EnKlein David Cables
Two years back, while reviewing the Thrax Spartacus mono amps and Dionysos preamplifier, Darrin O’Neil of Hifi Imports recommended that I also check out the EnKlein David series cables. He was so impressed by EnKlein cables that he told me I must give them a listen – and that I wouldn’t regret it. O’Neil is an importer of fine high-end products, a dealer, and an audiophile and he reiterated “These are the best cables I’ve heard!” (and he has listened to many cables). O’Neil really piqued my interest in the Enklein cables but when I did my research and found out how expensive they were, I immediately got cold feet. There are many high priced cables on the market but not all deliver what they promise, yet still cost a fortune. I guess high-prices in high-end audio are all relative but in most cases, I think it’s gotten out of control. That being said, my audiophile colleagues and friends have been saying good things about some very expensive cables like the newer Gobel and Hemingway brands. After careful consideration and an extended listen to the Hemingway cables at Clement Perry’s place, my optimism was renewed and I decided to take on the EnKlein. My curiosity compelled me to contact the people at EnKlein cables for a review. Fortunately, the Kleinbeck brothers told me that they’d send all the cables I needed for my reference system though it would take a couple of months to prepare them.
Tom and Dave Kleinbeck are the founders EnKlein cables. EnKlein is located in Lee’s Summit, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. The Klienbeck brothers are both engineers. Tom is a mechanical engineer with an aerospace background and Dave is an electrical engineer and a computer engineer. Both are musicians and the EnKleins utilize their expertise in cutting edge transmission technology to deliver new and exotic high performance custom cabling and power products for high-end audio. The Kleinbeck brothers are unique in that they represent the best of two worlds, technically and artistically. EnKlein cables are based on solid science with many hours of listening evaluation and they are meticulously hand made using the best possible materials.
EnKlein has a different approach to cable designs: “We don’t alter the signal with a filter or bias the dielectric material, instead, we believe in protecting the signal from itself and the environment”. The shielding method of EnKlein products is passive and not within the signal path. The EnKleins have used their engineering expertise to develop thin film shielding materials, power generation, signal transmission, and grounding technology adapting these for use in analog and digital audio frequency ranges. This technology is to “control, transform, and dissipate energy”. It’s pure science and, brilliantly, they use a multi-layer thin film for the shielding which is integrated into the electrical insulators to achieve a low noise floor and to eliminate or reduce cable resonance.
The David series cables incorporate two of their new designs: “Dragon Skin” shielding along with their patent pending shield energy dissipation controller, and a new noise rejection cable topology. The concept of the shield energy dissipation controller has been extended to remove noise from each of the individual conductors within the cables. “Dragon Skin,” technically known as EMISS (Electromagnetic Interposition Shielding System, stealth technology) is a four part shield topology using “Super Metals”, alloys of Cobalt and Nickel, Aluminum, copper, and steel. Dragon Skin electromagnetic shielding protects the signal from outside electromagnetic interference and reduces electromagnetic interference generated by the cable. It also reduces the noise floor introduced by the cables of an audio system. Each layer is specifically designed for each cable type to perform a specific task and, when added together, it creates an extremely effective electromagnetic barrier. The effects were very obvious; the music emerges from a blacker background with increased subtle details which were previously hidden and are now revealed. The David cables are leaders in “Forward Feed Shielding” technology (patent pending) and reduce or eliminate electromagnetic interference. The body of the David is constructed with their proprietary “Uni-Tube” sealed air tubes to maintain an atmospheric balance not affected by changes in barometric pressure or humidity. Each silver conductor is hedged by EnKlein’s patent pending “Forward Feed Shielding” technology, incorporating a shield dissipation controller.
The David signal conductors are of 20 gauge 99.99% pure silver with low oxygen content; they are made using a special die to minimize surface damage. To ensure quality and that no contamination occurs during the processing, the silver is tested before and after it is drawn. The Kleinback brothers are meticulous and perfectionists they take no chances. The conductors are delivered as a spool of wire without any jacketing , the cable construction starts from bare metals. The David speaker cables are a blend of individual silver and copper bare connectors of varying gauges from16 to 22. Each conductor is individually isolated by a layering of within the cable. The David power cable uses heavy gauge multi strand silver with a copper alloy core for added strength. The total gauge of the cross section is equivalent to a 10 gauge solid wire.
The XLR balanced connector is sourced from Bosshino, and is similar to their BAXLR product and modified in house with the EMISS system. The power connectors are heavily modified Furutechs and the speaker cable connectors are high-end WBT with no modification to the spade or banana connectors. The Kleinbeck brothers tell me that they’ve done over 120 different experiments on connectors and their modifications from countries from around the globe. Everything except the connectors are sourced from raw materials within the USA, and the EMISS system is completely sourced from raw materials from the USA. The Kleinbeck’s do not only use USA based materials; they search global industries constantly for new innovations and exceptional quality control.
The David series EnKlein cables reminded me of some years ago when I first reviewed Acoustic System International’s Liveline cables. From the very beginning, the sound was thrilling as it was more alive sounding. With my reference system completely wired with Liveline cables, the sound was transformed in direct comparison to my (then reference), Virtual Dynamics Revelation cables. The David cables has elevated my system to even greater sonic heights than even the Liveline cables. It didn’t matter whether I played Classical music, Jazz, Rock, Pop, or any other type of music. The common denominator was that they all sounded sublime. My system reached even further into purity of tone, harmonic expansiveness, musicality, and realism. I had the David cables in my system for a long time (probably much more than I should have). I was also faced with a dilemma: I wasn’t able to afford them but I couldn’t bring myself to take them out of my system either. During their stay, I had evaluated multiple components and speakers and in each case, through the David cables, they proved to be a revelation. My main reference system consists of the Pi Greco Sinfonia CD player; the Musical Life Symphony turntable and Vocalista 12” tonearm with Klios cartridge; a pair of Thrax Teres Hybrid mono amps, the Thrax Dionysos preamplifer; the Thrax Orpheus phono stage and my longtime companion – the Consensus Audio Engineering Conspiracy loudspeakers.
In this review I also evaluated solid-state, hybrid and tube amps. (I also used the cables with the Wall Audio M50 PSET mono amps, the Audionet AMP, the Decware ZMA, and the Aurorasound phono stage, the Meitner MA-2 CD player, the Audionet PRE1 G3 preamplifer). I really appreciate the Kleinbeck brothers willingness to let me use their cables for such an extended period of time.
The David series EnKlein cables used for this review included a single pair of XLR interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords. As I had been waiting for the cables for sometime, I was really happy to finally have them in my hands. I was told by the manufacturer that the cables had been burned-in at the factory for about 300 hours so that I could listen to them immediately and, as I listened, it would improve them even further. Proof is in the pudding so I wanted to hear for myself how much improvement these cables would really bring to my system. Well dear readers, one thing I will never forget is the day I first experienced EnKlien David cables! In a word: STUNNING! Coincidentally, I had my dear audio buddy, Clive Williams, over for a listening session and he too experienced exactly what I experienced. When I hit the play button on my CD player, we looked at each other and said “NO way!!” As good as my Jorma Design cables are, the EnKlein David cables simply are in a different class.
I pulled out my Philips boxed set recording of Beethoven’s complete Piano Trios (Philips 6747 142-4 LP), performed by the Beaux Arts Trio. I have listened to this beautiful recording countless times. Now that my system was completely wired with the David cables, the sound was dramatically improved. Listening to the breathtaking second movement Adagio cantabile in Trio N0. 1 in E flat major op. 1 N0.1, was mesmerizing. The David cables performed magically, in a very natural and organic way. They produced an extremely silent background with a truly holographic image of the instruments, all-emerging from a black, velvety backdrop that I had never experienced in my system with any other cable. High frequencies were effortless, clean and airy with an extra measure of extension and transparency. These new sonic insights were very obvious in the critical midrange section as well. Transients appeared laser quick and yet smooth and delightful to the ear. Attack was neither soft, nor a bit too fast or compressed; the David cables let you forget that you’re listening to electronics altogether. Even the subtle pressure changes on the keyboard and the strings were revealed with rhythmic fidelity throughout the entire frequency range. The EnKleins are masters at digging into and revealing layer upon layer of detail. They produced greater transparency and revealed more musical complexity than any other cables I’ve ever heard in my system; yet it was not at all bright. The cables were also smoother, warmer, and richer in just the way I like without sounding soft or rolled-off. The instruments took on a more polished feel that infused the music with superior realism.
As I cued up one of my favorite’s, Blue City, by the Isao Suzuki quartet (PAP-20015 TBM-24), they produced a floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall spaciousness with three-dimensional images of instruments that was utterly extraordinary. Isao Suzuki’s double bass was captivating. It was transparent, detailed and augmented by powerful bass registers, a richly textured harmonic palette, and as natural on this recording as I’ve ever heard. Tetsujiro Obara’s glowing cymbal work came alive with an incredible sheen and openness. Kunihiko Sugano’s piano work was fabulous and Kazumi Watanabe’s guitar flowed effortlessly. Isao Suzuki quartet was like poetry in motion. The attack, sustain, and decay of all the instruments was graceful and the dynamic contrasts were so well developed that listening to the music came closer to a live performance than I have ever heard in my system.
As you should expect at this price, there was not a trace of grain or compression anywhere in the frequency spectrum. The sonics were pure and coherent. The EnKlein’s midrange is stunning in liquidity, tone color, timbre, and with solidity and weight. These cables simply take one’s breath away! They have an uncanny ability to convey instruments and voices in a natural and organic way. It didn’t matter whether I listened to chamber music or female vocalists. For example, listening to Melody Gardot’s Your Heart Is As Black as Night from “My One and Only Thrill” (Verve) was simply thrilling. Gardot was in the room, doing her thing. Gardot’s beautiful sensual voice was rendered superbly; the sense of immediacy and the solidity of her voice was mesmerizing.
I haven’t heard every cable, so of course I can’t say the EnKlein David cables are the best in the world; but, I can say the EnKlein David cables are the best cables I’ve ever heard. They produced magic every time whether listening to Classical music, Jazz, Rock, Pop, or any other type of music. The sound was quiet, transparent, airy, dynamic without reservation with solidity and weight, and extended through all frequencies. The David’s didn’t change the flavor of my system. They produced a new sensation in my listening experience. Unfortunately, this all comes with a price. However, the EnKlein David cables are truly remarkable. Hats off to the EnKlein brothers for creating a new benchmark against which all others will be measured. Regardless of their asking price they are highly recommended and an easy choice for Most Wanted Component 2016!
David speaker cables: $22,000 per 6 ft
David XLR interconnects: $16,000 per meter
David AC cord: $8,000.00 per 5 ft
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