The Significance of the Peak Mains Connection System by Steve Elford

The recent launch of the Peak mains connection system is a significant event – and one that will remain significant for a considerable period of time. To understand the Peak story it’s worth briefly looking back at some of the old Vertex products like the Moncayo speaker cables and Roraima mains leads. The Moncayos and Roraimas were an all-in-one cable and module assembly using slim extruded aluminium modules. They were very good but suffered from two limitations. First, the complete cable/box assembly made getting the lengths just right and positioning the boxes for a system installation tricky, and if you wanted to make system changes later, or move the setup, the fixed limitations of the cables could be very problematic. Secondly, the rectangular form of the old modules always meant, despite the internal disruptive labyrinth, that the overall structure was slightly dimensionally resonant.

So those problems led to the complete re-think. With far greater design and production capability we were able to move away from off-the-shelf extrusions and produced what we call the Peak module. The clever shape with no parallel surfaces and deeply cut patterns on the sides (and the logo) means there will be no standing acoustic waves. With full 3D modelling we can also make the modules with any type of hole for all the usual plugs and connectors required – with a beautiful precision fit. Where this aspect has been very cool is with the use of the Neutrik Powercon sockets on the mains modules.

The Powercons by the way are great because they’re so compact (axial), so we can easily get two of them mounted for the double outlet version. And with the Powercon plug on the cables, again they are very neat and slim so no problem connecting the cables close together. Furthermore of course, they are a positive lock and very low contact resistance – use them for a while and our ancient mains plug standards seem ridiculous in comparison.

We’ve taken the old Vertex cable geometry (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) and beefed it up considerably in every department – more conductor, more EMI and RFI absorption and a new acoustic absorption braiding. The result is a massive step up in the cables inherent performance. And if we come back to the Peak mains modules for a minute, don’t forget that they contain our most advanced acoustic labyrinth yet, all our passive EMI and RFI absorption techniques, and of course, the brilliant ‘silver Jaya’ mains shunt filter circuit.

So, the utility of the system is great. Select the lengths and modules required and it all fits together beautifully (the modules stack so nicely too). As further upgrades are required or layout changes are need, that’s easy now.

Anyway, enough of all that – what about performance? Honestly, it’s amazing. Here’s a scenario. A system with four components say, a transport, DAC, pre and power amp – already wired up with a full Vertex Classic loom (our previous benchmark). We then wire up with two double output Peak modules, two peak input cables and four Powercon Peak output cables, one to each component. Oh, and one Peak shunt filter in a spare socket at the wall outlet (tell you more about that in a minute). And then we listen again. All that incredible stability and imaging has gone out another whole level – the sense is that the recording venue is massive and as the complexity of the music builds it’s just rock-solid and so easy to place. The timing structure of the music is far more coherent than before too. It’s an old cliche but the players seem to be playing much more like a group – you can sense the eye contact between them as they play off each others cues. And crank the volume up a notch and the increased drive and propulsion, without any fatigue creeping in, takes your breath away.

And to end, let me come back to the importance of that shunt Peak in the spare wall socket. It releases a level of transparency and inner detail that seems otherwise unachievable. The principle is that it creates an outer shield to your system – in effect it’s pre-filtering both RFI and vibration. I wouldn’t listen to a system now without one.