Kimber Kable 4PR and 8PR Speaker Cable Review

Posted on 24th April, 2024

Kimber Kable 4PR and 8PR Speaker Cable Review

John Pickford auditions the latest in a long line of premium loudspeaker cables from this venerable brand…

Kimber Kable

4PR and 8PR Speaker Cable

£20/m and £40/m, respectively (bare unterminated off-the-reel)

From £92/m pair and £185/m pair, respectively (cut and stripped)

Kimber Kable 8PR Speaker Cable Review

It is rare for hi-fi designs to remain essentially unchanged for decades, as manufacturers tend to constantly revamp their ranges to keep pace with modern trends or new innovations. A sacred few products, however, have proven so popular that meddling with the fundamental design is unnecessary. Tannoy Dual Concentric loudspeakers are one such example, as is Kimber Kable, which has been making fine-sounding speaker cables for four and a half decades.

Ray Kimber created his first loudspeaker cables in 1979, naming them the 4PR and 8PR. What we have here for audition are the direct descendants of these, which now come equipped with Kimber's proprietary VariStrand (VS) variable diameter conductors, while the company's own high-purity OFE (oxygen-free electrolytic) copper is as good as it always was. Incidentally, StereoNET's Editor-in-chief David Price has long been a fan, and a few years ago, he used the previous version of the 8PR to rewire his classic Wharfedale E70 speakers with excellent results.

UP CLOSE

Both cables feature Kimber's counter-opposed helix design; the 4PR utilises four strands of wire to each terminal, while the 8PR doubles the count to eight. This equates to eight strands and sixteen strands, respectively, for each mono cable. The wires are wrapped in polyethylene insulation with the braids visible rather than being encased within an outer jacket. Also, with a nod to the original nineteen seventies design, the interwoven wires are red and black, which lends a vintage look and makes a correct connection to amplifiers and speakers foolproof. Although nothing in the company's literature states that the cables are directional, arrows on the banana plugs fitted to my review samples indicate a suggested direction of travel from amp to speaker.

Kimber Kable 8PR Speaker Cable Review

While Kimber offers these cables in terminated pairs of various lengths, both designs are available in custom lengths; you can even order a single length of mono cable if you so wish. Once you have determined your optimal length, you can specify termination, which is nitrogen-assisted and hand-soldered, with either standard 4mm banana plugs, Kimber UltraPlate spades or simple cut and stripped wire. Unsurprisingly, bare wire is the most affordable option, while bespoke UltraPlate spade connectors are the premium option.

THE LISTENING

The Kimber Kable 4PR is a clean, open and spacious sounding design. It presents high frequencies cleanly with very good treble extension, allowing a sense of air and space at the top end of the audio spectrum. This accentuates fine detail in vocals and lead instruments and shines a spotlight on ambient cues such as reverb and delay effects. For example, streaming Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon turns out to be a more ethereal experience than I am used to, especially during tracks such as Us And Them, where one can more clearly hear the repeat echo and chamber reverb shrouding the lead vocal and saxophone. This cable makes this recording sound less stodgy than it can be, and the rhythm flows more freely.

Kimber Kable 8PR Speaker Cable Review

Switching to the 8PR for a repeat run-through of this nineteen-seventies rock classic and the more expensive cable builds upon the 4PR's strengths. It loses nothing of that lovely airy treble performance yet reveals a more solidly focused midrange and bass that adds flesh to the bones of the recording without sounding dull or turgid. While the 8PR is able to bring out more depth and substance in recordings, it's not at the expense of rhythmic alacrity, as the music is replayed with all its inherent pace and drive intact.

Kimber Kable 8PR Speaker Cable Review

To further put things in perspective, spinning Lee Morgan's classic soul-jazz track The Sidewinder—from an original Blue Note vinyl pressing—really gets the toes tapping. The musical separation between horns and the rhythm section is conveyed with clarity and cohesion, while the natural timbre of the acoustic instruments is startlingly accurate. It's a very impressive performance from this admittedly premium-priced speaker cable.

THE VERDICT

Although Kimber Kable may not be as high profile as some brands, what its cables do sonically is seriously special. The 4PR and 8PR perform really strongly at their respective price points. If you have a mid-priced system that sounds a little muted or tired, the 4PR could be just the ticket to pep up its performance. Meanwhile, the apparent focus and transparency of the 8PR qualify it for high-end applications where you'd typically find more esoteric and costly cables.

Visit Kimber Kable for more information

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    John Pickford's avatar

    John Pickford

    A professional recording engineer since 1985, John strives for the ultimate in sound quality both in the studio and at home. With a passion for vintage equipment, as well as cutting edge technology, he has written for various British hi-fi and pro-audio magazines over the years.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi Accessories Cables Applause Awards 2024
    Tags: kimber kable  russ andrews 

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