samedi 14 décembre 2013

Test - ifi Audio Gemini Cable

I am not used to write quick reviews but sometimes product deserves it!


You might know about the English manufacturer ifi Audio, the spin off from AMR. Their engineering is pretty good with electronics and is now concentrating on accessories. Nowadays it is still possible to enhance a middle range class as products are getting more and more efficient? Manufacturers are delivering state of the art setups with top performance chipsets such as TI 1795 or Sabre ESS4399. Optimization becomes a headache and comes back to its roots: power supply and cables. AMR has understood the needs and as such an article cannot be sold for thousands of bucks, it was clever to separate this activity to target at the right market. Ifi Audio has the right answer for much situation where the end user gets a nice performing converter but a very harsh and noisy computer power supply setup. In many situations, the iUSBPower I have reviewed a few months ago is able to provide a good answer and offer a cleaner music to our ears.

As all the others, they are also providing with a range of USB cables. We all know about the importance of the USB cables in the transportation of the audio date regarding timing and quality of squared waves. The ideal cable is able to both separate power supply transport pair from the data pairs. It is also using shielding and insulation that correctly isolate data transportation from electromagnetic interferences.



With Gemini Cable, ifi Audio intends to answer to both of these constraints. The power supply is transported in a fully separated cable from the data. The small clips which are ceramic based are both separating cable at a fixed distance to avoid interferences, but also play a role as EMI filter because of their nature. Terminated with shielded aluminum plugs, all conditions are maximized to fight against external interaction.

We should note that because of its specific construction, it must be used with the iUBBPower supply.

I have carefully tested and used the cable for months with a lot of setups as I review a lot for French written press. My feeling regarding this cable is that, it is unfortunately not possible to use if with a standard setup. One must have the iUSBPower accessory to use it. The cable is a bit hard to setup as it is not as flexible as a regular one with the 3 small clips. The construction is therefore very good and there was no problem with it even if I mistreated it a few times with test!

To evaluate it, I compared it with a regular cable within the same price range from Wireworld (“Red” Starlight) and Supra USB. Wireworld starlight cables are a bit projecting medium, but tend to be neutral on high frequencies, even if they do not extend to infinite. Supra gets more linear, but do not extend as far as Wireworld in frequencies, they are also having a very nice medium tones and provides with rich harmonies in this area.
Gemini cable performed better than the others. Gemini demonstrated a more linear bandwidth with no projection sensation. Tonal output was in respect with the source characteristics (e.g. application on computer). Instruments neither appear too rich in color, neither lacking of body. Nevertheless, the bandwidth and the richness of micro-information were not as good as with next range of cables. This is therefore not a real revolution as I still think that 600€ cables are really having a step ahead when it comes to think at coupling a high end equipment.

In my opinion this is a good idea to purchase such a cable if you own an iUSBPower as for the price it will perform much better than a standard USB cable and also better than a standard good cable in its price range.



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