FTA (Final Touch Audio) Callisto USB cable

Golum

Active Member
Jun 7, 2018
128
114
43
Lausanne, CH
#1
It took me quite some time to persuade myself to write this post or better to say to open the thread and big portion of "push" came from @wisnon side.
Story about this cable started few months ago when I kindly asked a good friend of mine from back home (Belgrade), from whom I was sourcing my cables for last decade in on and off mode, to send me his latest versions of USB and IC cables. I wanted to hear them in my system and also I wanted to use the opportunity to hear them in Stenheim demo room with LampizatOr Pacific DAC due to the fact that i booked a time with JPP few months in advance.
As FTA designer is genuinely a very modest and humble person he barely agreed to send me those cables as his constant mantra was "I feel bad sending them as they won't be good enough for your level of system/s". What I also very much appreciate about him is that he is always very much responsive to comments and advices from customers and very much eager to experiment.
Few weeks later cables arrived just in time for a demo at Jean Pascal place where also Norman and Christoph were present as well as a good friend of Jean Pascal. At certain point while playing with the system we started swapping few USB cables we had on hand and with the Callisto turn magic happened. We've been kind of shocked so decided to do the another run with previous set of cables and after few minutes with those they've been instantly kicked out as @christoph commented: "put Callisto back - I can't listen to those". Need to say here that those were not some cheap crappy cables (one was even mine which I was using at home).
Week after we repeated the test at Chris place in Liechtenstein and there it proved itself again versus many other competitors and as of than it has been sent to quite a few proud owners across the globe.
Comments are more than positive and as I'm not really super capable of describing the SQ I guess Norm, Chris and few other guys from this forum can do that much better than I can - and also it would be much more fair.
On top I've started using his Ganymede IC cable which proved to be IMHO quite better than Siltech Classic Anniversary 550i - more dynamic, open, better resolution and soundstaging - I do love it..
 

Attachments

#2
I am not keen to share this kind of stuff as people usually considered it a subjective topic. Upon knowing about this cable, I was like murmuring, just like another bombastic stuff out there. But when more people were making noise about the positive result of this cable, I couldn't hold myself back any longer and made the purchase immediately.

It took about 10 days to get to Jakarta, Indonesia and once order placed, I have totally forgotten it due to my hectic work schedule.

On a one fine day, a small package arrived at my doorstep and seeing the FTA logo, I suddenly remembered I made a purchase of a new USB cable for my systems.

Leaving all my works behind, I quickly replaced my old USB cable running from Auralic Aries to Lampizator Pacific, turned it on. I needed 5 minutes to wait for my Aesthetix Eclipse Linestage to get ready before turning on Atma-sphere MA-1. But I couldn't wait for 15 minutes, after MA-1 was on for about 5 minutes, I quickly pressed play on my iPad.

What I heard at that time was like..what was just happened????!!!!@@@xxxx@@@???

My systems transformed so drastically. It was still a very cold systems especially for the 7 tubes of Pacific, 24 tubes of Aesthetix and 38 tubes of Atma-sphere!!! These babies need an hour or two to get to their best performance on every occasion.

My systems sounded like a beast, the bass has never been this deep, solid, punchy, textural, and it stops when it was called for. The sound stage suddenly expanded to all directions. It doesn't sound forward, but it makes the whole sound stage spread side wise and to the back of the speakers. I was like a kid who found a new toy and I kept digging the tracks I am very familiar with until 4 a.m. the first night. And the following night, it's almost the same experience. It gets better after 100 hours of playing. Details is amazing and the mid is focused, bloom, palpable. I played some crazy tracks of The Bass Gang. Gosh!!! It sounded so real and raw..the musicians sound more energetic and alive in the room.

I usually can do two things at a time. So sometimes, I listen to the music while reading. I tried this again and in certain occasion, I was like distracted by certain tracks, as if I weren't alone in the room. The artists were there with me. I was pretty 'spooky' to be honest.

After it it the 200 hours mark, I invited some friends who are very familiar with my systems since I owned PS Audio Directstream DAC, then Lampizator Golden Gate and finally Pacific. They are my frequent visitors because they have a very good collection of CDs and are very kind to let me rip those CDs so we could compare the ripped files vs. the CD playback through my Forsell Air Reference CDT.

All of them were surprised and asked what have I changed because they suspected, I might have just upgraded an equipment. They asked me to turn on the main light in the room so that they could conduct a physical check. LOLS.

The amazing effect we all feel mostly is, the front wall behind my speakers just disappeared completely. Some small details are clearly audible as if it was positioned 4 meters behind the front wall. The human voice is fully textural and any slight shift of tones, nuance, is audible. I am very sensitive to human voice to be honest. The bass is to die for.

I believe, anybody out there who play computer audiophile music and where an USB cable is needed, should give himself a chance to experience this at least once before making a purchase. This is the cheapest upgrade which resulted in a BIG improvement. Bravo FTA!!!

And guess what, I am ordering an AES/EBU cable + a pair of XLR interconnect from FTA..my audio journey is becoming more and more exciting.

It took me quite some time to persuade myself to write this post or better to say to open the thread and big portion of "push" came from @wisnon side.
Story about this cable started few months ago when I kindly asked a good friend of mine from back home (Belgrade), from whom I was sourcing my cables for last decade in on and off mode, to send me his latest versions of USB and IC cables. I wanted to hear them in my system and also I wanted to use the opportunity to hear them in Stenheim demo room with LampizatOr Pacific DAC due to the fact that i booked a time with JPP few months in advance.
As FTA designer is genuinely a very modest and humble person he barely agreed to send me those cables as his constant mantra was "I feel bad sending them as they won't be good enough for your level of system/s". What I also very much appreciate about him is that he is always very much responsive to comments and advices from customers and very much eager to experiment.
Few weeks later cables arrived just in time for a demo at Jean Pascal place where also Norman and Christoph were present as well as a good friend of Jean Pascal. At certain point while playing with the system we started swapping few USB cables we had on hand and with the Callisto turn magic happened. We've been kind of shocked so decided to do the another run with previous set of cables and after few minutes with those they've been instantly kicked out as @christoph commented: "put Callisto back - I can't listen to those". Need to say here that those were not some cheap crappy cables (one was even mine which I was using at home).
Week after we repeated the test at Chris place in Liechtenstein and there it proved itself again versus many other competitors and as of than it has been sent to quite a few proud owners across the globe.
Comments are more than positive and as I'm not really super capable of describing the SQ I guess Norm, Chris and few other guys from this forum can do that much better than I can - and also it would be much more fair.
On top I've started using his Ganymede IC cable which proved to be IMHO quite better than Siltech Classic Anniversary 550i - more dynamic, open, better resolution and soundstaging - I do love it..
 

wisnon

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,638
82
48
#3
As for me, I have never been big on cables and certainly don't like the idea of expensive cables that threaten to be the same pricing as component boxes.

In this case, we were using very high gain KR242 tubes and the amp was on a +12db high gain setting. So, while the amp was being adjusted down to 0db, the USB cable was being swapped unbeknownst to me as I was distracted. When the music resumed we all were saying yeah, that's more like it and the consensus was that its was more "live" sounding and thus more real. I assumed it was the amp gain matching. Then, one of the guys made a conjecture it was the USB cable and they went to swap out the FTA Callisto for another brand that cost more and voila, 75% of the newly introduced magic was gone! THAT got my attention.

What is this? A cable giving that much improvement? To the level of a component swap and it costs how much on the introductory group buy price? Our host ordered one and on his recommendation, so did JPP who was not even there. So far, I must say this is really a stunning purchase! No brainer for me.

The people I recommended it to were also pleased, Marslo/Vincent/Larry/Lucas/Deepak, etc.
 

christoph

Active Member
Dec 12, 2015
766
228
43
Principality of Liechtenstein
#4
I really have to thank Golum for introducing me to this wonderful USB cable.

When I heard it for the first time at Stenheim, I was totally bowled over by the transparency, liquidity and palpability and the bass was absolutely fabulous: very tight but yet very powerful and textured.

The other cables on hand sounded either way less alive and flat (an upper range Cardas cable) or flat out annoying, raspy, grainy and therefore very fatigueing (Wireworld Platinum Starlight).
I literally begged to swap back from the WW to the FTA :oops:
Btw. the good People at Stenheim were also so impressed by the FTA cable, that they immediately ordered one right away ;)

When we listened to this FTA demo cable at my place some time later, one of my listening guests said the only tiny "flaw" he can hear is that the treble is a minuscule little attenuated for his personal liking. I guess we others didn't realize that because all the other aspects of this cable were so excellent that we were dazzled by the performance of the FTA o_O

Goran gave this feedback to FTA who on the same evening made new cables, incorporating this feedback and happily said that he was able to better his cable in the treble while maintaining the other strengths.

The good news is that everybody who ordered the cable already got the new and even better version of the FTA Callisto usb cable.

When I got the new cable it sounded already very good from stone cold with zero hours but it got even (quite a lot) better over time.
I ordered 3 cables and intentionally only used one of them to be able to compare brand new to burnt-in.

Anyone getting the FTA Callisto usb cable and who is happy with the initial sound from the first minutes on, be prepared to be dazzled as it gets a lot better with more hours. This became very obvious when I compared the burnt-in cable back to the brand new one :cool:
 

User211

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2014
1,163
62
48
#5
Is there a link and how much is it?

I must say I had a Lampzator USB cable from a while back and there was zero difference between it and a super cheap computer grade one. It hit ebay pretty quick...
 

Golum

Active Member
Jun 7, 2018
128
114
43
Lausanne, CH
#9
May 25, 2010
895
136
43
SF Bay Area
#10
I have been a long term skeptic that USB cables can or should make a difference in the sound quality. I always used a generic USB cable and when my dealer gave me a new MIT USB cable, I put it in my system, but really didn't notice any difference that I could reliably detect. I did go up to an Audio Advisor Pangea deluxe USB for $100 just because I thought it might be better constructed and the cost was modest.

So when I was given the opportunity to try the FTA Callisto, I approached it with my usual skepticism. Well, I was in for a big surprise. I switched out my standard USB for the FTA and within the first few seconds, I could hear a greater depth and texture - instruments had more three dimensionality and it was a much more enjoyable experience. After burning in 100+ hours, this has continued to be the case, but even more. During the time I switched back to my old cable, to see whether this was a confirmation bias of some sort, but I could clearly hear the difference.

With my system, it takes a minute or so to reboot the software (Roon/HQP) to do the switch between cables, so it is not an immediate A/B comparison. I like to actually hear the same section of music played a few times to get it into my ears and aural memory, rather than switching back and forth as the music continues, since in that case, I am not actually listening to the same music.

I have three DACs, but only my Lampi GG is a USB. So that is my reference point. The FTA is a keeper in my system. (See the OP for the link to them). FTA is in Eastern Europe so it took a week to get to California, not too different than packages coming from Michigan or New Jersey.

Larry
 
Mar 10, 2014
111
7
18
Dallas, TX
#11
re-posting here what I just posted somewhere else on the forum:
I just wanted to briefly let you all know about my experience with the FTA Callisto USB cable. I have compared numerous USB cables in my system and started the USB Cable comparison thread on CA that now has a life of its own.
I compared this cable to the Light Harmonic Lightspeed 10G and the entry-level Gekko USB cables in my system. The Gekko had replaced the Lightspeed in my system because of a more resolved and quiet midrange. Nonetheless, the LF and HF of the Lightspeed were better than the Gekko and I started to look for something that would have the best of both worlds. I had the opportunity to get to know this cable and can now say that I found what I was looking for. It did take a while though.
The first cable I received was clearly inferior to both my cables and after a burn-in process I concluded that there either had to be a defect or it was simply plain bad. I reached out and they were extremely forthcoming in sending me a new one, trusting that I would compare both and send either one or both back, the latter in case it was not a defect.
After receiving the second one I inserted it without any burn-in into the system and compared right away with the Lightspeed, since that was the one which would need to be surpassed on all levels to make it worth my while. Right from the start it was on par with the LS, which was very surprising, since all USB cables have benefited from burn-in here at home, which bode well for a future comparison. 150 + hours later I sat down to do the real comparison and here are my findings:
  • much better LF than the LS. not only deeper, but more accurate and, at the same time, more natural. transient attack was on the same level, but now had a more real texture and body
  • mids were far more resolved, more calm, settled and poised. I gained considerable depth, a little bit more even than with the Gekko, which had been its major selling point for me. texture was more refined and even tone was better.
  • the whole sound picture was now more integrated and cohesive
  • HF on the LS, which had always been unsurpassed, now sounded slightly smeared, more specifically in the HF bloom and decay of harmonics, which now were more natural and well-reproduced.
Needless to say, that I won't be taking this out of my system, unless I find a worthy competitor. The Callisto definitely took away the itch and completely dethroned a cable that I have been using for almost 6 years. It is one level above any other USB cable I have had the chance to listen to in my system. Of course, ymmv, but I would strongly suggest anyone looking for a top-level USB cable to give this one a look.

Hope this helps someone. I do know it won't help me sell my Lightspeed, but I'll find another use for it.
 

Golum

Active Member
Jun 7, 2018
128
114
43
Lausanne, CH
#14
Likes: s_c

s_c

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
4
1
3
47
#16
Few words about Callisto...
First of all, like Goran, I also know FTA designer and agreed about everything Goran wrote about him. Modest, willing to share hugh knowledge and experience.
Personaly, I used many FTA cables in many years, but Callisto is something quite different, best USB he ever made.
Hugh sound stage, vertical and horizontal, nice voice and instrument separation, lot of “air” and excelent “3D picture”.
My system is not High-End, it is pretty modest...
Mark&Daniel Topaz, Classe DR-5, Aragon 2004, Chord QuteHD,....
With FTA Callisto I have completely different sound stage now, wall to wall, bottom to ceiling...now, sound is all around me.
 
Nov 16, 2013
80
1
8
#17
Thanks. Speaking tonally, on the cool - "neutral" - warm continuum, where does the Callisto fall? "Natural" tends to depend on the ears of the beholder.
 
Last edited:
Mar 10, 2014
111
7
18
Dallas, TX
#18
Thanks. Speaking tonally, on the cool - "neutral" - warm continuum, where does the Callisto fall? "Natural" tends to depend on the ears of the beholder.
If we take the Lightspeed 10G to be slightly on the cool side of neutral, the Callisto is pretty neutral in my estimation.
 
Likes: christoph

Golum

Active Member
Jun 7, 2018
128
114
43
Lausanne, CH
#19

christoph

Active Member
Dec 12, 2015
766
228
43
Principality of Liechtenstein
#20
Thanks. Speaking tonally, on the cool - "neutral" - warm continuum, where does the Callisto fall? "Natural" tends to depend on the ears of the beholder.
I would also say the Callisto is neutral and very transparent, yet juicy and muscular and VERY palpable and alive.
It combines qualities, that normally don't go/come together and because of that, I really love the FTA Callisto :cool:
 
Likes: marslo

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