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ANALOG INTERCONNECT RCA

Audio Phonique
SINGULARITY

Manufacturer: AUDIO PHONIQUE
Price (when reviewed):
2599 EUR/1 m +300 EUR/0,5 m (+VAT)

Contact: Marketing Investment Group
ul. Rymarska 7
05-800 Pruszków, POLAND


→ www.AUDIOPHONIQUE.com

MADE IN POLAND

Provided for test by AUDIO PHONIQUE


Review

text WOJCIECH PACUŁA
translation Marek Dyba
images Wojciech Pacuła | Audio Phonique

No 219

August 1, 2022

˻ WORLD PREMIERE ˼

AUDIO PHONIQUE is one of the youngest Polish brands. It was founded in 2018 by two enthusiasts, MACIEJ LENAR and WOJCIECH MURAWCA. Only recently, however, has it presented its lineup of twelve products. We are premiere testing an analog RCA interconnect called SINGULARITY.

HEN WE LOOK AT Audio Phonique products - visit their website - it will immediately be clear that it was created by people who have audio experience, quite a lot of it, actually. And it is true. The company was founded by Maciej LENAR and WOJCIECH MURAWCA. Mr. Maciej is not only its co-owner, but also the head of the research and development department. And it is he who, it seems, brings the knowledge in question to the company - knowledge that cannot be bought with money.

He started at the beginning of 2010 on the Audiostereo.pl portal, specializing in DIY products. Together with Marcin Sołowiow, he founded the Amare Musica company, offering stylistically, structurally and sonically refined products (see HERE and HERE), which debuted in 2012. Five years later, in January 2017, he left.

I have known Mr. Maciej for several years. However, it was only in the corridor of the Munich High End Show 2022 that I learned that some time ago, together with a friend, they started with a new brand, which only just finished the entire product line. Interested, not to say: intrigued, I ordered a PCM/DSD DAC for testing.

The Polish company, however, suffered for a „post-pandemic” curse, meaning the permanent lack of electronic components. Supply chains, broken during lockdowns, have been rebuilding very slowly, which translates into a constant long waiting periods for - heavily late, and often even canceled - deliveries. Hoping that the device would be available for the September "Polish" number, we agreed to test the RCA interconnect called SINGULARITY. The Merriam-Webbster dictionary gives several meanings of this word, but I like the one that simply describes the so-called "Singularity", i.e a disappearance of the known laws of physics in the vicinity of the black hole. In other words - a thing that is beyond our comprehension.

The lineup of the company in question is dominated by electronics. The manufacturer declares though that cables are as important to them as signal sources and amplifiers. They use high-quality materials and components for their design. Namely, a 6N silver and 7N monocrystalline copper obtained in the process of continuous casting - OCC (Ohno Continuous Casting). They use Kapton, FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene), cotton and "various types of polymers" for dielectrics. They also use the best and most expensive types of plugs. As they declare, they are custom made for Audio Phonique by subcontractors cooperating with the military. Importantly, the cable topology is their original development.

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| A few simple words…

⸜ MACIEJ LENAR
Owner, designer

⸜ MACIEJ LENAR

WE SPECIALIZE IN HIGH-CLASS audio equipment, based on the best components and technologies available on the market. We guarantee an unforgettable musical experience, presented in a visually beautiful and timeless form. The assembly line at the Audio Phonique factory located in Poland allows us to maintain stringent quality standards and guarantees full control over the production process (all emphasis - ed.). The solid-state and tube devices, loudspeakers and cables in the company's lineup have been designed so that together they constitute a system that is impossible not to fall in love with.

In the company I serve as the head of the research and development department, as well as a co-owner. I am responsible for setting trends and managing the project team. I also supervise prototype works, cooperation with sub-suppliers and the final stage in the form of critical listening sessions and related tuning. We work with professors of the Military University of Technology, sound and acoustics engineers, and specialists in materials science and industrial processing. Our consultants come from European Union countries, USA, Israel and Canada.

⸜ WOJCIECH MURAWIEC

The process of developing high-class audio equipment goes far beyond the time spent at the computer and assembly table with a soldering iron in hand. It is also countless hours of listening sessions and consultations with the best specialists in the industry, which is critical to solving every, even the smallest problem on our way to achieve a satisfactory effect.

All Audio Phonique products are designed and hand-assembled on site, at the company's premises. We use surface and through-hole technology. We work with many sub-suppliers specialized in subassemblies that meet our high quality requirements. The electronic components we use are subject to measurements and strict selection, which is our only guarantee of quality, repeatability and compliance with model models.

After leaving the assembly line, each Audio Phonique product undergoes an initial break-in period and then is assessed in our listening room. ML

»«

Singularity

ON THEIR WEBSITE THE MANUFACTURER SAYS THE FOLLOWING ABOUT THEIR INTERCONNECT:

The Audio Phonique Singularity interconnect carries the signal free from phase distortion and background noise. It brims with information about space, virtual sound sources and tone that create three-dimensional, lifelike musical acts presented on a deep soundstage.

www.AUDIOPHONIQUE.com, accessed: 4.07.2022.

There is a lot of information about the cable available, but not all of them, obviously, as the manufacturers have their secrets that they do not want to share, because some solutions were developed through trial and error and they do not want others to copy them. First the basics: Singularity is an analog interconnect, available in both balanced and unbalanced versions. It is not a directional cable. After breaking in period however, it is always worth using it plug in in the same way/direction.

The cable is quite flexible and not too thick. It is made of highly purified, monocrystalline 7N copper wires, described by the Singularity manufacturer as "PLMCu-7N" ("Polished and lacquered monocrystalline copper"); it is custom made. It has a Litz type structure, i.e. each of the wires is enameled. It is polished beforehand and these two processes are supposed to "minimize the skin effect", "reduce the resistance of the conductive material" and "protect it against mechanical damage and corrosion". The varnish is also supposed to protect the conductors against micro-vibrations.

⸜ TOPOLOGY One of the most important assumptions made by Audio Phonique concerns the source of the distortions, which - as we read - cause "blurring and flattening of the sound". In other words it is about phase distortions. This area is quite often overlooked by cable manufacturers, yet such giants as Siltech have built their entire philosophy on protection against them. It seems that the Polish company follows a similar path, because elsewhere it also mentions shaping the propagation of electromagnetic waves by the cable itself - and this is another important element of the Dutch manufacturer's philosophy.

As we read, delays in the propagation of waves of different frequencies disrupt their integrity, and the differences in their transmission speeds, according to the manufacturer, can be as high as 30%. And next:

While it has been a challenge to understand and solve this problem, we have finally succeeded and are proud to have achieved this goal. Our proprietary TFCTime & Frequency Coherence) technology was developed to reduce phase distortions to almost zero. 

⸜ ibidem.

In order to counteract this type of distortion, apart from the choice of conductor material and dielectrics, the most important thing is the geometry of the cable. Its corporate name is Time&Frequency Coherence. The manufacturer does not reveal what it is, because it is one of the aforementioned company secrets. We only know that the enameled cables are braided by hand on specially prepared templates. I assume that they form something like an openwork tube because the company materials refer to a "thick cotton core". It probably acts as a vibration damper in cables that cause triboelectric noise. In turn, the external dielectric is Kapton - a great material, used by speaker companies to build carcasses on which the driver coils are wound.

⸜ PLUGS And there are also plugs. The Audio Phonique reached for high quality Furutech products, the CF-102 NCF R model. These are one of the best RCA plugs available today, also one of the most expensive - a pair of them costs almost PLN 1000. It is the first Furutech "signal" connector, built on the basis of the Nano Crystal² Formula (NCF) technique. And we know the power plugs - almost all cables in my system feature them (see: HERE and HERE).

This material is the cumulative result of more than 30 years of efforts by the Japanese company Furutech, thanks to which - as we read in the press release - "radical noise reduction, better imaging and focus as well as a better soundstage will be achieved, thanks to which the CF-102 NCF will take the listening pleasure to a higher level."

All elements of the plug are made of non-magnetic materials. It features a one-piece copper α (Alpha) OCC pin, rhodium plated, with NCF vibration damping core. Alpha is an original version of cryogenic treatment. The copper alloy plug body was also subjected to this process. Housing made of carbon fiber and non-magnetic steel using NCF technology.

⸜ HANDS ON EXPERIENCE The Singularity Interconnect comes to us in a black lacquered, padded with soft, red material, wooden box. On its lid, the AP logo was applied in gold paint. The hinges and lock are also of a golden color. To prevent the plugs from scratching during transport, they were put in small "bags" made of transparent material; we have already seen similar ones in the products of another Polish company, PRO AUDIO BONO. And there is also a nice certificate of authenticity with a suitable sticker.

The plugs are great and fit well into the sockets, and you can screw them on. The company logo is laser-marked on them. All this shows that the owners of the company "worked it all out" and that they took care of the details ignored by many other manufacturers, which can be seen from the well-prepared, informative website. When buying Singularity cables, we get a refined product from people who care not only about sound, but also about us, customers.

SOUND

⸤ HOW WE LISTENED The SINGULARITY interconnect was tested in the "High Fidelity" reference system and was compared on the one hand to the Siltech Triple Crown cable, and on the other hand to the NOS Belden 8402 cable (more HERE). Singularity connected the output of the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player and the Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier input; both devices use gold-plated RCA WBT nextgen sockets. The test was an A/B/A comparison with A and B known.

Recordings used for the test | a selection

Okihiko Sugano Recording Works, Stereo Sound SSSA 1, seria „Stereo Sound Reference Record”, SACD/CD (2007) w: MORI SHIMA, Okihiko Sugano Recording Works Discography, Stereo Sound Publishing Inc., Tokyo 2007
⸜ THOM YORKE, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Hostess | LANDGRAB RAB001J, CD (2015).
⸜ RIVAL SONS, Great Western Valkyrie, Erache Records/Hydrant Music QIHC-10059, CD (2014).
A Day at Jazz Spot 'Basie'. Selected by Shoji "Swifty" Sugawara, Stereo Sound SSRR6-7, seria „Stereo Sound Reference Record”, 2 x SACD/CD (2011).

»«

WHEN IN 1981, Mr. OKIHIKO SUGANO recorded material for the Straight No Chaser album, from which the song I Remember Clifford, I started this listening session with, comes from, in the background the greatest revolution that has happened to the world of music from the moment of using reel-to-reel tape recorders for sound recording, was actually happening, i.e. the digital revolution. Many recording studios have been using digital recorders for years, even if the medium on which the music was released was still vinyl.

In a short time after that, even Mr. Sugano himself will reach for the digital tool, for the PCM1600 recorder with U-matic tapes from Sony, but the album in question was created in his best analog system, with a Scully 260 stereo tape recorder, two small Quad Eight and Ampex mixers, with a live mix to two channels. Interestingly, a noise reduction device from DBX was used during the recording. The effect of these using these means is insane. The recording in question has amazing resolution, clarity and dynamics. But above all, it offers fantastic tonality.

The Polish cable had no problem with showing all these features. The comparison to the reference cables, ie the Siltech Triple Crown, fared more than well. Although it was not the same level, we are also talking about a completely different price range. Therefore, it was much more important to me that Singularity kept both the tonal balance and the structure of the song. And by "structure" I mean the combination of all the elements that make up the way a given presentation is perceived by us.

With the tested cable, the perception, my perception, of music was extremely comfortable. It is a cable with a slightly warm sound signature, with the edges of the band slightly hidden behind the midrange. This withdrawal does not come from - as it seems to me - the lack of anything in this sound, but from its interpretation, where there is calmness, above all, comfort, fullness and saturation.

Because the other element that is obvious with this cable and that contributes to its excellent sound is its fantastic timing. Maybe the technical description influenced me, in which the manufacturer pays a lot of attention to the phase alignment of the entire frequency response, but this was how I heard it. Perhaps this was why the low-frequency bass pulse opening the solo album of Radiohead's singer THOME YORKE, entitled Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, was delivered with such a slam.

The sound that traveled between the channels was conveyed with absolute certainty, as if cables could penetrate the signal and direct it to give it a musical sense. The sound that came in after 40 seconds was reproduced with equal commitment. But you could also hear something that I noticed earlier, in the recording with which I started this test. The Singularity, despite the sound being on the warmer side of the imaginary line of neutrality, slightly moves the foreground away from me, extending the perspective at the same time.

It's a kind of swapping a place in the concert hall to one a few rows back. The scene does not change size, but we see it now as if it was smaller because we are further away from it. At the same time, the cable maintains high dynamics and extraordinary tonal culture. It was fantastic with jazz, but maybe with electronic music like the one from Yorke's album it will be appreciated even more. This is because with this cable we get the sound as a whole, the presentation served as a continuum, undivided, like a sequence of micro-events.

| Our accessories

⸜ ACOUSTIC REVIVE ECI-50

Conduction improvement cleaner


I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT, having high-class interconnects, I would not use anything improving the contact between a plug and a socket. I have been using such solutions for many years, already routinely. These are modern products, very different from the older type, the only purpose of which was to wash the oxides away that obstruct the signal flow. Today, they not only protect against oxidation of contact areas, but also penetrate the structure of the metal, smoothing its surface. And you probably remember that the best cable manufacturers use conductors with a polished surface, because this improves the phase coherence of the signal.

One of such products is the ECI-50 of the Japanese company ACOUSTIC REVIVE. It is in the form of a 50 ml spray. The carrier and the base here is a transparent hi-tech oil in which some nanoparticles have been dissolved to improve conductivity, filling the micro-spaces between the contacts. This process takes time - the manufacturer declares that the full benefits are obtained 24 hours after applying the spray to the metal. The spray is expected to work for over a year.

Of course, this is not the only option, because other cable specialists, such as The Chord Company or Cardas, also have great products of this type. Their efficiency has been proven by measurements, but most of all by listening sessions. They came to us from industry sectors requiring excellent transmission, mainly telecommunications, and they required large financial investment to develop. So let's use them because they offer a real improvement in sound.

ACOUSTICREVIVE.jp

RETURNING TO THE SUBJEST of this test - maybe the point is not that this or that type of music will benefit from the „culture” offered by the tested interconnect, but that it is simply a great cable delivering excellent timbres, offering a calm "background" - dark and fluid. There is nothing "bustling" behind the sounds, nothing irritating there. And I say this because in a very similar way to jazz and electronics, I perceived the powerful rock from the RIVAL SONS. The Great Western Valkyrie album, recorded in Nashville, at Les Studios, is sonically styled for the 1970s. A bit of Led Zeppelin, Jim Morrison in vocals, there are also other references one can find there.

The album was recorded low, dark, without clear details. The Polish cable did not emphasize anything, did not darken or withdraw anything, and yet I had the impression that it chose the path of calmness. Because everything shown with it was slightly polished. Be it guitars, drums, or finally bass, all instruments had fullness, density and did not "push" forward at all costs.

Does it mean that Singularity calms down the presentation, that it tones down the dynamics? Well, that's the way it is - but only a little bit. Because the recordings from the A Day at Jazz Spot 'Basie'. Selected by Shoji "Swifty" Sugawara I listened to with it, published by Stereo Sound magazine in honor of one of the most famous jazz clubs in Tokyo, sounded extremely dynamic and powerful, also forward. So I think that it is about a holistic "approach" that this cable offers us, and not one or another aspect of the sound.

SUMMARY

The SINGULARITY INTERCONNECT is made in an extremely thoughtful and careful way, and I mean both, the cable itself, as well as the accompanying "accessories". You can see that the people behind the Audio Phonique company are not newcomers and that they have seen and heard many things. They have prepared a cable whose design is interesting and made great use of, offering a very advanced sound, which will be appreciated not only by audiophile enthusiasts, but also by every music lover.

Its resolution is fantastic, which results in a wealth of information about tonality, space and dynamics. However, the selectivity is less impressive, which in turn means that we focus on the bigger picture on the piece as a whole rather than on its individual elements. This is probably why, on the one hand, the presentation is vivid and clear, and on the other hand, it has a clear "azimuth" towards warmth and density. And this is how I perceive this product: as an offer for people who appreciate a rich presentation that is not tiring, and yet it is extremely open to a musical signal, both in terms of the sounds themselves and the way they are presented. This is a true high-end cable.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Type: unbalanced analog RCA interconnect
Conductor: PLMCu-7N (99,99999% pure monocrystalline copper)
Dielectrics: low dielectric constant enamel, dense cotton core, Kapton coating
Braiding geometry: TFC (Time & Frequency Coherence)
Plugs: Furutech CF-102 R NCF
Available lengths: 1 | 1,5 m



Reference system 2022



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|

Cables

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|

Anti-vibration

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

Isolators:
  • PRO AUDIO BONO Ceramic 7SN |REVIEW|
  • FRANC AUDIO ACCESSORIES Ceramic Classic
  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|

Analogue

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

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

Record mats:
  • HARMONIX TU-800EX
  • PATHE WINGS

Headphones

Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC