Design Unity Cables & Interconnects
Else Can I say? I Love 'em
Dan Meinwald of Sound Advice always manages
to have a great sounding room at the CES and
this year, as usual, it was a standout. He
used Jorma Design cables connected to Marten
Design’s Coltrane II loudspeakers and their
M Amp 600 mono amps. The sound was
outstanding, highly detailed, very
transparent and most importantly, musical.
It was here that I finally got to meet with
Jorma Koski from Jorma Design. I spent some
time with him talking about (what else?) his
cables and everything audio. I’ve been
coming to the CES since 2004 and I’ve always
enjoyed the sound of the Jorma Design
cables, but unfortunately, I never have had
the opportunity to review any of them. But
this time things would be different. Jorma
told me he would send me his new Unity
cables (which replaced the No.1 cable back
in June) for a review. I couldn’t have been
Jorma Design is a small Swedish company
which exclusively manufactures high-end
cables. As an audiophile and a hobbyist,
Jorma started selling cables to the members
of the Swedish Hi-Fi Forum starting around
2000. In 2002, a dealer from Stockholm
convinced him to start his own company and
the rest is history. When he started the
company, he never thought that he would make
a living at it but hoped he’d be able to buy
a better system for himself. Fast forward
three years later and demand was so high
that he had to quit his job as a service
engineer for ABB Building Systems.
Jorma has an engineering background and grew
up with close ties to music from childhood
and he didn’t have television until 1960. He
remembers when his father bought a “His
Masters Voice” radio and vinyl record player
with a tube amplifier. Every evening there
was music in his house; a mix of opera,
rock, blues and jazz. He wanted his own
stereo system but he could not afford it, so
he built one when he was 14 or15 years old.
It was a hardwired battery driven stereo amp
and speakers from old radios. He even built
his own boxes. He told me he was very happy
but his parents’ system sounded better.
Later on in 1970, he built speakers using an
IMF Transmission line (TLS 80) and Dynaco
amps from DIY kits.
waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I received
a nice sized package from Sweden in late Fall. It
contained one pair of speaker cables and two pairs
of interconnects. It was impressive that each cable
came with its own carrying case instead of a
plain-Jane cardboard box. You know what they say,
your first impression is often your last and this
was a good one. The cables are handmade and crafted
beautifully with an exceptional fit and finish, like
the finest of European automobiles. The Unity cables
come with an elegantly styled maple and copper
attachment on the directional end.
Jorma Koski thoughtfully breaks the cables in for 72
hours before shipping. They only needed a few days
of listening to complete the break-in period. This
made my life so much easier as a reviewer, because
most cable manufacturers recommend at least a couple
hundred hours for a break in period. Normally, I
would have to burn-in cables for about two weeks
Technology from the Jorma Design Website
A look at the Jorma Design website reveals just how
meticulous Jorma Koski is:
Our loudspeaker cables and interconnects are
composed of copper of the best possible quality.
We decided to use this material after
experimentation with many other materials, as well
as with other copper configurations. Copper delivers
the most neutral, transparent, and natural musical
signal. All cables employ the purest possible
copper. This purity does not only refer to oxygen,
but to ALL polluting materials and metals. All
conductors are subjected to a spark test using 6000
V impulse tension before we use them to produce our
Jorma Design cables employ sophisticated shielding
to reject radio frequency interference (RFI) and
electromagnetic interference (EMI), and to stabilize
the cables against vibration and micro phonics. The
shielding for all Jorma Design cables (except No. 3
speaker cables) is a heavily shielded, tin-plated
copper that works very effectively in combination
with the special geometry of the conductors to
ensure that up to 98% of the incoming and outgoing
RFI and EMI are removed without any compromise to
the audio signal.
One question that is frequently asked about Jorma
Design cables is: Why are they so thin? For that
price, shouldn’t they be thick and heavy? The
problem with taking diameter as an indicator of
quality is that making Jorma Design cables thicker
would adversely affect the sound. We have found that
using the least amount of the insulation that
surrounds the conductors results in the best sound.
If we were to use more than is absolutely necessary
to make the finished product strong, safe, and long
lasting, it would degrade the sound. That is
why our cables look the way they do.
already: How does it sound!?
I used a two meter run of speaker cables between my
Karan Acoustics KSA 450 amp and the Consensus
Conspiracy loudspeakers, and a pair of 2.5m XLR
interconnects between the Karan Acoustics reference
dual mono preamplifier MKII and my remarkable new
reference Pi Greco Sinfonia CD player from Italy.
Lastly, I used a pair of 2m XLR interconnects
between the KSA 450 and MKII preamplifier.
Unfortunately, the power cords won’t be available
until early 2012.
Simply put, my system sounded great from the first
day with the Unity cables, but I let them play for
few more days before doing any serious listening.
With the Unity cables in my system, the sound was
very transparent, remarkably natural, and had richer
detail with slightly improved timbre accuracy, as
compared to my reference ASI cables; it’s quite
amazing that the Unity cables are a touch better
regarding the already excellent timbre accuracy
which I love so much from the ASI cables.
It didn’t matter what type of music I played; it all
sounded superb. Whether it be chamber or orchestral
classical music or Jazz. It just sounded better. The
Unity has an extraordinarily natural sound that is
easy to hear and it thrilled me with its unusual
realism. It was like listening to live unamplified
music. I knew right away that me and my bank account
were in trouble.
I recently gave myself an analog front end for my
50th birthday present (I deserved it!). The Musical
Life Symphony Mk III turntable and Vocalitas 12”
rosewood tonearm (photo above) are combined with the
Lyra Kleos moving coil cartridge. I’m really
enjoying my new analog setup and now I’m avidly
collecting LP’s. The first LP I played is one of my
favorite live recordings:
The Bill Evans Trio’s
Waltz for Debbie [Riverside RPL 9399], which was
recorded live at the Village vanguard. This amazing
recording sounded remarkably natural and the musical
flow was unmatched and moved freely like a smooth
operator throughout all the frequencies. And yes! I
do prefer the vinyl over digital, especially on this
recording. “My Foolish Hearts” was rendered
beautifully with emotion and vitality. The realism
was quite amazing and the ambience retrieval was
extraordinary. The trio was in perfect harmony; it
was absolutely outstanding and it was music to my
ears. Bill Evans’ piano was absolutely stunning and
had a wonderful richness with gorgeous harmonics.
Scott LaFaro, who was one of the supreme jazz
bassists, was amazing, unstoppable, and his
virtuosity was just incredible. The cymbal work of
Paul Motian was top notch. The cymbals had life in
them, with delicate, sweet and very detailed
information that lit up the room. I was transported
back to the Village Vanguard in New York City in
1961 (Yes, I know I was an infant but you get my
Wow! What else
can I say?
I had to put on The Keith Jarrett Trio’s Still
Live [ECM LP 835008-1]. This live LP sounded
remarkably true to life. Listening to “When I Fall
In Love” was absolutely breathtaking. It made me
feel like I was in the Philharmonic Hall in Munich.
The Trio was in motion and they were communicating
beautifully. The timbre and harmonic structures were
conveyed masterfully. The piano, drums and double
bass were presented naturally and Keith Jarrett’s
piano exploded with richness and a gorgeous
presence. The brushwork of drummer Jack DeJonette
was delicate and crisp and had vivid life. Finally,
Gary Peacock on the double bass was articulate,
organic and powerful.
listening to the must have boxed sets of Mozart:
The String Quartets [DG 00289 477 6253] and
Mozart: Divertimenti K. 136-138, was a joy! The
first movement Andante from Divertimenti in B flat
major K. 137 by the Hagen Quartet was breathtaking.
The timbre quality of the strings was rendered
remarkably beautiful and sounded naturally organic.
In simpler terms, it just sounded more real. I was
drawn into the music more intimately than ever
before. The instruments existed in space as if I
were listening to a live performance. I was in
Heaven! I was losing precious sleep because I was up
listening into the wee hours. I was drawn to the
sound of the strings like never before.
The Unity has a natural warmth and richness from the
upper bass to the lower treble which results in a
more realistic presentation of stringed instruments.
seemed the strings glided through the air with great
fluidity and authority; yet they were very delicate.
The speakers seemed to disappear completely and the
imaging was outstanding. I put on one of my
favorites Rossini’s Sonate a Quattro N0.2
in A major with ensemble Explorations
(HMC901776) and it sounded better than ever. The
Unity in my system elevated the overall sound ever
so slightly. My Conspiracy loudspeakers were singing
like never before. They were more musical and
transparent, and the details conjured up more
realism and made the string tones ever more real.
The double bass was visceral and highly detailed
down to the lowest note
that I have had the Unity cables in my system for
some time, I can say easily I’m enjoying every
moment. It’s easy to understand why three renowned
speaker manufacturers chose the Jorma Design cables
for their internal wiring. The folks at Marten
Design, SW speakers from Sweden and Penaudio
speakers from Finland must be on to something.
Unfortunately, this quality comes at a price. The
Unity cables are about two to three times the price
of the ASI cables (depending on the type of cable).
However, at the asking price, or at any price, the
Jorma Design Unity cables are truly remarkable. They
are not just true reference cables, they are my
Stereo Times' Most Wanted Component award winner for
2011. Highly recommended!!
Speaker cables: $5000/pair,
each additional meter $1100
Bi-wire speaker cables: $7700/pair, each additional
Bi-amp speaker cables: $8300/pair, each additional
Interconnects, 1-meter (RCA/XLR): $4000/pair, each
additional meter $700
1087 East Ridgewood Street
Long Beach, CA 90807