Jason Kennedy reviews Kimber: 1
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020
We thought it would be a good idea to ask respected reviewer Jason Kennedy to give us his thoughts on four of Kimber’s analogue interconnects – Timbre, Silver Streak, Hero-HB and Select KS-1016. Each of the cables represent a logical step-up from the last, and Jason gives his opinion of the cables as you work your way up the range.
Kimber Timbre™ Analogue Interconnects.
Timbre is a Kimber classic in all respects. It uses their three-wire braided construction with VariStrand™ copper conductors, which is another way of saying that the conductors are not all the same gauge.
The insulation, or dielectric, is low-loss fluorocarbon and the terminations are made by hand using nitrogen for a perfect connection. Timbre is available in balanced and single ended configurations with Ultraplate™ RCA connections on the latter.
Being unshielded, Timbre is a usefully flexible interconnect and in most instances a half metre pair will be adequate. As with all Kimber Kables there are direction indicators on heatshrink at the send end (the one attached to the source or preamplifier).
In the system...
Timbre revealed a tremendous amount of the energy and life in all kinds of music. It is also very good at defining the musicians in a specific space; in other words imaging is first class for such a reasonably-priced cable.
I also really liked the fresh but relaxed nature of its presentation as it makes other respected cables in its class sound sat upon and dead by comparison.
BUY TIMBRE HERE
Kimber Silver Streak™ Analogue Interconnects
Silver Streak was the first copper/silver hybrid cable developed by Ray Kimber, combining two copper conductors with one silver strand to bring the qualities of both materials to the sound.
As with Timbre, the strands are of different thicknesses and insulated in low loss fluorocarbon dielectric. The three-wire braid topology makes this another very flexible and easy to use cable.
The sample auditioned was terminated in Kimber Ultraplate RCA plugs but this cable is also available with XLR plugs for balanced connections.
In the room...
The presence of silver in Silver Streak gives it the ability to reveal the nature of musical timing with considerable flair and it makes the tempo and the interplay of musicians very clear, thanks in part to strong bass definition.
This is a calm, relaxed cable that gives you a good sense of the body of the instrument or voice in a performance... you get a strong impression of the presence of the musicians in the room.
I like the precision that it brings to the presentation, which is true across the band; the bass is well defined, the midrange clear and the high frequencies are clean and open.
BUY SILVER STREAK HERE
Kimber Hero HB™ Analogue Interconnects
Kimber’s Hero HB uses four rather than three conductors - two in copper and two in silver. This four wire braid increases noise rejection and thus keeps the signal in a more pristine state, and this clearly has an effect on sound quality as you might hope, producing what is effectively an increase in signal to noise ratio.
Available as a single ended interconnect with WBT™ 0102 Cu (copper) locking RCA plugs or Kimber Ultraplate this model can also be had with balanced connectors. I listened to the model fitted with UltraPlate phono plugs.
In the system, Hero HB brought remarkable depth of image to everything I played, whether it was solo acoustic guitar or synthesisers and drum machines. It also delivers power in a very calm, effortless way so much so that you are inclined to play at higher levels which is always a sign of lower distortion. Timing is clearly a strongpoint too: I knew this because my foot started tapping as if the music was bypassing my brain and getting straight to my rhythm receptors!
Bass has an ease and weight that is very enjoyable, especially when a double bass is playing and creating distinct shapes in the low end. It also has a knack for digging deep into the mix and pulling out the fine details that form the quieter elements of every note. A sure sign that noise is being kept at bay, it’s only when the noise floor drops do you start to hear the low level stuff that makes reproduced music sound real.
BUY HERO-HB HERE
Kimber Select KS-1016™ Analogue Interconnects
The base model in Kimber’s top Select range of very fine interconnects comes in a virtually bomb proof Pelican case. I’ve no idea why it needs so much protection but it’s precious stuff. This sample was furnished with WBT Nextgen™ Cu RCA plugs that you tighten onto the socket, the thinking being that a better contact means lower losses.
Gold plated copper plugs connect six high purity copper conductors that are woven around a core designed to enhance the interference rejection of the weave and damp vibration. Select KS-1016 is the best all copper interconnect that Kimber makes, something that becomes apparent within moments of listening.
The first thing that hit me was the tonal richness it managed to pull out of an acoustic guitar track, and then I noticed that the soundstage had got wider and more open: things were becoming very interesting indeed. With a bit more listening it was obvious that the notes were being separated out more clearly, the extra space exposed by this cable made it possible to appreciate the attack and decay of each note much more easily.
Rhythm with resolution
With some cables more detail can mean less musical engagement, but that is clearly not the case with Select, where the rhythm flows with an ease that makes you want to carry on for as long as possible. This cable reflects the music with a degree of accuracy and sophistication that few can match; I played some Schubert lieder which are a tough test of any audio component and enjoyed the delicacy and power of singer Christine Schäfer’s voice with ease.
Low level resolution is very strong with the 1016. I put on some electronic music that gets a lot of action in my system and was surprised by the clarity it brought to the fine details of the recording... what had previously seemed indistinct became precisely defined. This is one of those cables that makes you realise that there’s always more going on in a piece of music than you thought - it’s a voyage of discovery.
BUY KS-1016 HERE
See part 2 of Jason's Kimber reviews here
This article first appeared in Connected magazine. issue 47, Spring 2019.
Jason Kennedy is a Hi-Fi journalist, reviewer and former editor of Hi-Fi Choice magazine, and currently edits the-ear.net
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Written By Jason Kennedy