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Analogue interconnect + speaker cable

+ power cable AC

KBL Sound

Manufacturer: KBL SOUND
Price (when reviewed):
• interconnect: 2960 PLN/1 m
• speaker cable: 5899 PLN/2 x 2 m
• power cable AC: 3699 PLN/1,5 m

Contact: tel.: 696 551 492


Provided for test by: KBL SOUND

pecialized cable manufacturers usually offer their products, both analogue and digital, grouped under line names. Individual lines differ with conductors, cable geometry, finish, packaging, price and so on. It allows manufacturer to categorize his products, to assign them different price levels – that's how it works everywhere around the world. It has to because otherwise, when there are too many similar models, customers get confused and often decide to choose products from an easier to understand offer by other brand.

Also Polish manufacturer, KBL Sound, whose products' reviews one can find quite often in „High Fidelity” magazine, and whose power distributor and power cables are part of our A and B reference systems, organized his offer into series/lines. The top one is called Himalaya and we already reviewed and awarded it with Yearly 2015 Award. Than there is Red Eye, the first line we reviewed in January 2014 (it was power cable and power distributor to be exact). The entry level series is called Fluid and in May 2015 it replaced the older series called Spectre.


The latest addition to the batch is called Zodiac, placed between Fluid and Red Eye lines in manufacturer's portfolio. It is particularly interesting not only because of its design, but also because of the way the new line was introduced. Unlike usual presentation of the full range of products, this time KBL Sound introduced the series gradually. First, in September 2015 they released power cable, then in December speaker cable and finally in January 2016 also interconnects. There are few versions of the latter: it is available as analogue interconnects, both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA), as phono cables (also with DIN connectors), and as digital version: RCA→RCA and XLR→XLR (AES/EBU).

Power cable

When introducing this power cable manufacturer stated that while developing its design he used his knowledge and experience gained while creating Red Eye and Himalaya series. He decided to use mono-crystal copper conductor for Zodiac cables. This type of copper conductor is made using the costly OCC (Ohno Continuous Casting) process - the casting process developed to help defeat annealing issues and virtually eliminate all grain boundaries in copper. OCC copper was used by Japanese companies, such as: Oyaide, Furutech, Acrolink, Acoustic Revive, and Furukawa. The latter was an actual manufacturer of this conductor but they stopped the production last year.

Zodiac power cable seems to be a solid, nice looking design, and it is delivered in a chick box – these are common qualities of all KBL Sound products. It features high quality connectors - AC Schuko and IEC with a nylon body. All contact areas are made of hardened gold-plated copper. The initial information we placed on our site in „News” section said that contacts are rhodium-plated but the version we received was gold-plated. When asked about it manufacturer said:

At first we used rhodium-plated plugs as standard ones. But we quickly learned that most customers actually preferred gold-plated versions as better matching most systems so we decided to offer gold-plated plugs as standard, and rhodium-plated version is delivered upon request.

All metal parts of the cable and plugs undergo cryo-treatment and are demagnetized. Cryogenic treatment induces further changes of metal's structure on molecular level that remove residual stresses by freezing material with liquid nitrogen in a temperature of -196 to -250° C. Standard lengths are: 1,5 and 2 m, other are available upon order. Retail price for a 1,5 m cable is 3699 PLN.

Speaker cable

The Zodiak speaker cable, released in December last year, look equally well but is much more flexible than power cable. The latter features large diameter, while speaker cables significantly smaller and on top of that it is a flat design. Just like power cables, also speakers ones are made using OCC conductors. Single crystal of such copper might reach even few hundred meters length. Available lengths include: 2 x 2, 2 x 2,5 and 2 x 3 m, which means that each run of this cable should be just a single copper crystal. Retail price for 2 x 2 m version is 5899 PLN.

Zodiac speakers cables feature separate “hot” and return runs. These cables have separate hot and return wires for each channel. This solution allowed to eliminate, virtually to zero, harmful effects of magnetic fields on the signal flowing between the amplifier and speakers, as well as to minimize losses resulting from mechanical instability of the conductors. Cables are terminated with solid gold-plated spades or BFA banana plugs. For the review we used a 2 x 2,5m pair terminated with banana plugs on amplifier's end and spades on speakers'. Heat-shrinks with company's logo look surprisingly good, which is often not a case. One can also find small arrows there providing information on cable's directivity.


Interconnects were released as last product of the line, in January 2016. And these look even better than any other Zodiac cables due to wonderful connectors. Manufacturer spared no expense to get the right ones and chose WBT-0114 Cu nextgen models, that were designed to feature as little metal in them as possible. For this review we received analogue unbalanced (RCA) version, but balanced version is also available with Neutrik XLR connectors and also digital models - 75 Ω RCA and 110 Ω XLR (AES/EBU). There is also a phono version with RCA connectors at one end and either 5 DIN or RCA at the other. Standard lengths available are: 1, 1,5 and 2 m. These are directional cables – one can find small arrows on the sleeve that indicates the right direction these should be connected.

All KBL Sound cables are tested after production and formed using professional conditioner. It means that customers buys products that are already fully broken in. After a very short period of time they present their full potential in any system and offer reliable performance over time.

The origin of the name seems obvious - Zodiac includes all the astrological signs and so should these cables offer a complete, balanced sound.

I compared these cables to my reference set. I tried out all of them individually and also as a set. I performed A/B/A comparison, with A and B known. My reference models are: Siltech Triple Crown and Tellurium Q Silver Diamond. Interconnect was used to connect Ancient Audio Lektor AIR V-edition CD Player and Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier and between Chord Dave DAC and Ayon. Speaker cable Zodiac was compared to Tara Labs Omega Onyx, and power cable to Crystal Cable The Absolute Dream and Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, used to power Lektor CD Player and Dave.

KBL SOUND in „High Fidelity”
  • YEARLY AWARD 2015: KBL Sound SIGNATURE SERIES HIMALAYA – interconnect + speaker cable
  • TEST: KBL Sound SIGNATURE SERIES HIMALAYA – interconnect + speaker cable
  • YEARLY AWARD 2014: KBL Sound REFERENCE POWER DISTRIBUTOR + RED EYE - power distributor + power cables AC (system)
  • TEST: KBL Sound REFERENCE POWER DISTRIBUTOR + RED EYE - power distributor + power cables AC (system)
  • TEST: KBL Sound RED EYE – digital cable S/PDIF

  • Recordings used for the test (a selection):

    • The Stockfish DMM-CD/SACD, Vol. 2, Stockfish SFR 357.5902.2, SACD/CD (2016)
    • America, Hearts, Warner Bros. Records/Audio Fidelity AFZ5 231, SACD/CD (1975/2016)
    • Bottleneck John, All Around Man, Opus3 CD 23001, SACD/CD (2013)
    • Kenny Burrell, Blue Lights. Volumes 1&2, Blue Note 8571842, „Doubletime Series”, SBM CD (1958/1997)
    • Klan, Live Finland 1972, GAD Records GAD CD 039, CD (2015)
    • Marilyn Manson, Personal Jesus, Interscope Records 9864166, SP CD (2004)
    • Mills Brothers, Swing Is The Thing, History 20.3039-HI, „The Great Vocalists of Jazz & Entertainment”, CD (?)
    • Radiohead, The King of Limbs, Ticker Tape Ltd. TICK-001CDJ, Blu-spec CD (2011)
    • The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pyramid, Atlantic Records/Warner Music Japan WPCR-25125, „Atlantic 60th”, CD (1960/2006)
    Japanese issues available at


    Already this first cable I tried introduced all the qualities of this line later confirmed also by speaker cable and power cord. Each of them has some individual qualities to offer, doesn't sound in an identical way as the rest, but the general sonic character is very similar.

    First of all it is particularly refined sound. This quality is sometimes achieved when designers try to offer highest possible fidelity, but it works for truly high end products that are highly detailed and yet very rich. Zodiac interconnect offer that at much lower price. It is a very interesting case – sure it was not quite the same level of performance as delivered by Siltech Triple Crown, or Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, but the way it shaped the sound reminded me of the former.

    Sound is rich, rather warm and very palpable. There is density, liquidity and cohesiveness of the sounds. Apart from slightly darker top treble I haven't noticed any other deviations from neutrality (of a kind that I'm used to in my own system, at least), nor any coloration. Unless one decides to recognized a bit more thumpy bass which is really good, liquid, multi-dimensional and there is a lot of it, as one. And yet it is never exaggerated, neither with lowest notes of fretless bass on Stockfisch's sampler DMM-CD/SACD, nor on in electronic version on Radiohead's album. Only comparing it to the best cables I could tell that this Zodiac's bass was slightly emphasized. But mind you! - considering its price in most systems it will probably be used in, it will be one of its strengths. It will make the system sound richer, it will build a solid bass foundation for the whole sound.

    It is also important because the most obviously refined part of the range is midband. OK, that's a simplification because midrange is not a preferred part of this presentation, but if you care about the best performance, about experiencing emotions embedded in the music, midrange is the key. And as far as the midrange goes this Polish cable surely followed the same direction as top Siltech interconnects, Double and Triple Crown. I could clearly hear that it is one of Zodiac's key qualities when listening to Bottleneck John's guitar, marvelously recorded by Opus3. The guitar could breathe, had proper attack, but most importantly a dense “wood” sound and wonderful decay. Also bluesman's vocal attested to incredibly good midrange presentation, too.

    Speaker cable

    Same material - OCC copper (Continuous Ohno Casting) - used for both, interconnect and speaker cable, meant that I could expect similar sonic signature from both of them. And listening sessions confirmed that. Similar, but not identical that is. They are similar because they both offer same kind of palpable, three-dimensional sound with great imaging, with lower midrange being particularly rich. One can hear that listening to, for example, vocals and hearing this little “push” in lower voice's range when 'p' is pronounced, or when listening to electronic instruments that gain some richness with these cables.

    Tonal balance of speaker cable is set bit lower (than IC's) and one might describe this sound as “warm” if focus on dense midband and bass is what one means by that. Bass is really well extended and there is even more of it than with IC. When these two cables are used together they tend to enrich the bass even further. Presentation of bass is focused on its timbre and liquidity.

    These two cables sound different because of a different perspective they present sound from. Interconnect tends to present the whole event closely to the listener, it conveys particularly palpable sound. Speaker cable on the other hand sets a larger distance between us and music, phantom images are not as large. It is also calmer. The interconnect while delivering very rich sound also conveys huge energy. A leading edge is slightly rounded and in result presentation seems truly refined. Speaker cable adds more perspective to the presentation. Both, used together, combine their qualities delivering rich, palpable performance observed from some perspective.

    Power cable

    It was power cable that was the first representative of Zodiac line introduced to the market and yet it seems to perfectly complement the whole set, as if it was created as the last of the series. While analyzing its tonal balance one might point out a slightly emphasized upper midrange, and attack phase. It also enhances dynamics. You might think now that I lacked that element when listening to IC and speaker cable, which is not true – I really liked the finesse of Zodiac cables and I think I understand what designer wanted to achieve; to be honest when I make recommendations to our Readers I usually suggest similar approach to sound presentation.

    There is no use in highly detailed sound, great imaging if the whole presentation has no flow. That is why all Zodiac cables, though rather warm sounding and not being dynamics masters, convey music in a more realistic, more true way than some competitors that shoot millions of details with a speed of a machine gun out way while forgetting about the essence of the music.

    So, as already stated, power cable beautifully complements the whole Zodiac loom. Each cable might be used separately and you will benefit from its qualities. But only once you've tried a full loom you should realize the designer's idea behind this line of products. Audio products, including cables, are creations of certain sonic qualities based on designer's goals and on what achieving them actually means for the performance of particular system. Sometimes coincident also plays some role in the whole process. But when it comes to manufacturers who know what they are doing there is no space for coincident, but rather for a final sonic result that lays in accordance to designer's goal. KBL Sound's power cable offers a rich sound but also open n the upper midrange. That's what makes it different from other representatives of this line. But it is also what adds the whole Zodiac loom this incredible energy, dynamics while preserving wonderful flow of the music.


    Zodiac line offers certain qualities, certain sonic character. What they have to offer is highly sought by experienced audiophiles who are not impressed by very fast and detailed cables that lack richness, especially in lower midrange and bass range. Among these cables it is interconnect the offers the richest, densest, almost 'sticky' sound. It also brings presentation closer to the listener, closer than speaker cable does.

    The latter has similar sonic character but with even better extension of a richer bass (not that IC suffers any problems in that area). Together they deliver tuneful, spacial, intense, palpable and expressive presentation. Power cable introduces an amazingly open upper midrange and higher level of dynamics to the mix. It does not change nor limit any of other cables' qualities, it rather lets them really shine. It is a highly refined set of cables that needs not improving, no tuning – performance is simply that good and complete. That's what I've already learned to expect from product by KBL Sound.



    - 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
    - Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
    - 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
    System I
    - 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
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - 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