Power cable AC
hen you name your very first product the „Reference” you're setting the bar really high from the start, especially for yourself as a manufacturer. Usually the name is reserved for the best product that is supposed to be a... well, reference for all other products. So when you start with it you simply must deliver a refined, top-notch performance.
The Power Reference One impressed me as such product. It is perfectly made of carefully selected materials (both conductors and plugs), also some wood elements were used placed in the middle of the cable and next to both plugs that absorb unwanted vibrations. The brand name and model name are engraved in these wooden elements, and so is the serial number. The cable quite inflexible. The outer sleeve has a nice, attractive look, different from 99% of cables available on the market.
Audio Illuminati is a very young company taking its first steps on the market. Perhaps that is why one can't learn much about the design of their cables from company's materials. So I asked Mr Piotr Kalicki, the owner and designer, for details of his product.
Achieving superior results usually requires, in my opinion, rejecting the generally accepted practices. Only thinking out of the box, without prejudice and assumptions increases a chance of creating something special. This statement can be considered my "credo" as well as a starting point when designing Audio Illuminati products.
This knowledge and experience gave me a basic technical knowledge and made me aware of the existence of and the impossibility of ignoring things invisible to the naked eye, such as radiation, micro vibration and so on. My professional life turned out completely different, but the knowledge gained on university constantly helps me to realize my passion. In 2007, I bought my first “serious” stereo set and I immediately was absorbed in this incredible adventure, which the world of music and audio equipment for its faithful reproduction is.
Over the last 10 years, courtesy of the people close to me, I had free access to the top cables and conditioners made by biggest brands. I analyzed their designs, including conductors, dielectrics, filters (both active and passive), and came to the conclusion that apart from the one known to me firm from Japan, the others only focus on selected aspects of the design, leaving the rest of them to a chance. Observing the market, I can see that manufacturers' awareness is growing, albeit still some important aspects of the design of the cables are apparently ignored, or to lower costs are simply not taken into account.
The idea for the new brand was born when I was asked to design a dedicated set of power cables to be used during the Warsaw Audio Video Show 2016 and the forthcoming Axpona show in Chicago (USA) for the Destination Audio whose loudspeakers, by the way, I own and use for testing (however, as one pair of few I own; the others being: Thiel 3.7 and ProAc Response K6).
In my opinion there are no perfectly transparent cables, each of them modulates signal in some way, and the only thing left to do for a designer is to try to understand the phenomena occurring in them, and to attempt to master and control them. Audio Illuminati cables' job is to quickly transfer purified energy, which translates into a dynamic, full, juicy, colorful and musical sound.
The first product of my company is the power cord Audio Illuminati Power Reference One built based on a custom-made, directional, multi-strand, solid core, copper conductor with a purity of 5N. The cable features three screens, two of which are made of a very dense copper braid and a layer of aluminum foil. The conductor itself is delicately twisted around its own axis. I also decided to use Teflon dielectric. A flax fiber and coat paper layer separating conductors from the screens minimize conductors' vibration.
The connectors used for this model are: Wattgate 390 AU Evolution Schuko and IEGO 8085 IEC Gold. This combination was selected as a result of extensive listening tests comparing all currently manufactured connectors made by brands such as: Furutech, Oyaide, IEGO and Wattgate. The cable features also three sleeves made of ash wood that minimize vibration, and also inserts of piezoelectric minerals emitting negative ions.
By the end of 2017 another product, a power cord with advanced passive and active filters stabilizing the electromagnetic field in the listening room, will be released. The cable will be dedicated to traditional power distributors.
The Power Reference One was compared to three reference cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9500, Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version (Polish) and Acoustic Revive Power Reference Triple-C. I used it for Ancient Audio Lektor AIR V-edition CD Player and Soulution 710 power amplifier. A separate comparison was conducted with the Yayuma ASP 01 sound processor. During each test cables were plugged into Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate power distributor connected with electric outlet using 2 m long Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9500.
Recordings used for the test (a selection):
Japanese issues available at
Every time it surprises me how big are the differences in performance when using different power cables. This element of audio system has been ignored for decades and equated in its importance with a cable to the bedside lamp it waited a long time for being properly recognized. Perhaps it was this long time neglect that finally inspired a growing interest in this subject from both large companies and small manufacturers? It seems that finally there is a chance of performing serious studies and measurements that would clarify at least some of what is happening in loudspeakers - and that a lot happens even the reviewed Audio Illuminati Power Audio Reference One clearly proves.
Its sound clearly differs from all three power cables it was compared to (of course I mean the changes it introduces to the sound, but to keep things simple I shall refer to the “sound” of this cable). First, let's look at the tonality. The tonal balance of the Illuminati seems to be shifted up. Although after a longer listening, it turns out that it is not quite so, but I was under impression that the bass did not go so deep as with Acoustic Revive, Harmonix and Acrolink competitors. Let me clear this out right now - this is not true, and actually in this only Acrolink is clearly better than the Polish cable. However, since the “center of gravity” is shifted a bit up, and the bass and lower midrange are not as rich as those of reference cables, for a time it may seem so.
The treble in turn is very clear and open. A careful comparison with other cables show that an attack of cymbals, castanets (see - Paradox, Drifting Feather), vibraphone, etc. when played with the Polish cable is very natural. On the one hand, also of a delicate nature. That's good, because with any type of realization it does not introduce annoying coloration and with not so good recordings it does not further “sharpen” the already sharp on the edges treble. I noticed it particularly clearly when comparing Polish cable with the Acoustic Revive – let me add that this is a great cable. The Japanese chord delivers very open sound, but not as clear as what Polish cable delivers. On the other hand, the AR's upper treble compared with the Illuminati's seems to be a little simplified, not as refined, as if above 10 kHz, this cable had a lower resolution.
These two features, ie. not so rich lower end and the related emphasis shift to the mid-bass plus the open treble ares largely responsible for the sound of the Polish cable. At least when we're using it in a well-balanced system, in which the Polish cable replaces some Japanese one representing a similar or lower price range. I'm talking about the Japanese cables, because they tend to warm up the sound and only in the most expensive models, whether by Furutech or Acrolink, also Hijiri, the darker sound does not mean less resolving, as it happens with less expensive models.
But as I said, the Illuminati does not roll off the bass. The lowest low tones are really low enough but they are not so rich as when delivered by the reference cables, and that's responsible for this bit false impression. It's not an incident but a part of a “bigger picture” - this is a cable that offers proper resolution and selectivity of bass. Compared with it even the Acrolink seemed a bit less differentiating. And so, if our system requires discipline, but one that is not a caricature of correctness, the reviewed cable will push him in that direction, it will allow system to play the double bass, bass, left hand of the piano, kick drum, and so on, presenting them more accurately, with more information regarding both, the details and the placement.
What you have to accept with this cable is less acoustics and air n the sound. Illuminati prefers main sounds. And these are not presented closer to the listener, I would say that on the contrary, Polish cable presents them from a distance. And yet they are closer to each other, are more focused. The "halo" around instruments, whether it's a natural acoustics of the room where the recording was made, or an artificial one added at the stage of mastering the recording, is less intense, everything seems to be more direct.
Audio Illuminati Power Reference One delivers more precise presentation of all recordings. It opens and disciplines them. It delivers a very nice treble, surprisingly delicate, yet rich in information. It has also a focused, well-differentiated bass. These two elements are above average, regardless of price. As a result of such a great presentation of both range extremes the midrange seems slightly hidden in their shade, because it is just OK. In this respect, the Japanese cables which it was compared to, leave a better impression. The soundstage is withdrawn behind the line connecting the speakers and the sound of instruments and voices are favored rather than their acoustic environment. The whole presentation is so clear, nice and enjoyable. A great debut of a new Polish company - both in terms of performance and build quality!
- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One