You should try the Connex / DH Labs solid core wire. Perfectly natural.
I read somewhere that transitioning from metal to metal has some measurable (if very small) effect on signal transmission in audio, so I try to keep to 1 metal through out my connectors.
Parts Connexion is having a sale, especially on the top-end silver KLE connectors. :)
Thanks Erik,but the interconnects I make are using different metal conductors to start with. I've had pure silver wire interconnects,with silver plated rca's and I didn't like the sound at all.Sure it was clearer than copper,but it was very thin sounding. And the bass? Oh it went low and was fast,but it very little,if any impact and presence. It went too low where you could barely hear anything,but could feel it slightly. My Emotiva system is "thin"sounding to begin with. I've heard some reviewers who have much more experience than I comment that Emotiva's amps and preamps are designed that way to imitate more of the Krell sound. I don't have any experience with Krell so I couldn't say.
So,I've been making cables with a combination of upocc copper and silver,both solid core wires. I also have occ 24kt gold plated wire to throw in the mix. I've been experimenting with different guages of wire, and ratios of silver vs copper(copper/gold plated),and am still in the process of learning.
The thing is,many "audiophiles" are into classical,light jazz,or vocals. They're also into tube amps/preamps,and vinyl records. I'm not,none of that interest me. I now realize that much of the advice given here,and on audio asylum,is in the context of listening to the kind of music I referred to.
I listen to classic rock,electric blues,celtic,goth symphonic metal,country,and pop. Pretty much everything else except classical,jazz,or opera.The cables I've been making are for my system specifically. But I'm sure I can make some that would sound good for anyone elses if I knew what they were looking for. Years ago,I bought a pair of Audiometallurgy GA-0 cables here on auction. They had the wbt connector upgrade. I saw a number of great reviews here,and other places,so I went for it and got them for $175. For me,only having budget cables,these sounded good,the best I had. I know they sell for over $500 now. I sold them after I built my own cables. Mine were better. Much more clear,and a equivalent soundstage,and just as smooth.
I looked at the connex wire and it is stranded silver plated copper. I think it's basically cheap milspec wire. It's not even occ copper as far as I can tell.But I have an PNF audio Icon interconnect which is stranded occ copper that is silver plated. I thought it was good when I got it.A bit better than the Audioquest or Straightwire interconnects I was used to. They were cheap,and so I thought it was worth what I paid for them here on Audiogon.
But from my experience,and research,I don't think silver plated stranded wire sounds good. I like solid core wire for a number of reasons.
If you're really into this hobby,it's worth the time to learn how to solder,and and then build your own interconnects.I can't believe there are people who would spend more than a 1k for an interconnect,but I've never been really rich.
Thanks for your reply Erik.
Maybe the times are bad,or things are changing,but I don't see as many small garage startup ventures as there used to be on Audiogon in the past.
Maybe I'll take a chance and build some extra cables to offer them here and see what happens.
You looked at the wrong cable. :) They have two. One is stranded and plated, the other is NOT stranded and solid silver. http://partsconnexion.com/wire_interc_connex.html
I don't think Emotiva is deliberately tuned. It's just incredibly thin sounding to my ears. I bought a processor ages ago to evaluate it, hoping it would replace my 10 year old Theta and the Theta absolutely spanked it. Emotiva sounded like inexpensive Asian made processor/receivers do to me.
Perhaps this has changed recently, but I don't see myself revisiting that.
As Erik mentions, Connex/DH Labs BL-Ag bulk IC cable is pure silver wire with teflon dielectric. Top quality materials that sound fine with KLEI silver RCAs, with R&R or whatever.
Be warned, the solid core stuff is fragile.
Ok,I see what your talking about. My experience with silver wire is that the smaller 28 or 26 awg brings out the highs better.The last pair of Ic's I made I tried the 23 awg Jupiter wire. The soundstage was brought more forward as the midrange bloomed. Another thing,I don't want to use just silver alone.For me,I like the combination of silver and copper,and even the amtrans 24kt gold plated occ copper. My Energy RC speakers are quite laid back. I'm trying to get a bit more brightness out of them.Especially at lower volumes because I live in a duplex and my neighbor complains. But since I like a lot of classic rock,pure silver doesn't sound natural to me. I don't know if most audiophiles can tell the difference between electric guitars and amplifier combos. But with my background of playing,I know what guitar brands and amps sound like. Pure copper seems to be the most natural sounding,but it can also be dull and lifeless.
I know a lot of people like the warm tubey analog sound. The gold plated occ copper wire produces this in my Emotiva system. It also could be heard in a Yamaha and Harmon Kardon receiver I tried it on. The speakers being used were considerably brighter than mine. The bookshelves were the Ed Frias kit using Peerless drivers. I did hear a couple of my cables on a Parasound A21/P5 combo,with B&W 805's. Since that's the most expensive system I've heard for more than a few hours,my experience is limited when it comes to really high end equipment.
Thanks for the info,but from what I've read from other cable diy guys,the higher awg silver solid core wires do produce an excessive midrange bloom. This is great for a center channel cable in a HT setup,which I'm keeping one of the cables for,the other I'm going to take apart.
This connex wire looks like it might be suited for a xlr balanced cable design. Am I wrong? I've never used balanced cables before.
Somewhere on another blog,somebody mentioned the Cardas bare silver solid core sounded better than the Jupiter silver I've been using.
But he didn't say how or why.
One last thing. I spent about 2k for my Emotiva system. I have an Xpa-2 gen2,an Xsp-1 gen2 (breaking in right now),and an ERC-3 cd player.
In the past I've had two Carver amps,an Adcom GFA555 mkii/GFP710 pre,and a B&K st140. The Emotiva sysem sounds much better to my ears.
I've compensated for the thinner sound by using heavier guage speaker wires (Neotech 3004/Audioquest type 4 combo),and using heavier awg interconnects. The interconnects I'm making are 19 or 18 awg.
Maybe my next step will be building a high end speaker from a kit. The Zaph Bitfrost has my attention. In the past I played around with replacing stock commercial speakers drivers(Pioneer,Polk,Dahlquist,etc) with good heavy mdf cabinets.I used Vifa,Peerless,and Morel components. The results were eye opening,or I should say ear opening. But there's not a lot of info out there about diy kit speakers. I searched youtube with limited results. I guess my problem is like many. I want a Black Angus meal on a McDonalds budget.
A heads up re: KLEI ’silver’/pure/absolute harmony connectors - they are not silver apparently:https://www.aurealisaudio.com.au/klei-harmony-rca-issues/
Just silver plated. Bit sad to hear it. But also now feel better having bought the copper harmony connectors.
Any recommendation of Neutrik profi vs KLEI copper harmony? The Neutrik are slightly cheaper but seem comparable quality. The 10K+ (if remember correctly, it’s at least 3-5K for the RCA if not more) mating cycle rating is pretty nice too
I think using silver audio solder is a nice way to get a 'touch' of silver into your setup. I have used Cardas solder so far.
@lastninja - in response to your postng of the Aurealis Audio web content above.
Please checkout the KLE Innovations site and read the Brochure and Technical Paperhttps://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/klei-harmony-plug/
I think you will find that nowhere does it state that the Silver Harmony is fabricated from "solid silver".
It would appear that most people "ASSUMES" solid silver is used simply because of the name assigned to the plug.
Based on that "assumption" is it feasible to conclude that an American Express Gold Card is made of gold? I think not.
The "Silver Harmony" is just a name assigned to an RCA that achieves a higher level of performance that the Copper Harmony, but not as good as the Pure Harmony or Absolute Harmony.
To quote from their documents:
Proprietary mathematical modeling is utilized to produce the Silver Harmony’s ground to signal pin relationship, parameters, and determines the proprietary metallurgical processes that are used.
I think this fact has been overlooked by the people at Aurealis Audio on purpose. They may have stated in their advertising that Solid silver was used and a customer complained and are now covering their "assets"
In fact they seem to have gone one stage further and have actually mis-quoted snippets from KLE Innovations documents on purpose.
For what purpose I do not know, but it would appear they have an axe to grind with KLE Innovations and are willing mis-quote their documents in order to disparage the good name of KLE Innovations in favour of their own.
Personally - I have auditioned every plug from KLE Innovations at length and all I can is that it does not matter the Harmony plugs are not made from Solid Silver - each plug in the range, much like American Express cards, provide a level "service" that improves as you proceed up the product line.
The issues here should not be with KLE Innovations, a company that I trust and respct, but with that post on Aurealis Audio that appears to have no other goal but to disparage.
Regards - Steve
I finally built some I'cs using the KLEI Copper Harmony plugs. I got mixed results. The sound was a bit more open and clear. That's a good thing. For those who like classical,opera,strictly vocals,or jazz,I could recommend them. But from my experience with all wires and connectors that use silver,the bass becomes impotent. And that's not a good thing for me. The last rca plugs I tried and am happy with the results,are the Neotech dg201's. They seem as open as the Furutech FP126g with
a bit more impactful bass. And they're modestly priced. They also have a bigger opening so you can use more,or larger guage wires. So far,my best design is using 1 upocc Neotech 22 awg solid round wire,1 Neotech 24awg solid round, 2 Jupiter pure silver 28awg solid wires,and 1 Jupiter 26 awg solid wire. I used a 14awg and 18 awg Neotech stranded in pvc,for the ground wire.
I burned them in for over 300 hours and the results were fantastic.
I also got some new speakers,which are a bit more revealing than the Energy RC-70's. I now have the SVS Ultra Towers. I like them. More accurate and deeper 3d soundsatge. The bass is unreal. Fast,very deep,and you don't need a subwoofer. I can't figure out why more people haven't discovered them. And the build quality is great. The Energy RC-70's have a rich midrange. Much better than most all speakers I have heard in their price range. The Vienna Acoustics Mozart might be slightly better,but to my ears it's a tossup. The SVS Ultra Tower comes very close.Not quite as rich,but pretty close. But the inner detail on the SVS is umatched. And the smooth upper highs as well as the Energy's are somewhat dull. But for bass? I've never heard any speakers in this price range that makes such a deep,low,and full bass,without being thumpy.
@dayemo - the copper harmony are better than most other brands, but for the very best results the Silver, Pure and Absolute Harmony plugs really performs.
Since you appear to be into DIY please see the following linkhttp://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-interconnect-cable.html
These are my own DIY IC's. They provide very fast dynamics, large image, extended bass with superb bass control and extremely good clarity.
I recommend using 4% WBT silver solder for best results
Regards - Steve
I stumbled over a tv-coax years ago that has shown to be totally inaudible as an ic when used one lenght for + & -. It is the Vivanco KX-710. Tryed it up against a lot of top-ic`s, nothing comes really Close. A bit tricky to terminate, I prefer to use wbt- type rca`s and solder the minus through(!) the rear screw-hole in the plug.
This coax has also shown to be the ultimate digital coax. Wonder if Vivanco weill ever realise what they have done here.
I have seen a grown divorced* audiophile cry after hearing his system play through these wires.
*real audiophiles are divorced or just single
Steve,thanks for the info. Although the KLEI silver rca plugs may be more open in the mids and highs,my experience with silver is that it doesn't produce bass. I know people say the bass just goes lower and faster but that's not my experience. The midbass has little impact. And the slam between 65 and 50 becomes lethargic. A lot of audiophiles seem to like this. I don't. I listen to a lot of classic rock. And some hard rock/metal. Pure silver interconnects seem the worst for these genres of music. I bought silver fuses for my system a few years back. The same thing happened. Oh,the clarity improved significantly,but there was no bass impact at all. And the sound was not natural sounding at all. Nothing like the recording engineers were shooting for.
The problem I have with many audiophiles is that they talk about systems and how good one thing is compared to another based upon what they want to hear. That's ok. But when people say this is more natural sounding etc... and I know some of these guys aren't musicians or have spent time in a studio,I don't think they know what they're talking about.
I've been in audio stores listening to guys talk like this. They didn't know the difference between a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Strat sound. Or what amp was being used. If they couldn't differentiate between these two electric guitars with signature sounds,how could they possible know what speakers sounded more natural I asked. I've been listening to music for over forty years now. I played both acoustic and electric guitar. My ex wife was a musician as well. She played clarinet and flute. I can hear the difference between a cheap Armstrong vs a much more expensive one.
The same goes for different brands of acoustic guitars.
I'm trying not to be offensive here. But truthfully,I don't know of many guys in this hobby that really know what they're talking about. They may know what they like to hear,and that's ok. And when it comes to listening to live bands. They don't realize that a lot of the equipment,especially the loud monitors,are cheap and are designed for one main purpose. Volume. And durability,because they are taken on the road and have to be packed up nightly. (I also have a little experience being a roadie.) Now, being in a studio and recording is very different. Helping in the mix and giving feedback gives you experience. And I have a little of that.
So I want my interconnects to sound natural and real,as well has have good depth and imaging. Too much silver negates this. Most engineers do not use silver wired or terminated cables. They use copper. From the mic cords to the monitor cables. And they engineer the mix of the recording with copper cables in mind. But everyone has their preferences and I respect that. I think this is a dying hobby as most young people don't listen to stereo systems anymore. They listen to music on their phones with crappy earbuds. Or in cars. And much of the pop music today isn't very good either,in my opinion. I'm done experimenting with making Ic's for now. I've spent way too many hours on them. My wife thinks I'm crazy,lol. That goes for power cords,and speaker cables as well. I'm just going to enjoy what I've accomplished now,and listen to music.
@dayemo - I really do now what you mean :-)
Personally - I have played in a band for a few years and I definitely know the difference between the sounds of a Strat, Tele and a Les Paul - among st many others.
I also know what punch and body percussion instruments are supposed to have. All to often you get the crack of a side drum, but little in the way of actual "tone" of the skin vibrating. Same applies even more so for the bass drum.
As for the silver in my Helix IC’s - well the nice thing is - you get to choose what kind of metal you want. Plugs as well. Using a quality copper wire such as Duelund will probably serve up the dynamics and depth more suited to your taste.
WRT the KLE Innovations RCA’s - the entire range of RCA’s consists of layers of silver on copper (basically). The amount of silver in the layers differentiates one model from the next - the Copper Harmony is the thinnest, being more like Silver plate.
The "design" (or geometry) of a cable is what makes the Helix cables so good.
The dynamic performance is exceptional and the depth of the bass depends on whether you use the Copper Harmony plug or the Absolute Harmony plug. The "piece de resistance " of the helix cables is their outstanding clarity and imaging.
One band whose music is fairly "Dynamic" in nature is The Police.The Helix cables reproduce their music with stunning clarity with lots of bass depth and control. But the bass has no bloating - it is very precise.
One of my favorite test tracks is a piece of Pipe Organ music. It contains very low frequencies and incredible dynamics along with amazing and very complex highs. Pipe Organ is one of the most demanding instrument to reproduce, but the Helix cables are able to achieve crystal clear highs, along with the deepest lows in stunning clarity and detail that leaves tingles going up the spine.
I’ve been told by others that have tried them that they are the most natural sounding cables they have heard, without adding any coloration to the sound.
Your comment on
Most engineers do not use silver wired or terminated cables. They use copper. From the mic cords to the monitor cables. And they engineer the mix of the recording with copper cables in mind.
Once the music goes through a mixing desk the content becomes very compressed, so it is even more important that the very best cables are used.
As proof of this I tried the following...
- If you take a guitar and plug it into a "stereo" it will distort like crazy because the signal is far too dynamic for the amp/speakers to process without clipping and distorting.
- Play guitar through a mixer connected to the "stereo" and it will sound much better.
- My point being - the cables used for live music and mixing need to be very different from the cables required in hi-fi systems.
Often people use Mogami wire for audio leads because it is what professional musicians use. It is very good at what it is designed for. Long cable runs on stage or in the studio with lots of other wires cris-crossing and lots of interference from electronic equipment. It handles that scenario with distinction.
When it comes to high end audio systems, the cables have to be more specialized. IC's have to transfer much smaller signals without loosing any information. and without adding any "tonal coloration"
This is where the Helix cables really shine But they would probably make a pretty mediocre guitar lead.
Anyhow - just thought I’d follow up on a few comments you made in your post.
If you are happy with your cables then that’s great - I respect your judgement and opinion.
Regards - Steve :-)
Thanks Steve for your response. I can respect your background and experience playing music. I checked out your design,it is interesting.
My design is taken from checking out what other diy info I could find. I run my wires in parallel to one another keeping about 3/8" between them. I don't use any shielding. Like many others, I believe the more insulation around the wires,the more congested the sound becomes. I use shipping tape to keep the wires apart. One run contains the signal wires,the other the ground. I also use cotton sewing thread to bind the two runs together a certain points.
One thing I'd like to comment about. I did an experiment to see if there was an audible difference between silver wires. The reason why I did this was to test out the theory that teflon insulation,when used on silver wire,produces that characteristic tizzy sound that people talk about. I know what this sound is like because I once bought a pair of pure silver IC's,what's known as the PSS quartet. The guy used two 28awg solid core silver wires,encased in teflon,in a twisted pair design. They were open sounding,with bass like I've previously described. But that tizz wasn't natural sounding at all. And it was very noticeable compared to a number of other Ic's I've had. So I made two interconnects. Both comprised Neotech Upocc solid core copper wires for the signal and ground. The only difference was the silver wires. So in one set I used the Neotech upocc silver solid core,28awg encased in blue teflon. The one you used in your design. In the other IC,I used the Jupiter solid core silver wire encased in cotton. That was the only difference between the two. After I had built them I tested them out. Initially,I couldn't hear much difference between them. But as the cables burned in,I could hear the difference slowly emerging. And after a few hundred hours I knew for sure. The Neotech silver teflon wired one was producing that slight tizz whereas the Jupiter wired one wasn't. And the Jupiter wired one was a bit more dynamic with a cleaner,clearer top end.
I've also tried different awg Jupiter silver wires and can hear the difference. It would seem the higher the awg yield more upper midrange. If your system lacks a really open midrange,I recommend the 23awg Jupiter encased in silk. The highs are very slightly rolled off (or maybe the midrange is coming through louder),and the bass impact is slightly. more significant. My favorite Ic right now has 4 28awg Jupiter cotton wires,and two Neotech solid core copper wires. One 22 awg (makes thicker deeper bass) and one 24 awg. My experimenting with awg has proven what many others have already claimed. The thicker the wire, the sound becomes "thicker",more full. The soundstage become more 3d also. A total of 19 to 20 awg has given me the best results for what I like. Now,if your listening to vinyl,I can see you might want a thinner awg. The sound is already thick. And the thinner wire produce a slightly more detailed accuracy. I'm happy with the Ic's I've produced. They've bested many other's I've had over the years that cost more.
The Audio Metallurgy GA-0 with the upgraded wbc rca's is the last Ic I was using until I made my own. My design sounds significantly better to my ears. And the GA-0 got many rave reviews. It's a good,very warm sounding Ic. But not as detailed. Oh,it's smooth and "audiophile"sounding though. Almost tube like on a solid state system. Like those tube modeling guitar amps they make nowadays. If anyone is interested,my first design used Clairvoyant Cables occ gold plated copper wire. I bought a bulk roll of 24awg on Ebay that I got on bid cheap.This wire is enamel coated so you have to torch the enamel coating (a lighter works) and test it with a meter. It's a very warm,open sounding wire with slightly plump midbass.Since there is no insulation on the gold plated occ wire,it's noticeably more open than the Neotech upocc. This cable I made bested the GA-0. I used two runs of the 24awg wire. 1 Clairvoyant gold plated wire, 1 24awg Neotech solid core (teflon) and two runs of 28awg Jupiter cotton/silver. The ground was Neotech stranded 16awg (pvc),and Neotech stranded 18awg (pvc). Along with Furutech FP126g rca plugs.
This is cheap and easy to make. It's close to the GA-0 in warmth and bass,but more open and detailed in the top end. If I were to do it over,I'd substitute a 26awg Jupiter silk wire for one of the 28awg wires. This cable could easily compete with $400.+ Ic's out there.Especially if you like a warm sounding cable with a 3d soundstage.
@dayemo - glad to see you’ve moved away from "conventional" geometries :-)
I too used the Furutech FP126g rca plugs on previous IC’s, but I found the KLE Innovations plugs provided so much more detail and a more well defined and deeper bass. Perhaps the combination of the geometry and the plug accounts for this?
As I said previously - theKLEI RCA’s are silver "coated" copper and I found the bass improved as I moved up the product line.
The other thing is - running the wire in parallel is open to noise induction, which effects clarity.
QUESTION: is the signal and neutral conductors in your cables the same gauge?
- I have found I get a better defined and deeper bass by making the neutral conductor twice the gauge of the signal conductor. Food for thought :-)
Anyhow - it sounds as though you have tried many things and found a formula that works well for your system.
I don't think there is just one solution, but we all benefit from sharing our experiences :-)
As far as my cables having wires running parallel, I don't hear any
"noise" as you put it. They're just more open sounding than any Ic's I've had in the past. And those had alot of insulation material around the wires. Now,is it because of the Neotech Upocc wire I'm using,or the wires running flat and parallel? I can't actually say. The ground wire total awg is close to the Eichmann ratio which is 1.4 times thicker than the signal.
Having experimented with the gold plated enameled ooc wire,and the Jupiter cotton or silk,I do believe that the sound is better with little or nothing around the wire itself. My cables wires are held together by a strip of packing tape. Which as you know,is very thin. All it does is keep the wires from moving around and crossing over one another.
I do agree,the KLEI copper Harmony was significantly more detailed than the Furutech 126G. But,I would say that it's because of the silver coating on the KLEI plugs,since both are using copper pins. The only difference is the silver on the KLEI plugs. But using thicker guage silver wire,in ratio to the upocc copper wires,increased the amount of detail just as much.
My initial test was between tow cables I made,identical except for the plugs.Thats when I realized the KLEI Copper Harmony was producing less bass to a noticeable degree. Increasing the awg from 24 to 22 might have made up for this,but I didn't bother. I sold that cable to a guy who was happy to be able to get it from me. He bought some other cables I initially made and was impressed. And that one did sound significantly clearer than the older ones I had first made.
But for now,I think the Neotech dg201's from Soniccraft are the way to go. They're just a bit more expensive than the Furutech fp126g I could get on Ebay,but worth it. The only thing I didn't like about the Neotech's were that the solder didn't stick as well. I had to use more and make sure that the joint was solid as it tended to break loose when I moved the wires around after I soldered them. In comparison,the Furutech's formed a solid joint the first time. Now the Neotech's dg201 have a slightly bigger opening as well,so this is a plus as well.
As far as your design is concerned. I really think you should try the Jupiter silver wire. Or maybe the Cardas bare silver wire. Or,if it's possible,remove the teflon casing from the Neotech wire and use a cotton "piping" sewing sleeve instead. Because that tizz the teflon produces is annoying. Oh,your ears can get used to it,I admit. But when I changed my test ic with the Jupiter silver wire,I then realized how much the teflon was adding to the sound. The same goes for the gold plated occ enameled wire vs the Neotech Upocc teflon wire. The non encased gold wire is more open sounding. And it seems the Ic breaks in faster also. My speakers,especially my new SVS, already have a pronounced midrange.
So the gold wire isn't needed for added warmth. The gold seems to bring the soundstage up closer a bit. And I like a deeper soundstage personally. Especially in vocals. I don't want to "see the singers tonsils"if you know what I mean.
@dayemo - thanks for the additional details on your developments/findings.
I think it would be very interesting if we were able to get together to discuss our individual approaches and compare notes.
I’d also like to compare our two approaches on a single system - I’m all about trusting my ears - sounds like you are also :-)
The fact that you are not hearing any noise in a cable where the conductors are basically "exposed" to environmental noise. supports my findings that (in my house at least) there is "normally" very little noise in a household environment, i.e. provided you allow enough space between cables and ensure you only allow them to cross at angles that minimize the induction process.
But I do believe that all of that is very dependent on location
I had put a halt to any further development of the Helix Interconnects, because better materials might significantly reduce their cost effectiveness - and I’m all about bang for the buck.
I will certainly give your findings some consideration. I also hear Duelund wire (thanks to Grannyring's post in a different thread) might "up the anti" as well.
Will I scratch that itch? Hmmmm, hard to say, but I do have a spare set of cables to play with. :-)
Cheers - Steve