Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 72

Thread: Sablon Audio Reserva experience. Affordable S.O.T.A.

  1. #1
    Addicted to Best! Blue58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    241

    Sablon Audio Reserva experience. Affordable S.O.T.A.

    Many variations of power cords on the market appear to promote their luxury coverings, metallurgic connector prowess or simply promote or celebrate a companies high end profile. I'll resist naming companies that produce cords, and interconnects too, that in my opinion are stratospherically priced to gain kudos with the Audiophile Elite.

    I realise that many W.B.F. readers may be able to afford these and have commensurate systems to lavish these cords and cables on, however, if we take a step back and realise there are many audiophiles out there struggling with their purchases having to 'go without' or needing to sell something first before affording an upgrade. I'd put myself among these audiophiles who have perhaps a system above the norm and over the years, and in many cases over many years, achieved a decent sounding system but occasionally wanting to improve the sound with judicious use of changes to their power cords, interconnects or perhaps a proven mains tweak.

    It was with this aim that I finally succumbed to Sablon Audio Corona Reserva power cords after 12 years with my stalwart VH Audio AirSine cords. How I came about these was by being initially exposed to Sablon Audio Panatella Interconnects via glowing reviews on the internet where the reviewers musical preferences and sound criteria coincided with mine. Further enquiries revealed that Sablon Audio was a company run by Mark Coles and based in the UK and so I eagerly procured a demo cable to compare to my Kimber Select.

    Wow! Immediately upon insertion this cable revealed the Kimber to be slow and harmonically deficient probably due to a thickness of sound as though it was rounding off transients and plumping up the midrange. I had to purchase one so sold my Kimber Select 1030 and never looked back. It wasn't long after installing the I.C.s that I chose to sell my Kimber Monocle XL speaker cable to purchase Panatella speaker cables. Thankfully the sale of the Kimber covered the cost of the Sablon due to shorter lengths now required in my dedicated music room. ..(Sometimes we get lucky.)

    I run Avantgarde Duo Omega and Mark Coles kindly made a pigtail jumper set to accompany the main set. Apparently this was very tricky having to get two cables into one spade at the midrange end. This was the icing on the cake. I now enjoy greater precision, emotional connection and better dynamics completely across the frequency range than with the Kimber cables. There does indeed appear to be a synergy when using ICs and speaker cables from one brand clearly evident with the Sablons. There is a natural holistic sound to these cables. Nothing is forced and no particular frequency range dominates.

    I thought I was done with upgrading for a while having been very happy with the AirSine power cords on my amps and CD player for many years and revelling in their luxurious sound. Some would say DARK sound but there is no getting away from them sounding BIG and BOLD, perhaps the Gold Furutech connectors contributing to their presentation of a deep and cavernous soundstage. My only reservation was the slightly compressed feeling when playing classical orchestral music. Less so with the addition of the Sablon ICs. Was this because of my low power SETs not having sufficient muscle or just a limitation of the Avantgarde Duo subs slowing and thickening the bass?

    After many months I could no longer resist Mark Coles' offer to try a Corona Reserva power cord on my Audio Aero CD player. Knowing I could not really afford to replace the whole loom of PCs in the system I wanted to try a single cord to establish a future upgrade path though the feeling I might succumb to another round of upgraditis was a little daunting.

    Well, It arrived, all looking handsome with the Oyaide C-004/P-004 and a 'reserved' look with an olive/gold-ish covering. For those believing in burn-in, it was 'cooked' on a Audioharma Cable Cooker for a few days. Count me in as a believer!

    Here's where It gets interesting. I didn't like it! Why, I'm not sure. It sounded very thin and a little bright, a far cry from my AirSine, but decided to leave it playing for a few days. Improvements were there but ultimately I couldn't live without the warmth and golden glow, some would say molasses thick, presentation in the system wrought by the AirSines. Well that was an interesting exercise and both Mark Coles and I couldn't really fathom out what was going on and surmised that a combination of AirSines on the amps and Corona Reserva on the CD player was just one of those unexpected incompatibilities. Where the Oyaide Palladium plugs causing the thinness. Did the PC need more burn-in? I must point out that my system uses all US plugs even though I'm in the UK. , the distribution box (Furutech GTX-D (G)) was new and wired directly to a dedicated panel. (With hindsight it appears the combination of new sockets AND new cable threw the system adrift by a wide margin).

    Anyway, some weeks passed and I asked to borrow two Corona Reservas after hearing what a whole pile of them brought to Spirit of Music's system. I thought, let's try them on my mono block power amps, a home made, direct coupled, single ended design nicknamed Supanova45. Mark Coles was amenable to lending me a pair for a week or so. No pressure to purchase, "just try them and tell me what you think" .

    I could not believe what I was hearing after installing these two 'cooked' Corona Reservas onto my amps and this was still with an AirSine on the AA. A greater clarity and deeper soundstage with new sounds revealed within songs I've known for years. This was what I'd been looking for, a combination of the warmth of the vocals with the transparency of the soundstage. I just had to have them but in order to afford them, even though they are in my opinion a bargain and much more affordable than many hi-end cords, I had to sell something for funds. Luckily I trawled through my boxes of old gear, components and duplicate gold CDs and eBay came to the rescue. I could now pay for the two Reservas and live happily ever after, NOT! What if I now replaced the AirSine on the Audio Aero? Would there be a repeat of my disappointment and that perceived incompatibility?

    A third Reserva arrived later that week and the moment came to try it out. My reaction was similar, though not equal to, my initial reaction in hearing a slightly bright balance with a slight thinning to the presentation, bearing in mind I'm used to that golden glow, only now with added clarity. I kept it on for a week and it settled down losing the bright edge to it, possibly due to the Palladium connectors needing longer break-in than the wire itself. I now had even greater resolution, a much wider soundstage and the depth was present but without the dark, hooded quality, and with slightly greater forward presentation too. This combination was most startling on classical fare, previously a little congested, now stunningly layered. The effect of being closer to the music and the reality of voices is so addictive. High power modern pop sounds dense, driving and studio compression artefacts appear reduced.

    One evening I was missing the molasses like golden glow and the LARGER than life vocal presentation so thought to swap the Corona Reserva out and put back the AirSine onto the AA. That golden glow to vocals returned with very exaggerated depth of soundstage making it all mysterious, dark and cavernous. The front half of the soundstage transparent enough and projected well but the rear was now so far back it was unnatural. Another artefact most evident on classical was that pervasive congestion. Not a tribute I'd normally reserve for the AirSine but in this system, too heavy and dense. I found it hard to believe that I'd lived without the transparency the new cords brought to my system, being so infatuated with this velvety, mysterious sound. This was a case of resolution trumping excessive warmth. The Sablon Reserva power trio had now grabbed my attention and wasn't letting go. I now no longer miss the unnatural warmth having it replaced with accuracy, tonality, and vitality. A holistic sound. Think spring with warm sunshine and not winter in front of a smokey fire.

    The last year also saw the move from dedicated Mac Mini using Audirvana + to Auralic Aries with external HD. This removed the computer from the music room and its associated noise from screen and powered 'whirring' Hard Drive. Call me impressed by the Aries performance. It's a wonderful, easy to use and musical device which gets better with improvements to connecting cables and improved power supply. Initially I used my legacy Acoustic Revive split USB cable with a KingRex UPower battery supply to send data to the dac in the Audio Aero player. To keep the Sablon theme going I replaced the AR with a Reserva USB. This brought the SQ from CD rips much closer to CDs played from the Esoteric drive within the La Fontaine. Music was much more organic sounding losing a slight digital sheen that the Aries/AR USB appeared to overlay onto the music. The addition of a UpTone Audio Regen appeared to increase resolution however I think this is dependent on the resolution of the digital files. Great for CD rips but a little too clinical for Hi Res files.

    The Sablon Audio Corona Reserva are now permanent additions to my system. I've still to change the two AirSines on the Duo subwoofers, due for Xmas, to bring the speed and clarity in line with the horns. Plus, the Panatela speaker cables are now in Reserva spec. and with a little luck will be my birthday present.

    To sum this all up there is no doubt these are truly great, affordable power cords, ICs, and speaker cables and able to compete with many of the top tier, read that as extortionate, audiophile cables out there.

    I also have to admit to being blind to my systems faults but maybe it's a phase we go through, perhaps preferring one type of presentation over another depending on our music choices or just they way we evolve over time with our hearing. You could also say that there is always a danger of going down a rabbit hole of sound without the criticism of others to bring us back.

    Thanks to Mark Coles, Spirit of Music, Jeff Medwin et al. for your contributions to my many evenings of musical pleasure.

    Update: I just see the Sablon range have received a Brutus award from Positive Feedback and reviewed by Bill Malcom. A well deserved accolade in my opinion.

    Blue58

  2. #2
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    E. England
    Posts
    4,655
    Hi Barry, thanx for the name check.
    I can indeed back up Barry's system impvts' comments. On hearing his Duos sans Sablon for the first time some 12 months ago, I was bowled over by his involving horn sound, and have really grown to love the AG signature. At this point I would have put his sound well ahead of mine. My voyage of discovery of Mark's Sablon Gran Reservas started at this point, and each addition bridged the gap significantly. When I completed the loom w/Reservas spkr cables, a really special synergy clicked in my sound, and for the first time Barry was truly enthusiastic about my sound. At this point, despite the Duos still having the edge on dynamics and air, my fully-Reserva's Zus for the first time IMHO had the edge in SQ, the tonal density Zus are famed for just being more involving than the Duos. This was noticeable as a slightly diffident nature that meant the Duos s/stage was somewhat distant, and focus wasn't as good as my Zus. This was mainly a spkr issue, but the Sablon's had so maxxed out what the Zus are king at, that the Duos fell a tad short in comparison.
    In the last 3 months, my system has been down as I've been awaiting my balanced transformer to be fitted w/Furutech US sockets to accept the Reservas PC's w/Rhodium US plugs. And in this time, I've been auditioning Barry's system w/increasing amounts of Reservas in his loom. And guess what? Yes, impvts are being wrought all 'round, esp in terms of tightening dynamics, and esp for me, a bringing fwd of the s/stage from the previously borderline diffuse one, to one much more urgent and involving. The Duos are opening up a bit of a lead on my Reserva'd Zus.
    Round 3 - my system back up and running, w/the US plugs and sockets fully integrated, full Reservas loom unadulterated by getting rid of the plug adaptors, and my sound has a major upstick.
    Round 4 - hearing Barry's system w/the final Reservas in place, to his Duos' pwrd subs.
    And hence an interesting final comparison will be made w/my US sockets/plugs settling in. This is actually quite critical for me, since I am very seriously considering the switch to AG horns, and hearing how well the Duos do w/the Reservas fills me w/a lot of confidence the move could be very advantageous.
    Trans Fi Salvation tt & Terminator arm, Soundsmith Straingauge SG200 cart/Eera Tentation cdp/Nat Audio Utopia line stage & SE2SE SET monos w.NOS '48 GE tubes/Zu Definitions 4 spkrs w.Duelund caps & Lundahl transformers/Stacore isolation platforms, Symposium Isis rack & Rollerblocks isolation/Sablon Reservas & Elites cbls/Westwick 8kVA balanced pwr, Oyaides dedicated lines w.Furutech US sockets, SR Black fuses, Entreq Silver Tellus grndng.

  3. #3
    Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,136
    Hi Both,

    Great write up, Barry. Interesting to hear your impressions also. Please find a link to my recent PF review in case you are interested.

    http://positive-feedback.com/reviews...io-cable-loom/

    Cheers,

    Bill

  4. #4
    Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    10,019
    Great review and big fan of Mark's work. Own 2 Gran Reservas and they are not going anywhere!
    Speaker Wilson X-1/SLAMMS / Velodyne DD18+
    Source Zanden 4Box Digital
    Amp CJ GAT 2 / Gryphon Colosseum
    Cable SC/IC / PC TA Opus Gen5/MM2 / PAD25th/Sablon GCUber
    Isolation Sandwiches Under: HRS/Stillpoints/Auralex Top: HRS/Artesania/Entreq/EAT/90kg Mass
    Power/Ground/Shield 7 x 16A Furutech / Burmester948+NordostQX4 / Tripoint TroySig+Thor / Entreq Atlantis/Receivus/Everest/Wrap
    Room/Tube Stillpoints Apertures / Amperex Mullard
    Headphone Sennheiser HD650 / Arcam rHead/ApogeeGroove

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    127
    I had many known and very expensive power cables. Purist, KS Elation and Emotion, Less Loss, Shunyata, Stealth, etc.

    Now I have 5 Sablon Reserva and they are for a large margin the best power cables I ever had in my system.

  6. #6
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    12,308
    Are Sablon Audio cables CE certificated? Can we get them in Europe with Shucko connectors?
    Under construction around the DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack and a pair of Wilson XLF's : Forsell Air Force One, ARC Phono 2SE, cj GAT + Lamm M1.2 ref, TA OPUS MM2 +TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables and CenterStage footers ...

  7. #7
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    London
    Posts
    7,072
    Blog Entries
    7
    He can provide you with any connectors and customisation - schuko, US, even UK, if you want to be exotic in Portugal

  8. #8
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    E. England
    Posts
    4,655
    Have been thinking quite a bit about how I can contribute most to this thread. This is the result.
    Just over two years ago, I was in deep discussion w/Lloyd LL21 re Entreq grounding that we had just discovered, getting stellar results. I was just about to install a new balanced power transformer, the Westwick 8kVA unit, that I've used to this day together w/Entreq Silver Tellus and Apollos. Lloyd put me onto Mark Coles of Sablon, and an amazing journey began, in some ways as fascinating as the other major system changes I've made which have got me the point that I'm at right now, deriving real enjoyment from my system.

    So two years ago, Mark sends me a single Quantum Gran Corona QGC power cord w/GOLD plug. I plugged it into my preamp of the time (Hovland HP200). Wowza! An amazing expansion in the sound, vibrant and energetic. More than any other cable change I'd ever made, by a long chalk (I've upgraded cables over the years to Hovland, Acoustic Zen, Argento, Audience, Zu Event, and have auditioned/heard Nordost, Russ Andrews, Kimber, so have reasonable comparison points).
    However, the sound was just too lush, w/energy a little uncontrolled esp in the bass. Mark then replaced this PC w/a similar one, now sporting a RHODIUM plug. The impvts were maintained, but energy/lushness much better controlled, and this step change proved to be totally worth it as I continued replacing Zu Event PCs w/QGCs to preamp, power amp, cdp, phono, Zu sub amps. At thios point i had a direct comparison to Entreq Challenger PCs, but Sablon had the edge, esp in my favoured area of tonal density (Entreq no slouches, and had Sablon not existed, Entreq would be my cables of choice).
    My journey continued w/Panatella i/c's. Interestingly again, there was the odd dead end (Bybee terminations didn't work for me, sounding a little clinical/matter of fact, and Mark's beta grounding cables didn't gel as well as the Entreq Apollos - proving I was not a fawning fanboy, but someone who still maintained my critical faculties despite true respect for Mark's cables).
    At this point, Barry/Blue58 homed into view, and we swapped a few visits, we me loving his AG Duo Omegas horns presentation, he a little less convinced by my presentation LOL! It's a good thing we've become good friends, or I'd be badmouthing him now LOL!
    When I then completed the Panatella loom w/spkr cables, removing the last vestiges of Zu events (and the pesky, lossy SpeakOn terminations I was using), a real window opened, and Barry really noticed the synergy, as did I, the sound taking a big step fwd into a true balance of detail/air/texture, never heard before.
    Ok, so I was one happy camper 6 months ago w/a full Sablon loom.
    Then Mark announced ideas on his current range of Gran Reservas, and extended me the privilege of being a trusted beta tester. I ran thru a few variations, finding some warmer than others, some more clinical. Barry too was a beta tester, and I believed we settled on different final choices. Mark then split the difference, and picked the one for production that was midway btwn our tonal choices (of course w/input from a panel of testers, not just us).
    In the last few months I've fasttracked upgrading my previous line to the current Gran Reservas line, and blow me down, the impvts are NOT subtle. I've talked about this w/Mark, and he has summed it up nicely, saying the Reservas lower the noise flr. I think this sounds right, the lowered noise flr allowing swathes of NATURAL detail to emerge - no hard edged hyper delineation that I always heard from Nordost and Kimber, and not the borderline boring neutrality of the Audience Au24. Dynamics and excitement way ahead of my previous fave, the Zu Events, and shimmer/texture in advance of the previous faves, the Hovlands, Argentos and Acoustic Zens.
    There again was the odd wobble, synergy btwn PCs, i/c's and spkr cbls a little harder to get right than the prev line. And the final step has been replacing all my UK plugs on the PCs w/Rhodium US plugs, and Furutech US sockets on my balanced power transformer. The only step beyond will be dedicated lines at a later date.

    But gosh, the effort has been 200% worth it. There is an amazing fusion of natural, unforced detail, effervescent but controlled bass energy, a superb balance of power and delicacy, that does the audiophile trick of making you concentrate on the music and let the message of the musicians come thru loud and clear, w/out forensic analysis, or unnatural warmth/lushness.

    I cannot praise the Gran Reservas highly enough. Bill's PF review is spot on, and any self-respecting audiophile NEEDS to audition Mark's loom before they try ANYTHING else, at any price. I do believe most people will truly struggle to hear better than this.
    Additionally, Mark is a true gentleman, proud of his family of cables, never dismissive of other brands. A modern day hifi artisan.
    Trans Fi Salvation tt & Terminator arm, Soundsmith Straingauge SG200 cart/Eera Tentation cdp/Nat Audio Utopia line stage & SE2SE SET monos w.NOS '48 GE tubes/Zu Definitions 4 spkrs w.Duelund caps & Lundahl transformers/Stacore isolation platforms, Symposium Isis rack & Rollerblocks isolation/Sablon Reservas & Elites cbls/Westwick 8kVA balanced pwr, Oyaides dedicated lines w.Furutech US sockets, SR Black fuses, Entreq Silver Tellus grndng.

  9. #9
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    12,308
    Quote Originally Posted by spiritofmusic View Post
    (...) I cannot praise the Gran Reservas highly enough. Bill's PF review is spot on, and any self-respecting audiophile NEEDS to audition Mark's loom before they try ANYTHING else, at any price. I do believe most people will truly struggle to hear better than this.
    Additionally, Mark is a true gentleman, proud of his family of cables, never dismissive of other brands. A modern day hifi artisan.
    You refer to Gran Reserva and Gran Corona - I can only find Corona and Panatela cables at the site. What does the Gran stand for?

    Do you have an idea of the capacitance per meter or foot of the XLR IC's?

    BTW, the cables are shipped from UK or US?
    Under construction around the DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack and a pair of Wilson XLF's : Forsell Air Force One, ARC Phono 2SE, cj GAT + Lamm M1.2 ref, TA OPUS MM2 +TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables and CenterStage footers ...

  10. #10
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    E. England
    Posts
    4,655
    Micro, I may have the "Gran-" prefix wrong. That may have been a pre-release moniker.
    All Reservas, Corona for the P/Cs, Panatella for the I/Cs and S/Cs
    Priced in $s, shipped from UK.
    Can't help you re tech specs, just email Mark.
    Trans Fi Salvation tt & Terminator arm, Soundsmith Straingauge SG200 cart/Eera Tentation cdp/Nat Audio Utopia line stage & SE2SE SET monos w.NOS '48 GE tubes/Zu Definitions 4 spkrs w.Duelund caps & Lundahl transformers/Stacore isolation platforms, Symposium Isis rack & Rollerblocks isolation/Sablon Reservas & Elites cbls/Westwick 8kVA balanced pwr, Oyaides dedicated lines w.Furutech US sockets, SR Black fuses, Entreq Silver Tellus grndng.

Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. F/S Sablon Audio Quantum Gran Corona power cords
    By spiritofmusic in forum Buy and Sell Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-11-2015, 04:57 PM
  2. Most disturbing audio experience of 2013
    By microstrip in forum General Audio Forum
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 12-30-2013, 02:49 PM
  3. Interesting Audio Experience in NYC
    By Asamel in forum General Audio Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-03-2013, 09:48 PM
  4. A rare audio store experience
    By Mobiusman in forum General Audio Forum
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 09-17-2012, 01:42 PM
  5. A Day of a Wilson Audio experience
    By vinylphilemag in forum Wilson Audio Speaker Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-12-2010, 02:22 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •