables wired up.
Enjoy the Music. com
ClearView Cables From
Part II of II
Review by Srajan Ebaen
“The new ribbon interconnects, stone cold out of their Ziploc bags, improve over the already excellent and fully broken-in predecessors. Rather impossibly, they sound yet more open, immediate, veil-less and communicative. This is not a subtle difference that mandates multiple frustrating A/Bs and a stethoscope to ascertain whether one's heart is still beating. No, it's a "damn that's easy to spot" performance leap.
InSound/Mapleshade's credo revolves around what they term leading edge fidelity. It's not one of those lame marketing floozies that conjure something novel out of the same old same-old. Rather, it's a very keen qualitative description that means exactly what it says. It's about the precision, clarity and vividness whereby sounds - especially those with fierce attacks and explosive rise times - jump out of silence, and how cleanly and transparently they decay. The optimization of these particular traits is readily apparent. The question is merely whether you agree with inSound/Mapleshade over their priority status. Is getting leading edges right more important for the realism of the reproduced event than different qualities such as other cable manufacturers might pursue? By now you know what I think.
Compared to their predecessors that have seen 'round-the-clock service in my system since their review, the new ICs - not surprisingly - are cut from the very same cloth but amp up the originals' excitement factor even further. They also provide subtle while appreciable gains in detail resolution.”
“...And there you have it. These new and improved inSound/Mapleshade ClearView Ribbon interconnects are simply phenomenal value for anyone fond of crisply precise attacks, appreciative about de-fuzzed transients with the consequent perception of increased speed, and favoring their overall sense of liveliness, transparency and directness. The maker's 30-day satisfaction guarantee assures ultimate happiness whether they trounce your existing wires or not - and they very well may, unless your resident stuff is plated with 24-carat gold.”
“You see, considering the overall High-End zeal for escalated pricing, the inSound/Mapleshade ClearView Ribbons unplug the very electrodes from your wallet that others fire up for smelly shock therapy on your paychecks. I put their performance up against anything I've heard over the last 8 years that retailed for up to $1,000/pr...”
The Other Man/Woman - Ahem, Cables
The ClearView speaker cable, power cord and power strip conductors use high purity, silver-plated copper coated with an ultra-thin, 2/10,000th inch low-loss dielectric. The gold/green colored conductors are tightly twisted into a field-canceling helix. The nude speaker cable looks - well, nude. It's very plain and throws overboard fancy (life) jackets, snazzy pigtails, bulging terminal metal casings or even he-man spades. Termination is stripped raw conductor unless believers in additional materials junctions order the optional copper spade lugs or banana plugs.
The 6-outlet power strip uses inSound/Mapleshade's own power cord and plug and attaches them to a pre-fab housing. It was selected on the basis of its exact plastic composition said to be sonically far more benign than most common equivalents. The conductors are direct-soldered to three copper alloy ribbons for hot, neutral and ground. The nude ribbons are just thick enough to handle and maintain pressure on the power sockets they accommodate. They're mostly surrounded by air, with just enough styrene insulation to support them. Like the power cords, they are treated with surface-charge-control high-voltage fields and chemically altered to enhance the sonic performance of the dielectric. The power strips are directional as all ClearView and Omega Mikro cables and are shipped as the more commonly correct "red" directionality. By request, they can also be shipped in reverse "blue" orientation.
The complete present ClearView line consists of Golden Helix Speaker Cable, Double Golden Helix Speaker Cable, Ribbon Interconnects, UltraPure Ribbon Interconnects, Double Helix AC power Cord, and Double Helix Power Strip. Plus versions undergo a special cryogenic treatment and are afterwards exposed to high-energy electromagnetic fields of undisclosed shape to enhance the musical qualities of the dielectrics and the copper/silver conductors. The Double versions employ two twisted pairs of conductors configured to reduce the fields that interact with the dielectric.
“Compared to the physically far more substantial and massive Oval 9, the Müsli-fed DH (Dual Helix) skinnies presented music with more snap and spunk, more energy across the band, more agility in the bass. The Oval 9 is an acknowledged mid- and lower bass weight champ. However, in this comparo, said weight seemed a bit more ballast than asset - the DH was more nimble, with better intelligibility down low. It didn't seem lean but simply more natural. It also removed an overall layer of density (not grime or grit) that the Oval 9, according to this A/B, seems to possess”.
“...Then the inSound/Mapleshade speaker cable is another surefire recommendation. It imparts the very flavor detailed at length in Part I, just less of it. Should that appeal to you, begin with your low-level circuits, then add the crowning touch with the high-level connection when funds allow”.
“...there could be no doubt that insertion of the DH pc (poer cord) bestowed once again the same "ClearVIew" effects. If those weren't so welcome to these ears, it'd get boring by now. Before I saddle you down with further variations on the same theme, let's stick with a single opus to say that things clearly sounded louder - and I'm sure they weren't, but the impression of moving closer to the stage and hearing more of everything was pretty acute”.
Double Helix Power Strip
That's where the inSound/Mapleshade strip comes in. If regular and volatile lightning storms aren't part of your environmental menu that would mandate powerful yet sonically invisible surge protection; if you wanted some of the benefits of active AC line noise filtration without spending a lot; if you wanted a goodly dose of the ClearView sound - I can't see how you could go bloody wrong.
“In the hoary tradition of final words (I hope I ain't dying soon but this is my last review for this publication), the design team of Pierre Sprey and Ron Bauman has successfully translated their beliefs about the importance of leading edge fidelity into a line of very affordable products. They deliver unequivocally on what's implied or promised.
It's a credit to their engineering savvy that the core qualities addressed remain the same from one product category to the next. This creates additive but linear effects when intermixed. If you try out just one of these - and I suggest one of the interconnects to get started - rest assured that adding more moves you even further in the very same ClearView direction, no detours possible”.
Link to full review
... the ClearView Double Helix cables...: very taut, slamming, “fast” bass, without the softening fat, roundness and bloom of the Acoustic Zen that seemed less agile and a mite thick but thereby also weightier by comparison. In the vocal range, the ClearView portrayal generated a greater sense of presence, more acute outlines, perhaps even a sense of forwardness ... in terms of clarity, as though singers were better separated from the surrounding instrumental weave. The size and depth of the soundstage seemed the same with both cables, but image specificity and intrinsic transparency (the ability to see into the soundstage) was considerably more resolved with the Helix – it eliminated a blurring or softening effect that made the Acoustic Zen cable more romantic and dense”.
Link to full review
• Everything that I had been hearing with the LP-12 chain/EAR 324/Velocitor/Silent Source and had listed in my bullet points above was there... no loss of those virtues... but now I was hearing some new excellencies that I had never heard in my LP-12 playback before:
• The sense of quickness, speed and liveliness was startling. The active Omegas with the Velocitor are a match made in heaven for those (like me) who love a sense of immediacy and "liveness" in their listening room. This was not a sense of tilted upper frequencies, or like some graphic equalizer trick... it was instead that rare sense of "you are there," with transient response at both the front and back end of recorded musical events that sounded really right. I now know that my Tice Signature III was slowing down the LP-12.
• Detail, detail, detail! And yet no sense of overload... just a feeling of substantial gain in resolution from vinyl. The Linn Akiva/Linn Silver Reference cable excel in digging more out of the grooves, and the EAR 324 puts this out nicely... but the Velocitor/Omega Mikro active provided the essential third member that raises the overall synergy to a much higher, instantly appreciable eminence.
• Transparency... in spades! At the risk of issuing another audio cliché, the Velocitor with the Omega Mikro increased the clarity of the Linn/EAR 324 combination in a way that surprised me. I hadn't realized how much the Linn/EAR 324 could deliver until the Velocitor/Omega Mikro active components were added to the mix. It was almost as though the Tice had put some sort of haze, a layer of audio film into the picture, holding back what I could be hearing... impossible to realize, except by comparison to the Velocitor/Omega Mikro. It's pretty humbling to realize how easy it is to be lulled into complacency about your vinyl playback, then hear what you've been missing.
• The sense of musical solidity, of the roundness of imaging and the extension of spatiality... particularly depth and height... was improved, even over the Velocitor with the Silent Source. These are extremely important qualities for me in my listening room... the gain in this realm was very gratifying.
• The sense of musical rhythm, of musical "rightness"... what Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg used to call "wholeosity"... was notched up, big time. Relaxing into my LPs has gotten an awful lot easier with the Velocitor/Omega Mikro active in place. An awful lot easier.
• Air, atmosphere, presence... all improved. Notes float. Enough said!”
“... Over the next week I listened to a number of LPs, all sorts of genres, and heard the same thing pretty much wherever I went: a much greater sense of quickness, much better clarity, truly exceptional spatiality, timbral rightness, and excellence in dynamic range and dynamic emergence.”
“...There was no doubt about it in my mind, and in my listening room—the Silent Source with the Velocitor is good... but the Omega Mikro, tricky as it is to handle and place, is much better.”
“,,, And I have to say it: the Velocitor system with the Omega Mikro active is simply flat-ass superb. I don't think that you're hearing what you could be hearing in your playback unless you have the Walker Velocitor with the Omega Mikro active power cables in place. “
“...I therefore award ... the Velocitor system (with dedicated stand) and with the Omega Mikro active power cables a "Ye Olde Editor's 'very highest recommendation.'"”
Link to full review
We have never solicited reviews of our products but many reviewers buy and use our products and write reviews of Omega Mikro and Clearview products. Too often audio equipment reviews can be coupled with pressure on the manufacturer to take out ads
in their magazines. While we're not against ads we are concerned that once a magazine becomes dependent on its advertizers for its financial well being it can no longer publish objective reviews. We never give away our products to reviewers. We do extend industry accommodarion prices to reviewers and other audio manufacturers. Some reviewers may not like this approach but we believe the entire audio industry and its customers would benefit if everyone followed our example.
Here are extracts from some of the many positive reviews we have received along with links to the full reviews.
Fat And Thin Components
Article by Bill Gaw
”... the OMEGA MIKRO Power Cords ... and found them to be superb for use up to 900 watts continuous, 1800 watts peak, probably the best I have had in my system. Matter of fact, now use them on all of the most important equipment...Had seen and heard their loudspeaker wires years ago at Clark Johnsen’s Listening Studio, where they were his primary cable, but had been afraid to use them as they were super thin...”
“Before I get into the superlatives, have to list a big problem with them. These cables are super-fragile, especially the Planar Ebony(Vlll). The foil is so thin (one can almost see through the Ebony) that even a small tug on the wire in the wrong direction will break it... Happily, Omega has a 30-day no questions asked return policy and will rebuild them for a very nominal charge in the first few months.
“So, were they worth the trouble? In a word, YES!! These are the best all around sound-wise interconnects I have ever hear(d)”.
“... there appears to be no break-in time. These cables sounded great from Day 1, and I could not discern any change in them over the two months I used them.”
“... these cables (Planar Vlll) are as close to having a direct connection from one piece of equipment to another as I have heard. Time smear is gone, leaving a soundstage that is wide open, deep, with palpable air between the instruments. All of the harmonics for each note seem to arrive at the same time, thus no smearing of the image. This also leads to very fast razor- sharp transients. Thus, both the Mikro and macro dynamics sound true to life. I have to admit that they even beat out my Wright Foil cables, which until now were the champs in my system. This does present a problem with multi-mic'ed or studio recordings as one can actually hear the different sound spaces of the Mikrophones or recording booths.”
“... bass is very tight, giving one the ability for instance to be able to tell what type of mallet the timpanist is using. Highs extend out forever, especially with analog.”
“You will probably ask now whether the greater expense of the Ebony over the Planar (VIII) is worth it. While I couldn’t do an actual comparison since the Planar (Vlll) was longer, I can tell you the Ebony when not attached to its DC charger box, lost some of its ability to block out RF, and the soundstage lost a little of its completeness. One get a similar effect if one disconnects the DC charger from the OMEGA MIKRO Power Cords.”
“Are they worth the cost? Only you can decide. If you want the best interconnect available, go for it. I did.”
Link to full review
“...Now hit the light switch. Presto, the Omega Mikro transformation: the whole system lights up like Cape Canaveral at take-off and the music's infused with the breath of life -- speed, air, extension, definition and subtleties that obviously were significantly curtailed before.
This difference was clearly major league and of more-than-component caliber. Once our hardware journeys reach a certain level of maturity, it's baby steps forever after. Drastic improvements of this sort no longer happen. The steep price tag of the Omega Mikro cables suggests that anyone who'd even consider them owned such a matured system already. Unless some other cabling exists that equals it (and so far I haven't even remotely come across a competitor), rewiring your rig with the OM stuff will have you skip a shockingly large number of miniature steps in one giant leap...”
“...That's certainly the scale of transformation that occurred in my current setup -- Cary CD-303, Bel Canto PRe1, Audiopax 3880 monos and Avantgarde Duos, all plugged into an Audio Magic Stealth B II Power Purifier. I had one pair each of (Planar Ebony)A7 and Ebony interconnects (A7 between CD player and preamp, Ebony between preamp and power amp), a pair of the Planar 4 speaker cables, and two Planar 3 power cords.”
“...SoundStager Bill Cowen, usually quite conservative about how excited he allows himself to get over anything audiophile (I guess he has a life), was also entranced by the Omega Mikro experience. Here's his excuse:
"Yes, this stuff is totally insane. My first exposure was at the house of audio pal, Vic. His system is pretty revealing. Vic had a pair of the Omega Mikro A7s and their biwire set of the speaker cables. I sat down and listened first to the analog. Even with the shortcomings of the Glider, it had always clearly blown his digital off the map. After 30 minutes of re-familiarization with the analog source, Vic fired up the digital, now sporting a single Omega interconnect acting as the digital interface cable (apparently Lloyd was temporarily out of the proper "digital" cable). Sacre bleu! The digital made the analog sound slow, veiled, compressed and like lo-fi. The difference was HUGE. Dynamics, openness, clarity, speed...you name it.
In short, I have never heard a cable -- any cable -- make this kind of difference. I was slack-jawed."”
“...The Omega Mikro cables are very expensive due to the extensive hand labor involved. They do look funky. They are fragile and require not just monetary dedication. Like anything of ultimate performance, they demand certain sacrifices. However, if you can stomach those, you'll be rewarded with performance that transcends what "mere" cable should be capable of and in fact is so radical that investing equivalent funds in seemingly more substantial hardware upgrades will seem like a silly waste.”
“...Don't worry. Ron Bauman and Pierre Sprey have created a series of cables called Clearview that are based on the same design priorities but eschew the complex and costly hand labor...”
• Earmarked! Current Issue
Copyright © 2001 SoundStage!
All Rights Reserved
Link to full review
AC Line Cords - Final Thoughts
Article by Bill Gaw
Omega Micro Planar III AC Cables
POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 3
“... To say the least, I was impressed. It seemed almost surreal, because I couldn’t figure out how these seemingly insubstantial cables could deliver such good sound. The guitar chords had superb texture, almost like the performers were right in front of me. The space surrounding the performers was immediately identifiable, and didn’t seem to lack any dimensionality, air, or "aura." Moving on to my other favorite CD, Massive Attack's Mezzanine, I concluded the same thing: the instruments were right in front of me, and I had a sense of "being there." Hugh Masekela, a fabulous musician, has a rich and immediately recognizable voice, though it takes the right equipment to reproduce it satisfactorily. I had that exact same tingle through the (Clearviews). “
“...I have to give kudos to (Clearview) for making so affordable a product—I would recommend these cables any day of the week! They would be a fantastic upgrade to basic systems, as well as ones costing many thousands of dollars. Danny Kaey”
Link to full review
POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 15
“... Omega Mikro Power Cable system
as reviewed by David W. Robinson
Sidebar designers' commentary by Ron Bauman and Pierre Sprey is at the end of this review.
Photographs and image processing by David W. Robinson
The Absolute Sound Issue 117 April/May 1999
"A World of Serious Tweaks..."
Review of Omega Mikro by Arthur S. Pfeffer
"If you had asked me six months ago whether you ought to spend your tax
refund on a better component or on a bunch of accessories like cables and
isolation feet, I would have given my traditional advice. A large sum of
money is always better spent on components than on accessories. Ask me now
and I might give an entirely different answer. Each additional accessory
brought the same kinds of sonic improvement, only more so. The Walker tweaks
and Omega-Mikro gear will not change the sound character of a component, but
will reveal it completely. I did not know or even imagine how spacious and
truthful my own system could sound until several of these items were in
"Your Last Cables … Really
In the final analysis, my system completely fitted with Omega Mikro cables lead me to think my system components are far better than I previously believed, and have taken me to new heights of musical nirvana. If you like the sound of live music than you will like how OM cables will transform your system to that end. They are in my system to stay."
Link to full review
POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 16
The Higher End: Robinson's Brutus Awards, and the Gizmo Award, for 2004: Part 1
by David W. Robinson
All photographs and image processing by Robinson, unless otherwise noted.
“... [The Brutus Awards] will be recognition given to "the best and the brightest" products that we have experienced in various categories in a given year...”
“...The Velocitor with the Omega Mikro Active series power cables is a wonder! If you're looking for a line enhancing system that will take things right to the extreme edge of maximum transparency, quickness, transient response, and detail, then look no further. This is it.
Power cables: Omega Mikro Planar III Active 900 Watt and 100 Watt systems
“...These cables represent an astonishing level of accomplishment in power cabling, at the trade-off price of requiring very careful handling and planned deployment. Note that both 100 Watt (for smaller components) and 900 Watt (for amplifiers) are available.
If you're willing to invest money (these are not cheap), the care and effort required for proper deployment, and live in a household without small children/pets, then the Omega Mikro line is the most highly nuanced, remarkably revealing power cables that I have heard, ever...”
Interconnects: Omega Mikro Ebony Active LCX
Speaker cables: Omega Mikro Ebony Active LCX
“...Silver on one side, copper on the other, the Omega Mikro Ebony Active line of cables is a no-compromise design for the audiophile willing to go to the limit in the pursuit of those last few points of audio performance at the far end of the curve. Dittoing my comments about the fragility of the Omega Mikro cables and the care required for deployment and movement of same in the power cables section, the Omega Mikro Ebony Active interconnects and speaker cables provide "edge of the world" performance and incredible detail, transparency and speed...”
“...If you have the budget, the setting and the commitment to the very best, and aren't afraid of the demands that this level of cable technology will make upon you, then the Omega Mikro Actives are automatic finalists for your consideration.
Yes, they are that good...”
Link to full review
Clearview Excaliber-Plus interconnects and Double Golden Helix-Plus speaker cables
as reviewed by John Brazier, Dave Clark, and Danny Kaey
“...The Clearviews do not sound as one would expect based their visual appearance. As a matter of fact, they sounded remarkably similar to my reference cables, differing sonically in a few, but key areas. Yes the Clearviews are a prime example of the proverbial, "Don’t judge a book by its cover," mantra we are all feed in our younger days.
What one gets is a very fast and dynamic cable that possesses all the bass dynamics and power that the larger "conventional" cables deliver. No trade-offs at either end. The cables were very extended and neutral with plenty of air and presence. Bass was deep and powerful with a great sense of impact. So close to my reference cables that any differences were just too close to make any real judgments in terms of musical enjoyment. With the Clearviews, bass-driven discs were just as fun to listen to as with the regular "dead snakes." Which is really what it’s all about, music should be fun!
The strength of the Clearviews is the articulation they offer on the leading and trailing edges of the music—the stops and starts as notes are played or struck. The speed and articulation of the Clearviews were very noticeable making notes clean and clear with no hint of smearing. Music jumped from the speakers as if to grab the listener with an intent to cause bodily harm. I was never left with any doubt as to the delineation instruments. Each stood out with a greater sense or "presence" or clarity than my reference could reveal. You could say the Clearviews offer a "clear view" into this corner of audiophilia. Major differences? Yes, it was clearly audible, though not to a degree reflective of proverbial, "My jaw hit the floor" routine. Only you can decide if this is important enough to make a purchase as the cables presented other issues to quibble over. But it was way cool on well recorded music!”
“...I found the Clearviews to be rather easy to use and musically a breath of fresh air. I never had any problems with their construction and found them to offer great value for the price—especially when compared to my cables. Their design is unusual but the results are real. These cables make music....The speaker cables are a no-brainer—these kick ass! What makes the Clearviews so attractive—other than their price and performance—is that (Omeega Mikro) offers a 30-day money back offer, which means you can try them for a nominal shipping fee. Highly recommended. Dave Clark”
”... I can honestly state that these interconnects may be the best value out there, if your predilections are towards a neutral and balanced presentation. I heard better balance and transparency with the (Clearviews) than I have with similarly priced cables like the Kimber Heros, the Silver Steaks, the entry-level Synergistic Research cables, or even the Acoustic Zen WOWs.”
“...I highly recommend the Ultraribbons. They represent a true bargain, perhaps the last step before moseying along that diminishing-returns plateau.... John Brazier”
Golden Helix-Plus speaker cables
Enjoy the Music.com
ClearView Cables From
Part I of II
Review by Srajan Ebaen
”... percussive instruments... enjoyed faster rise times and thus more violent attacks. Timing was tighter and locked synchronously with the other instruments and vocalists. There was a revved-up sensation of drive and élan, a kinetic sense of “live”. On close-mic'ed violin, the stridency of spiccato bow work and the metallic sheen of upper harmonics acquired a ferocity that could have those unaccustomed to it hurry back to the warmer, “prettier” but also more subdued and darker presentation of those systems that are dialed for relaxation rather than this inescapable excitement. On massed strings, the Helix cable clearly resolved individual instruments. The burnished quality of the Acoustic Zen rendered them a more unified mass.