Review: Black Sands Violet ZII Power Cord
Jul 30, 2008 at 5:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Jon L

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Black Sands Cable has been making quite a stir in the power cable arena, and I fully understand why, having auditioned Black Sands Silver Ref IV and living with Violet Z1. The VZ1 especially appealed to my personal tastes strongly, and I ended up using several of them over the years.

Black Sands Violet ZII is not "official" yet, but one can buy them right now from Agon. I asked John at Black Sands what the difference between Z1 and ZII was, and this is the reply:

- New terminations
- AWG has been slightly increased but not enough to really worry about
- Purity of conductors has been increased
- Less shielding than the first generation VZI

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The new ATL AC connectors used on VZII.

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The ATL connectors exude a feel of quality, though I have always kind of liked the sonic colorations of the stock Marinco connectors, which are used in VZ1. For some side-by-side views of VZ1 and VZII:

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And I certainly think VZII looks a lot sexier and more expensive, though the prices are the same for now. Of course, the million dollar question is, "how do they sound different?" Some of the sonic differences follow what one would expect from "less shielding" in VZII, meaning greater extension and apparent treble air up top. Having made plenty of DIY cords myself using varying degrees of shielding, it also did not surprise me that the more-shielded VZ1, perhaps due to attenuated top-end energy, seemed to have thicker and slightly darker midrange-to-upper bass presentation. The word "dark" should not be misinterpreted, however, because compared to many other cords, VZ1 is certainly an exciting, energetic, detailed cord, especially in the upper-midrange. It's just that VZII has more illumination and air well above the upper-mids.

VZII also makes VZ1 sound more colored and more diffuse by tightening up the image focus and seemingly having a more ruler-flat type of neutrality. VZII also sounds a bit cleaner through the ranges, almost partially reminding me of the Black Sands Silver Ref's sound signature. It also reminds me of the tonality and overall balance of the IeGo cord with Rhodium connectors, which would be around the "center" of the IeGo flavors.

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So does this mean VZ1 owners should immediately sell off their VZ1 and buy VZII? Perhaps... If your preferences strongly identify with cleanliness, frequency neutrality, lack of extra haze or over-bloom, this is your cord. However, there are many audiophiles who like a bit thicker and richer midrange-low midrange presentation despite a bit more blurriness and less precision; VZ1 IMO is special b/c it adds just a teaspoon-full of richness while still sounding blazingly fast, dynamic, and bold. VZ1 also has a tad more front-row in presentation at the cost of less separation and organization compared to VZII, so as usual one gets to pick his poison. My guess is that in most systems, a mix of some VZ1 and VZII will yield the best balance, but this is not surprising since I am not aware of a single cord, no matter how many gazillion dollars it costs, that won't skew the system too much in some way if wiring the entire system.

Throwing the Lessloss cord into the ring, one is again impressed with its very unique sound, one that is warm and organic, seeming to build the sound from bottom up, not paricularly highlighting the upper-mid to high frequency detailing. This is a very different presentation from most cords, including VZ1, VZII, and most of the IeGo line. I do love having *one* Lessloss cord in my system somewhere.

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It would be difficult not to call Black Sands VZII a great success in power cord design, and I encourage those who know and love the Black Sands sound to give it a try. However, as most seasoned audiophiles already understand, building a synergistic system requires one to actually try various cables in the particular system in question, in many cable/equipment combinations, before that proverbial "nirvana" can even be glimpsed. I wish it was easier
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Jul 30, 2008 at 2:40 PM Post #3 of 12

Jon L

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Know Talent /img/forum/go_quote.gif
are you getting free sample or discounts for your "glowing" reviews?


Everything I own, I have bought at the prices anyone else can get through the usual markets, i.e. the Lessloss promotion and Audiogon used prices.

*Edit*

Oh, I just checked out some of your other posts about cables in general. Please don't feel offended if I don't reply to your posts about cables from now on. That is my current policy regarding people who believe all cable companies are rip-offs.
 
Jul 31, 2008 at 9:43 PM Post #8 of 12

yotacowboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Know Talent /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've tried a variety of power cords on different components while listening thru speakers and cans and consistently find no difference. I WANT to hear a difference...but I don't

Maybe my BAT, McIntosh and B&W gear is not resolving enough for me to hear???
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Lucky you. You don't hear a difference in power cables, we know that. You've been kind enough to reiterate your opinions enough in many threads (over, and over, and over...) that few, perhaps none, are left to question YOUR experience with YOUR cables.

In other words, no offense, but we get it. You don't hear a difference. Your opinion of power cables that you've used is duly noted.

Do you have something productive to post, e.g. relevant subjective impressions regarding the cords reviewed and compared, or have you conducted any measurements of the cables in question?
 
Aug 1, 2008 at 1:09 PM Post #9 of 12

Know Talent

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Quote:

Originally Posted by yotacowboy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Lucky you. You don't hear a difference in power cables, we know that. You've been kind enough to reiterate your opinions enough in many threads (over, and over, and over...) that few, perhaps none, are left to question YOUR experience with YOUR cables.

In other words, no offense, but we get it. You don't hear a difference. Your opinion of power cables that you've used is duly noted.

Do you have something productive to post, e.g. relevant subjective impressions regarding the cords reviewed and compared, or have you conducted any measurements of the cables in question?



You know, you're right! why should I care? thanks
 
Aug 3, 2008 at 1:34 AM Post #10 of 12

sbulack

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Thank you for the report, Jon L. Once again, informative about a new product with good comparison points to other comparable and likely already-known cords. I'm glad that Black Sands is continuing the development of its very successful Violet Z1 product.
 

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