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Harmonic Technology Precision Link (review)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My cable problem arose when I changed amps. Cable wise I was perfectly happy with van den Hul D102 III connecting Creek OBH 11 to a Marantz CD6000 OSE. However, after changing the amp to X-Can V2, the thing ended up a bit too bright for my tastes even partnered with Sennheiser HD600, not to talk about these Beyer DT831s. I should say this, this was not a cable fault. Van den Hul is a very nice, neutral cable. I think it was the X-can V2 that introduced this brightness, but I decided to change/upgrade my interconnects instead of getting straight into tube rolling (which could have solved the problem perhaps).
Next thing you know my van den Huls changed owner (McBiff may review them some day) and I was left with some cheap wires.

So, I was on the market for new cables. First I decided to try something a bit more expensive than the vdH and still reasonable. Audioquest Diamondback fell in this category. Mind that I’m talking European prices here, i.e. American products are generally overpriced, bet it is the same thing in the USA. I selected Audioquest because it is a solid core cooper wire. All silver plated ones I’ve tried so far sounded bright, so I thought this may be smoother. No such luck. From the moment I plugged it, the Diamondback sounded forward and sharp. Break-in ... I didn’t use to believe in cable break-in , but more about this later. In short after 24 hours of break-in the Audioquest was still far too bright, even brighter than my previous cable. On top of that I noticed another sonic flaw. It seemed like the high mids and the low treble were compressed and then the sound opened again in the higher frequencies. This made female voices sound unnatural and the whole treble region sounded somewhat mechanical. Even my wife noticed this (and she is as much of an audiophile as I’m a woman). ”This sound as a record, before it sounded more as alive performance” was her comment. Further down the frequency range the things were not as tragic though. The Audioquest brought a bit deeper and tighter bass, always welcomed with the X-Can. Lower mids were also OK but this treble. Another 12 hours of Break-in and it became apparent that this is not the cable for me.

Meanwhile I was reading all cable reviews I could get hold of and noticed that many people were raving about Harmonic Technology cables. Everyone was talking about smooth but detailed sound. These are expensive here even their cheaper Precision Link sells for about 170 USD. It was above my budget, but you know how it is.
So, I came home with a pair of Harmonic Technology Precision Link interconnects.
Here the real review starts...

Construction and appearance
These may be costly but they look and feel very well made. First, the Precision Link sold here looks different from what is pictured on Harmonic Technology website (www.harmonictech.com). Mine actually look more like their costlier Truth Link. They’re thick and have fabric-like outer jacket. Another rubber jacket is fitted between the cable and the RCA jacks. The jacks themselves are big and sturdy naturally gold plated with teflon dielectric and of a locking type. This is nice since fitting is very easy and once inserted they can be locked tight. The manual even states that fine tuning of the sound can be done by tightening the fit. Well, I haven’t experimented enough with that but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. A word of warning: the jacks are so big that they may not fit some equipment with the input RCAs too close. The X-Can just manages in this respect.

The sound
At first, it seemed disappointing. The sound was distant. The soundstage had a hole in the middle. There was not enough presence in the midrange. Audioquest was faster and fuller, and a lot brighter though. Well, the manual says they need 24 to 36 hours at least and in some cases up to 200 hours. So i gave them 6 hours. Then I returned and listened and there they were. The midrange was there. Everything was falling into places. I decided to leave them overnight before a careful audition.
After 20 hours of break-in I sat and listened. First of all I never thought that the cable can actually break-in. My previous experience with about 10 so called ”audiophile cables” including the Audioquest was that very little to nothing happens to cables when they’re ran in. This one was different. Get me right, it surprised me because the change was so very obvious and unexpected, so big in fact that I’d compare it to some headphones. The midrange is now completely relaxed and extremely natural. That is the best thing about the Precision Link cable, it is so sweetly natural Vocals sound absolutely alive, percussions are crisp and have this natural attack. In one word the mids liquidified The treble is as I wanted, smooth but not rolled-off. High pitched percussions, like high-hats and triangles are also extremely natural sounding. I listen to quite some latin music with breathtaking percussions which Precision Link reproduces greatly. The bass is also nice tight and well defined, perhaps not as deep as with Audioquest or van den Hul cables but nevertheless good at least. Sounstaging and instrument separation are first rate. The X-Can does these things very well and obviously the Precision Link is not an obstacle. Overall detail is great. Harmonic Technology Precision Link reproduces detail (or allows my system to do so) in a different way. Audioquest Diamondback for instance has a lot of treble detail thrown in your face but those subtle details from the midrange are missing. Precision Link is just so subtle with plenty of detail over the whole frequency spectrum. The result is the most neutral and natural sound I’ve experienced so far. Whatever music is being played, I tried everything from classic to industrial, the effect is just clear and smooth sound. It really feels like it transmits the signal without any coloration. Now, my X-Can V2 really sounds like a tube amp, liquid mids, tons of subtle detail and smooth and warm... oh, you get the point. This cable is great. 170 bucks well spent. It is either an amazing synergy or it just allows the X-Can and the HD600s to shine. Needless to say the Audioquest Diamondback went back to the store and Harmonic Technology Precision Link are firmly and permanently in my headphone system now. Well until I get the cash for those Truth links which are supposedly even better.

Conclusion
Harmonic Technology Precision Link is an amazing cable. Definitely the best I’ve ever owned. There aren’t any hocus-bocus pseudo science and exotic materials used here. Just very pure (99.9997% they say) very long crystal copper. It does its job simply and perfectly. All harshness is removed and the music is left to flow nice and sweet.

Associated equipment:
Musical Fidelity X-Can V2
Sennheiser HD600
Beyerdynamic DT831
Marantz CD6000OSE
post #2 of 5
That's a very fine review, blr! I copied it to the full reviews section of this forum. I've considered Harmonic Tech interconnects, and your review makes we want to consider them again.
post #3 of 5
Very nice review, those sound (pardon the pun) like great cables. Let me know when you plan to upgrade next.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.
McBiff, it's gonna be a while before I can upgrade these. I'm still recovering from the finantial shock.
HT Truth Link is next level but these sell for close to 300 USD, a bit of an overkill for a system like mine I guess.
post #5 of 5
I owned the Truth Link some time ago. I found it to be very detailed, smooth, with a good tonal balance, good frequency extension, just the right side of "warm" - and despite all this it sounded strangely sour (that's the only word I can use to describe it), and I did not enjoy listening to music with these cables in the system, so I sold them.

A cable with similar strengths to the Truth Link but without that "sour" quality is the Kimber 1010 (the copper version of their Select cable), although it is quite expensive (and still not perfect - the search for the perfect cable continues!).

Ross
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