A Beast Of A Power Cable
In the depths of the forest, deep down into no man's-land, are tales of terror that would make the boldest of men shiver. Tales of inhuman things, supernatural things, savage things. Strange creatures dwell in the deepest, darkest forests in the world, but stranger still are the ones that live inside of man, inner beasts more fearsome than anything else.
One such creature is the Windigo.
The word used to describe the creature is not a proper noun because it has no name. Windigo is only a kind of "reference". The word itself is just one of the many ways to spell it. The term derives from the Algonquian root word "witiku", though throughout the tribes and times the term's spelling varies: Wendigo, Windego, Wetiko, Windago, Windikouk, and so on. The legend of the Windigo is well known among the Algonquian speaking tribes in America, from the Maritimes to the Prairies, from central to north-eastern US. No "monster" or "evil spirit" evokes so much fear in these people. The legend varies in the details, but the outline of it is basically always stays the same: lost hunters or people that have stayed too long in the state of famine (especially during the wintertime), turning to cannibalism as a last resource, will become windigoes or be inhabited by its spirit and then be drawn towards eating people. When this happens, asides the cannibalism, they become violent and antisocial. Even after returning to civilization and eating normally, the want for human flesh will return to the "windigoes". This craving will endanger the rest of the community. It is believed that the only way to kill the windigo and the malevolent spirit is to burn the body of its host into ashes.
I tell you this tale because this is the name of the power cord (Windigo) that I am about to review. The Windigo is part of the Manitou line of cables manufactured and sold by 6Sons Audio from our neighbor to the north, Canada, This line includes the entry level Spirit Wind ($325-$500), mid-level Thunderbird ($900-$950) and the top Windigo ($2300) power cords.
The cable first came to my attention as a package delivered by UPS arrived at my door one afternoon without a note saying what it was for, but it was sent by Cole Hatfield, the US distributor. At the time I did not know it was coming in for review. My fault entirely, Marvin - publisher. At this point I was in dog heaven as I thought someone had sent me a free power cord. I started to do some research on the cable and discovered its price, $2300 ($825 for the connectors alone). As it dawned on me that it couldn't be a freebie, I contacted James Darby (publisher of StereoMojo) to ask about the cable. Come to find out I had missed an email telling of its arrival for review and Cole had forgotten to put a note in the package as he was rushing off to a HIFi show in Canada.
Let me start off by saying that the Windigo is one of the two best cables I have had in my system, the other being the KCI Silkworm.
As far as constuction and material used, the manufacturer told me (slightly edited to weed out a bit of hyperbole), "Our goal in the design of the Windigo power cord was to try and bring the listener as close to the live musical performance as possible. Our focus was toward timbre, tonal accuracy, immediacy, a breathtaking soundstage presentation that could result in the best musical sound possible. Silver, gold, and copper metals all have their strengths and weaknesses which have been discussed and debated many times over the years. I’m not going to give another episode into that end. Simply put, we believe the blended metals can achieve the best musical performance possible, which most likely opens the door again to much debate and discussion."
About the metals used in the cable, they continued, "We have experimented with many combinations of wire(both twisted multiple strands and single strand), materials, conductors and terminations. Doing so brought us to using the single stranded solid silver/gold/copper alloy wire strands, which are hand cleaned in house to remove any and hopefully all impurities from the wire to provide the optimum signal. Our view is that cables are the lifeline between components and what is delivered to each one through to the speakers makes music what it is. Each individual strand is then fed into a thick wall Teflon cover for best dielectrics. We use seven strands of wire to each pole. Each of the seven strands are placed into their own individual jacket and braided.
About terminations (the plug on each end), "We tried many terminations and found that the Acrolink CP-PC80 was the choice. It was dead quiet and we do believe sits in a league of its own. We also found that the Windigo terminated with the Oyaide 004’s was a preference over the Acrolink terminations in a lot of music choices when connected to the transport. Then again, some still liked the Acrolink terminations. Our cords are also now put on the cable cooker for 96 hours, burned in, tested, demagnetized and for the best contact possible, treated with Furutech’s nano liquid before they are ready to ship".
They also place a 30 day money back guarantee on all cables, no questions.
Windigo power cord: Specifications
•7 strands of hand cleaned 22 ga silver/gold/copper gold plated alloy wire to each pole, 21 strands total approximately 10 ga;
•Each strand fed into it’s own thick wall Teflon jacket for best dielectrics;
•Each of the 7 strands are placed into a shielded jacket for best RF/EMI protection;
•Contacts treated with Furutech nano liquid to provide the absolute best contact;
•Terminated with Acrolink P/I CF plug and IEC representing the ultimate in AC connectivity;
•Contacts are polished, then 1.5 micron thick gold plating followed by 0.3 micron palladium plating;
•Carbon fiber outer barrel absorbs EMI and stray electrons making it the quietest AC connector available today.
The cables arrived doubled boxed and while not in a fancy wooden box, they were cradled in a nice southwest motif fleece bag with drawstring. The cable seems to be very well made and is light weight and very flexible. I was informed that the cables were fully broken in and during my time with them there was no change in sound. I started by replacing the Iego L70530 on my Usher amp with the Windigo. My initial impressions were so numerous, I'll save a lot of verbosity by using lists:
1) Tempo right on which made for some good toe tapping fun.
2) Sound ever so balanced, no part of the audio spectrum stood out as to bring attention to itself.
3) Each instrument is isolated within its own space, with great pinpoint imaging.
4) Great dynamic attack on notes.
5) Sound very airy as music just floats in space. That black background has a lot to do with it.
6) Tonality oh so natural. Piano, trumpet, sax, double bass, and drums are all spot on.
Back to the Windigo legend, this cable just seems to go into your system like a virus (eats its way in) and imparts its sound on the entire system. Hey, maybe I can get away with just one in my system.
Replacing the Iego on the Usher and swapping out the VanHaus Flavor 1 on my Onix with the Windigo:
1) Great tonality. As above but is fine tuned more.
2) Solid bass. Bass tightens up nicely.
3) Good 3D sound stage. Height, width, and depth are enhanced.
4) A little less sizzle in the upper end which could be a good thing.
5) Tempo seems a little slower. Don't know what causes this but it's not only with the Windigo.
There are far more pluses than negatives here but timing is a biggie to me. I would have to have multiple Windigos in my system to hear how the tempo issue would effect sound overall.
Replacing the Flavor 1 on the Onix and putting the Windigo on the Belles:
1) Good tempo. Tempo came back in spades after removing Windigo from transport.
2) Crystal clear highs, sweet mids, good tight bass. You can feel the weight of the bass.
3) Good attack, imaging, sound stage.
4) Tonality made the Raytheon 12au7 tubes in the Belles sing.
This Windigo seems to take your equipment out of the mix - you just hear music coming from that black background. In all setups the sound stage had great height, width, and depth. I most enjoyed the Windigo when attached to my Usher amp. Gary Lea of The Sensible Sound in his review of the Usher R-1.5 amp stated:
“This is a punchy solid state amp that wants to be a tube amp at heart” I can wholeheartedly say that with the Windigo attached, the Usher is a true cross dresser.
I started out using a new favorite recording by a French jazz drummer named Manu Katché entitled "Playgorund" on ECM. Manu's group is comprized of young players from Poland and Norway. He is rather new as a solo artist, but has played with luminaries such as Peter Gabriel, Sting, Joni Mitchell, Dire Straits, the Bee Gees, Tori Amos, Tracy Chapman and many, many more. I should do a full review for our upcoming music review section. Yes! Definitely! - publisher Each of the following cuts is from this CD.
Cut #1) “Lo” Delicate drum work(cymbals) with nice kick drum foundation. Nice throaty trumpet.
Piano floats in a layer of its own. That trumpet sounds as if the player is just barely putting
air through the horn. Images on the sound stage are rock solid.
Cut #2) “Pieces of Emotion” Better cymbals and trumpet, you know it's metal when the cymbal is
struck. You can hear the air going through the horns and that sax sounds as if it's part of the
player. I just shake my head in amazement. It amazes me at how clear and open the upper registers are, no fatigue whatsoever.
Cut #3) “Song For Her” Piano high notes not harsh, you can clearly hear the overtones.
I keep trying to find a weakness. Strings on the bass bouncing against that wood..awesome.
Oh that black background. This is where that great pace and tonality come into play.
Cut #5/6) “Morning Joy”/ ”Motion” Love the piano/sax. Cymbal detail light as a feather. Dynamics
a little on the cool side(easy going) like sipping a pina colada. I know I keep mentioning
cymbals, strings, drum work, just great detail, no strain, grain, or mush anywhere.
Cut #12) “Song For Her var.” If you want to sum it all up just listen to #12. I'm getting ready to go on a cruise and I can see myself sitting on deck with a nice drink in hand watching the sun set. If you have a chance, go to Amazon.com and listen to some of the sample cuts and I'm sure you will add “Playground” to your collection.
Hold on..... wait, I can't stop here, I must do a couple more discs!!!!!!
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances on Reference Recordings RR-96cd. This is one of the best orchestral recordings I have heard. With the Windigo in place the sound stage is incredible, width, height, and the depth, you can hear the bells and triangles in the rear of the orchestra but the sweet high pitch sounds just seem to flow over the other instruments and come straight to the front but never in a shrill or obtrusive way. The individual instruments are in their own space with a clarity and tonal rightness that makes you just shake your head.
The bass by those double bass drums just shake the room, the fullness of the orchestra is so warming.
This is as good as it gets. It's also encoded with HDCD. In addition, through an exclusive Stereomojo agreement with Reference Recordings, you can download a excerpt from "Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances"! Just right click here and save to your hard drive. Please note this is a much lower quality mp3 version, but you can get a taste of our reference material AS you read about it! - publisher.
And this young lady, Kate Walsh on her CD "Tim's House" (Verve Forecast) has the voice of an angel. As a local friend who recommended her said, “As I got off the couch, with tears in eye, I went to find my wife to bring her in to listen.” Of course, the tears could have something to do with his recent back trouble...
Kate sings and plays guitar. The background is quiet and all that comes through is that wonderful voice and guitar. The strings just raise goosebumps, tone is right on, tempo there, no harshness.
These are two must have in your collection.
This is one of the most enjoyable pieces of “equipment” that I have had the pleasure of listening to in my system. Obviously, at $2,300, this is not a power cable for everyone, but it has proven to me that not all high-priced cables are pure snake oil. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. By all means, if you have a chance to listen to the Windigo and you can afford its premium price, it will become a part of your system. If not, listening to it will be one of the fondest memories you will have of a listening session.
The Windigo is clearly above and beyond the cables I own now, although the Flavor 1 beat out the Windigo on the Onix in the area of tempo - that's it. The Windigo has forced me to start upgrading my level of power cords. Curse this hobby!
This cable cannot come any more highly recommended from me. Time to sneak money behind the wife's back, I've got to have one of these bad boys. Please don't tell the wife!!!
For me personally, I’m absolutely thrilled that Mr. Darby was willing to have the Windigo power cord in StereoMojo for review. This is our first review of our flagship power cord so I think all are on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.
I also want to express a very sincere thank you to you sir, for your time and effort in reviewing the Windigo power cord. We are certainly elated to have you cover that for us.
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