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BUILDING ON THE LEGACY OF A CLASSIC
We had to do it. Our customers demanded it. The market demanded it. Just think IC-3 Classic "on steroids"… but in this case, it's perfectly legal!
The idea to improve on our 2 time Industry Award Winning IC-3 Classic came from a respected audio component designer who purchased a set of IC-3's, and had taken a liking to the alluring performance characteristics of the cable. So much so that he decided to "push the envelope" and experiment by upgrading the cable with different high-end connector parts & various audiophile grade solders. We shared an interesting conversation about his results one afternoon, and the idea for a hot-rodded IC-3 was born. Mk II and SE versions of components are staples in the hi-fi industry, so why not do the same with a successful cable design? After conducting numerous tests with the finest quality high-end audio plugs and solders on the market, and putting various prototypes in the hands of trustworthy beta testers, we settled on an IC-3SE model that combines an absolutely stunning level of performance with superb hand crafted build quality, a sexy high-end look and feel, not to mention an absolutely fabulous price…it's all here, for a lot less money.
Cost no object performance... Audio Art Cable price.
IC-3SE uses the same core cable as the award winning IC-3 Classic, and is robustly upgraded with the unparalleled Sound Connections Xhadow Precision RCA & XLR plugs, or the amazing DH Labs High Copper Alloy Ultimate RCA's, along with Cardas Audio's excellent Quad-Eutectic Solder connecting up the joints. An attractive, durable black tech flex jacket and cool Audio Art Cable branded heatshrink complete a classy, upscale look and feel.
IC-3SE boasts a remarkably refined, high end performance, offering across the board improvements in key areas, and competes favorably with audio interconnects in the $500-$1,000 / meter range!
IC-3SE's Three Connector Choices:
Sound Connections Xhadow Precision RCA
Bold, elegant, perfect.
Sound Connections Xhadow Precision RCA is simply the finest RCA plug in the world. Precision, purity, simplicity and elegance are the hallmarks of Xhadow products, and this RCA embodies those sentiments with no room for equivocation. The main barrel and rear-nut are lathed from pure aluminum rod-stock and anodized in "Xhadow Gray" for a durable and non-conductive finish. Into this barrel assembly fits the contact assembly. Each assembly is machined from OFC pure copper and silver plated, with a machined Teflon dielectric, and an OFC pure copper machined contact that has been silver-plated. Each contact allows the termination of wire to be completed via solder, set-screw, or both. This gives the cable builder a tremendous amount of flexibility while allowing a fantastic contact interface with the wires. The fit of these connectors is smooth but very strong, with a tremendous amount of contact pressure to ensure perfect and consistent signal passage with a minimum of contact resistance.
Sound Connections Xhadow Precision XLR
Sleek, sexy, precision machine-art. Sound Connections Xhadow Precision XLR is easily the finest XLR in the world, designed with respect for the audiophile perspective: Precision, purity, simplicity and elegance. The main barrel and rear-nut are lathed from pure aluminum rod-stock and anodized in "Xhadow Gray" for a durable and non-conductive finish. This assembly houses an internal strain relief that is machined from brass. Into this barrel assembly fits the "Gender-Modules" - either male or female plugs. Each one has an outer passive shell machined from brass and mirror plated, a machined Teflon dielectric, and pure copper machined contacts that have been silver-plated. Each contact allows the termination of wire to be completed via solder, set-screw, or both. This gives the cable builder a tremendous amount of flexibility while allowing a fantastic contact interface with the wires. The fit of these connectors is smooth but very strong, with a tremendous amount of contact pressure to ensure perfect and consistent signal passage with a minimum of contact resistance. Each Gender-Module is engraved with the "XHADOW" name along the top arc of the shell's front border, indicating top-orientation. The fit of these connectors is smooth but very strong, with a tremendous amount of contact pressure to ensure perfect and consistent signal passage with a minimum of contact resistance. Finally ... an XLR plug that meets audiophile standards!
DH Labs High Copper Alloy Ultimate RCA
Virtually all of the RCA Connectors used by today's top cable manufacturers are made from brass. There are a number of different brass alloys, generally featuring a combination of copper (around 60%) and varying amounts of zinc, lead, and even tin. The presence of these other metals greatly reduces the manufacturing cost by making the material much easier to machine and process.
From an electrical standpoint, these other metals are considered impurities that drastically reduce the electrical conductivity of the resulting alloy. For example, the conductivity of brass alloys is only about 26% that of pure copper. Electric and sound engineers agree that this near 75% loss of conductivity of a connector directly affects the overall performance of a terminated audio cable.
While most manufacturers ignore this situation and focus on marketing, DH Labs engineers have consulted top metallurgists in the field to develop and refine the "ultimate connector alloy". Years of research have led to the introduction of this exclusive "High Copper Alloy"TM. This material is made in the United States to ensure the highest possible quality, and is composed of more than 99% pure copper, with a conductivity rating that is at the top of the industry. Trace amounts of two other non-magnetic metals are added to provide the adequate hardness and strength required for an RCA Plug to hold up over time. The plating process has been customized in order to maximize signal transfer. Simply stated, this is one of the finest high-performance audio connectors on the market today!
** About the two RCA choices **
The silver plated copper Xhadow Precision RCA plugs exhibit a touch more of the "last ounce" of resolution, and sound a touch more "airy" in the treble and midrange, while the gold plated copper DH Labs Ultimate RCA is a touch warmer / mellower sounding.
Both plugs show excellent high-performance audio characteristics across the board, and both are nicely detailed, smooth, full-bodied, with a big 3D soundstage, extremely refined / musical, etc...
Application differences are as follows. The DH Labs Ultimate RCA plugs are a better choice for more narrowly spaced sockets, while the Xhadow Reference RCA plugs have a wider than average barrel diameter which requires wider than average spacing of your component's RCA sockets to insure a proper fit.
Please consult Audio Art Cable for more details.
What's Being Said About IC-3SE:
- Connectors: Sound Connections Xhadow Precision RCA / XLR, DH Labs High Copper Alloy Ultimate RCA
- Solder: Cardas Audio Quad-Eutectic
- Conductors: Multi-Strand Silver-coated OFC copper
- Dielectric: Foam Polyethylen
- Capacitance: 30 pf/foot
- Resistance: .009 ohms/foot (each conductor)
- Shield coverage: Aluminum Mylar 100%
- Diameter: 8 mm
- Jacket: Super Flexible PVC with Durable TechFlex® Jacket outer.
...the [IC-3SE] interconnect cables instantly improved the sonic relevance of everything….Holy Crap....I cannot believe what I am hearing….phenomenal realism and clarity.....I thought my system sounded good before, but my goodness gracious I am stunned by the sonic presence and accuracy…I am not joking here. The Xhadow interconnects are the real deal and Mr. Tony T. is giddy beyond belief. I have not heard this type of luscious, crystal, realism on any of my buddies systems that can compare to my setup with the Audio Art [IC-3SE]. Your cables are a stone cold bargain and people need to know!...I am just full of joy at the moment and needed to let you know that I feel your cable design has touched upon the holy grail of sonic pleasure-ness....is that a word? It's like a valve opened and pure water is flowing over me, it's like a revelation. I am rambling at this point, but I have demo tested at least 10 different interconnect cables from price points of $39.00 to $1500.00 a pair and yours by far put them all to shame. I can't imagine the experience I will write about once my Audio Art SC-5SE speaker cables get into my system....HOLD ON!
Tony T., Bloomington, IL
I have 2 expensive tube mono-block amplifiers which I had to move. They were originally hooked up with a pair of XXXX ICs. I've always loved the rich organic sound they impart to the music and have been very pleased with them in general. I would have gladly
purchased another pair, but.. a 6 meter pair would have cost around $2,400. Just a bit too much. I realized I would have to settle for something less expensive. I actually had much reservation while purchasing Audio Art ICs for obvious reasons. They would be 4 times
longer than the XXXX and they were significantly cheaper. Not a great combination. My greatest hope was that they would sound at least as good as the XXXX cables. As you can see, I really wasn't expecting any improvement. As it turns out they do not sound as good as the XXXX, they sound better!! There is more extension in both the high and low ends of the spectrum, and my beloved rich midrange is still intact. I'm also hearing more detail and textures than ever before. I can hardly believe it. I'm also old enough (50) to realize that sometimes things can be more appealing simply because they're different. But that's not the case here. The quality of sound is undeniably improved. I'm quite certain that this is the last pair of ICs I'll ever buy. They sound that good. I think one of the reviews I read described your cables as "giant killers". That guy nailed it on the head. You've created a cable at a price / performance ratio which is almost unbelievable. Quite an accomplishment. I can't wait to get a pair of your power cables. Hopefully soon. My compliments.
David M., Baton Rouge, LA
The IC-3SE went into the system upon receiving them and right away, they were awesome sounding. Clearly, this is one of the best interconnects I have ever had in my system regardless of stature or price. I just testing some new IC's that are coming out soon..To say it wasn't even close is an understatement! The SE's are simply my reference to which I can confidently judge all other IC's...I don't care how little they cost in relation to other reference cables...your IC-3SE's are just frighteningly good stuff, period!! The IC-3 SE have a very transparent, open, highly resolving and weighty sound to their credit. Imaging and staging are excellent...Whatever it is you're doing..you're doing it right! …a cable of tremendous capabilities that can shine in any reference system. One that just exudes quality and craftsmanship of the highest standard without asking a King's ransom for the price!
Ken H., Alpharetta, GA
[The IC-3SE] was instantly superior in every way imaginable, to a $550.00 XXXX IC I had been using. The XXXX gave me about 90% of a $3,000 Siltech I had heard in my system. Everything is so much about synergy[of course], but the Audio Art IC-3SE, was quieter…I heard much deeper into the mixes. More dynamics, more ease along with all the new detail...longer fade outs...more emotional impact...singers were just more "there".....very nice and the bass simply went deeper with more detail and drums had real weight and impact...yet depth was over all enhanced…and the good stuff is better yet......I have moved the IC to the pre, power combo and all of the above is heard on every source….just lovely. You should hear the sheer wild driving bass energy on "This Is Us" from Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris' "All the Roadrunning" CD....just jaw dropping.....I can't believe how good this system sounds....Congrats on a very fine product, If I can sell the XXXX I'll have to get another Audio Art IC-3SE. Cheers
Lloyd S., Nova Scotia, Canada
The IC-3SE cables arrived today. My first impression is very favorable. The first thing I noticed is that the bass is more detailed and has more weight. The other is just how smooth and yet detailed the midrange is. Your cables have eliminated bit of grunge & distortion from the signal and make everything seem less fatiguing. I have some friends that want to hear your cables and we get together once a month, so hopefully I can make some more converts. I see more cables from you in my future.
I currently have the IC-3SE Ultimate RCA cable going from my Audio Analogue Paganini CD player to my Audio Mirror TP-61 preamp. I plan to move the cable to my Bellari phono amp to preamp to see what difference it might make. I have a Rega P3/24 with Elys II cart. Your SC-5 bi-wire cables are going from my Audio Mirror 20 watt SET amp to my Von Schweikert VR-4s. The system has never sounded better. Thanks and best regards...
Chris B., Bloomington, IL
Beautiful! I just wanted to share my thoughts on the new IC-3SE. Right out of the bag, I started hearing new things on the bass line --- like the noise floor had just been dropped. I listen to a lot of live music, and the clarity of the audience is amazing! The detail and positioning of claps, coughs, screams and laughter is stunning. What a great purchase!
Matt K., Mountain View, CA
...it's a blow to the ego of those with deep pockets to admit their $2500 interconnects were smoked by a $239 pair of IC-3SEs. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but … "high end" cable manufacturers make their living making you believe more is indeed, "more". The IC-3SE has a full bodied, liquid midrange that gives a natural, effortless quality to vocals and instruments, as well as giving the music weight and rhythm. I want to say it is a touch on the warm side of neutral, because it's so liquid, but it's not. [There is] a "sense of warmth" creating a much more realistic and involving experience, without sacrificing detail. The IC-3SE is open and extended on the top end, without any hint of glare or brightness. The sound was consistently open, effortless, and involving. It even made bad recordings sound better. Together with the SC-5, the IC-3SE has well defined, deep bass, and dynamics in spades.
Kent O., Honolulu, HI