Verastarr Grand Illusion 2 Double Foil HC power cable 1.8M (6 foot).
These are incredible power cables. Light and airy in the top end with
excellent transparency and musicality in the midrange combined with
really good dynamics. You will not be disappointed! $1499 each.
Midwest Audio 574 329-1850
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Step One: Eliminate the inherent anomalies of round wire...
The Verastarr Grand Illusion is a testament to our ability to think
outside the box. Designed with 'eliminating the inherent anomalies of
round wire' in mind, the Grand Illusion uses high purity Copper foils
instead of wire. The result is a breakthrough in imaging and dynamics.
By increasing the surface area of normal round wire tenfold or more,
skin effect is no longer an issue. Efficiency of electron flow is
maximized, and efficient electron flow means low noise. Micro detail
becomes unlocked and soundstage and image opens up incredibly. Start
with your source components for the most dramatic improvement then
unveil the layers as you add cords to the preamp, then amplifiers and
finally behind your power conditioner. We are so confident in the
performance of the Grand Illusion that we guarantee it performs better
than what you are currently using, or your money back! Try one now to
truly see what your system is capable of. The Grand Illusion power cords
are also available in High Current configuration (HC) the HC cord uses
twice the amount of foils as a regular Grand Illusion effectively
doubling the surface area of the cable. The GI HC is recommended for
high current amplifiers as well as line conditioners. The greater
surface area also sounds faster for source and front end components. 20A
Hubbel IEC available at no additional cost. Standard plug and IEC are
Furutech FI-15 Plus
The Grand Illusion 2 includes several improvements over the original.
On the Grand Illusion 2, we have added passive RF/EMI filtering
technology utilizing rare earth minerals in a polymer matrix, as well as
treatments to the live and neutral leg to reduce magnetic flux, as well
as a crystal wafer resonating disc which activates in the presence of
AC power. These 3 treatments give the Grand Illusion 2 even lower noise
and greater micro detail for a more holographic soundstage, and quicker
transients. Also, low frequency becomes more timbrally accurate and
musical with the treatments in place.
The GI2 is our reference standard power cable. Unlock your systems potential !
consultation with Verastarr founder and CEO Mike Powell, we agreed
that his Grand Illusion series might be an ideal fit for my system.
Shortly thereafter I received at set of Grand Illusion speaker cables
and interconnects plus a pair of Grand Illusion 2 HC power cords, all
of which feature solid copper foils. The Grand Illusion 2 HC or High Current
is a double foil design with two foils for each polarity including ground.
They also include "passive RF/EMI filtering technology
utilizing rare earth minerals in a polymer matrix, as well as
treatments to the live and neutral leg to reduce magnetic flux, as well
as a crystal wafer resonating disc which activates in the presence of
AC power." Standard connectors are Furutech FI-15 Plus. See here
for Verastarr’s back story and cable specs.
I asked Mike to elaborate on the design details
of the Grand Illusion cables, specifically why he favours ribbons to
traditional round conductors: "The cables are made using cryo-treated
high-purity metal foils in a static-free low-loss dielectric.
Furthermore, in the power cords we employ rare earth minerals in the
IEC plug end for passive noise reduction. We designed Grand Illusion
while pushing the boundaries of conventional designs. Round conductors
have several physical properties that cause distortion. We decided to
overcome this by thinking outside the box rather than just band-aid
round wire with a filter box in the middle, batteries on the ends or
ten layers of shielding and damping. We wanted something smart, light,
flexible, handsome, fairly priced and above all, transparent and
revealing. We found the more we put into our designs, the more we could
extract from the equipment that was already there.
"We think that many people upgrade components over and over
again, the entire time taking the cable thing with too much of a grain
of salt. If their thought process gave more weight to the importance of
what carries and preserves the signal integrity between
components, then perhaps listeners could prevent costly component
upgrades and keep the pieces of equipment they chose in the first
place. Our feeling is that cables are so important, they will make or
break a hifi system. So here we are, dedicated to music and its
accurate high-fidelity representation."
Unpacking the Verastarr cables was pleasure itself as the
packaging, presentation and build quality were outstanding. The Grand
Illusions, sporting flat copper foils in varying dimensions depending on
the specific cable, were encased in a lovely black soft cloth sleeve
with leather end caps and snug-fitting connectors. They were obviously
hand made with a wonderful attention to the smallest of detail. The
cables were flexible and easy to route even if only able to bend in two
dimensions. I didn’t experience any issues. They pretty much stayed
the way I wanted.
After hooking them
up into my system, they sounded great from the start. Still, I tried to
ignore them for a few weeks before I started taking notes. As per
usual, I used them as a loom and did not mix and match with different
brands. Music sounded terrifically alive with these Verastarr cables.
There was a dynamic and transient purity that was frankly startling. I
can’t think of any other cabling that tracked the gradations from soft
to loud as effortlessly as these. There were no signs of dynamic
constriction at all. This was readily apparent right across the entire
spectrum. Bass transients were spectacularly visceral in depth and
Instruments and voices had a stark sense of realism in
that even with familiar recordings, I was consistently surprised by how
quickly attacks and decays of notes and nuances would flicker in and
out amidst an immersive acoustic, be it real or artificial. Listening
to Frankie Goes to Hollywood
’s incendiary take on the Boss’
"Born to Run" was exhilarating. Actually, it was more Ian Drury’s
backing band and session musicians than Frankie as I understand it. But
who cares? This kicked some serious hiney. And I’m pretty sure it’s
producer Trevor Horn who laid down those awesome bass lines.
While the backdrop was pleasantly quiet
it wasn’t what I would call a jet-black or overdamped acoustic. It was
more of a charged live venue where I could almost sense musicians
leaning into their instruments or hear the slight inhale of a vocalist
before singing. Put another way, I felt a heightened sense of
anticipation much as one experiences in a concert setting. Though
leaning ever so slightly to the warm side of neutral, I never doubted
that the Grand Illusions were telling the truth. There was no smearing
or truncation of detail. All was revealed without bludgeoning me into
submission with an assault of goosed-up artificial detail or jamming
ice picks into my ears. The Grand Illusions were supremely
There was ample deep
bass, plenty of air and sparkle, a deep wide and well layered
soundstage and excellent organic image focus rather than the phony
etched-in-stone kind that passes for exceptional in some circles.
Violinist Linus Roth’s tone was gorgeous as was his playing on a
terrific Challenge Classics recording of violin concertos by Benjamin
Britten and a composer up to now unknown to me, Mieczyslaw Weinberg. I
hear shades of Shostakovich but also a distinct voice with beauty,
tenderness and humour - no small thing considering how Weinberg lost
most of his family to the Nazis and Stalin. This native DSD set is a
model of transparency and resolution where the Verastarr cables made
for a terrifically compelling performance correct in timing and timbre.
Roth’s string sound had real substance and texture. Every note was
clear, unambiguous and human. There was nothing edgy or overly sharp
about the sound.
The rest of the orchestra was set naturally within a spacious acoustic.
With the Grand Illusions in the mix, I thought this exceptionally well
recorded and performed album perfectly showcased Verastarr’s excellence
in portraying dynamics, nuance and touch. I am hopeful that the good
folks at NativeDSD will soon offer the DSD version of Roth’s
superlative Wartime Consolations
, featuring music of K.A.
Hartmann, Weinberg and Shostakovich. The 16/44.1 sounds pretty darn
good over Tidal but like the Britten/Weinberg recording, I have no
doubt that the DSD version will be miles ahead in sound quality.
The Verastarr Grand Illusions offered an exciting, robust
completely involving presentation that was just a tad on the warm side
of neutral, well extended at both ends of the spectrum, blessedly free
of the annoying highlighting I often hear in contemporary cables and
with an articulate propulsive bass that has to be heard to be believed.
Encased in their gorgeous soft black cloth and black leather end caps,
the Grand Illusions exude sex appeal and quality. Not only do they
sound like multi kilo-buck cables, they look like it. Prepare to be
even more impressed once you hear how well they handle your music.
You'll have a ton of fun with these. I sure as hell did. The Verastarr
Grand Illusion cables are aptly named. They really do offer the grand
illusion of real flesh and blood musicians playing in front of you. Way
From Positive Feedback:
Verastarr Grand Illusion AC power cords ($2500 in 6 foot length) use
high purity copper metal foils and produce a musical presentation
that is big, bold, and robust. Not to be clichéd here, but being a
copper-based cable, and using lots of copper to address skin effect
with its four 2-inch wide foils, music with this cable possessed the
clichédly qualities inherent of the better copper-sounding
cables: tonally warm and rich, and extended top to bottom—though
not necessarily the top-end extension heard in silver-based cables.
These are wonderful cables that are not only dead quiet, but
flexible and a work of art. Housed in a black cloth jacket and
possessing leather end "caps," the Grand Illusions speak luxury.
Meaning at the $2500, the Grand Illusions not only sound like it,
but they look like it. Here you clearly get your money’s worth.
But, back to the music. My regular AC cords are the Mega Power Lynx
from Lumionus Audio. I bought these after I reviewed them back in
Issue 50 simply because they mated so well with the Clayton M200
Class A amplifiers. By saying "mated so well"… well they allowed the
Claytons to do everything I wanted them to do, and then some.
the Mega Power Lynx and Grand Illusions could not be any more
different in design, and so in many aspects, music, with either,
sounded different. From the Luminous Audio website… “The Mega Power
Lynx is an extremely high quality, 9 gauge composite, 99.7% OFC,
stranded copper power cable. …Natural rubber insulation is used for
its excellent damping characteristics and dielectric properties at
110 Volts / 60Hz. A star quad configuration is utilized for the Mega
Power Lynx topology as we have experienced tremendous success with
this technology in the balance of A/C power transfer. In an upgrade
from the Power Lynx Ultra, the Mega Power Lynx has a large,
high-gauss neodymium magnet installed at each end of the cord. These
strong rare-earth magnets establish a passive motor circuit which
reduces noise in our cable while actually boosting micro dynamics in
recorded music. Our research has proven the extremely strong
magnetic field encourages the current and voltage to arrive at the
load in phase resulting in many positive effects. They also serve as
a mechanical vibration damper to control the micro-vibration caused
by the flow of a/c current. …The cables are terminated with Japanese
made, silver-plated copper, Audio Grade Edison and IEC connectors.”
I noted above, the Grand Illusions use wide copper foils, a
luxurious cloth covering, leather end-caps, and as far as I can get
from their site… “virgin PTFE dielectric, cryo treatment on all
cable components, silver plated copper braid shield, teflon outer
jacket, and cryo treated Rhodium plated bronze connectors.” And as
word has it, a whole bunch of proprietary "passive filtering" to
address noise and whatnot that can muck up the sound with crap in
the flow of AC, but not the flow itself, by imparting a sonic
signature into the flow of AC. The cables are all handmade and are
of an artisan-quality in fit and finish. Truly beautiful to see and
Differences? Preferences? Both are rather easy. The Grand Illusions
simply presented our music with a way bigger sonic picture than the
Mega Power Lynx. One that is, as I said in the introduction, big,
bold, and robust. Being extended and dynamic, the music with Grand
Illusions had that presentation that is, for lack of a better term,
more luxurious. Luxurious in the sense of this is what the best
sounds like. There is a real economy of scale going here; one where
the quality, sound-wise and whatever-wise, is evident in what you
pay. Cheap is cheap, good is affordable, better is getting pricey,
but the best is expensive—it is going to cost you more, no doubt
way more to own the best out there.
Music with the Mega Power Lynx sounded less "expensive." That is,
the Mega Power Lynx offered a less "expensive" sound. One where the
music was less robust, that was perhaps leaner and as such, sounded
faster. Faster? Well when the tonal shift is towards the leaner,
lighter side (less warmth or richness), then for sure, you think you
are hearing more details and clarity—hence the sound seems faster.
The music presents itself as having more speed as the sonic tapestry
is lighter tonally. So more speed and clarity? Not really. Music
with the Grand Illusion had it too, just mixed into the whole, so
that, yeah, you got it all—but without drawing attention to
itself. More about balance. Music with the Mega Power Lynx was also
perhaps a touch grittier and grainier. Brighter too, but not in the
sense of silver or etch—just more lit at the mid to top end, no
doubt due to the leaner perspective of the Mega Power Lynx. All of
which is not to suggest that the Mega Power Lynx is a bad cord, or
one that was embarrassed in any way by the way more expensive Grand
Illusion. After all, at $699 for 2 meters, it is still a steal and
one of the better cords I have heard… and still love. It was just
being overshadowed by the Grand Illusion’s superiority.
Music with the Grand Illusions was never bight, but never rolled-off
or euphonic. The music was just… all there. Right and engaging. Bass
had this deep solid presentation that was ever-so
captivating. Solidity comes to mind. Sold in terms of something
massive and dense. Which is not to say the music was dense lacking
space and air, just the opposite.
yeah, music with the Mega Power Lynx did not sound as big, or as
rich as the Grand Illusion, and for sure the two cords presented the
music differently. Perhaps all of this is due to Mega Power
Lynx’s silver plugs, the magnets, the geometry… maybe to all of it?!
No doubt these all play an issue, but I will say that certain music
had a slight preference for one cord over the over. Not because one
cord was better, but because, as I said before, they were different
and that difference made things more right than the other on
different recordings. One could easily argue that I was using the
cords as a seasoning, or whatever, to color the sound of my music,
and well, I can live with that. In the end I want to hear my music
how I think it sounds best and so, so be it.
Grand Illusions are an amazingly good AC cord, letting the music
flow through with such an engaging sound. Quiet, dynamic,
propulsive, extended… you get it all. But to get it all will cost
you. Worth it? I say a resounding yes.