Over the last few weeks ive had an exceptional time with Kimber Kable’s Nate Mansfield who has assisted me in choosing some of the best sounding speaker cable and interconnects for the money intended for my vintage listening setup. My setup consists of JBL L100 speakers and a Pioneer SX-1250 receiver running into my media server with all music ripped into 320kbps or higher.
The following cables I had on loan from Kimber Kable were;
- GQ Cu Mini
- GQ Hb Mini
- Speaker Cable
- 8VS- Retails for $184 for 2.5m
- 8TC- Retails for $376
The packaging I have seen on Kimber Kables is phenomenal. Depending on the cables, it may come in retail packaging or a Pelican case inscribed with “Kimber Kables” and the collection name of the cable. I happened to have retail packaging on my cables, but none the less still very high quality.
I was immediately impressed by the build quality of the speaker cable when I inspected them. The tight braid was easily the best part, until I looked at the very high quality connectors which were precisely soldered into place by Kimbers high tech soldering techniques. Unlike other cable companies these cables were very high quality, with a consistent tight braid and proper soldering so that they were to never come undone. The interconnects were of the same build quality except with TechFlex which was transparent black so that the braid was to be seen through it. A y-splitter divided the sleeving from the braid which lead up to the connectors which were very high quality resembling the speaker cable.
The more I ran both the 8VS and 8TC speaker cable I heard an ever increasing treble and soundstage difference in the 8VS which I found not to sync very well with my system. I preferred the more neutral tonality and brightness of the 8TC after 120 hours of burn in with my system as the JBL’s and Pioneer are known for being neutral and transparent. Each cable was run approximately 300 hours with differences occurring ever 50-100 hours of burn in.
8VS: Sweet Potato Pie made famous by Ray Charles-Warm and jumpy, a little warmer on the highs than 8TC, crisp yet warm, airy wide soundstage in the mids vs. 8TC better transparently in voice, good sharp/crisp bass, made the music pop like sparking water, trumpet throughout was crisp and direct, Ray Charles voice was very lively as it would have been in New York.
8VS: Love Won’t Let Me Wait made famous by Luther Vandross-crisp saxophone, airy fluffy voice, airy mids with sax, good airy soundstage, outstanding treble, jumpy at times with sax vs. 8TC saxophone very piercing and lively, bass was jumpy and very controlled, his voice was very clear and precise with good deep extension in his voice.
8VS: Start All Over Again by Dave Koz- deep lows, airy highs, crisp voice, sharp instrumental vs. 8TC deep and jumpy, slightly raw in the beginning like Adele, slight crisp in voice, saxophone was very lively and sharper than on crappy/lower grade speaker wire, good extension to music overall, upbringing is very grand and flowing with good depth and crispness to the saxophone parts, her voice in the solo was very deep and precise and clear throughout the solo.
8VS: Indian Summer by Chris Botti- airy instrumental with wide soundstage, treble very good with drums, crisp sharp trumpet vs. 8TC Billy Kilson on the drums were very on target, and very poppy and hippy, trumpet was very revealing when played alongside the drummers.
8VS: Fields of Gold made famous by Celtic Women- airy voice, airy highs with wide soundstage, wide soundstage is what is best to describe this song, great theatrical upbringing by one of the Celtic women, vibrato was consistent from beginning with good extension in the mids vs. 8TC voices were very clean and hollow, the voices were clear and rhythmic but recessed and detailed, the voices were clear and dense, the music is glittery and very magically with slight added texture to the music.
8VS: What Ive Been Waiting For by Brian McKnight- good clear and crisp extension in mids, as well in highs vs. 8TC lows in bass are deep, voice is clear cut and direct.
My system consisting of neutral, transparent components required something that would balance the sound out and make everything that much more concert like and not Auto-Tuned with fake highs and voices untrue to the artist. I personally preferred the 8TC for various reasons including that it was transparent and neutral and that it made my system feel more as if I was actually there listening to the artist. The 8VS would sound great with a warmer system consisting of a Marantz or a Sansui, I just didn’t have mine in while doing this review. For the value these cables give, it would be a no brainer for any audiophile to go out and buy these. I can guarantee you’re getting something you will be able to hear a difference from, because I know I did and my ears are just like yours.