The Difference Bassline Blue Can Make
What difference can a wire possibly make? To a subwoofer? These and many other similar questions can be answered with a resounding “A HUGE DIFFERENCE”
First, know that the standard High Level Cable we supply is good, quite good and is auditioned continuously during development to ensure it meets our lofty standards. In fact, one of the reasons we developed Bassline Blue was because so very many aftermarket high level cables were so execrably awful sounding that we felt we had to do something about it. Some folks still don’t believe cables make any appreciable differences, God bless them and move on. For that to be true, hearing cables that seriously degrade the performance of a REL should not be possible merely by hooking up a cable from Brand T or M. But they do and we know why.
Bassline Blue is the first cable developed specifically for the high impedance termination present at the input to the REL filter boards. This impedance is necessarily high to present the correct, benign load to your power amplifier. The REL input resistive block also knocks down the size of the signal—while preserving all the harmonic, tonal and dynamic cues necessary to preserve the sound of your system when fed through a REL. So, we had a head start on the technology because we design our own circuits, true enough. But surely there is some magic to what we have done within? Yes and no.
If, by magic you mean that we rely on some uber technology never before thought up, you will likely be disappointed. We use exceptionally high quality grain-aligned, slow drawn copper. It happens to be drawn, cleaned, jacketed and printed in the United States—but we make no claims about its special characteristics based upon some nationalistic boundary claim. Not a single wall was built to produce this product. It is simply a matter of high quality, access to excellent cable engineers willing to try what we asked, and trust in the stability of the manufacturing process. All at a fair price that meant we weren’t going to need to charge a small private college’s tuition for a year to produce an immediately superior sounding design. We construct each wire with a great deal of care and use pure silver solder because it simply sounds better than any other solder we tried, which was a lot by the way. We also listened to and tested every connector we supply with our designs, even when they don’t look as sexy as the connectors used by some of the really expensive REL Speak-on cables produced by aftermarket cable companies. Often, simplest is best in wire.
The magic lies in the listening. Customers, highly regarded audio reviewers, experienced audio veterans have all had precisely the same reaction. They say, “It’s almost as dramatic as the first time I heard a REL in my system”. A brief note, whenever we discuss sound quality at REL, we are speaking of the entire scope and breadth of sonic qualities of everything in the system. If we use the term transparency, it is applied to the entire body of sound, the whole soundstage, every instrument or voice and the air separating notes. We are not merely defining an adjective assigned to the bass regions.
The sound opens up and it is as though the entire stage is clearly lit, perhaps for the first time. Recently, I visited a professional sports stadium that had just replaced its old metal halide field lights with new high output LEDs. The game took on a crispness that night that was dramatic in its impact on the standard of play occurring within the game. THAT is the effect that Bassline Blue has on systems.
Even older RELs similarly benefit; if you love your old REL but want a way to wake up your system for a fraction of the price of a new REL then consider borrowing a Bassline Blue, take it home and plug it into your system in place of your old cable. While it opens everything up, it does so in the same way that a reference grade preamp inserted into a lesser system will. In other words, while clarity, dynamics and transparency are enhanced in every quadrant of the stage, it does so in a gentle, organic manner that never calls attention to itself. Music (and, yes, if you know how to build truly state of the art theaters) home theater takes on a realism that is both addictive and natural at the same time.
NAIM SPECIAL NOTE:
What’s In a NAIM? These same benefits are available to most NAIM owners—especially the older, classic models. These units feature an unusual output impedance that is quite complex. REL worked closely with NAIM engineers to model this behavior and arrived at a special circuit built into each NAIM cable that replicates this impedance so that it is safe to run Bassline Blue on early NAIMs. We even sourced a wonderful stackable banana plug that makes it so easy to use the cables, just plug them in to NAIM’s flush-mounted chassis banana sockets and then plug your speaker cables directly into the rear of our stackable banana plug.
Pro Tip for Setting up all Bassline Blue: Bassline Blue eliminates a small peak centered around 40 Hz that the original High Level Cable produces. Try crossing over 1-2 clicks higher than with your old cable and also increase the overall gain setting on your REL by a click, at most 2.