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August 2023

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

World Premiere Review!
Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 Interconnect, Loudspeaker, Power, And USB Cable Review
Beautifully well-made cables that are sonically invisible.
Review By Tom Lyle

 

Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 Interconnect, Loudspeaker, Power, And USB Cable Review

 

  Crystal Cable describes their Micro Diamond Series 2 as an "affordable" (my quotes) line of cables that enables them to "offer Crystal Cable's core values at a more modest price." Before reading anything about these cables, I installed all the Micro Diamond Series 2 cables I was sent for review into my system, including both XLR and RCA terminated interconnects, their power cords, speaker cable, and even their USB cable that I used to connect my computer-based music server to my system's DAC.

 

Looked
These cables looked unlike any other high-end audio cable I've ever used. The diameter of these Crystal Cable products was very narrow, at least when compared to my references. So, for example, rather than a speaker cable with the diameter of a garden hose, the Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 speaker cable was as thin and flexible as the very inexpensive cable that is often included inside the cartons of mass-market products or like those that I purchased from the now defunct Radio Shack stores when I was a kid!

Like many audiophiles, I've always assumed that the best-sounding high-end audio cables needed to have a wide diameter, and their lack of flexibility was something I just had to tolerate. Yet, the cables I was sent for review from Crystal Cable were the thinnest and most flexible cables I've used for quite some time. They also looked fantastic!

 

 

Siltech
After reading Phil Gold's August 2007 review of an early version of Crystal Cables within Enjoy the Music.com, I learned that Siltech Cables of Holland, run by Edwin van der Kley – Rijnveld, discovered a new way to inject gold into silver conductors to fill the gaps between the silver crystals and produce a very thin cable that has the same or better mechanical properties as the cable with a wide diameter.

Siltech used these technical discoveries in his cables for many years, which contained this "revolutionary metallurgy" that made it possible to achieve a cable with a surprisingly thin diameter that had "the same mechanical properties as thicker diameter cables."

 

Crystal
In 2004, Edwin's wife, Gabi, formed a new company, Crystal Cable, to manufacture and market cables that focused exclusively on this new concept of thin and flexible cables. Even though Crystal Cable is a separate brand from Siltech, they share research, engineering, technologies and their production facilities. Edwin is chief engineer and CEO for Both brands, while Gabi leads the joint sales, PR and marketing departments.

Audiophiles shouldn't assume that Crystal Cable's Gabi Rynveld was a dilatant that one day decided to run a company that manufactures audiophile products. Since she was nine, Mrs. Rynveld has been a professional concert pianist, playing concerts and recitals with orchestras and competing in top-level international piano competitions. She knows what music recorded in a real space sounds like.

 

 

Vision
Crystal Cable's website claims that the philosophy of this cable company has been shaped by Gabi Rynveld's vision for high fidelity. "We want you to feel that grand piano, saxophone, or singer in your living room as if they were there before your very eyes." It's a safe bet that this idealist goal is familiar to many audiophiles as the high-end audio Holy Grail, which includes the ability to reproduce in one's home with either analog or digital components, a sound that is indistinguishable from live music. I will notify Enjoy the Music.com's readers as soon as this happens when listening to my reference system!

Crystal Cable's website claims that their Micro Diamond Series 2 cable made it so they could "offer Crystal Cable's core values at a more modest price." I guess everything is relative when discussing the pricing of high-end audio products, since the list price of a one-meter Micro Diamond Series 2 interconnects terminated with RCAs costs about $1000. The speaker cable I was sent for review with a length of about 12 feet terminated with spades costs about $3600.

On their website, they declare that the new Micro Diamond Series 2 is not only a radical improvement when compared to the original Diamond Series in terms of its sound quality, but they add that the cable provides "superb performance while being compact, attractive, and affordable — that's the essence of the new Micro Diamond Series 2". 

 

Rewire
For this review, Crystal Cable's US distributor sent me a sizable number of cables, enough Micro Diamond Series 2 cables to rewire my entire system. This included samples of XLR and RCA terminated interconnects, their power cords, speaker cable, and USB cable. I auditioned the Crystal Cable's Micro Diamond Series 2 cables in my main system, which is in an acoustically treated listening room with two dedicated power lines installed. The room's AC power lines run straight to the circuit box in our home's basement.

The Micro Diamond Series 2 interconnects ran between either a Pass Laboratories XP-22 two-chassis line stage or a Nagra Classic Preamp line stage to a Pass Labs X250.8 power amplifier. I also used it to connect a Pass Labs XP-27 2-chassis phono stage and an EMM Labs DA2 converter to the line stage.

As I mentioned above, the Micro Diamond Series 2 USB cable ran between a computer-based music server's USB output to an EMM Labs DA2 converter's USB input. I was sent four 1.5-meter Crystal Cable power cords, which I used on the line stage, phono preamplifier, digital converter, and power amplifier. I used a 4-meter run of Crystal Cable's speaker cable to connect the speaker binding posts of the Pass Labs power amp to a pair of Sound Lab 545 Majestic "full-range" electrostatic speakers. 

 

 

Sound
Even though I could hear a change in the sound of my system immediately after installing the Micro Diamond Series 2 cables in my system, I waited two weeks before making any notes about the difference in the sound of my system that could be attributed to these cables. Even though there wasn't a night and day difference between these cables and my references, it was obvious that the Micro Diamond Series 2 cables had an extremely elevated level of detail and transparency. It was hard to believe that cables were from Crystal Cable's "affordable" line. I can only imagine what their more expensive cables would sound like!

The bass response of the Sound Labs speakers, despite the manufacturer's claim that they are "full-range" electrostatic speakers, goes down to 35 Hz. This low-frequency response is certainly respectable, but my listening habits demand that my system reach lower than that. The Sound Labs' bass is aided by a pair of SVS' top subwoofers, the SB16-Ultra.

These subs have a 16" driver and many other impressive specifications, yet they are far from the best available in today's seemingly infinitely priced high-end equipment market. Still, the subs' low-frequency response of 16 Hz (plus or minus 3 dB) made them perfect for augmenting the lowest frequencies of my system's rather large pair of electrostats.

With a system-wide implementation of the Crystal Cable interconnects, speaker, and power cables, it was easy to hear the characteristics, or rather, lack of characteristics, that the Micro Diamond Series 2 cables possessed. As is true of the high-frequency response that these cables allowed to pass through to the speakers, and so were the low frequencies.

 

 

Playing
When playing my copy of the Mercury Living Presence reissue of Stravinsky's Firebird with Antal Dorati conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, it was easy to hear that this cable had no problem at all reproducing the highest highs and lowest lows my system was capable of reproducing. Those who have listened to my system in action are often surprised that the Sound Lab electrostatic speakers have such an extended frequency response, including a sparkling, natural-sounding treble.

 

 

There are more than a few mighty concert bass drum strikes on side two of this version of The Firebird I was listening to during the Crystal Cables' audition. Combined with this explosive low-frequency response, was the near-perfect transient response pressed into the grooves of this record, along with so many other audiophile traits that make this record not only an excellent version of The Firebird but also an excellent demonstration record.

The Micro Diamond 2's was extremely neutral sounding, its transparency was a boon to this LP's all-important midrange. Some might think that since this Mercury Living Presence The Firebird has such a fantastic string sound that the all-important midrange will sound when played on even the most modest of systems. With the Micro Diamond 2 cables installed throughout my system, the gorgeous string sound on this album was almost too beautiful, practically taking my breath away during each passage.

I hope I'm not painting myself into a corner. Yes, the Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 cables look almost as good as they sound. Still, I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't Crystal Cables' top-of-the-line model.

 

Audition
During the audition period of these cables, I listened to all types of music. In September of last year, Pink Floyd issued a remix of their album Animals. I'll be honest — even though I'm a big Pink Floyd fan, I didn't rush out and purchase this album. I wasn't very impressed when this album was released in 1977. One of the reasons for this might have been because I had heard an early version of this album on a bootleg record of them playing two of the tracks at Wembley Stadium after performing most of the album Wish You Were Here.

 

 

At this point Pink Floyd was performing an early version of Animals, one that was still being written, as the track that eventually became "Sheep" was named "Raving And Drooling", and "Dogs" was named "You've Got To Be Crazy". When Animals was finally released in 1977, these tracks were revised into what I considered at the time watered-down versions.

It was a little more than ten years ago that an official version of the Wembley performance with much better sound quality containing these early live versions of Animals was released, on a two-CD version of "Wish You Were Here" named "The Experience Version". The remixed version of Animals does not reach the same heights as these early versions, but it is a considerable improvement over the album's original mix. The sound quality of Animals Remixed is fantastic, it is of demonstration disc quality.

 

Music
In this review, it seems as if I've spent as much space discussing the music as I heard on the review system as I've discussed the Crystal Cable's Micro Diamond Series 2 interconnect, speaker power, and USB cables. This is not the first time this has happened in one of my reviews in Enjoy the Music.com. What this means is that while auditioning these cables, my focus was on the music as often or more than my focus on the sound quality of these cables. I can think of no greater compliment.

Just for kicks, I also played the remastered original Animals LP, a Japanese pressing of the LP, and I also streamed the 24-bit/192kHz digital version via Qobuz. The sound quality of the original version of Animals is no slouch. The sound quality of both the high-res digital version and the Japanese LP were top-notch. The Crystal Cable's transparency made the comparison between the two easier to hear. There is no question that what I was hearing was even more impressive due to the system-wide installation of these Crystal Cables. Regardless of which version I played of Animals, the dazzlingly realistic sounding treble, lustrous midrange, and bottomless low end, could be felt as well as heard.

 

 

I like to think of my system as a time machine. This is especially true when it could do things like sonically bring me to the control room of Abbey Road Studios in the early 2000s. While listening to the remix of Animals, in my mind's ear I imagined myself sharing space on the couch of Abbey Road's control room along with the producers, engineers, and musicians, as we joyfully listened to the newly remixed version of this classic album that was recorded so long ago. This listening session was part of a wonderful afternoon, some of it was spent playing the original version of Animals, but most of it listening to what I considered the superior remixed version.

Although I feel perfectly at home using Pink Floyd's Animals as a musical example during the audition of Crystal Cables, I'm sure some might think that this album wasn't the best musical example because it isn't "real music recorded in a real space" (although I argue that it is indeed real!).

 

 

Favorite
But there should be no argument from that camp regarding the following musical example, a two-LP set released in 1966 on Decca of Bruckner's Symphony no. 7, played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by George Solti, one of my favorite conductors from that era. I love the power Solti injects into about every piece of music he conducts. This album is no exception.

 

 

One of the best things I could say about Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 cables when listening to this album, was how this cable makes itself sonically invisible. This makes it more obvious how this composer can display the power of a large orchestra without a battery of percussion, but instead with its horn section. This recording is nearly perfect, as it captures the horns in typical Bruckner fashion to create a wall of sound.

There is more than one occasion where the horns' themes are based on simple octaves. Yet, it sounds more majestic than simple, and when listening on a good system, the horns enter the listening room, as they did that day when I spun this album, thanks in large part to, again, the transparency of the Crystal Cables.

 

 

In Conclusion
This isn't the first review I've written where I fear that I've painted myself into a corner. My praise of the Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 might give some the idea that these are the most transparent, best-sounding cables I've ever heard in my system. They are not. If I were to make a recommendation, I'd say to the potential owner of these cables that they reach a level of sound quality that will be impossible to obtain unless a larger portion of their budget is spent on cables. Plus, I doubt that any audiophile will be able to find a set of cables that look as good, or as easy to install.

So, getting back to my comment about my painting myself into a corner. Those who know me know that my love of music is far greater than my love of the equipment that reproduces it. But, when a component can increase my pleasure in the music; that is when I often begin to exaggerate to make my point, in this case, my point is that I can't imagine one being disappointed by the performance of these good-looking, flexible, and transparent-sounding audio cables. I highly recommend them.

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: High-end premium audio cable system
Pricing: Diamnd2 USB Cable   $1600
Micro2 Speaker Cable  4-meter Spade   $3620
Micro2 Power Cable  1.5-meter   $860
Micro2 RCA  1-meter   $1020
Micro2 XLR  1.5-meter   $1300
Micro2 XLR  1-meter   $1020

 

 

 

Company Information
Crystal Cable – International Audio Holding BV
Factory and Offices:
Edisonweg 8.
6662NW Elst
The Netherlands

Voice: +31 26 353 9045
E-mail: info@crystalcable.com 
Website: CrystalCable.com

 

 

Canadian Distributor
Wynn Audio Corporation
20 Wertheim Court
Unit 31
Richmond Hill, ON
L4B 3A8 Canada

Voice: (212) 826-1111
E-mail: wynn@wynnaudio.com  
Website: http://wynnaudio.com

 

 

USA Distributor
Elite Marketing Dynamics
Las Vegas, Nevada 89117

Voice: (888) 409-9290
Website: EliteMarketingDynamics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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