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HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic Review

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HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic

[T]his review is of the HB Cable Design’s Powerlave Acrylic, which falls in the middle of their line at $6,995.  I previously reviewed their PowerStar Horizon at $3,995, and will follow up with a review of their reference, the PowerSlave Marble at $8,995.

The owner and designer of HB Cable Design is Harri Bernholz, who became interested in Hifi and the connections and wires as a young man. After he had tried out many cable brands he began to build audio cables for his private use and for friends in 1990. In 1999, Bernholz founded the HB Cable Design company.

Bernholz says his goal was to create and to build handcrafted, unique audio products. He looked for the best materials on the market to guarantee an optimal result regarding the sound quality and the appearance of his products. He says his company is always trying out new conception trying to improve existing concepts; HB Cable Design builds all their own products. Bernholz also says the task of his Cables and Power Distributors is to supply the most possible energy and power transfer to allow high end equipment to work at their highest levels. He is insistent that they don’t use so called “bulk goods” made in China.

HB Cable Designs is imported to the U.S. by Brian Ackerman of Aaudio Imports. As I mentioned in the first review, Brian has a ear for finding exceptional sound equipment from all over the world and bringing it to the American market.

As the name implies the PowerSlave Acrylic is made of thick clear acrylic glass and has eight individual receptacles. Being clear you can, of course, see what’s inside. Like I said in the first review, these are the most impressive receptacles I have seen. Looking inside, there is no doubt that HB Cable Design has incredible build quality, and attention to detail in building this product. I’m not going to spend time writing about the inside design when there are some perfectly good videos that will do that for you — Just click on http://www.aaudioimports.com/video.asp?hBrand=26 and in a little over three minutes you’ll know and have seen all about the inside of each unit. It’s kind of nice that they actually show us what’s inside, don’t you think?

Like the Horizon, there is no more to using this unit than there would be with any power bar, but that’s where the analogy would end. You could simply call these power bars, though to do so would never prepare you for how they can help your system.

HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic

Setup & effect on the sound of my system

I used the same setup I did with the Horizon: HB Cables Design’s PowerDragon power cord ($5,400) from the wall to the PowerStar, then the Audience AU24 power cables ($2,200) to the AMG Viella V12 turntable’s power supply, and another AU24 to the Wavac EC-300B amp.  Break in should be a minimum of 100 hours and the unit continued to improve for the next 300 hours or so.

You need to read the review of the Horizon before you read this review, because I’m going to take the rest of the review to talk about where the Acrylic and Horizon differed in sound. The Acrylic did just as well as the Horizon on reducing hum , and it might give even a quieter background, but let me tell you about the significant difference I heard.

First, there is the increase in scale. My system sounded bigger and more powerful with the Acrylic compared to the Horizon. Second, there was a solidity and sense of space to the sound with the Acrylic in the system that I had not heard before. Third, the system’s ability to play loud and not break up was expanded; my amp sounded like it had more power. Fourth, my system had even better timbre and tonal accuracy with the Acrylic distributing the power to it. Last, because of the first four points, my system sounded more alive with the Acrylic.

Conclusion

I have been privileged to review some really fine power products. Until now, the three most impressive have been the Audience aR12-TS Power Conditioner at $10,545 with 6’ AU24 e powerChord AC cord; HB Cable’s own PowerStar Horizon at $3,995 plus the cost of a power cord. For the latter, I used HB Cable’s PowerDragon at $5,400, the Synergistic Research TESLA PowerCell 10 SE MK II and the current MKIII at $5,500 plus the cost of a power cord.

Truth is any of these are worth the money, but of all of these I would choose the HB Cable’s PowerSlave Acrylic for its ability in imparting less of its own sound and for the wonderful way my system sounds with it. I know this review is short, but it’s simple: this thing works! Brian will be sending the PowerSlave Marble to me; I can’t wait!

Powerslave-Acrylic_004

HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic connector plate

HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic parts

HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic and PowerStar

HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic

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5 Responses to HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic Review


  1. BM says:

    Am I missing seeing something? Did you ever complete reviews or post thoughts of the Audience aR12-TS Power Conditioner and the Synergistic Research TESLA PowerCell 10 SE MKIII? Can you share any thoughts on the differences between these two power conditioners? Thanks!

  2. Art says:

    Nicely summed up , eagerly await your take on their flagship ‘Marble” model , before taking a call . Most Helpful , Thank You .

  3. fcrowder says:

    Would you comment on the contribution of the powercord to the overall sound of the Powerstar?

  4. Jack Roberts says:

    The power cord going into the unit is very important. It is easy to hear the differences. I’m not reviewing power cord right now so I’ll leave it at the fact it is easy to hear the differences and you should use your favorite cord with the unit.

    As far at the PowerCell and Audience units(the one I reviewed was the aR-6T identical in sound to the 12T) They are all very good, it would be impossible to say which would sound the best in which system. Still in my system I’m really pleased with the HB design.

  5. BM says:

    Have you listened to the Audience aR12/6-TS Power Conditioner and the Synergistic Research TESLA PowerCell 10 SE MKIII extensively, especially in your system? The conclusion just seems confusing as these particular versions are supposedly much improved over their predecessors, and there is even a TSS model, now. I fully understand if your preference is for the purely-passive option (aka nothing in the signal path), and the option using silver conductors, but am just trying to understand what is being compared, as you had the only (non-forum) review comparing the T and SE.

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