Systems and Magic is a young and appreciated artisanal company based in Rome and specialized in Hi-Fi main filters and energy distributors lines, whose production combines a captivating aesthetic and a flawless functionality.
The Pearl, the “top” of their main cables, is elegant indeed but this quality remains in good part unseen since it is mostly hidden by the lodging devices. You can just enjoy it when you set it up. The shiny grooved aluminium plugs match well with the pearl grey sheath, as the elected name mentions. So everything is fine about the aesthetic. But there is a disadvantage as for the functionality considering the heaviness, the stiffness and the fact that the Pearl it’s not an easy manageable cable. Furthermore, if the devices are light, appears concrete the risk of seeing them inclined or upside-down. Anyway, these problems concern more the reviewer, who has to test the cable with different gears than the final user, who tends to keep the object in its own place for a long time. From the brochure available on the company’s website we know that the plugs have been designed to achieve the widest possible contact area between plug and socket. They have been made in silver plated pure copper, material more malleable and adaptable – even if less flowing – in comparison with a mirror polished rhodium plating over a brass or a bronze base, choice more common. This is due to the particular care the manufacturer put when he selected the quality of the contacts in the sense of metals and interface area. As he says: “When a silver/copper contact is inserted in a socket, its pliability is such that its minute “peaks and valleys” imperceptibly “give in” and blend with the corresponding ones of the socket contacts (whatever metal they are made of) to the full advantage of conductibility”.
Copper is the material employed for the conductors. They have been twisted and consist of 5 square millimetres for phase and neutral: the earth wire has a wider area, though; there’s also a double shielding and a fully milled aeronautic aluminium shell. At this time, the available plugs are the Schuko and the IEC, expressly realized with silver plated pure copper conductors.
The peculiarity of the Pearl is its “vitamin” intake to the sound, as it could benefit from an insertion of energy. What I noticed when I changed the main cable on my AAAVT P88i integrated tube amp, has been a louder sound, stressed dynamics and the low range more immanent, defined and deep. I mean, I didn’t jump on the chair, but in any case something well appreciable and enjoyable. The cable that I usually employ, a Wire World Stratus with custom endings, is a good cable with great performances compared to its price. Price that is one fourth the Pearl’s cost. The Pearl has proved to be superior, mostly for the dynamic qualities, the air among the instruments and the low range. And with all the components I used, in the amplification sector as well as with digital sources and DAC. Speaking about the soundstage piloting, I must say that there has been a minimum effect on the valve amp, while on the digital sources there has been an enlargement of the scene and more focus/stabilization of the instruments and voices, even in the depth soundstages. The speed of the transients has been increased, that means more sound immediateness. The sound of the Pearl cable has a beneficial effect, I must admit, even if this assertion will win the clarifications of the purists who say that the cables do not play, at most detract something from the original signal. I am actually puzzled about that, because in this case something is added to the sound and this something doesn’t hinge on the audio signal but on the quality of the line conditioning, positively modified, increased, homogenized, fluidized?! – of the power cable, fact that I have noticed sever times in many object tested and realized.
Now let’s talk about the price/benefits ratio. Well, this is quite a simple matter. The list price, 690.00 EUR is, generally speaking, rather high. There’s in the Pearl the pursuit of perfection, some originality and quite strict attention to details, included the building good materials. However, the effects on the sound I noticed using electric components not over a thousand euro, do not justify, in my opinion, such a high price for a main cable. Other tests on more expensive audio systems have confirmed a real sound improvement and it’s known that more expensive and performing systems demand expensive added, following the improvement low which states that the improvement are always slighter with the increase of the economic value of the components.
In brief, a fine main cable, well done, to treat with strength, patience and care, with good sound performances, whose price is suitable for components of a certain level or for who wants to optimize the sound of a component which he is fond of.
Official technical specifications: see Systems and Magic website
Official Italian dealer: direct sales
Official current price in Italy: 690.00 EUR
Associated equipment: to Fabio "Puzzled" Barbato system
DIRECTOR’S CUT | INQUIRY SUPPLEMENT
I’m a passionate and, as a passionate, I dreadfully suffer when I have to give to my collaborators the audio devices for testing. I wish I could keep them and personally write the articles, but it’s natural that I can’t. What I can do, however, is adding something by my own when I consider an object rather interesting. This is what happens with this Pearl main cable by System and Magic whose strengths and weaknesses have been described by Fabio, a friend and collaborator with a determined and sociable nature and with good and alert ears.
Why then the director needs to add something?
Well, first of all because it is something you can fall in love with at a first sight and whose qualities you understand immediately without any doubt or reserve. Secondly, because the two main cables I like most are both Italian: White Gold and Pearl. So, foreign competitors, step up!
Let’s start with the faults, sorry with the only fault: Fabio is right when he says that this cable is hard to manage. That’s true. The cable is heavy and not flexible. It’s impossible to use it if the table for the electronics is set against the wall: you can’t wind it in a sharp bend. It needs a lot of space and a heavy gear too, just to avoid any overturning or slow movements that make your device “alive”. In the end is better that your machine stays still and stable.
As for all the accessories of very high level, the cost is high but not the highest of the category. To give room to the soundstage, I have thought to insert it in one of my systems: digital source Teac VRDS 25X with AM Audio modification, integrated amp Audio Innovations Series 500, Klipsch Heresy II (USA, 1978) loudspeakers, self built cables except the White Gold main cables on the amplification. By changing the White Gold with the Pearl, here are the differences: the music from the very start gained dynamic force and showed the freshness of the image and a brighter and white light. The White Gold is the prince of the instruments timbre and of the amber tonality. The Pearl is the knight of the dynamic detail and the image chisel. It can open a window on the soundstage that is wide and transparent, where the presence of the reproduced instrument is quite palpable and real. At the same time there’s an improvement in micro and macro dynamic. The sky opens itself!
I just want to add, finally, that if you own a system of a certain value you have to think about testing the Pearl in the power supply section.