MIT Oracle MA-X Digital AES/EBU
|MIT Oracle MA-X Digital AES/EBU
|To See 3-D
For more years than I want to admit, I have experienced the joys and the subsequent disappointments of trying to find the ultimate cable. If you’re anything like me (in this seemingly endless search for audio-nirvana), then you are probably very familiar with the Audio Cable Merry-Go-Round.
Fortunately, when our esteemed publisher Clement Perry pointed me toward the Bybee Super Effect Speaker cables, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, my search for speaker-cables had come to a screeching halt. I’ve not heard a cable possess more dynamics, resolving power and a better color palette than the Bybees. Everything that CP wrote about regarding the Super Effect Speaker Bullets can be said about the Bybee speaker cables too. So, now that I have my speaker cable situation finally solved, I still am in a quandary for a reference digital cable since the manufacturing of a Bybee digital cable hasn’t been in full swing as of this writing. To date, I’ve had the opportunity to hear most of the better designs in digital cables on the market like Nordost, Stealth, Acoustic Revive, Acoustic Zen and Virtual Dynamics just to name a few. All, in one way or another, possessed something sonically unique. But I had a nagging suspicion that there was something better on the sonic horizon.
My quest of auditioning digital cables, continued until January 2010, when I placed a call to one of Music Interface Technologies’ (MIT) top dealers Scott Warren. Warren and I had numerous discussions on the differences between cables. Of course, this quickly led to his offer for me to audition the MIT Oracle MA-X digital cable. One thing I will say about Scott Warren is, he’s extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the products he sells. When I found the $3995.00 sticker price on the MIT Oracle MA-X digital AES/EBU digital cable I almost fainted. Within a week, the cable arrived via FedEx and I was ready to hear if this was the cable I had been searching long and hard for.
It appears, MIT has been around nearly as long as high-end audio. When getting involved in the hobby many years ago, every magazine reviewer it appeared to my eyes was using MIT cable in one fashion or another. Years later, I too got a pair of MITtransmission series cables replete with their standard network box (photo above). Personally, I felt they were excellent sounding particularly in the bass and in their ability to lower the noise floor. Unfortunately, as my system matured they too would soon become a thing of the past. I found it refreshing to have the chance to hear MIT’s best – once again.
The MIT series MA-X the top-of-line cable and it stands for “Maximum Articulation” which takes me back to their 2C3D (2-Channel, 3-Dimensional) moniker. Awaiting the arrival of the MA-X cable, I did a little research into MIT’s patent pending low pass filter network concept or Multipole Network Technology. The MA-X digital cable under review employs this rather unique looking network box that includes a 5-step Articulation Selector switch. The owners manual reads “The Oracle MA Digital articulation selector allows the listener to “fine tune” this important interface for optimal balance between detail, imaging and musicality. All with the simple rotation of the MIT patent-pending Articulation Selector that is integrated into every Oracle MA-X Digital interface.” I set the Articulation Selector at the 12 o’clock position (which, right out of the gate, I found gave the optimum performance).
In terms of style and substance as well as gaining audiophile brownie-points, Herbie Hancock’s “River” CD is of reference caliber. This CD has been one of my favorites since its release in 2007 – especially when engaging in A/B comparisons. River is the music of Joni Mitchell Herbie Hancock-style and it features a host of popular singers as well as musicians. Track one features Nora Jones’ rendition of the song Court and Spark. Immediately, Nora’s silky smooth vocals skills, lay out a fabulous sonic foundation that translates perfectly throughout the song. Here, Nora moves closer and away to the microphone, but via the Oracle MA-X, her physical presence was now more distinguishable and defined. Vocal inflections were also more realistic and authentic making this already great disc even more captivating.
Trumpet and saxophone are among my two favorite instruments but when playing in unison; is the same melody and chord, I can’t think of a more beautiful sound. Terence Blanchard’s newest CD entitled “Choices” serves as a perfect example of just that. With stable band-mates Derrick Hodge (saxophone), Fabian Almazan (piano), and Kendrick Scott (drums) and guest artists Lionel Loueke (guitar) and Walter Smith (saxophone) Terence’s maturation period from a jazz band leader to the socially conscience-spoken “Choices” (with opening and closing monologues by noted educator Dr. Cornel West), shows why he’s one of today’s most exciting musicians. The music took on an extra level of realism I never thought could occur via the Oracle MA-X digital cable. The improved sense of clarity, improved tonality and image depth the Oracle MA-X allowed from this already excellently recorded disc was exceptional. The improved depth and soundstage width along with up-clicks in authenticity proved the best I’ve experienced from a digital cable. Bass, I should mention also took on more weight, but at the same time sounded faster, more accurate and articulate giving way to greater overall clarity in the lower frequency regions.
In terms of sheer sonic beauty, the MA-X digital has accomplished what no other digital cable to this point has: it’s lifted the overall performance of my system significantly. The MA-X has redefined what synergy is by way of its masterful signature (or lack thereof). The more the MA-X warmed up over time, the more wholesome and musical the overall presentation become. My first response to Scott Warren was, if this digital cable gets any better I don’t know if I can handle it. These words were not spoken to impress, but to describe the emotions I had experienced over and again. To put it all in a nutshell, the Oracle MA-X allowed my components; Nova Physics Memory Player; Behold BPA-768 amplifier and APU-768 preamp; Sunny Loudspeakers and Bybee products to become a single, cohesive unit. Reminding me of the old saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
To wrap things up, audio is a subjective sport. Trust your ears only. Use reviews like I do: as an opportunity to gauge what someone else may think of a product you may be interested in. Nothing more. I find the MIT Oracle MA-X digital cable as the single best digital cable I’ve heard with no exceptions. At a ridiculously high asking price of $4k, it better well ought to be. But as many of us have painfully realized: price often has very little to do with performance…with one glaring exception being the MIT Oracle MA-X digital cable. Highly recommended.
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