VOVOX Sonorus XL

TR26.01.2020

Interconnects

Since few years ago Vovox products have been making a lot of stir among audiophiles for their modestly priced cables were used in demo rooms by Soulution and Magico. For the company, previously firmly rooted in professional audio, new consumer base was created and this lead to the development of ‘high end division’  of Vovox. Since audiophiles would never buy a budget cable new terminations and a new story were employed and – voila – the real ultrahighend Vovox Textura and Fortis were born with asking price that grew up by factor of 5, still using the same metallurgy. This review focuses on the original professional model that is both fantastic sounding and affordable.

Function and form

70%
Ease of use
66%
Sound
90%
Appearance

Vovox is a Swiss company run by Jürg Vogt. In one of interviews he explains the process of developing the cables: “I’m very much a materials engineer […] and I’m coming from the synthetic material sector where it is approved that even the best specialists can explain just about a 50% of what is happening, for the rest the strategy is “let’s try and see what comes out”. Then afterwards maybe you find an explanation, but there’s such a vast amount of factors that can interfere, that nobody would ever claim to have a super clear vision on the matter at all times. In electronic engineering it is common to be of the opinion to know everything, and to be convinced that if you make the right calculation you will get the desired result.”

The strategy of Vovox was to address crystalline structure of copper to reduce interactions that happen on crystal boundaries. Vovox claims that it is not the purity of copper but the alignment of crystallites that cause an audible difference. On top of that to take control over the conductor one has to use solid core wires as stranded conductors have too many unpredictable surface interactions, and above all, the OCC (oriented continuous cast copper) is only available in solid core rods. For insulation natural cotton is used because it does not create problems with static charge, unlike any synthetic dielectric. Also don’t forget that the cables are used by professionals so they must be heavy-duty and reliable over long runs.

Now you will also understand why the Vovox Sonorus XL interconnects are available only in XLR version and why they are thick and stiff. In fact they are stiffer than any other cable I know.

Bass management

Weight
84
Slam
73
Articulation
72

Jürg Vogt has his opinion on audiophile cables that often fail in pro-audio world: The interesting thing was that when we started to really pump up the volume, listening to strong rock music productions, […] at a certain point I really felt unpleasant, because the music was too loud, with the sibilants of the singer causing pain to my ears and all the other things we know from live concerts, when it really becomes too much. With our cables this limit shifted. The volume was still loud but you felt like it was still music and not only noise. The painful feelings were significantly reduced and the sound was more natural, with less distortion.”

And this is perhaps the biggest advantage from owning the Sonorus XL. When played loud a kick drum or a bass are weighty and articulated without the presence of higher harmonic peaks that would make them thin and brittle. High end cables often use the overtones to increase the sense of detail – a female vocal jazz trio sounds beautiful at soft volumes but becomes too bright when pushed. With the Vovox Sonorus XL the ears stay relaxed without the resolution suffering.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
70
Air
59
Transparency
67

The more I listened to the Sonorus XL the more I was engaged by their neutrality. The Vovox did not discriminate any octave, the sound was neither too much bass not too much highs. The bass fundament was heavy and thick but not pushy like I experience with my resident Kubala-Sosna Emotion cables. The Sonorus XL was clean and extended but it never got brittle and tinny. The neutrality let me hear the mixing and mastering differences on 25th Anniversary Stereoplay sampler to the degree heard by a sound engineer.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
68
Dynamics
67
Temporal resolution
59

The music had attractive tonal fullness and richness no matter how loud I listened. I reached out for a calibrated sound level meter to find out that I could play by 6 dB louder through the Vovox Sonorus XL without feeling any listening fatigue. With dynamic recordings I had to check constantly that I do not play too loud not to destroy my speakers.

Spatial resolution

Holography
78
Soundstage width
78
Soundstage depth
78

The lateral imaging of the Vovox is exact and well-focused so I did not have any issue to follow how and when individual string sections enter and exit a music score. And yes, the sound was composed and full, no shrill and no show-off.

The Sonorus XL are not interconnects that cause a jaw-dropping effect. In fact they do not draw attention to themselves at all. Yet, when you want to find a weak spot with them, they give you a hard time. For their price it is a bargain.

Price as reviewed:15 000,- Kč

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Associated components

  • Sources: C.E.C. TL-51XR
  • Amplifiers: Mark Levinson No.526, Mark Levinson No.423
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Emotion
  • Loudspeakers:  Revel Ultima Studio2
  • Power conditioning: IsoTek Titan, Shunyata Research Sigma HC

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