As some of you may know, I won the Grand Prize at the LAX August 18th H3 Headphone meet. I was standing out by the loading docks at the Hilton, when I noticed I had received a message on my iPad, entitled “You won the Grand prize Reference Series Bellatone Headphone Cable”. I was extremely surprised and excited, so I dashed quite hurriedly back into the meeting room, hoping Phil, the owner of Bellatone Audio, was still there. To my great relief, he was! I spoke to him for a few minutes, and then exchanged contact info with him. After that, I left the meet, feeling quite happy, and knowing that I was about to get a very nice cable.
Well, a while went by, and I eventually got my cable. I decided that I was going to get a pair of Audez'e LCD-3's, so I got the cable made for those, and balanced, as I got a Mjolnir/Gungnir. The cable came in a very nice package, very sturdily packaged, etc. It was one of the best packing jobs I've seen, and there's no way there would be any damage to the cable in transit.
I would like to note that in most instances, when I say 'cable', I really mean 'cables', as the left and right channel cables are completely separate cables.
The build quality of these cables is impeccable. They are relatively flexible and don't get in the way or cause any unnecessary comfortability problems in the wearing of the LCD-3's.
Note: all songs mentioned are Hdtracks 96 or 192kHz unless otherwise noted with a *
Now, for how it sounds!
On the song, 'The Wizard of Oz: Over the Rainbow', I can't help but to notice how clear the Bellatone cable makes the headphones sound. It's like you're not listening to the headphones, but the music instead! On the Audez'e stock cable, while the song still sounds good, it has a level of over-sparkly “harshness” to the percussion rhythm (I still can't figure out what instrument that is), that makes the song sound much less realistic and takes away from the overall picture of the music.
Kenny Burrell's 'Saturday Night Blues' sounds simply more realistic and less harsh on the Bellatone cable. On the stock Audez'e cable , the clarity is impacted, as it sounds like there is a slight 'veil' over the low and middle end of the spectrum, while the highs are more pronounced than they should be. The Bellatone cable fixes this and makes it sound proper and neutral.
On the Bellatone Cable, Elis Regina's 'Como Nossos Pais'* sounds quite clear and glassy. It doesn't sound perfectly realistic due to the recording, but it is a good recording, in my opinion, if not quite the best. On the stock cable, it just doesn't sound as clear and open.
Overall, I think that The Bellatone Audio cable is definitely better and would make your listening experience just THAT much more enjoyable. While the stock cable is OK, the Bellatone cable is like taking a screen off of the headphones, and letting the full potential of the sound be realized.
This is Phil's description of his proprietary cable-building technique:
“The geometry is called "Galactic Geometry" and is completely unique among any cable on the market. The wires used in each Reference cable are coaxial and standard ultra high purity silver plated copper (both 22 awg. conductor and shield) American-made wire with PTFE Teflon extrusion.”
If that sounds complicated, it is, as each pair of cables takes a minimum of 20 hours to build. The normal price for a 7 foot cable is $735, but last I heard Phil is giving first time customers a serious discount.
I hope you all enjoy my review!
PICTURE OF BUBBLE WRAP
This is what I removed from the carton.
PICTURE OF PLASTIC ENVELOPE
This is what was inside the well-packaged bubble wrap, and a coupon was attached.
PICTURE OF BELLATONE BAG
As if all these layers didn't protect the cable enough in shipping, this classy cotton carrying or storage bag is a very nice touch.
PICTURE OF ALL CABLES TIED TOGETHER
Inside the envelope were all the wires, nicely tied together in bows.
PICTURE OF EACH CHANNEL CABLE
After removing some bow ties both channels were revealed.
CLOSEUP OF THE CONNECTORS