THE ABSOLUTE BUYER'S GUIDE
Crystal Cable is featured in The Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide 2019! MINISSIMO, ABSOLUTE DREAM and CRYSTAL CABLE NEXT are all noted.
Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo and Minissimo Diamond
$10,000, $13,999 with stands; and $19,999, $21,499 with stands
Replace whatever loudspeakers you’ve been using with a pair of two-way Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimos and people will notice—before they’ve even heard a note of music. The whimsical apostrophe shape, the vibrant color, the assured smallness of the things stops folks in their tracks and makes them smile. A fair percentage will need to touch the smooth, curved surfaces. Thanks to their unobtrusive elegance, Minissimos will work, visually, in a traditionally decorated room; in a modern space dominated by glass and metal, the speaker will register as a bold contemporary design element. Sonically, the Minissimos are superb everywhere but the low bass, which is to be expected in a two-way. (Extra lower-bass support—provided by Crystal Cable’s formidable, powered $11,999 Subissimo subwoofer—will enhance and extend dynamic range, resulting in a wholly pleasing balance of structure and substance.) When it comes to imaging, the Minissimos disappear, as do most well-made and properly positioned small loudspeakers, creating a broad, deep, and continuous soundstage. Focus is highly specific, reflecting the recording engineer’s decisions regarding perspective. A superior and stylish little transducer, the Minissimo is also available in a sonically superior Diamond Edition, with diamond tweeters and Crystal Cable Absolute Dream internal wiring. (256, 273)
Crystal Cable Next
$800 (available exclusively through Astell&Kern)
Headphone cables, it turns out, make a huge difference. And perched at the pinnacle of the burgeoning field is Crystal Cable’s Next, a shimmering, thin strand that oozes quality. The cable is thin, light, and flexible, yet strong enough to stand up to the tugging and twisting inherent in headphone use. That carefree weight and twistability effectively renders the cable “not there,” which is exactly how wires attached near your head should be. After its 100-hour break in, the Next’s sound is ultra-clear, allowing a surfeit of timbral, rhythmic, and spatial information to flow through. Decays seem to go on forever. Bass notes are as taut as a stretched rubber band. For those with a state-of-the-art personal listening setup, the Crystal Cable Next is a state-of-the-art complement. (263)
Crystal Cable Absolute Dream
$15,000/1m pr.; speaker $32,000/2m pr.
Since the arrival of Synergistic Research’s marvelous Galileo two years ago, JV hasn’t dipped more than a toe into the cable and interconnect market—so satisfied was (and is) he with Ted Denney’s truly ingenious masterpieces. But past history and curiosity got the better of him. As it turned out, all this was a very good thing, as Absolute Dream—which features monocrystal silver material not only for the conductor, but also tiny gold-plated monocrystal silver and silver-plated monocrystal copper wires for the shielding—is excellent: dead-quiet even on analog sources, extremely detailed, rich in tone color, and very lifelike on dynamics top to bottom (both low-level and high), with superb staging and imaging and unusually high transparency to sources. Like Galileo, Absolute Dream never “sits” on musical energy the way certain cables have; both are free-flowing and highly responsive to dynamic/harmonic nuances. One of the highest-fidelity cables and interconnects JV has auditioned and, along with Galileo UEF, his current reference. (234)
Crystal Cable Absolute Dream
Power cables are among the hardest products to review in that they take time to “break in” and, sonically, do not always progress in a straight line. Absolute Dream—the power cords intended to accompany Absolute Dream cable and interconnect (and constructed, like the signal wires, of monocrystal silver)—is such a one. At first, it sounded very close to JV’s reference Shunyata/Synergistic Research cords; then it developed a power-range/ bottom-end leanness that perplexed JV (as the Absolute Dream cables and interconnects never sounded lean or stinting); and then, after a couple of weeks of use, it rounded back into form, filling out in the lower mids and upper bass and developing considerable wallop in the mid-to-low bass. At this point, the Absolute Dreams are true contenders—delicate, detailed, powerful, spacious, and transparent. (234)