I’m an evangelist by nature. If you’re a friend of mine, and I’m really into something, you’re going to hear about it.
Who am I kidding. You don’t actually have to know me to hear my thoughts and opinions. I tell perfect strangers about what I like in a few audio blogs, including this one, and have another whole mess of columns out there about my recording experiences.
As a writer, I’m most comfortable writing from passion about what I discover with my ears. I realize each of us in hifi has an opinion, but as a QA technician for the largest second hand Hifi retailer in the world, I’ve heard like… thousands of pieces of audio gear. I’ve recorded more than 150 bands. I’ve represented brands at shows. I’ve built speakers and amps, and I’ve sold speakers and amps.
So when REL asked me this month to review the REL Bassline Blue high level SpeakOn cable upgrade, at first I was excited. My reference system is so good right now that cable differences typically leap from the speakers. But then came the uncertainty — cable reviews can be difficult to begin with, and this one’s entire realm is an octave or two.
You see, I’ve been enjoying REL subwoofers for years, always connecting them high level, directly to amplifiers, via the supplied SpeakOn cable (you should too if you can). It’s a good cable with small conductors to carry the signal to a high impedance input, but as I found out through this process, it is not the last word on high level REL subwoofer connection.
Enter the Bassline Blue, a SpeakOn cable of REL’s own design. My review sample came in the mail quickly, and I installed the actually-blue cable instantly and without ceremony. I figured I’d let it get some miles under it before I did any serious listening.
It’s got excellent copper and an interesting arrangement, and, really, REL is the best at explaining what’s in it, so I’ll leave a link here.
After a week or two, the time came to really listen to this cable, so I dialed up a new album from one of my favorite young bass players, Bubby Lewis. He’s a rising star, a prodigy, and an astonishing virtuoso. He’s a fascinating composer with a unique feel that extends across the entire album Hero Dynasty, which he released in August.
Bubby is also the perfect testing material for how good a subwoofer cable might be, because the voicing of his 5- 6- and 7-string basses emphasizes his articulate, mind-blowing scales and arpeggios. Throughout his different sounds and patches, there’s always an element of high frequency and full spectrum transients to help audibly separate the dizzying notes he plays.
Using his tracks “All Things” and “Blossom Planet” from Hero Dynasty, I’m astonished to hear what a difference the cable makes in line with my REL T-9i. The standard cable sounds dead, and almost missing in comparison.
Tone, depth, speed — all are affected to produce something your ear quickly recognizes as “right.” What can I say about Blue? Color me incredibly impressed.
If you’re here, in the general sense of being on the REL website, you’ve likely put the accolades and positive reviews to the test, and invested in the audiophile’s choice in subwoofers. If you’re here in the literal sense, on this page reading these words, chances are you’ve kept the product, and feel your investment well placed. You’re a fan.
There aren’t too many upgrades to be done to a subwoofer. Perhaps the power cable and the signal cable — what else could there be? This isn’t a never-ending quest to achieve just a little bit more. It’s simply a perfect match for a finely crafted instrument, and for the REL owner who connects via the high-level connection (this should be just about all of you!), it should be a no brainer.
The REL Bassline Blue, connected to REL subs in a properly set up system, gets a clear passing grade and an extra gold star for the passion it evoked in this writer.