Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

Review. Interconnect and speaker cable  Tchernov Cable Ultimate. The pinnacle of cable creation

 Having started its activity at the dawn of the new millennium, Tchernov Audio was able to achieve a very high level of quality in the production of Hi-Fi and High-end Tchernov Cable cables, and today Russian brand conductors are actively used to complete the audio systems of the world's leading manufacturers.

The production of Tchernov Cable interconnects and acoustic cables is carried out using unique materials and technologies (among which a significant part is the company's own developments) with strict observance of carefully verified physical parameters. This allows the manufacturer to comply with its main principle, which is that the cable should provide the most realistic and accurate sound transmission without any distortion and interference. This principle is practically taken to the absolute level in the new flagship line of Tchernov Cable Ultimate cables, which was recently introduced to the market and which is the subject of our review.

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

First impression

The Tchernov Cable Ultimate line is designed for the most demanding audiophiles who are willing to pay a lot of money for impeccable sound quality.

High quality products must be packaged appropriately. Therefore, the first thing that caught my eye when looking at the three Ultimate cables provided for testing by the manufacturer (IC RCA (1.65 m), IC XLR (2.65 m) and SC Sp / Bn (2.65 m)) was a quality package without frills. Each cable is supplied in a good quality cardboard box with polyurethane foam inserts. To protect the connectors during transportation, special polyurethane nets are additionally provided.


Also read: Tchernov Cable Special Coaxial IC Review

Tchernov Cable Reference AC Power Review

As for the Ultimate cables themselves, like an expensive car, their high level is visible literally at first sight. They are very solid in appearance, quite thick and heavy. However, the cables remain highly flexible, which is largely due to the well-chosen braided sheath material. The contacts of the connectors, which, according to the manufacturer, are made of beryllium copper, also look very high quality, and hard rhodium plating provides them with high durability with repeated on / off.

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

It should be noted that the design of these cables uses a number of advanced technological solutions, some of which are patented developments of Tchernov Cable. These include stranded wires made of oxygen-free copper BRC +, and multi-layer insulation made of various materials, and reliable shielding. The speaker cable has Banana connectors, complemented by a "drain conductor" that provides electrical contact in the shield along the entire length of the cable. To fully realize the wide possibilities of the cable, the manufacturer recommends connecting this output to the negative input of the speaker system.

The sound of Tchernov Cable Ultimate cables as part of the reference path

To conduct the test, we used a traditional reference system in the following composition:

computer Toshiba Qosmio G50-12L (8 GB RAM/2×1 GB HDD);

NAS Round Audio (4 TB);

M2Tech HiFace Evo converter;

ASUS Xonar Essence III DAC;

Bricasti Design M1 DAC;

monoblocks PA Round Audio based on the IcePower 125ASX2 module used in balanced switching;

acoustics Round Audio FR12;

Round Audio cables - interconnect and acoustic.

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

The first round of testing compared the sound of an Ultimate IC XLR (2.65 m) interconnect with a reference system interconnect from Round Audio. The AudioDoctor FSQ 2006 method was used to evaluate the sound. Using the Ultimate IC XLR cable (2.65 m), a connection was made between the output of one of the DACs of the reference system and the PA input (Round Audio monoblocks). A computer connected to the DAC via a USB interface was used as a source. The phonograms were played by the Korg Audiogate 3.02 software player, from the corresponding CD. 

The following tracks were used during testing:

No. 15 - setting the volume level to 86 dBA at the listening point;

No. 9 - determining the width of the created stereo base;

No. 10 - assessment of the accuracy of the transfer of microdynamics of sound and depth of the scene;

No. 11 - assessment of focusing and localization of sound, attack;

No. 12 - assessment of the quality of tonal balance and transmission of the spatial characteristics of the scene;

No. 13 - assessment of sound quality at low volume levels, assessment of macro- and microdynamics.

It should be noted that the Round Audio interconnect cable used for comparison is relatively affordable but produces quite a decent sound. However, its replacement with the tested Ultimate IC XLR (2.65 m) was a real breakthrough. In terms of sound quality, the flagship from Tchernov Cable simply left no chance for our reference Round Audio. A significant improvement was found in almost all parameters, including the reliability of timbre coloration, transparency, macro- and microdynamics, and spatial characteristics. The sound of Ultimate IC XLR (2.65 m) can be called extremely accurate and realistic.

 The cable gives perfect tonal balance, deep and extremely informative subjectively perceived bass. When using this cable, a continuous and spacious stereo base is created, which is completely independent of the speakers. The very high resolution in terms of the depth of the stage is impressive - the distance between the drum and the double bass is perceived extremely realistically. The space and volume of the scene is also perfectly conveyed. The sound of the cable impresses with excellent macro and micro dynamics, excellent attack transmission. The sound is superbly focused and localized in the horizontal plane. As for localization in the vertical plane, it is transmitted at least very well, with the corresponding real height of the musical instruments. At low volume levels, the sound is very good - the timbres of musical instruments are not only reliable but fully correspond to the real sound. The sound of the cable impresses with excellent macro and micro dynamics, excellent attack transmission. Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

The key characteristic of the Ultimate IC XLR (2.65 m) interconnect cable is its apparent absence from the path. For the test, the path of the reference system was selected in such a way that all its components were as neutral as possible. The tested cable fully meets this requirement. It does not add any characteristic features to the sound, but makes the path even more transparent, which brings its sound as close as possible to live sound.

A rather interesting feature characteristic of this cable was revealed by replacing the Bricasti Design M1 DAC with ASUS Xonar Essence III. The level of sound quality of both DACs paradoxically converges while maintaining all the features characteristic of each of them. Obviously, the extreme neutrality of the cable allows you to almost completely smooth out the existing limitations of the circuitry of the output stages.

The Ultimate IC RCA cable (1.65 m) turned out to be just as great, connecting between the unbalanced outputs of the reference DACs and the analogous PA inputs. He demonstrated all the characteristic advantages of Tchernov Cable. However, the spatial characteristics have slightly decreased. The scene narrowed a little and became less deep, the overtones became a little shorter, the localization a little worse. At the same time, one cannot say that the sound has become bad - it is magnificent. In fact, we probably would not have noticed any shortcomings if it were not for the previous listening to the Ultimate IC XLR (2.65 m), against which the sound of the Ultimate IC RCA (1.65 m) faded slightly. And in this case, we are absolutely sure that these shortcomings are provoked not by the qualitative characteristics of the cable, but by the unbalanced path of the system.

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

We'd gotten used to the wonders Ultimate did over the previous two listening sessions, so we were prepared for the difference that the Ultimate SC Sp/Bn (2.65 m) speaker cable showed after replacing the Round Audio cable.

In general, no matter how good the price / quality cable is, an uncompromising approach always gives the best result. If you do not interfere with a talented engineer and do not constrain him with a budget, driving marketers away for a while, then you can create real masterpieces, as Tchernov Cable did.

When connecting Ultimate IC XLR (2.65 m) between DAC and PA, and Ultimate SC Sp/Bn (2.65 m) between PA monoblocks and Round Audio FR12 loudspeakers, the reference system completely dissolves in the sound generated by it. Here there is practically no point in discussing the scene, localization, depth, tonal balance and any other parameters - everything is extremely realistic, as in life. A certain dissonance of perception is created. If you believe your eyes, then there is an acoustic system in front of you, but your hearing stubbornly insists that there is a drummer there, and a little to the left, in the back of the stage, a double bass.

In further testing, the disks that have already become traditional were used:

"Glenn Gould, Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor" - Sony/BMG 88697148062, 2007.

"L. Roizman, I.S. Bach: Works for Organ" MEL CD 10 01 1230, 2013.

"Katie Melua Collection" - Dramatico DRAMCD0046, 2008

"John Fogerty, He Wrote A Song For Everyone" - Sony Music 88765487152, 2013.

The main impression when listening to real musical material, perhaps, was the unprecedented realism of presentation with an almost absolute effect of presence. The noises and hum typical of old recordings, which are present on the first two discs, are audible. But they are at the limit of perception and are practically not connected with the unfolding musical action. These noises are perceived in much the same way as the extraneous sounds of the audience in the hall when we are at a real concert. As for the modern recordings on the third and fourth discs, they sound detailed and bright, in full accordance with expectations. The genre specificity and characteristic features of the performance are perfectly conveyed. Moreover, such detail and detail does not in the least interfere with perception, but, on the contrary,

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

During the tests, the capabilities of the cable were also evaluated when playing high-resolution formats. This was also helped by the remasterings of the following discs, traditionally used by us in the DSD and HiRes tests:

"Santana, Abraxas" - Sony Music, 1970. 2013 remastered.

"Dave Brubeck, Time Out" - Columbia, 1959. 2010 remastered.

"Queen, A Night At The Opera" - Parlophone Records, 1975. 2010 remastered.

"Glenn Gould, JS Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988" - Sony Classical, 1982. 1999 rematered, SS 37779.

«Budapest Festival Orchestra under Ivan Fisher, Rachmaninov: Symphony no.2 in E minor, Op.27; Vocalise no.14, Op.34" - Channel Classics, CCS SA 21604. Recorded 2004.

"Cuarteto Casals, Joseph Haydn: Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze" - Harmonia Mundi, HMC 902162. Recorded 2014.

The advantages of high-resolution formats over conventional CDs were clearly demonstrated in terms of the reliability of timbre coloration, the smallest details of sound extraction, the transfer of air and stage space, macrodynamics and microdynamics. At the same time, an interesting feature was revealed, similar to the previous experience with the replacement of the DAC. The inclusion of Tchernov Cable in the system gives the CD a level of sound quality comparable to that of high formats. In this case, when listening, you pay more attention not to the format, but to the quality of the recording or mastering itself.

Tchernov Cable Ultimate review

Conclusions

Tchernov Cable Ultimate cables are a pleasure not available to every lover of good sound. However, the key here is the word "pleasure". If you can afford these cables, by all means let them. Yes, it is not cheap, but you will pay not for the mythical blood of a unicorn shed on the night of the full moon, but for the quality of the materials used and the perfection of technical solutions.

If now the price of Ultimate is too high for you, be sure to try other, more affordable products in the company's model range in your system.

PS After this test, the internal wiring of all Round Audio speaker models is equipped with Tchernov Cable conductors

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