REVIEW: GEKKO BLACK KNIGHT CABLE LOOM

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by Jay Garrett

11th August, 2019

REVIEW: GEKKO BLACK KNIGHT CABLE LOOM

We have some more of the hand-made cables from Gekko to review, this time it's the turn of the Black Knight.

Gekko Cables

Black Knight

RCA Interconnect, Speaker Cables and Power Cable

£450 (1 metre), £1,199 (2 metres), £400 (1.5 metre) respectively

At the end of last year, we took a look at the £2,499 per metre Purple Haze RCA interconnects from Gekko Cables. This time we have been living with a loom of the brand's Black Knight range, consisting a pair of RCA interconnects, a set of speaker cables and a power cable.

Gekko Black Knight review

Gekko Cables Black Knight

The Black Knight range is the second step up the lizard's ladder after the entry-level Red Dusk; something that makes them much more affordable to a broader range of hi-fi enthusiast than the aforementioned Purple Haze.

Gekko Cables is based in London and creates hand-made audio cables. One of the main differentiators between Gekko and other brands is the use of the GAC1 connectors used on its interconnect cables.

Gekko Black Knight review

Just like the Purple Haze the Black Knight's Gekko GAC1 connectors enables the actual cable wires to make direct contact to the equipment's RCA sockets.

The Black Knight interconnects are directional, unshielded cables made of two twisted solid-core OFHC AWG24 conductors. The speaker cables use the same British OFHC AWG24 as the interconnects but, instead, have eight solid-core conductors. Each conductor is insulated by thick cotton braid.

The Black Knight mains cable was initially a special item made by request for IBEX Audio in Germany. The conductors are silver-plated OFC copper. Once twisted together the conductors are covered with two more layers of polypropylene braid providing additional mechanical protection to the conductors and then covered in PVC. The final finish is black polypropylene with a single silver line.
 
Gekko's Boban Djurdjevic told StereoNET:

The cotton insulation is the first in its dielectric properties with an exception to air: the Dielectric Constant of Air is 1.0, cotton is 1.3, and Teflon is 2.0. Consequently, the use of cotton insulation, rather than Teflon, further reduces capacitance and inductance.

Additionally, we are told that the cotton dielectric plays an essential role in reducing unnecessary vibrations.

Sound quality

To test the cables we fitted the speaker cables, interconnect and mains cable into the SNUK reference system with the interconnect taking turns running from the phono stage to the amp and the CD player and amp. The speaker cables had time with the Marten Duke 2 standmounts and the Wharfedale Linton anniversary loudspeakers. The amplifier and CD player are both from the YBA Passion range, and the phono stage is currently a Moon unit, so to speak.

Gekko Black Knight review

Once we were satisfied that we had put enough hours on them, we replaced all the cables with what we generally use for a day-or-so. It was at that point we plugged in the Gekko cables once again and sat down with a notebook.

The first step was replacing our original £180 interconnects for the Gekko Black Knight (£450) between the CD Player and amplifier. Dropping in the Marillion Singles Collection - Six of One and Half-a-dozen of the Other CD into the YBA spinner and the difference was immediate. Hogarth's voice on Cover My Eyes (Pain and Heaven) was a spine-tingle inducing moment. As we progressed through the track, we realised that there was heaps of detail being presented. However, it was done in such a relaxed and effortless way that it was almost too natural for us to register.

Gekko Black Knight review

Plugging the Black Knight in between the Moon phono and YBA integrated the difference was even more noticeable. On occasions, it can be tricky to review cables as, sometimes, the differences between one set and another might be difficult to discern or, might not even be apparent using the set-up we have.

However, thankfully, the Black Knight states its case clearly and reassuringly when we drop the needle on Florence and the Machine's album Lungs. The Black Knight allows more of the rich soundscape through, and Ms Welch's distinctive vocals come through with plenty of character and emotion. In fact, Florence's vocals appeared less strained and more impulsive and real. Additionally, instrumentation had more room to express itself with the ease and flow expected of a well-rehearsed band.

Gekko Black Knight review

Swapping out our speaker cables (£1,450) for the Black Knights (£1,199) and they did not embarrass themselves. Although, the staging seemed to lose width and height with the Gekko cables plugged into the Duke 2.

Gekko Black Knight review

However, bringing in the large Lintons and the synergy between the Black Knight interconnect and speaker cables was much more evident. There was more space between the instruments which enabled us to focus on individuals much easier, should we want want to.

Gekko Cables Black Knight review

To us, this proves why even auditioning cables can be just as crucial as trying out more significant components before you put your money down.

We have been enjoying the substantial Wharfedales for a while now, but the Black Knights really seem to suit them. The warmth and depth from both the cable and speaker work well together.

Playing 2112 Overture by Rush, the Black Knight and Linton duo showed deft handling of dynamics as well as range, whether it was cymbal-bell strikes or floor-tom rolls. There was also an agility and speed being highlighted thanks to the Canadian prog-rockers.

The Black Knight does have a warmer presentation compared with our usual choice, but there is no loss of detail due to this. Nor does bass suffer from being softened, instead it is insightful with plenty of impact and focus.

Gekko Cables Black Knight review

We ran this set-up with the power cable that came bundled with the amplifier for a while as we already use an after-market one. We then swapped that out and replaced it with the Gekko Black Knight mains cable plugged into the HiDiamond HDX2 power distributor.

Gekko Cables Black Knight review

The difference the Gekko cable made when compared with the one supplied as standard with the YBA Passion amplifier was noticeable. We realise that there is a school of thought that states that power cables, and therefore power input, cannot make an impact on the sound from your hi-fi but there was a definite increase in clarity and a perceived widening of the overall soundstage when compared with the bundled cable.

Conclusion

Gekko's Black Knight range might not be as expensive as some of its rivals, but there is much to be said for this series of cables.

The interconnects made the most significant and most flexible difference to our system. However, the speaker cables performed brilliantly once we discovered they preferred the Wharefedales over the Martens.

The Black Knight mains cable is undoubtedly an improvement over the supplied power cable; also, it goes without saying, appeared better made and certainly more aesthetically pleasing.

Overall, we found the Gekko Black Knight a naturally detailed and organic listen. There is plenty of midrange detail with a high-end that never gets fatiguing or fizzy. Lows are rich and slightly rounded but never lose impact.

We also loved how flexible all the cables in the Black Knight range are, as we have had some issues, especially with speaker cables and mains cables, where the thick jackets have meant we have to wrestle them into position; not so the BKs.

For more information, go to Gekko Cables.

Tech Spec

Black Knight RCA

  • Conductors: 2x 0.5mm high purity (99.99%) annealed OFHC copper
  • Primary dielectric layer: Cotton
  • Secondary dielectric layer: Polypropylene
  • Lay: Orbital twist, 40mm lay length
  • Capacitance: (min) 30pF/m
  • Inductance: 2.0uH/m (inc connectors)
  • Resistance: 0.05ohm/m
  • Overall diameter: 9.0mm

Black Knight Speaker Cables

  • Conductors: 8x 0.5mm high purity (99.99%) annealed OFHC copper
  • Primary dielectric layer: Polypropylene
  • Secondary dielectric layer: Polypropylene
  • Capacitance: (min) 80pF/m
  • Inductance: 0.90uH/m
  • Resistance: 0.008ohm/m
  • Overall width: 14.0mm

Black Knight Mains Cable

  • Conductors: 3x 2.5mm2 annealed silver-plated OFC
  • Primary dielectric layer: PVC
  • Secondary dielectric layer: Polypropylene
  • Overall width: 14.0mm

Gallery

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Written by:

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: gekko cables  gekko 

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