This review is a comparison between a Omega-Mikro Zephyr digital IC, and the MIT Magnum digital IC. Both are 1 meter in length.
The digital IC is being used to connect a Wadia iTransport (iPod Classic lossless files) to a Bryston BDA-1 DAC. Up sampling enabled on the DAC.
I have been using the Zephyr digital IC for over a year at this point, and am very familiar with its ‘sound’. To be honest, at this point, I am very happy with the sound of my 2 channel system. After doing the following tweaks in the last year, it is really sounding good.
I have installed brass footers under all components, and each addition bought a new level of detail to the music. I upgraded my speaker wire to Omega-Mikro Planar 1 cable, and it too bought the music to a new level. I upgraded the power cords on the Wadia, DAC, SACD, per-amp, and power conditioner to Pangea AC-14SE, or AC-9. Another obvious improvement in sound. A few weeks ago I replaced the balanced ICs between the DAC to pre, SACD to pre, and pre to amps with MIT Shotgun S1.3 balanced ICs. This really made a positive improvement, and the review is here.
The MIT IC upgrade was so positive I immediately started thinking of a HT upgrade, and while I was ordering the HT ICs (to be reviewed in a not yet posted thread), I had a moment of weakness, and treated myself to the MIT Magnum digital IC. The iPod is the primary music source in the two channel system, and since I mostly listen to classical, my amps are usually operating in Class A mode. The detail I was hearing with the Zephyr was spectacular, but after hearing the S1.3 ICs I had to try a MIT digital IC, and since the two channel system is my main music source, I decided to get the top of the line Magnum.
Physically the Magnum is a very well made cable. The size is about the same as the size of the AC-14 power cord. The RCA connectors are ‘twist-to-tighten’, for lack of a proper name. You place the cable over the RCA plug, and tighten the shell, and this snugs it down for a very secure connection. One drawback to the Zephyr is it is very easy to damage, so the Magnum gives a feeling of security when I am fumbling around behind the rack.
I installed the Magnum last Friday night, and immediately noticed there did not appear to be much difference between the old and the new cable. At least not $700 worth of difference.
However, just as with the S1.3 ICs, the Magnum started to come alive after a few hours. It was amazing. The sound stage opened up, the detail became even more clear, the background is dead quiet. I’m not sure how a digital cable can do all this, but it did occur, and seems to be getting better. It is as if it bought the DAC to a higher level.
Before, I felt it was a tossup between the DAC and the SACD/CD player in regard to sound quality. If I turned off the DAC, and used the CD player analog (XLR) out I felt it was a tiny bit better than the DAC. However, now the DAC trounces the CD player. Generally, I only use the CD player for new CDs, or for rock and rap. All my main classical listening is on the iPod. However, now that the DAC is king I ordered another iPod to start loading all my rock on for future listening. The poor CD player is going to be gathering even more dust once I get Lady Gaga onto the iPod.
Anyway, if you can swing the cost I have to recommend the MIT Magnum. It is really doing a great job.