Harmonic Technology CyberLight Wave & P2A interconnects Unpublished Letters #4
Editor: I had to rub my eyes. There it was, in glorious print, "I really don't see how the Cyberlight P2A and wave cables can be recommended. I am puzzled that Harmonic Technology, which makes good sounding, reasonably priced conventional cables, would risk their reputation with something as technically flawed as the Cyberlight."
Finally, a review with some backbone and truth!!! Or should I say, a reviewer with some backbone and truth. Well done, JA.
Now lets turn our attention to Michael Fremer. I give him high marks for integrity and standing on what he thought he heard. Now the problem I have with his enthused recommendation of this product is the following quote: "When you're powered up and ready to play music, you'll hear a very slight hiss coming from the speakers...Believe me—it's a non-issue."
Well, how can audible introduced hiss be a non issue?
Stereophile has always been about the purest reproduction of recorded music, attempting to re-create the closest sound to the original source, without introducing distortion to the original recording.
Recommending a product that: 1) has measured added distortion; 2) audibly adds hiss, once again led me to question reviewers and their motives.
I applaud J.A for finally not recommending a product and even going so far as to say "technically flawed".—James Peak, Lincoln, CA, email@example.com
Dear Mr. Peak: I understand your reaction to the Cyberlight review. Please understand one thing: I wrote what I heard before I read JA's measurements. It would have been easy enough to just kill the review to avoid embarrassment and neither you nor any reader would have known about it, but that's not the way we work at Stereophile. While this particular review has caused some pain, I figure, after doing this for 20 years, I have amassed a pretty good track record, if I do say so myself, for describing how things actually sound, as well as predicting how they will measured. I am not, though, infallible.
As for "audible introduced hiss": if that is unacceptable in any case, no tube amp, preamp or phono preamp on the planet can be acceptable. Surely you're not suggesting that? Since the hiss introduced by the Cyberlight cable does not increase with volume, it gets buried so far below the actual signal, it really is a non-issue in terms of audibility. It is not audible hiss.
Finally, your suggestion that I am recommending a product that has "measured added distortion" is simply not true. I recommended it based up listening. The measurements came later.
Had I read a full set of measurements before writing the review, and still recommended them, I can understand your questioning my motives. Given that Stereophile and I proceeded according to our stated review policy, much to my embarrassment, makes it very difficult for me to understand how you can possibly question my motives!
Do I recommend the Cyberlight cables now, having read the measurements? No. But I still find them enjoyable to listen to and I have received many supportive emails from readers who bought them and continue to listen to and enjoy them, despite the measurements. That said, I do not use the Cyberlight cables in my system when I am reviewing. I listen to them just for pleasure. They do "sound" good, however they measure.
As I've written many times to other readers complaining about this review, if measurements held sway, I'd have chucked my turntable and records a long time ago. CDs "measure" better, but they surely don't transmit the sensation of actual music being made the way LPs do—for whatever reasons...—Michael Fremer, senior contributing editor
Now I have lost respect for your lack of integrity, Mr. Fremer. Before you knew about the measurements, you recommended [the cables]. Then you change your mind based on a measurement. I would of stood by my recommendation; however, I would of never recommended a product that introduces an audible distortion to my listening environment.
You write: "As for "audible introduced hiss: if that is unacceptable in any case, no tube amp, preamp or phono pre amp on the planet can be acceptable. Surely you're not suggesting that? Since the hiss introduced by the Cyberlight cable does not increase with volume, it gets buried so far below the actual signal, it really is a non-issue in terms of audibility. It is not audible hiss."
If it is not audible, then how come you mention it and state ,"if this freaks you out, no CyberLight cables for you. But the hiss is low and residual..." If I choose to play my very high-sensitivity speakers, (91dB) at a low level, I'll hear it.
Now you wrote this review and praised the "pulse-like coherence that was more musical than anything else I've experienced while listening to recorded music." I would of stood behind you 100%, had you not changed your mind on a separate and unknowing, (at the time) review of these cables' measurements.
Once again, Stereophile falls below its own set standards of honest reviewing. If you were honest Mr. Fremer, you would of stood behind your recommendation of what you heard and experienced. Not change your mind because measured data does not support what you heard.
Very disappointing indeed.—James Peak, Lincoln, CA, Jamles17@aol.com
You are clueless, Mr. Peak. Your comment makes no sense. I am glad you'd never recommend a product that introduces audible distortion. neither would I.
Unfortunately, all reviews in Stereophile are written before measurements are taken. All of them. Every reviewer's recommendations are based upon listening only. Otherwise, subjective reviews can be prejudiced, and tailored to fit the measurements.
If I recommended the Cyberlights in "Recommended Components," after seeing the measurements, you'd have a point.—Michael Fremer