Allnic's First ZL cable turns SILVER!
Introducing the first pure silver core cable by Allnic - the ZL-8000s! speaker cable. 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.
The L-9000 OTL/OCL line stage and the Amber Allnic cartridge are two new from the ground up in-house design products by KS Park. No one man knows tubes and tube-based circuit design better than Kang Su Park. He has single-handedly designed attenuators, tube sockets, permalloy transformers, moving coil cartridges, constant impedance speaker networks, ultra-low resistance heat-welded cabling systems, direct heated triode circuity, transformer coupled designs and now a new OTL / OCL product line and otherwise hard to source tubes also manufactured in-house exclusive to the Allnic product line.
The L-9000 line stage preamp has proved to be quite the chameleon. A dead quiet neutral circuit that is entirely tube dependent for proper seasoning. This unit has proven very capable to voice any system. The complement of tubes (6U8A, 12au7 and 6080/6AS7) are easily sourced, even the rare earth Mullard and OSRAM vintage 6080 equivalents. 12au7 are popular but remain easily obtainable. This unit has a similar performance as its more expensive brother, L-10,000 OTL/OCL but also has lower output impedance, and responds very well to tube-rolling for excellent system-specific fine tuning. The 6080 tube glow is quite beautiful. Historically, and this unit should be no different, Allnic demand little of their tubes and they exhibit extended lifespan.
Now, we are glad to announce the new AMBER boron cantilevered and ROSE aluminum cantilevered, dual magnet moving coil cartridges that emulate the album manufacturing cutter head providing greater separation of the signal. The higher compliance offers greater customer satisfaction with medium and high mass tonearms. Early trials by a lucky select few report excellent bass and tracking with Allnic’s trademark sense of realism in holography, sound stage and transient attack, and notably exceptionally low record groove noise. While both the Amber and the Rose offer similar characteristics, each has its strengths and, therefore, I encourage the opportunity to hear both and decide for yourself.
With absolute clarity others report this is the new go to, best buy, moving coil cartridge, replacing previous favorites at double and triple the asking price. Amber retails for $4500 and is now available. The Rose will be available in a week and retails for $2900.
In 30 or 40 years, the legacy of his contribution to electronic playback design will be spoken of reverently. Please, if you have read this far, do not miss, at least, an audition of an Allnic piece. We promise system synergy and improvement.
Anthony Kershaw of Audiophilia recently posted a review on the new Allnic M-2500 and I wanted to post my impressions and summarize what it offers. I have owned many tube amplifier designs over the years and historically the push-pull type has never been my favorite. Each design approach has its strengths and weaknesses. As my speakers became more efficient, the micro detailing of single bulb, low wattage amplifiers presented huge benefit without any detriment to my evolving and, admittedly, more mellow listening style -- a lateral move where I remained content for some time. When I learned of these new amplifiers, I requested KS Park to make a set specific to the PX25. This enabled me to do a direct comparison using the same PX25 tubes and rectifiers.
This new amp design has hit the sweet spot between SET and typical push-pull amplifiers. The M-2500 maintains the micro detailing, texture and overall finesse across the midrange SET designs are known for while improving the dynamics, slam factor and extended and focused bass. This improvement was further accentuated by replacing my 1937 production OSRAM PX25 and 1950 production GEC (OSRAM) U52 with modern Kron tubes. There was an unexpected and pleasantly surprising profound change in clarity, as if donning eyeglasses first thing in the morning. Frequency extension in both directions. Deeper, broader soundstage and improved imaging with a new emphasis on the delicacy of decay particularly noted in percussion. To emphasize, this change was not subtle and I anticipate these amplifiers being a tube rolling delight while adhering to the manufacturer specifications.
I suspect the SET characteristics can be attributed to the direct-heated vacuum tube rectification. The 5U4G full-wave rectifier tube replaces the semiconductor diode in the rectification circuit of the M-3000 mkii and other traditional push-pull amplifiers.
With the individual tube biasing, pairing is not necessary. Historically, I find Allnic circuit design does not overdrive their tubes and they tend to last a very long time. The M-2500 appears to retain this benefit.
The M-2500s are now my go-to amps with no issues presenting with any genre at any volume. My amps are the PX25 20W continuous triode, set at 8 ohm driving Daedalus Zeus Speakers with 99 dB efficiency at a VERY flat impedance curve (+/- 1 ohm above 100hz) and most of the time are spot on at 6ohms. I have had customers prefer the micro-detailing and improved bass inherent to the PX25 and drive their Daedalus speakers at 96 dB.