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Argento Olympic Reference 2012

Time flies. 4 years ago the Olympic Reference by Argento was hot with sales over 100 in the Greater China area. It's Olympic time again soon. Argento has much improved the strength of the previous one. The speed and agility alongside power and control, which is the hallmark of the previous Olympic reference of course remain. The surprise is the improved purity of tone and the mellowness when the music calls for it.

And the biggest surprise is: It is BLACK in color.
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Comments

  • This is a beautiful cord.
  • Should arrive HK very soon!
  • It has been a long while for Argento to launch a new product. That is good in a sense that, unlike other manufacturers, which keep releasing mark 1, mark 2, signature, signature + etc, Argento keeps the consistency of the product. The downside, however, is that HK audiophiles change too fast.

    As a big fan of the SMR and FMR series in the past decade, I am excited by these olympic 2012 photos.

    When will they land?
  • I am a big fan too. But it has been too damn long without new product, almost 3 years since the launch of Flow series. I will try anyway as I also bought the Olympic 2008. Let's see how it fare. I remain generally confident in Ulrik's work.
  • Me too. I have certain expectation on this one.
  • What's the point of meeting stupid bankers in a dying market? I screwed up purposely on some of the non-sense video conferences and went straight back home to audition the Olympic reference 2012.

    I plugged it straight into the Tron 211 tube amp. Switched it on and they left for a dinner meeting with stupid bankers again. We ate some sushi, and warmed the stomach with some sake. While the bankers were talking non-senses, I kept peeping my old Patek 5070 because I must arrive home exactly after the amp had finished warming up at about 90 minutes.

    It is now 11:pm Tokyo time. What can I say? You just need some serious music to calm my mind down after meeting too many stupid people during the daytime. And what the hell is that? I don't recognize Argento. This is perhaps by far the most balance power cable made by Argento ever! The slight aggressiveness of the old Olympic is completely gone. Coherence is top notched and the resolution of the mid range is so far the best that I have ever experienced from a power cable. The FMR power is a bit too warm and fussy at the lower mid bass to my taste. That explains some veterans here always prefer using FMR at digital sources because the excess lower mid bass will help tame the brightness of digital equipment. Try to imagine such extra fat of the original FMR is slandered. What will happen? Exponential improvement in resolution across the whole frequency band.

    The juicy part is the unspoken sense of calmness in the music. That is quite an atmosphere. Imagine the continuity of the string, the purity of tone, and the clarity of the sound-field are all there presented as an uncut fabric of extreme quality like those made by top line LANVIN.

    I am now listening to Rach's Cello Sonata performed by Maisky. I listened to him a few times live in Tokyo and somewhere in other parts of the world. There is no bloat in the lower mid bass at all resembling very much to what I heard him live! The resonances coming from the cavity of the Cello are just so damn real. I repeat the cello is so damn real! The accompanying piano at the back was playing with the right pacing as though talking to the Cello. The required pausing in some lyrical lines is all presented with fidelity.

    I have to catch a flight at 8am tomorrow morning. I intend to listen to as long as my tiring eyes can withstand the gravity of the nightfall. Before I go into my dream of pure music tonight, I must say Ulrik Madsen of Argento has done a truly great job this time.

    Please don't make us wait for 3 years.

    Yours

    VR
  • 今晚將會好好玩! 我地已準備泰斯, 絕對創造的大哥添和Argento呢條黑金奧運在Robert部Takumi K10上作一個大比賽. 一於玩通頂!
  • 我地剛剛散會. 昨晚的比較大家獲益良多. 多條名線在K10上比較後另我地更加明白自己的系統. 昨晚有以下的線材:

    1. Argento Olympic Reference 2012
    2. 泰斯
    3. 大哥添
    4. Kharma Engnima Signature Extreme
    5. Siltech Ruby Mountain 2 (G7)

    我地比較的第一輪曲目主要集中在Wyman的精選Disc 2 - Track 7的"日出", Track 10的"好心分手", track 15的"旋渦"和track 17的"絕".

    我地首先聽Kharma, 第一個感覺是"重", 中低分量偏重, 所以節奏感並不是它強項. 人聲是舒服的一種, 有懶洋洋的感覺, 但千篇一律. 學友和憶年唱日出時, 女聲有低了半度的感覺, 聽博佩嘉清唱"絕"的頭一段時, 她的假高音聲尾冇見左, 亦都有偏重的感覺. 老實說, 真係毫無驚喜, 不是我杯茶. Siltech剛和Kharma相反, 中低比較上輕過Kharma, 中高音比Kharma起, 聽女聲特別嬌嗲, 黃耀明和彭玲唱旋渦時, ss把聲特別好聴, 但明哥沙沙地的喉嚨聲底不是太明顯, 有點被滑化的感覺, 但我地認為Siltech比Kharma平均一點.

    再聽泰斯, 明顯分析力大大拋離Siltech/Kharma, 但同時聽學友把聲時, 偶以有起角的感覺, 女聲絕對像真, 總體錄音室的音効特性也能還源出來, 好平均, 節奏感和中低比例對稱. 但我知道速度可以再快一些.
  • Sorry, 要和兄弟出清衣歎早茶傾下昨晚的比較. 遲些再報導下半場..... 
  • Mr Fire4 真的是一位很會說故事的人。很期待看誰領風騷。
  • 繼續…..

    絕對創造的大哥添可以說是今年的線皇, 橫掃整個南中國; 就連一些死硬泒的同袍發燒友也相繼投降. 佢亦都是眾多大哥現今的reference電源線. 無論在音色, 大小細節, 定位, 音場, 立體感, 動態和速度都是頂班中的頂班. 這個結論仍然冇變.

    Argento Olympic Reference 2012有一辦絕強的表現: 全頻的連貫性是絕頂級數, 氣承轉合非常非常流暢, 而且中音非常之自然, 重播人聲好很堅, 但唔係Kharma/Siltech整色整水的化装, 而是好自然流暢的表達, 密度是應密時密, 學友和億年唱日出, 前度中音密度極高地唱歌時, 億年的較輕的中高音仍然可以飄出來, 前後好清楚. 高音部份好開揚, 但设有了從前” 白色” 高音的感覺, 輕輕帶了極少量的金黃色. 聽弦樂羣奏時那種仙女散花感十分華麗.

    聽” 絕” 時, 真係靚絕……”我不會再信未來, 也不會再看歷史, 還能活才是諷喇, 故此不用做傻事, 讓痛苦輪迴千次……”我repeat聽好多次, 而我班老友也冇叫我停.

    但他的音場解像度和低音的量度和浩瀚感未能挑戰大哥添, 而大家亦滿意賽果因為大哥添是另一個價位的線材; 但Argento的中音自然度和全頻連貫性是絕對Hi End, 我火四爺從未在任何電源線上感受過. 整個音樂感有一種温純寧靜的感受. 昨晚由11pm煲到3am時, 絛線開始熟鍊, 那時我心想VR先生是否還在東京聽緊Argento.

    我現在的最佳配搭是: La Source比Opus CD/DAC, Olympic Reference比K10, 大哥添比Takumi K70 G2

    我地清衣小巴幫好滿意, 是好有誠意的作品.
  • Mr Fire4, very well and thorough report! Opus DAC is power hungry, I should you should consider trying the bigger brother instead of LaS. Just my 2 cents.
  • Hello guys,

    Good morning from Taipei. Just like V.Roy and Mr.Fire4, we had been running marathon on power cable comparison in the past 48 hours. The Olympic 2012 requires at least 24 hours for the lower register to open up. Before then, the tonal balance of the Olympic is simply authetic especaily in the mid range. As a rule of thumb, I always remind myself not to single out any frequency band because it is often the case of coloration and imbalance. Not in the case of Olympic 2012, certainly not. The naturalness of timbre has a vinyl-like smoothness at the transition lyrical joints. That is quite an achievement here. To recall, the original Flow and Flow Master Reference maybe a bit too "smooth" wiping out some texture angularities. With the olympic 2012, it is very easy to discern the tonal color of violins, say, between a Gunerai or Amati. The Strad is probably the most tonally intense violin ever made. With the FMR power cord (fully burn in over 3 years in my system), the tonal color of the Strad at certain frequnecy range sounds like the upper session of a Cello, and that must not be right. With the Flow, the lower register power of the Strad is understated. With the Olympic, the tonal balance is right. When the bow is striked against the string on the Strad, the tensile intensity is there, followed by the burst of colorful harmonic overtunes. It is very well done. No wonder our dear freind, VR, comments the Cello is so damn well akin to what he heard Maisky live. I got the same experiences.

    The spatial resolution is not the strength of Olympic, however. The acoustics interaction between the instruments and the recording venue is not as resolute as some other power cables at much higher price point. That is not to say it cannot depict the acoustics characteristics of the performing venue. I am suggesting this is the area for future improvement.

    After a long wait of 3 full years, Ulrik's latest work is marvelous. A tonally balance cable is not as easy as you think to design. To do a comparison, I tried the use Olympic 2012 on the Zanden amp driving my Cessaro Beta system in another mansion. We know for a fact that the Beta horn starts rolling off sharply at 140hz, and as a result, there is often an empty hole of speed inconsistency between 140hz and below. One remedies is to turn on the volume of the sub but frankly this is not the right solution. How can volume loudness compensate the sharp roll off charactertic of the horn design itself?

    The interesting point is if I use a power cord that has a extra boost of 3db to 6db around the range 100hz to 200hz, the Beta horn will integrate better with the woofer (not a subwoofer as no subwoofer in the world crosses at 140hz). That means a neutral power cable will give an impression of "thinning" of the lower mid bass.

    Based on this logic, the Olympic 2012 should sound thin in the beta system. Bingo! That's the right cable then. If I use NBS black label, Siltech or the FMR power cables, the lower mid bass section immediately thickens up - which is good to cover up the sharp roll off characteristics of the horn.

    After this test, the Olympic can be tested even thoroughly in the Tidal based system. And that is what will happen tonight. I got to sleep now.

    Jeff

    Where is our Marvel - the biggest Argento customer in the world?
  • Jeff, I will get mine today...admittedly I am slow to catchup with you guys now...
  • I got mine yesterday. I let it power the Neodio NR22 transport (yes, I changed from one box to CDT/DAC quitely without telling you guys)continuously for 15 hours before listening to my reference recordings. My observations are similar to other fellows' comments. The strength of Neodio is vocal and strings. Music coming from the Neodio does not sound like CD at all. What the Olympic does to the Neodio is further revealation of tonal color in the mid range. The highs are silky and open. It is neither white nor golden in color. It is just correct. My system's resolution is far from you guys here but the Olympic enhances musicality (at least to me) tremendously to my ears.

    I enjoy very much using canton pop to test hi end system. After-all, this is our own culture. And there is no cheap or expensive in the cultural space. Allow me to draw another example using a Cantonese song called 垃圾 by 盧巧音. She has quite a style, though not in a positive way to the youngster. At the end of the song, she sings in an extremely fragile voice: "我以後從無率掛, 甚麼都不怕." It is very light in weight as though someone is dying. The conveyance of her emotions is really presented with true fidelity by Olympic 2012. I always test this song whenever testing power cords. Any coloration in the lower mid range will automatically wiped out the fragility and the hopeless emotion of her voice.

    Well done.

    I
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