Wednesday, 10 May 2017

When You Put Current Into Digital Cable - An Acoustic Revive Perspective

Just like any other engineering based industry, the audio industry is never short of advancement. Whether these advancement is valid or not, that is another challenge that this industry faces (or more likely the consumer faces). I now come across a coaxial digital cable that comes with a power supply. Although its not a new design, it is relatively uncommon at least for yours truly to see this being used in a system. When I was offered to try this Acoustic Revive DSIX cable by a colleague, I quickly accepted. The on challenge I face is that I no longer subscribe to the usage of CD player (well at least for the past year). So the only means for me to test this cable is with my Minidisc player.

DSIX stands for Digital Signal Isolation Exciter. Based on their website, this unit electrically isolates the signal loop from equipment by the use of the isolation transformer. In return, the throw rate (start up speed of a digital shape wave) is up to five times faster and the transmission energy is up to twelve times more in a circuit equipped with DSIX.

For further technical talk, please head towards the website. What I am going to explain now is how all these effect the sound.


As this is an old design from circa 2007/8 and the fact that I am using an MD as a source, it might not be the best representation of the cable. However, I still look forward on how it fairs on a RIP format, feeding into a more modern DAC. In this review, I connected my SONY MDS JA20ES minidisk deck to Musical Fidelity M6 DAC.

This is not a fully loaded review as I only had the cable for about a week. First if all, the power cable is not optional. You have to plug it in a power source to allow digital signal to pass through from your source to DAC.

I was playing random music from pre recorded and recorded MDs. Specifics observation as below:

  • My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion - Vocal was transparent and instrument sounded less compressed. Quite free free following. but I lost some level of bass and warmness. there is a stint of improvement in openness. 
  • September by Earth Wind and Fire - Disco era came alive. Again, the DSIX opens up the music to provide quite a lively music ambience. But somehow I did not get the weight that I like. Can sound a bit flat at times.
  • Whiskey in The Jar by Metallica - Now, with heavier music like this, the weight of metal music was more evident. Pretty psyched listening to this tune as the guitar riffs sounded heavy. I could do with a little more bass impact form Lars's drums and Jason's bass.  James's vocal energetic and didn't sound restricted. This was a recorded version from the original CD.

I continued playing various songs using this cable and I get a mix of experience. The common parameters that I experience is mainly on clarity and openness of the music when played via this cable. The bass, warmth and weight seems to vary from one music to another. One thing for sure, the addition of the power supply to the cable as a DSIX does play a role in giving the character to the cable. It would be better if it comes with a switch to turn on and off the DSIX so that I can compare between cable alone and cable plus DSIX. Nevertheless, if your digital system needs some clarity and openness, give this cable a demo if you can grab a hold of it.

Special thanks to a colleague of mine a.k.a a new hifi friend Rozmee for introducing me to this cable.

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