The Absolute Sound's 2020 Buyer's Guide

The Absolute Sound's 2020 Buyer's Guide

The Absolute Sound's 2020 Buyer's Guide features several Crystal Cable products: MINISSIMO LOUDSPEAKERSABSOLUTE DREAM CABLES and THE ULTIMATE DREAM CABLES are all mentioned.

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Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo and Minissimo Diamond
$10,000, $13,999 with stands; and $19,999, $21,499 with stands
Replace whatever loudspeakers you’ve been using with a pair of two-way Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimos and people will notice—before they’ve even heard a note of music. The whimsical apostrophe shape, the vibrant color, the assured smallness of the things stops folks in their tracks and makes them smile. A fair percentage will need to touch the smooth, curved surfaces. Thanks to their unobtrusive elegance, Minissimos will work, visually, in a traditionally decorated room; in a modern space dominated by glass and metal, the speaker will register as a bold contemporary design element. Sonically, the Minissimos are superb everywhere but the low bass, which is to be expected in a two-way. (Extra lower-bass support—provided by Crystal Cable’s formidable, powered $11,999 Subissimo subwoofer—will enhance and extend dynamic range, resulting in a wholly pleasing balance of structure and substance.) When it comes to imaging, the Minissimos disappear, as do most well-made and properly positioned small loudspeakers, creating a broad, deep, and continuous soundstage. Focus is highly specific, reflecting the recording engineer’s decisions regarding perspective. A superior and stylish little transducer, the Minissimo is also available in a sonically superior Diamond Edition, with diamond tweeters and Crystal Cable Absolute Dream internal wiring. (256, 273)

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Crystal Cable Absolute Dream Interconnect
$15,000/1m pr.; speaker $32,000/2m pr.
Since the arrival of Synergistic Research’s marvelous Galileo two years ago, JV hasn’t dipped more than a toe into the cable and interconnect market—so satisfied was (and is) he with Ted Denney’s truly ingenious masterpieces. But past history and curiosity got the better of him. As it turned out, all this was a very good thing, as Absolute Dream—which features monocrystal silver material not only for the conductor, but also tiny gold-plated monocrystal silver and silver-plated monocrystal copper wires for the shielding—is excellent: dead-quiet even on analog sources, extremely detailed, rich in tone color, and very lifelike on dynamics top to bottom WyWires Diamond Interconnect $4495/1.2m RCA and XLR pr.; speaker $7995/8' pr. Diamond is a Litz-wire air-dielectric design incorporating tiny, individually insulated strands of ultra-pure copper. Impeccably assembled it is also a cable of ultra-wide expressiveness and resolution. Its sound is settled, fast but not twitchy or brittle and utterly devoid of histrionics. In tonal character the Diamond edges toward the warmer side of the spectrum but only by a breath. It’s not forward-leaning, but it doesn’t flinch from hard rock sizzle or flesh-eating dynamics, either. Its approach embodies a softer sell that grows ever more multi-faceted, musical, and transparent. A cable for connoisseurs. (264) the absolute sound November 2019 219 (both low-level and high), with superb staging and imaging and unusually high transparency to sources. Like Galileo, Absolute Dream never “sits” on musical energy the way certain cables have; both are free-flowing and highly responsive to dynamic/harmonic nuances. One of the highest-fidelity cables and interconnects JV has auditioned and, along with Galileo UEF and Crystal’s new Ultimate Dream, among his current references. (234)

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Crystal Cable Absolute Dream
$11,000/1.5m
Power cables are among the hardest products to review in that they take time to “break in” and, sonically, do not always progress in a straight line. Absolute Dream—the power cords intended to accompany Absolute Dream cable and interconnect (and constructed, like the signal wires, of monocrystal silver)—is such a one. At first, it sounded very close to JV’s reference Shunyata/Synergistic Research cords; then it developed a power-range/ bottom-end leanness that perplexed JV (as the Absolute Dream cables and interconnects never sounded lean or stinting); and then, after a couple of weeks of use, it rounded back into form, filling out in the lower mids and upper bass and developing considerable wallop in the mid-to-low bass. At this point, the Absolute Dreams are true contenders—delicate, detailed, powerful, spacious, and transparent. (234) 

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Crystal Cable Ultimate Dream Interconnect
$22,000/1m; speaker, $42,000/2m
At its price, you would think this interconnect and cable—the fruit of Crystal Cable’s Gabi Rijnveld’s world-class musical sensibility and her husband’s, Siltech’s Edwin Rijnveld’s, world-class engineering chops— would have all the understated grace and pliancy of bars of gold sitting on your listening room floor. But, no, Ultimate Dream turns out to be demure, lightweight, and eminently supple. Yes, with the precious metals (gold, gold-plated monocrystal silver, silver-plated monocrystal copper) it is made of gleaming through its transparent jacket, Ultimate Dream looks (let’s face it) like audiophile jewelry. But its sound! This is the smoothest, quietest, least obtrusive customer JV has had in his system—it’s just not there in any of the obvious ways that cables usually are. The spitty sibilance you hear from time to time with almost every other cable…gone. The etching (or smudging) of image outlines and transient details…gone. The top-down or bottom-up tonal balance…gone. Unlike its slightly silvery predecessor Absolute Dream, Ultimate just doesn’t seem to have a sonic signature. Of course, getting customers to sign their signatures on a credit card receipt is gonna be a neat trick for importer Wynn Audio. Nonetheless (and all practicalities aside), this is mighty fine stuff. One of JV’s references, replacing Absolute Dream at the top of the heap (or jewelry case). (forthcoming)

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Crystal Cable Ultimate Dream
$15,000/1.5m
Like Crystal’s Absolute Dream cables, these gorgeous, pliable, beautifully made power cords—high-grade custom Oyaide plugs, monocrystal silver wire, solid-gold cores—have little-to-no obvious sonic character of their own. Silent and transparent, they transmit current freely and neutrally, without adding a top-down or bottom-up sonic signature to, or imposing any dynamic limitations on, what they’re connected to. Certainly one of the finest pc’s on the market, the Ultimate Dream is expensive, yes, but, for those with the dough and a system to match, worth it. One of JV’s references. (forthcoming)

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