Posted in: Hardware Reviews by Archive Authors on October 15th, 2003
Zu Cable are an online retailer of mid to high end audio cable and speakers systems. The Varial audio cable is their top-of-the-line audio interconnect. When you start looking around at high-end audio cables you suddenly discover that you can easily spend more money on cables then your entire system is worth but, cables are important and should be treated like another component of your system and not just an afterthought. The owners and designers at Zu have worked for some of the highest…end audio cable manufacturers there are (think Kimber Cable) and know what is needed to build very good cables. Being mainly an online retailer allows them to bring you a very good product at far less then the other guys.
Features and Build Quality
Packaged in simple red polyester bag embroidered with the Zu logo the first thing that hits you about this cable is the large machined “V” block. Out of the package this cable is stunning, very well made. This is the one of the Zu cables that features their patented B3 cable geometry that is based on field geometric relations and self-similar virtual ground boundaries (for more information on B3 Technology, Click Here). The “V” indicates the cable direction flow with the small end of the V being the load or receiving side and the large end of the V being the source or transmitting side. The ends are heavy and machined and I am not sure what they are made from but, they seem as if they are silver coated at least as most of the conductors used in the B3 system are a silver alloy. This is the best built piece of cable that I have ever laid my hands one bar none.
Zu recommends that you burn this cable in for 250 hours before any serious listening, this means that you simply connect the cable, turn on your source (in my case CD player) and let a disc run on repeat for a couple of weeks. Your amplifier does not have to be on to do this. I connected the Varial between my CD player and amplifier and let the burn in begin, about halfway through the process I had a quick listen and was blown away, I could not wait to hear the end result. After the burn in I grabbed my favorite CD’s and settled into the couch. I was in awe, these cables made my system sound like it was worth twice as much as it really is, the first thing I noticed was how silky smooth and musical these cables sounded. They are not cold and analytical but warm and enveloping, if you are a caffeine junky like I am it was like your favorite Starbucks drink made perfectly on a cool winter day. The sense of ambience was incredible, you could hear every detail and nuance of every instrument (I loved how it made well recorded drum solos sound). The response was smooth and extended with a perfect balance of punchy full bass, seductive midrange and crystal clean treble, never fatiguing and always engaging.
Zu has an unabashed success on their hands with these cables, I can’t see how anything else out there could possibly sound better and it certainly would not be les money then the Zu’s (Kimber Selects are considered to be one of the best analogue audio cables available and they are $1100 US for a one meter pair). When listening I found myself pulling out CD’s I had not listened to listened to the music and that is what it is all about. If you can afford these cables (as they are pricey) don’t even look at anything else because these are all you will ever need and then some!