Originally Posted by lag0a
From what I've read online in various forums, Oyaide power cables are known for a smooth and laid back sound signature. I don't know if that also applies to their digital interconnect line of products but they should be pretty consistent. This is a good thing if you use in wall power without a power conditioner as it would cut down the brightness or digital sound of your audio gear as you need power for your gear to send that signal through the Oyaide digital interconnect which relays part of its sound signature to your whole audio system. I believe all cables impart some signature to your audio gear but some does a better job at introducing music closer to your taste or live presentation depending on the metal, geometry, RF/EMI rejection, connectors, and so forth.
I very much agree with the your statement. All the cables impart some signature to the chain.
When judging the Oyaide digital cable, one has to take into account not only the sonic signature of the main components (headphones, DAC, amp) but also the interconnects and power cords.
In my personal (subjective) experience, I have found that the sonic signature of systems using no power conditioning and "stock" power cords (using pvc coating and sub par conductors) are rather follow: bloated lower midrange, harsh and unrefined highs. In such a system, using the Oyaide digital cable will give you the impression that the lower end is slow and thick and that the highs are not sparkly enough.
On a properly tuned and fast system, the Oyaide will sound the closer to the truth.
Some people judge equipment and components relative to each other. While it is important to use such a method, one should also listen to how a specific component brings closer or farther away from the sound of live instruments and voices. My ears find it less objectionable to have a bass/midrange/high "imbalance" than to have deviation withing the bass, midrange and highs.
What I mean is that I put more emphasis on how a specific component preserve the timber of instruments and voices rather than what I think the balance between bass/midrange/highs should be.
There is a difference between having a component (or cable) that has a neutral tonal balance and a component thas is tonally neutral. The Oyaide is (to my ears) the most tonally neutral digital cable I have tried to date (include cables that cost more). When you listen to specific instruments that hard to render by digital components: violins, pianos, glass harmonicas... the Oyaide is the one that gets the closest to have a real instrument in front of you.
Switching from older HD650 to the ALO recabled Beyer T1s, the gap in resolution and tonal neutrality between the Oyaide and other cables (even high performance ones) is more apparent.
Does it mean the Oyaide should be used in any system? No, as it requires systems that have very little "excess fat". By that I mean that if you haven't tackled issues such as interconnects, power cords and power filtration, there is a definite possibility that the Oyaide will sound slow. On a perfectly "tweaked" system, the Oyaide can bring you very close to the representation of real instruments.
With the Oyaide in my chain and using a good recording such the "Vivaldi - Concerto for 2 violins - Carmignola and Mullova", you can not only hear the sound of violins as being ... violins but you clearly hear the distinction between the Stradivarius and the Guadanini played by the two soloists. While I high performance cable such as Hifi Cables Sobek can also render violins convincingly, it doesn't dig as deep in the recording and the violins are not as different sounding as it the case with the Oyaide.
I don't even mention the Stereovox XV2 because one of the reason I sold it was because it made violins sound a little artificial. (I tried the XV2 in many transport/DAC configurations and also on a high end speaker system).
This is a pretty long post but I hope it helps put in perspective my review. Every reviewer (or listener) put a different emphasis on specific areas of sound reproduction. Ultra high end audio might get every parameter right but in the case of mid range equipment, you are bound to have compromises. To my ears, the Oyaide has the less objectionable compromises but other people with different equipment will undoubtedly reach different conclusions. This is what makes this hobby fun.