Kubala-Sosna Elation! Full Cable Set Preview

Two gents walk into a bar… So the joke generally begins. Unlike a joke, however musing, what comes next is nothing short of a blockbuster HiFi story worth telling and then some. The two gents in question, Howard Sosna, and Joe Kubala, went on to form what is otherwise known as Kubala-Sosna (or “KS” for short), a bespoke, high-tech HiFi cable company. Now I first met Joe Kubala sometime in 2005 or thereabouts, at one of those LAOC audio society meetings and immediately felt something a bit more different, more refined, more pragmatic about Kubala-Sosna. Then, still in their virtual infancy, Joe Kubala came across as a very polished, very matter-of-fact sort of a salesman, though even the word salesman is the wrong noun, as he was more, much more, a consultant than anything else. At least so he appeared. “Sure,” I said to myself, “he’s coming in through the back door, smart”, I said. Whereas all other cable companies I had known at the time (and most are, even today) came across as sales-y and push-y, Joe’s style was far more nuanced and effective. Think Rolls-Royce vs. Honda dealership. Rather than pushing you, he pulled you, maybe not even that. His (and his partner, Howard’s) story was high class vs. low ball and proved very effective indeed. “Howard and I have spent a great deal of time, energy and money developing our cable line, which we feel represents what a cable should be. I am happy to come to your place of business (retail) or home to let you—hopefully—hear what we hear with our cable designs.” Simple enough in theory. In practice, most everyone fails. Not Kubala-Sosna.

This non-suggestive line, frankly, did it for me. You see, whereas everyone else was always pushing you via the universally strong power of suggestion, Joe’s presentation was nothing of the sort. “Confident. Calm. Consistent,” I thought to myself. “This guy is different. Must learn more. Must connect with Joe to hear more [about their ideas],” I said. No sooner was his time at the LAOCAS event over, was I dialing the phone connecting with Joe to do just that. What followed next was classic Joe Kubala/Howard Sosna in practice. “I’ll send you a couple of cables from our Fascination and [then] top-of-the line Emotion series. Play with them at your leisure and give me a call in a couple of weeks. Curious to hear your input.” Well that was easy. Is there a catch? Not only was there no catch, but Emotion (and Fascination) so transfixed my belief in the power of cables that a full loom of Emotion became my reference for many years to come. Supremely neutral, authentic, dynamic and naturally resolved, Emotion simply allowed me to hear more into the recording, more into the system. That was 11, or even 12 years ago; mind you, Emotion at that time was already a few years beyond newborn status, and in fact was launched alongside KS in 2003. Let that sit in for a moment. No, really. It’s like Apple supporting an iPhone that’s five years old. Everyone else? Crickets.

Then, just before CES 2009, rumors, amplified by aficionados and recording engineers like Jim Merod, abounded that Kubala-Sosna managed to upend even their top of the line cable with something better still. Elation! series was launched and the HiFi press went proverbial gaga. I myself was spooked too. Having had the chance to hear Elation! many times over, I too realized that this was a special cable line indeed. Many others did too—so powerful a lineup was offered that companies like YG, who run an extremely technical and high-tech ship themselves, chose to not only demo with KS Elation! exclusively, but also utilize full looms of KS in their own labs and factory demo room. That’s confidence. Fast forward almost ten years (!) since the launch of Elation! and KS has established itself as a formidable, potent, and legitimate cable manufacturer. To wit, and frankly, one of my main attractions to KS, is the fact that unlike so many others, KS doesn’t simply change and “revolutionize” cables every year; no, in typical bespoke fashion, a new cable line is only launched when it is genuinely demonstratively better than what came before. Thus, it’s no surprise then to see my former reference Emotion still in production and Elation!, now close to ten years of age, still pulling rather strongly. Just how good a cable Elation! is, is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that it took KS about that long to launch an even higher end line, aptly named Realization. But more on that later, as they say.

What then is one to make of an Elation! (p)review ten years on? Simply this: one need not chase the latest and greatest year in year out; consistency and reputation are worth more than the usual fantastic upgrade cycles some cable lines have on offer. What comes next for those cable companies is generally dubious at best: cursively looking around Audiogon explains the rest of thatstory. Snake oil, anyone? Do I have a bridge to sell you! It follows then that If Elation! was truly that great so many years ago, it’s still as great—greater?—today. The rest is history. When, during the course of YG’s all new Sonja 2.2 (2.3) announcement some six-ish months ago Joe offered to supply me with a full loom of Elation!, I immediately jumped on the proverbial train. Just what would Elation! offer compared to Emotion? Compared to my other Nordost references? Compared to my otherwise trusted and true sounding EINSTEIN line of cables? Otherwise best in value Zu Audio cables? Fortunately, this would be a fairly simple and straight forward task. Swap one for the other, take notes, report, repeat. That Elation! would so—yet again—usurp everything else I had on offer, proved impressive to say the least.

Even as a formal review will be published in due time, a system built of Emotion is fine. In fact, very fine. To recapture my bearings to the tune (or is it really no tune at all?) of KS—and due to some scheduling snafus over the holidays—I wired up Sonja 2.3 with Emotion first. Immediately, the hallmark sound of Kubala-Sosna became apparent. Sitting with Emotion again made me realize some of the system’s more detailed resolving power had been missing. The trek with Elation!, began simply enough: a power cable here, a balanced interconnect there; “wowza, this is nuts” I jotted on my notepad some such month ago. To my ears, Elation! in just these past few weeks has yet again elevated the “what’s possible” side of my system. Just when you thought Emotion is all you need, along comes Elation! It’s like the iPhone X really; once you get used to it and all its brilliance, it’s really hard to go back to the iPhone 8, no matter how amazing that phone already is.

For now, then, let us pause here—there’s quite a bit for me to chew on. Elation! review forthcoming. Stay tuned!


From “Postive Feedback” 05-12-2018 | By Danny Kaey | Issue 97

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Kubala-Sosna 最新旗艦 Realization 電源線

在了解 Realization 這條線之前,先來看一段評論。這段評論來自於 HiFi Plus 雜志的出版商、高級作家:Chris Martens。

“在我看來,YG Acoustics / Audionet / Kronos / Kubala-Sosna 系統提供了我在2017 年 CES 上聽到的最好的全方位聲音表現。該系統由一對 YG Acoustics Sonja XV 揚聲器, Audionet 前置放大器,唱放,DAC 以及 Audionet 單聲道后級放大器,音源採用 Kronos 轉盤和配有 AirTight 唱頭與唱臂,全套線材採用 Kubala-Sosna 新旗艦 Realization 系列。

在幾個月前的 Sonja XV 推出活動中,我聽過這套系統,這是在 Kubala-Sosna 推出新的 Realization 系列之前,它已經將系統的水平推向一個全新的高度。難以置信的是 YG / Audionet / Kronos / Kubala-Sosna 這種組合的搭配方式,一方面可以展現錄音中最細膩的質感與動態的微妙之處,並以必要的快速瞬變毫不費力地表現出了無與倫比的質感。”

Realization 系列是 Kubala-Sosna 目前最頂級的產品,包括四種產品:“信號線、數碼線、喇叭線、電源線。”採用最新的 OptimiZ3 技術,該技術用來重建線材的電感與電容特性,並將線纜的阻抗特性大幅度降低,遠遠要低於其他線材很多。在我心目中的 Realization 一直是渴望不可及的神物,因為每次參加大型的音響展會Realization都是與頂尖的器材相配合,與 Realization 最近的距離也僅僅限於鏡頭的最近對焦范圍。別說在自己音響系統聽上一聽,就連摸一下也是想都不敢想的。之前代理發給我一套 Emotion 系列電源線、信號線、喇叭線,自從寄回代理后,我有很長一段時間不願意打開音響系統。Emotion 的平穩、耐聽、干淨、透明的聲音,是 Kubala-Sosna 所獨有的特色,其他品牌線材所不具備的。

當時拿到的 Emotion 線材不過是採用 OptimiZ 技術而已,其獲得的聲音質感是無法與採用 OptimiZ 2技術的 Elation 相提並論的,實在難以想象最新的旗艦 Realization 採用 OptimiZ3 技術后會有何種表現。很多發燒友對Kubala-Sosna所提到的 OptimiZ Architecture 會有所陌生,其實 OptimiZ 是一種特殊的線材結構技術,它用來改善電纜的阻抗、電容、電阻、電感特性。其實這就是我們經常提到的特性阻抗。這種特性阻抗用萬用表無法偵測,因為萬用表採用直流輸出檢測,所以我們用萬用表測試導線時,無法看到線材的阻抗數據。假設我們給某條線材施加一個帶有 50HZ 正弦波的交流信號,這時不同的電纜會呈現出不同的特性阻抗。也正是不同結構、不同材質、不同屏蔽的線材,呈現出不同的特性,才最終影響到我們的CD機、放大器、揚聲器。作為這些器材的連接樞紐,他們起到的作用不容忽視。既然線材工作在交流環境下,不可避免的會產生特性阻抗,從而影響器材的聲音表現。那麼有沒有一種方法可以讓這些影響聲音的特性變的均衡?

Kubala-Sosna 正是認識到這些線纜產生的問題,才提出 OptimiZ Architecture,既然我們不能擺脫交流狀態下的物理束縛,那不如做點事情去將它有效控制或利用。Kubala-Sosna 通過大量的試驗來驗証線材結構變化帶來的聲音影響,不僅如此,Kubala-Sosna 的線材還需要在不同的晶體管設備與電子管設備上進行聆聽驗証,找到可以有效降低特性阻抗並且將線纜的容抗、感抗協調到最為平衡的方法。正是因為如此,我們在 Kubala-Sosna 任何等級的線材上都感受不到線材所特有的音染,他們之間隻是質感的差異。隨著Kubala-Sosna近幾年技術的不斷提升,在Elation 的 OptimiZ2 技術上已經可以明顯的感受到 OptimiZ 技術的提升對聲音帶來的正面影響,採用 OptimiZ2 技術依然保持 Kubala-Sosna 沒有音染的風格特點,而在聲音真實度、聚焦精度、聲音密度、動態等方面提升明顯。其實採用一代OptimiZ技術的Emotion已經表現驚人。

Realization 採用皮質包裝,拉鏈上帶有產品型號的銘牌,內部附有一硬支撐板,從包裝中取出觀察這條 Realization 電源線,採用交連纏繞設計,線身被避震網包裹其中,採用藍星頭尾插。雖然線身粗壯,但配重設計均勻,不會出現偏重比不對,造成機尾承受過大重量而無法插緊的問題。線身質地並非特硬或特軟的極端性設計,而是比較折中的軟硬適中的設計。

Realization 接入高文 CD機 ,播放 Philips 出版的內田光子 Mozart 鋼琴奏鳴曲,換下音樂絲帶Ruby Mountain II 電源線,同是 Mozart Sonata in C,K.330,Allegro Moderato 表現 Ruby Mountain II 略顯遲滯,由於 Ruby Mountain II 的設計並不側重聲音均衡性,在反應 K.330 這首作品時,略顯老氣,缺乏童真的歡樂。Realization 的接入完全改變局面,它的音符連續性緊湊,鋼琴的高光澤部分極低染色,相較 Ruby Mountain II 則更側重琴板的共鳴,而缺乏對觸鍵靈動感的表達。另一方面,Ruby Mountain II 厚度有些過,則 Realization 在密度扎實的情況下,反映出內田光子輕盈的觸鍵感。按說高文 CD 機本身聲音走中高頻清秀路線,接入 Ruby Mountain II 會對高文的中低盤有所補充,在 Realization 的比較下,方才發現這種組合離完美差距有多麼大。


Quadro Nuevo 是1996年成立的德國四重奏樂團,屬於歐洲的新派爵士樂團,2015年發行一張與北德廣播流行管弦樂團合作的跨界爵士現場專輯。這張唱片除選曲為膾炙人口的經典作品外,最重要是他結合管弦樂團的形式打破傳統爵士樂編配方式,是一部氣勢宏大的爵士樂現場錄音專輯。也是非常考驗音響系統音場比例的一張專輯。因為樂團主角 Mulo Francel 演奏薩克斯的音色太過搶眼,如果音響系統平衡性與音場並非最佳,Que Reste-T-Il De Nos Amours 這首歌曲中Mulo Francel會搶掉手風琴的位置,兩件樂器會在龐大的管弦樂團伴奏中混為一團,實際在沒用 Realization 接入 CD 機之前,我也有懷疑是否是錄音本身問題,但是作為德國發燒名廠 GLM 絕不會犯這種低級錯誤,因為這會讓聽眾混淆兩件樂器的發聲位置。我很驚訝 Realization 會讓 Mulo Francel 的位置略微提前,這時就更清晰的感受到手風琴的位置。原來 Mulo Francel 與他有一段非常美妙的音樂對話。該專輯中還收錄一首改編自古典吉他的名曲《Miserlou》舞曲,是一首節奏輕快的希臘風格音樂,如果你的音響系統表現這首《Miserlou》舞曲,既無歡快也無美感,我還是建議用一下 Kubala-Sosna 的 Realization 電源線,會有很大的改觀。

反反復復試過幾張碟后,發現 Realization 並不像 Ruby Mountain II 電源線那麼容易被發覺線材自身的特點,那種線纜固有的染色在 Realization 中徹底消失,而它帶來的質感提升卻是實實在在的。採用 Realization 電源線並不難於器材相互匹配,因為無論用在哪個環節,他都不會突出自己。一條好線的作用就是幫助系統來彌補丟失的信息,那些原本在線纜傳輸中不應損失的音樂信息。經過幾代改良升級后的 Kubala-Sosna,更加接近理想中真實傳輸。也可以將一些味道濃郁的電源線用在音源,功放選擇Realization,如此做 Realization 會在原有的線材風格上突出其更為鮮明的特點。我在用R uby Mountain II 給音源,Realization 給功放時,播放相同曲目,其風格表現出siltech的特性,樂器質感卻要比用兩條 Ruby Mountain II 還要鮮明。當然用Realization 這個級別與 Ruby Mountain II 比較並不公平,Realization 的售價是:3萬左右。不過現在用2條 Realization 將會是很完美的升級。我本人更喜歡將Realization 用在音源,那純淨透明且質感飽滿的特質,其他品牌真的難以替代。

轉載自 “家電論壇” JDBBS.com


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功放與音箱之間的快速通道 Kubala-Sosna Emotion Speaker


Kubala-Sosna 故事

其實音響玩家們早在上世紀90年代就留意不同線材用在音響系統上的表現。當時還是音響顧問的Howard Sosna開始留意市面上各種線材在音響系統上的表現,如不同粗細、不同材質、不同結構的各種線材對音響系統的影響。

一番嘗試之後,Howard Sosna 對這些線材似乎不太滿意,於是自己DIY起整套線材來。Howard Sosna並非毫無目的地制作線材,他憑借自己學來的知識與經驗,加上不斷鑽研的精神,終於制作出一套讓自己滿意的線材。


如此優秀的線材,如果不通過市場來分享,確實是一種浪費。Howard Sosna 的朋友中也不乏音響發燒友,Joe Kubala 就是其中一位,而且還是一名超級發燒友,據說中學時期就喜歡 DIY 各種電路,大學畢業後,他的職業就是設計DC電源和功放電路。這兩人一拍即合,在 2003 年成立了專門研制發燒級音響線材的Kubala-Sosna,品牌名稱中包含了他們兩個人名字的一部分,這就是 Kubala-Sosna 的由來。



看似簡單的線材其實不簡單,各種場合、各種設備對於線的性能都有所要求。例如解碼器使用的同軸數碼線,對阻抗、結構以及屏蔽性能都有嚴格要求,由於 spdif  信號頻率可以達到 2MHz,必須采用高頻傳導性能優良的材料,並且高頻損耗要低;由於模擬音頻信號的頻率比較低,因此 RCA 和 XLR 線信號線不需要傳輸高頻性能非常出眾的線材,但對於阻抗和屏蔽性能還是有要求的,至少沒有人敢冒天下之大不韙取消屏蔽層;連接功放與音箱之間的連線,由於功放的輸出阻抗極低,音箱的阻抗也不過數歐,抗干擾能力極強,對線材的屏蔽性能要求不高。不過不管哪種線材,傳導性能永遠是越高越好。


即使是銅線,也因純度不同、結構不同而呈現不同的傳輸性能。Kubala-Sosna 采用的是經過多次高溫提煉和退火處理的高純度銅線。當然僅僅有好材料還不行,他們認為導線阻抗的最基本因素在於電容、電阻、電感的結合,很多線材在電容、電阻、電感這三種特性上得不到協調,所以或多或少都會偏向高頻或低頻,誇張了某些頻段而又削弱了另一些頻段,令聲音表現得不夠中性自然。

為了應對此問題,Kubala-Sosna 根據不同導線材質有不同的電容、電阻、電感而研發出 OptimiZ Architecture 獨門專利技術。這項技術讓線材的電容、電阻、電感這三種特性取得平衡,使得聲音表現平直連貫,不會突出某些頻率。因此廠方在設計線材時會將不同物料的導體從線芯直徑、線芯數目、分隔度、絕緣體、屏蔽層、以及硬度等進行對比,並且在多套系統上進行試聽,從而獲得最佳的比例。因此,制作一條叫好又叫座的線真的不簡單。

試用 Kubala-Sosna Emotion Speaker 音箱線

讀者們還記得上月筆者使用金威銀星 XLR 平衡信號線和音箱線來幫補音響系統嗎?那次使用金威銀星 XLR 平衡信號線的收獲真不小,用在前後級之間,讓系統的聲音平衡度、感染力提升了不少,也顯得自然流暢,讓一套本來表現不錯的音響系統得到進一步的提升,可以說效果讓人興奮。本想將音箱線也用上,結果因金威銀星音箱線使用Y插、音箱只有香蕉插插口而失之交臂。

第二天借來 PMC Fact.8 落地音箱,搭配的功放依然是聲雅 CV-1 / PSM-500 巨無霸前後級,金威銀星 XLR 平衡信號線連接在前後級之間。為了方便對比,此時使用的是試音室常用的一對帶香蕉插的音箱線。與第一次搭配書架箱相比,現在的組合在聲音表現上絕對有優勢,低頻的量感與延伸更勝一籌,聲音的層次感更佳。

接著換上金威高端的銀星音箱線——Emotion Speaker。好氣派的喇叭線!線很粗,拿在手裡沉甸甸的,線徑如此粗的線,線身卻有些柔軟,相比硬身的線材用起來方便不少。可以看到 Emotion Speaker 金燦燦的Y插毫無氧化跡像,每條線都由多股線組成,這也是線身粗的原因。Emotion Speaker 的加入,使系統的聲音產生了微妙的變化。

播放爵士女聲 “The men you were”,可以感受到低頻量感有少許變化,但不顯著,Emotion Speaker 是遵循平衡原則的,但聲音下潛更好了,緩緩的低頻變得更有撼動力。演唱者的嗓音自然,而且顯得毫不費力,這是電流暢通無阻的結果?當大動態音樂出現時,在大音量之下,功放輸出的電流是非常大的,尤其是大功率、大電流輸出的功放,對於線徑比較細的喇叭線來說肯定是災難,如果此時拿一條細銅線來代替,有可能產生發熱的情況,就像一條塞滿車的高速路,是快不起來的,這就不難理解Emotion Speaker為什麼要用多股線,為的是給強大的電流提供寬敞無阻的傳輸通道。




Kubala-Sosna Emotion Speaker 金威銀星音箱線,給功放和音箱之間建立了一條寬敞而快速的通道,讓功放輸出的電流毫無保留毫無修飾地傳送到音箱上,讓系統在聲音的自如度、平衡度和自然度更進一步,它有助於將Hi-End級系統的聲音推向極致。



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