Harmonix Studio Master 350
Warm and Rich • Excellent and Cost-efficient
Thing grows well in the summer. Since the Billon Company became the agent of the products of Japanese tuning expert Kiuchi Kazuo, the company has been advertising the products even though the present Hi-Fi stereo products are in a downturn, and many products of Mr. Kiuchi have been delivered to our magazine, always appointing yours truly by Billon to try these products out.
I wasn’t very interested in Mr. Kiuchi’s products at first, but after trying his products for awhile I found that not only does his products have a distinct effect but can generally enhance the acoustical quality. These products, different from those tuning tools I knew before not only can make things better but can provide timely help. So I’m really curious about Mr. Kiuchi’s tuning abilities right now, not to mention I’m totally sold.
The tuning products of Mr. Kiuchi are always branded Harmonix. Besides various small tuning items introduced by our magazine, this time four cables, i.e. a power cord, a speaker cable, a signal cable and a data cable, are delivered all at once by Billon, which can let me further acknowledge the variety of Mr. Kiuchi’s products.
Among the four cables, I am mostly interested in the power cord. What attracts me the most on the cable typed Studio Master 350 is not its appearance or the gilded terminal of Wattgate 330i and 350i but that Mr. Kiuchi once told me JVC studio nearly fully adopted the Harmonix cables and become a key during manufacturing of XRCD, including the power cord of course. This time the Studio Master 350 delivered by Billon is the highest quality power cord of Harmonix, so I’m definitely interested.
The Harmonix power cord includes three types, i.e. X-DC2, X-DC Studio Master and X-DC Studio Master 350 (abbr. SM350). The differences are that the X-DC2 has a thinner and softer cable body and adopts the Fulutech terminals at two ends; the other two SM power cords look like each other as they are all provided with the same thicker and harder cable body, but SM adopts the American Wattgate terminal at one end and adopts the Japanese Fulutech terminal at the other end, while the SM350 adopts the Wattgate at both ends.
According to the documents introduced on the Harmonix website, the SM350 adopts the OFC conductor and the pin adopts the Wattgate 330i, while the power supply pin on the other end adopts the 350i. The other detail about SM350 has not been mentioned at all. Well, they only describe a general condition for their products, and usually won’t go into details and secrets, so we can’t really blame them for not telling us.
Recently, our magazine stressed the importance of the stereo’s power supply. Senior players also know that the impact of the power supply’s accessories are really big on the acoustical quality, it doesn’t matter if it’s matched wires of AC power supply inside a wall, a power supply socket, a wired jack, a filter, a power supply processor or wires connected to equipments, etc. all have impacts on the acoustical quality.
But, how big can this impact of just one power cord be on the acoustical quality? The experiences of players may be different but most people think about this more or less as what I thought before that the impact is limited as the power cord is just one cable and its impact won’t be larger than that of whether your power supply has been grounded or that of an expensive power supply product!
But, the above statement is proven wrong after the SM350 is adopted. As what I experienced, just one Harmonix SM350 power cord inserted onto your amplifier can result in a great change on the acoustical quality of the whole stereo. Then, not only the sound become more Hi-Fi, but the gentle feeling can be enhanced, and the music dramatically becomes more rhythmical, delicate, the tone color becomes more vivid and balanced, and the music even become more dynamic and fresh. As if the new dynamic energy and life are transferred to the music itself!
Could one SM350 power cord have so great an impact? Yes, definitely. I can’t even describe how good the power cord is! The SM350 completely overthrew my opinions on power cords. In my experience, it doesn’t matter whether it’s cheap or expensive, cables don’t give me the impression of a fully changed and improved sound. The best some can do was simply making the sound more delicate or audible. Normally when a power cord can enhance the acoustical quality a little or can locally remedy the defect of previous acoustical quality, I will consider that to be an improvement. So a cable like the Harmonix SM350 that upgrades every aspect is totally unheard of in my memory. For a cable that costs only 40 somewhat NTD, it’s incredibly cheap for what it does, compared to various Hi-end stereos that ask for so much more.
The SM350 power cord is a new product delivered by Billon Company. The advantages can be displayed after a power run-in for a period according to the manufacturer, but what the SM350 impresses me the most is that once it’s connected the sound will become so beautiful and the characteristics of clearness, sweetness, smooth and kindness can all be reflected at once.
The greatest characteristic of SM350 is that it is different from the common power cord. The effect of the common power cord used for enhancing the acoustical quality can make some aspects better but make other aspects worse at the same time. For example, if the sounds become softer, the detail more detailed, and the musical field is widened, the thickness of the sounds will disappear or the sweetness and warmth of the sounds reduced, and the stereo feeling is derogated, even the balance of the sound can be damaged. Namely, many power cords just have one advantage but not two, and the improvement of acoustical quality must pay a price. Then, adding other tuning tools to compensate the defects cannot be avoided.
The tuning effect of SM350 really surprised me, as the cable not only can improve the acoustical quality but can preserve both the balance and the solidness. If you’re using a common power cord, such as the one presented by manufacturers or an incomplete power cord, then the adoption of SM350 results in the improvement of sound which can amaze you. No matter it’s the details, clearness, veins, thickness, sweetness and warmth or the concentration and solidness of sound and the dynamic effect, range and quietness of the background can all be completely enhanced well.
Maybe saying the adoption of SM350 seemed like changing to a more advanced stereo equipment is a little exaggerated, but the SM350 can really inspire the ultimate potential of your existing stereo, not only a fully different and refreshing feeling can be acquired but a complete improvement can be realized.
The effect of SM350 is so unexpected. At first, when I saw the common appearance of this cable I was a little disappointed. But I have to admit this is a perfect and advanced professional cable after hearing it, no wonder JVC also adopts it. Mr. Kiuchi told me that JVC decided to adopt it after trying many other cables. I also think the cable is world-class after hearing it in action, especially when it has world-class performance but at a reasonable cost.
The impression that the SM350 gave me is so good that I feel each disc becomes excellent XRCDs, I can’t even bear myself to take them off. The adoption to the grounded power supply can perform well and its adoption to the power supply socket of common apartments still displays a distinct improvement. So, I gradually adopted the cable to different apparatuses, including the Esoteric SA-10 player, the 38℃ ESTI CV450 vacuum tube integrated amplifier, YAMAHA A-S1000 integrated amplifier, Denon AVR-5308CI AV amplifier and even the SONY PS3. I am surprised by the improvements the SM350 made to the sound are pretty much the same, with just some minor differences, having more impact on amplifiers.
Once the SM350 is adopted, the energy and power of acoustical quality can be easily heard to be enhanced and the music becomes more energetic. What seems so magical is that the SM350 not only reinforced various essential factors which are good for stereos but can be helpful for largely enhancing the melody and musical feeling. Besides the adoption for songs, I also applied it to some famous orchestral music, chamber music and sonatas, and the enhancement of SM350 to the acoustical feeling of both string music and pipe music not only was marvelous but also produced an attracting glamour to the description of the whole profile.
The Pass Rushmore active four-way electronic sound-split speaker was right in our company, and I was worried about that the speaker was so new that the sound had not been run, lacking breaking in. So I simply plugged the SM350 to the speaker. As I just had one SM350, I used Fulutech RTP-6 wired jack to connect two common power cords to connect the right and left Rushmore, so the acoustical quality still could be largely enhanced, the sound of Rushmore became softer and smoother at once, the sound of the speaker was so unassuming as if it had been used for months. From this, we can see that the SM350 power cord of Mr. Kiuchi can extend the enhancement to acoustical quality through the wired jack and the effect is also distinct.
In the past, I used many power cords and the results are not changed. Although most of them were effective but only a few of them could lead me to try them again and again. The SM350 of Mr. Kiuchi let me feel the peerless warmth and sweetness, preserve all the good-sound elements, that I can’t take my hands off of it.
My conclusion is simple. If you have not tried great power cords and want to have a try, the SM350 is the one. It saves you from complicated searching processes that waste both time and money. For music enthusiast who tried so many cables and still expect a higher level sound, but feel unsatisfied should really try the SM350. Some power cords more expensive than the SM350 can’t even compare. Harmonix’s Studio Master is truly extraordinary for its price.