Since the company’s creation in 2009, the Norman crew has never rested on their laurels. Between the five ranges of analog audio cables and the different models of power cords with a power strip, the beginner audiophile with measured budget and the experienced music lover with comfortable finances will find the perfect fit. The UL-TIM range is located near the manufacturer’s technological peaks just before the Tim-Reference summit. Some optimizations have been made and it seemed interesting to us to share them with you by rediscovering two models, the XLR balanced modulation cable and the loudspeaker cable.
The first contact with an Absolue Creations cable is visually and tactically positive. The flexibility and handling of a UL-TIM is a quite enjoyable experience, the extremely pleasant touch of the outer sheath provides a silky feel that removes any mechanical or even technical feeling with the object. As for the substantial weight of the cable, which houses a serious know-how carefully kept, it adds to the feeling of being in the presence of a top-of-the-range model.
A DNA FOR EACH FAMILY
Each Absolue Créations family of cables incorporates a certain degree of technical expertise, the complexity and musicality of which increases with the move upmarket. Therefore, the technical processes used and on which the manufacturer delibe-rately remains silent are used on all cables, but they are adapted according to the final application. It will be understood that a modulation cable does not have the same requirements as a loudspeaker cable and vice versa.
The stranded conductors of UL-TIMs are made of pure silver-tinned copper. Each strand of extremely thin diameter is covered with a thin layer of silver to prevent any risk of oxidation and improve conductivity.
Each balanced modulation cable consists of three twisted conductors in a wide helix, while each of the four independent cables, two per channel, of the speaker model, integrates two conductors for obvious reasons of current capacity. The internal insulation of each conductor is made of Teflon, and their length and each additional unit of length is defined on the basis of quantifiable and measurable criteria such as group propagation time, for example, whose influence on distortion, crosstalk and offset between frequency registers is essential.
It is obviously preferable that the funda-mental frequency and its harmonics be sent with the greatest consistency throughout the cable. Layers of silicone and cotton insulation coat the whole thing to keep the conductors tight and avoid vibration transmission problems. Finally, a tightly woven cotton sheath finishes the large outer diameter cables. Manufacturing is entirely carried out by hand at the manufacturer’s premises and each UL-TIM cable is now assigned a unique serial number.
The connectors used, XLR Neutrik for modulation, forks or banana plugs for loudspeaker cables, are not soldered but crimped to avoid any additional metal junction by adding metal such as solder. XLRs with internal silicon insulation are then pressed into sleeves made of specific insulating material with stable electrical and mechanical properties. They also serve to break the circulation of vibrations. The forks and banana plugs are covered with a heat-shrinkable sheath with indication of the signal flow direction. Each end of a loudspeaker cable ends in a sleeve filled with damping silicone from which a pair of slightly twisted conductors opens, which are then crimped at the end.
In addition to a very careful cabling work, Absolue Créations implements processes that are not found in any other cable manufacturer. Proprietary technologies of flow concentration by internal passive polarization on the one hand and AFCM anti-flow technologies on the other hand are implemented in a more efficient version than on more affordable cable ranges. Each step of the manufacturing process is controlled with electrical measurements and mechanical tests. Factory tested cables pre-routed for 24 hours are sold with a 5-year warranty.
THE SET UP
For this test, we opted for a complete «analog» line, which includes two sets of balanced modulation cables, between converter and preamp, then between preamp and power amp.
And finally, HP cables. Although Ul-Tim cords look like nice boas constrictors, they remain surprisingly flexible and bend (as it were) to the curvature requirements of their owners. They will therefore be very easy to install, no doubt about it! The «double mono» side of the HP cables allows a real physical separation between the two polarities; a plus that is not a gadget. In addition, although imposing, its cords do not weigh a ton. And if the speaker connectors of your speakers are placed in height, there will be no inappropriate mechanical stress that could damage your equipment. Finally, the connectors have been carefully selected: Furutech for HP and Neutrik for XLR connectors in modulation link.
Installed in a system that we know by heart, the «analog» Ul-Tim line very quickly revealed its profound nature. The very first sensation is indeed that of great beauty. The sound is magnificent, pure, devilishly elegant. The top of the spectrum, first of all, of a chiselled without hardness, even at very high levels, merges without any hindrance with the medium, all with a perfect tonal coherence. On voices or on large formations, each performer, each desk remains perfectly readable, no matter how complex the piece may be. The lower part of the spectrum shows an extension and a holding in the last octaves that illustrate the work done on these products. All this contributes to giving the stereo image an uncommon depth and foundation. The stage opens to fill the room with great simplicity. No blurring, no hesitation when it comes to putting the instruments in context. What characterizes this Ul-Tim line is the ease with which it manages the dynamics! We always have the impression that music is free to express itself without theoretical constraints, as if the system were freeing itself. As a result, the latter only provides the required energy with precision and control. And if the watts are perfectly distributed over the entire spectrum, the subtlety of the message, with all its nuances, is there.
The final touch to a beautiful system is inevitably good cables. We know this and experience it every day. The Ul-Tim line is a total success and will allow noble links to express themselves without constraint or hindrance. They will hide nothing, and let the material offer an elegant and sleek reproduction that will guarantee long hours of sound pleasure.
Slowly but surely, the French manufacturer Absolue Créations is establishing itself as a major player in France and increasingly in the export market. We can only be de-lighted!
€ 2.790 (XLR module, 1 m),
€ 3.980 (HP, 2 x 1 m)