Review: Sulek Audio RCA IC

Sulek_Audio_RCA_IC_007_HiFi PhilosophyENG    It seems that reviews praising some equipment pop up one after another. There’s something to it. On the one hand, the manufacturers do their best so the market is generally improving. On the other hand, the reviewers choose carefully so they don’t have to deal with rubbish. And should the need arise, negative reviews would be flowing. But what’d be the point? The intense urge to criticize something appears only when the thing is aggressively advertised, or even worse, comes from a renowned producer, and is simply not worth buying. So there’s a genuine concern that consumers would give in and get fooled. Such a situation is a good reason to give people a warning, whereas the rest of the market junk should be passed over. What should not be passed over is the novelties, especially debuting, that offer something really interesting. This is such a case, because this review is about interconnect cable from Sulek Audio, a debuting brand. I had the pleasure to write the first review of this cable. The Sulek Audio RCA IC.

It all started when a familiar audiophile brought me a black braided cable with hand forged copper connectors on both ends and asked if I could try it out. I could, so I did. Reluctantly, at first, just to get over it. But at the moment at my computer there was a very cable-unfriendly set, that is, one that is really demanding. It was Mytek Manhattan with Trilogy 933 headphone amplifier. This combo of clarity and detail is very strict and demands superb connectors. One step below top quality – especially when it comes to elegance and overall musicality – and it’s not good enough. This is how without paying much attention, the cable was put to a difficult test, and that’s when I got perplexed. I’m not going to tell you just yet what perplexed me, but from this moment, taking it all serious now, I realized that I might get this cable for testing, providing both me and the manufacturer agree to that. I accepted the deal right away, and the manufacturer gave a green light a few weeks later. In the meantime I was left without the cable, because the friend took it with him explaining that it was just a working version that will be further enhanced. – Gibberish, you want to have it for yourself – I thought, but I just nodded understandingly, because I knew well why wanted it. One week ago, the final version was officially delivered by courier, together with a review request. Therefore, fulfilling the request, I am herby writing the review.

The premiere of Sulek Audio cables has been already announced on a few internet services, such as “HiFi Choice.” On the occasion it has been mentioned that the cables will be available in Gdansk HiFi Ja i Ty store and that the brand is also from Gdansk and is named after its founder – Wieslaw Sulek.

The story of Sulek Audio company is very typical and modest, but its ambition is very high.  The cables have been created after many years of experience. At first, the founder produced things just for his own use, but over the years he gained experience, polished his abilities and, what’s most important, compared his cables with others – especially renowned ones – and that’s what inspired him to go into commercial business. What gave him additional boost of self esteem was the encouragement from the first users and audiophile friends, who all loved Mr. Sulek’s cables. Mr. Sulek, I love you! – they all repeated, just like a lady in a famous radio show I once listened to on Polskie Radio Program. (By the way, dear God, whatever happened to the Polish radio in the last few decades?)

Sulek Audio cables are not the kind promising that for a few hundreds they will play better than those that cost a few thousands. It’s not like that. Here I will disappoint all those who hope for another drama story about backyard labs where, with the amazing talent (especially for bragging) of the creator, cheap spool cables are turned into interconnects outclassing even the most expensive ones. The only true part is the one about outclassing, but not to exaggerate. It’s fair to say that Suleks will not outclass us such, but rather will be on a level playing field, winning in many aspects. This is anyway what they are supposed to be.

Because Sulek Audio doesn’t need bragging or making up stories. On its own level, it holds ground. In a moment I’ll give you some comparisons and will tell you what it’s like. And its going to be good – I promise. I don’t have such good news when it comes to price and packaging though. The latter is rather simple and consists of a cardboard box. I won’t even compare it to the most sophisticated brands with their elegant boxes lined with velvet or satin, with fancy opening. Sulek’s boxes, just like Tellurium Q cables or electronic parts from Schiit, are simple and eco. Just cardboard. Because, really, what do you need a fancy box for? You won’t be listening to that, unless you tap it with your fingers or bang your head with it. Such fanciful packaging is for spoilt customers who feed their inflated ego on the meadows greening with dollars. Admittedly, a beautiful packaging is nice, because we automatically expect to find something nice in it, so in a sense it is a justified means of improving the customer’s experience and their approach towards the product. But only on condition that most customers could afford the cost, and it’s a far cry. Therefore, esthetically and mentally it is justified, but economically it is unreasonable – a classic dissonance.

Sulek cable itself also is not trying to win people’s hearts with its look. It is a hand-made braid of three cables in black insulation (comes also in white), not decorated with any cool-looking braid. No sparkle, no glitter, no fur or snake skin. A plain insulated wire. Only that it’s not that plain, but what’s special about it, you cannot see. You can, however, feel it in your hands, because it’s really heavy. It is not a cable made of thinnest wires, but of high quality copper, braided into a solid piece. The connectors constitute additional weight as they are custom made, forged from copper, not bought in a store. As far as I know, there are no copper forged connectors on the market, so they are the exclusive products from Sulek Audio.

When it comes to technical details, apart from top quality copper, hand-crafted wires and forged connectors, Sulek Audio also places emphasis on direction. I was told it is a vitally important thing, and is marked for the user with the lettering. The signal follows »Sulek« inscription from “S” to “K”, and it follows it not only horizontally, but also vertically. This means that the cables should be plugged in such a way that the »Sulek« inscription, visible on each connector, is facing upwards. The rest is listening. Apart from one thing. The price.

I’ve already mentioned that the cables aren’t cheap. They don’t offer you ultra quality for a dime, not even for a thousand. One meter long pair of Sulek Audio interconnects is the cost of six thousands PLN. Having heard that, you might think this is crazy and argue that for this amount you could choose among plenty of premium brand interconnects. But Sulek remains indifferent to such arguments. Go ahead and choose if you like! If you want to listen to inferior, but branded sound, be my guest. Sulek defends itself with comparison and ostentatious calm, as well as the fact that it is bought by professionals ready to wait in lines to get it. Sulek didn’t push to get on the market, he has been pushed. He has no claim to fame, no exotic origin, a list of celebrity users, renowned name, years of experience, prizes, reviews or advertising. Nor is he cheap, with good-looking packaging, exclusive design and is not promoted by some renown distributor. Sulek stands on his own, but he doesn’t fear comparisons. So lets compare.

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