Anyone (or at least most) being long enough in our beloved industry would agree how everything matters when it comes to the high-end audio system. It always about the synergy and compatibility, but without proper "ingredients" setup can too quickly just become a sum of expensive parts rather, then fully operational, harmonic whole.
Each and every part of the high-end audio chain matters, but especially with analog front ends everything is of subtle nature and as we're dealing with miniatures and fragile signal its even more important to find the proper sonic balance and harmony.
When Will from Zavfino asked me if I'm interested in trying out the Gold Coated PC-OCC Copper & Solid Pure Silver phono cable, as usually, I've done my homework and took an in-depth lurking into the cables.
Review nicely correlated with the arrival of another gem, that I was really looking forward; the Thales Simplicity II Tonearm. This combo was mounted on my Audio Union Döhmann Helix 1 turntable, that has proven to be really revelatory when it comes to any connected analog paraphernalia.
As you can read below, there is A LOT of dedication, R & D and efforts invested into this particular cable and Zavfino cables technology in general.
I think it's more than worthy to present the Zavfino way, so let us start with the story...
I’ve been designing working, manufacturing and consulting on cable and parts for over 18 years working in starting in Calgary and then overseas. I started off as an extrusion line apprentice the first few years manufacturing control cables, industrial communication and Power cables for Motorola, Ericsson, Siemens and later on leading the factory into new fields such as manufacturing cables for High-End brands from the USA and Europe.
As an apprentice on the factory floor, I was able to participate in the manufacturing process from the time the raw copper material arrives until the final jacketing was extruded over the cable. (Sounds simple but there are around 100 different variables that must be considered for a true hi-fi cable during the manufacturing process.) My years in the factory gave me an in-depth understanding of the abilities and the limitations of every machine involved in the manufacturing of the cable which gave me a unique insight on how to make “real” high-end cables using each machine to its maximum potential. My knowledge and experience of wire stranding and advance pitch techniques, along with custom insulation extrusion helped me quickly compile some very elite OEM’s in the Hi-Fi field and because during this time other factories didn’t have engineers focused on the field of hi-fi cable and thought it wasn’t a necessity.
Roughly around 11years ago I started Zavfino 1877Phono with two partners in response to the growing demand and resurgence of everything vinyl and turntable related. Around 6 years later as the company grew I put an office in Truro, Nova Scotia, close to where I grew up as a boy. I’m now rotating between three locations with as the company grows but we are still a fairly focused company. Allowing us to give our dealers and customers that “hands-on feel” connection that is lost with these other big mass-produced hi-fi companies.
Initially, we manufactured internal Tonearm wiring harness, Tonearm DIN’s and Tonearm connectors. Each of which we up-designed from what was on the market using higher quality materials and re-engineering the connectors making improving the assemble for the advanced or novice Turntable /Tonearm technicians.
Having a background in fine wire design and the market lacking any kind of selection I designed our 5Litz7 (33AWG) tonearm wire which today is used in hundreds of tonearms worldwide as well as at least a dozen famous Tonearm/Turntable manufacturers.
When we first started the workshop in we were re-wiring vintage arms from SAEC, Micro Seiki, Audio Fidelity, as well as some Rega, which were shipped in from all over with some even coming in from Europe and a handful from Asia. Engineering on the tonearms and turntables from the early 80’s to 90’s to this day is still unmatched to some degree and if you look at today's tonearms you can easily see their design foundations are Audiocraft, Audio Fidelity, and SAEC. Sadly introduction of the CD killed off many of these great companies before they realized vinyl was not really lost.
Many of the arms we serviced needed new internal wire harness that was lightweight and won’t influence the vertical and horizontal movement of the tonearm bearing/arm, which we provided with our 5Litz7(33AWG) tonearm wire. At this type we also began repairing and replacing parts on these arms, such as bearings and also doing direct rewires where we had to develop all new cables at low capacitance to match the performance of the arm and the requirement used by the cartridges in present day with the increased popularity of MC carts over MM carts.
As word of mouth grew and more and more customers were using our Tonearm wires we introduced complete tonearm cables at several different levels from entry to a Pure Silver with carbon Din’s to fit many famous manufacturers arms. We also developed more Turntable related products as our dealer/ distributor network expanded such as record weights, turntable mats, and headshell leads. Naturally, with my background, we designed a full line of High-End cables (Power, Audio, Speaker Cables).
From here I designed a Tonearm cable line that was actually geared towards tonearms at various levels and not a DIY fix. As demand grew we later added our audio cable line and of course AC power cable all using our own engineering techniques.
Note* Our internal stranding for Tonearm, Audio, Speaker all use our H-Wound™ Litz tight pitch stranding technique which means a horizontal stranding pitch meaning more conductor “per inch” than traditional cable designs by others. It is actually twisted much like a guitar string with upwards of 16000 Twists/m
WHY 1877PHONO AS A BRAND?
The late 1800’s was a time of great innovation in North America with many great inventors such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Nikola Tesla.
1877-1925 was known as the “Acoustic Era” with many breakthroughs in recorded sound and sound reproduction that lead to hi-fi as we know it today.
The year 1877 was the year that Edison trademarked the patent for his invention the phonograph. Edison was the driving force behind the phonograph/Turntable into the everyday household and in our minds the man behind what we know as Hi-Fi today.
To us it seemed the perfect name/brand for our products as a tribute to everything vinyl and a tribute to the Edison the man and as our company’s core philosophy to develop and innovate. (I have to thank Simon for the name he came up with it when we were all brainstorming on what to call the company)
We later added Zavfino 1877Phono to our trademark to make it distinctive and easier to search for as it not only pointed to a date but directly to our company.
*Also because the China trademark office pretty much said that we couldn’t trademark 1877phono as a Canadian company in China but a local could so the workaround was to make it into two separate words.
ZAVFINO’S H-WOUND™+ ZERO STRAND LOSS
Drawing on more than 18 years of manufacturing experience, Zavfino has developed a remarkable new technique for twisting stranded wire tightly around a central solid-core conductor. An electrical phenomenon is commonly known as the “skin effect” occurs when electrons move through any solid core conductor. Higher frequencies travel along the outside (the skin) of the conductor faster than midrange and lower echelon frequencies. This results in smeared PRaT, muddled instrumental timbres, and an unnatural sound. Zavfino’s new H-Wound™ manufacturing technique negates the skin effect.
Originally developed by OEMs Siemens and Klangfilm, Zavfino uses a customized transformer wire-stranding machine. We further modified the gears in this machinery to create windings at a slower RPM ratio with a much tighter pitch. This patented manufacturing process enables us to twist the wiring at the tightest pitch possible without overlapping the wire strands.
Most wire-stranding machines can only fabricate windings up to a maximum of 300 twists per meter. Setting the bar far higher, Zavfino’s patented H-Wound™ cable winding machine creates a pitch rate of 14,000 to 16,000 twists per meter; which is unmatched by any other audiophile cable maker.
Zavfino’s new Zero Strand Loss™ manufacturing technique protects the bundled conductors from being damaged during stripping and termination. By ensuring that each core has zero chipped, cut, or mangled strands, we can guarantee that each insulated core is 100% identical.
For audiophiles, the sonic results of tighter windings and Zero Strand Loss™ conductors are cables with quieter backgrounds, remarkable timbral accuracy, lifelike PRaT, jaw-dropping mid-range resolution, and superior low-frequency extension.
Our new H-Wound™ stranding technology allows us to protect the delicate electrical signal being transferred through our cables. Combined with Zavfino’s state of the art manufacturing techniques, our precision matched Pure Silver (Ag) and Gold (Au) PCOCC conductors used in the GoldRush™Tonearm cable bring an unequaled purity and honesty to all forms of music. The results are previously unheard details, finesse, and accuracy across the frequency spectrum.
ZAVFINO’S DEEP CRYO™ + ULTRASONIC 7™ THERMAL BREAK-IN TREATMENT
Deep Cryo™ Treatment
All of the conductors used in our cables undergo Deep Cryo™ treatment before the insulation is extruded over the metals. Our research has proven that the conductor—and only the conductor— benefits from cryo-treatment. Materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC™), Teflon™, PE, and Silicon™ can all be adversely affected by cold-temperature annealing. Cryo-treating non-conductors and insulating materials can cause them to break down and become brittle.
The purity, size, and molecular structure of each conductor determine the specific temperature within the -186ºC to - a 196ºC range that we cryo-treat it at. Zavfino’s research into cold temperature physics has proven that the absolute lowest temperature is not necessarily the best for cryo-treatment.
UltraSonic 7 High Voltage / Thermal Break-in
This is a two-stage process. In the first stage we draw the bare conductor through a ceramic die into an ultrasonic cleaning chamber that bombards the conductor with multiple ultrasonic frequencies. This emulsification process removes all debris from the surface of the wire down to the molecular level and leaves absolutely zero residues.
After each individual wire is processed, we strand it into bundles and then subject the bundles to further treatment. During the second stage of the ultrasonic burn-in, we increase the voltage to a higher level that’s just below the threshold of the conductor. This adjustment in temperature allows us to get a unique “break-in effect” normally associated with cables that have had 30 to 40 hours of signal and/or current run through them.
The results…? Most cables using OCC conductors take months to properly break-in. Zavfino’s patented Deep Cryo™ and Ultra Sonic 7™ thermal break-in treatments pre-burn all of our OCC cables so that the end user will hear the cable at an optimal level within days instead of months. In other words, Audiophiles get better sound in a fraction of the wait time.
Zav no’s Graphene Dielectric Shielding
What is Graphene?
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon which, at the molecular level, forms a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice in which one atom forms each vertex. It is the basic structural element of various other allotropes, including graphite and charcoal. Raw graphene is a cutting-edge polymer which is both conductive and flexible.
It has many unique electrical, mechanical, and chemical properties. This makes it an ideal material for use in audiophile engineering applications.
With an intrinsic tensile strength of 130 GPa and a Young’s Modulus sti ness of 1 TPa (aprx. 150,000,000 PSi), graphene is the strongest material ever tested. Its tensile strength is about 200 times greater than that of the strongest known steels. It is also the best conductor of electricity yet known. Studies have proven electron mobility through graphene at values exceeding 15,000 cm2·V-1·s-1.
What is Zav no ZGRAPh-LDPTM...?
Zavfino is the first audiophile cable OEM to integrate graphene insulation into high-end A/C power cables as a dielectric shield. After more than two years in development with a leading American graphene polymer research company, we’re proud to unveil our new proprietary ZGRAPh-LDPTM conductive shielding/dielectric, first used within our Silver DartTM OCC A/C power cable.
The results of using ZGRAPh-LDPTM
1. Superior protection from electromagnetic interference as the graphene contour moulds to our copper shields and prevents EMI spikes. The end result is improved grounding and vastly superior
2. Graphene has excellent Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) properties that eliminate static electricity and tribo-electric charging; both of which can negatively a ect a power cable’s performance.
3. Graphene’s high heat de ection reinforces the dielectric by 30%. This ensures that all of Zav no’s cables that are shielded with graphene will deliver unchanged performance for decades to come.
4. Graphene creates a 100% anti-corrosive barrier that prevents the ingress of oxygen into the shield and conductors. An air-tight seal and zero corrosion further guarantees consistency of signal transfer at a molecular level and unchanged sonic performance for a lifetime of usage.
Why Zav no’s Graphene outperforms traditional shielding:
Electromagnetic theory stipulates that a signal inside of a closed electromagnetic eld cannot be a ected by interference from an outside source.
Traditional dielectric insulation that uses braided Copper (Cu) or Mylar shields cannot ensure a perfectly closed eld. Copper braids and Mylar wraps both have gaps between their overlaid bundles and layers which inherently occur during manufacturing. Low frequency interference and high frequency noise will slip through these gaps and cause electromagnetic contamination and sonic degradation.
Zavfino’s primary goal is to keep any and all EM interference away from the signal’s transmission path.
By utilizing our extrudable graphene polymer jacket over the shield, our new ZGRAPh-LDPTM cover solves a myriad of electrical problems which braided shielding innately causes.
Our graphene dielectric ensures 100% coverage as it moulds itself to the traditional shield and drain of the cable. In efect, this creates a perfectly closed electromagnetic field.
THE AUDIO RUSH!
Most of us have been around long enough to know, how not every cable that claims to implement top materials and so-called endless R & D will deliver the heavenly, promised land. Yet... Even briefly lurking into the Zavfino venture reveals painstaking endeavours for perfection and effective, real world applications. I like and love such exemplary distinction.
On to the process... Working with gold plated OCC can be nerve racking as even one tiny mistake during stranding or extrusion becomes extremely expensive. So, not a lot of playground for wrong decisions.
Gold Rush uses gold plated OCC copper mixed with pure silver strands uses Zavfino 1877PHONO H-wound twisting technique found in their more expensive cables and internal tonearm wiring kits.
There are independent shields for both channels as well as the Graphene master batch mix in the dielectrica. They are the same as the company uses on the new Silver Dart Power Cable and Speaker Cables. Zavfino 1877PHONO had worked closely with an American Graphene supplier to develop the Graphene master batch so it could be extruded consistently through both modern and older extruder crossheads. This was not exactly the cheap and affordable approach, that as side effect produced a lot of wasted cables in the process, but as you'll read on the end result was (very) worth it.
The Gold Plated OCC is also very rarely done due to the cost and risk to make it. 3 Kgs cost almost 21.000 USD to produce and this sounds like absolutely nerve racking process, more so than pure silver processing. Unlike pure silver that can be re-melted if there is an issue, gold plated OCC is not easy to salvage, separate and re-draw.
Close inspection of the conductor reveals guitar string like design, that quite differ form the traditional cable design. H-Wound- 16000twists/m is much more expensive to produce as there is more conductor used per meter especially when it comes to the gold and pure silver conductors.
Its easy to understand why Zavfino 1877PHONO OEM phono cables are used in many renowned tonearms. But not only cables are special. Their connectors are used on at least a dozen or more other manufacturers products.
Will had redesigned the pin assembles on the tonearm DINS plugs years ago, making them easier to use than the Japanese or other well-known ones, especially the 90 degree connectors. Zavfino 1877PHONO swivel pin design allows the tension to be taken off the pin solder joint during assembly, thus making it much easier and consistent to use. Zavfino 1877PHONO also machine their Teflon (PTFE) unlike competition, that usually implement other material like resin etc.
On the ultimate plane, all the little improvements can bring more then just notable sonic advancements and Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush surely embodies push forward concepts that's encapsulated into the practical applications, that actually delivers sonic benefits.
The Goldrush seems to be the very first Graphene dielectric tonearm cable and along with Zavfino Silver Dart series power and speaker cables represent something fresh and unique to the industry. I'm more then sure, that we'll see a lot of following up with the Graphene by the big boys in not so near future...
Every high-end audio product needs to perform at certain level to be worthy of its high-end designation. From vocal or guitar rendition, that might seems like an utterly easy task to perform, to the portraying of the drama and sense of realism, that is intimately associated with classical music. Nothing is easy nor simple when it comes to the believable reproduction of the music.
When it comes to the the sonic mirroring and evaluating of the orchestra/choir, I'm alway found to pull out the Carl Orff – Carmina Burana (Supraphon a.s. – 88 765 XAK). This recording delivers a mesmerising and shivering emotional impact, calls for a true transparent and potent cable and demand the heavy league density handling.
It always intrigues me how such miniature scaled signal can carry so much micro and macro details. When aptly replicated the aural universe can expand into something beautiful and inspiring.
It's never an easy to break down all the mandatory components of the high-end-cable. Above mentioned attributes are just a small part of the mandatory-highly-demanding-multi-tasking ground stones, that define high-end audio cable requisite ability. Without the proper delivery of the sonic attributes on all levels, music reproduction will sound bland, uninvolving and pale.
Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush phono cable acted with surprisingly gorgonizing ability, thus being able to open the doors to Carmina Burana's impenetrability and relinquish massiveness without losing the needed acoustical anchor points solidity. Gold Rush swiftly carried the signal with the required and binding behaviour, allowing the variety of tone, timbre and colour to flourish.
Regardless of price consideration, Graphene Gold Rush phono cables had managed to deliver Carmin Burana Thespian tension without hubbub effect and with the transparency, that materialised in undistracted propulsion of musical flow. Quite an achievement!
The seamless blend of piano and orchestra is never a chore for any analog front end. Noteworthy deliverance is closely associated with each part of the analogue chain and phono cable is no different in this regard. It must ask on its sole potency as well as a part of the bigger synergetic ensemble.
On the grander scale of high-end audio reproduction, the piano's decays and delays can be too quickly masked and hidden behind the orchestra momentum once the gravity of multi-instruments kicks in. This is especially evident with Andrei Gavrilov, Riccardo Muti, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No. 1 (His Master's Voice – ASD 3818).
The sound of the orchestra, when combined with a solo instrument (the piano in this particular record), manifests as one giant whole. The energetic-virtual-bubble travels towards the listener as a grand-sonic-harmonic-entity; yet the solo instrument never looses its identity in this projection. This is where the high-performance phono cable differs from the mediocre one in instant.
Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush had allowed the raw and primary nature of the orchestra to manifest with the much needed authority, without taking away the piano aural formation. Further on, the piano's gestalt was never lost in translation. Sadly, this happens too often even with some high priced phono cables, but on contrary and refreshingly, the Graphene Gold Rush have rendered the sonic complexity with verisimilitude.
Sound expanded in beguiling way, but in absence of any deceptiveness. Zavfino 1877PHONO phono cable had allowed way more, then its should at this price point. It had conveyed the music momentum with fulfilling effect, never stepping into the realms of lackadaisical.
At the end of every review, the conclusion should always sum up the juxtaposition of the performance and value, that any given product under the scope is offering. Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush phono cable doesn't disappoint. Even more, at the current rocket high prices Gold Rush represents a grander value...
Some manufacturers are hiding deeply in the rabbit hole, quasi protecting their so called IP and quite few times I have to fight for even basic specs and short white paper about the technology behind the product. For many audiophiles and music lovers, especially when it comes to the high-end audio cables, such lack of information creates too big leaf of faith for jumping into the unknown territories.
We're living in the very different era, then two, three decades ago. Although niche, the impact of our beloved industry had expanded throughout all continents and customers proliferation by any means cannot be put under the same labelling as before. Even the younger generation (many of them coming from headphone based systems) is highly demanding and expect much more from the products and the brand as in the past. They really want to understand what's who's behind the brand and products, what makes it special and why they should consider it.
I'm sure, that by now, you've already have gotten a good idea, about how much efforts and dedication went into the making of Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush phono cable and in these Canadian cables in general. From my side of fence, its important to deliver more insights to the audience on the other side. We all had a chance to get enthused and intrigued numerous times by the sweet-quasi-tech-talk, yet to find out, how the actually aural experience was from completely different plane, then advertised.
On contrary, Gold Rush delivers what's being preached by the brand. Their ability to transfer the fragile signal from tonearm towards the phono preamplifier quite (positively) different was evident from the very beginning.
Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush succinctly rendered all the salient attributes with ease, flow and most-noticeably-the-potency, that is usually reserved for the phono cables way above Gold Rush's price point.
Will and his team are pushing the boundaries of what's possible at this price point. Zavfino 1877PHONO Graphene Gold Rush phono cable represent is a sonic stand out, that comes with an earthling value. I'm wholeheartedly giving out the Mono and Stereo Best Buy Award.
No, this cable is not the result of an alchemy pursuit or a modern mystical transmutation of the materials. Then again, there is some contemporary metallurgic magic in play. But this particular magic nowadays is called science...
So, let me end in the same mood. Zavfino 1877PHONO managed to fuse premium materials and rather then creating the the "Gold Rush" encapsulate the "Sonic Rush" with the long-lasting lingering effect!
940USD for the standard length - 1.5m
Carbon Straight DIN/1.5m
Right Angle DIN/1.5m
Conductor: Rare 24k Gold PC-OCC single crystal copper, blended with solid strand 99.9998% Pure Silver in a tight pitch construction
Insulations: FEP/Tef dielectric, PTFE dielectric, Graphene polymer and fiberglass braided silicone coated breakouts, R-Flex 105C degree PVC jacket
Shield: Aluminum mylar with silver coated copper tight pitch braid Ground: 50cm SPOFC ground wire with 24k gold plated OCC copper ground clip.
Connector Female (DIN): 1877 Carbon straight limited edtions gold or TAD-3R Limited Editon Gold right angle DIN, 24k gold plated high purity copper insulated sockets in PTFE/Tef utilizing 1877 anti-stress pin construction.
Splitter: Machined and anodized light weight aluminum
Connector Male (RCA): 1877 ZXP-5 G series with OCC copper pin assembly in 24k gold,
Sleeve 1: Polyethylene terephthalate(PET) custom monofilament sleeve with anti-static fiber in onyx gold.
Processing: Deep Cryo treated
Processing: Utra-Sonic-7™ Breakin
Terminations: RCA-RCA, RCA-Straight DIN, RCA-Right Angle DIN
Length: 1.5m standard
772 Black Rock Road
Tel: +1 (902) 701-9289