Sablon USB cable - 2020 model

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#1
“All I want is 20-20 vision, a total portrait with no omissions” Debbie Harry once sang, and her words make a great objective for hi-fi enthusiasts striving to discover more of the artist’s message.

A few months ago, I acquired an Intona Ultimate USB cable to try see what CKKeung’s excitement was about and I was impressed by the exceptional resolution it delivers. This cable therefore became my reference for reworking my Brutus award winning USB cable, which had soldiered on unchanged for the past 3 years. Intona resolution but with Sablon musicality became the development target.

Since my current model has served many customers well, I went though all the aspects of the design with a fine-tooth comb to see if any could be improved upon. Inevitably some ideas met with dead ends however there were, encouragingly, also several areas which I was able to enhance. Some of these will be visible, others not. A number of beta examples have been in circulation for UAT this month and production will start in February. Based on feedback to date and my own impressions, I'm pretty comfortable that the design objectives have been met.

Compared to the existing cable, the noise floor has dropped significantly which brings benefits in transparency and dynamic presence. Soundstage is more expansive yet has simultaneously been brought into clearer focus for a deeper insight into recordings. Overall tonality remains neutral and evenly distributed across the frequency range, yet musical. Think step change rather than an incremental improvement.

Since the digital cable segment is somewhat price sensitive (yes, the ones-and-zeros mentality lives on…), I will leave the pricing unchanged from the old model and an upgrade service will be available for older models, with concessionary rates for original owners.

Going forward, I will only be offering this single model level though there will continue to be an unpowered option for owners of dacs with Amanero inputs (Lampizator / Nagra / T&A) at a lower price-point. This iteration now also uses a dual leg format for greater gains.

Interested parties are welcome to PM / email me for an audition.
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
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#2
I own the current Sablon USB cable and had the opportunity to listen to Mark's beta model last week. Everything that Mark posted above I heard with my ears. The resolution was significantly increased with no negative offsets.

Needless to say, I am already on the list for the upgrade.
 
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Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#3
Thanks for sharing David and I’m glad you enjoyed it!
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#4
A few people have asked me about auditions, and I presently have four demo cables circulating in USA, a couple in EU and some more in transit to both HK and Singapore.
 
Jun 26, 2019
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#5
I 've kindly received the new USB cable from Mark, after a couple of days of burn-in, I like what I heard from this cable, since I have the Intonas USB ultimate connected on the MSB ref , I could easily compare both: The MP3100HV with the new USB cable and the MSB ref with the Intonas.

The body and resolution were both improved on the MP3100HV, I also notice more refine highs with the new cable, although they are different DACs, I still have a good memory how they sounded before. What is also interesting is that I could easily remove the Intona Isolator 3.0 from the USB path and did not notice any significant degradation in sound wen compared with the older USB rev cables.
Thank You Mark!
 

Billygxx

Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2015
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108
63
#6
Hi Mark,
I would like to hear your USB on the USA tour-sign me up. Maybe its my set up but i find that i prefer the sound of the Ansuz DTC USB and the Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Reference to the Intona.
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#7
@nuway, Carlos it’s good to know my ears aren’t deceiving me! Thanks for posting!

@Billygxx, I’d be happy to put you down for a listen Billy and will drop you an email to arrange
 

joaovieira

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
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Brazil
#8
I wish I lived closer to have a chance to listen.
 
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Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
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London, UK
#9
It’s always great news when Mark develops another way to enhance the performance of his cables whilst maintaining musicality.

I too had the beta cable to compare to the original Elite USB and concur with everything Mark highlights but can also add that there is even more solidity to notes giving greater gravitas to a performance. This is all without any unwanted thickening. Resolution is now on par with the Intona Ultimate but way ahead on organic music making. The Intona Ultimate was a complete bore in my system. I tried, it failed.

The revamped Sablon USB, in my opinion, is several notches better not just a few and as Mark says “ a step change not just incremental”

AND, all at the same price! .............. too generous for words.

Blue58
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#10
@Blue58 - you have an exquisite system and demanding tastes. Your praise means a lot to me!
 

adamaley

Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2016
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Minnetonka, MN
#11
I've learned not to be skeptical about Mark's stated development goals...my system is completely Sabloned out, and I still try to bring in other comers to confirm I am not a fan boy. In this case, the newcomer was Mark's own 2020 USB cable (Mark, are we working on a better name? ;-).

@Blue58 took the words right out of my mouth. The resolution is amped up, yet the music is so much smoother. More texture with more body for it to hold on to. More of the venue without being distracting. In other words, more cake while you eat it.

Thanks for the chance to audition, Mark.
 
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Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#12
Am glad you enjoyed it Etor and thanks for sharing your impressions! Yes, I should try find a better name for it :)
 

Billygxx

Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2015
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108
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#14
Brave man. Taking on the favorites of some heavy hitter members. Although I know you will have some necessary bias, I am really eager to hear your impressions of the Gobel relative to your own most recent creation.
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#15
Billy, when I saw your question in my email box this morning I thought it was a PM rather than a forum post! Having scraped the sleep from my eyes I will try and answer your questions candidly.

Firstly, the Goebel only arrived yesterday lunchtime so I have only had the opportunity for a brief listen to it. This cable has been lent to me by a customer in Dallas who has an Extreme / Berkeley Ref and Alpha. He prefers his Intona cable and would like to sell the Goebel after I am done with my listening.

Based on my brief audition, I do quite like the Goebel but will say that it has a rather different presentation to the Intona. Broadly speaking, the Intona appeals to the head with an exceptionally high resolution but less emotional engagement. The Goebel appears to be more engaging but less resolving. I’m going to leave it to percolate on repeat over the next few days to see how it evolves as I have yet to calibrate on its tonality / frequency distribution etc. Fundamentally speaking, I suspect these two cables may have had rather different design briefs and I can see how personal subjectivity would weigh in on preferences between the two.

As to my own priorities, well I do value both resolution and musicality highly. I have said elsewhere that I would trade a little resolution to avoid my sound quality becoming sterile but equally feel that my new usb cable has the respective strengths of the other two covered...

inevitably, I am going to be perceived to be biased, however over the forthcoming days I anticipate more feedback being posted here from other Extreme and Intona owning customers. Ultimately my opinion is less important than that of my customers.
 
May 30, 2010
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#16
Good news, the new Sablon USD arrived today. I have only listened a few hours, exchanging it with the Intona Reference, that is not their top model. Curiously the major improvement was with Qobuz streaming - it supressed the residual fine sandy grain (I am surely exaggerating to try to explain it) that separates streaming from playback from the Extreme memory. It was clear that the Intona immediately exposes more detail, but sounds more artificial.

What I appreciated most is that this USB cable approached significantly the sound of the Extreme to the sound quality and balance of the DCS Vivaldi CD transport - more fleshed and fluid.
Please note that I am using the Vivaldi DAC that has ultra-high resolution and a full balance.
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#17
Micro, I am honoured (and, truth be told, somewhat relieved...) that a WBF Jedi Master such as yourself finds merit in my product!

If you can leave it on repeat for a couple of days, you should find the sound quality will intensify. Cables tend to suffer from being coiled for shipping and this particular cable has relatively few hours use on it (maybe @100).

I’m going to throw a little technical snippet into the public domain which some may feel to be a heresy - there isn’t any braided shielding on the data lines of this design. I find it closes in the high frequency ambience / air and that ‘darkness’ creates an artificial sense of transparency.
 
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Mar 16, 2019
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Singapore
#18
Mark's new USB cable has arrived in Singapore. But I am back to my hometown in Malaysia for chinese new year celebration. ARGHH..

Will be collecting the usb cable from post office next week. Impression follows...
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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E. England
#19
Chinese "Year of the Sab"?
 
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ronfint

Well-Known Member
Oct 29, 2012
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Michigan
users.math.msu.edu
#20
I received Mark's new usb cable yesterday. The improvement from his previous usb cable was immediately apparent. For me the most obvious quality is presence. Everything became much more alive.

Within ten minutes I emailed Mark and ordered my own cable. It’s a bit amazing to me that a usb cable can make this kind of difference. Anyone want a used (2017) Panatela Reserva Elite USB cable at a very good price?
 
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