Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway MKIII Interconnects
|Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway MKIII Interconnects
2 June 2003
Mixture of OCC Single Crystal Silver (99.9997% purity) and OCC Single Crystal Copper (99.9997% purity).
Price: $479 for 1 meter (RCA or XLR)
13200 Kirkham Way
Poway, CA 92064
I first learned about upgrading interconnects when I purchased my first Marantz receiver and CD player several years ago. It made sense that I needed something better than what was supplied in the box to connect my components, so I purchased my first pair of interconnects to upgrade my system. At that point I really didn’t understand the differences that the cables would make, and I was skeptical about many of the claims made by manufacturers. As my system progressed from high-end receivers into separates, I had the opportunity to hear different electronic components such as speakers, CD players, DACs, pre-amps, processors, and cables. I quickly learned that cables whether speaker, interconnect, or power, are a critical component of any system and really help tie the other components together both physically and audibly. It only takes swapping a couple of different cables through your system to learn that cables can constrain components or help them open up — and they can be used to do all the tweaking that falls in between.
I learned of the new Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway MKIII interconnects while I was speaking to the company’s founder, Jim Wang, about their new Harmony Rainbow component video cable. I am not a stranger to the Harmonic Technologies product line and their technology. I currently use the Pro-AC11 power cord, Cyber-Link digital interconnect, and I have used the Pro-Silway MKII interconnects in the past. But as part of our discussion around new products from the company, Jim informed me about the (recently released) Pro-Silway MKIII interconnect and asked if I would like to give it a listen. At first I was hesitant to make any cabling changes, I was very satisfied with my current interconnects and I felt everything sounded fine. Nevertheless, I ultimately couldn’t resist trying something new and asked for a pair to evaluate.
The new Pro-Silway MKIII is built upon the same cable geometry as the MKII with a couple of changes. The most significant change is that the MKIII uses more Single Crystal Copper (OCC) and silver than the previous models; approximately 20% more silver and 10% more copper to be more precise. Like the other Pro-Silway models, the conductors are made using the patented Single Crystal Process, which reduces the amount of impurities during the copper or silver extraction process and reduces the crystallization effect. Another change is that the MKIII cable incorporates slight modifications in the material construction of the Twin-Shield design to further isolate the silver and copper conductors. The updated design claims responsibility for the improved three-dimensional imaging. The Single-ended versions of this cable are now terminated with the new Furutech Single-Ended Copper RCA connectors. This is the first connector to be developed utilizing Single Crystal Copper. Like the conductor material, the Single Crystal used is a very pure grade copper. Nevertheless, the connector tightens like other Harmonic Technology connectors, but I found the Furutech slightly easier to turn because of its octagon shape and the slightly smaller size easier to work with in tight locations.
While I waited for the Pro-Silway interconnects to arrive, I was already in the process of evaluating a Pass Labs X150 amplifier andTalon Raven-C loudspeakers. The amplifier and speaker combination sounded excellent together and I was enjoying every minute listening to them. So when the Pro-Silway MKIII arrived, once again I found myself hesitant to make any system changes. Thinking back, I hate to admit that when I disconnected the already installed interconnects (which cost twice as much), I kept them in close range, as I was fearful of the change. But my skepticism was unwarranted, and I realized that I was wrong to be so hesitant and found myself very surprised. Using my CD source, there are two pairs of interconnects in my system’s signal chain. The most audible change occurred when I replaced the interconnects between my Parasound avc2500 pre-amp/processor and Pass Labs X150 amplifier. One song was all that it took to realize that this interconnect lived up to many of the claims made by Harmonic Technology. Right out of the packaging there was a significant sonic improvement in soundstage and imaging. A couple of days later I replaced the interconnects between the Electrocompaniet ECD-1 DAC and the avc2500. The second pair of Pro-Silway interconnects in the chain did not have the same impact as when I installed the first pair, which I had expected considering the very notable improvement already recognized. The second pair provided a slight improvement in low-level detail on smooth soft passages. There was a greater amount of “air” in the music, and vocals really seemed to extend into the room, but it was the first pair between the avc2500 and the Pass amp that really widened the soundstage and improved clarity and detail. If I had to summarize the Pro-Silway MKIII in two words, it would be, without hesitation, “three-dimensional.” Without even letting the cable break in, it was obvious that with the MKIII, Harmonic Technology has taken the Pro-Silway to the next level of openness and low-level detail, and compared to other products (including their own) they have managed to do this at a “moderate” price.
Once again, I believe the most noticeable quality of the Pro-Silway MIII is its ability to create a truly three-dimensional soundstage. Listening to Come Away With Me [Blue Note BN7243] by Norah Jones, I could easily recognize a greater sense of space and positioning between the instruments and vocals. Detail was excellent as subtle details were revealed and the midrange was natural and smooth. The deep low frequency information for the acoustic bass and drums was delivered to the Raven loudspeakers for a tight reproduction that never became muddled or overpowering compared to other frequencies. Norah’s voice and piano resonated with very lifelike qualities. To further experiment with these cables, I listened to The Trinity Session [BMG 8568-2] by the Cowboy Junkies. This CD was recorded live in a cathedral and with the right equipment you can really hear the natural acoustics of the space. The Pro-Silway not only provided wonderful low-level ambient detail, but they provided the ability to feel the open space of the recording environment. I also found that the MKIII is more forgiving than the original version of the Pro-Silway and even more so compared to the MKII. The mixture of OCC copper and silver provides a balanced sound that is clean and transparent, neither warm nor bright.
I can say from my listening impressions that the Pro-Silway MKIII is an extremely detailed and three-dimensional interconnect that provides a very open and truthful sound. I have compared this $479 cable to other interconnects costing twice the price and I prefer it to the others hands down. Music is presented with a lifelike presence and a clear sense of space both front-to-back and side-to-side. Instruments live in their own well-defined space that is easily identifiable within the greater soundstage. Treble is smooth and crisp, and not bright or grainy. Midrange reproduction is extremely natural and tonally balanced. Low frequency response is transmitted without coloration or exaggeration.
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