Harmonic Technology: Harmony Wave Loudspeaker Cables, Harmony-Link Interconnects and Pro AC-11 Power Cords

Harmonic Technology: Harmony Wave Loudspeaker Cables, Harmony-Link Interconnects and Pro AC-11 Power Cords

November 5, in Hi-Fi Systems Reviews

Specifications:

Harmony Wave Loudspeaker Cable

  • Two 14 AWG and two 16 AWG copper wires
  • Harmonic Technology patented Single crystal™ design
  • Exterior constructed of UL/CL-3 grade PVC
  • Terminations can be spade or banana, Bi-wire or single design
  • Accommodates for in-wall applications as well
  • Capacitance per foot, 37 pF Inductance per foot 0.56 uH Resistance per foot, 0.003 Ohm
  • Review cables ten feet each side (Bi-wired at loudspeaker end), spade terminations both ends
  • Price $305

Harmony-Link Interconnect

  • Made with copper wire
  • Harmonic Technology patented Single crystal™ design Terminated with Gold Finished RCA connectors: Capacitance, 62 pF
  • Inductance per foot, 0.52 uH Resistance per foot, 0.013 Ohm Terminated with XLR connectors Capacitance, 60 pF
  • Inductance per foot, 049 uH Resistance per foot, 0.011 Ohm
  • Review Interconnect-One meter RCA connector version
  • Price $99 a pair with either RCA OR XLR connectors

Pro AC-11 Power Cord

  • 11 AWG 6N (99.9997%) high purity copper wire Harmonic Technology patented Single crystal™ design Exterior constructed of two shields of UL/CL-3 grade PVC
  • Variety of IEC female and male plugs are available at the ends
  • Review power cord was a 2 meter length with: Furutech FI-11 IEC
  • Furutech FI-11M male plug
  • Price as reviewed $260

Harmonic Technology was founded in 1998 by Jim Wang and is headquartered in San Diego, California. Through extensive research they developed and patented their OCC Single Crystal™ design process. According to their website this process allows for metal to be purified in order to eliminate any potential crystalline barrier distortion and thereby increase dynamics and clarity while still maintaining an increase in the power of the signal transmitted through the cables. When talking to Jim Wang on the phone he mentioned that their (OCC) Single Crystal™ copper (99.9997%) conductors have been the single most effective key to Harmonic Technology’s success in making so many wonderful and effective cables. Anyone interested in a detailed description of this process may go to the “Technical Overview” section of their website and read information far too lengthy to mention here in this review.

I like reading through manufacturers websites and what caught my attention on their site was a short yet bold statement, “Our goal is simple: to bring the beauty of the performance through your systems with perfect authenticity.” Ah, now that is what I want to hear and may I add, can you do it without equaling the price of a good quality used car? Even though they do make expensive cables Mr Wang and I decided it would be best to start with their least expensive line of interconnects, power cords and loudspeaker cables for this particular review. Since the basic design concept of using their patented (OCC) Single Crystal™ copper (99.9997%) conductors is used throughout their lineup reviewing even their entry level cables should be a good preview of what their more costly cabling has to offer.

Harmony Wave Loudspeaker Cable

Picking an arbitrary starting place we will begin with a look at the Harmony Wave loudspeaker cable. It is made up of two 14 AWG and two 16 AWG copper wires using Harmonic Technology’s patented Single crystal ™ design mentioned above with your choice of either banana or spade termination at each end. Surprisingly these spades actually were large enough to easily use with my loudspeakers and amplifiers, a problem I have had in the past with other cables. Their outer covering has a smooth appearance that is not adorned with a large heavy sheath to make them look larger and more expensive. Being that they are also advertised as being made for use with Home Theatre applications in mind I would think that this smooth layering would be for ease of use when placing inside a wall.

Harmony Wave Loudspeaker Cable

So much for design and appearance so let us now listen to how they perform. The Best Of John Denver Live (Legacy JS 65183) CD, recorded in SACD format, with the song “Country Roads” is a good test of the way a cable can handle spaciousness. Here with the CD recorded outdoors in front of a live audience, rather than in a studio, a top quality cable will enhance the sense of open outdoor feeling to the performance. The Harmony Wave did that and a little bit more. Not only did the soundstage fill up my room with music but imaging within that space was clearly defined so individual performers could be easily located. The applause from the audience tested the layering effect of the Harmony Wave cable and it appeared that rows of people were literally seated in front of me. As for vocal content it received high marks, as John Denver’s sounded quite lifelike. What it did not do was give the ultimate in details or openness of more expensive cables costing three times or more its price, but again I would not expect them to do so. For that level of quality you must look upwards in the Harmonic Technology product line. Bass was also well defined and strong. Some entry level cables can give one a sense of being bass shy but the Harmony Wave did just fine in this regards. AC/DC’s CD Back In Black (EPIC EK 80207) opens with the powerful song “Hells Bells”. With this the Harmony Wave performed quite admirable in its presentation of the decay of the bells and the feeling of an almost real bell ringing right before me. On “Shoot To Thrill” the mid-bass presentation of drums imparted a solid feel to them while details and imaging was well defined across the width of the soundstage. Even when playing at loud volume they did not sound congested and the sense of space between performers was excellent. All totaled the Harmony Wave gave a solid overall feeling to any song played through it.

Harmony-Link Interconnect

Next up was the Harmony-Link interconnects. Again they are of a copper wire construction using the Harmonic Technology patented Single crystal™ design and comes terminated with either RCA or balanced XLR connectors. The RCA connectors are gold finished and while not the fancy more expensive locking variety they slipped on easily and never gave me any problems. Simplicity seems to come to mind when thinking of the appearance of both Harmony Wave and Harmony-Link cables. There is no extra charge for the XLR connections, which is something I find quite refreshing. There are many that charge extra for this. Like the Harmony Wave loudspeaker cables, the Harmony-Link has a smooth outer covering, nothing fancy.

Harmony-Link Interconnect

Putting on Carlos Santana’s CD Abraxas (Columbia/Legacy CK65490) these interconnects were able to display a beautiful wide soundstage while providing some very good transient response from the congas and keyboard on the song “Incident At Neshabur”. These were fast sounding cables which gave a very good sense to the pace and timing of the song. When listening to the swift guitar rifts from Carlos Santana the Harmony-Link interconnects gave them just the right amount of speed. From the Rolling Stones CD Through The Past Darkly (abkco 90032) I played an old favorite of mine, “Honky Tonk Women”. The upper bass played surprising tight from such a budget cable, as imagery was also good. All five of the Stones could be “seen” onstage displaying great clarity in mid-range presence. Lastly moving to my music sampler KFOG 104.5/97.7 (SBR Creative Media) I zeroed in on the song “Stitched Up” with Herbie Hancock and John Mayer. Herbie Hancock on keyboard was excellent, bass was tight and vocals clear, what more can you ask for in this price range or even quite a bit beyond. The Harmony-Link once again did a good job of balancing the sound from the presence region as voices never sounded forward and seemed to sit in the soundstage as was intended in the recording. During some very critical listening while comparing them to some expensive cables I could tell that the soundstage was not as large, there was a little less air on the top and sub bass lost just a touch, yet I found myself enjoying these cables because they still did so much right. In fact I had to keep reminding myself that they only cost $99 a pair, they were that good.

Pro AC-11 Power Cord

Before hearing them all together as one system, let us take a look at the Pro AC-11 power cord. These are made of 11 AWG Single Crystal™ design high purity copper wire with an exterior constructed of two shields of UL/CL-3 grade PVC. Various Furutech IEC female and male plugs are available for termination preferences. They cable was quite supple (always a good thing) and the Furutech connectors was an attractive termination that fight tightly in both the amplifier and the wall socket. I want to say right up front that I really did enjoy my time here with these power cords. Starting out with Eric Clapton’s well known Unplugged (Reprise 9 45024-2) CD with “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out” the AC-11’s allowed for a good reproduction of low level detail as even minute background sounds could be heard from the audience. As this song is slow paced, some power cords make this song sound a bit too slow but the AC-11’s with their ability to be quite fast made for a realistic presentation. This was especially evident in the reproduction of the piano that really has a nice tonal character to it. There was not only a good degree of spaciousness around instruments and lead vocal but also with the background singers as well. Randy Travis on his CS, Old 8 X 10(Warner Bros. 9 25738-2) emphasized another of the AC-11’s strong points, which is their ability to exhibit effective presence during a performance in the mid-range or vocal region. On “The Blues in Black and White” the AC-11’s showed off its ability to really let one crank up the volume and yet retain the clear and natural sound of Randy Travis’ voice. With “Old 8 x 10” Mark O’Connor’s fiddle sounded like it had a little extra weight thereby giving its sonic timbre a more lifelike presentation. To see what this power cord could do with female vocals Celine Dion’s CD Falling Into You (550Music/Epic BK 67541) was next selected. The song “All By Myself” is very powerful and dynamic. The AC-11’s keep pace as her voice rose and fell in sheer volume the way very few performers can actually do. Again excellent overall presence within the vocal range brought with it both the ability to increase volume while maintaining clarity thereby adding greatly to the performance. As we hear Celine Dion really letting loose with her powerful voice the AC-11’s put no serious constraints on our ability to clearly experience this event.

Pro AC-11 Power Cord

Heard together as a group

I like nothing better than to hear cables from one manufacturer playing in harmony and so before summing up this review will listen with them all together in unison. My first selection was a piece from one of Jewel’s older recordings, Pieces of You (Atlantic 82700-2) CD. Skipping by the very popular “Who Will Save Your Soul” and the title song “Pieces Of You” I stopped here on “Little Sister” because in the very beginning of the song her guitar picking was beautifully displayed. These cables had no trouble letting one hear straight into the inside of the guitar and the sound of reverberation within to give a great overall “live feeling” to Jewel’s performance. Moving now onto “Foolish Games”, a song I found hauntingly beautiful as Jewel sang with a voice reminiscent of Joan Baez. Jewel’s voice has a raw natural beauty and style that was captured quite nicely by these Harmonic Technology cables. At the same time the piano of Charlotte Caffey came across sounding natural and large. When compared to more expensive cables they did lack a little air on top and some deeper sub-bass presentation. I am being very picky here, far more picky then someone should be for this pricepoint.

On the positive side, of which there are many, songs came across quite clear with a level of detail within that surprised me for cables selling in this lower price range. As for the depth of soundstage as well as size left to right they should do a good job of pleasing all but the fussiest of listeners. On “Angel Standing By” (Available on the 1997 re-release of Pieces of You by Jewel.) there was a good three-dimensional quality to the song where one could hear even the faintest of breathing from the singer. Within John Lennon’s song “Imagine” from the CD title Imagine (CDP 7 908032 2) the keys of the piano retained just the correct amount of decay to add to the sense of a live performance also listening to Klaus Voormann on bass and Alan White on drums these cables filled my soundstage nicely while providing more then adequate space between performers that rivaled far more expensive cables. One of my favorite Italian tenors is Andrea Bocelli. Here on his CD Verdi (Philips B0001292-19), recorded in DVD Audio. The emotional context of the songs came across in abundance. The Harmonic Technology cables presented plenty of the subtle sounds that make listening to a good recording like these worthwhile. Yes, they did lack a little of the lower bass fullness and top end extension of some of the very best cables, but I laughed at that thought as I remembered all the money I was saving. When turning up the volume Bocelli’s voice never came across as shrill and always managed to put a smile on my face as I listened intently. Overall I would have to say this trio of loudspeaker cables, interconnects and power cords did a wonderful job of presenting me with a realistic, powerful and clear picture of the recordings played through them.

Final Evaluation:

This truly was an eye-opening experience and I was shocked to hear these fairly inexpensive cables perform so well. I almost did not do this review as I have had it in the back of my head to contact Harmonic Technology for so long but never did. Well I am glad that I finally got to my computer and sent off an email to its founder Jim Wang asking if he would allow me to try some of his products. If someone were to ask which cables to purchase for an aspiring system, one that might someday evolve a into much more serious endeavor, I could easily recommend the Harmony Wave, Harmony-Link and Pro AC-11 cables. Yes, they are that good and all capable of inserting into an audio system much greater than their entry-level price would lead you to believe. However if you are still not satisfied and want even more sonic perfection go to Harmonic Technology’s website to check out their extensive line-up of audio cables (they also have video cables too if you like) for two or multi-channel listening. Entry level or not I never felt as if I was missing much in the way of sonic quality with either the Harmony Wave loudspeaker cable or Harmony-Link interconnects. For a small outlay of funds it appeared that in return one was getting much more than you paid for. As for the Pro AC-11 power cords they were fast and dynamic while providing a great deal of low level detail. I could easily see myself purchasing these products for my review system and being quite happy with the decision. All three did a great job of bringing out the essence of a performance, well beyond their list prices.

The Listening Environment:

The review room is eighteen feet eight inches long by thirteen feet wide. The loudspeakers and equipment are kept on the short wall. The cathedral ceiling starts at eight feet and sloops upwards to thirteen feet at its peak in the middle spanning across the short length of the room for the full thirteen feet height. The hardwood floor has a nine by six foot oriental rug lying down the long ways toward the system placed dead center in between, yet not under, the listener and the review equipment The room has no doors but two openings. One is in front of the right Legacy Focus 20/20 loudspeakers which gives access to the hallway while the other is behind the listening position and opens to the formal dinning area. The room is treated with two floor standing acoustical panels, one behind each loudspeaker, and the audio equipment is located in a Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack against and in the middle of the short wall. I have two power conditioners which plug into a PS Audio Power Port receptacle located behind the audio rack. There are also two Blue Circle Audio MKIII Power Line Pillows one on each of two outlets on the long walls next to and behind each loudspeaker. The Legacy’s are located about six feet seven inches from the rear wall to their front panel They are also twenty one inches from the rooms side walls to the middle of each loudspeakers. The Legacy’s are twelve feet apart from each other to form a triangle with the listening position that is also at a distance of twelve feet from loudspeaker to listener. In the corner of each short wall behind the Legacy’s are a pair of 1989 Klipsch Klipschorn loudspeakers that are sometimes used for reviews. If the Klipsch loudspeakers are used I would then reposition the two acoustical panels to slightly behind the listening position one to the left and the other to the right of me.

Review Equipment:

  • Placette Passive Preamplifier (3 input model)
  • Samsung HD-841 Cd/SACD/DVD Audio universal player
  • Monarchy Audio SE-100 MK2 mono block amplifiers
  • PS Audio power port receptacle
  • Acoustic Revive RTP-2 power conditioner
  • Two Blue Circle Audio Mk III power line conditioner
  • Loudspeakers were a pair of Legacy Focus 20/20’s finished in Rosewood
  • Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack

from affordableaudio, By Anthony Nicosia

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