I wouldn't get the gold plated. Better to just get the pure copper or pure silver and clean them regularly.
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Zd542 - from what I have read on several sites/forums there is no need to clean tarnished silver, since the black oxidized layer (i.e. silver sulphide) that forms, has better conductivity than gold - although slightly less than untarnished silver.
Have you noticed any perceivable improvements by cleaning the tarnish?
Would the same improvements be attained by simply re-seating the rca's? (Which probably removes the oxidation anyway).
Thanks for any feedback
Well, after a lot of investigation into the Eichman RCA and their design priniciples I opted to proceed in a similar, but different direction.
My amp is a Naim 5i mkII - on the first two inputs Naim has opted to use a european DIN connector as well as the standard RCA connector
My sources use the standard RCA connectors.
I wondered why a company like Naim had opted for the DIN connector, but the DIN uses the same sized pins for signal and neutral much like the XLR connectors preferred by more upscale brands - it's just smaller.
I opted to re-terminate my interconnects with DIN on one end and Eichmann RCA's on the other.
What happened when I connected the interconnects pretty much knocked my socks off and I can now see why Naim uses DIN.
The DIN plugs I ordered had a nice metal body with silver plated brass pins and cost around $7 each - for that price it was worth trying
The Eichman Silver bullet RCA's by comparison were $140 for a set of 4
Both use small mass pins to make their electrical connection.
The improvement in sound was clearly apparent in two areas
1. Spatial imaging was larger, more focussed with much more air around instruments that resulted in more clarity of image
2. The overall presentation is much more dynamic and engaging
Clearly, Naim uses the DIN because of its superior performance and cost effectiveness - so why don't other manufacturers use DIN when it is so clearly superior to RCA?
If you have any Naim gear - get DIN connectors on your interconnects - you won't believe the difference they make
DIN / RCA / XLR has nothing to do with sound quality. What counts much more is the material they are made of. AES Standard rates copper as Standard for Signal transfer ability (=100%), Silver for example is 106, gold is around 90 and everything else is much worse.
When the unit has very cheap RCA input plugs (brass with gold plating for example), they are in the area of 60, that means, they reduce any input signal by min. 40 % from what is possible. That is the real problem, not cable rolling (most have good connectors but here it is the same, it is not magic, it is knowledge).
The next interesting fact is, when there are two options, for example RCA and XLR, or RCA and DIN, which one has the better amplification stage?
Most manufacturers try to save money wherever it is possible, (nearly) no one uses real high quality RCA in- outputs (or silver wire inside)....the problem is not the manufacturer, the problem is the mark up for the following distributor chain. This kills normally every try to move on seriously for best possible reproduction (and these inputs are in the beginning of the amplification chain).
I changed all the RCA in-outputs from my Lamm Preamp/amps to the best available ones and the difference must be heard to believe ... but that was really expensive. Impossible to do for a manufacturer, it would kill his profit chance immediately.
I don't think much of the Eichmans; A cheap plastic plug, IMO. WBT Nextgens are better and Xhadows are the best for all metal plugs. There are a few reviews on the web that compare various plug brands. Worth checking out.
Also as mentioned, most component jacks are cheap brass with nickel/gold plate. If you are to experience the best performance, the jacks need to be upgraded.
AES Standard rates copper as Standard for Signal transfer ability (=100%), Silver for example is 106, gold is around 90 and everything else is much worse.You sure about that % reduction? What does 106 mean, then?
I don't think much of the Eichmans; A cheap plastic plug,Eichmann plugs feel cheap but they claim their research concluded that high mass is an enemy of good sound in a connector. So they seem to be cheap plastic for a reason.
Syntax - i'm not sure I completely agree with your view of the effectiveness of RCA vs DIN or XLR, after all, the pins in the DIN plug I used are silver plated brass ( and who knows what materials are used in the socket in the amp) yet the DIN plug performed so much better than the Eichman Silver Bullet RCA's
Does the silver plating on the pins overcome the reduced conductivity of the brass? - don't know
I do agree that ensuring connectors with the very best materials should be used for optimum performance.
Since replacing the RCA jacks in the amp, as Sonic_genius recommends, is not something I choose to pursue at this time - for me, this will remain an enigma.
A very nice sounding enigma :-)
Sonic genius - at $140 for 4 - there is nothing cheap about this plastic :-)
Seriously though - have you tried the eichmans?
If yes - how did they compare to wbt and others you may have tried
Any feedback is appreciated - thanks
I do think Eichmann should find a material that is more robust than the "plastic" they have selected - I felt more confident soldering the smaller pins of the DIN socket - never felt there was a possibility of the pins falling out.
But they worked and were cheaper than many of the competition
I used the Plastic Eichmann Plugs (both, the Plastic ones but also their metal ones), they are indeed very, very good. Their grip is superior. Signal transfer is also top level. a few years ago I read a technical paper about their Design, it made sense what they developed.The plastic ones are a bit difficult for soldering, it has to be done professionally, otherwise the heat will widen the plastic around the grounding contact, this can create hum.
SignalCable offers these for their cables, when someone is looking for a very good but not too expensive solution, they do their job right.
Really good are the Eichmann Phono Pods for aftermarket modification, when someone reads this and is looking for a top connector, go for these.
I know someone who makes homemade interconnects that are very much based on the less-metal-is-better concept for the contact points. The hot pin for the RCA is a small hollow piece of metal that he gets from busting up old tube sockets. That metal tube is soldered to his wire on both ends. He makes two such hot wires for a stereo pair and then uses a single piece of bare wire to connect the chassis' of his two components together for a ground connection (i.e., two hot wires and a common ground). The wire itself looks like magnet wire to me.
This ultra cheap interconnect work extremely well, at least for line level connections (did not hear it as a phono connection), although it is quite delicate and messy. I have no idea as to how important is the low mass aspect of the hot pin to the particular "sound" of this homemade interconnect, but, I do know that the whole thing was very nice sounding in a tube-based system.
Well since starting this thread a lot has changed...
Keith Louis Eichmann(KLE), inventor of the Eichmann Bullet RCA has introduced an entirely new line of products.
The Harmony Plug range of products are a completely new design - and with that comes significant performance improvements over his previous RCA products.
In addition to the new RCA's, KLE has introduced a range of interconnect and speaker cable products which perform to an extremely high level.
They are so good that I have now replaced all of the RCA's on my interconnects and replaced one of those interconnects with the Essense gZero6 interconnect.
His Essense gZero3 speaker cables also provide and incredible improvement across the board. But if money is no object, try the gZero6 - a superb performer
Should I be selecting all my audio-eggs from one manufacturers basket?
Well, when they trounce the competition, why not!
Just Google "KLE Innovations" and take a look at their product lineup, there's something to suit most budgets and they all perform extremely well
Give them a try - you won't go back to your old products:-)
I used to have the same amp. Back in one of your early posts, you said that you converted a pair of rca IC's to din. I was told you couldn't do that by the dealer because the din cables that Naim uses has more conductors. I believe he said there were 4. The only cable that they knew of that would work was the Nordost flat line cables because you can divide the conductors up however you need to. It made sense to me at the time, but you've obviously proved them wrong. If there were 4 conductors needed, how were you able to make the cable work properly?
Zd542 - I was using Stager Silver Solids - each IC is a twisted pair (signal + neutral) - it has no screen. The wires are very thin so it was easy to put two cables (for L and R channels) into the DIN and have the RCA at the other
Using a conventional screened cable would have been very difficult - unless you use a cable with two identical internal conductors and then strip the sleeve and shield back about 2-3 inches and just connect the internal conductors.
Another approach would be to use the high quality conductors from cat5/6 network cable. They are small enough for the DIN plug. Simply braid them in order to reject any RFI.
Hope that clarifies things
Rja - I have tried all of the Harmony Plug range of products and they all perform better than the Eichmann Silver Bullet. See previous post.
The Pure Harmony will provide the highest level of resolution. They all require around 150 hours burn-in, but will sound exceptional after around 50-60 hours.
I have just installed the Pure Harmony on my turntable silver litz loom and the improvements are staggering - so much more resolution.
I think KLE Innovations really delivers top performing cables and RCA's - they may not be much to look at (not flashy), but what they deliver is absolutely superb sound.
I've changed my phono Interconnet and speaker cables to the gZero6 and have the Pure Harmony and Silver Harmony on my remaining silver interconnects.
The gZero3 line of products is also very very good and more affordable
Give them a try - I was an immediate convert :-)
I'm about to take ownership of a set of Eichmann silver bullets, installed on a pair of RCA interconnects made by Morrow Audio. I've read great things about silver, and wanted to try it out. I just realized that Eichmann makes a new version, but for me I think the silver bullets will tell the tale for my system. I should have them in 2 weeks or so, as the cables are made from scratch and then burned in for me.
Thanks you trouble maker!
No, I'm actually pretty happy with just getting something by Eichmann, the cables they'll be on are a real treat, so the combo should be excellent. You can spend so much money in this hobby, I don't want to squeeze the last drop out of my system SQ wise. Getting $400 cables(including the bullets)is more than I ever wanted to spend, good thing they were 35% off!
I've heard that. Morrow audio offers a break in service, the equivalent of over 300 hours, which he through in when I talked to Mike Morrow on the phone. For anyone looking to get high end cables with Eichmann RCA's, check into Morrow Audio. I have no association other than having purchased my third set of cables from them. Really good stuff.