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Kimber Tonik review

An entry-level interconnect that isn’t short on verve Tested at £94 (1m) / $94 (1m) / AU$153

Audio interconnect: Kimber Tonik
(Image: © Kimber)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Kimber’s Tonik makes a good first impression but longer listening exposes a lack of subtlety

Pros

  • +

    Fast and punchy sound

  • +

    Good level of clarity

Cons

  • -

    Lacks the finesse and dynamic expression of the class leaders

The Tonik sits on the first rung of Kimber’s analogue interconnects ladder, but that doesn’t stop it from showcasing many of the company’s trademark design touches. The most obvious is the use of braided conductors. This is a type of construction that is good at rejecting electrical noise and interference.

Kimber Tonik tech specs

Audio interconnect: Kimber Tonik

(Image credit: Kimber)

Conductor material Copper x 3

Length 1m

Dielectric material Polyethylene

Connector options RCA and Balanced XLR

You’ll also find that the conductors differ in terms of thickness, something that’s claimed to cover the frequency range better than just a single size would. There are three conductors in the Tonik, all made of high purity copper and coated in a polyethylene dielectric.

The Tonik also comes with a choice of connectors – RCA and balanced XLR – and a wide range of lengths. We have a 1m pair for this test. It’s a nicely built cable without quite having the quality aura of rivals such as the Atlas Element Achromatic or the slightly pricier QED Reference Audio 40.

Sound

Audio interconnect: Kimber Tonik

(Image credit: Kimber)

If you feel your system’s presentation could do with an injection of energy this is certainly a good option. Not that a passive component such as a cable can actually add energy to the sound, of course, more that the Tonik is great at preserving the energy already in the signal. It helps our system sound punchy and fast with the likes of Eminem’s The Way I Am, delivering the song with impressive verve. There’s a decent though not class leading level of detail and a good sense of organisation. We like the cable’s ability to make our system sound composed and nicely organised regardless of the genre of music we play.

We notice some shortcomings compared to the very best cables at the price though. Using the Tonik reduces our system’s ability to render dynamic nuances convincingly and its ability to convey changes in rhythmic momentum unambiguously. We also miss the finer points of instrumental textures. Add these things together and we have a cable that doesn’t hold our interest over longer listening sessions as well as we’d hope.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a fast and punchy cable, this one is worth a listen – but ultimately the Kimber Tonik doesn’t have the finesse required to challenge the best in the class.

SCORES

  • Sound 3
  • Build 4
  • Compatibility 3

MORE:

Also consider the Atlas Element Achromatic

Read our review of the Chord Clearway

Our pick of the best audio cables you can buy

What Hi-Fi?
What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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  • Gray
    'Lacks the finesse and dynamic expression of the class leaders' 🤨
    We believe you 😆
    Reply
  • Bloke
    Lurking on audio forums waiting for a respected magazine to honestly review an audio cable (they gave just 3 stars!), only to disparage it.
    Reply
  • 12th Monkey
    That post breaches forum rules. As it's your first we'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but please read and abide by the forum rules:

    What Hi-fi? Official Community Rules | What Hi-Fi? Forum (whathifi.com)
    Reply
  • Bloke
    12th Monkey said:
    That post breaches forum rules. As it's your first we'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but please read and abide by the forum rules:

    What Hi-fi? Official Community Rules | What Hi-Fi? Forum (whathifi.com)
    Apologies: post amended. These cable haters really boil my blood. Please tell me how I breached the rules so I can avoid doing it again. Assume it was seen as a 'personal attack'?
    Reply
  • 12th Monkey
    Bloke said:
    Apologies: post amended. These cable haters really boil my blood. Please tell me how I breached the rules so I can avoid doing it again. Assume it was seen as a 'personal attack'?
    Thanks, much appreciated. Forum rules don't allow discussion of moderation, but I think you can probably trust your gut instincts.

    Cables are the most divisive subject, and even here (where we try to accommodate all views) I think you'd have to describe the cable situation as more of an armed truce than out and out peace. Best not to stress too much about it, I'd suggest. (I don't wish to speak for Gray, but believe he'd describe himself more as a sceptical agnostic than a hater.)

    Welcome, btw.
    Reply
  • Friesiansam
    Bloke said:
    These cable haters really boil my blood.
    Nobody hates cables and, we all need them but, many don't believe the outlandish claims made frequently about many hifi cables, especially the much more expensive ones.
    Reply
  • Bloke
    Friesiansam said:
    Nobody hates cables and, we all need them but, many don't believe the outlandish claims made frequently about many hifi cables, especially the much more expensive ones.
    'Nobody hates cables'... is that a serious claim? I take your point however.
    Reply