Hemingway Audio Z-Core Beta series cables
It was an eye opening experience when I had to personally discover what the Hemingway Audio cables sounded like. Reviews here at ST date back over 10 years ago so while our a few writers here held the Hemingway brand in high regard, I just enjoyed my system as it was. When the opportunity came for me to write on the Hemingway Ultimate Signature series cables, well, that proved a revelatory experience for me as well. They’re inherently silent background coupled with a holographic images paints a black and velvety musical portrait unlike anything I’ve ever heard date. The Hemingway cables has the innate ability to deliver both exceptional speed and resolution was nothing short of astounding. I immediately adopted them as my new reference cables and they remain so today.
This spring I received a call from the affable Mr. Doyung Jung (photo right), chief designer of Hemingway Audio, and he informed me that he has created a new series he has named Hemingway Z-Core cables. Mr. Jung is a perfectionist and he’s constantly trying to improve his already exceptional cables says he’s been working on the Z-Core series cables for sometime. FYI, did you know that besides Mr. Jung being an extreme audiophile, that incredibly, he’s very fortunate to own almost a half-dozen uber-priced SOTA (state of the art) systems! That’s right dear readers; state of the art system using his own cables. As a result, he has an upper hand when it comes to that added measure of R&D; he has the luxury of designing his cables while utilizing his various reference level components to hear how they interact and sound.
Mr. Jung told me that as soon as the Z-Core Series cables become available he would send them to me for a review. I was counting the days and finally in the spring, a package arrived and I anxiously unboxed them but noticed there was only one set of Hemingway Beta speaker cables and one pair of Hemingway Beta XLR interconnects. Actually, I was hoping for a full loom of Z-cores for my reference system. When the cables became available in the Korean market this Spring, they were received very well. Hemingway Audio had to fill a lot of orders in the Korean market first, and then could provide them for the rest of the world. Well, immediately, I installed the new cables in my system. As I remembered from my first encounter with the Hemingway cables, they didn’t need too much burn-in time. Right off the bat I was impressed by the Hemingway Beta’s. As is my ritual, after they burned-in for about two weeks, I started to listen more intensely. I was again very impressed with the Hemingway Beta’s, again, right off the bat.
The Z-Core Series comes in 4 different models; Alpha, Beta, Sigma, and Omega, and range in price from $6,800 to $45,000 for speaker cables and $2,600 to $27,000 for balanced XLR Interconnects. The Beta speaker cable retail for $14,000 while the XLR retail for $6,800 a meter. They are exquisitely crafted and use all their custom design connectors. As I mentioned in my last review, all their designs utilize Hemingway’s patented FMCF (Frequency Modulation Cavity Fundamentals) Technology. (For detailed technical information please refer to their website). The Z-Core Series revolutionary technique implements a unique “Z” shape in the winding of the conductors with a double-ground at the center of the cable.The Z-Core accomplishes the transmission of pure, natural sound with no smearing and has perfected the lossless delivery of musical sensibility. I reviewed the Ultimate S cables last year and, I admired them so much that they stand as my new reference. I don’t know how Mr. Jung does it but his incredible sounding Hemingway Beta’s take my system up another level.
As much as I like my Ultimate Signature cables, when I inserted the Beta cables in my reference system, virtually everything was elevated. The music, no matter the source or genre, flowed effortlessly. It’s more vivid with richer tonal shadings and harmonic truthfulness. The midrange was open, revealing, and colorful while the treble was appeared even further extended and airy but with more purity and sweetness. Bass has greater articulation, power and extension. There’s always room for improvement and designers like Mr. Jung never fail to take me to audio Nirvana.
Listening to one of my favorites, Bill Evans Trio’s “Sunday at the Village Vanguard” (JVCXR-0051-2), was mesmerizing. The Hemingway Beta’s produced a rich harmonic palette close to what I’ve heard in live performances. This 1961 live recording sounded even more alive with the Hemingway Beta’s. The noise floor was exceptionally silent. The Hemingway Beta’s rendered music exceptionally transparently with superb detail and resolution, creating individual instruments with unusual immediacy. The harmonic structures of the instruments were beautifully resolved and very natural. Bill Evans;’ piano was simply marvelous; it was articulate with solidity and weight. Scott LaFaro’s double bass had an extra bit of warmth and a woody body sound that was full, lifelike, and very natural. Paul Motians’ magical shimmering cymbal work was delicate with rich harmonics. The attack, sustain, and decay of all the instruments was reproduced gracefully with power and engaging timbres such as you might hear live.The stage was both wide and deep, a truly holographic three-dimensional soundstage, which created a touch more space between the instruments, giving an illusion of more dimensionality and vividness than I was used to. I heard more air, with an added warmth to the instrumentation and even more musicality!
I was really curious to hear how the Hemingway Beta’s would reproduce classical music. I put on Concertos and Chamber music and both sounded fantastic. I listened to a beautiful recording of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Orchestra (EMI CDC 7 47427 2), with maestro Kurt Masur conducting the Gewandhaus Orchster Leipzig and the virtuosos, Christian Zacharias, Ulf Hoelscher, and Heinrich Schiff. The Triple Concerto and Orchestra were brilliant. Most importantly, the additional transparency and detail I heard with the Hemingway Beta’s didn’t come as a result of unnaturalness or at the expense of the tonal richness and harmonic complexity of the instruments. The resolution of layers of depth, along with the sense of bloom around the instrumental images, was unprecedented.Listening to Pablo De Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasie op. 25 on vinyl (DG 437 544-1) was simply thrilling. The sonics were pure and coherent, and yielded extremely natural timbres. The virtuoso, Anne-Sophie Mutter’s performance was breathtaking; it was delicate; it was highly resolved and conveyed music with liveness and speed, but no hardness or compression.
Hemingway Z-Core Beta cables are here to stay. I’ve nominated them as my Most Wanted Component for 2019! They’re that good and I’m truly amazed by their grasp in conveying the music. What else can I say? I just need more of the Hemingway Beta’s for my system. Don’t get me wrong; the Hemingway Creation Ultimate S cables are exceptional, but the Hemingway Beta’s take up the music a notch or two, at least in my system. The Hemingway Beta’s produced sound that’s transparent, airy, dynamic with authority but more importantly possess the rare commodity of sounding utterly musical. Hats off to Mr. Jung and his team for creating a new benchmark against which all others will be measured.
Hemingway Audio Z-Core Beta cables
Price: $14,000 per 3m speaker cables
$7,800 per 1.5m Interconnect (XLR)
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