- Feb 29, 2016
Introducing the first pure silver core cable by Allnic - the ZL-8000s! Right out of the box, the first thing I noticed was how weighty these cables are compared to its older brother of copper origin. At 2 mm thicker diameter, they certainly are denser -- attributed to the lower gauge wire used in the construction. When asked, this was intentional for better bass presentation, and Kang Su is always accurate in his assessment. I imagine there was significant research in designing these cables. The ZL-8000s aesthetics are based on the beloved Allnic ZL-5000 power cable and, when set side by side, present as identical twins with only the most subtle of differences. Few manufacturers demonstrate this level of sophistication in design and adept implementation using quality materials.
Even as an Allnic dealer, I remained skeptical while simultaneously aware of my own anti-silver bias based on experience. Only two other companies were able to crack the silver code and manufacture silver-based cables that didn't annoy me -- Antipodes and Zen Wave. Both companies command my respect. Admittedly, there may be others that I have yet to experience. When compared to these manufacturers, my personal preference was in favor of the ZL-5000 oxygen-free copper speaker cable presenting an overall emotional connection with the music. Frankly, it remains the best bass representation to date.
While priced at $5500 for standard 2.5-meter cable, the ZL-8000s is somewhat more expensive than the ZL-5000 3-meter at $3800/pr. Does the investment pay the expected dividends? I believe this does demonstrate what value the ZL-5000 indeed are given their price to performance. At this level, there may exist inevitable trade-offs, and it ends up being an appreciation of mostly subtle and some not so subtle differences.
My first immediate impression of the ZL-8000s is clarity. As with a newly prescribed pair of glasses, I notice detail that has not been previously realized. There exists a prominent high-frequency airy extension and, over time, an improved inner layering, overall depth, and separation in the soundstage giving a more distinct positioning of musical instruments--the sum of which is improved overall holography. Initially, strengths of the ZL-5000 were noted and missed; however, during this extensive breaking in process, these differences became muted, and the ZL-8000s excelled, particularly in dynamics across the frequency spectrum regardless of volume. This is a noted distinction. The dynamics of the ZL-5000 soften at low volume. But so did any cable I auditioned or owned before today. The quality of expansive richness and warmth, or bloom, is where the ZL-5000 shines, and for me historically never existed in any silver cable. This, among a few other reasons, is why I favored copper cables throughout my system. Such bloom, to me, evokes emotion. The ZL-8000s present a better overall focus, and realism while maintaining an emotional connection with the music. Again, it circles back to clarity.
Like with any magic trick, there exists a balance between our desire as the consumer to attain that fundamental understanding of the how and why these or any other cables present with certain desirable, unique qualities while also respecting their proprietary nature that becomes the aura of the magician. Being well versed in the Allnic ZL product line, I have always tried to wrap my head around their differences in construction, and while I have in many regards been accurate, admittedly occasional inaccuracies were discovered. Based on an internet search, the ZL-8000s differ from the ZL-5000s by being a thicker gauge, non-plated, oxygen-free crystalline silver cable with another conductor material for dampening and additional insulation added to the inside of the PVC sheath.
The ZL-8000s have undeniably called out my internal bias against silver cables and accomplished what few other manufacturers have, and in some ways, they certainly accomplished more. The all-around presentation is in no way bright, harsh, etched, steely, or fatiguing. The ZL-8000s are impressive in both build quality and performance. Overall, I am content with either model because they both evoke an emotional engagement with my music and that, for me, is the endgame.