October 31, 2011

Need For Speed? Acoustic System International Liveline Digital Co-Axial Cable.

ASI Liveline interconnects can be used as a 75ohm digital co-axial cable too, as tested here. 

I've been reading some of the comments at the Audio Circle Forums that quite a number of the Bryston BDP-1 owners actually preferred the sound via the single ended BNC output over the balanced AES/EBU output when sending digital signals to the DAC in use, mostly the matching BDA-1 from the same company. I thought I'd explore this area further my self, since I still can't get over the sonics offered by the single ended JPS Aluminata, another co-axial cable. My search for a BNC terminated cable available in the context of the local market is virtually zero. The closest thing is to use a co-axial with a BNC-RCA adaptor, on the BDP-1 side of the connection. CMY Audio & Visual offered me to try out this ASI Liveline single run interconnect, which Franck Tchang confirms that it meets the 75ohm spec and recommends that it can be use as such. Hey! If the designer is cool with it.

This is a rather light weight cable, with a very flexible feel, making it an easy tuck in to tight rack spaces. I've been advised to use the red end to receive and the black end to send the audio signal in positive phase. Just reverse the cable if you prefer to do it in "inverted" phase, which I did not try. That's all we need to know about when using this cable. The basis of review noted below is obtained with the cable used in positive phase.
From the moment the music started flowing, two things became apparent that set this ASI cable apart from others tested previously are speed and richness of tone. This is a very high speed cable, capable of delivering lightning fast transient response and micro dynamics. Certainly macro dynamics is not short changed either. Always an exciting listen, the ASI never gave me the feeling that it's rushing the music. The other area that awed me was that apparent richness in tonal quality. Normally cables can either sound rich and slow, or bright and fast, so I think Franck has somehow pulled the rabbit out of the hat here!

The following technical performance parameters represents nearly the highest of standards for a cable retailing at only RM$1490.00/pc(double that amount for stereo pair), only falling slightly short when bench marked against the best cables like the JPS Aluminata which retails for about 5 times the price. The ASI Liveline is rather quiet and will present a rather neutral sound stage that is neither too forward or too laid back. The quiet back ground makes minute details in the music easy to pick out from the whole presentation. The wide bandwidth is probably responsible for an "airy" smooth treble, yet without loss of high hat and cymbals bite. The rich mid range allows for vocals to be presented with body and bass is fast, articulate yet tuneful, if not particularly extended.

This is an excellent value for money cable capable of giving those alpha top dogs a though run. I can only speculated that these ASI Liveline cables will exhibit similar traits when used as a stereo pair interconnect, which makes them worth checking out if one is thinking of an upgrade from existing entry level ones.  

Acoustic System International(ASI) products is sold by CMY Audio & Visual, contact John Yew at 03-21439206.     

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