Manufacturer: COMBAK CORPORATION
ijiri 聖 is a new Mr Kazuo Kiuchi, Combak Corporation owner's, brand. The first product of this line was an analogue interconnect, that we reviewed in August 2015. The awards we granted to this product: RED Fingerprint and Best Sound 2015 – (see HERE and HERE) best proved our appreciation of Mr Kiuchi's latest achievement.
On the outside the IC looked quite ordinarily maybe accept for the extraordinary make&finish. What caught the eye was a very nice wooden block placed mid-length of the cable, and a cotton sleeve (not a plastic one). The sleeve coloring was also quite particular, here in Poland it reminded us of a main lead used for irons, and it surely visually distinguished this product among others. Before Mr Kiuchi created similarly looking Harmonix power cables. Now the above mentioned IC has a new partner in the line, a power cable called Nagomi. 聖Hijiri in Japanese means ‘maestro’ or ‘important leader’. Mr Kiuchi chose this name for his new interconnect to emphasize its distinctiveness and how important this new product actually was for him. Now it would seem that we can expect the whole line of products. The next member is a power cable called Nagomi (Japanese for: peace in soulfully relaxing).
As usually we know almost nothing about technical details of this cable – Mr Kiuchi when asked about it each times suggests they I should enjoy the music and forget about technologies involved or specifications as these are only means to ultimate goal - performance. He also told me one that „no matter what he would write about a product, whatever specifications would he give, it all wouldn't matter at all unless music sounded right”.
The company's paper on this products starts with: „The world only Tuned Power Cord”, which suggests that the design was 'tuned' during numerous listening sessions. The same wires used for Nagomi were also used for cables working in JVC mastering studio, the one that masters material for XRCD releases. What we do know is that Mr Kiuchi used a directional OFC. The plugs with rhodium-plated contacts are marked as: 350iRH and 390iRHi. Polarity is clearly marked on the plug and one should follow this marking. There is a writing on plugs' heat-shrinks that says: „Extraordinary Dynamic & Clear”. Nagomi is a pretty flexible cable. It is available in five standard lengths: 1/1,5/2/2,5/3 m.
While tested Nagomi was compared to my reference cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9500, Crystal Cable The Absolute Dream and Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version. I used it to power my Ancient Audio Lektor AIR V-edition CD Player, RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC phonostage and Soulution 710 power amplifier.
Records used for the test (a selection):Compact Disc
Differences introduced by power cable might be more or less obvious but they are always there. They are less obvious if the cable we compare to our reference cable has a similar sonic signature or when the system we use is not resolving enough to show these differences. Sometimes a system is quite resolving, fully capable of a very good differentiation but some other particular attributes, either in tonality, dynamics, or something else, mask the differences introduced by power cable.
In general one might assume that if after replacing one power cable with another there are no sonic differences this particular system isn't resolving enough to present them or the two power cables used in comparison sound very much alike. I assume that we are talking about a system of a man who can hear differences. Regardless of the reason if one can hear no difference one shouldn't even bother. If that's not a case one should read the text below.
Owners of Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version power cable after replacing it with Nagomi should notice a difference at once. If they don't – see above. Let me start with this comparison as many users who use previous model of particular manufacturer hope that a newer one would let them improve the performance of their system without changing its general characteristics.
Nagomi follows a different path. While both Harmonix cables belong to rather warm sounding cables like: Acrolink's copper cables, Mexcel 7N-PC9500 most of all, silver cables by Siltech and silver-gold ones by Crystal Cable, the latest Mr Kiuchi's proposal resembles rather products of Furutech and MIT. This cable delivers a different tonal balance than Harmonix chords. The first impression tells us that there is much more treble, that tonal balance shifts toward upper part of the range. After a while this first impression turns out to be wrong as actually Nagomi's tonal balance is set LOWER that the one of the less expensive of the two Harmonix mentioned above, reminding me in this way the „Million”.
This impression of some emphasis in trebles comes from a large amount of information and energy delivered in this part of the range. Actually the same can be said about the rest of the range. Treble attracted my attention because I focus on this part of the range in particular knowing that many manufacturers can't properly deal with problems with the said sub-range. Using absolute terms one would probably describe this treble as strong and distinct. This means that bright systems, or those with already emphasized leading edge could react to this cable in a bit nervous way. But if they do that would only mean that some changes/improvements to such systems are required.
All other systems will allow their users to appreciate a great resolution Nagomi has to offer, much better that the one of older Harmonix, but also of Acrolink. Only Crystal Cable The Absolute Dream as well as „Million” by Harmonix have even more to offer in this respect. Considering its price the new Japanese cable is plain and simple remarkable. Even more so as this great resolution is combined also with outstanding clarity, purity of the sound. The performance is simply clearer, more distinct, derived of any noise. And finally – tonal balance – more natural, actually well balanced. The older Harmonix added some emphasis in higher bass area, around 250-300 Hz and it lowers upper midrange. It does it in a very enjoyable way offering incredibly palpable vocals and instruments operating in the midrange, but still – that's one of its features that user has to accept.
With Nagomi there is this amazing clarity, purity to the sound that is also so well balanced. Its performance is not that three-dimensional, so palpable as offered by 'darker' sounding cables, nor is it as rich, dense, but it's a price worth paying for its qualities. One won't find even a hint of emphasis when it come to sibilants, leading edge is never 'hardened'. I think that the latter quality is common for all Combak Corporation cables. What they do offer is a 'confident softness', a 'deep inner elasticity', so to speak. Leading edge is really fast, dynamics is high, but there is no exaggeration, no aggressiveness of the sound.
What makes both Harmonix cables, as well as Acrolink, Siltechs and Crystal Cable different, which some will find very important, is something that might be described as a particularly 'sensual' flow of music. They are still dynamic, fast, so it's not about their performance being 'slow' or 'soft' or 'round'. Phantom images are bigger though, everything happens closer to the listener, is even more tangible. Spacial presentation seems better differentiated, we are offered a better insight into the depth of the stage. Nagomi on the other hand draws more precisely described phantom images which makes them more distinct, better described in space. It also delivers out-of-phase sounds in a brilliant fashion creating, with proper recordings, truly surround experience.
Clarity, resolution, purity not causing brightness or harshness of the sound – these are main features of this cable. It is really great to see my favorite manufacturer experimenting and making progress in terms of sound quality. Nagomi offers great performance. If you believe that beautiful sound means the same as true to the music – that's a cable for you. But if beauty has to be created, different than reality you should look somewhere else.
- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One