Home / Reviews / KLEI Absolute®Harmony Phono/RCA plugs (w/ Turntable) by Steve Reeve (Fine Art)
KLEI Absolute®Harmony Phono/RCA plugs (w/ Turntable) by Steve Reeve (Fine Art)

KLEI Absolute®Harmony Phono/RCA plugs (w/ Turntable) by Steve Reeve (Fine Art)

On completing my review of the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs attached to my DIY interconnect cables, I figured I’d move a little quicker this time and immediately install one pair from those same interconnects onto my one piece silver litz tone-arm cable that connects directly to my Simaudio MOON LP5.3 RS phono stage. By taking this approach I figured burn-in time should be minimized.

To complete the link to the amplifier I was also using another product from KLEInnovations, the KLEI gZero10 ICs, which is their TOTL interconnect that also utilizes the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs and a stellar performer. So my expectations were running pretty high to say the least.

Immediately, there was a slight improvement in details and extended bass, but there were no real “impressive moments” in their performance.

After around 15 hours of actual playing I started to think that perhaps the incremental improvements were about as good as it was going to get. Then things started to get a little strange, in that the albums that had sounded excellent with the KLEI Pure®Harmony RCA Plugs seemed to have lost their edge and their spirited performance was now quite lack lustre by comparison.

  • Maybe more burn-in time was required?
  • or, maybe this was just an extended seating and bedding time issue, which occurs every time you connect a plug to a component, or re-seat an installed plug.

Anyhow, they say “patience” is a virtue, so I kept going through my albums in the hope that this period of “the doldrums” would soon come to an end.

So what happened?

On completion of approximately 25 hours of play-time, the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs finally “broke out” – however, their performance did not “explode into being”, but over the course of about an hour or so, you could hear the improvements in various attributes begin to “phase in”.

  • The most notable attribute was the extension to the bass, which was now deeper than ever, but retaining superb control to provide significant texture to some very low frequency bass lines.
  • The image appeared to be just as precise as with the KLEI Pure®Harmony RCA Plugs from a performer/instrument placement perspective, but it now had become extended even more in depth and width, with additional space around individuals and instruments.
  • The extremely fine micro-details that seem to bring that element of realism to a live performance had also improved, such that delicate venue acoustics and instrument acoustics now fills the voids between performers.
  • Plucked instruments exhibited a crisper staccato effect, due to an improved dynamics performance.
  • Instruments whose sounds occupy the higher registers such as glockenspiels, triangles and percussion chimes sounded more detailed and complete as their delicate harmonics are now more faithfully reproduced.
  • The improved detailing also contributes to an extremely smooth presentation of a violins upper register and a much more realistic reconstruction of sibilance.

The Albums

For me, the albums whose performance really demonstrated the outstanding abilities of the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs include :

  • The Steeleye Span Story, by Steeleye Span, (1976). Many folk-rock bands of this era were extremely proficient in the art of harmonizing – I’m not talking about subdued background harmonies behind a lead vocal – but full-on harmonies of three or four individuals where each voice has an “equal billing”. Steeleye Span were perhaps the masters of this style and this is one of my favourite vocal albums, But with the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs in play, the reproduction of their diverse vocal abilities is reproduced with an unparalleled clarity that simply left me stunned. The vocal tones in play were clearly audible, without a hint of distortion, from the raspy voices of the various male vocalists like Tim hart, to the smoother vocals of Maddy Prior – just superb!
  • So, by Peter Gabriel, (1986) is perhaps one of the best albums for assessing the performance of an audio component simply because it contains “a good dose of everything”. Image depth has increased, details were superb with easy to hear multi-tracked Gabriel vocals and lots of percussive chimes, a bass that goes to the basement and crisp dynamic drums. Did I mention the sublime vocals of Kate Bush? As I said – a good dose of everything!
  • Continuum, by John Mayer, (2006) is a more recent pressing, but the version I have on 150 gram vinyl is superb and really highlights the subtleties in his voice and guitar work. Add the clarity these RCA’s convey and this is an exceptional musical treat for the ears.
  • The Doctor, by Doc Powel, (1992) was first mentioned in my review of the KLEI Pure®Harmony RCA’s when installed on my tone-arm, where I had noted his mellow jazz guitar and the crispness of the cymbal work. Well, the mellow nature is still there, but his guitar playing is now much crisper, which lends to realism portrayed by this great recording. The cymbals also got a whole lot better, with more body to them and less harshness.
  • LEGEND, The Best Of, by Bob Marley and the Wailers (1984), has long been one of my “go-to’s” from the get-go, simply because it is very well engineered and has been one of the few albums where its performance has consistently improved with each review. But with the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs in the audio pipeline this album became the standout performance. The image: “as cavernous as a salt mine!” The clarity: “like a clear frosty night!” The dynamics: “as crisp as shattering glass!” As soon as the stylus hit the vinyl it was, to coin a popular phrase – an OMG moment!

The reason I have not mentioned any specific classical albums is – they all sounded superb!

  • However, my classical recordings from the Tacet label are truly masterful and the prowess of their amazing sound engineers can only truly be appreciated by using components and cables that are able to achieve a level of performance that is on par with the KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plug.

Conclusion

Well, I would have to say that if you own a turntable, then adding a pair of KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA Plugs to your tone-arm cable should be at the very top of your to-do list.

  • It will provide the biggest “bang-for-the-buck” of any single piece of audio equipment you have ever purchased!.
  • It will improve the performance of your turntable to a level you might only believe possible by significant component upgrades.

There are a couple of caveats, as with all KLEInnovations products…

  • they can only perform up to level of the weakest links in your system, which is generally – your other cables!
  • you should always allow them to complete the requisite burn-in period in order for them to demonstrate their extremely adept abilities.

If you really want your analogue rig to soar to new highs I would also recommend installing a pair of KLEI gZero10 ICs from your phono stage to your pre/amp.

The rest of My System:

  • Custom turntable with Denon DL103(modified) phono cartridge on and Audiomods Arm with one piece silver litz cable + KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCAs
  • Simaudio MOON LP5.3 RS phono stage
  • Schiit Bifrost USB DAC with UBER analogue upgrade.
  • NAIM 5i integrated amp (with passive pre-section).
  • Gerchman Acoustics Sonogram speakers.
  • KLEI gZero6 Speaker Cables

A highly recommended product 🙂

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One comment

  1. Realize the Organic Realness in the Musical experience, with KLEI 🙂

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