Testimonial by Steve McCormack

About Absolute Fidelity Power Interface cables

Let me say up-front that I am a fan of Gary Koh's work. Gary is a talented design engineer with expertise in a wide variety of disciplines. He is a scientist at heart, and I know it troubles him (as it does me) that many of the nuances of high-performance music reproduction that we audiophiles take for granted are dismissed and/or laughed at by the traditional engineering community. To his credit, Gary has always worked to achieve a deeper understanding of the physical principles at work in our music systems, and to meld careful engineering with artistic inspiration in his product designs. His passion for music is clearly displayed in his work, and his technical explanations are a model of understated clarity that ought to be more prevalent throughout our industry.

I have commented previously about my very positive experience with Gary's Absolute Fidelity Loudspeaker Interface cables. Having evaluated – and kept in my system – both his loudspeaker and component interfaces, my interest was immediately piqued when he told me he had been working on new AC cord designs. I have heard any number of well-considered (and some not-so-well) opinions about why aftermarket AC cords should have no effect whatsoever, but the simple fact remains that I do hear significant differences when changing AC cords. I now consider careful selection of my AC cords to be just as important as my other cables, and that this choice can have a significant impact on my listening appreciation and enjoyment.

Given Gary's inquiring nature, I suppose I shouldn't't have been surprised when he told me he didn't have “a” power cord – he was working on several purpose-built models. His investigations had led to the conclusion that AC cords should be optimized for their specific application, and this had already resulted in a special cord dedicated to turntables and tape decks. He was now working on additional models for high and low-current equipment. He handed me pre-production samples of each – nicely finished but otherwise unassuming – and said “Tell me what you think.” I was only too happy to oblige.

I've already mentioned that I consider AC cord performance important, and over the past several years I have auditioned a fair number in my reference system. My system tends to fairly stable, and Gary's cables were going up against some very capable competition – power cables that I have used happily for some time. First up was the low-current model designed for source equipment, which I installed as the feed to my VRE-1B preamp. This is a critical link for me as the VRE-1B is superbly transparent and revealing of all its associated equipment. The improvement with Gary's cable was immediately clear - an across-the-board lift in clarity and transparency, better low-level information retrieval and dynamic expression, and most important, a lovely midrange richness and immediacy. Voices took on greater realism and body, and seemed more a part of a real person filling an acoustic space. While the change was not large in absolute terms, I found it very compelling and had no desire to return to my previous reference.

Then I picked-up the high-current model. I confess that I was a little concerned...Gary's cable was now going up against a longtime favorite and power amp reference - a cable that had bested all comers for a very long time. I began to hope that Gary's power cord would be at least as good, or would come reasonably close. Well, I needn't have worried. While I clearly preferred the low-current cord over my previous reference, I would have characterized them as reasonably close in absolute terms. In this case, Gary's high-current cord easily bested my former reference, put a big smile on my face, and set my toes a-tappin'. Color me surprised! The sonic differences were much the same as I had heard with the low-current model, but in this case the magnitude of the improvement was larger. These new Absolute Fidelity Power Interface cords will not be leaving my system any time soon.

Gary's research into cable interface behavior is clearly paying-off. His designs not only sound excellent, they also have the advantage of being reasonably-sized, easy to work with physically, and very easy on the wallet when compared to much of the competition. They receive my highest recommendation, and I urge you to audition any or all of them in your own system. I suspect you will be as impressed as I am.

 

Steve McCormack - SMc Audio - January 2011

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