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Here is my promised feedback regarding the LS6 cables. Due to the strong cold I had, I had to wait with the evaluation of the LS6 loudspeaker cable until about the 6th of December. Since then I have listened mainly everyday for 1 to 3 hours with the LS6 cables in my main audio system.
What can I say, well, I really, really like the way my system sounds with the LS6 connecting my tube amps with my horn ls system. The LS6 shines with a plus in musicality, energy transfer of acoustic as well as electrically amplified instruments, liveliness, room ambience and also resolution in comparison to my long-term favorite, the Kimber 4TC. (The Kimber in comparison sounds accurate but a lot drier and less energetic.) Voices sound tremendous with the LS6, too. I played a lot of vinyl and CDs with all kind of music, pop, jazz, folk and classical music and the LS6 conveys the core of all this music in a very realistic way. Congratulations, the LS6 is an excellent loudspeaker cable. I will keep it!
Thank you for producing such an excellent and fair priced loudspeaker cable.
Quarknosis » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:33 pm
As an NVA customer has been using JPW P1 speakers modified with steel plate, no crossover and NVA doped 8” drivers, I wanted to try a pair of NVA speakers. The Cubettes being the ones that I could afford and being available at short noticed I decided to give them a try.
On arrival the Cubettes replaced the modified JPWs. The initial impressions of the Cubettes had obvious similarities to the modified speakers. There is great clarity and tonality to the midrange and vocals are open and expressive. Initially the bass seemed to be playing at a higher pitch than I was used to but this disappeared within a few hours. Once the speakers had run in for a while they have a surprising bass for such a small speaker. I have had some Systym mini monitors that were described in a review as having bigger bass than expected for their size but they didn’t come close to the Cubettes in this regard. While the bass of a 5” driver in a 8” enclosure was never going to be as deep or have as much weight as an 8” driver in a box 4-5 times as large, it was very impressive. Over 2 weeks of listening to the Cubettes I enjoyed them a lot, not missing the modified JPWs until they were put back, even though there was an obvious difference in bass depth and impact between the 2 pairs of speakers.
On placing the modified JPWs back into the system it became obvious that the Cubettes have better control over bass and are more tuneful, the modified JPWs can sound overblown with bass heavy music, however they do have a greater sense of scale with a recording that is better balanced. While I was using the Cubettes I also had chance to listen to the Starting Point DAC3 which could sound sharp and uncomfortable on sibilants (always a sensitive area of my hearing) with the Cubettes, the JPWs sounded much better balanced and comfortable to me in this situation.
Imaging of the 2 sets of speakers was very similar to me, positioning being the same but with the Cubettes having slightly more width and height, although I learned a lot while positioning of the Cubettes which benefitted the JPWs when they were put back. Tonally, I can’t hear any difference in the midrange, both really bring out the texture of instruments with strings particularly benefitting in my experience over other types of driver. The Cubettes win in the area of detail but the modified JPWs show dynamics better.
So all in all it could have been a difficult decision as to which I prefer, if not for the fact that the modified JPWs have the factors of scale and weight that I know I would miss. I am confident that If I hadn’t done modifications on the JPWs I would be keeping the Cubettes, as I think they are a great speaker and have the expected NVA qualities. If only there was a Cubette 2 with a 6’5” driver and 10” enclosure, I’d be saving hard for those.
Sorry Doc, it looks like I need to discuss a return.
To: Dr Bunsen Honeydew
Hope you had a fabulous holiday.
The A60 is no longer humming - I had an old isolation platform that I placed under the amp and it is now as near silent as damn it. I guess something loose with my rack - whatever, it has done the trick. When time allows I will look further into it, but just enjoying the music for now.
Anyways...the real purpose of this message is to thank you wholeheartedly for the exceptional kit that you produce and your patience, goodwill and the time that you take to share your experience and learning.
In a few short months since I dipped my toe in the NVA waters, what I thought was a decent system has been transformed by the addition of BMU, and changing amp, speakers and cables to your P50sa / A60 mk2 /Cube1 / SSP MK2 & LS6. I was sat listening to the 'Yesterday's Wine' album by Willie Nelson & 'The Truth Will Set You Free' album by James Hand last night and it brought me to tears. I didn't know I could buy that sort of connection from a hi-fi system at ANY price.
Additionally, (and quite shockingly, in a nice way), the sale of my previous kit will bring in more than I spent on the NVA items.
Whenever you are getting sh1t or just feel like you're banging your head against a wall, please recall what I have said. In the New Year I will join other forums to post my findings of NVA gear.
Because of the room layout and the need to maintain domestic harmony, this was a major investment as longish lengths were required. I decided to take the plunge after being so impressed with the BMU and the good reviews.
Was pleased the cable arrived a week earlier than expected. This time there were no problems with the courier as my other half was at home. A personal cloud storage device (recommended on this forum via a link) also arrived ahead of schedule on the same day and she was not sure what I was up to with the sudden arrival of two largish boxes.
My amplifier is connected to the Sky box and the first impression of the LS6 was through the tv. I did not expect there to be a difference through this source but an improvement was detectable, although slight. This raised my expectations of what music would sound like.
95% of my listening is through Tidal and the cable arrived at the same time as Tidal Masters was introduced. This complicated things and delayed the writing of this review until I went back to playing favourite albums (the vast majority) which are not on Tidal Masters.
I am now in a position to report on the improvements the LS6 have brought about compared to my previous QED XT40 cable. They are major. To put it simply the musical experience is far more relaxed and pleasant. There is a far greater sense of space, both in terms of width and depth, between everything. This is very pronounced with backing vocals. I was not aware of how much backing vocals there are on Bowie’s “Young Americans”, an album I have had for nearly 42 years. I have been playing his “Blackstar” album a lot in the past year (not on Tidal Masters I must add) and it has never sounded like this. The space between the instrumentation was not there before and his vocals, on “Lazarus” in particular, did not carry this amount of emotion.
The improvements were similar on heavier music. The layered rhythm guitars on Matt Lunge’s excellently produced AC/DC’s “Back in black” album were very clear, at a distance from the lead vocal, bass and drums. When the guitar solos came in the impact really hit home at the forefront. On lighter material, the cable introduced a refinement to piano and acoustic guitar, when playing Jethro Tulls “Too old to rock n ’roll, too young to die” album and Rick Wakeman’s new solo piano album of rock classics.
I had previously experienced some treble harshness on 70s recordings where I believe the limitations of vinyl was the overriding factor in the mixing. This has now disappeared and cymbals, are now smooth. This is very apparent on Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” and “Rock n’ Roll” tracks.
I believe the difference a quality speaker cable can make is as important as a major component as it allows the other components to deliver what they are capable of. I have always been aware that there are a lot of expensive cables on the market which are rip offs and are supported by dubious rave review. This put me off making a major investment in the past, before coming across NVA. The BMU and LS6 speaker cable have totally transformed my system and now listening through the speakers is more enjoyable than via quality Grado headphones, connected directly to my PC fed Chord Mojo.
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way
Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, Chord Mojo, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2, NVA SSP mk2, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110 cartridge, NVA Phono 1, NVA BMU, Grado SR 325e headphones.
Arcam Miniblink Bluetooth DAC, Marantz pm 5004, Wharfdale Diamond 121, QED 79 strand.
I recently purchased the above items which have replaced a JVC AX441 amp and Van Damme speaker cable. The source, a Project RS Box cdt, Calyx 192 dac running into NVA Cube 3 speakers. Firstly let me say I normally don't like to dissect the music and tend to listen to the music as a whole. I have listened to rock, jazz, female vocal and guitar oriented music and on everything the music has been detailed in a non fatiguing way. Small details at the back of the mix seem more prominent, this was very evident on Acoustic Alchemy - Back on the Case, with tiny percussion strikes being heard far more clearly. Vocals on Mary Black - Babes in the Wood were so expressive and the piano on the title track really sounding like a piano. Listening to Yes - Keys to Ascension, on Awaken, Steve Howe's guitar although forward in the mix just came through clearer than I remember, this track is possibly my favourite Yes song but made far more enjoyable now. To finish, the best way I can describe how this system sounds, the music just flows.
I have the Harbeth P3ESR...a later version of the P3. I used to think they were all I wanted. I still think fondly of them but now they don't get much use at all and are soon going on ebay. I previously used a Sugden A21aS2 with them (more grunt than earlier Sugdens but still only 21 watts). My Harbeths did appreciate more power (despite what Harbeth's owner might say) from the NVA A60MK2 power amp, possibly due to the Harbeths having quite a complex crossover. If you're going to stick with the Harbeths then I would go for the more powerful NVA integrated (AP70) or Pre / power (P50sa / A60Mk2) or even A70 or A80 monoblocks. I have LS6 speaker cable and I rate it very highly indeed - it replaced a Townshend cable that was 3 times the cost and bettered it quite obviously.
Another approach would be to pair the pre / power starter kit (cables included) with a pair of Cube 3s. The pre/power can be upgraded later with no loss of original outlay and the Cube 3s (I have a pair in my office set up) are exceptional for their size. This way you hear the whole NVA philosophy at once. If you like it then a big chunk of the cost can be recouped by selling the Harbeths (they go for strong prices due to limited availability and a cult following overseas).The starter pre / power kit is astonishing value and I really think that the Cubes are 'game changers'. I have Cube 1s at home and they have superb scale and body, without any boom or waffle, in a previously very 'difficult' room. I love them with a passion. For me, the NVA sound is clean, natural, wide open but not the slightest bit artificial or bright or harsh. Very pure and uncoloured. More information, more music, delivered with greater ease.
Having been faced with very similar possibilities, I would urge you to try the NVA amps and speakers together. In any event... no likey, send back for refund.
Here's some info and thoughts, in no particular order, about my Cube 1's / Harbeth P3ESR's / and Cube 3's that are usually in my office system:
In my room, I would have my P3ESR's around 2.5 feet away from the back wall and around 6 feet apart. My listening seat is about 8 feet away. The Cube 1's go back against the wall, very slightly further apart, and angled in so that the tweeters point directly at my usual listening area.
The Cube 1 soundstage is massively bigger than the Harbeths. Part of that is driver size - 5.5" vs 8" - but you would think that the Cubes were much, much bigger than they are. The Cubes have plenty of depth and width but they do something else...the best way I can describe is that they make the room into an auditorium. The sound does not come from single points as it does with the Harbeths (and any other traditional 2-way). You can move around the room and the sound from the Cubes changes very little.
The Harbeths have great charm, especially in the midrange, and they image precisely (as I would expect from a small sealed box)but they don't have anywhere near the scale, body, impact, immediacy, realism, freedom...you get the idea. They sound quite 'tight arsed' after the Cubes. I listen to a lot of classical studio master recordings - I would never listen to them on the Harbeths again now that I have the Cube 1s. The same, now I think of it, for jazz and folk, especially accoustic. I still listen to a lot of punk / alternative stuff, but usually on headphone - I figure my neighbours won't appreciate a punk venue next door!
The Cube 3's have the same attributes on a smaller scale - but they still sound considerably bigger than the Harbeths even though they have the same size driver. My room is 5m x 6m...the Cube 3's fill the space without any problem, the Cube 1's sound considerably larger but they do not boom or waffle in any way. You just get 'more'.
If you can afford it up front, get a reasonably powerful NVA amp (AP&70 integrated or P50 pre / A60 MK2 power) and a pair of the Cubes. Try the amps with the Harbeths first (don't forget you must use NVA cables - I use LS6) then put the Cubes in later. Then you get to compare all 'possibilities'. No like the NVA sound - send back for refund. Like the NVA sound - I reckon your Harbeth pieces would fund most of the NVA kit.
I have had extensive and lengthy auditions of a number of high end standmount speakers over the past five or six years, examples include Dynaudio, Sonus Faber, Audiovector. I have also heard a number of other brands at other people's houses and I have owned a number of standmount speakers of high repute, Paradigm, Vienna Acoustics, Wilson Benesch to name a few. Interestingly, most of these speakers are not available for as little as £1000 new. A couple of them retail at closer to three times that amount.
I first heard a pair of Cube 3's at a friend's place and it really was a 'wow' moment. The fact that I had, ultimately, not been able to live with any of the speakers listed above was starting to make me think that what I was looking for was simply not available. That, perhaps, compromise was something that was essential when it came to choosing speakers. However, over the course of a few hours, in which I listened to my usual test recordings, came the slow, but fairly sure recognition that here was a speaker that did, in fact, do everything that I wanted. It really was a revelation.
What I heard was a sound that was clean, open, detailed with high levels of resolution and great imaging. It was punchy, musical, engaging and non-fatiguing. My only concern was whether or not they would be a little small for my listening room. although I can't say that they sounded particularly anaemic in the lower frequencies, quite saitisfying in fact. Anyway, within a few weeks I had my hands on a pair of the bigger brothers, Cube 2's. Set up in my listening room these proved to be in every way as good as the Cube 3's with all of the same characteristics, just bigger sounding.
Now, let's talk about those compromises. Out of all of the speakers I had owned the most clear, detailed and dynamic were the Wilson Benesch. I would go as far as to say that they are well known for their high levels of resolution and clarity. The Cube 2's have all of those same characteristics and to the same high standard in my opinion. The Wilson Benesch speakers, however, also imparted a somewhat clinical sound which was slightly tilted to the upper frequencies making them sound a tad lean. The Cubes, whilst not overtly warm sounding, are far less 'in your face' and harsh whilst retaining every bit of detail and a more satisfying balance in terms of tonality. The Audiovectors were better in tonal balance, but could also sound a little hard at times. Not so the Cubes. A little more akin to the Dynaudios perhaps, which were slightly warmer, but then they didn't have the engagement and musicality of the Cubes and also had a slightly overblown bass. The Cube's bass, when set up right, is tight, but tuneful and music bounces along in the way that it should, keeping one's attention and foot tapping. The Dynaudios didn't have this and sounded somewhat 'boring'. The Sonus Fabers and Vienna Acoustics were the most non-fatiguing listen, but for me, this was achieved by somehow erring a little away from neutrality and colouring the sound, a fruitier mid-bass in one and slightly rolled off higher frequencies in the other, perhaps. The Cubes do not do any of this. Instead, they achieve their non-fatiguing sound by way of their design which means no compromise in terms of detail, clarity and transparency.
So, to conclude, the Cubes are by far the best standmount that I have ever auditioned or owned and, at the price, a steal. Yes, some of the speakers listed above looked like pieces of furniture with beautiful wood cabinets and fancy binding posts, but perhaps that is why they fetch the prices that they do. I'd rather my investment go into the sound.
The Cubes, for me, are able to achieve the best of all worlds. Like I said at the start, this was something that I was starting to believe might be unattainable. Whilst other speakers seem to do their things by way of compromise, the Cubes don't. They impart as open, detailed and dynamic a sound as the best of the best, but with a more satisfyingly even tonal balance. They have a non-harsh and non-fatiguing sound just like the market leaders in this type of thing, but without any softness, colouring or 'rolling off' or enhancement of any frequencies. Whilst they may not be everyone's cup of tea build wise, if you are in the market for a no-compromise high end standmount speaker and, like me, it's all about the sound, then you are doing yourself an absolute disservice if you choose not to audition a pair of Cubes.
Decided it was worth trying following forum recommendations. I was expecting a very small improvement so was pleasantly surprised that this addition is more of a minor transformation and not subtle. It's actually difficult to describe the difference but essentially you get more of everything. More detailed while smoother and more relaxed presentation, more dimensionality and more precise placement of elements in the sound stage. Well worth the £200 asking price. It is uncanny the effect this has by just making the power dual mono into the same RIAA circuit.
Tested with Michell Orbe SE TT / SME 309 arm and AT33EV cartridge plus Albarry passive/Lehmann buffer stage into Albarry 608M power amps and Mission 752 speakers.
I upgraded my 2M LS6 to TSCS and two 1M sets of SSP MKII to TIS MKII, so my system is now on NVA Statement cables throughout (with the exception of the Auralic > Metrum connection which uses the £400 Sablon Audio Panatela Reserva USB cable). I've had the TSCS for around 3 weeks now and as Doc has progressed his TIS redesign, I have been his guinea pig with a couple of different iterations. The final MKII design arrived today.
One aspect of NVA cable design that always amazes me is that every time you move to the next design in the range one of the first audio improvements I notice is that of a veil being lifted. It really is the most remarkable experience, because performance with the previous cable was already excellent, yet I always find myself sitting there thinking "Wow! How can it possibly get any better than this?". It is a difficult experience to articulate, but if any of you have ever moved between NVA cable levels you will hopefully understand what I am trying to convey. The best analogy is that of listening to music behind some heavy velvet curtains which are then opened. It isn't a subtle difference in my experience, it is pronounced and very real.
The other NVA cable truism is that of 'getting more' as you ascend through the range, and that strongly applies in the case of TSCS and TIS . The ease with which I can pick out individual instruments and voices and the separation between them is just on another level; LS6 and SSP MKII are both phenomenal performers in their own right (and arguably the sweet spot from a price/performance perspective), but they are both left in the shade here in outright performance terms. For example, listening to Ed Sheeran's 'The Shape of You' from his new 'Divide' album,the projection, separation and distinctiveness of the hand drums (or whatever they are called) is really something. Bass is nicely controlled, as is treble. No brightness whatsoever from these cables.
I could just sink into a sea of beautifully distinct, detailed music. Fabulous.
P.S. For anyone interested in the Sablon USB cable, I have done some A/B listening and while it is a very good USB cable, the sonic presentation and performance is matched by the NVA SSP MKII Digital Interconnect which is 1/3rd of the price. I am sending mine back because it just doesn't make sense to keep it.
Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII
PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e
Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Paul Baldwin LPSU • Supra CAT8