Emm Labs, Focal, HeadAmp, Kimber Kable, Wattgate, WBT | RMAF 2019

DENTER (PTA) — Kimber Kable, Emm Labs, Focal, and HeadAmp put together a two room suite that catered to both the stereo and headphone crowd. Wattgate and WBT both had static displays, as well as their devices being used in the active stereo and headphone systems with Kimber Kable.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 coverage sponsored by Core Power Technologies A/V

The Story

In the entry portion of the Kimber Kable / Emm Labs two-room suite, a few static displays of Wattgate, WBT, and Kimber Kable’s newest offerings. Plenty of Naked series and Carbon on hand to get familiar with. Along with a complete headphone listening area where visitors to the room could try out Kimber Kable’s AXIOS headphone cables with various HeadAmp amplifiers on hand.

The AXIOS series of headphone cables feature 16 24AWG conductors (cores) in a braided cable configuration with seamless transitions from 16 wires to 8 wires eliminating the need for a solder joint. Teflon dielectric is used throughout the AXIOS series. Available in pure silver, copper, or a hybrid of the two. Prices for the AXIOS series start at $698 for a 1.2m headphone cable (depending on termination).

Also showing, the Naked series from Kimber Kable uses zero dielectrics. Made from copper, palladium, gold, and organic cotton. Just bare naked un-insulated conductors separated by braided organic cotton. The concept is to avoid as much added noise to the cable as possible by avoiding the use of a dielectric. The Naked series starts at $10,000 USD for 1m pair of interconnects.

On display and in the active stereo system, the Carbon series is a more affordable cable from Kimber Kable that uses a carbon layer to increase conductivity by about 5%. Also a benefit to the layer of carbon is controlling induced noise. The Carbon series starts at $4,000 USD for 2.5m of speaker cables.

In the active system, Emm Labs was launching their newest NS1 Network Streamer, and showing their prototype Optical Phono Preamplifier specifically made for the DS Audio optical cartridges. The Optical Preamp is scheduled for release in February or March of 2020.

The NS1 can decode 24/192PCM, DSD64, and MQA. The device is a Roon ready endpoint as well. Inputs include USB and Ethernet. Output include Toslink, AES, and Emm Labs own Optilink, which allows the NS1 to be completely optically isolated to reduce noise induction into the system. Price is estimated to be ~$4,500 USD.

The Sound

In the second room suite, a large set of Focal towers, entangled in the prettiest way with the all-new Kimber Kable Carbon series cables. Between them a pair of Emm Labs mono-blocks, and in the flanks, a stacked rack of Emm Labs electronics to control the show.

The new Carbon series in this system is the value product, but at no point did the cabling come across as a weak point in the system. In fact, the system did everything right. Noise was nowhere to be found, and the highest of highs billowed out from the soundstage with soft and lengthy decay. If anything, the whole affair had synergy and felt right at home.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 coverage sponsored by Core Power Technologies A/V