The Harmonic Technology Cables

Part 2

Lew Lanese

2 January 1999


audio/video speaker and interconnect cables
Price (US retail): $80.00 to $900.00 depending on model and length

Manufacturer Info:
Harmonic Technology
12781 Legacy Place
San Diego, CA 92131 USA
Tel: 858.486.6633
Fax: 858.586.7918

NO, Iím not a tweak-of-the-week audiophile. Usually, like so many of you out there in audio-land, I approach the latest tweak with a great deal of doubt. So with Harmonic Technologyís cables, was I dealing with another dose of snake-oil? I never really got to consider that.

I have seldom changed cables over the years. In fact, prior to these new cables, I have been very happy with the cables in my system. I have no doubts about certain interconnects working better than other interconnects with particular electronics or certain speaker cables being a better marriage with particular speakers. The question of inductance, impedance and capacitance is foremost in matching components for the best performance e.g. speaker cable with a very high impedance could alter the frequency response of a speaker whose input impedance is very low when the output impedance of a given amplifier is very high (not unusual with some tube amps).

"This system is among the very best Iíve heard." Thatís a comment Iíve made to Clement Perry (and anyone who would listen) about his Von Schweikert VR6 speakers matched with the KR Enterprise VT 800 monoblocks. I seem to be at Perryís apartment at least once a week listening to his system. Iíve gotten to know it as well as my own: KR Enterprise amps and Verity Parsifals. Although the Parsifals are quite good, they donít have the effortlessness, indeed the outstanding balance and transparency throughout the range that is so much a part of the VR6.

So it was that on one of my recent listening sessions at Perryís I said, "OK. What have you changed. Thereís a major difference in the sound from when I was here the other day." Everyone who had been there before me and who was quite aware of the transformation wrought by the new cables, laughed. Yes, there was a change, a change in all the cables: speaker cables; interconnects; and power cords. All were from a new company (new to me that is), Harmonic Technology. I have never heard such a dramatic difference changing cables. A new amplifier, a new preamp, or perhaps a new CD front end, yes, but not cables. Perryís system sounded so outstanding before the change that it was hard to believe that anything would improve it and in such a decisive way! Yet here was the evidence and I could hear it with my own ears. Riccardo, who had been there the day before the change was as impressed as I was when he heard the new cables. Even though the Harmonic Technology cables had practically no burn-in both of us agreed that they represented a quantum leap in technology.

I wasted little time in contacting James Wang to have him send me interconnects, speaker wire and AC cords to replace everything in my system so convinced was I of the superiority of these cables. Within ten days I had rewired my entire system except the digital link.

As Wang (and HTís chief engineer and guru) explains it, what constitutes differences between cables and the flow of electrons is conductor metal, insulation material, geometry of the strand configuration and connectors and mechanical integrity of the connections. All of these factors have been carefully addressed in the manufacturing process but perhaps the most revolutionary is the patented "OCC" technology. Because of the usual way wire is manufactured thousands of crystals are formed which become barriers to the flow of electrons and consequently affect the sound adversely. HT has invented a special process that casts a single crystal that, says Wang, eliminates the crystalline barriers that add distortion. The result is a clarity and smoothness and the retention of the natural harmonic structure of the music.

James Wang is right on dear reader! The clarity and smoothness are hallmarks of these cables. Will there be any loss in transparency with all the marvelous smoothness? You bet there wonít! From the moment I completed the installation of the cables and started playing music, the transformation had taken place. Burn-in didnít seem to be a major factor, although there was a subtle improvement over the next few days. The first thing I noticed was an increase in depth and a widening of the stage Ė everything more focused with pinpoint imaging. The music sounded more relaxed, more harmonically correct. It was not just that a veil had been lifted but rather that it was a whole new view into the sound, one of unsurpassed limpidity . CD after CD, LP after LP led me to conclude that this is the finest audio cable available today!

This is the cheapest major improvement you can make in your audio system. And it wonít cost you an arm and a leg e.g. one meter of single crystal copper interconnect retails as low as $129, RCA terminated!