pl | en


KBL Sound

Manufacturer: KBL SOUND
Price (when reviewed): 19 700 PLN/1,8 m

Contact: tel.: 696 551 492


Provided for test by: KBL SOUND


Translation: Marek Dyba
Images: Wojciech Pacuła | KBL Sound

No 209

October 1, 2021

KBL SOUND is a Polish audio company specializing in the production of audio signal and power cables, founded and run by ROBERT SZCZERBOWSKI. However, its offer also includes an AC power strip and anti-vibration supports for cables. We are testing its AC power cord from the new HIMALAYA II series - it's its world premiere.

N AUGUST 2015, KBL Sound presented its, back then, top limited HIMALAYA series, which was a development version of RED EYE cables. In the press material sent to us at the time, it read:

The new flagship series called Himalaya is the culmination of many years of our efforts to develop cables that would allow top-class audio components to reveal their full potential. It cannot be denied that cables - the necessary connections within the system - always reduce that potential to some extent. The devices potentially may sound better than what we can actually hear. The trick, however, is to reduce the degradation of the transmitted signal to a minimum. We are proud of the Himalaya series products, because we have evidence that their loss factor is really negligible. But as with all cables from any segment, they are best used in systems of their respective class, because only then will they show the advantages of the devices instead of their disadvantages.

The AC Himalaya power cable, tested by us beginning 2016, proved that it was not only a promotional material, but one that prepared users for what to expect (HF | № 141 ⸜ January 16, 2016, more HERE; accessed: 16/06/2021). The cable, priced at PLN 16,750 per one-and-a-half meter, left behind very good memories. Perhaps the design and performance of the Himalaya were so good that it took the manufacturer five years to prepare its updated version. Celebrating its 8th anniversary, the company proudly presents the Himalaya II series.


The manufacturer website reads:

The best solutions lie in the simplicity of construction and cleanliness of materials. That is why Himalaya II cables also use conductive bundles of the best conductors - copper and monocrystalline silver, air, teflon without pigment and air foamed Teflon are the dielectrics. Plugs, as usual, of the highest standard: WBT, Furutech NCF, Neutrik. All this to avoid the mechanical nature of the sound by minimizing power and signal transmission losses. Himalaya II are the most refined products for demanding lovers of good music and the highest quality of its reproductions.

Seria Himalaya II,; accessed: 16.06.2021.

The new series includes AC power cables, speaker cables and analog, including, phono, and digital interconnects. First, the company presented an AC power cable, in which monocrystalline copper conductors, protected against oxidation, in a Teflon dielectric were used.

Compared to its predecessor from the Himalaya series, a number of changes have been introduced. The first one is visible at the very beginning - instead of wooden vibration absorbers, the manufacturer used aluminum elements that connect the thicker part of the cable, i.e. the vibration damping section, with the thinner one terminated with plugs. Their shape resembles those we saw in the Corona series, but they are black, not orange. Such elements are used by many other companies, including Siltech. They have mechanical and decorative functions - the ones in Himalaya II look really great.

The cable is thick, even thicker than the Siltech Triple Crown Power, to which it has been compared, but it is very flexible, which makes it easy to arrange in a system. In Himalaya II all three wires are physically separated from each other, which - as the manufacturer declares - is to minimize the mutual influence of the magnetic fields generated by the current flowing through them. As he says further, thanks to the "tunnel damping", the coefficient of absorption of vibrations inside the cable has been significantly improved.

The cable is terminated with great-looking plugs: Furutech Fi-48 NCF with their piezoceramic nanotechnology and many advanced patents. This is the first time I see this plug live, it is the latest product of this Japanese specialist. It resembles the model previously used by many other companies - in the reference system these are the Siltech and Acoustic Revive cables - but it is not identical. All conductive parts were made of non-magnetic materials (OCC copper) coated with a rhodium layer, but using a new technology (details were not disclosed), which increased its durability. Metal elements underwent the Alpha process (demagnetization and cryogenic treatment).

Piezo Ceramic series plugs are made of a material called Nano Crystal²-Nano Crystalline, which includes carbon dust and NCF ceramic nanoparticles. Polycarbonate inserts are used to dampen vibrations, and the body is made of non-magnetic stainless steel, which is also to prevent resonances. A novelty in this series are also newly designed clamps on the cables, used to securely and firmly fix the cable itself, and to reduce resonances. Another novelty is the patented Floating Field Damper System, which - as we read in Furutech's press materials - "prevents the formation of magnetic fields".

The standard length of the Himalaya II cable is 1.8m, but other lengths are available upon request. You can also order a version with Furutech Fi-48 US type plugs and with an IEC C19 plug for high-current devices. The cable is delivered in a nice case with metal fittings, which also includes a certificate of origin.


⸤ HOW WE LISTENED The KBL Sound Himalaya II power cable was tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system. It powered the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player and was compared to the Siltech Triple Crown cable (15,900 EUR / 2 m). Both cables were connected to the Acoustic Revive RPT-4EU Absolute power strip, and the latter, with the 2.5-meter long Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9500, to a dedicated Furutech NFC socket in the wall, to which a separate power line with its own fuse leads.

It was an A/B and B/A comparison with A and B known. I listened to 1 to 2 minutes long tracks. Since Ayon is a tube device comparisons were not immediate, they required around 30s intervals.

Recordings used in the test | a selection

⸜ ISAO SUZUKI TRIO/QUARTET, Blow Up, Three Blind Mice/Impex Records IMP8307, Gold HDCD (1973/2004).
⸜ MARVIN GAYE, Let's Get It On, Tamla B0000935-36/Universal Music, Test Press SACD (1973/2003).
⸜ PRIYA DARSHINI, Periphery, Chesky Records JD446, Master CD-R (2020);
⸜ STEELY DAN, Morph The Cat, MCA Record 0602498605103/SUSS 003100, Test Press SACD (1980/2003).
⸜ THE BEATLES, The Capitol Albums Vol. 2: Sampler, Apple Records | Capitol Records DPRO-009463-59566-2-7, REFERENCE CD-R (2004).
⸜ THE EAGLES, Hotel California, Asylum Records/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-11936, CD (1976/2004).


IT”S BEEN A WHILE SINCE KBL SOUND presented the Himalaya series and the world has completely changed. In audio, the maturing processes have slowly become "obligatory" for everyone and no one is discussing today, for example, whether power cables affect the sound, because it is "obvious", but rather how and which elements of its design modify the sound.

This Polish manufacturer has also undergone some changes, because now, when it comes to power cables, the Synchro Master Power from the TriKord Power series is the top model, and the Himalaya itself has undergone a thorough revision. Which is obvious while you start listening to it. I really liked the first version of the power cord. It was a reliable, honest, good sound thanks to which Himalaya cables could be used in really expensive systems without fear that they would "take" something away from them. It was exactly the opposite - I was convinced that they would "add" something, in the sense that they would help them present at their best.

The tested cable goes a step further. It causes the sound to open on one side and makes it slightly distant on the other; clear, but also delicate. John Lennon's voice in the Boys played from the internal reference CD-R copy from the Capitol studio with the Polish cable was placed on the line connecting the speakers and did not seem particularly insistent. It was recorded with a microphone placed very close, hence it is distorted from time to time, but it has a freshness and naturalness. So we get a kind of "moment" captured in time.

The KBL Sound smoothed out the above mentioned distortions a bit, hid them a bit, but at the same time - compared to the reference cable - opened the whole thing up a bit. This is why the phrase "Cheat, cheat" sung by the choir sounded clear and precise. The Polish cable opens the sound but does not brighten it. This is something that only "happens" with good cables, because opening almost always equals sharpening or contouring. There is neither one nor the other here, and the presentation is almost silky and pulsating.

The Hotel California by THE EAGLES, from the album of the same title, sounded smooth, fluid and a bit dark - this is such a recording and such a release. DON HENLEY's vocals are hidden quite far in the mix, that's how it was recorded then, and it's also quite dark. The tested cable showed that, but also opened it a bit up. It was still a dark voice with no high tones, but now it was a bit more forward - no exaggeration, it didn't damage the whole, but still.

With the opening of the sound proposed by the Himalaya II, it is not sharpened. This is absolutely not a sharp or bright cable. Open - yes, you could hear it great both from MARVIN GAYE’s Let’s Get On and from STEELY DAN’s Gaucho. I played both discs from the Test Press version of the SACDs and they have more details than the commercial versions. It was clear with the tested cable, but it was not emphasized either in one or the other case. I would even say that the Himalaya II handled their open sound very well.

It is also a cable that keeps the rhythm very well. I heard it already while listening to The Eagles album, but it turned out even better with the Steely Dan album. Released on November 21, 1980 by MCA Records, it was the result of an extremely long and arduous production process. The sessions took over a year, non-stop, and 42 musicians took part in the recording! The effort paid off, because we got an even better album than the previously celebrated Aya, and in 1982 the album received a Grammy for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording and was nominated in two other categories - Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

But it is also an extremely heavily "produced" album, artificial in its perfection. Things like the fact that Becker, Fagen, Nichols and Katz did as many as 55 takes to mix the 50-second mute on Babylon Sisters is not without impact. It manifests itself in a slightly dull and processed sound. It can easily turn into a caricature. The Polish cable showed this album very nicely, because on the one hand it opened it a bit up, and on the other it did not brighten it up. And it showed a great rhythm, with a very good focus of the bass guitar and drums sound. It did not soften the attack, and yet it was not "square" or excessively contoured. And this is important because this album was recorded using one of the first electronic drums.

In an interview for the "Sound On Sound" magazine, Donald Fagen mentioned how he complained to Roger Nichols, the sound engineer:

It's a shame we can't have a drum machine the way we want it, with full-frequency sounds and the ability to hit the snare and kick drum independently. Nichols replied, "I can do that." It was in 1978 or something, so we said, "Can you do that?" To which he said, "Yes, I only need $ 150,000." So we gave him money from our recording budget and six weeks later he came with this machine and that's how it all started.

⸜ PAUL TINGEN, Donald Fagen – Recording Morph The Cat, August 2006; accessed: 16.06.2021.

The drum machine, as we would say today, was based on a CompuPro S100 with the CPM/86 operating system; Nichols called it Wendel. Its sound is a bit hard, accurate, but also super precise. It was slightly softened by the fact that the material was recorded on a 24-track analog tape recorder. The tested cable showed this duality of percussion sound very well. On the one hand, it was a bit soft, a bit round (analog), and on the other, precise and compact (digital).

| Our albums


Three Blind Mice/Impex Records IMP8307
Gold HDCD (1973/2004)

Released in 1973 with the catalog number TBM-15, the Blow Up by ISAO SUZUKI TRIO / QUARTET album is one of the most famous albums in the audiophile world. However, it escaped the fate of many others played countless times at audio shows, because not only is its an exemplary recording, but also an excellent music, which is more important than sound. The sound of this album is incredibly open, fast and resolving. Close-up microphones create an impression of standing right in front of the instruments, so one can hear all extra-musical details.

The material was recorded over two days, March 29 and 30, at AOI Studio in Tokyo with two different line-ups - a trio and a quartet. In the latter case, the leader's cello was doubled by Takashi Mizuoashi's double bass. All the musicians played together in the same room, separated only by acoustic screens. An analog Ampex AG-440B tape recorder was used for the recording. It was possible to record two or four tracks on a ½” tape, or two tracks on a ¼” tape - the publisher does not specify which option was used. Recordings were produced by YOSHIHIKO KANNARI and mastering was done by TOHRU KOTETSU; Kotetsu-san is the main mastering engineer at JVCKENWOOD Creative Media Corp's JVC Mastering Center and he was responsible for many masters for XRCDs.

According to the monograph of the Three Blind Mice record label by Takao Ogawa, in addition to the first edition, fourteen more have been released, including the IMPEX RECORDS one presented by me on a gold HDCD disc. This is the best digital version I know, not much inferior to the analog original. Released similarly to the American versions of XRCDs, it includes a nicely prepared booklet; there is one mistake in it - the year of recording was given as 1972, but it should have been 1973. Interesting fact - years before the tapes became popular again in the West, the TBM also released a stereo, two-track 38 cm/s tape (UL38-0015 ) with this material.

THE SPACE PRESENTED BY THIS CABLE IS ABOVE AVERAGE. Admittedly four times more expensive reference cable, Siltech Triple Crown, builds the depth of the stage better and better shows the three-dimensional body of instruments and vocals, but these are not "decisive" differences. Let's listen to the Lonelyest Star from the PRIYA DARSHINI’s album Periphery, and we will literally "see" instruments placed in a large room, a singer standing a meter behind the speakers, all in a dense fluid of air. If it were an analog recording, we would say that we hear the noise of the tape, and here we are dealing with room noise that our brain normally eliminates.

The center of gravity of this cable is set higher than in Siltech. The bass of the Himalaya II is low and deep, it also has a very nice, natural softness. Its lowest end is slightly "rolled off", at least compared to more expensive cables, but one wouldn’t be able to tell without a direct comparison. The double bass from the title track from the Blow Up by Isao Suzuki Trio / Quartet album delivered a strong, clear sound, and the Fender organs were saturated, strong, dense. It is also important that this is an album with an incredibly fast and direct sound, which the Himalaya II showed without a shadow of a doubt.


THE NEW VERSION OF THE HIMALAYA CABLE, Himalaya II, is a much better cable - as far as I remember, of course! - than the first version. It is just a very good cable. It offers an open, fresh sound with fantastic speed, in which we have both details and subtleties, but all that is presented in a smooth and silky way, without harshness or distortion.

The foreground is presented on the line connecting the speakers, it does not push it forward, it also offers a good insight into the depth of the stage. Reverbs are tempered with it, which makes direct sound more important than reflected sound. It is also an incredibly smooth sounding cable that allows you to listen in long sessions without feeling tired. But it does it not because of warming the sound up, it does not do that, but because of a large amount of information that makes up a complete sound, in which we do not have to search for details and we do not have to "supplement" it in our head.

The Himalaya II from KBL Sound is a mature, sophisticated power cord designed for expensive and very expensive systems. It will open up their sound up, but without brightening it.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

- conductors: high purity OCC, multi-strand
- gauge: 9 AWG,
- dielectric: Teflon,
- tunnel vibration absorption system,
- plugs: Furutech C15 Fi-48 NCF,
- optional IEC 20 A, C19 Fi-48 NFC high current plugs,
- standard length: 1.8 m,
- other lengths upon request.


Reference system 2021

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC