When faced with this choice I went inside the unit and soldered direct with a piece of high grade wire, bypassing the jumpers, jacks and female sockets all together.
It can be reversed if need, but you need to be comfortable with doing this or have someone experienced perform this mod.
The best part? You can sell your jumpers and not spend even more money on expensive interconnects that will not sound as good as bypass.
Chances are no improvement with higher end jumpers. I've also done the internal wiring, or should I say a well trained tech did it for me. He also bypassed the LED power meters and hardwired an upgrade power cable to the unit. This all improved it considerably.
Any IC can be used as a jumper - just as you would connect any pre amp to a power amp.
Different models and lengths will yield different results.
Luckily, experimentation in this hobby is fun and often yields pleasant surprises : )
I have tried two brands of jumpers.
Audioquest (black color) and Tara Labs "rectangular solid core"
... I could hear the downgrade.
I would leave the stock jumpers there, if it were me,OR put in good normal cables.
I now own two sets of these things and feel some shame in wanting to sell them,they should be burned.
just my 2 cents.
I have found the best way to get better sound is better amps,speakers.
BTW, I have also found the thicker Radio shack RCA's that I've gotten from Goodwill are great cables! no kidding....
I appreciate all of your insight. Thanks!
Here is my experience with changing jumpers on an AMC solid state integrated in order of preference:
1. home made jumpers with silver braided wires with very thin clear insulation (think Crystal Cable) and gold plated RCA plugs - very clear sounding with good presence through entire frequency range - tight bass (playing in my system now)
2. Audioquest Diamondback ICs (0.5m) - nice well rounded sound, no particular part of spectrum stands out above the other
3. Audioquest dedicated copper amp jumpers (black) - better bass, midrange and treble presence compared to stock metal bars, slightly prominent bass, somewhat dull higher registers compared to Diamondback or silver wires.
4. stock metal bars - flat, dull, slow sounding, huge limiting factor on sound of overall system.
I found that changing the jumper made a BIG difference in my system, and that different jumpers sounded very different. I really wanted to like the Audioquest product marketed for this purpose, but its performance is clearly a step down from the their Diamondbacks and King Cobras, and in my system at least, they do NOT do the trick. The home made silver wires were a bit harsh at first, but once they burned in they just shimmered, and I really miss the detail in both the lows and highs if I take them out. I am at a loss to explain how 3" of silver wire makes such a big difference in a sea of copper conductors, but they are definitely there to stay.
By the way, I use AQ Diamondback ICs to connect my gear as I found these to be really well built and great sounding wires relative to cost (before they realized what they had and nearly doubled the price!) FWIW, I also have some old Radio Shack ICs that I much prefer to many other name brand products, including Monster cables and entry level AQs and Chord products.
Here are some other ideas for jumpers, but I cannot vouch for the performance:
Knownothing, thanks for your insight. I favor the sound of the Diamondback also when used as jumpers. I first used a 1.5m Diamondback as an amp/pre-amp jumper, which I replaced with a .5m King Cobra. The Diamondback was much more enjoyable as it was very holographic. The King Cobra on my system has a tighter more controlled sound most noticed in the bass response. I also spoke to a couple dealers about using the Diamondback vs the Audioquest dedicated black jumpers. I was told by both dealers that they are pretty much the same cables. Wondering how this i true? As you did, I also heard the Diamondbacks a vast improvement over the black jumpers. Based on what I have heard so far, I will more than likely get a .5m Diamondback to use as a jumper.
"I will more than likely get a .5m Diamondback to use as a jumper."
Good choice, I like the Diamondback too,great cable..
and cheap to-boot..
That is what I tested as jumpers - 0.5m Diamondback interconnects.
On the face of it, the construction appears similar between the dedicated AQ jumpers and the AQ Diamondback/King Cobra interconnects, they use similar solid wires in PE air tubes (PSC for Diamondbacks or PSC+ for jumpers and King Cobras).
But there are structural differences and those differences apparently matter for sound. First of all the interconnects have several wires in a twisted configuration (jumpers only require and have one wire). Second the interconnects are shielded with a drain wire, I believe the jumpers are not. Last but perhaps most important, the RCA connectors on the interconnects are silver plated and cold welded to the wires - both features shared with AQ's best interconnects. Compare this to the more standard gold plated RCA jacks on the dedicated jumpers which are the same style used on AQ's entry level wires. I am thinking the shielding, connectors and termination all contribute to the greater perceived performance of the Diamondbacks used as jumpers compared to AQ's dedicated product, even though the jumpers use slightly more exotic copper formula.
Makes me wonder if the dealers you talked to actually compared them by listening...
How ironic is your name compared to the insight you have provided (smiling). That was a great explanation! Thanks again.
Well, I will give one of the dealers I spoke with credit as he told me the King Cobras would have tighter, more defined bass response compared to the Diamondbacks. He was right about that.
As far as checking out various cables, my choices are none. Living in a small city means placing orders without auditioning first in most cases.
I will be on the phone Monday ordering a pair of .5m Diamondbacks for use as amp to pre-amp jumpers.
Excellent - good luck.
Now you should contact the Cable Company and check out silver fuses and an upgraded power cord for your amp if you have not already. Both provided improvements similar to higher quality jumpers, and for me the improvements were additive and synergistic.
I took the plunge on power cords a good while back. I am willing to give the caps a try. I would have to check into installation of caps since it doesn't look like a DIY project.
Caps - yes, silver fuses from HiFi Tuning or other source - no.
Nice post guys. I just gto done cleaning up an old NAD 3020 that may never have been opened. After cleaning it up and replacing the jumpers I am confident these types of signal/continuity changes do make cumulative improvements. I came across some audiophile hater site where nobody believed in such tweaks.
Funny how this hobby can be so split, and helps me understand congress. For those who can't hear or believe in a symmetry between all the various parts in a stereo system, why are you hanging out trying to shoot us down from sharing information, learning and progress? Strange people. Not much faith. One pioneer of this industry was named " the man with the golden ear". He was blind, and only had his ears. He made some of the best sounding amps ever. I know one like this. He is a custom speaker designer that can match components by ear. Not everything can be measured.
A tip for the non-believers: pick a time when no one is home, pick a time with no traffic to be heard, pick a time the fridge is not running, pick a time you are relaxed, shut off the fans, shut your mouth and listen. If you still think nothing can be improved on, your system likely sucks.
Well I'll jump in too. This is an old thread, but the subject matter is pertinent still. I've ordered the Audioquest jumpers for my Nad C326BEE to replace the stock steel jumpers. I've tried IC's and did notice improvements with some. But they are long(at least 3 feet) and one pair, the Morrow Audio MA1, introduced momentary hum. They are not shielded and were apparently picking up some noise.
It was only heard momentarily when the unit's relays first clicked on, then it was gone. the stock jumpers and other IC's didn't have this momentary hum at all, though. Either way, the Audioquest jumpers should be here by the end of next week.
I'm curious to see how they'll sound. I've read some good, and some heard no difference. We'll see.
Okay, after one listening session with the Audioquest jumpers, I am satisfied that they are an improvement over the steel stock jumpers.
Better highs which add to the imaging, and vocals are improved as well. I can't speak to bass response since I was testing them with bookshelf speakers having 4 inch drivers. But overall, definitely worth the 30 or so, depending on if you have decent speakers or not.
OK here’s my take on this:
I recently bought a preowned C326BEE and also ordered the Audioquest jumpers, having read they make a difference and after auditioning a friend’s NAD 7100 integrated in my system improved by a short IC he brought (brand unknown) instead of the stock lugs.
So, the Audioquest jumpers are an improvement over the stock jumpers. There is more high end detail and depth of soundstage; I swapped back and forth a couple of times to confirm using the same track. Then I tried both an Anti-Cables 1 IC and a Harmonic Technologies Prosilway II IC (both 1 meter) and both of these were yet sonic improvements over the Audioquest jumpers. The HT is a slight bit smoother and deeper of stage than the Anti-Cables, with more solid bass. So the HT IC shall remain in system as the available jumper of choice.
These do make a difference, at least in my setup and it is true without a doubt in my mind that NAD does not do their products justice by the use of those stock staple shaped jumpers.
They would do well to admit this and encourage use of user-provided ICs to improve performance.
Yes, I believe the use of short interconnects to be advantageous with the NAD 326BEE. I use 0.5M AQ Diamondbacks on mine.
Today I tried my 1.0 meter pair of AQ Niagara ICs as jumpers and much preferred the Harmonic Tech cables as I mentioned above; the AQs tended to soften the dynamics a bit too much for my taste. Could be the added length. The Niagara work perfectly connecting my EAR 834P phono stage to the C326BEE, however.
And yet another means to "spice to your own taste" with affordable integrateds.
Spice to your preference, definitely. The end result would also depend on one's speaker characteristics and the other components in the system. Lots of fun to experiment!