The Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide

The Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide

The Absolute Sound Buyers Guide 2018 (#277) features our top high-end and portable cables as well as the Minissimo, Minissimo Diamond speakers and Subissimo subwoofer. Thank you so much for all the amazing reviews!

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Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo
$10,000/$13,999
Replace whatever loudspeakers you’ve been using with a pair of two-way Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimos and people will notice—before they’ve 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). When it comes to imaging and soundstaging, they disappear, as do most well-made and properly positioned small loudspeakers, creating a broad, deep, and continuous soundstage. Imaging is highly specific, reflecting the recording engineer’s decisions regarding perspective. A superior and stylish little transducer. (256)

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Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo
Diamond Edition
$19,999 ($21,499 with stands)
If you’ve ever seen—and hopefully heard—either the original or this Diamond Edition upgrade (with diamond tweeters, Absolute Dream internal wiring,
etc.) of the Arabesque Minissimo, chances are you’d remember it as much for its whimsical, curvy “comma”-shaped form factor and unexpected highgloss color choices as for the incredible resolution, musicality, and dispersion that make this versatile twoway an all-around standout. These are quite high-resolution transducers that can pull off a marvelous disappearing act, sounding natural and steadfastly gorgeous across many genres. With some rock ’n’ roll cuts, reviewer JM was surprised and delighted by how much in-your-face muscle these elegant little speakers displayed. Still, as with most two-ways and smaller monitors, a little extra lower-bass support—provided by Crystal Cable’s formidable powered Subissimo subwoofer ($11,999)—will enhance and extend the speakers’ dynamic range, resulting in a wholly pleasing balance of structure and substance. (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 (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 Ansuz Diamond, his current reference. (234)

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