Here we got another one. This one covering our bestseller and giant killer – The Monolith. This cable is a statement, after 3th revisit now it remains 12 years in an offer and over 1000 kilometers of those great ribbons had been sold.Even if it’s not top of the range IC now, it still is most often chosen cable Albedo ever made.That’s simply how good it is ;]
24.01.2012 00:00 | Fr@ntz in Articles ( originally posted on audiostereo.pl )
After testing new Albedo Geo it is time now for an interconnect which was in the company’s portfolio since the dawn of time and placed a level above Geo – The Monolith. We are talking about the latest incarnation of these cables here.The price difference is not too painful and equals £ 100, regardless of the length, so I agreed to use and test both connectors at the same time. Clearly for that reason potential buyers who are thinking about Geo might move the Full Monty instead and go for Monoliths to get the best for not much more, and opposite for others the good way to go will be put savings into electronics and not to buy the more expensive model. Spending the amount saved on discs, or a respectable drink and flowers for beloved ladies or … you name it.
But before we move on to describing how they impact the sound of my system, and comparisons with the “younger sibling” it’s worth mentioning a few words about their construction. It is very important that the manufacturer has provided me the latest version of Monolith. Interestingly they keep using the same name for this cables refusing to add any Mk II or mk2. Although the conductors are still thin silver ribbons, arranged parallel to each other, separated by air silver tape as an insulator, a circular ground cable is run outside in an opalescent silver – greyish outer sleeve. As during production silver always goes one direction then the finished cables themselves remain directional. Of course there is no issue with XLR by nature, but if somebody would like to plug them in the opposite direction to find out there is still RCA and speaker cable available for such an experiment. With RCA the buyer has two choices: silver plugs with reduced resistance or beryllium copper. XLR “only” offers rhodium coated finish. But as the pictures show there is no reason to worry.
Regarding useful features, pay attention to the stylish buckle fastening interconnect. On the one hand it helps maintain an order when connecting devices, but on the other keep it in mind when choosing cable length, since in some cases it may be couple of inches short. Besides that, the earth routed outside can cause unwanted curiosity of children or pets at home. But that’s enough idle chat – it’s time to listen.
Just like Geo, Monoliths need warming up to settle in properly. So after few days run in the system I began to make some first observations. The first thing I could hear is that they are definitely not the same. Although the differences may not be enormous it is well known that the best is the enemy of the good. As I liked Geo a lot I faced the question if Monolith’s sound makes them worth paying extra to get more expensive model. If there is nothing wrong with system match then Monolith certainly should not hurt its performance.
It won’t snake-oil anything, won’t disguise or improve either, but it will send a signal with soaped lightning speed and precision of an experienced sniper. There is no room for reflection, for mistakes or speaking with boring understatement. With their class there is no room for jokes.. Listening to soundtracks by Hans Zimmer for “The Rock,” “Gladiator” and “Pearl Harbour” still gave the pleasure, however, especially the last record, clearly began to dazzle with typical Hollywood mannerism.Overloaded in truly Byzantine forms obscuring the beauty of the music itself. Monstrous soundstage was of course stunning with clear gradation and plans, if considered as satisfactory presentation of individual sections of the instrument as a colourful, albeit impressionistic sound spots. This objection applies only to this recording not any implementation of simplification committed by the tested interconnect.God forbid.In fact, after switching to Holst’s “Planets” (Zubin Mehta, the LA Philharmonic, XRCD) everything got back to normality and the symphonic orchestra sounded again like a single organism, in which the work of individual musicians could be easily traced.
Definitely more ambitious and not “recorded to please the crowd” (the above comparison, of course, refers to the work of Zimmer not Holst’s). Danielle de Niese’s album “Beauty of the Baroque” has clearly proved how female voice can take high pitch, while maintaining all its smoothness and cleanliness.Differences between her soprano and Cecilia Bartoli’s (“Sacrificium”) mezzo-soprano were as clear as between a bottle of good Rioja and great Montepulciano.Both excellent, but the choice will depend on the course to which the wine will be served, and consumer preferences. Same was with recordings of both divas.When I was looking for stimulation I would pick up “Beauty of the Baroque”.But when I got back home tired and wanted to calm my nerves down Bartoli’s warmer voice is incomparable.For smooth transition from Baroque to contemporary music concert albums I picked the “Black Symphony”and the more lyrical and frugal “An Acoustic Night at the Theatre” played by a group called Temptation. The power of Gothic Metal was not limited in any way by those mighty ribbons from Bydgoszcz city and Sharon den Adel’s charismatic voice prevailed over the audience without struggling.Obviously there was no comparison to above mentioned bel canto goddesses .But there is no room for cross over and both schools belongs to their own. One can not trade off the emotions of a powerful voice for a roar coming from depth of the bowels that could not only devastate the family crystal, but also crush the concrete walls. Going even deeper down, and delving into the dark depths of the music which is not worthy to be called civilised I allowed myself to play long lasting in dust albums ” Tool “ by Lateralus and ” Disturbed ” by Ten Thousand Fists. Both played heavily but, by the way, very well-executed and recorded.Contour and hard like a jackhammer. With the wall of guitar riffs standing dead solid in the background behind wildly screaming vocalists. It is a pity that the same could not be said about Geo when I used it during testing Tankard albums. Unfortunately, despite several attempts I had to say “pass” due to the infernal harshness coming from the speakers sounded more like garbage men taking trash out of containers at four at the morning, than Thrash Metal wall of sound, which I expected.
I hope that readers will be able to pick up the difference between the “tasted last month” Geo and subject of this review Monolith.Theoretically these are just the little things, meaningless at the start but coming to the fore not in the first few minutes, or even hours, but after a week or two.Comparing both Albedo connectors reminded me of fratricidal duel between Ayon’s 07s and 1S.C CDPs.The first had more musicality and was more forgiving when it came to not always properly realized recordings. But 1SC was unquestionably a better device, but by its superiority it ruthlessly exposed the inadequacy of musical material supplied played.Similarly, Geo and Monolith. Geo offered momentum, power and pleasure of listening, but Monolith serves the truth and nothing but the truth, and as you know it is not always nice and beautiful to have the whole truth. A lot also depends on the system in which interconnects are supposed to be used.If there is no adjustment needed then a happy buyer will be able to squeeze all out of his system, there Monolith will be the right choice.It will improve nothing but it will play as if … there was no cable at all.
Text and photos by Marcin Olszewski
The system used in the test:
CD / DAC: Ayon 07s
Players file: Dell Inspiron 1764 laptop + JRiver Media Center 17; netbook Samsung NC10 + JRiver Media Jukebox 14
Amplifier: Hegel H-100
Speakers : A.R.T. Moderne 6; Xavian XN Piccola
IC RCA : Audio Antipodes Katipo
IC XLR : Sevenrods ROD2; Albedo Geo; LessLoss Anchorwave
IC Digital: DigiLitz Fadel art; Harmonic Technology Cyberlink Copper; Apogee Eye exhaust
USB Cables: Wireworld Ultraviolet, Wireworld Starlight; Goldenote Firenze Silver
Speaker cables: Harmonix CS-120; LessLoss Anchorwave
Power Cables: LC-1mk2 GigaWatt; LessLoss DFPC Signature
Terminal: GigaWatt PF-2 +-LC cable 2mk2