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Verastarr Grand Illusion 2 interconnects, speaker wire and power cords Review

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Verastarr Grand Illusion 2

The review process has been accumulative in nature, starting with the speaker wire, then the addition of interconnects and lastly, the power cords. This has given me a real deep view into the Verastarr line up individually and together as a full system.

Components in use for the review included the sublime Pass Labs XA200.5 amplifiers and XP-20 preamp, the wicked Krell Connect streamer and lastly, the outstanding D’Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum Integrated amplifier. Late in the game I got the Wells Audio Innamorata Reference amplifier. Geesh, I shall have a ton to say about that one. My Lansche 4.1 speakers told me all I need to know regarding the effects of the Verastarr wire and did so as clearly as a bell. All power cords were plugged into the Triangle Arts Power conditioner (more to come on this beast).

When characterizing wire, I have found that there is always a first impression that lasts throughout the audition. Yes, wire breaks in and evolves, but the Verastarrs introduction to the system yielded a speed and transient purity that must be heard to be believed. Instruments have a stark suddenness with images appearing amidst an enveloping lively acoustic space be it real or electronically enhanced. There is so little blurring or blunting of information it would not be hyperbole to call the Verastarr “HD” in effect. This cleanliness exists from the very lowest notes to the stratosphere. Bass transients are pulverizing in depth and speed. Listening to George Benson’s “Turn your love around,” the bass line growls and thumps its way along with just the right amount of funk added for your pleasure.  Skillet Whispers in the Dark could prove the end of any part of the audio chain, luckily all my components held it together, not the least of which, the Verastarr. There is no dynamic constriction or muddling of detail as the fuel is added to the fire. Mid way through the song my cat looked at me like “what the hell are you trying to prove?” So I backed off the volume a bit, but the temptation to run all that clean power up the sonic flagpole proved more often than not, too tempting to resist.

Having just entertained a live jazz trio in my home, I can attest to the utter realism of the Cedar Walton Trio recording of John Paul Jones. This recording has real bass weight, no vague opacity but realistic instrumental weight, afforded in part by the Verastarr’s ability to render super dense harmonic structures throughout the frequency range banishing distortion to Never Never Land. Right up through the poignant cymbal work tonal density rules. This track should be on every jazz lovers/audiophiles demo list.

There really is no need to separate and evaluate each component of the Verastarr lineup. All three links of the chain have an almost eerily similar presentation. As though cut from the same cloth, you can get a large measure of the Verastarr sound, for lack of a better phrase with adding any one of the Verastarr products to your system. I would start with the speaker wire, as I found that to have the largest sonic gain. Followed closely by the power chords and then the interconnects. However you go about it, break-in time is a must. Out of the box, the Verastarr wire can sound a bit pinched and tight. That burns off like a mid morning San Francisco fog leaving liquidity and an easy breathing dynamic. Textures flesh out as well creating greater tonal color along the way.

Vocals have a purity and when captured on the recording, a beauty that is the bulls eye of a great high end rig. Stevie Wonders’ If You Really Loved Me is so present and resolved. Sticking out in the mix, its surrounding instrumentation never steps on the vocals leaving a clear and soulful presentation. In conjunction with the D’Agostino Momentum Integrated amplifier, vocals as well as any other mid range instruments such as saxophone have a fluidity intimacy and grace, but can within a fraction of a second soar and bloom. This really goes to the dynamic capabilities of the Verastarr. Within the dynamic envelope, textures remain true and pure regardless of the dynamic tension. No brightening or brittle-ness added thank you very much. Listening to Paul Simon 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, don’t snicker, this is a world-class recording revealing some real soul with some seriously sweet backing vocals. The soundstage was huge and very well delineated. The lack of noise allowed the recording to really open up and sweeten while resolving all the elements within the stage.

Verastarr Grand Illusion 2

Having recently inherited my father’s Mason Hamlin grand piano, I have been able to fine-tune my ear to the sound of a real piano. How many a morning as a youth I was grudgingly awoken by the sound of that piano. Who knew it would play such a major role in my life as a reviewer and music lover. On the Eagles Desperado, the piano intro really gets it right, rich harmonic void of any major coloration, the lower registers often smeared by lesser wire remains open and naturally resonant.

All of these qualities end up within a soundstage that has seemingly no bounds. There is absolutely no smearing of rear of the stage instruments, all is revealed left to right, top to bottom and front to back. And space? These wires reveal space on par with the very best, no question. Reverb and echo just seems to go on forever. This all adds up to some of the most “visualizing” wire I have ever heard, or seen as the case may be.

At the end of the review process I threw back in my Sunny Cable Technology Supreme Power cords. Through the Pass Labs XA200.5, I found the sound to be plumier than the Ultra Neutral Verastarr. There was more mid bass power and a touch more color. This was not a good fit for the Pass Labs amps. I felt I was getting a more honest presentation through the Verastarr. Through the D’Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum Integrated, I have to admit, I enjoyed that little extra warmth and mid bass power. There was a tad more meat on the bones. I guess it all depends on which direction you are traveling. Is your system too lean and bright? A cable with a fuller mid-bass is the way to go. System a bit ripe or sleepy, without a doubt, the Verastarr will be the ticket.

When I set out on this review, I had high hopes. Based on a false start a few years ago I had with the Verastarr Power cords, the memory of those have always nagged at me. It was my fault entirely for the lack of a formal review, I had committed the sin of over commitment for reviews and the Verastarr was left dangling. Looking to purchase new reference wire, recently I had a feeling the new designs would be impressive, especially for the price. Boy did I underestimate what would be coming around the bend. The Verastarr is as good in so many areas as the very best and most expensive wires available. Make sure you break them in thoroughly and you will get the absolute truth about what your components are saying to each other. This wire adds so little to the signal as to make the discussion of distortion nearly irrelevant.  Verastarr Grand Illusion 2 wire is my new reference, try it, and it may well be yours.

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