Systems and Magic Pearl mains cable

10.10.2011..

Systems and Magic is a young and appreciated artisanal company based in Rome, specialized in Hi-Fi main filters and energy distributors. Its production combines a captivating aesthetics and a flawless functionality.

The Pearl, the “top” of their mains cables, is elegant indeed, but this quality remains in good part unseen, since quite hidden inside 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 states. Therefore, everything is fine about the aesthetics. But there is a disadvantage as for the functionality, considering the heaviness, the stiffness and the fact that the Pearl is a cable not easy to handle. Furthermore, if the electronic apparatus are not very heavy, the risk of seeing them inclined or upside-down is concrete. 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 adapt to the socket. They are in silver plated pure copper: a more malleable and adaptable material - although less flowing - if compared with the more common choice represented by rhodium or gold plating. The manufacturer selects with care the quality of the contacts, as for 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 are twisted, five square millimetres thick except the mass conductor. There is also a double shielding and a fully milled aeronautic aluminium shell. 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 injection of energy. What I noticed in changing the mains cable on my AAAVT P88i integrated tube amp has been a louder sound, an accentuated dynamics and a more immanent, defined and deep low range. I mean, I did not jump on the chair but, in any case, I am speaking of 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 for its price that is one-fourth the cost of the Pearl. 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 DACs. Speaking about the handling of the soundstage, I must say that there has been a minimum effect on the tube 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 sound levels. The speed of the transients has been increased, that means more sound immediateness. Yet, I can confirm the beneficial effect of the sound of the Pearl, although this statement will win the clarifications of the purists who say that the cables do not play, at most, they detract something from the original signal. Actually, I am a little puzzled, because in this case something is added to the sound and this something does not hinge on the audio signal but on the quality of the mains, which is positively modified, increased, homogenized, fluidized?! – by the power cable, a fact that I have noticed several times in many object that I tested and made during the years.

Now let us talk about the price/benefits ratio. Well, this is quite a simple matter. The list price, 690.00 euro is, generally speaking, rather high. Of course, in the Pearl there is the pursuit of perfection, some originality and strict attention to details, as well as the 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 mains cable. Other tests with more expensive audio systems have confirmed an effective contribute to the sound improvement. So it is different speaking of more expensive and performing systems where an added quid of sound quality has always more expensive costs, following the improvement law which states that the improvement are always slighter with the increase of the economic value of the components.

In brief, a fine and well-made mains cable, to treat with strength, patience and care, with good sound performances, which price is suitable for components of a certain level or for who wants to optimize the sound of a precious component.

 


Official technical specifications: to Systems and Magic website
Official Italian dealer: direct sale
Official current price in Italy: 690.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Fabio "Puzzled" Barbato system

 

 

DIRECTOR’S CUT | INQUIRY SUPPLEMENT

I am an enthusiast and, as an enthusiast, I suffer dreadfully 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 obviously, I cannot. What I can do, however, is adding something when I consider an object rather interesting. This is what happens with this Pearl mains cable by System and Magic whose strengths and weaknesses Fabio wrote about. Fabio is a friend and a collaborator with a determined and sociable nature and with good and alert ears.

Why then, do I need to add something?

Well, first because it is something you can fall in love with at a first sight, since its qualities are evident. Secondly, because the two mains cables I like most are both Italian: White Gold and Pearl. So, foreign competitors, step up!

Let us start with the faults, sorry with the only fault: Fabio is right when he says that this cable is hard to handle. In fact, it is heavy and not flexible. It is impossible to use it if the table for the electronics is set against the wall: you cannot make 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: Teac VRDS 25X digital source with AM Audio modification, Audio Innovations Series 500 integrated amp, Klipsch Heresy I (USA, 1978) loudspeakers, DIY cables, except the White Gold mains cables on the amplification. By changing the White Gold with the Pearl, here are the differences: the music from the very start gains dynamic force and shows the freshness of the image and a brighter and white light. The White Gold is the prince of the instruments tone and of the amber tonality. The Pearl is the knight of the dynamic detail and the chisel of the image. It can open a wide and transparent window on the soundstage, where the presence of the reproduced instrument is quite palpable and real. At the same time, there is an improvement in the micro and macro dynamics. The sky opens!

I just want to add, finally, that if you own a system of a certain value you must think to test the Pearl in the power supply section.

R.R.

 

 
by Fabio Barbato
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