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Harmonic Technology Fantasy AC 10

A New Medium Priced Power Cable

Greg Weaver

22 January 2002

Specifications

Gauge: 10 AWG
Conductor Material: Single Crystal Copper with Single Crystal IEC plug
Price: 2 meter - $399, 1.5 meter $379

Address:
Harmonic Technology
13200 Kirkham Way, Unit 100
Poway, CA 92064

Telephone: 858-486-8386
Fax: 858-486-6633



Email: info@harmonictech.com
Web: www.harmonictech.com

Cable beginnings

Two of the more pleasurable experiences in my last 30 years in this game we call high-end audio have come at the hands of Jim Wang and Harmonic Technology. Initially there was the privilege of being the first journalist to bring news of this company and its remarkable products to the attention of music lovers (over three years ago now on 1 December 1998). Second was the experience spending a year as the Design Team Leader and helping to develop the Magic™ line of Harmonic Technology products.

I am convinced that both of those opportunities arose from a fairly comprehensive treatment I wrote on speaker cables, "Loudspeaker Cables: Simple Passive Connection or Complex Dynamic Component." The piece was first published in my short-lived quarterly journal the audio analyst back in the winter of 1989/90. This original work was updated and published in Positive Feedback and later found its way to SoundStage!. I still think it is some of my best work, leading to compliments from and recognition by many well-known cable manufacturers. With that work, it seemed that I had suddenly become sought out to review cables of all sorts. I ended up reviewing cables from such diverse schools of thought and design as JPS to Alpha-Core/Goertz and MIT to StraightWire. I guess it should have been no surprise when the call came from Jim Wang asking me to examine Harmonic Technology's latest power cable, the Fantasy AC 10.

Much like most of the Harmonic Technology line, the Fantasy is constructed solely from multiple gauge conductors of Harmonic's Patented "OCC" copper. It is a 10-gauge cable that employs their Balanced Field Geometry™, uses a Hubbell 8215C hospital grade plug and incorporates an IEC connector that is fabricated entirely from "OCC" copper. One departure here from their other power cables is the use of individual insulation on each conductor strand used for the Hot and Neutral runs. The shield is comprised of both a foil and a braid to help drain any Radio Frequency or Electro Magnetic interference. Currently available in 1.5 and 2-meter lengths, I expect it will be offered in custom lengths, as that is possible with all other Harmonic Technology products.

Sounds of a Fantasy

I tried this cable on amps and front-end components alike with the exception of my Oracle Delphi turntable, which does not permit the use of after market cables. While the changes noted on each component were markedly similar overall, the most significant results in my testing were heard with amplifiers and digital components. Though my preamplification equipment showed nice improvement, the most significant enhancements seemed to be achieved when using the cord on either my Pass Labs Aleph 3, Hafler Trans-Nova or the Monolithic P3 power supply that drives my Perpetual Technology P-1A Upsampler and ModWright Signature II Perpetual Technology P-3A DAC.

This new cable seems to represent a serious step up from the $180 overachieving Pro-AC 11. Where the Pro-AC 11 allows the honest timbre of upper midrange harmonics to start to shine through and gives a more solid foundation to the lower registers, the Fantasy permits an uncanny "thereness" to mids and lower treble and really reaches down into the foundations of the bass and sub bass. Though I had grown used to these attributes while using the $1500 Magic Power cord, I was quite happy to note the large degree of those attributes offered from this new, much less costly product.

Individually speaking, bass performance with the Fantasy was excellent. Particularly when powering amplifiers, the Fantasy seemed to find nearly the same depth to low bass performance as the exquisite Magic was capable of doing. As an added benefit, there was also a slight improvement in speed and definition from the mid bass on down, allowing for a cleaning up of some material that had still been somewhat obfuscated with the use of the Pro-AC 11.

Treble performance was notably bettered with the insertion of the Fantasy in place of the Pro-AC 11. It wasn't that extension in that region seemed to be considerably improved as much as it was that upper midrange and treble in general became clearer and better focused. Listen to solo piano, massed violins and violas, struck triangles or ride cymbals to get a sense of what it is capable of providing here. Those frequencies don't seem to go any higher than they did, but they are more fleshed out and detailed with no glare or grain.

The Fantasy handled dynamics as a whole, and microdynamics in particular, a good bit better than the Pro-AC 11. There was also distinct improvement in presentation and illumination of low-level detail. It was as though the Fantasy offered a lower noise floor to any component it powered than the Pro-AC 11. How changing power cords can yield such changes I still cannot completely explain, yet discovering such improvements in these areas is always welcomed and often hard to achieve. In this endeavor, the Fantasy did a very good job of rivaling the much more costly Magic.

All these above factors combined to provide a scale of image focus and soundstage solidity and size that significantly bested the Pro-AC 11 and, to some degree, nearly rivaled the Magic! The Magic still outshone the Fantasy at midrange warmth, dynamic contrasts and overall presentation, but at only about one fourth its cost, this little guy was putting up quite a fight. On a general comparative scale, I would propose that the Fantasy is capable of offering something on the order of twice the enhancement afforded by the Pro-AC 11, and about half, or maybe even a little more in some areas, of the performance attained with the use of the Magic.

The Fantasy AC 10 offers a notable and broadband degree of sonic improvement to any product it feeds, excelling at truth of timber, focus and detail, dynamic shadings and spatial reconstruction capabilities, sounding overall a great deal like the more expensive and superb Magic Power Cable.

I still find Harmonic Technology's modestly priced $180 Pro-AC 11, more than three years later, to be the finest affordable AC cord yet offered. Replacing all your "stock" AC cords with it can yield an enormous leap forward in the musicality of any system. I have yet to hear anything for less than about $300 that can begin to compete with it, let alone best it. And while the Magic Power Cord is anything but cheap, it still represents the highest level of musical achievement I've yet to experience from any AC cord. What the Magic is capable of delivering in terms of bass depth and articulation, timbral accuracy, treble smoothness and detail, and soundstage and image recreation is unprecedented in my experience, making it the most "musical" AC cord I've ever heard. The fact that you can achieve something on the order of about half or slightly greater than that level of performance for about one fourth the cost speaks very highly of the achievements of the new Harmonic Technology Fantasy AC 10 and graphically illustrates the diminishing returns principal.

If you are commencing your journey with cables, I would still recommend the Pro-AC 11, as it is the most cost effective way to taste the sonic improvement that after market power cords have to offer. However, if you've climbed a few of these slopes previously and your budget simply doesn't permit the wonder of the Magic, I most enthusiastically recommend the Fantasy AC 10.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luminous Audio

Harmonic Technology Fantasy AC 10