A high-end power cable, Paul Rigby reviews the Isotek EVO3 Elite
There’s a school of thought – which I advocate – stating that any audiophile worth his salt has to get his source right. This is where the all too critical information is extracted, after all. If it’s not done well or if information is not sufficiently extracted at this point then don’t expect your amp and speakers to do the job, it’s just not going to happen.
The only bone of contention is what constitutes a ‘source’. Most people see it as a software carrier: turntable, CD, digital file, etc. Is it, though? There is a case to say that the mains is the true source because this powers the software carrier, in the first place. Push a heap of noise down the mains and the source-critical information is immediately corrupted. That noise blossoms as the music is sent down the hi-fi chain, with further corruption occurring at the amp and (if powered) speaker stages.
A quality mains cable has a big job to do, therefore which is where Isotek’s EVO3 Elite enters the picture.
This design uses a 7-core geometry, high purity copper system Conductors are in a parallel construction with slight rotational twist. This established technique remains the first line of defence against RFI and EMI rejection. Silver plated 99.999999% OFC conductors are included and a Teflon FEP dielectric (insulation) is utilised. That’s joined by a cotton filler and a mylar wrap plus an earthed OFC shield to protect against Common Mode noise. PVC is used as an outer jacket while termination uses IsoTek’s bespoke connectors of solid OFC and 24ct gold plated conductors.
Playing Supertramp’s Dreamer from the album, Crime of the Century, I immediately noted two things. Firstly, an extension of space over all frequencies. Basically, it sounded like a group of builders had demolished the walls of the studio, pushed them out by a dozen feet, re-built them again and shook hands all ‘round. There was far more air in the overall presentation of this song and it gave the music an extra zest, more vitality and vigour. Obvious evidence of a low noise performance from the cable.
It also added reverb tails to a host of instruments which meant that, and this is the second thing I jotted down, notes seemed to last longer. That is, when an organ note was triggered via the keyboard, a guitar string was plucked or drum smashed, the resultant sound appeared to last longer. Just a microsecond but that was enough to give the soundstage a big, epic feel. It didn’t, of course. What was happening here was that noise removal just allowed the ear to hear more music.
On that point, the lead vocal was nudged vertically a touch, which only enhanced that larger soundstage feel.
The drum sounded strong, meaty and weighty but the now open nature of the cable meant that the drum sounded like it was super bouncy, giving the percussion a real after-effect, reactive feel to the initial strike.
During the later period of the song, when the drum was flailing and the vocals were screaming their collective heads off, I was happy to hear the keyboard make itself known. The low noise aspect of the Elite cable came into play here. There was plenty of detail, much of it subtle and easily followed by the ear too.
I then changed the pace to Richie Havens’ From the Prison, from the original album pressing, Something Else Again. This track was all about a voice and acoustic guitar so subtlety and nuance was prime.
The EVO3 Elite was supportive here too, tracking the texture of the Havens’ vocal easily, translating the man’s slightly gruff, slightly rough and emotive delivery.
His often energetic guitar style was also caught and reflected back to the ear well by the Elite. Havens coats his guitar playing style with varying shades of effort, power and delicacy. A cable without much insight will average all of that out to give an almost flat-lining presentation. The Elite was able to follow the roller-coaster ride from Havens with no problem.
The mixture of power and sensitivity accessed via the EVO3 Elite cable means that it will be ideal for all genres of music while its penetrating senses of detail means that you won’t miss a moment, even during complex passages. More than that, I was impressed to hear the amount of detail from this low noise design, which aids its value for money quotient. An impressive design.
ISOTEK EVO3 ELITE POWER CABLE
Price: £500 for 2m (available with C7, C15, C19 and Neutrik connections)
Tel: 0118 981 4238
GOOD: low noise, bass power, delicate treble, informative mids
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