DH Labs White Lightning, Odyssey, & Encore Cables Review 
Home Theater Accessories AV Cables
Written by Andre Marc   
Saturday, 01 October 2011

DH Labs is one of my favorite audio cable makers. As a matter of fact, their digital cables and the silver Revelation interconnect are two of my references. They have been at the top of my list for a number of reasons. First, they actually design and build their cables based on solid engineering and scientific principles. Second, they do not engage is absurd hyperbole to prmote their products. Lastly, they are among the highest value products available to audiophiles today. Oh, and they just happen to be built to a very high standard and sound terrific across the board.

I recently reviewed a set of DH Labs digital cables and found them to be reference quality performers.  Darren Hovsepian, head honcho at DH Labs, understands that cables can be very intimidating to new entrants into the audiophile world, and that when one sees the astronomical pricing that has taken over the cable industry, it is easy to see why. This is especially so when much of this pricing seems questionable in relation to performance. When reviewing the DH Lab price list I was note that not a single cable in any category, except for the Red Wave AC cable, is over $500 in standard length!

White Ligtning CableDH Labs has just brought to market several new offerings that should even further solidify their reputation for high value and performance. I received a set of White Lightning interconnects, Odyssey speaker cables, and the Encore AC cable. They have also developed a high performance USB cable to serve the growing computer audio market.

The White Lightning interconnect replaces their Phantom interconnect. Dh Labs says it offers lower capacitance, improved shielding, and better aesthetics and is more flexible.  Other features include: OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) copper conductors and Foam PE dielectric. Each cable is also hand terminated with high quality DH Labs connectors and lead-free silver solder. The White Lightning is priced at  $60 per 1 Meter pair.

The Encore, priced at $125 per 2 Meter AC cord is a shielded power cord that features three high-purity stranded 14AWG OFHC conductors and full shielding and noise rejection. It is hand terminated with high-quality connectors, not the molded ones usually found at this price point. The Odyssey, at $3.50 per foot, is DH Labs' "entry-level" speaker cable. It features 14AWG multi-strand OFHC conductors and PE dielectric.  I received my samples terminated with very nice banana plugs, but to maintain its low price, DH Labs also sells Odyssey in bulk, unterminated form.

Set Up & Listening:

I replaced an assortment of rather more expensive cables from Kimber, QED, and Transparent, with the White Lightning, Odyssey, and Encore, then gave them a around 40 hours to burn in before doing any serious listening. After they settled in what I heard was an extremely balanced, neutral, and vivid presentation with no evidence that these were one tenth the cost of the cables they were replacing.  I found this quite astonishing. Essentially, the music flowed with liquid ease, but there was plenty of punch, and transients were quick and lifelike.

Odyssey cablesThe Odyssey and White Lightning are cut from the same sonic cloth, and make an excellent pairing.  I was especially impressed by the Encore AC Cord. It is a huge upgrade over stock cords and to repeat, most unusually for this price point, comes with high quality connectors, where normally one sees the cheaper molded connectors. I used it on a variety of components and was very pleased with its even character and flexibility.

Conclusion:


There are not that many no brainer recommendations in audio.  Some so called “no brainer” purchases can still make your wallet a helluva lot lighter. Not so here, with what I will label a “can’t go wrong” purchase recommendation. For around $400 you can get all the White Lightning, Odyssey, and Encore you will need for a typical system. But the trick is you are getting great sounding cables with little or no compromise compared to cables costing much more. Can you do better? Sure, but at many multiples of the cost.

I am not shy about repeating that people at DH Labs are some of the good guys in high-end audio, and their fair pricing and attention to detail leaves much to be admired. Their digital cables and the Revelation interconnect remain my references. The company’s lack of flamboyance or outrageous claims may give them a lower profile, but slow and steady wins the race. A virtually risk free purchase if there ever was one.

Encore AC Power


Specifications



White Lightning Interconnect:
Color: White, Burgundy
Diameter: 6.5 mm
Recommended Connector: DH Labs RCA-650
Price: $60 per 1 M pair

Odyssey Speaker Cable
Color: Pearl White
Diameter: 9 mm
$3.50/foot

Encore AC Cord:
Color: Charcoal
Diameter: 14 mm
$125 for 1.5 M

Manufuctuarer: DH Labs


Review System 1


Cd Player: Naim CD5 XS with Flatcap 2X,
Server: Squeezebox Touch with CIA  VDC-SB power supply
DAC: Bryston BDA-1
Preamp: Audio Research SP16
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables: DH Labs Revelation (IC), Kimber KCTG (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC),  Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Element Cable Element Cord, (AC)  Shunyata Venom (AC) Pangea AC-9 (AC) Audience powerChord e.(AC)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Sound Anchors stands,  Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Cd Player: Marantz 5003
Music Server: Squeezebox 3, Marantz NA7004
DAC: CIA VDA-2 with VAC-1 Power Supply
Computer: Dell netbook running Windows XP
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Preamp: Belles Soloist 3
Amplifier: Belles Soloist 5, Revox A722
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Kimber/QED/Transparant/Shunyata(AC)/PS Audio, Pangea Audio (AC), RS Cables, Element Cable


 

 






Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!Del.icio.us!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!
 
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio