ZCable LIVE Speaker Cables

ZCable LIVE Speaker Cables 

DESCRIPTION

1 Meter Interconnect

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 34  
[Jul 05, 2005]
raw
AudioPhile

Strength:

Amazing bass, smooth midrange, and crystal clear treble without a trace of sibilance. Great price for the performance. I am not sure if you could do better at even 3 or 4 times the price. I know I didn't with the Ultra.

Weakness:

None what so ever

Mark Hampton is a genius in the field of audio cables. It only took me a few minutes to find out what Mark was all about in the cable world. He is about making it sound as good as he can, the least expensive way that he can. I slipped in a pair of the Live interconnects into my system (replacing my Transparent Audio Ultra) and the Ultras never made it back into my system. I was astounded. Having auditioned the best that Transparent had to offer in my system, the Z-cable beat it hands down. I have listened to alot of systems and cables and have always felt something was missing in my own system. The Z-cable was the answer. These cables (to include the Passion speaker cables) fully integrated my system and was the synergy I needed. The bass was astounding and he midrange just sang. After replacing all of my cables (all were Transparent Audio Ultra to include power cables and speaker cables), I just put the Transparents up for sale. It was the best thing I have ever done to upgrade my system. For such a small investment, my stereo could easily match those costing twice as much (and believe me, I have heard them) Thanks for you introduction to the audio world Mark. You are truely an asset to the two channel fraternity

Similar Products Used:

Transparent Audio Ultra, Audioquest Diamond, Kimber

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 17, 2004]
zdenes
AudioPhile

Strength:

Clarity, tonal balance, very good bass, and soundstage I had never thougt existed on 2ch recordings.

Weakness:

Nothing regarding the sound, built quality or looks. However, I wish a 0.5m version was available,too.

I was hesitating to post a review here. What can the 32nd reviewer say that has not been said yet? Not much really. Probably I can summerize by saying that all the positive things that the others said about the Zcable Live 5 are true. I bought this cable about 6 months ago, and I was surprized how much better it was that any other cable I had tried. When you compare two cable you may prefer the clarity that one offers, but you prefer the other for its bass. You may like the sound of a piano through one, but you would use the other for vocals. In the case of Live 5, there isn’t a single instrument, genre of music or a sonic quality that I would prefer on any other cable. I have always been a cable fan, but I had never thought that a cable can make that large a difference compared to already good cables. In fact, it is so good that it makes you wonder if Zcable company’s order books are full for the coming several years and you may not be able to get a second pair. Also makes you wonder how many other companies can sell any cable at all. Obviously people buying those have not heard the Live 5. I can strongly recommend the Live 5 to anybody looking for interconnects for $500-$1000. There is a 30 day money back policy on the cables if you don’t like them, but I doubt that anybody has ever sent a pair back. I am saving up for a second pair... The downside: You will seriously think about changing all your cables to Zcable, and changing cables cost money... Just for the record, my equipment: Accuphase DP-75V CD player Accuphase C-275 preamp Accuphase A-50 amp PMC FB1 speakers with fully rebuilt crossover and internal wiring Interconnects: Zcable Live 5, Aural Symphonics AS-One Gen 5 Speaker cable: Wire World Eclipse III and Audioquest Bedrock (internal) Harmonix Studio Master, AET GAIA, DIVAS, S/A Lab power cables Daruma Final 3 II and Superspike insulators, etc.

Similar Products Used:

Wire World Eclipse III and Eclipse Gold, Cable Talk reference 2, Acrotec (several models), Aural Symphonics Gen 5, S/A Lab HP4, 47Lab OTA, etc.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 03, 2004]
TomF
AudioPhile

Strength:

These do it all right. At this price point you don't have to compromise. Extension, dynamics, low noise floor, timbral accuracy, snap & speed, well integrated and balanced

Weakness:

Price, weight, only moderately flexible, except on the ends where they flex easily - must be suspended to avoid stressing RCA jacks

This review is for the ZCable Live Ref 1 interconnect, the mega buck version of ZCable's popular Live v.5. For those with revealing systems, where the perceived differences between cables are audibly huge, then try this cable. Try it early in your search and save yourself a lot of time. The ZCable Live Ref 1 is the only cable I have heard that gets detail extraction, dynamics, tonal balance and noise floor right, all at the same time. I searched 8 months to find a cable that is capable of passing on the magic from my Walker Reference phono stage without screwing up the sound. I know what the Walker is capable of because I've heard it at Lloyd's place sourced from his own Proscenium Gold turntable and a $10,000 cartridge - some seriously refined magic occurs in Lloyd's living room on a regular basis. He uses Omega Mikro ribbon interconnect, a bit too tweaky and fragile for my real world system which has to contend with omnipresent familial hazards. I listened to many cost no object cables reported to be contenders, including Nordost Valhalla, Stereovox, Synergistic DR Squared Active X, Nirvana SX Ltd., Kimber KCAG. They were all good, but they each did something different to the sound. At this price point the compromise was too great for me to live with and I sent them all back. Enter the Live Ref 1. The balance and extension grabs the room right out of the box. They didn't sound stuffy, or anemic, or rolled off. Very low noise floor immediately apparent, as were dynamics and a sense of transient speed. Promising, I thought, given some break-in time. Was that ever an understatement. After breaking in for 200-300 hours, the midrange and treble integrated better, the front to back soundstage really developed and the bass snap, resonance and pitch resolution came in last. To my ear at least, they don't do any thing wrong. Perhaps I'll notice something with time, but these cables are so far beyond the competition I'm not sure it would even matter. Initially, I was just considering a single pair for my analog source. Then I tried a second pair on my Wadia 27ix DAC. Dang! These things even made the digital sound better - and they did it without rolling off the high end. The best cable I'd found for digital previously was the Transparent Reference XL which has a filter network for blocking high frequency PCM quantization noise. With the Live Ref 1's, I was still aware of listining to PCM digital, but the experience was much more involving and complete. These cables come with Ultra Z Sleeves, a MU metal casing that both sheilds from RF and improves propogation speed of the signal. Very cool. A shield that does not have to be grounded and therefore does not raise IC capacitance. The sleeves are a must have, and can also be used on non-ZCable wire. The change they make is not subtle. The owner, Mark Hampton, is a true technical expert who willingly talks as long as it takes to answer your questions. He takes the time to understand what you are looking for and helps you to find answers. A true gentleman and exceedingly helpful. Mark offers a money back 30 day guarantee, as he puts it "even if you don't like the color." His cables are so good, I'll bet he hasn't gotten many back. I've had people ask me how these compare to the Live v. 5. Frankly, I don't know - havn't heard the v.5. I learned a long time ago that gradually stepping up through a high end audio product line costs more money in the long run. If the designer's hear a difference, then ultimately most customers will too, that's how it works. I told Mark about my system and asked for his recommendation. He recommended the mega buck stuff - go figure. I can't take them out, not even yet to swap out the upgraded Z Sleeves he sent. They are that good. Thanks Mark! Good Luck. Superb Product.

Similar Products Used:

Tried many, many high end options before settling on ZCable

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 20, 2004]
workman
AudioPhile

This cable is superb: it does nothing to detract from the purity of the music nor does it add anything to it. Furthermore, it is backed up by Mark Hampton who is as committed to the contentment of his customers as he is to the quality of his products.

Similar Products Used:

many

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 15, 2004]
Unitas
AudioPhile

Strength:

See above. Customer service is also splendid!

Weakness:

Well, it would be nice for those of us who are not exactly independently wealthy that getting such incredible sonic improvements were not so expensive. But I have no doubt that countless audiophiles have spent a lot more money for a lot less improvement.

Last fall my system consisted of Coincident Total Victory speakers, Bryston 7B-SST monoblocks, Placette Active Line Stage, Sony XA777ES cd-sacd player heavily modded by EVS, (original)Hydra line conditioner with Elrod Statement power cord, 4 Elrod Signature power cords, Acoustic Zen Hologram speaker wires, ZCable live v.4 ics, maple platforms and other ioslation, FIM wall outlet, and Walker Audio Vivid and black pen cd treatment. I know this was not the best system on the planet, but I considered it a very good and highly resolving one, and I greatly enjoyed listening to music on it (mostly pop and rock from the past 4 decades, some jazz and world music, especially lots of drums and percussion, and Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and a few other reggae artists. Although I considered myself extremely fortunate to have such a great-sounding system, of course I was not completely satisfied. )Even if I could snap my fingers and have the actual musicians of any cd perform in my room, I am sure I would find something that could be better.) (: Having read a couple of very positive things about ZCable's ZSleeves, I decided to give Mark Hampton a call to solicit his opinion as to whether upgrading to the Live v.5 ics, or adding ZSleeves to the v.4s, would give me the most bang for the buck. Little did I know what I was getting into! Mark informed me that he would soon be coming out with a much better (albeit much more expensive) ic, the Ref1, that would give me substantially greater improvement than the options I was considering. I had no intention of spending that much money, but after thinking the matter over, I decided--given the 30-home trial--to see just how much of a change the Ref1 ics would make in my system. To justify the price increase, they would have to make a truly major improvent in my system. They did. I was amazed by the additional transparency and detail, and knew I would be frustrated if I had to remove them from my system. Little did I know that this was only the beginning. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that if I am going to make an upgrade in my system, I want to get the best I can possibly afford, rather than regretting that I did not do this at the outset, and instead have to sell what I have before purchasing the upgrade that I wish I would have gotten in the first place. So after Mark sent me 2 Ultra ZSleeves for the ics, and there was a very noticable additional improvement, I had to order two more Ultras for each of my speaker cables, and another pair for the power supply cord for the Placette. And of course I just had to try ZCable's new, and best power cord, the Cyclones, on my monoblocks. Again, there was such a significant improvement that I ordered two more, for my source and line stage. I continued to be amazed by still more improvement! Finally (and I do hope that this is indeed it for a while--is there no end to this madness?!--upon Mark's suggestion I tried the relatively new B.P.T. 3.5 line conditioner (of course with my fifth Cyclone power cord), and my system was taken to yet another level. About a decade ago, when I first started all of this, I had a receiver, radio-shack quality and priced cables, an equipment rack that was very wobbly, etc. I knew virtually nothing about this hobby, and all of the things that can improve sound and enhance music enjoyment. Since then, I have made perhaps twenty different upgrades that have resulted in either very noticeable, or downright huge, improvements in my system. But by last October, I simply assumed that my system was probably pretty close to as good as it was going to get. I had no idea at that time that 6 months later I would be enjoying nothing less than a HUGE increase in transparency, body, presence, micro-detail, etc. Because I made quite a few changes in a fairly short period of time, it is somewhat difficult to sort out, or specify, just how much of the total improvement is due to one upgrade vs. another. But the improvements in each of these changes were very discernible indeed, and when I pull out a cd that I had not listened to since before last October, the improvement is simply shocking. I was already immensely enjoying listening to music on my system before I made all of these latest upgrades, but now my pleasure is substantially greater yet. As with most other things, there is a great deal of subjectivity in what makes for great sound. I am describing, of course, only what I heard in my system in my room with the music that I like to play. And I would never have considered spending this kind of money if I did not have the option of returing all of these products if they did not make the kinds of improvements I have described. I have not tried a large number of cords and cables, but have little desire to look futher. There is so much hyperbole in audio reviewing, but for me, the improvements I have recently gotten are, indeed, stunning.

Similar Products Used:

See review.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 27, 2003]
Sgdude
AudioPhile

Strength:

Natural tonal balance across the entire audible audio spectrum. Superbly detailed and nuanced delivery. Everything's just...there!

Weakness:

You have to pay money for these cables.

System Components ----------------- 1. Esoteric P-2s CD transport 2. VTL Dual-UltraAnalog DAC 3. Manley Shrimp preamp 4. Manley Snapper monoblocks 5. Sonus Faber Concerto loudspeakers 6. REL Strata subwoofer Signal Cables ------------- From 1 to 2 - XLO Signature From 2 to 3 - ZCable LIVE v5 From 3 to 4 - ZCable LIVE v5 From 4 to 5 - AFA Ares From 3 to 6 - No-name cable from Soundlab Power Cables ------------ Gutwire 'G Clef' on 1, 2 and 3 PS Audio 'Lab II' on 4 AFA 'Ares' on 6 Old Signal Cables ----------------- From 2 to 3 - NBS Junior-II From 3 to 4 - Siltech SQ-28 Classic I used the old interconnects for about a month after upgrading my old Manley Stingray to the Manley Shrimp/Snapper combo. Something wasn't right. Yes, there was a quantum improvement in what I was hearing, but there HAD to be more for the price differential between old amp and new. About the only thing I could tweak now were the cables. The Siltech was on loan and I had to return it eventually. So after stumbling across the ZCable web site by accident, I started thinking about trying out the LIVE v5. I couldn't find a single bad word on the web about ZCable products, and the LIVE v5 was significantly cheaper than the Siltech. So I placed an order for a pair. Fresh out of the box the LIVE v5 was VERY interesting. Without breaking in there was already huge improvement in bass extension/control and bass/mid-range detail. Harmonic structure was richer so that the timbres of acoustic instruments sounded more natural. Mid-range glare was much reduced. Did I say that there was more detail? Uncanny. I could hear 'deeper' into mixes and arrangements. Subtleties that weren't there before suddenly became audible. Speed, sustain, and microdynamics were superb. I could hear the way that Leila Pinheiro shapes the consonants of her vocals in the album "Coisas do brasil." But something was dreadfully wrong. The highs were rolled off. The top-end did not have snap, sparkle, and smoothness. After one week of fretting over it I bit the bullet and ordered another pair of LIVE v5's. I put them in yesterday morning, replacing the NBS Junior-II. Oh! I suddenly had top-end in spades. Now I had what seemed to me to be correct tonal balance across the whole audible spectrum. And it turned out that the NBS Junior-II's had some mid-range glare too! The sound is big, open, effortless, natural. And all this with cables that are not fully broken-in yet! I am fortunate to have a fairly large listening area, so I sit about 6m from the speakers while working and crank up the gain. 'Jazz At the Pawn Shop' never sounded so good - I had the band (and the pub) in my own living room! I am now curious to find out what audible improvements I will get as I change out, in stages, all my cables for products from ZCable. I was very wary about buying cables "sound unheard", as it were. I am I am now so glad that I did buy cables from ZCable. There is now no point in even thinking about any other makes.

Similar Products Used:

DNM Reson NBS Junior-II Siltech SQ-28 Classic

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 17, 2003]
Jed
AudioPhile

Strength:

Black background. Music comes out of silence. Superb resolution of detail at all frequencies. Very open and transparent.

Weakness:

They aren’t free.

The ZCable LIVE v5 ICs were a little hard and constricted for the first few hours. After burn-in (almost 150 hours) was complete, instruments and vocals were very defined in space. harmonically complete, creating a liquid-smooth presentation that's much more musical and real sounding than I had ever experienced. There also was an overall ease and effortless nature, like my system didn’t have to try so hard to make music. LIVE v5 ICs' tonal aspects are detailed and warm at the same time -- unique. I was so impressed by the LIVE v5 interconnects that I decided to try ZCable’s GOLD LIGHTNING power cord at $200 and to get 4 of their new Z-SLEEVE line conditioner tubes. I put the GOLD LIGHTNING and the 4 Z-SLEEVES on my DAC. WOW! What a difference. I don’t understand how they can make the detail go up; the noise floor go down; and make the music more evident. It’s like there is MORE music. Not just louder, more dynamic, but MORE information and substance. Again, like the LIVE ICs the the Z-SLEEVES made my system sound more and more effortless and naturally life-like. At Mark Hampton’s (president of ZCable) suggestion, I got a CyberPower 1250AVR UPS device at Best Buy (about $130 on sale). I put it on my transport. He was right – even more open, and fluid. A real cheap tweak. So, I’m saving up for more Z-SLEEVES and LIGHTNINGs.

Similar Products Used:

Nordost SPM and Quattro-Fil, Cardas Golden Cross and Golden Reference

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 19, 2003]
MarkLinnvinson
AudioPhile

Strength:

The Live v5 brought forth more detail from my Ikemi. The Ikemi is a great CD unit which sounded excellent with Transparent Ultra interconnects. However, the Live v5 was a stunning change to the sound--everything was as musical as before, yet with jaw-dropping detail. I prefer two-channel to surround, but the added detail and placement of instruments have created surround-like effects. Also, since I was floored by the Live v5, I tried the "ZSleeves" out of curiosity. My initial impression was puzzlement--they looked very bland and the claims on the website seemed extreme. Well, I now have FOUR ZSleeves covering my Live v5. I don't know the specific mechanisms at work, but I do know that each ZSleeve has improved my system's sound along the same dimensions as the introduction of the Live v5. Needless to say, at that point I was eager to try his power cords! No surprise, the ZCable Thunder massacred the Harmonic Tech Fantasy AC-10 on my Equi=tech balanced power conditioner. I also replaced my amp/preamp/CD power cords with ZCable Gold Lightning ones (with ZSleeves on each PC). The proverbial icing came from their speaker cables (see my review of the Passion cables).

Weakness:

None

My system includes Linn Ikemi-Espek-LP12, Mark Levinson ML3 and ML10, and 2 Vandersteen 2WQ subs. I demo'd the Live v5 because of Mark Hampton's 30-day money-back guarantee. Frankly, I wasn't expecting much but I read the reviews here and thought I should try ZCable. Simply, the Live v5 is a marvelous product ("component" is a better word). Mark is the owner of ZCable. In my experience with the audiophile community, it's rare to meet someone who is talented and knowledgeable, and yet down-to-earth and customer-friendly at the same time. Mark encompasses these qualities. He has gone to great lengths to answer ALL of my questions. Believe me, I've posed many questions to him since each ZCable product I've used has made a noticeable improvement in my system's imaging and clarity. My system prior to the Live v5 and other ZCable items was already very musical and detailed. Now the sound is simply breath-taking.

Similar Products Used:

Transparent Ultra, Mark Levinson/Madrigal, Linn Black

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 10, 2003]
Trent Minneman
AudioPhile

Strength:

Musical. It lets the music flow.

Weakness:

None that I can hear.

My system is as follows: Speakers: Martin Logan Odyssey Amp: McCormack DNA 125 Player: Modified Phillips 1000 SACD player Pre: McCormack RLD-1 Previous Interconnects: Acoustic Zen Matrix. The ZCable LIVE v4 are the most naturally musical interconnect I have ever heard. The more I listen, the more “Musical” and “Natural” are a terms that keeps coming to mind. I listen to a great deal of vocal recordings and these cable, along with the ML Odyssey are amazing. My friend is a musician. I am VERY familiar with the way his voice and his band sounds. He brought over a CD I had heard him play live many times. I could not believe how closely the logans and the ZCable captured his sound, and the “spirit” of his music. It sounds like him not a recording of him, but rather like he was with me and was singing, live! If the open, natural reproduction of voices and instruments are what you are looking for, give these cables a listen. Highly recomended. They sound like music. According to Zcable’s website www.zcable.com the LIVE v4 are older model interconnect and they now have a “better”, newer version the LIVE v5. The v4s are so good, it makes me wonder what the LIVE v5s sound like. If there is anyone out there that has owned both, I like you to post your comments about the improvements of going to the LIVE v5.

Similar Products Used:

MIT, Audioquest, Harmonic Tech, Acoustic Zen

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 29, 2003]
Tony Lin
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Detail, coherent, smooth, excellent sound stage, Full body, competitive pricing, and most of all excellent customer service!

Weakness:

Can't think of any now

I first read about the LIVE v4 cable from the AudioReview site. Many users have left excellent comment about it, but I was first hesitated. There are so many cable manufacturers from A to Z, why do I have to trust a company whose products are neither mentioned on Stereophile or TAS? However, I read all 20+ reviews several times, and figured what have I had to lose, so I sent Mark an e-mail and ask him for his recommendation. I was very impressed by Mark's knowledge and prompt response, so after several e-mails, I decided to order v4 and take the 30-day guarantee trail...Mark was kind enough to send me a v3 alone for comparison. On the night I received the package, I was very eager to try them on. Out of the package were 2 nice looking cable with plastic looking interconnect heads and very flexible cable body. I first put on v3 between my dac and my intergrated amp. After trying to fit those "Bullet Plug" into my RCA connectors, I finally got it in. Very surprised on how good these plugs were fitting into the machine. I played a CD, and immediate noticed some improvement: a fuller body, better music detail, and a better image. But the improvement was not that obvious, I think, so I switched to v4, and .....when the sound first came out, I almost felt out my chair. How can this kind of sound come out from my system? They sound so live and 3-D, dynamis, detail, and....(I think I am starting to sound like other guys here.) I can't believe that was the first night. I have tried several brand name cables at about the same price range, but no one had knocked my eardrum like v4 did since that night. It's like the missing link between my hi-fi gears and me. Now I really appreciate the quality sound that comes out from my system, and each night I would sit down in front of the speakers and just listen and enjoy myself.....the sounds just got better and better after the first night. On that first night, I honestly thought that my wife would find out something different in my system if she actually played a CD....... I consider LIVE v4 to be my best upgrade so far! And, everything Mark told me about the sound came true. If anyone is interested in Zcable, please don't take our words for it. Go to the website and get one for your own home trial. Micromega Minimum CD player Point Dac Plus J.C. Verdier 220DE intergrated Amp Sonus Faber Concertino speaker NBS little dragon, dragonfly digital cable RCA ->BNC (Canare) silver cable bi-wire (homemade)

Similar Products Used:

Ensemble Masterflux Straight Wire Maestro Pro-Co

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 34  

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