EGM Audio Black ML Reference Audio Power Cable Review
Australian compliance, serious sound quality and excellent value make this a winner, says Mark Gusew…
Black Series ML Reference Power Cable
AUD $399 RRP
EGM Audio is a Brisbane-based company that hand-makes its entire range of cables – click here for a closer look. The Black Series ML Reference is the current range-topper for power cables and starts from a modest AUD $399 for a one-metre length. Prospective purchasers have a choice of length (add $50 per half metre) and female IEC terminations, where they can choose between the figure 8 pattern C7, the commonly used C15 or the larger rectangle C19 plug ends. So there’s a lead for pretty much every application…
Some cable brands buy in Chinese mass-produced OEM stock and rebadge it, but this isn’t EGM Audio’s way. The Black power cable you see here is individually built-up as a purpose-designed product, rather than a generic, general cable. Everything is tested and quality-checked before being shipped and fully complies with our various state and federal Australian standards – something to keep in mind considering that not all such products on sale do, as we explained previously here.
The company is judicious in its choice of materials, all of which are geared to getting the best possible sound at the price. This cable uses seven cores of 99.9999% pure OFC electrolytic copper, each being 16AWG which makes for a total of 13AWG cable. Around the cable is a braided screen of tinned copper, for protecting from RFI and EMI and grounded safely to earth. The cable is terminated with attractive plug and socket ends with the pins made of a soft copper and tellurium composition. Its standard five-year warranty befits the general air of quality of the product.
EGM Audio’s entire range of power cables sounds better than standard bundled OEM types, with improvements to be heard as you spend more money further up the range, where the materials improve. The Black Series is a noticeable jump in sonics over the Blue or Red Series, for example. What’s particularly conspicuous is the lowering of the noise floor, manifesting itself as a subtle but discernible quietening of the background, so that any minute detail of musical information is heard rather than being disguised or masked by the noise.
This effects the soundstage and amount of detail heard. For instance, George Benson’s version of Rainy Night in Georgia has the organ producing background sound that fills the height of the soundstage, and with the EGM Black, it’s easier to follow and has more spatial information. Vocals feel closer and more intimate and purposeful, with added body and texture. Benson’s lovely guitar work also sounds more explicit, and there is extra front-to-back information plus a feeling of greater spaciousness. Kick drum and bass guitar are also punchier, apparently being hit harder. Overall the recording sounds more real as if you’re there with the great man in the room.
The introduction to Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon has a soft bass riff that gets stronger as the track progresses, and especially during the quieter parts, its definition is more clearly heard. Bass power is stronger and easier to follow with the EGM Black cable, too. Also, Frank’s superb orchestra comes over as sounding wider than with my standard cable, as well as being better focused. I got the same extra feeling of positivity and scale with Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff, which has a punchy beat throughout – thanks to the gutsy kick and snare drum work. With this power cable, I heard it come across with more impact, with bass notes getting added depth, weight and impact. Bass lovers rejoice!
There is much to like about this premium-priced EGM Audio power cable. The Black Series may cost a good deal more than a kettle lead, but there’s a massive jump in sound quality, and you really notice its fine build too. Another great positive is the aforementioned Australian market compliance. The result is a product that offers serious value for money – and given that the company gives a money-back guarantee on everything it sells, it’s a risk-free way to upgrade your system. A worthy Applause Award winner, then.
For more information, visit EGM Audio.
Starting his first audio consultancy business in the early ’80s whilst also working professionally in the electronics industry, Mark now splits his time between professional reviewing and AV consultancy.