"To keep it short: the Kimber Monocle X crosses the border from hifi to high end..."
Twisted and braided…
This article is part of our extensive loudspeaker cables group test. We recommend checking the full article here: The Union of Snakes: the world of low and mid-tier loudspeaker cables. This is also where you can find the lists of the recordings and the audio systems that were used throughout the test.
Ray Kimber has become a legend already. Its braided designs (MultiStrand and VariStrand technologies as he calls them) earned popularity already a decade ago and it seems they are still rocking. The simpliest cables are just 4 wires plaited together (4PR), the most sophisticated like Kimber Select are a very complex structures of many strands on a resonance dampening core. The Kimber cables are not shielded and the resistance against EMI is the result of the geometry per se.
What do we know about the Monocle X? It is derived from the Select flagship and it is based on 16 pure copper conductors with the total cross-section area of 5,3mm2 that are braided over the Kimber’s proprietary X38R core that functions as a resonance absorbant. The Monocle X uses Teflon dielectric, the outer shell is polyethylene.
More than a cable the Kimber Monocle X looks like a hose of your vacuum cleaner and this is the wet dream of many hifi hobbyists. Thanks to its foam core and lot of air confined in the braided structure the cable is surprisingly flexible (bend radius of 50mm) and light. Let’s combine this with its soft outer sheath and we have almost tender piece of wire that is the least harmful to the components in your rack from the bunch in our test. Kimber traditionally uses WBT connectors: 0645 bananas and 0680 spades in this case.
The Kimber Kable Monocle X arrived among the last cables of our test. There was no doubt that the Monocle X will aspire to be the winner of the contest. Honestly, in a sense it is.
The Monocle X provides excellent dynamics. John Williams’Star Wars fanfares and thundering drums jumped out from my speakers with an explosive attack and left me breathless for a while. Unlike the cables I had been listening to for three months already the Kimber played deeper, higher and more effortlessly. I had to use my reference, the Krautwire Fractal (the Fractals are built around similar principles like the Kimbers) to facilitate the comparison.
The timpanis of Star Wars suite thundered with punishing force and a kick drum of INXS pressurized my listening room with unbridled energy. It seemed like the Monocle X went even deeper than the Fractal. The bass of the Kimber was however a bit slower and stayed a bit longer in the speakers than absolutely necessary – the result was that feeling of an ultradeep presentation. The side effect of the slight bass inertia lies in a very open and expanding soudstage. The ambience is free of any strain and the walls of your listening room cease to exist when the lows reverberate in the room. This is not to say that the Kimber blurs the sonic picture – quite opposite: it is very well focused and pinpoints accurately instruments in a believable three-dimensional space while preserving high level of communication between them. For example, the harp glissando is both integrated in the orchestral sound and enjoyable on its own.
The dynamics of the Monocle X, yet excellent, are a bit rougher than those of the Fractal that is finer and more refined. Also harmonies were more colorful and timbrally correct through the reference cable. Anyway, once the price comes into the game, all those quibbles are just... quibbles, as the Fractal is much more expensive.
The Monocle X is a superb speaker cable. Should you doubt just listen to the textures of brushed cymbals in In The Wee Small Hours of The Morning, or to the timing and drive of INXS’s Devil’s Party or myriad of other events that can be found in the recordings (the soft sound of keys touching the body of a flute are a good example). To keep it short: the Kimber Monocle X crosses the border from hifi to high end.
Other cables in the test:
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