The ASI Liveline powercable in standard outfit is supplied with Yarbo connectors. As it turns out, its sound can be greatly improved when they are replaced by high end connectors. The ASI liveline was compared to the CP-Audio Ultimate Clarity powercable both in original form and in upgraded form.
Comparison of the standard cable versus the upgraded cable
An extended comparison has been made in a separate review. In short: the grain and harshness in the treble and lower mid is greatly reduced while low level detailing is greatly enhanced. Read the entire comparison here.
Comparing ASI to CP-Audio: ASI sound explained
Just like with the CP-Audio Ultimate Clarity extensionblock I reviewed a while ago, I want to make clear upfront that the brand CP-Audio is connected to this site. I understand that knowing this will probably put this review in another light but the results were so very surprising, that I just had to write about it here. Feel free to believe me or not.
When I first heard the ASI powerline, its character was immediately clear. This is an open, fast, precise and airy cable. In fact, a friend had bought 3 of them to liven up his otherwise slightly dark sounding system and there they worked well. For my setup and taste though, it was simply too much. My system is already very open because of the Magnepan 3.6R's and their full ribbon tweeter and through them it was all too easy to hear that the ASI was not only fast and open but also edgy and dry. A very large portion of this was fixed by attaching the IeGO connectors to it instead of the standard Yarbo's. In fact, I'd say that the manufacturer should supply the cable with IeGO's as standard, the combination is simply that good. With the IeGO's there is no edgyness anymore and the cable proves capable of more air and low level detailing than I first expected. But still I found it sounding lean and dry. Again, if your system is warm and needs some opening up, the Liveline may well be the perfect cable for you. But for my system there were better alternatives.
Comparing ASI to CP-Audio: CP Audio comes into play
I use Harmonic Technology Pro ACII on my CD player because it gives me all the detailing I need in addition to a nice smoothness and warmth that reminds me of analog. Substituting the Harmonic Tech for the ASI reveals that the Harmonic Tech could be better in the speed and openness departments. I knew this already but given my open sounding speakers there was never need for more. But the ASI is not for me because it robs the music of some natural warmth and fluidity. I'm not talking about a thick coloured sound here but am referring to the same naturalness that you hear when playing good analog. CD can sound thin all by itself but the ASI makes this worse. So, in came the CP-Audio Ultimate Clarity. I wasn't expecting anything, perhaps it would be even worse... But imagine my surprise when the CP-audio cable turned out to be better. In almost all departments! First, the leanness was gone, also the highs opened up more and revealed more natural air and fluidity. There was a rich smoothness to the sound but it never robbed the music of its speed and detailing. If anything, the CP-audio had better low level detail. It was just presented in a more relaxed manner.
If I had to highlight one area in which the ASI was better, it had to be the bass. The CP-audio is more relaxed and smooth. Its bass as well, it is never slow or undynamic, but the ASI simply sounds faster and more attacky. This is something that could work both ways. But it is also a matter of taste. If you need the speed and attack, ASI may be better for you. But if your system is well-balanced and has good speed to begin with, I think that CP-audio may be the better choice. But by all means, don't take my word for it!