The audio world is a conservative one. We tend to be dismissive of the new and those products we think unconnected to audio. As a result, HDMI gets a bad press from audio enthusiasts, as it’s a ‘video’ cable and writing about HDMI brings the taint of video to an audio magazine! Nothing could be further from the truth.
As the name suggests, Purist Audio Design is not a company that’s known for video cables, and yet the company has been making high-performance HDMI for years. There’s good reason for this; it’s also an excellent digital audio connection, especially when used in an I2S digital interface using the LVDS pathway (Audiobyte, PS Audio, Rockna, Sonore). The advantage to the I2S connection is it’s basically the native digital format of the DAC itself, obviating the need for a S/PDIF or USB receiver to interpret a digital audio datastream. The requirements of an HDMI cable in this context are that it is fast enough, and at 18Gbps rated bandwidth, the Diamond Revision is certainly that. Using triple-shielded, triple cryo-treated copper, gold, and silver alloy conductors that also deliver the video goods (4K, HDR TV) and supporting all the usual benefits of High-Speed HDMI.
In use, the cable didn’t exhibit a significant degree of run-in and worked well out of the box. Video isn’t really a thing for us here, but it performed extremely well in this setting and would certainly be a recommendation for use in a high-performance AV system. Although notionally using HDMI in an Ethernet context is a way forward, the products that capitalise on HDMI’s potential here are hard to come by, and we’ve not received any such products as yet. However, it just so happens we do have a couple of excellent Audiobyte products in the pipeline, and I2S connection over HDMI is a core part of its performance. The ferrite ring also helps quieten down an already quiet link.
Diamond Revision sparkles in this setting. It brings a shimmering detail, fine soundstage, and excellent, architectural and stentorian bass to the presentation. It’s also a very big sounding cable, in a good way.
In fact, this is the musical motherlode. We are talking the most direct, uncontaminated, unconverted digital audio you can get, and it needs a cable that can provide that digital signal with the least attenuation, sins of addition or commission. To date, I’ve used Nordost’s excellent Blue Heaven, but the power of Diamond Revision makes it hard to resist.
It’s the directness of the signal that is so exciting, and that’s why this needs to be a cable with a lot of leading-edge control. In fact, too much leading edge can be a bad thing as there is so much information on offer it’s almost head-spinning. Purist’s Diamond Revision cuts a fine balance between all that leading-edge detail and the quality of the sound that follows that attack. This is why the soundstage size and shape, that deep, powerful bass, and the detail shine through the performance, in a format that can be so immediate and immersive that you find it hard not to be swamped by the onslaught. Purist’s detailed dynamics win you over!
It might seem odd to discuss what seems ostensibly a video cable in purely audio terms, but I2S is increasingly a thingin audio today and it deserves and demands the best because it’s the purest form of digital you can get. Using a Purist cable for the purest digital might sound fitting, but it also works!
Price and contact details
Product: Purist Audio Design
Length as tested:1m
Manufactured by: Purist Audio Design
Distributed by: HMF Solutions
Tel: +44(0)7740 799753