The 7N-PC9900 is the latest version of Acrolink's flagship power cord, replacing the PC9700. According to Acrolink, the PC9900 is an upgraded version of the PC9700 and features new special shielding technology.
Visually and reading off the specifications sheet, the PC9900 and PC9700 are near identical twins. The Live and Neutral conductors are the same D.U.C.C. Stressfree 7N wires consisting of 50 strands of 0.32 mm diameter conductors, while the ground is similar except the wires are made from super-anneal 4.5N copper.
The shield is described as polyurethane enameled 4N copper braid with special shielding technology - carbon fabric sleeves. In comparison, the PC9700 uses the same copper braid combined with semi-conductive carbon tape.
Otherwise the PC9900 looks and feels the same, with a diameter of 16 mm and identical resistance and capacitance values.
I no longer had the PC9700 on hand so I could not compare the two models. Instead, I used the 8N-PC8100 as a baseline for comparison instead.
Acrolink Mexcel users expect the finest levels of resolving power and suppressed noise floor, which the PC9900 delivers in spades.
The PC9900 has extremely high levels of resolution across the frequency range, with tight and powerful bass lines, and high frequencies that are extended and clean. In typical Mexcel fashion, this is delivered in very quick and focused transients, with a natural decay. Due to the very low noise floor, the PC9900 is almost like delivering a jolt to your system, giving it a sudden boost in contrast and dynamic range.
Tonally, the PC9900 sounds similar to the PC9700 (based on memory). A quick read of my previous review of the PC9700 provides more insight into the character of both the PC9700 and PC9900. However, the PC9900 offers subtly improved resolving power with a little bit more focus and drive. I noticed that the Mexcel twins differ in how the human voice is presented. While both cables have more sweetness in the midrange compared to other Mexcel models, the PC9900 has a silkier and more fluid delivery. However, this comes at the expense of some snap and presence.
Comparisons to the PC8100 proved interesting. Unlike the PC9700, I would consider both the PC8100 and PC9900 to be on par with each other. The PC9900 is like using a computer monitor with higher resolution. The PC8100 makes do with lower resolution, but with more colour contrast, and a slightly warmer hue. Your choice of poison boils down more to taste. If you like a bolder presentation with more meat and flavour, the PC8100 fits the bill. The PC9900 is perfect for the palate that favours microdetail and a more refined and sophisticated presentation. If you like your Japanese whisky, think of the PC8100 as Nikka, and PC9900 as Yamazaki.
Acrolink Mexcel power cords are one of the finest products in the industry and come with a strong personal recommendation. While they are expensive, the level of performance delivered is very reasonable. I would have hesitated to say this some years ago, but a quick look at audio magazines and websites shows that flagship cables from the competition can even cost multiples of the PC9900 - Highly Recommended.
A big thanks goes out to X-Audio for arranging for the review sample.
Price : S$ 5,500
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