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Next Level Tech.

Manufacturer: NEXT LEVEL TECH.
Price (in Poland): 7250 PLN/1 m (1710 €)

tel.: +48 504 931 220 

→ NeXt Level Tech Audio | Facebook


Provided for test by: NEXT LEVEL TECH.


translation Marek Dyba
images Wojciech Pacuła | Robert Słowiński

No 218

July 1, 2022

NEXT LEVEL TECH. is one of the youngest Polish audio companies. It was established at the beginning of 2021 by Mr. ROBERT SŁOWIŃSKI and specializes in connection cables. We test the RCA FLAME analog interconnect.

NE OF THE PLEASANT ASPECTS OF running an audio magazine is discovering new brands. Nothing compares to the excitement of getting to know new products, hearing about their competitive advantages - because that's a constant part of this story - and listening to them. The curiosity gets even greater when it is a new product from Poland, after all, we live here and now. And if we can be a kind of "midwife", being the first to present the brand to the world, the joy is even greater.

This is what happened with many companies in our history. Let me name such companies as FRANC AUDIO ACCESSORIES, PRO AUDIO BONO, PYLON, DIVINE ACOUSTICS, CIRCLE LABS, just to name those that achieved measurable success. We also played a similar role in the case of ROBERT SŁOWIŃSKI's NEXT LEVEL TECH company. Established at the beginning of last year, it immediately presented the technically and visually refined analog interconnect WATER.

As Mr. Słowiński wrote at the time, he had read reviews in "High Fidelity" and decided to use his experience in making DIY audio cables to produce commercial products. This is how the NxLT company was founded. As he said then, the model he tried to follow for him was the Hijiri XLR Million interconnect. After two years of searching and "throwing about 40 kg of all kinds of copper and silver for scrap", he came across a conductor which, in his opinion, had quite a potential. It was almost 20 years old, soft, oxygen-free, tinned copper with an unusual, dark color. Flame’s design is different.


| A few simple words…

Owner, designer

AS FOR A CONDUCTOR WE USED, we are dealing with a proprietary combination of a silver solid core with OFC copper. In terms of shielding, I have doubled it, with one of them isolating the signal from RFI interference. The plugs I used come from the Japanese manufacturer Oyaide, and their termination is done by welding and is finished with a silver and gold coating. Another good news is that each cable is made by me by hand, so customers have a guarantee of the highest quality of each unit.

The cables are broken-in using a special device, but for unknown reasons it shows its full potential only after min. 2-3 days from being connected to a new system. It’s a difficult "patient" at first. In some systems, it has replaced more well-known, highly valued cables. RS



WHEN THE NxLT COMPANY WAS ESTABLISHED, the lineup included three interconnects, available in both XLR and RCA versions: the aforementioned WATER, but with Furutech plugs, which, as the manufacturer said at the time, was intended for "neutral sound systems", and the NxLT XLR AIR featuring the Oyaide Focus plugs. Several months later, the top cable, the FLAME, was ready.

It is a nice-looking interconnect, wrapped in a black braid (we tested the RCA version), terminated with excellent Oyaide Genesis plugs. I start with the plugs because they are as important as the cable itself, which was treated very seriously in this case. Oyaide’s conducting elements are made of phosphor bronze, plated with platinum and rhodium. In turn, the outer sheath is screwed on and it clamps the ground’s contact on the socket; this one, in turn, is made of brass. But that's not all - its inner part has been covered with a special alloy, the same as in photo cameras. Together with a special lubricant, it is supposed to facilitate its rotation.

After the audio plug, it changes the conductor and goes to the actual cable. This is a critical place because it it is a mechanical and electrical break and a non-conductive barrier is created at the interface between metals of various types due to the flow of current. This is improved by using tin with a high silver content, but this is only a halfway solution. Mr. Słowiński goes a step further and not only solders conductors using high temperature in the plug that connects these two metals in a much more stable way. But before soldering, he welds the conductors with plugs (that’s the expression he uses: "welds"). And on top of the whole thing he applies a layer of silver and gold alloy.

| Oyaide Elec. Co., Ltd

⸜ Oyaide Genesis plug on the NxLT Flame.

OYAIDE ELEC. Co., Ltd. is a Japanese company specializing in audio connection cables, established in 1952. Its founder was Mr. KAZUJI OYAIDE. It started small, as a small shop in Akihabara, Tokyo district, specializing in selling electric cables. Today in Japan (and not only there) it is one of the most important manufacturers of audio cables from the basic and mid-price range.

Oyaide is, next to Acrolink, one of the brands that I "brought" to Poland. After the Munich High End Show 2005, I arranged a test of several cables - I was the first to receive the RCA (75 Ω) SL75R digital interconnect, the test of which was released in September of the same year (more HERE |PL|). The cable was inexpensive, but its design showed features known from well-known, large companies.

This Japanese manufacturer offers not only ready-made cables, but also plugs for them - and it is thanks to them that they are known. Various high-end audio companies use them in their AC power cords, interconnects and speaker cables. In turn, the sockets can be found in power strips from well-known and respected manufacturers. Oyaide is a company that doesn't change its lineup very often, but when it does launch a new product, it's usually a special one.

FOR THE FLAME’S CONDUCTOR, its designer chose two different metals: a weave of a silver solid core cable and a copper OFC one. Their origin has not been disclosed by the manufacturer, neither is the weave itself, which is the result of the designer’s experiments. There are two screens on the whole. In the middle of the cable’s length you can see heat shrink sleeves with arrows showing the direction of the cable. However, they are not printed, but pressed in, which looks nice and is more durable. The model name and serial number of a given unit were marked in a similar way, right next to the plugs.

The cables come in a neat, nice, metal case packed in a cardboard box with the company's logo - a nightingale. Along with the cable, there is a certificate of origin with a serial number inside. It looks really good, but for the future I would prefer to see a foam filling (or similar) inside to hold the cable in place.


˻ HOW WE LISTENED The FLAME interconnect, just like the Water model in the past, was tested in the "High Fidelity" reference system and was compared on the one hand to the Siltech Triple Crown cable, and on the other hand to the NOS Belden 8402 cable (more HERE). FLAME connected the output of the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player and the Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier input; both devices use gold-plated RCA WBT nextgen sockets. The test was an A/B/A comparison with A and B known.

˻ Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ LEONARD COHEN, Popular Problems, Sony Music Labels SICP-4329, CD (2014).
⸜ PAT METHENY GROUP, Offramp, ECM/Tower Records PROZ-1095, „ECM SA-CD Hybrid Selection”, SACD/CD (1982/2017).
⸜ DEPECHE MODE, Ultra, Mute/Sony Music Labels SICP-30543, Blu-spec CD2, (2007/2014).
⸜ FISZ EMADE TWORZYWO, Drony, Art2 Music 26824180, CD + SP CD (2016).
⸜ JOHN COLTRANE QUARTET, Ballads, Impulse!/Universal Music LLC (Japan) UCCU-40001, Platinum SHM-CD (1962/2013).
⸜ THE BEATLES, The Capitol Albums Vol. 2: Sampler, Apple Records | Capitol Records DPRO-009463-59566-2-7, REFERENCE CD-R (2004).

THE LEONARD COHEN’S album Popular Problems is made of little "blocks" that are put together in one of the recording programs. This can be heard well mainly due to the slightly muffled sources and different compression and reverberation. The result is a presentation that is consistent only when everything in the playback system "clicks". Otherwise, they are simply sound sources placed next to each other, not musically related to each other.

That is why the new NxLT cable seems to be such a good interconnect. The Nevermind track had a smooth and silky "flow" with it, which made it more "colorful" - literally and figuratively. Electronically generated bass underneath, Cohen's voice to the right, choirs to the left and back, and then, again to the right, but much further away from us, vocalizations, all this made sense with the tested cable, it had its place in the bigger whole and was not shown as a separate, unrelated to anything else "being". The presentation was, in a word, fluid.

It was also noticeable that the Polish cable puts a stronger emphasis on the midrange, especially in its lower range. This weighted down the sound, but did not change its timbre in any clear way. It is very interesting, because the point is that the Flame is the most resolving in this range, and that is why we focus our attention on it, not because it corrects the tonal balance.

Which turned out great in the third track on PAT METHENY GROUP's album Offramp, entitled Au Lait. On top of the slow pulse created by the bass and snare drum, there are voices overlaid - a leading male monologue and female choirs. The album was recorded in a huge, wood-lined and very high room, and sounds great (more about this recording HERE). It gives the music a breath and a space that cannot be created with any reverbs.

Flame showed this space flawlessly, but differently than the reference cables. I heard it with the Cohen disc, but here it was even better - with the tested cable we get the sound closer to us, and therefore it is more substantial. We have a strong foreground, although not "emphasized", like with tube devices, but simply realistic. On the other hand, what was placed in the mix by the manufacturer farther away from us is quieter. But even the quieter elements, such as the chorus and the aforementioned male voice, are clear and selective.

A really interesting thing - the Polish cable models the volume of sounds and their loudness, but does not limit the richness of information. By slightly lowering the high treble, it boosts the vividness and emphasizes what is in the foreground. But again - it's a nice feature of the presentation, an interesting twist. Especially that the phase coherence must be very good in his case, because the out-of-phase elements, such as the reverb on the right, behind me, or the one related to the choirs on the left, placed quite far in the mix in front of me, were great in their "presence" .

And the bass? - This is another feature you will like. The low sounds from the Flame are not as low as with the Siltech cable, nor are they as fleshy at the very bottom of the scale as with the Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnect. So it is not that for relatively little money we will get absolute top high-end performance, it cannot be done. And yet, thanks to the work put into every detail of the design of the Polish cable, these are not elements that would bother the listener. I will say more - without direct comparison we may not catch them.

The Flame delivers a slightly weighted mid-bass, which is nice in terms of timbre, fluid and dense. However, it is not as resolving and selective as the midrange of this cable. Therefore, the bass entering at 0:17 in the Biegnij się sam track by the FISZ EMADE TWORZYWO duo from the Drony album, as well as at the turn of the 9th and 10th seconds of the The Love Thieves from the Ultra by DEPECHE MODE, was nice, powerful, although the much more expensive reference cables showed it even better. But the test with Belden showed that this great, inexpensive cable from the USA is flawed in this respect, and its bass is more one-dimensional and dynamically flat than with the Polish cable.

I also heard something again that had struck me before: perfect imaging around me. There are a lot of these elements on the DM album, and with the Flame results in this respect were great. It made sense, because all the albums I listened to had their internal pulse and drive preserved, and at the same time had a lot of information about dynamics.


NxTL FLAME OFFERS AN EXCELLENT SOUND. It is based on a resolving, well-arranged midrange. So the vocals are dense, vivid, a bit warm with it. However, this is not a cable that would warm the sound up, that's not the point. After all, the spatial information around us is presented really well with it, as is the "fastening" of all the elements on the stage into one functional whole. The depth dimension is smaller with the Flame than with the reference cables, but compared to other interconnects in the range up to PLN 20,000, it will still offer a reference level.

Mr. Słowiński's interconnect is an extremely good product that can compete against much more expensive cables from well-known brands. I am sure that in many systems in such a comparison it will still come out victorious. Hence our award ˻ RED ˺ Fingerprint.


Reference system 2022

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC