Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feast on Peanut Butter and Jelly

It is not without reason that Kimber’s PBJ interconnect is often called Peanut Butter and Jelly - it’s because it is so very colourful.

But ‘colourful’ is not the right word to describe its sonic quality. ‘Neutral’ would be apt.

The PBJ is actually a very simple design - it is just a tribraid which is very easy to do if you have the wires and some free time. It’s just like braiding your daughter’s hair.

Braiding has the advantage of increasing common mode noise rejection as the criss-crossing of wires result in noise cancellation.

Kimber has the tradition of continuing to sell models that work well even though they were launched a long time ago.

Even today, its 4TC and 8TC speaker cables are still being sold along with other old designs like the PBJ, Silver Streak and KCAG interconnects but the conductor and dielectric materials have been improved along the way.

The latest version of the PBJ uses Kimber’s VariStrand hyper-pure copper conductors and extruded Teflon dielectric.

Its single-ended range uses Ultraplate RCA connectors while the balanced model uses studio-grade XLR connectors.

It is directional which suggests that the ground is floating i.e. it’s connected only at the source end.

Even though the PBJ is slightly stiff, it is not as stiff as a shirt-hanger and it bends rather gracefully when plugged in.

Sonicaly, the PBJ offers a neutral sound with natural tones. Sibilance is well controlled and the treble is not jarring. Soundstage is relatively large and stereo imaging is quite solid.

Kimber's PBJ is a neutral-sounding colourful cable.

I also had MIT CVT2 Terminator interconnects around and a quick comparison showed the MIT to create a more transparent, spacious and detailed sound, but at many times the price of the PBJ.

I e-mailed Max Loh of Maxx AV in Seremban, who is the authorised reseller of Kimber products, and asked him the retail price.

The reply was: RM420.

Well, what are you waiting for? Being so affordable, the Kimber PBJ should be one of the first upgrades you should invest in after buying your first hi fi system.

In fact, it is good enough even for mid-level systems costing, say, RM10k-RM15k.

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