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Linear Flow 2 Review by The Audiophile Man

Linear Flow 2 SME Tonearm
cable from Origin Live
Paul Rigby

Hoping to improve the performance of the much vaunted SME
arm by adding a third party tonearm cable, Paul Rigby reviews
Origin Live’s Linear Flow 2 SME cable
You can lead an arm to music…but how much it drinks depends on that
lead. I reviewed Origin Live’s Shielded Linear Flow 2 cable technology
some time ago so was very pleased to hear that the technology had now
been brought to bear upon the cable that hangs off the back on my SME IV
tonearm which sits upon my reference Avid Acutus deck.
The cable itself is a fully balanced design, although you can use it with
unbalanced systems with no problems. Inside, you will find a twisted pair
of leads that help to reduce inductance. The action of twisting a cable to
reduce this effect is not unusual. What is unusual here is the employment
of a combination of over five dielectric insulators to ensure an even

response. High purity copper is used at the heart of the cable for a reported
increase in natural tonal balance.

The shielding is promoted as being sonically superior. Origin Live says that
it protects low level signals from the ever increasing RF interference
present on the airwaves, helping to reduce noise and increase clarity. Add a
screening of 95% nickel-plated copper braid shield with an attached earth
lead and you have an intriguing, yet neat, cable. So how did it sound in
anger? I hooked up the SME to my Icon PS3 phono amp and gave it a
whirl.

SOUND QUALITY
Playing the jazz vocal LP Chet Baker Sings, the difference between the
standard SME cable and the new Origin Live was immediately apparent.
There appeared to be a dramatic drop in noise via the Origin cable.

This effect produced a quieter background that provided a solid base for
the music, allowing detail to pour forth. This lower noise floor also meant
that a previously annoying upper midrange bloom, that could be heard
during the trumpet solo, was now absent. Crescendos, heard via the brass
instruments, were just a little too severe via the standard cable. The Origin
Live alternative provided focus for the trumpet, adding a richness to the

midrange flavour. In fact, that focus was noticeable over all frequencies.
The midrange also benefitted because emotive elements were now
associated with the piano and percussion. This greater maturity of
presentation, evident within the midrange, was also present in the bass,
which offered an effective character and complexity.

For the prog rock oriented King Crimson track Three Of A Perfect Pair, the
lower noise was the fount from which all of the positive aspects of the cable
emerged. This meant that this rather compressed vinyl album, which could
be a little grating in sonic terms, now sounded less harsh especially on
vocal crescendos while the normally strident, complex guitar sound effects
work on the middle eight was far less clamorous.

The lower noise also provided a background of silence that enabled subtle
effects to have a dominant role within the mix. Before, ground noise was of
such a level that these self-same subtleties were just drowned, making
them almost invisible to the ear. Via the Linear Flow cable, all of the bass
guitar was to be heard, giving it life, zip and a cheeky bounce. Upper mids
evoked a passionate response that combined well with the greater
instrumental separation leading the emergence of multi-tracked vocal
sequences that now sounded like a collection of individual tracks melded
together instead of a sonic stew.

CONCLUSION

The Origin Live SME cable provides a high degree of focus to the overall
presentation. It’s almost as if a camera lens had been turned a touch to
focus, the sound now reveals a clarity that the standard cable could never
quite match. A great way to squeeze extra quality from the venerable SME
design.

ORIGIN LIVE LINEAR FLOW 2 SME PHONO CABLE

Price: £510
Tel: 02380 578877
Web: www.originlive.com

GOOD: mature presentation, focus, low noise floor
BAD: nothing
RATING: 8

2018-01-31T15:38:39+00:00