IsoTek EVO3 Initium and EVO3 Sequel Power Cable Review
Are all power cables made equal? Absolutely not says Jay Garrett, having sampled these two affordable audiophile designs…
EVO3 Initium and Sequel
Mains Power Cables
£90 / £295 respectively
Having largely cornered the British power cleaning market over the past decade or so, IsoTek is best known for its mains conditioners and regenerators. Indeed, company founder Keith Martin told StereoNET that he wasn’t originally interested in entering the cable market at all, until he saw some of the prices being charged for what he thought to be substandard products. He duly did an about-turn, and the EVO3 Initium and EVO3 Sequel cables are the latest results of this decision; they’re avowedly value for money designs intended to do most of what high end power cables do, but at sensible prices.
Costing £90 and £295 respectively, they sit either side of the £149.90 EVO3 Premier which – until Initium's arrival – was the entry point for IsoTek power cables. Keith said, “I basically tried to create the best possible power cable at under £150, with the best materials I could use… Initium was then a case of what can we take away and still deliver a really great power cable at only £90? It’s basically a Premier cable without silver plating on the 6N 99.9999% OFC conductors, and with a slightly compromised PE dielectric, and without 24ct gold plated connectors.” The result is a 1.5m cable with a standard C15 IEC on one side but a choice of five plugs for the other. The cable is a striking emerald green colour and has a quality look and feel.
Turning to the EVO3 Sequel, this 2m cable promises increased performance over the EVO3 Premier by featuring “optimised conductor strand geometry and active shielding.” It uses silver-plated oxygen-free copper conductors twisted together to aid EMI/RFI rejection. Furthermore, there is a Mylar wrap that's used to shield the cable from high-frequency radiation and to secure and protect its overall construction. The Sequel also incorporates 'active' shielding under its PVC outer sheath, similar to that used in IsoTek's more costly cables. The active OFC copper shield drains RFI to earth protecting the conductors from common-mode noise, it’s claimed. All this is wrapped in a more business-like silver-grey heat-resistant PVC outer jacket and terminated with 24-carat gold plated connectors in C7, C15 and C19 IEC options at one end.
EVO3 Initium is aimed at those looking to upgrade from “the freebie in the box” and will be used on components costing from a few hundred pounds upwards. When inserted between a Hi Diamond HDX2 5 power distributor and YBA's Passion CD player and PH150 phono stage, I heard a dramatic improvement to a standard kettle cord. It let the music source sound more natural, with a more open and even character, most notably with orchestral works – and Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène LP also enjoyed greater presence with a more organic flow.
The EVO3 Sequel takes things up another notch. Via YBA’s IA350A integrated amplifier, I heard substantially more refinement. That's not to say that there was any loss of fine detail or definition – quite the opposite, as I was suddenly getting more information from the grooves of my well-worn copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. This nineteen seventies ‘long player-cum-soap opera’ of an album became reinvigorated with increased musicality and bounce. Plugging the EVO3 Sequel into an Anthem STR integrated amplifier with its massive toroidal transformer showed there were benefits to be had here, too. The opening salvo of A Perfect Circle's The Hollow on CD was noticeably tighter and more vivid. Dropping Jellyfish's Bellybutton into the YBA silver disc spinner picked out even more detail and insight. And with EVO3 Initium going to the player and EVO3 Sequel going to the amp, there was a further increased sense of focus, dynamics and ease. That is Why had more punch and width, whereas the various threads of The King is Half-Undressed were laid bare with greater separation and air, thanks to a cleaner backdrop.
Both IsoTek’s EVO3 Initium and EVO3 Sequel are welcome additions to the affordable power lead marketplace, and look set to cause a bit of a tussle. The value for money is undeniable – as is the quality of construction, the refreshingly unfussy packaging and the sonic performance. EVO3 Initium is clearly the better value of the two, because it’s a giant leap from standard bundled power leads for not-much-money, but EVO3 Sequel is head-and-shoulders above it in sound, if you can afford the extra. As such, both come heartily recommended.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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