The KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect from KLEInnovations (KLEI) is their current top-of-the-line (TOTL) offering. Not only is this their current TOTL Interconnect, it is fitted with their TOTL Pure®Harmony RCA connectors.
Having just completed a review of the KLEI Pure®Harmony RCA connectors attached to my own Stager Silver Solids Interconnect cables (see KLEI Pure®Harmony Phono/RCA Plug Review), I was very interested in hearing what improvements the “gZero” cable architecture of these cables would achieve.
The Principal of the gZero cable architecture is and I quote from their web site…
- In accordance with KL’s Signal/Ground Formula, the KLEI Essence®gZero architecture is comprised of hand wound conductors, and implemented in a manner to dynamically enhance electron flow in the Signal conductor, without the use of electronic components…
- Each successive model in the KLEI Essence®gZero range, utilizes a progressively more complex and sophisticated cable architecture, employing varying combinations of multiple neutral/ground conductors, constructed from ultra high conductivity copper and/or silver.
The Purpose of this type of architecture, and I quote from their web site… the KLEI Essence®gZero architecture dynamically works to maintain a zero voltage Ground state.
- Very Interesting, they endeavour to maintain a zero-voltage state in the ground/neutral, which should help prevent noise contamination in the circuitry of any of the connected components!
- I believe there are some people out there that may challenge the “validity” of the gZero™ circuitry developed by Keith Louis Eichmann (aka KL), probably due more to a “belief” rather than actual empirical evidence… The old “World is Flat” syndrome.
- At this point I’ll refer you to their web site for more technical details if you are so inclined. I’ve already read it… http://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/essence-gzero-ic/.
OK – Enough of the Technical Blurb
So, I set about comparing the performance of two 1 meter interconnect cables…
- both having the very same Pure®Harmony RCA Plugs attached
- each, in turn, connected to the very same components and allowed to burn-in
- both reviewed in the same system – nothing else was changed
- one interconnect utilizes a solid silver conductors of a twisted pair architecture
- the other KLEInnovations gZero architecture, conductor material unknown, but I assume it’s very high quality copper
So, I know conductor quality is significant, but I believe it’s more about the cable architecture employed!
- On the very first track played with the KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect, I could tell there was added depth to the bass frequencies.
- The bass was not bloated, as in “more bass”, but the bottom end had extended to encompass lower frequencies than my own interconnects were capable of delivering. This was especially apparent on tracks with very low synth work and on tracks featuring pipe organs
- The bass was also extremely well controlled, such that instrument specific textures in the bass register could easily be discerned.
- How much difference was there? – I would compare it to getting new speakers with a larger bass driver! – yes, that much!
- The “speed” of these two interconnects were very similar – hardly surprising considering the quality of materials used
- Both exhibited extremely fast response to transient peaks – e.g. drums, rim shots, tambourines and cymbals responded in the same manner using either interconnect
- Piercing guitar chords and brass instruments (mainly trumpets and trombones) had almost identical qualities
- It was in the finer micro details of cymbals, tambourines and triangles that the the Essence®gZero6 Interconnect nudged into the lead.
Detail and Clarity
- Here, the KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect edged further ahead, partly because it sounded a little more detailed, but it was more than that…
- In orchestral tracks there was better isolation of instruments across the board, e.g. violin and viola when playing the same notes are often difficult to distinguish, but now the viola had additional depth which now distinguished them more from the violins
- There was an added warmth and fullness, or “body” across the entire frequency range which made large orchestral works appear smoother and much more enjoyable
- There was more texture in individual instruments e.g. you could easily discern the drum skin on large orchestral bass drums vibrating – it had more texture to the rumble following the the initial strike, rather than a simple boom and wind instruments like the Oboe and Basson had a more realistic conveyance of their individual timbres.
- There was smoothness in the upper register of violin soloists – even Itzhak Perlman sounded mellower, even on his more vigorous pieces!
- The KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect revealed more in the area of micro details, such as the reverberation of instruments with a venue
Image and Spatial Integrity
- Again, the KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect pulled ahead, serving up a wider and deeper image on those tracks subject to the most finicky of sound engineers.
- The separation of instruments was more pronounced due to their pin-point placement and what is often referred to as “more air” around each instrument
- The image also extended further forward to go beyond enveloping the listener, it was more like “immersing” the listener in the performance.
- I didn’t witness any difference between the two cables on my system, both were exceptionally quiet
- but, on another system the KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect proved to be significantly “Blacker” than the very well respected Interconnect cable it replaced.
The Essence®gZero6 Interconnect…
- Extends the range of the bass to very deep low frequencies with control.
- Expands the image in three dimensions completely enveloping the listener, but it also separates the musicians/artists/instruments within that image by improving their individual spacing.
- Clarity and details are significantly enhanced – perhaps in part due to the improved image.
- Dynamics are lightning fast across the entire frequency range, But there is also an element of smoothness, particularly with violins and soprano, which can be quite shrill with other cables.
- They are warm and full bodied – in essence, more complete.
- They convey a very realistic sense of being “immersed in the venue”.
- They are very quiet.
All of the above “performance metrics” are well understood in audio circles and easily discernible.
But there are other “attributes” that are more of an “ethereal nature” that is often more relevant to a musical performance, such as warmth, full bodied, richness, emotion etc…
These are observed at the time of playback and although, often as a result of technical/design improvements, they are more subjective and far from measurable – unless you are going to “count the number of goose bumps” experienced.
One KEY Factor … The abilities of the system being used to evaluate the performance.
- is a modestly price system by today’s standards – e.g. there are many components these days cost more than my entire system.
- From that perspective, I realize my system may not be “All Revealing” with respect to the considerable abilities of the Essence®gZero6 Interconnect – I believe they are capable of so much more.
- But, in my system’s defence – it has some killer power cables which elevate its dynamic and spatial performance to systems costing many times its modest price.
Even though the KLEInnovations products worked exceptionally well on my system, I have since had the opportunity to hear them on what many would consider “a system of higher resolving abilities”, the heart of which is a Gryphon integrated amp into Magico V2 speakers.
- I was not surprised to find they also performed extremely well here, providing a spacious and very dynamic performance with a smoothness that made music from all genres that much more enjoyable.
Even though the KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect demonstrated its technical prowess across the board, it also delivered an exceptional “ethereal performance”, having more warmth, body and emotion than my own interconnects, which, for me, translates into a much more enjoyable performance without any fatigue.
For those of you lucky enough to have a high resolving system, then it’s a no-brainer – the Essence®gZero6 Interconnects should be at the top of your Christmas List.
For the rest of us, we have to wrestle with the prospect of living on Hot Dogs for a couple of months.
The Essence®gZero6 Interconnects will not break the bank i.e. compared to much of their competition, but selling-off some old gear should expedite their arrival.
So you may be wondering what the acoustical difference there is between the KLEI Essence®gZero6 Interconnect and it’s “little brother” the KLEI Essence®gZero3 Interconnect.
- First let me state: the KLEI Essence®gZero3 Interconnect is an extremely adept interconnect.
- It will outperform many other well respected cables and it’s nobody’s “little brother”, just a more affordable member of a very good product lineup.
- The tonal quality of both cables is exceptional and consistent, delivering a very neutral and very controlled performance.
- the Essence®gZero6 Interconnect just has a little more depth and adds a dash of “soul”.
Having said that, perhaps the best way I can describe the difference…
- it’s like changing from a 40” TV to a 60” TV, both having identical technical specs
- Everything is just bigger, clearer and that much more enjoyable!
PRODUCT UPDATE NOTICE:
The KLEI gZero2/3/6/10/20 ICs have been updated and now utilize further KLEI gZero Architecture/Technology advances whereby further significant improvements in performance have been obtained
Please refer to the latest KLEI gZero2/3/6/10/20 IC reviews