Zavfino

OCC Sil­ver Dart Power Cord

NOVO - - REVIEW -

Dur­ing the early 1990s, a ‘Quiet Rev­o­lu­tion’ in au­dio ca­bling oc­curred. Au­dio­philes rec­og­nized that in­su­lat­ing ca­bles from Ra­dio Fre­quency In­ter­fer­ence (RFI) and Elec­tro-Mag­netic In­ter­fer­ence (EMI) could lower the noise floor and dras­ti­cally el­e­vate the sonic per­for­mance of their sys­tems. Twenty five years later, ca­bles used in high­end 2-chan­nel au­dio sys­tems are now con­sid­ered as im­por­tant—if not more so—than the gear it­self.

High qual­ity power cords drop the noise floor waaaay down. Less noise means that more de­tail, tex­ture, and tone can emerge from the sound­stage. This ac­cu­racy makes the tim­bre of in­stru­ments ‘feel’ more or­ganic and nat­u­ral. High-end power ca­bles also in­crease the amount of en­ergy (read: life) any sys­tem has. The re­sults are bet­ter pace, rhythm and tim­ing (PRaT), deeper res­o­lu­tion, and a far more life­like sound to recorded music.

To­day, cut­ting-edge ma­te­ri­als and wildly so­phis­ti­cated man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques have ush­ered in a new ‘Golden Age’ in au­dio ca­bling. Older gen­er­a­tion cords that were state-of-the-art just five years ago are be­ing beaten by newer and bet­ter sound­ing ones. Zavfino’s new OCC Sil­ver Dart power cable ($800 US for a 1.5m cord) is one fine ex­am­ple.

DE­SIGN & FEA­TURES

More Cana­dian than a Win­nipeg Jets fan or­der­ing a dou­ble-dou­ble while pi­lot­ing a zam­boni through a Timmy’s drive-thru in Flin Flon Man­i­toba, 1877 Phono has been proudly of­fer­ing ca­bles, com­po­nents, and ac­ces­sories to OEMs and DIY’ers for more than 18 years. Zavfino is one of their reg­is­tered brand names.

The 1.5m Sil­ver Dart power cord I re­viewed had a gor­geous snake­skin-sil­ver outer jacket. The cable’s 1.25 inches thick and it’s as stiff as a Keanu Reeves mono­logue. Be fore­warned: you’ll need at least 18 inches of space be­hind any com­po­nent to plug this power cord in. Although it isn’t too heavy, this cord is also dif­fi­cult to ro­tate along its tor­sional axis.

An elec­tri­cal anom­aly known as the “skin ef­fect” oc­curs when elec­trons move through any solid core wire. Higher fre­quen­cies travel along the out­side (the skin) of the

con­duc­tor faster than midrange and lower ech­e­lon fre­quen­cies. This re­sults in hazy PRaT, mud­dled in­stru­men­tal tim­bres, and an un­nat­u­ral sound.

To negate the skin ef­fect, Zavfino’s patented H-Wound process twists thin sil­ver stranded wire tightly around thicker cen­tral OCC cop­per solid-core con­duc­tors. They re­fer to this con­struc­tion as a ‘cable within a cable’ and claim that it achieves “per­fect pitch” and su­pe­rior PRaT.

In­stead of only us­ing a cop­per braid or a My­lar wrap as a di­elec­tric shield, Zavfino ex­trudes a ‘graphene’ layer over a My­lar shield/drain to in­su­late the Sil­ver Dart from EMI and RFI. Graphene is an al­lotrope of car­bon which, at the molec­u­lar level, forms a two di­men­sional hexag­o­nal lat­tice in which one atom forms each ver­tex. It’s the ba­sic struc­tural el­e­ment of var­i­ous other al­lotropes, in­clud­ing graphite and char­coal.

Noise is to au­dio­philes what toe­nail fun­gus is to shoe en­thu­si­asts: a hell-spawned thing to be feared and loathed like the black plague. The Dart’s graphene di­elec­tric shield re­jects EMI and RFI noise like an Amish tech­sup­port rep re­jects phone calls; it just ain’t get­tin’ through.

Graphene is the strong­est ma­te­rial ever tested. Its ten­sile strength is about 200 times greater than that of the strong­est known steel. It is also the best con­duc­tor of elec­tric­ity yet known. These phys­i­cal qual­i­ties are what make it so valu­able to au­dio ap­pli­ca­tions.

Most ca­bles us­ing OCC me­tals take months to burn-in. Zavfino cryo-treats and pre-burns all of their con­duc­tors be­fore the in­su­la­tion is ex­truded over the con­duc­tors. They claim that their patented Ul­tra Sonic 7 process cre­ates a unique break-in ef­fect that sounds like the ca­bles have had 40 hours of cur­rent run through them.

One thing is clear: Zavfino has in­vested more R&D into the Sil­ver Dart than the US put into their space pro­gram in the 1980s. This power cord uses a half-dozen new tech­nolo­gies which, in the­ory, should im­prove its sound qual­ity. So… how does it sound?

PER­FOR­MANCE

Re­leased in 1981, U2’s Oc­to­ber has phe­nom­e­nal son­ics. With songs like “Glo­ria”, “I Fall Down”, “Re­joice”, “To­mor­row”, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, and “Is that All…?”, pro­ducer Steve Lil­ly­white lay­ered Bono’s soar­ing vo­cals on top of the haunt­ingly in­tro­spec­tive and at­mo­spheric sounds heard on this al­bum.

Dur­ing the early 1980s, I lis­tened to Oc­to­ber on a nearly daily ba­sis. I thought I knew this al­bum to the core of my be­ing. And yet, with one Sil­ver Dart cord plugged into a 10 Amp power re­gen­er­a­tor, I dis­cov­ered all sorts of sub­tle sonic de­tails which I sim­ply hadn’t heard be­fore.

Ex­am­ples…? Bono’s pained vo­cals sounded more des­per­ate and tor­tured than I re­mem­bered. The Edge’s guitar lines echoed with a lonely and dis­tinct iso­la­tion that haunted my mind for days. The moody bass and ring­ing per­cus­sive ac­cents had richer har­mon­ics, greater tex­ture, and far more ‘feel’ to them.

No mat­ter what com­po­nent I plugged it into, the OCC Sil­ver Dart brought an or­ganic warmth, tex­tured res­o­lu­tion, and in­ci­sive mu­si­cal in­sight into Oc­to­ber that raised the lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from merely hear­ing the music, to be­ing thor­oughly in­volved with the songs on an emo­tional level.

Re­leased in 1980, Saxon’s land­mark Wheels of Steel is a new wave of Bri­tish heavy me­tal al­bum. If you like Motör­head or Maiden, you’ll love this hard-charg­ing music.

Show­cas­ing roar­ing songs like “Mo­tor­cy­cle Man”, “747 - Strangers in the Night”, “Free­way Mad”, “See the Light Shin­ing”, “Ma­chine Gun”, and the an­themic ti­tle track “Wheels of Steel”, this al­bum kicks like an in­jec­tion of 100 CCs of nitrous-ox­ide.

With the Sil­ver Dart, I im­me­di­ately felt the swag­ger­ing com­mand of Biff By­ford’s über­con­fi­dent vo­cals. The per­cus­sive ac­cents from cym­bals were de­tailed with­out any high-band ring­ing or ar­ti­fice. The tone and tex­ture of the twin rhythm gui­tars was warm and nat­u­ral sound­ing. Un­like a lot of posh power cords that make bass notes sound like the mod­i­fied ex­haust of a teenager’s car, the Dart de­liv­ered su­perb tim­bral ac­cu­racy across the lower fre­quency reg­is­ters.

The two main things I want to hear from ca­bles are: one, in­ci­sive high-fre­quency res­o­lu­tion that doesn’t in­duce ring­ing fa­tigue; and two, a pal­pa­ble rich­ness of tex­ture, tone, and tim­bre that isn’t slow or coloured. While lis­ten­ing to Wheels of Steel, it oc­curred to me that the OCC Sil­ver Dart does both.

Sorry Suave (my dear ed­i­tor), but I’m keep­ing the re­view sam­ples. Why…? Un­like most OCC ca­bles which take months to burn-in, the Sil­ver Dart cre­ated stel­lar sound in 24 hours. I’m call­ing this the “5 minute jeans trick” of au­dio, be­cause get­ting any OCC power cable to the heights of mu­si­cal ec­stasy af­ter only a day or two—in­stead of a month or two—is a rare and won­der­ful thing.

In my au­dio sys­tems, the Dart con­sis­tently cre­ated a much deeper emo­tional con­nec­tion with the music I love. Even on discs I’ve been lis­ten­ing to for decades, this AC cable un­veiled lay­ers of sound which I hon­estly didn’t know ex­isted.

Yes… $800 USD is a fair bit of money for a sin­gle power cord. And yet, in my lis­ten­ing tests, the Sil­ver Dart em­bar­rassed a lot of mains ca­bles that sport $2,500+ USD price tags. The only cords that cleanly beat Zavfino’s mon­ster were ones with con­duc­tors made en­tirely out of OCC Sil­ver; most of which flaunt ob­scene ask­ing prices north of $5K USD.

Beg, bor­row, or steal—what­ever it takes— get this cable into your sys­tem. With the OCC Sil­ver Dart, Zavfino has un­leashed a gi­ant killer.

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