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Kinki Studios Earth Cables for your HiFi are the REAL DEAL - Steve Huff

Let me be clear, I mean no offense at all to anyone who feels that cables can not alter the sound of a HiFi system as I used to believe the same thing many moons ago. As sure as you may be that cables can not make a difference, I am here to say that my ears and the ears of tens of thousands of others disagree. That’s it! This is an age old debate though I can not believe it still goes on today as these things can indeed be night and day within some systems.


Remember, my fave measuring tools are my ears and in the case of the Earth loom, this difference in sound is not something that is hard to hear; )


Notice I used words such as “Alter” and “Difference”. I didn’t say “better” or “improvement” though these things can happen with a cable swap. You can also get “worse” with a cable swap, even if spending more. All depends on the speakers, the amp, your room, etc. Synergy is important and even a simple speaker cable can hurt the sound if it doesn’t vibe well with your speakers or amp.



This will be a review of some of the most, no scratch that the most gorgeous set of cables I have ever laid my eyes and hands on when it comes to their physical beauty. Sure there are much fancier cables out there for tens of thousands of dollars that have this “jewelry look” but the Earth cables are $799 for speaker and $349 for RCA interconnects. A very fair price if they deliver the sonic goods. 


They remind me in looks of Crystal Cable, which is a brand that has some insanely priced cables in their lineup purely for those with big old fat wallets, bursting at the seems with cash. I once saw a price of a Crystal Cable loom come in for over $500k, just for cables. No thank you. Nordost has the same kind of tier with their Odin Gold coming in for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a full loom of the cables. I mean…why? Yes cables make a difference but in no universe will they make a $500k kind of difference.

These Earth cables do have the look of audio jewelry and yet they are priced in the range for us regular humans. Then again, what does that matter if they do not do something really good for your audio system? I mean, even $1500 for a loom of Earth cables is a pretty penny to shell out for wire but let’s see how it goes.


Those who know

Those of us who are in this high end audio hobby know the difference a well designed cable can make within our systems and while I do not see them as a component level upgrade, at times they can make quite the change to a system. I am experiencing this right now as I listen to a full Earth loom of Speaker Cables, Power Cable and RCA/XLR IC’s.

I also own a slew of other speaker and IC cables from $39 copper cables that I enjoy in some systems to Nordost Red Dawn LS and Cardas Clear Reflection which do well in other kinds of systems. I also own a set of Daniel Hertz copper wire cables and have been testing them all in my Daniel Hertz system during my endless search for better sound. I also tested these with the CHoco Sound amp and Alexandria Audio Monitors.




These cables come from Kinki Studios in China and I have reviewed pieces from both Kinki and CHoco (same company, different lines) and each time have been wildly impressed. So I was hoping these cables would be in the same vein. Big performance for less $$$ seems to be the way of Kinki products and who doesn’t like that?


The EARTH’s are relatively affordable for high end audio cables so I emailed them to ask if I could review a set, hoping for the best.  A few weeks later I received a box with a 4M set of speaker cables, a 1.5M power cable and a set of RCA and XLR interconnects. Wonderful!

Each came in a nice sealed box and inside the box there was a gorgeous “saddle bag” type of case that held each cable. VERY well done. The cables were protected with felt covering in the form of little “bags” to avoid scratching the beautiful metal parts. Get this…the presentation was so much better than cables from Nordost that cost $5k with the packaging consisting of  a cheap white thin cardboard box. The Earth cables presentation is pure class without that pure class price tag.



I have been listening to the Daniel Hertz Amber system which itself ships with its own Daniel Hertz branded basic and thin copper speaker wire. Yes indeed, they are just basic copper but do the job very well. The system was tuned with these basic copper cables so it’s no surprise that they sound wonderful with the system.


For RCA’s I was using my Nordost Red Dawn LS and they almost always do very well, depending on the system. For a digital cable I was using the generic USB that shipped with the Hertz system and then a very pricey Shunyata COAX 75 Ohm cable. I did this to get an idea of the stock system with a basic $10 USB cable and the sound of it with a $4500 digital cable.


After months of listening to the Hertz systems (Eva and Amber) I became very fond of their sound and since these are very revealing yet at the same time, full and warm systems I figured it would be easy to hear the differences with cables. Luckily, I was right.


I tested this system with Cardas, Nordost, Mad Scientist, basic Copper and the Earth cables from Kinki Studios. All did something to the sound and all sounded slightly different. 


I eliminated the Cardas and Nordost speaker cables quickly as I preferred the basic thin copper cables the Hertz system shipped with. Cardas Reflection seemed slower/darker with the Ambers and the Nordost Red Dawn LS was a tad dry with the Ambers and Evas. Yes, these differences are easily heard and with cables it is always something that adds that finishing touch to the system. Why spend thousands on a system to use $5 cables? You may be hobbling your system by doing this but if you are happy with what you have, stick with it by all means. Money saved is always good.


I am always looking for high performance but one that comes with value as well. I am not one to spend $15k for a set of cables as the value is just not there for what you are getting, but I do like to have my system fed by quality wire. When I can find this for less cash that is when I get excited.



The auditions continued.

Next I listened with Black Magic speaker cables by Mad Scientist, my reference for the last several months (though at times they are just too stiff for some amps and placements) and these are crazy good cables but with the Hertz system is was just a touch too much of a good thing as the treble was lifted a little bit more than I prefer. That’s the thing with cables, there is no “one size fits all” for everyone or every system.


After this I went back to the stock copper cables and was wowed yet again, but with these cables the system has a very detailed and stunning dynamic sound. It’s all one needs with the Daniel Hertz setup but could it get better? So far, the stock cables it shipped with sounded the best (even the basic black power cable, which was better right to the wall with the stock cord vs my $1k cables) but what about these gorgeous EARTH cables?


For starters I swapped only the speaker cables and after a couple of hours of run in I sat down to listen. Kinki says it takes 200 hours to burn these cables in but after 100+ hours now on them I can say I haven’t heard any change since after the first 20 hours or so. The first few hours had them sounding a touch bright and sparkly really, and after that they went “all in” on smooth and with an inner illuminating glow.


Within my system I use the Earth power cable on the HiFi Rose RS130 Streamer



What I heard was interesting. The sound became smoother and sweeter, soundstage width was still extra wide and deep and imaging was fantastic. I have to say the entire sound became even more welcoming, beautiful and wide open with a splash of more refinement.


Talk about gorgeous digital music that sounds like pure master analog tapes…the Hertz system excels at this due to their C Wave tech inside and the Earth cables expanded and enhanced this sound by keeping everything smooth and illuminated.


The Earth speaker cables alone took that last bit of almost non existent edge off, but the system as a whole just sounded smooth, powerful and still with plenty of detail. Songs that require punch and kick to sound best did just that as there was more punch and fluidity with the Earth cables. After a few hours I placed the stock cables back in and heard the sound become more focused and sharp but not bright at all. The details popped more with the stock cables, but the speakers lost that fuller fluid groove they had with the Earth cables. Hmm.


I wasn’t sure which sound I liked better as there were two different sounds going on. One was smooth, big, and with bigger bass (Earth), One was lighter footed, more detailed and had more dynamic pop (Stock copper). Crazy. For some music, most in fact, I preferred the Earth cables. For EDM I preferred the stock cables as there was just a bit more attack and snap buy the Earth cables did EDM very well and with a touch more bass hit.



OK, let’s get back to EARTH.

The earth speaker cables were back in and now I added one EARTH power cable to just the streamer that was running which is the HiFi Rose RS130 I am evaluating now for review. I found the Maria amp likes the stock power cable best so that stayed with the amp but just by changing the power cable from stock to the Earth PC on the RS130 there was a smidge more bass and groove. Even a touch more sweetness. Very crazy but there it was. I wouldn’t say it was night and day with the power cable but the theme of Earth for me seems to be big bass, smooth mids and welcoming illuminated highs.


This was interesting as I was hearing the smoothness and sweetness from the speaker cables but the power cable with the Rose streamer, somehow, added some sparkle/sweetness vs my Puritan Ultimate cable along with the extended bass. This was very slight and did not change the character of the sound. Yes my friends, with revealing systems that are well set up in a dedicated space you can hear a change with power cables as well. It’s odd, it’s strange but at this level anything can make a slight change. The goal is to have these changes add up to an improvement to our ears.

Next I switched from using the $4500 Shunyata digital cable going into the Maria DAC to using one $349 Earth RCA (which is a 75 ohm cable) as a digital cable (yes, RCA’s can be used as a digital cable as long as they are 75 ohm) going in to the COAX input.



BAM, there it was! The sound smoothed up a little more and the bass was a touch and I mean a touch more present and rich. The Shunyata was doing something as when it was in the sound was brighter, crispier and even more open and crystalline. The Earth did its smooth thing and it was not hard to hear, which again, is crazy. This is just a digital cable yet they do somehow make small changes to the sound from cable to cable. My goal was to find the best sound within my system wether that mean using the full Earth loom or just one (or none) of them.


After extended listening I did prefer the Shunyata Digital Cable (Omega Clock 75) vs the Earth as using the Earth RCA as a digital cable smoothed things out a bit too much.

After a few days of listening like this I went back to the stock copper cables and generic USB and even put in a generic power cable on the Rose. Wow, what a change up. The sound again became sharper and clearer and the bass shrunk just a tad. I was not hearing the extra wide open and smooth sound that I had come to love when using the Earth cables.


The amazing thing to me is I brought in my wife Debby and asked if she could hear a difference between the speaker cables. She had no idea what was what or what cost what. She picked the EARTH every time and when I asked her why she said this:

“the sound is just better, not as sharp to my ears”


She isn’t an audiophile but she heard the change, without a problem.

Honestly I had no idea what to expect from the Earth cables. I figured they would either be just ok or  maybe even very good. I never expected them to compete with $3k designs (Cardas and Nordost) and come out on top for my ears. I had no idea they could even take on Nordosts Red Dawn which cost quite a bit more than the Earth cables. Yet I enjoyed the presentation of the Earth cables and enjoyed what they did within this system more so than the rest.


So yes indeed, these cables are the real deal and offer up a tremendous value as they deliver more than you would expected for the cost. They look the part and offer up a sound that is smooth, rich, wide and beautiful.

I was not getting any brightness at all from any of the Earth cables, especially after they ran in for a week or so. No hardness or anything other than refined, rich, wide, expansive and grand.




CHoco

These cables do have a house sound and they are said to be a perfect mate to Kinki Studio and CHoco Sound amps. Seeing that I had a CHoco Sound EMEI here I set up that system (which is sort of a Mid Tier under $10k reference for me) which consists of the EMEI, Alexandria Audio monitors and Bluesound Node X as streamer and DAC. Simple. I know the sound of this system well with Mad Scientist and Nordost cables. It’s warm, full and with softer beautiful details. Very Musical.


With the Earth loom I heard this system in a new way, even better. More inner glow, inner shine and this made everything just come together with the CHoco system. So yes, if you own Kinki Studios or CHoco Sound I would be looking at these Earth cables for my end game cable loom. They are made to go together really but also do not count these cables out if you own other brands as they seem to be versatile and do their thing with all amps.


These cables have some type of ethereal kind of glow to them as well when used together as a loom. The sound is still airy but full, smooth and with great detail. Hard to describe really. Are there cables that deliver more sparkle and shine? Sure, something like an OG Nordost Valhalla will do this but be prepared to spend thousands if and when you find a used set.

I can not say how these will sound for you, in your system but I can say I haven’t been this excited about cables in a long long time.


These are also flexible as all get out. light, thin and did I mention the looks? What is not to like here?

After some time with them I settled on liking the Earth Speaker Cables better than the stock Daniel Hertz cables with my Amber system by a large margin. I also used the Earth power cable on the streamer and a set of RCA from a turntable to amp. So I am enjoying them all within my system now as I write this review and the sound has reached a beautiful state.



Snake Oil?

I admit there are a few scams in the cable game within high end audio. There are ridiculous speaker cables that sell for $40k and up which are truly made only for those who have tons of money and who are looking for ways to spend it. I once heard a $100k loom of cables in a nice system and it sounded crazy good sure, but no way in hell worth that kind of money for me.


These Earth cables get my absolute highest recommendation, and I do not usually do this with cables. I tend to write about cables only when they truly wow me and only when I easily hear what they are doing and can describe it in words. That is a rare occurrence and has happened maybe three times in 10 years.


It’s such a touchy subject within audio but yes my friends, cables do make a difference in some systems. The question is does this difference please you or does it make the sound worse? Sure, you can spend thousands on cables and have them hurt the sound you love. I’ve been there and done that before.


Do not always think the more expensive a cable is the better it must be. Cables have the highest profit margins as well where a $15k set may have up to 80% profit. The Earth loom is different as the entire loom of speaker, RCA and Power could be as low as $1500 total. That is not chump change by any stretch but if I were finishing off a system today, I would certainly consider Earth for the design, style and sound.


Can’t beat them for all three for the price.

The value to performance ratio is huge here with the Earth cables. Not only do you get fast shipping, easy online order, gorgeous packaging, beautiful designs, you also get a mighty find sounding set of cables that you can “set and forget”. Oh, and they also look like big money cables if that kind of thing matters to you. There is a mix of silver and copper here and the silver plating is 2.2X thicker than that of the usual silver plated copper. This does make a change to the sound.



If you are running basic copper and basic red and white RCA’s, these are the cables I would recommend as a major upgrade.


That is assuming your speakers are up to the task. Not all speakers are revealing enough to hear cable swap changes and some may hate to hear this but it is 100% true and factual. Some systems sound mushy, bass heavy/bloated and would most likely never show differences in speaker cables. If you own a higher end, refined and transparent setup then most likely yes, these cables will make a change to the sound. Cable upgrades IMO are for really for mid to higher end systems that are set up in their own space which then can reveal these differences. They are also for me the final step in system building and sometimes the most challenging thing to invest in due to the “it’s just wire” mental block we all have.


I’d say if you think that smoothness with an inner glow along with a huge punchy sound and fantastic imaging are up your audio alley then be sure to take a look at EARTH from Kinki Studios.


Overall this may be the nicest set of cables I have reviewed in long long time because of what they offer for the money. The price is right and the product delivers. Terminations are well done and complete as well. What is not to like? For some these may be a nifty and day deal and for others you may just hear a slight difference. That’s the thing with cables, we really have no idea what they will do until we try then.

All I know is the Earth loom did improve my reference system as well as the mid tier CHoco system. They also bested other cables I have here that cost more. Take that for what it is, one mans experience.


DETAILS:

Silver plated OCC (copper) means musical and energy. No smearing, just pure sound.

The silver plating is 2.2 X greater than most silver plated cables, so more silver.

Has a DuPont PTFE Epidermis which is wear resistant.

Also has Absorbing Ring Technology. 




What Kinki Studios say in the image above about this passive filtering design is true. I heard the sound grow richer and more grand. Grand is a good word for the sound that comes from my system with these cables in the chain. Grand indeed.


The cables are also all cryo treated. 

Speakers cables start at $799

IC’s start at $349

Power cable starts at $369


ARE THERE CONS?

Sure, there is always a con or two even with products I adore. But not with this product. I couldn’t find a con anywhere. The terminations are well done, the cables look fantastic and the sound and tech behind them is solid. The price is right so there is nothing here NOT to like!



There ya go!

What the Earth cables did for the Daniel Hertz Amber speakers was a revelation at the end of the day. It gave them some extra punch, bass, smoothed the top end a hair but stayed detailed. I heard a gorgeous wide open sound that did indeed sound a bit more “Grand” as Kinki stated.


To me these are not cables that will brighten up a system, rather it will illuminate it from within in a really nice way. An “inner shine” so to speak with a big stage that sounds organically beautiful. The sound seems to flow out of the speakers with life, vigor and body as if it’s just waiting to burst out and make music.

Cables are subjective though and all about that last bit of “tuning up” of a system. I love these Earth cables in every single way from package to performance. Check ’em out if they sound like that are something that will work for you!


UPDATE 11/01/23: These have become my favorite audio cables! They are easy to place, lightweight, beautiful to look at and they sound sublime. They are right at home in my reference system or mid tier setup. I am using the speaker cables, power cable (on my source) and a pair of RCA’s from my Turntable to the amp. These have replaced my Nordost Red Dawn cables and I love ’em and you will be seeing them in my system for a long while to come. 


UPDATE 11/25/23: LOVING the EARYH! These are settled in now and deliver warmth, glow, details and a big open soundstage I can walk into. The cables are made very well, look stunning and sound human. These are not analytical wires so your system will not sound bare and lean with these. Rather, for me, they have delivered size, warmth and beauty yet allow the system to also bring the details forth in an airy kind of way. These are fantastic cables for the money. Easy to place, not stiff, and somewhat small and sleek while looking like classy big money cables : )


Reviewed by: Steve Huff




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