Review: DNM HFTN Speaker cable
Review of DNM HFTN's
Before I review these cable "add-ons", I should first say what I look for in sound improvement and mention the fact that I have been listening to Hi-Fi for over 50 years starting with a Thorens deck with Decca arm and cartridge and Quad II amps in the early 60's. The first record I bought was Buddy Holly's "Rave On". Yes, I think vinyl records sound better although I do listen to CD's and FM radio (please, somebody, convince the UK Government not to turn off the BBC FM transmitters).
Obviously, improvement has to mean more enjoyment of the music, but how do you get it? Here we have the heart of the matter and is what makes Hi-Fi such an interesting hobby. Better sound is a subjective personal matter and therefore we think we know what is better. This is as it should be, the designers do use science and measurements to arrive at there solutions and products, but it is our hearing that counts.
Firstly it's easier to say what is unnecessary to me, that is high sound levels. My listening room is in a fairly quiet environment,so as long as I have the the "black" backround from the equipment, which reviewers champion, I can hear the low levels in the recording at a moderate sound level. For instance, instead of feeling the low bass in my stomach, I prefer to appreciate it with my brain, using my ears.
So, in a nutshell, I would say I look for exta clarity, musicality and dynamics(rather than decibels) to improve my system.
Musicality, is the hardest one to define, it's the most subjective, I'm sure it includes timing and for me it's the feeling that the performer has nailed the tune, and could not have done any better.When this happens you know your mind was on the music and nothing else,then the equipment is working well.
I could go into the design details of these HFTN's but you will find these on the DNM website, and anyway, what matters is, how they sound.
Speaker cable HFTN's
The first HFTN's I tried were on the DNM speaker cable. These are small Circuit Boards (4 in total) which plug into the terminals on the speakers and amplifier(s).You have to fit 2 3mm banana plugs to each board.I used the plastic "leaf" ones sold by DNM.
First I will tell you how the DNM cable sounds without these "add ons". I well remember the first time I used it, I thought something was missing from the sound. In fact it was the "hash" or noise which is added to the music, you don't notice i normally until it's missing and then you hear more music.
After fitting the HFTN's the effect is rather different. They seem to act as an error correction device, subtle at first, but listen to familiar music and distacting details have been corrected. One example is the Spanish singer Buika, who has a husky voice which, at times, can get in the way of the music. With the HFTN's it is better articulated and her breathiness is as musical as the rest of her voice.
The principles are the same, a small cicuit board before each terminal(4 per interconnect), you can either have DNM fit them inside an Eichmann or DNM plug, or fit them externally yourself.
I did try them on some non-DNM interconnects without any sound improvement, they are probably designed for use only with DNM's solid core cable.
Installed on DNM's interconnect cable the results were similar to my experience with the speaker HFTN's, the music sounded more right. I consider all DNM equipment, including their amplifiers, very neutral and transparent.You hear what's upstream with only a slight altering of the sound by the equipment.
It's been asked before, but do you want to listen to the music (the original signal) or your equipment?
This makes it difficult to say how the sound of the cable has changed, because it has very little sound of it's own.What you can say is how the overall sound has been affected, which as with the speaker cable HFTN's is a detailed correction at all frequencies.
As any experienced audiophile knows,there is no magic bulett to get the the sound right, but every improvement takes you in the right direction and I consider the HFTN's such an improvement.
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