NBS Monitor 0 Cables
Bill Wells "The Audiophile Voice"
Over the many years of my involvement in high-end audio, like so many other audiophiles, I have continued my journey in search of the so-called Holy Grail forever seeking to find the "perfect" component/speaker combination. To say that cables have but been at the top of my priority list is to put it mildly. That is until sometime during the early 90's when my search became a more complete approach including the search for cables that would connect all of these very important components to one another. Also, during the past ten-year period or so, there has been a proliferation in the variety and type of high-end cables making the selection not a particularly easy task.
Whether the cable is straightforward and uncomplicated, exotic and difficult to use, thick , thin, flat or round, configured and terminated as single-ended or balanced, inexpensive, moderately so or outlandishly costly, the choices are indeed many. Manufacturer claims have also been at all levels with any number of jaundiced audiophiles offering supporting or counter claims. Lastly, in many instances, cables have received either a bad rap as being intrusive or the opposite by being claimed to te the so-called cure-all for certain system tonal characteristics, idiosyncrasies and/or whatever other sonic attributes or anomalies exist.
Although I have had a few miscues with cabling systems in my reference high-end audio rig over the last ten years or so, for the most part I have had some very good experiences with a number of manufacturer offerings. This includes top of the line cables from Cardas, Transparent, MIT, Straightwire, SLO, Monster and now NBS. In the words to follow, UI will Attempt to offer my view of the outrageous Monitor 0 cables from the NBS Audio cable lineup.
First having met the person behind the design and development of these cables some ten years or so ago (Walter Fields), I have had an opportunity and good fortune to experience various cables in the lineup as they have gone through an evolutionary (and in some cases revolutionary) development process. Without dragging you through all of the details, I can say confidently that the current crop of cables from NBS has come a very long way from their initial offerings and are truly state-of-the-art products well worth serious consideration by audiophiles and music lover alike.
Currently, I am using a complete system the top foe the line and totally impressive Monitor 0 cables from NBS. According to the designer, the designation 0 indicates the level of signal degradation in these particular cable line. My current reference system now employs balanced interconnects, AC power and speaker cables throughout. Though very costly and quite bulky, theses cables have rendered a degree of musical accuracy and authenticity in my system far beyond what I have experienced previously. Truly theses cables are highly rewarding in providing musical truth in my reference system.
Prior to using these particular cables, I had successfully used the precious top-of-the-line Statement cables from NBS. While these cables were quite musically enjoyable in my system, they were not perfect and had certain characteristics that could be improved upon. The newer Monitor 0 cables seem to have taken all the positive characteristic of the earlier Statement cables and improved upon them in many important areas. As such, these newer cables seem to offer even less character of their own and seem to simply pass the audio signals through my system with minimal intrusions.
One of the things that most all NBS cables provide is superb RFI rejection. The Monitor series cables takes their performance characteristic to even greater heights. This brings about an extremely quiet background and outstanding transparency. This allows musical nuances to be clearly heard with far less disturbance by extraneous noise that can easily seep their way into your system via the cabling system. As a result of this superb shielding and rejection of extraneous noise, with the NBS Monitor 0 cables there is an extraction and delivery of musical detail that has to be heard to be believed. Furthermore, this clarity is offered in a most neutral manner without any richness or enhancement to the overall tonal character of the reproduced musical signal.
The truly important (and impressive) thing abut the NBS cables is the manner in which this superb clarity and extraction of detail comes forth. Fortunately, the enhanced presentation of detail does not come at the expense of musical accuracy. Through the Monitor 0 cables, detail is presented in such a coherent and realistic manner that this performance characteristic of the cables does not stand out separate and apart from the total musical performance. Effectively, it becomes a part of the total presentation rather than drawing attention to itself . Also, with these cables in placed, the total soundstage seems more transparent and allows the listener to appreciate musical nuance that once seemed to be buried deeply in the soundstage. With the NBS Monitor 0 cables, the subtle details am musical nuances become apparent although they are not thrust forward.
One very important consideration to the full NBS cable line is that much of the technology of the top line products in incorporated in to the full line of the cables. As a result, many of the positive attributes of how NBS cables pass signal through them are consistent throughout the entire product line.
In terms of how recorded music sounds in my system with the fabulous MNS Monitor 0 cables in place, what I find is an expansive rendering of the soundstage , a full and totally flushed out midrange, powerful lower frequencies with deep extension and a natural tonal balance without bloat or dryness, highs that are fully extended and clear. Along with these sonic characteristics, throughout the musical spectrum there is outstanding inner detail and resolution that comes with out etch or brightness. Overall, the NBS Monitor 0 series of cable provides an extremely high musical accuracy providing a coherency and naturalness that brings about a sense of captivating musicality.
A few words of caution in using the NBS Monitor 0 cables. For one, they will reveal the overall character of your system in a non-forgiving manner. Yes, these cables can yield tremendous positive results if your system is up to it. However, if things are less than exemplary, these cables will let you know for sure. This may be somewhat disconcerting but instructive as well. Likewise, poorly recorded CD's (of LP's) are laid bare for what they are. These highly accurate and revealing cables treat the good stuff really good but can also turn the bad stuff into a musical nightmare.
Another consideration is the bulkiness, weight and relative stiffness of theses cables. As a result the user must have a bit of patience in determining how to manipulate them into your system. Because these cables are fairly thick and somewhat stiff, care should be given to how they are dressed. Fortunately your efforts will be rewarded once the cables are in place and run in for a period of time to let them are and settle in.
Fortunately, the quality of the components in my system has progressed to a level where the NBS Monitor 0 cables can be fully appreciated. At this point, I believe I can rest for a while and stop my search for cables. That is, until perhaps when Walter Fields comes along with another one of his innovative and sonically surrendering cable developments. In the meantime, IU am more than satisfied and will simply enjoy my system with the NBS Monitor 0 cables included.
Lastly, there is something to keep in mind - since NBS offers its cable products through a limited number of dealers, interested persons to check out the NBS website at http://www.nbscables.com/ or by calling the factory at 1-800-NBS-0204. Also, remember, NBS has an expanded line of cables with all levels offering a very high level of performance with an interesting upgrade and trade-in policy benefiting owners of older NBS cables with the ability to move into higher performance cables with out the full impact of sticker shock.
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