Testimonial by Steve McCormack
About Absolute Fidelity Loudspeaker Interface cables
Gary Koh, the head honcho and design chief at Genesis Advanced Technologies, is best known for his loudspeaker designs. Indeed, Genesis now sports a stable of world-class speakers, from cost-no-object behemoths to real-world-affordable floorstanders with amazing performance and value. However, Gary is a bit of a renaissance man with wide-ranging interests and skills to call upon, and his design talents extend to all things audio-musical. He has just released his latest innovation, the Absolute Fidelity Loudspeaker Interface cables, and what a treat they are.
I first met Gary a few years ago...our paths crossed because a reviewer (Frederic Beudot, writing for 6Moons.com) became rather enamored with the combination of the Genesis Reference Amplifier and my VRE-1 preamplifier. Gary had been looking for a great preamp to add to his show system, so we got together for the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I was immediately impressed by Gary's attention to detail, the breadth of his knowledge and experience, and his obvious passion for music. I was also struck by Gary's unusually pragmatic approach to cables - he had evaluated many of the "high-profile" cables we usually see and had found them lacking. So, he designed his own.
I recall asking him about the unusual speaker cables he was using, and he explained that he had been "forced" to build his own after having tried many of the high-end cables then available. He found none of them satisfactory and, since the reputation of his speakers was at stake, he developed his own cables in order to show his speakers to their best advantage. This had not been easy and the resulting cable was difficult to build, so he had only made a few sets for his own use and some of his speaker owners. I had to admit that they certainly seemed to be working well - our show system sounded relaxed and natural, but extremely "fast" and transparent. More to the point, the music was engaging and involving, just as it should be. Gary explained that he was not building these cables, so I had to set aside my attack of gear lust and let it simmer on the back burner.
Fast-forward to CES 2010, and there I am again in the Genesis room, this time with a brand-new preamp I had designed for Genesis - the SMc-1. The room really sounded outstanding, and I commented to Gary again how impressed I was with his cables. This time his response was different - he told me that he was considering putting them into limited production, and that he would send me a set for evaluation. And so he did...
Cables are a fascinating part of our audio hobby - and that's putting it mildly! I certainly recognize their importance in a good system, and being a high-end audio designer myself, I have tried my hand at building my own on several occasions. Suffice it to say that I don't currently offer any of my own ;-) On the other hand, I have a *lot* of experience with excellent cables, and have watched their evolution over the years with great interest. I have found what works well in my setup, and have assembled a relatively stable reference system - things don't change often, and then only if I find something I can afford that is a better fit. Happily, Gary's Absolute Fidelity Loudspeaker Interface cables are a definite fit! They replace an outstanding set of cables that have been my reference for several years - cables that I have been very happy with. The Absolute Fidelity Interface retains the sweet musicality and emotional connection I valued so highly in my previous reference, but delivers better tonal neutrality, along with a sense of greater speed and transparency. Transients are rendered more clearly, and there is more clean high-frequency information. The rendition of 3D space and layering of depth is improved, without hardness or glare. This allows each instrument and voice to be more clearly distinct, while remaining beautifully integrated within the fabric of the whole. Subtle details come through more clearly, adding to the sense of realism and connection with the music. Nothing is "spotlighted" and no part of the musical whole is given preferential treatment - this cable is completely coherent, bottom to top. And speaking of the bottom, individual musical lines remain clearly defined all the way down, and this is an unusual feat in my experience. Most cables I've heard exhibit some muddiness and what I call a bit of "homogenization" below 200Hz. The Absolute Fidelity Interface stays as clean as the proverbial whistle.
So, I think we can safely add "high-performance cable design" to Gary Koh's already impressive list of achievements. His Absolute Fidelity Loudspeaker Interface cables are an outstanding addition to an extremely competitive market segment. These speaker cables can go toe-to-toe with the best cables out there and deserve your attention if you have a well-tuned system that you want to get the best from. They may not be the biggest, most exotic, or most expensive, but they deliver the music, all the music, and nothing but the music. And that's the truth.
I hear he's working on interconnects, too.
Steve McCormack, Designer - SMc Audio - April 2010