It is a great opening of the year for everything vinyl related. From early start of the J.Sikora TTs to he main subject of today’s write up: The Ultimate RED Eye phono interconnects by KBL Sound. Marek Dyba managed to go through an extended variety of products like: J.Sikora Basic turntable, Acoustical Systems Aguilar , AirTight PC-3 & Acoustical Systems Archon cartridges, phonostages: Grandinote Celio mk IV, Ypsilon VPS-100 + step-up, all to find out as much as possible about the latest KBL’s Ultimnate version of their classic RED Eye phono ICs. Go for full review under the link above or click more to scan through the highlights.
Here we got a little intro:
” The Red Eye Ultimate series uses silver and copper conductors. Interconnects, including the Phono, are based on mono-crystalline silver, while the speaker cables and the power ones are made of mono crystal copper. The high-class conductors are shielded in several ways, also vibration damping of both external and internal mechanical resonances is properly taken care of. Manufacturer decided to use foamed Teflon for dielectric – one of the best materials of this type available on the market today. The cable features a red-black braided nylon sleeve with copper threads, with a clear predominance of the former color. The Phono is terminated with RCA Mundorf / WBT 0110 Ag plugs manufactured by the German giant (WBT) according to Mundorf’s specifications. These constitute the main difference compared to the previous version of the Red Eye… “
” Listening to the Red Eye Ultimate Phono (at the beginning with GrandiNote and AirTight) immediately brought back memories from the test of the entire set of cables from this series. Many people associate silver in cables with a “thin, light” sound (in my opinion that is true only for “cheap” silver) and the Polish interconnect beautifully contradicted this stereotype. The sound with it was rich, full, even dense. I’m talking, of course, about density and saturation of the sound that characterizes most of the top shelf components, appearing side by side with high resolution and a huge amount of information. I perceived the sound, especially the first, as quite dark and smooth, but it changed as soon as such instruments as cymbals, triangle, or bell came in and it turned out that the upper midrange and treble are fantastically vibrant, open and full of air. Due to these features all these tiny percussion instrument on Patricia Barber’s “Companion” sounded so well, but also Tomasz Stańko’s trumpet on the old (Polish!) Release of C.O.C.X or Miles Davis’ on the iconic “Kind of blue”. In comparison, the Siltech did not offer such saturation or sound density – it sounded a bit “lighter”, although bit more vivid, faster. The high tones were a bit more shiny (but with no signs of sharpness), but they did not have the mass, that cymbals or triangle had with the Red Eye Ultimate Phono. Interestingly, however, with the KBL Sound cable the reverbs were longer, fuller… “
” The Red Eye Ultimate Phono, as expected, offers a similar sonic character as the RCA interconnect from this series. It delivers a refined, well-arranged, resolving sound based on the solid, rich, well-differentiated bass with excellent timing, and thus pace&rhythm. This richness applies to the whole band, because the midrange is also extremely full, colorful and fluid, and the top end, on one hand is amazingly vibrant, open and full of air, on the other has a rare (natural) weight (richness). It is also an extremely spatial cable but it never adds anything on its own. The soundstage can be very wide and have a unique depth, but only if it was caught this way in the recording. Yet, even if the recording is not particularly spacial, the Red Eye Ultimate Phono is able to build a tangible, convincing, even if not a big stage, with precisely located, three-dimensional virtual sources of natural size. It’s one of those cables that allow user to forget that there is a cable in the system – every aspect of the sound is just accurate, right, exactly as it should be.
One more thing, an advice if you will – if you become an owner of this phono cable make sure that at least at one end of this interconnect you have a highly resolving, clean and transparent sounding device. In my case AirTight PC3 cartridge was one and the Grandinote Celio mk IV phonostage was another. The Archon pickup and Ypsilon phono, both amazing performers, belong to a bit warmer type, so the combination of these two with the Red Eye Ultimate Phono, though still very good and in many respects magical, did not give the Polish cable a chance to present its full potential. However, when I combined AirTight with Ypsilon, or Archon with GrandiNote the results were remarkable. Please treat this only as a suggestion, but if you decide to purchase the KBL Sound Red Eye Ultimate Phono cable you just have to offer it (and yourself) a chance to use its full, huge potential…”