During the early 1990s, a ‘Quiet Revolution’ in audio cabling occurred. Audiophiles recognized that insulating cables from Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) could lower the noise floor and drastically elevate the sonic performance of their systems. Twenty five years later, cables used in high-end 2-channel audio systems are now considered as important—if not more so—than the gear itself.
High quality power cords drop the noise floor waaaay down. Less noise means that more detail, texture, and tone can emerge from the soundstage. This accuracy makes the timbre of instruments ‘feel’ more organic and natural. High-end power cables also increase the amount of energy (read: life) any system has. The results are better pace, rhythm and timing (PRaT), deeper resolution, and a far more lifelike sound to recorded music.
Today, cutting-edge materials and wildly sophisticated manufacturing techniques have ushered in a new ‘Golden Age’ in audio cabling. Older generation cords that were state-of-the-art just five years ago are being beaten by newer and better sounding ones. Zavfino’s new OCC Silver Dart power cable ($1,200 USD for a 2.0m cord) is one fine example.
More Canadian than a Winnipeg Jets fan ordering a double-double while piloting a zamboni through a Timmy’s drive-thru in Flin Flon Manitoba, 1877 Phono has been proudly offering cables, components, and accessories to OEMs and DIY’ers for more than 18 years. Zavfino is one of their registered brand names.
The 1.5m Silver Dart power cord I reviewed had a gorgeous snakeskin-silver outer jacket. The cable’s 1.25 inches thick and it’s as stiff as a Keanu Reeves monologue. Be forewarned: you’ll need at least 18 inches of space behind any component to plug this power cord in. Although it isn’t too heavy, this cord is also difficult to rotate along its torsional axis.
An electrical anomaly known as the “skin effect” occurs when electrons move through any solid core wire. Higher frequencies travel along the outside (the skin) of the conductor faster than midrange and lower echelon frequencies. This results in hazy PRaT, muddled instrumental timbres, and an unnatural sound.
To negate the skin effect, Zavfino’s patented H-Wound process twists thin silver stranded wire tightly around thicker central OCC copper solid-core conductors. They refer to this construction as a ‘cable within a cable’ and claim that it achieves “perfect pitch” and superior PRaT.