KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)

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golfugh

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KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« on: 11 Jun 2010, 07:30 pm »
I was looking for a new cable set for my source and had the opportunity to audition one of John's cables recently and wanted to pass on that I've found it to be outstanding.  Yes, I bought the audition set.

I've been using the KCI Firefly from source to pre for about 2 years.

KCI Sparrow - all copper with Eichmann copper bullets (unshielded version)

This is a phenomenal cable.  Detail, dynamics, clarity, a touch of warmth, and a WAY black background.  It is sincerely the best cable I've used in the current setup.  Imaging is spot-on with an incredible soundstage.  I have yet to find anything it doesn't do extremely well from acoustic/electric guitar, cello, brass etc.; to vocals (male and female).  Bass is tight with a midrange that is actually hard to describe - I just know that in my system and to my ears it's about perfect.  The KEFs have never sounded better!
 
To be truthful, I prefer it to the Firefly (much more expensive than the Sparrow) with my current setup.
 
I do believe the Firefly (silver) is an excellent cable with tube components (sold my tube pre for the Wyred).  It adds just enough detail with the added tube warmth and harmonics.  With a SS pre and source - there might be just a bit too much emphasis in the upper mids and highs.

There is definitely a synergy with the components I'm currently using; I don't know if it's the Oppo with the Sabre DACs or the STP-SE or the combo of both, but it is awesome!! 
 
Here's my system and source music I used for my evaluation:
 
Oppo BDP-83SE
Wyred4Sound STP-SE
Odyssey Stratos Extreme SE Monos (Symphonic Line Cap and wire upgrade)
KEF Reference 205/2's

Remaining cables currently used are in my system profile
 
Only 2-channel
 
CDs:

all of Jack Johnson's
Rounder - Raising Sand (Krauss/Plant)
RCA - The Trinnity Session (Cowboy Junkies)
 
SACD (DSD out from the Oppo):

Stockfisch Records - Closer to the Music Vol 1
Chesky - Audiophile Vocal Recordings
Mercury - Brothers in Arms (Dire Straits)
Opus 3 - Test CD 4
RCA Living Stereo - Saint-Saens Sy #3 (Boston Symphony/Munch)
Channel Classics - Mahler Sy #4 (Ivan Fischer)
Rocket - Tumbleweed Connection (Elton John)
Telarc - On the Other Side (The Tierney Sutton Band)
2L - several classical SACDs or BD (2 channel PCM layer from BD)

Another great cable John!

Mark

Eric

Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #1 on: 17 Jun 2010, 06:24 pm »
Nice review. I am considering KCI cables myself

apstoltz

Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #2 on: 29 Sep 2010, 11:57 am »
Nice write up. I have had a few KCI offerings and have had excellent results with them.

golfugh

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #3 on: 30 Sep 2010, 10:12 pm »
John is definitely one of the good guys!!  Pleasure to deal with and makes an outstanding product; I'm happy with everything I've purchased from him.

Audioclyde

Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #4 on: 1 Oct 2010, 02:30 am »
John is definitely one of the good guys!!  Pleasure to deal with and makes an outstanding product; I'm happy with everything I've purchased from him.

Exactly. John has a great product line and is an even better guy!

I love my Silkworm+ interconnects, plus a great pair of SET friendly spkr cables that John helped me out with!

Randy

AlanB

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #5 on: 17 Dec 2010, 09:15 am »
I've been using Silkworm and Silkworm+ (I actually prefer the standard Silkworm) for some time.  They have seen off quite a few high end cables.
I have always been a 'copper' man so have ordered a pair of Sparrows which should be here within the next week.
I live in the UK and have found John a fantastic guy to deal with.  Highly recommended!!

AlanB

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #6 on: 5 Jan 2011, 11:18 pm »
The Sparrow had a good flight from the States to the UK and landed in good time.   :)
Plugged them in and couldn't believe what I heard.  Quite different from the Silkworm yet in some ways the 'house sound' emerged from my Vandersteen 1c's.  Huge, very open/transparent soundstage with width well outside the speaker parameters.  The depth is even better with a truly eerie feel to it. Instruments/singers are easily placed within that soundstage. The bass is very natural but not punchy (which suits my style of listening and musical taste.  Top end is silky smooth and quite delicate.  The best however is the midrange.  Truly believable.  One is enveloped in the sound.  That feeling often goes with a sound that is very engaging and easy to listen to but after a while becomes TOO easy and quite boring.  Not with the Sparrow as they are also supremely 'interesting'.  The other plus is the cables have been in a week and have hardly changed in sound.  The Silkworm was a acrobat for about a month but well worth the wait.
I have ordered another Sparrow with the Xhadow connectors and wonder if they may be even better

satfrat

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #7 on: 6 Jan 2011, 05:29 am »
The Sparrow had a good flight from the States to the UK and landed in good time.   :)
Plugged them in and couldn't believe what I heard.  Quite different from the Silkworm yet in some ways the 'house sound' emerged from my Vandersteen 1c's.  Huge, very open/transparent soundstage with width well outside the speaker parameters.  The depth is even better with a truly eerie feel to it. Instruments/singers are easily placed within that soundstage. The bass is very natural but not punchy (which suits my style of listening and musical taste.  Top end is silky smooth and quite delicate.  The best however is the midrange.  Truly believable.  One is enveloped in the sound.  That feeling often goes with a sound that is very engaging and easy to listen to but after a while becomes TOO easy and quite boring.  Not with the Sparrow as they are also supremely 'interesting'.  The other plus is the cables have been in a week and have hardly changed in sound.  The Silkworm was a acrobat for about a month but well worth the wait.
I have ordered another Sparrow with the Xhadow connectors and wonder if they may be even better

So are you saying that your prefer the sound of the "copper" Sparrow IC's over the "gold" Silkworm? While it's all strictly both subjective and system synergy oriented, in my system the gold Silkworms fit like an unlined leather driving glove and I couldn't even imagine going back to copper myself.
 
I'll be interested to hear more about your descripitive comparisons as they happen.  :thumb:
 
Cheers,
Robin

lonewolfny42

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #8 on: 6 Jan 2011, 06:50 am »
Info Link.....here...  8)

golfugh

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #9 on: 6 Jan 2011, 06:56 am »
Robin

I have almost all Sparrows in my system at present (2 channel and multi), excepting a couple of Reality XLRS amp to pre and the KCI Pegasus digital.  I have both single ended and balanced Sparrows.

The Sparrow is close in it's overall presentation to the Silkworm, almost all of the flavor of the Silkworm but not quite.  It is smooth across the board, but not like the silkworm...there is a silkiness to the silkworm that puts it in a different league.

I have A/B'd both and will eventually go Silkworm for source input, but... the Sparrow is a great cable and is a steal at it's selling point.

All IMHO, etc.

Mark

Ray Bronk

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #10 on: 6 Jan 2011, 08:20 am »
Robin

I have almost all Sparrows in my system at present (2 channel and multi), excepting a couple of Reality XLRS amp to pre and the KCI Pegasus digital.  I have both single ended and balanced Sparrows.

The Sparrow is close in it's overall presentation to the Silkworm, almost all of the flavor of the Silkworm but not quite.  It is smooth across the board, but not like the silkworm...there is a silkiness to the silkworm that puts it in a different league.

I have A/B'd both and will eventually go Silkworm for source input, but... the Sparrow is a great cable and is a steal at it's selling point.

All IMHO, etc.

Mark

Hi, If you look in the cable review section, I did a review of the Fireflies. I actually have a custom cable which is like the Fireflies, but the center is silver and the outer is I think gold. The problem with the Fireflies are that they are totally ruthless in there protrayal of detail, and the custom cables I have give me the detail, but smooths out the sound. I don't think he never marketted them. it's been a couple of years now, and I've lost contact with John. He indeed is a good man to work with. If you are considering the Sparrows, get the Silver connectors. Definitely makes a difference.

Ray Bronk

AlanB

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #11 on: 7 Jan 2011, 04:11 pm »
Been buying hifi gear for over 40 years. There are many impoderables.
UK houses are very different to US - brick interior walls over here hold the bottom end.
UK rooms are generally smaller - mine is only 13' x 10'6" and heavily furnished.
Musical and sound taste varies so much.  Some like detail and vibrant dynamics and others prefer a smoother presentation
The WHOLE system affects the sound - everything within the sytem affects how another part sounds.
My system leans toward smooth with the Vandersteen 1c and a recent move to Kimber Monocle-X speaker cables.  Prior to this I had 8TC which is more dynamic and also used all tubed gear.  I only recently moved back to SS with Audio Analogue Maestro Amp and CDP.  New power cables too.
With the tubed stuff and 8TC the Silkworm was sublime but with the new system the Sparrow wins out with it's 'cleaner' presentation.  Silkworm is more laid back and smoother and some would say more musical.  Both are fantastic cables so it comes down to PPP....Personal Presentation Preference.  The Sparrow happens to chirp more MY way in MY system/MY type of music/in MY environment.  :roll:


jrebman

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #12 on: 14 Jan 2011, 01:49 pm »
Alan,

I have to pairs of Sparrows with xhadow connectors coming my way so I'll let you know how they sound.  I'm using tube gear -- Fi 2a3 monos and somewhat larger speakers, and of course I don't have the stock Sparrows to compare to, but my system likes good copper cables -- at least for the ICs.  So given my PPP, I'll let you know how they fare over some other copper cables I'm using.

-- Jim

AlanB

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #13 on: 19 Jan 2011, 07:26 pm »
I should receive my Xhadow connected Sparrows at the end of this week - 21st or 22nd.
Can't wait to hear if they beat the Eichmann connected.

KCI-JohnP

Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #14 on: 4 Feb 2011, 03:12 pm »
I'm sorry I missed this thread, have been dealing with quite a bit lately; my Father In-law passed away last October so have been dealing with trying to help his wife get taken care of, then just had my own Father diagnosed with Alzheimer's so life has been very crazy for me for quite some time.

I'm glad you all are enjoying your Sparrows, they're great little cables that perform, IMHO, well above their price point. Of course I make them so take that with a grain of salt.

Ray!! I often wonder how you've been doing and I'm glad to see you post here. The email address I have for you no longer works so  please feel free to email me anytime, would love to hear from you! I hope that you and your family are doing great. Here's my email address; John@koolcables.com


Stay warm everyone, it's even snowing here in Texas!! :o

Best,
John

AlanB

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #15 on: 10 Apr 2011, 09:08 am »
I've had the Sparrow for some months now and reckon it is a super interconnect especially for the cost.
I have been swapping the Sparrow and Silkworm after allowing my ears to adjust for some time, each time.  They are really quite different.  The Sparrow has a more dynamic 'cleaner' sound whereas the Silkworm is more laid back and, for me, more musical.
After much heart (or should that read 'ear') searching I have settled for the Silkworm.
May I say I thk the Sparrow may well have won with my Vandersteen 1c's but I have recently changed to Harbeth 7ES-3's which have a very different, more open and dynamic. presentation.
We are back to the synergy thing.

jrebman

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Re: KCI Sparrow (Quick Review)
« Reply #16 on: 11 Apr 2011, 08:37 pm »
Time for me to chime in too  I've had my Sparrows (2 pairs, and terminated with the small Xhadow connectors) for a while now and knew they were something special right out of the box.  Then as they got some time on them, they opened up a bit more and are now sounding absolutely wonderful with my system.  I actually didn't know my speakers were capable of such nice, musical bass, even though I wouldn't have complained about the bass before.  Now there is just more of it, a tiny bit deeper, or at least that is the subjective perception, tighter, more dynamic, and just better developed harmonic envelopes -- and this goes for the entire spectrum, not just the bass.

Gear used for most of my listening has been either a pair of Fi 2a3 monos (now sold), and my semi-custom (and no longer produced) Vaughn Carina with 6p15p-ev output tubes.  Speakers are Tonianlabs TL-D1 Mk. II with Poiema SCs, and source is a mach2 modified Mac Mini running PureMusic into a tranquility SE dac.  Note: the second paair of interconnects is for when I use my other monoblocks and my ldr attenuator.

This is without a doubt, the best this system has ever sounded with the speakers just disappearing, a huge soundstage and tone and dynamics to die for.

I've had plenty of interconnects of all flavors, materials, geometries, etc, and in my room and with my gear, the front end just sounds best with copper, and so I decided to take a chance on the Sparrows, and as usual, John didn't let me down, and also as usual, surpriised me with the amazing price performance ratio of these interconnects.

BTW, I have been comparing notes with Alan B in the past couple of months and while we differ on our ultimate opinion of the sparrows, we both agree they are superb, and our choices have really just come to system synergy and our own individual tastes, of course,.

And as usua, John's customer service is up with the best in this business!  One never has to worry about doing business with John and KCI.

-- Jim