Jumpers for Integrated Amps: What are you guys using?


Hi Folks,

I just recently picked up a Creek 5350SE integrated amp and I’ve started doing a little reading on the subject of pre-out/main-in jumpers. I’m looking for some recommendations for the 5350SE and wanted to ask what you guys use? Since essentially the jumpers separate the preamp and amp, should this be treated as physical separates and therefore, should I just use another pair of interconnects? I do have a 5 inch pair of Kimber PBJ’s on the way as I read these work well with the Creek. All you Creek owners out there... what are you using? Anything?

The same thread also recommended Kimber Silver Streak with the WBT connectors, but that will get more costly. I wonder if Kimber makes these custom? And, speaking of silver interconnects, I’m currently using DH Labs Q-10 speaker cable on my Vandersteens, and Air Matrix interconnects on my Naim CD3.5. Since DH Labs made my custom Naim DIN to RCA cables, I asked about pre/main jumpers. They shortest they can make them is 14-16 inches. Should I keep everything brand consistent at this length?

I’ve also read about how this one guy bought a 1/8 inch solid silver rod and made his own u-shaped jumpers (modeled after his factory u-jumpers) and the sound was incredible. Anyone ever try that?

Thanks... JSB
jsbach1685
It should be treated the same as a separate amp and preamp. The 5 inch Kimber should be fine!
I agree with yogi, the PBJs should be fine, especially at 5".  I use a 0.5 meter pair of Audioquest Diamondbacks on my NAD integrated.
I keep looking for a shorter pair of quality interconnects to use just to 'clean up' the backside of integrated however have not found any as of yet.
Don't fool with it. The 5350 doesn't have a preamp, so you have to be really careful. 
Sfall, I am confused, OP states his has pre out/ main in jumpers.  Are you saying the pre is passive? 
"Are you saying the pre is passive? "

Yes. They do make a card that will give you a line stage on 1 input, but one of the main reasons to buy the 5350 is for the passive.

From Stereophile:

"With Creek's latest flagship, the 5350SE, Mike Creek has finally achieved his design goal: a higher-powered, high-current integrated amplifier featuring a passive preamp stage, but that does not compromise linearity and gain."

sfall, mesch & kalali:

I don't understand. What does the preamp side being passive have to do with anything? 
I don't understand. What does the preamp side being passive have to do with anything?
The answer is nothing.  If you had a separate passive "preamp" it would still have to be connected to the amp.  No one here would make that connection with two solid pieces of bare wire as is commonly done on integrated amps like the Creek that have pre-outs.  There are some considerations when driving a long pair of interconnects from a passive pre (you can search the archives for this if interested but it doesn't apply in your case right now).  Since you have the Kimbers coming, there's no harm in trying it.  I doubt very seriously if it will sound worse.  Dick
+1 djohnson54
Nadda!
"The answer is nothing. If you had a separate passive "preamp" it would still have to be connected to the amp. No one here would make that connection with two solid pieces of bare wire as is commonly done on integrated amps like the Creek that have pre-outs."

If its nothing then why would they go out of their way to make it, advertise it and offer an active card as a back up?

OP. I didn't say it wouldn't work, I said don't fool with it. When you use a passive line stage, your source component drives the amp directly. Small changes can have a much bigger effect on SQ because there's no active line stage to act as a buffer betweent the components. Regardless of what one of the other posters said, Creek used those jumpers for a reason. They have the least effect on the signal. They are not bare wires. Its a connection similar to what you would find inside the amp. NAD, McIntosh and every other integrated I can think of that jumps the 2 sections externaly, uses similar jumpers, not wires. Integrated amps, active or passive LS, have to connect the amp section to the preamp section. When was the last time you saw someone open an integrated amp, cut the amp/preamp connection and jam a pair of IC's in the signal path? That's not why jumpers were put outside. Its just the opposite. They do it this way to keep things out of the signal path.

Your Creek is very laid back in the highs to begin with. Unless you're having an issue with your system, I see no reason to play with the jumpers. Its another variable your source component has to deal with. But, if you're one of those people that has to fool with stuff, and feel compelled, AQ makes special jumpers for connections like this.

https://www.amazon.com/AudioQuest-Male-Male-Preamp-Jumpers-2/dp/B0006VMBGO 
I understand, that should a integrated have pre out and amp in connected by a jumper, it doesn't make a difference regarding replacing the jumper with a short interconnect (do believe 'short' to be a greater operative with a passive though). I was confused by the statement that 'the 5350 doesn't have a preamp...'. Probably should have worded my followup question differently.


If its nothing then why would they go out of their way to make it, advertise it and offer an active card as a back up?
@sfall I haven’t done any research on this particular item but I believe the card you are referring to would be used to add gain to one of the inputs (as opposed to a passive line stage which only cuts the gain available from the source). My point to the OP was that the line stage portion of the Creek (active or passive) still needs to be connected to the amplifier portion. That’s what the included jumpers do and they can be replaced with better connectors. Whether it will make any difference is in the ears of the beholder but it can’t hurt anything to try and he already has a set of interconnects on order for this purpose. Your admonishment to be "really careful" was needlessly scary.  Dick
Thanks for all the response everyone... I understand now.

As for the card some of you were referring to, I believe you are talking about the phono stage? It's an option on Creek integrateds as it is a board that connects inside the unit. When installed, it takes the place of the Aux input and becomes a phono input. 




"Your admonishment to be "really careful" was needlessly scary. Dick"

I think you were the only one that was scared. You do seem to be shaken up over all this. If you actually had one of these amps, you would know why I recommend caution. You can easily run out of gain and/or roll the highs off, and I've had that happen. Why would it not be something to consider?

"as opposed to a passive line stage which only cuts the gain available from the source"

A passive doesn't add or take away anything, that's why its called a passive. It can only work with what's given, and if you put an extra pairs of IC's in the path, you take away from what it has to work with.

"My point to the OP was that the line stage portion of the Creek (active or passive) still needs to be connected to the amplifier portion. That’s what the included jumpers do and they can be replaced with better connectors."

I don't remember you talking about better connectors until I brought them up in my last post. You were talking about IC's. There's a difference. Creek does not put the jumpers on the outside so they can be replaced with better ones. They do it so the amp or preamp section can be completely bypassed.

If you're looking to tweak for SQ, it would probably be a good idea to pull the jumpers out and clean them with a good contact cleaner. After about 10-15 years the silver jumpers will be tarnished. Doing that will make a difference in SQ.
I do know that Creek makes a  phono card that can be inserted in place of the Aux input. 

I don't know wether insertion of a SHORT IC would make an improvement with this integrated, however can't believe it would hurt to try. In this case we are talking a 5" IC.  

JSB, please provide your thoughts after trying the PBJs.  
For guidance, my Anthem I225 Integrated Amplifier does not utilize exterior jumpers. 

PREAMPLIFIER
Input Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 kΩ
Output Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 560 Ω (Pre Out), 100 Ω (Rec Out)
Rated Input. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.0 Vrms
Maximum Input. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.6 Vrms
Minimum Load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 kΩ
Rated Output (100 kΩ load). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.0 Vrms
Maximum Output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.6 Vrms
Headphone Output. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 mW into 32 Ω at 0.03% THD+N
Crosstalk (at 1 kHz) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 dB between channels, 72 dB between inputs
XLR Pin Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pin 1: Ground, Pin 2: Positive, Pin 3: Negative
Frequency Response and Bandwidth . . . . . . . . 20 Hz to 20 kHz (+0, -0.1 dB), 1 Hz to 170 kHz (+0, -3 dB)
THD+N (at Rated Input & Output) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.003% (80 kHz BW)
IMD (CCIF at 15 kHz & 16 kHz). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.0005%
S/N Ratio (ref. 2.0 Vrms, IEC-A filter) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 dB

N
I think you were the only one that was scared. You do seem to be shaken up over all this
Not really.  Just trying to convey accurate information.  The OP asked a question about what difference active or passive made and I answered his question.


A passive doesn't add or take away anything, that's why its called a passive
I guess your volume control doesn't do anything then.

You were talking about IC's. There's a difference. Creek does not put the jumpers on the outside so they can be replaced with better ones. They do it so the amp or preamp section can be completely bypassed.
There is a difference in the way they look but the function is the same.  Creek probably doesn't intend for them to be replaced but people do it all the time with no adverse effects.  That's why you can buy 5-6" interconnects.  Yes, they use jumpers so the amp or preamp can be bypassed.  I also agree that all connectors benefit by occasional cleaning.

In any event, I'm not going to turn this thread into a pissing contest.

To the OP, I would also like to hear the results of your replacing the jumpers with the Kimbers.  Best of luck.  Dick



I will definitely post back with my findings after trying to PBJ's. I found another post here on A-gon where a guy bought 99.99% pure silver rod and bent it to the shape of his stock U jumpers and said the results were amazing. As I mentioned in my original post, I got the PBJ's based on a post from a guy who was using a 5350 and was trying different jumpers. If cost wasn't an issue, the said he would've gone with the Kimber Silver Streak with WTB's. Since I have had excellent results with the DH Labs silver coated copper, perhaps I should stay consistent and go with a short pair of Air Matrix interconnects. Another silver wire jumper I found is from Tuneful Cables. Anyone heard of them? 
I have made tests of these and IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. MY MUSICAL FIDELITY M3 ? [Very expensive integrated 300 watts per channel] can be separated] and when I did with top IC it made a difference. I am more use to doing this with speakers and have found that solid silver is best compared to Cardas etc. 

I have made tests of these and IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. MY MUSICAL FIDELITY M3 ? [Very expensive integrated 300 watts per channel] can be separated] and when I did with top IC it made a difference. I am more use to doing this with speakers and have found that solid silver is best compared to Cardas etc.

JSBACH, Wow! I, too recently acquired a Creek 5350SE; so I'm really, really, really anxious to  read your observations! How do you like it so far? What were you using before?

I have about 20 days to decide to keep mine or stick with my Rotel RX-1052 receiver. It's still a tight race; but I'm not sure the Creek has reached it's full potential. It sounded sweeter yesterday than it has up to now. Could it need a new break-in period after a prolonged period of no use?

PLEASE let us know if the PBJs are an improvement and if so where you got them. I can't find them on the Kimber site.
@jsbach1685

I see a 5350SE newly listed elsewhere. What happened?
jpjqco at gmail
The 5350SE replaced my 4330SE. There was nothing wrong with the 4330SE. The 5350SE came available and I decided to go for it (Creek gear doesn’t come up for sale very often).

When I initially compared the two using my cd player (Naim CD3.5), speakers (Vandersteen 2C) and cables (DH Labs silver coated Q-10 and Air Matrix). The biggest thing I noticed was that the mids were fuller and more resolved. Bass on the two were fairly close, but the 53’s bass was more detailed and tighter (more on this later). Highs for the most part were the same to me.

This was the extent of my comparison and decided to go ahead and sell the 4330SE. I kept listening to the 4330 as I wanted to check the TT since I hadn’t used it much. I was playing Pink Floyd’s Wish Yo Were Here and after listening over several days, it really began to sound awesome to me. The sound was warm, smooth and so analog sounding. When the 4330 sold, I kinda was starting to regret it and thought perhaps I should keep it. But, I figured the 53 would be even better and went ahead and packed it up and shipped it.

I then fully connected the 53 and spun the same Floyd record. It did not sound the same as it did on the 43. It did have a fuller sound as mentioned in the initial comparison, but I had lost the warmth. That’s the biggest thing here is that I lost the analog warmth. It seems colder, more analytical now.

Now for my testing:

JUMPERS:
I have since received the Kimber PBJ jumpers and had been comparing all weekend. They can be bought on Cannuck Audio Mart. Just search for "PBJ jumpers" and the ad will show it. They’re $20/pair shipped. In a nutshell, the PBJ jumpers helped A LOT in the sound quality of the 53. I’m seriously beginning to feel now that the Achilles heel in any integrated amp with preout/main-in jacks are the stock U-shaped crap metal jumpers. And, the more I think about it, I seems as though manufacturers use these stock jumpers to complete the product as a usable unit from the factory. I seriously think now the intention is to replace them with whatever interconnects you would normally use in a [physically] separate amp and preamp. It really isn’t any different, is it? In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of the "preout/main-in" layout for this very reason. My purpose for getting an integrated vs separates to have preamp and amp connected together IN one box... or INTEGRATED. Btw, for those integrated amps that DO NOT have jumpers to deal with, how are they connected on the inside? And, what is used to connect them? Copper wire? Silver wire? PC board via solder connection? 

COPPER NOW OVER SILVER:
Now that I’ve been listening to the 53 for a while now, I’m wondering if I need to go back to copper cables & interconnects? The PBJ jumpers made a improvement, but I was still missing the warmth. My previous cables were Mogami through 10 Audio.com. They are wonder sounding cables... smooth and very neutral. But, on the 4330, along with the Vandys and Naim, it was too soft, which made it sound too veiled and dark. This is when I added the DH Labs Q-10 speaker and Air Matrix interconnects, it brought everything to life. Now that the 53 seems to bring everything to "life by itself, do I go back to the Mogami’s (or copper) to balance everything out?

CABLES/INTERCONNECTS:
The first thing I swapped out was the air matrix interconnect (DIN to RCA) and installed the Chord Company Cobra (original) that came from the with the Naim from the original owner when I bought it. Wow, there was a difference. The sound got more relaxed and slightly punchier in the bass. But, I did notice now the mids were less resolved vs the Air Matrix. As for speaker cables, I couldn’t swap out my Q-10’s because a friend of mine is testing the Mogami speaker cables on his system. I then decided to test the Mogami interconnects where I could... on the preout/main-in’s. OMG, there was the warmth! It sounded like the 4330 only this time with the clear, full mids. I still have more listening to do, and, I still have to swap out the Q-10’s for the Mogami speaker cables. But, in the end, there may be several different brands used. For all cables, I generally like to stick to one brand for everything, but that may not be the case here. I still have a lot of testing and listening to do, but I hope this info helps someone out.
Thanks for the feedback. I may try those jumpers on my NAD. 

Bottom line, cables are system dependent. Copper vs, silver, braided vs. solid core, dielectric, shielding..., Good luck in your cable search.  
Very helpful! I'll try copper ICs on my Rotel before I decide to keep the Creek.