Sunny Cable Supreme Digital cable, Speaker Wire and The Box
|Sunny, thank for that smile upon your face
Sunny, thank you for that gleam that flows with grace
You’re my spark of nature’s fire
You’re my sweet complete desire
Sunny one so true
I love you
My home serves as the proverbial meeting place on Friday nights for close friends, some of whom are audiophiles and others who just like to listen to good music. But they all have one thing in common: a passionate love of jazz. And they all serve as my panel of judges whenever there’s something new happening here. And there’ve been a lot of high-rent goings on over here lately. The purchase of an entire Behold Electronics system is something I hope never to regret. I’ve auditioned this equipment over the past three years in various locales and circumstances in Europe and now here stateside. Ditto the DALI Megaline loudspeakers, which are quite inexpensive considering what they’re capable of. (I plan to do full reviews of both in the near future.) Integrating these newcomers into my system has surprised me ways I would never have anticipated considering the quality of equipment already in-house. The system via the Virtual Dynamic cabling and the Boz Audio 216/200 digital amps proved intensely musical and the last thing I wanted was another cable to review! Not that I don’t enjoy writing about new and potentially exciting products, but I’ll admit to being selfish: the last thing I wanted to do was tamper with such excellence using some unknown and unproven product.
One never knows when serendipity knocks.
Our own Mike Wright wrote about the virtues of Sunny Cable’s 600 series and it wasn’t long after that Sunny Lo, chief designer, and his day to day manager Andre Au, decided to pay a visit to my Jersey City home where I finally got the chance to meet these two humble gentlemen. I say humble because they immediately knew what they were up against in this very intimidating industry where name seems to take precedence over performance. I had told them that I am beholden to nothing more than performance, (my system is largely made up of little-known products). It was with this in mind that Sunny Lo had recommended I try his 5000 Supreme series of cables. Of course, I staggered at the price and questioned the reasons for such financial extravagance. And Sunny Lo didn’t hesitate to enumerate the number of years that went into research, the testing and countless evaluations that took place before entering the market, and the enormous costs to build each cable using their patent pending “Time Accurate” technology.“
Time Accurate Technology is what makes Lo’s design entirely different from any other cable currently available. We all have heard of the capacitance, resistance, and inductance of cables and how these factors may affect the purity of the signal. Well, of these, inductance may be the most lethal depending on who you ask, especially with respect to time distortion, according to Sunny Lo. He states, “The one thing inductance does worse than capacitance or resistance is hamper time sensitive information: thus the bright and so-so dimensional sound we hear from one cable to the next.” Lo purports to have finally discovered the means of designing wire with the lowest possible inductance related to time distortion in audio reproduction: “Scientifically speaking the goal is to preserve time accuracy in respect to the variations in current and voltage says Lo.”
I was rather intrigued by all this talk of time related distortions caused by inductance. I’ve always heard about the horrors time distortion inflicts on our sensitive brain/hearing mechanism. But Lo’s theories made me wonder what other manufacturers do to correctly balance and/or compromise a signal’s integrity.
I am quite familiar with the ways gifted designers make their theoretical points on why their products work so well, often at the expense of another’s. Sunny Lo is no exception, but he never mentioned another manufacturer, designer or methodology. Simply put, Lo is more humble than he is arrogant. He spoke not just of his new product line, but of the science behind minimizing audible contaminants, like time smear, multiple-conductor pathway errors, and self-inductance, group-delay, damping and mechanical resonances.
After some lengthy discussions on the requirements of my all-digital system, the order was placed. I would soon be in a position to evaluate all these fancy theoretical claims.
Some weeks later I received the entire kit and caboodle: top-flight Sunny Supreme Series SP5000 XLR digital wire (four 1.65 meter lengths, to be exact), two pair of 8 foot SP5000 speaker cables (for bi-amping), seven 5 foot SP5000 Anaconda-ish AC cords, and, lastly, “The Box” – a unique application of the aforementioned Time Accurate Technology, housed in what looks like your everyday aluminum-cased AC line conditioner. The Box weighs in at a hefty 40 pounds and supports four IEC receptacles and can safely handle a total of 15 amps continuous current draw at 110v or 220v. Lo corrected me every time I referred to this as an AC conditioner. “This is not an AC line conditioner.” Hence, its name: The Box. The biggest advantage of The Box says Lo “is its unique ability to supply instantaneous current according to the workload required by the equipment plugged into ‘The Box.’ This equipment would work as if it has become more powerful.” (publisher’s note:Sunny Cable’s The Box will be referenced in this review as part of the Sunny system since its manufacturer describes it as an extension of the cable’s technology — not a dedicated AC-line enhancer).
Of particular interest is the SP5000 speaker wire and digital cable. The speaker wire’s ends use raw, 99.99 % pure silver though you can request silver spade lugs. In my opinion, after having the cables around for an extended period, flexible raw wire is not a bad idea. First of all, it looks fundamentally sounder, and thus more pure than all those screw-on, 5-way type binding posts that hardly, if ever, fit speaker terminal or amplifier taps correctly. Thin and flexible raw wire allows for very easy and quick installations, but some caution must be exercised due to their being easy to break. All in all, I would consider this a very handy system, especially if you’re behind your equipment rack and loudspeakers as much as I am. I would go as far as to say that these flexible wires are heaven sent, particularly after experiencing Virtual Dynamics Master and Revelation extremely stiff and intractable series of wires. Standard in every series of Sunny cable is an external ground wire that is said to assist in the unique shielding this cable addresses. Sunny Lo supplies both the metal clip designed to attach each cable’s ground wire should you purchase it without The Box (The Box comes standard with a ground wire attachment). Directionality is important as the ground wire is located at the output end of each wire. This may be a cinch when using balanced wire since it supports different connections on each end. Using RCA connectors as I did between the DALI crossover had me second guessing myself. Eventually I did get everything going in the right direction. Lo states that using his cables in reverse reduces soundstage depth and transparency.
The Sunny cables went into serious competition against my reference Virtual Dynamics Revelation digital cables, speaker wire and AC power cords. Despite the Supreme series’ stratospheric admission fee I didn’t flinch, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned after all these years it isprice sometimes has very little to do with performance. Consider, for example, how incredibly well the Revelation series sounded no matter what I put them up against.
I used to take pride in myself for being unbiased. But I’ve found that that really isn’t true, whether I care to admit it or not. Fact is, life’s experiences make it impossible not to be. Case in point: planar and ribbon drivers and digital amplification attract me like a moth to a light. Another bias is my lack of interest in unknown andsuper-expensive cables. Now, I have grown quite accustomed to the wonderful things the Revelation cables brought to my audiophile delectation. My appreciation for them was the equivalent of a love affair. When I first heard the Virtual Dynamic Cable I compared it to the fabulous Analysis Plus Gold, which is still among the best available. I was in shock over what this virtual new-comer (pun intended) did to my reference AP Gold at half the cost! My current review of the Revelation cables bears this out.Virtual Dynamic was a new company at the time and since has changed my opinion of what to expect from these out-of-nowhere types. Hence, my review of Sunny cables.
I was surprised, even somewhat shocked, at the high price of the Sunny Supreme ($30,000 per 10 foot of speaker cable) for I’d hate to have to humiliate those two humble gents. I thought to myself “Oh my, this better be good.” So after installing just one 5000 series Sunny Supreme digital link from my Reimyo 777 CD player (used solely as a transport) to the Esoteric G25U up sampler/external word clock, my comfy little world was thrown into a tailspin. I had swapped cables so many times before, and the Virtual Dynamics Revelation had always remained in place when the dust settled. However, this time I knew instantly, even from my position behind my equipment rack, that there was something sonically different about the Sunny Supreme. Heck, I hadn’tinstalled the speaker cables yet!
The first thing I noticed was the quality of the cello in thePie Jesu from “John Rutter’s Requiem” [RR57-CD] featuring the Turtle Creek Chorale and Women’s Chorus of Dallas. The quality of the ‘cello on this disc is superb by any measure, but listening with just a singlebalanced/XLR run of Sunny Supreme digital cable revealed characteristic overtones prominent when this instrument is heard live. Excitedly, I installed all the cables, one at a time; digital link by digital link, then speaker cables (two pair at $60,000 ― OUCH), AC power cords. And then lastly, I installed The Box. A stunning level of harmonic rightness of the violoncello became even more evident, such as I’d never heard before. Certain resonant qualities, harmonic overtones and decays that constitute the ring of a truth become immediately apparent. The ability of this cable to provide oodles of harmonic bloom in and around instruments is simply unsurpassed in my experience. I’m speaking of the type of harmonic bloom that occurs when the cable has ‘gotten out of the way,’ when the cable is eminently neutral, not adding its own colorations. I also got a strong sense of the noise floor dropping further into oblivion, bringing a greater sense of resolution and accurate timbre. The only thing missing, said Sunny Lo, “...is listening again after everything obtained a proper burn-in of 200-hours.”
In direct comparison to the Virtual Dynamics Revelation, the Sunny sounds simply more natural and organic. The Sunny produces more colorful hues around instruments, making the VD sound somewhat dry, less dimensional and forward in its presentation (something I would have never believed if someone else had accused these cables of possessing this type character). “Once to Every Heart” is the wonderful new CD from the raspy-voiced Mark Murphy. In terms of the accompanying musicians, this is the male equivalent of Shirley Horn’s highly lauded “Here’s to Love.” Need I say more? Some have gone so far as to accuse Murphy of sounding like an inebriated Kurt Elling on this dic, with all the heavy panting—through the nostrils and easily picked up on the microphone. Hearing all this was nothing short of breathtaking through the Sunny cable. What’s so convincingly obvious is the natural, organic feel these cables give to this recording, while simultaneously remaining translucent as any cable these ears have heard. When something offers this level of harmonic texture, and overtones with a decay that seems to go on forever, it becomes increasingly harder to analyze and decipher bass, midrange and high-frequency detailsseparately. They seem to fit into the sonic landscape in a way that is at once beautiful and very hard to isolate in the ordinary audiophile fashion. This cable allows me to enjoy music in a way I never imagined.
A brief qualification: when I switch cables in and out with which have no history (unlike Sunny and VD), I don’t really know what to expect, or, for that matter, what to listen for. For the most part I try to disregard crazy claims and marketing hype, often from the designer themselves. I attempt to discern for myself differences in bass structure, texture and dynamic shading. Similarly, I listen for any changes in the upper frequencies; the quality of the shimmer when ride cymbals are struck is a good example. Midrange changes are somewhat easier to hear since this is, in my opinion, where the meat and potatoes of the music reside. Moreover, gauging the differences while burn-in changes the acoustic horizon from light to dark and back again makes this already difficult task even more daunting—particularly when attempted all by one’s lonesome. That’s when I call in the Friday Night Cavalry.
Everyone of my Friday night gang preferred the system in its current iteration hands down over any previous setup, and the Sunny cables had plenty to do with that preference. And don’t think these folks are easy-to-convince types either. In fact, I know they’re not. Some of the most critical opposition exists right here among my personal friends, not from the industry know-it-alls. One thing is certain with all these observations: the Sunny cable is easily the finest cable to have graced my system. The admission cost of the Supreme series is probably much more than most would be willing to pay, even if they could. The price of an entire system that requires multiple AC cords, double runs of speaker cables and digital links through and through is staggering (I added up the totals of my cables including The Box and it came up to about $150K). Dare I say: the incredible reproduction of sound this truly Supreme cable conveys almost makes it worth it. Could I live without the Sunny Supreme? Yeah, with deep regrets. The Sunny Supreme has taken my system to that magical place that is rare indeed.
I asked Key Kim upon his first visit and who has also taken the all digital approach, sporting a similar rig: Ascendo loudspeakers and Reimyo CD player, what differences, if any, were heard, withoutgoing too deep into details about the changes. He stated, “Clements system, utilizing the Supreme Series cables, produced a simply magical sound. The music sounded more natural and organic than anything I had heard on Perry’s previous reference using the VD Rev cables. The Supreme Series cables took his system to an entirely new level of musicality.
Of course, with CP consent, I couldn’t wait to try this cable in my own system. I just had to find out for myself if the Supreme Series would have the same dramatic effect. I was thrilled to have CP loan me a single one meter Sunny Supreme digital (balanced/XLR) after this incredible listening session at his place.
No doubt about it, adding just a single run digital cable from the Supreme Series to my system made it sound more natural – in an utterly emotional way. I simply could not believe what I was hearing from a single wire. It was hard for me to comprehend what was happening considering my reference cables are also Virtual Dynamic’s Revelation Series. It didn’t matter. Neither did the type of music I chose. The Sunny cable produced a seductive sound which was sweet while extremely truthful to natural tonality. The sound was not only organic and musical but sounded also linear from top to bottom. Strings were especially captivating. For instance, the Ensemble 415’s recording of Tartini’s Cello Concerto in D major (Harmonia Mundi 901548) was breathtaking. It was extremely well-textured, and yet rich but only when necessary. This cable just made the music sound moreconvincing and real. It was closer to a live performance rather than listening through the medium of electronics.
I truly enjoyed the Sunny Supreme Cable in Clement’s system and, yes, it did have a similarly remarkable effect in my own system even with just one digital cable. I cannot afford this exorbitantly priced product and as a result will miss its sonic beauty. The Supreme Series cable has really earned its ‘Supreme‘stature in my system.”
Sunny Cable Technology specifications:
Sunny Supreme Speaker Cable: $30,000.00 per 10 foot pair
Sunny Supreme Digital XLR Cable:$5000.00 per meter
Sunny Supreme Analogue Interconnects RCA: $5000.00 per meter
Sunny Supreme AC Cords: $6750.00 per 1.35 meter
Sunny Supreme The Box: $10,000.00 – Four IEC connectors
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