NBS Cables

"Oh my God Walter!"

Translation of an NBS-article in Audiopile2/2000 (Joachim Pfeiffer)

For a lot of people Walter Fields of NBS is the super-guru among the cable producers. Others are compassionately shaking their heads when they should rate NBS-cables

Test reviews about cables often start with an apology. Or they start with an introduction which should prevent criticism like "Who rates expensive cables, will be heavily attacked after publishing the test results." Due to the fact that the material expenses for producing cables would never justify the prices. And if you add that the tester not even presents the internal structure of a cut cable, every reader will protest. Especially of the other cable producers. And that is what we are talking about today. There is no other cable-family which polarizes that much as NBS does. "Nothing but sound" says the abbreviation officially. NBS-chief Walter Fields likes to translate the chosen brand name as "No bullshit". Fields contributed effectively to the controversial discussion about his products. Sure, the man does have charm and espirit, but as an interlocutor for a technician Fields is a total loss. Instead of delivering scientific proofs about the function of his cables, he always trained in talking bib. For example he earnestly answered the question, why his cables are extremely expensive, that the cables were manufactured by 90-year-old virgins from New York. And to get them is that expensive. In former times I could laugh on such jokes, later on my appreciation crumbled-and during the last CES my sympathy changed to the contrary. I was really angry, as I was visiting Fields in his suite at the world's largest consumer electronic exhibition. Fields was working together with a certain Mr. Shields and they were showing a complete chain. It sounded miserable. Has the reason been the chrome CD-player for $25,000, which turned out to be an old 7 series Sony player. Or were the strange seeming loudspeakers responsible for the lousy performance, which was perpetuated by Fields and not Shields. No, I didn't believe that. Because Fields years ago Built a loudspeaker, which today is known something like a legend. I think, just one pair of these unusual speakers ever came to Germany. At that time I was allowed to test them- where have they gone now? Who ever knows? Thus may be the mono-valve amplifiers Shields? Whatever, I seldom heard such an unbalanced, strange demonstration during an exhibition.

The rage was followed by reflection. What-I was thinking while flying home- if NBS cables were in fact as excellent, to expose smaller indispositions in the electronic chain like no other cables do? These questions will be answered.

Let us look closer at the conductors made by Fields. As lead material, that even Fields is talking about openly, there is nothing else like copper. This banal material, twisted from cords, is used in interconnect cables, in speaker cables as well in A/C power cables. Really nothing in particular and I don't even start to analyze, whether there is-anyhow-a relation between Field's production costs and the price you have to pay at your NBS dealer. OK, why this article after all, the reader will ask. He will suspect, that Fields is a kind of a charlatan among the HiFi suppliers, that he is an untrustworthy figure who tries to pull out the money of the pockets of good-natured audiophiles. Because he would receive my money. Indeed gritting my teeth, but yet he would get it. And a short, true story, a kind of experience report, shall tell you, why it is like that. It has been one of these very stupid days at home. For the super test I removed the small, fine cello monos from my chain, to bring them to the headquarter in Stuttgart; instead there were two other, highly decorated, power amplifiers playing within my equipment. I was dissatisfied. The correct sound didn't appear, it sounded like HiFi. Despite the fact that the second pair of amplifiers were objectively the better and unfortunately the far more expensive choice. First I couldn't really exhaust the higher potential. The bass came clearer and more precise as before, during complex passages I kept the impression of better resolution, but I wasn't moved emotionally. The big jump to the front, the change of components worth DM 15,000.00 (Cello Encore 50) to components worth DM 70,000.00 (Accuphase M-2000), finally was a step back. Did you experience the same? Yes, thus I just recommend, not to draw a conclusion too fast. Next to the comparably small power amplifiers from Cello the Accuphase monos seemed to be a magnifying glass. What the American power dwarfs cleverly hid, the Japanese luxury amplifiers demonstrated with an almost terrifying openness. And how does the informed audiophile react? He should question everything, especially the justage from analog turntables, from tone-arms and cartridges. I started with cables and I remembered, that the German NBS distributor: Active Audio, made a complete set of the actual top-line Monitor available to me. Everything you need: A/C power cables en masse, a selection of interconnect cables in every necessary length, and speaker cables as well. Obviously I could write now that I changed cable after cable and I realized an improvement in sound by degrees. But I have not. I was impatient, I just wanted to know very fast. Oh my God Walter! After changing all A/C power cables to NBS Monitor cables, after changing the interconnect cables from the dac to the preamplifier(MBL 1611 HR/Cello Audio Suite) as well as from the preamplifier to the Accuphase monos I almost went euphoric. This stickiness within the sound, this HiFi sound was like swept away. Totally transparent, with an distribution of energy, as the chain never could before deliver, I experienced wonderful expeditions through the world of music. I became slyer and more reasonable, concerning recording places and interpretations, I was able to relax Better than ever before, I didn't even think about changing further components anymore or to take and rebuild the turntable completely. Still I obliged myself to change all NBS cables against conventional cables in one step. It was like horror. Thus as soon as possible changing back to NBS cables and for coronation the speaker cables from NBS (which I could listen to just for two weeks now, that is why I don't want to rate it yet) between the power amplifiers and the Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy 5.1,. Like that, and only like that I want to listen to music. A pleading for NBS, Homage to Walter Fields, the sly fox. And again I am afraid that critics will report and heavily attack the author. I have to live with that

King/Serpent II Loudspeaker Cable and Interconnect Manufactured by NBS Audio Cables
155 Fifth Avenue South Suite 455, Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Phone: (800) 627-0204, fax: (612) 339-8750
web: http://www.nbscables.com
e-mail: nbscable@nbscables.com
Source of review sample: Manufacturer Loan

Copyright © 1999 Audiophilia Online Magazine

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