Townshend Audio F1 Fractal Speaker Cables


Some months ago Max Townshend posted an article on some research he did into speaker cable design. That article took flack from the usual suspects. I don’t know anywhere near enough EE to weigh in, especially not when I don’t even hold a lot of stock in engineering solutions to audio problems anyway. My view is engineering is fine for cars and bridges, things we understand really well. Audio is not one of those things and so I take a wait and see approach and view even articles like Max’s as stories. Narrative. Nice if the story turns out, but the proof is in the pudding.  

This does not mean I don’t find the stories interesting, or take them seriously. We had a guy here recently, flaxxer, who posted the same article.https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/cables-no-longer-opinion/post?highlight=flaxxer&postid=2142032#2142032  This is where this becomes one of those stories about how this site can actually be used to learn and grow.

Flaxxer it turns out is a long time audiophile with massive experience with and respect for Max Townshend. So I get in touch and it turns out he knows another guy who had been building high end cables also on the same ribbon design Max pinpointed with his research. I call the guy up and we have a real nice chat. Massive experience, learned a lot.  

We also had Anton_stepichev with his Contour System thread.https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/the-contour-system-directional-wiring-of-audio-parts?highlight=contour%2Bsystem This I found interesting because of one thing he said about wire, that because wire is directional but the strands in stranded wire aren’t going the same direction solid wire always sounds better than stranded. The ribbons in F1 are solid not stranded. Hmmmm….

So, now we have a guy who came to the same conclusion as Max- closely spaced ribbon conductors are best- only he arrives at this same conclusion by a completely different path. Max is engineering by math and physics, literally calculating the optimal spacing from first principles, while Josh is working it out by trial and error and listening, following a fascinating line of reasoning he related to me on the phone.

The speaker cables I have are already pretty good. Synergistic Research Element Copper Tungsten Silver with Active Shielding. But while these were pretty much the best when they were new, they are now some 16 year old technology. As amazingly good as they sound I have seen other stuff that has been even more amazingly good. So my spider senses are tingling. Not in the market for price no object cables that for sure would be better. But if I can do better for something a lot more reasonable? Up my alley.

Anyway, DHL delivered these things last Wednesday. Mine came in a fancy metal case like Porsche Techquipment or something. Maybe I can use the case for records? Inside along with the cables was a ziplock bag I thought would be an Owner’s Manual full of useful information like “not for use underwater” that kind of thing. But no, it was just some nice glossy reviews. And… the cables!  

The F1 is a very flexible speaker cable. Because it is a ribbon however it is not equally flexible in all directions. This makes it really nice with cable elevators because the cable bends the direction you want it to go but has a little more stiffness so it doesn’t sag between the elevators. Sweet! At either end, amp or speaker, the pigtails are extremely flexible in all directions. So it winds up being a very flexible and easy cable to connect after all.  

Max puts a network at each end to eliminate RFI and help certain amps that might otherwise have instability issues. This is one of those technical areas I hate having to get into. But it is kind of important here to understand. Rather than write a lot about it here though I will link to a hopefully better explanation from one of the reviews. https://the-ear.net/review-hardware/townshend-audio-isolda-edct-speaker-cable-speaker-cable They are talking about Isolde, but it all applies equally well to F1. What I find interesting in all of this is the idea that some amps are designed to be unstable unless presented with a load that electrical engineering seems to show is the preferred load for good sound!  

Townshend claims the F1 are not directional. I’ve not swapped ends to say for sure but I have a perfect record spotting directional wire sound and these are either going the right way or there is no right way. They sound right is what I’m saying. None of the directional wire I ever tried- including fuses- ever sounded right unless it was going the right way. Townshend also uses a special “Fractal” process on their copper. Better than the Deep Cryogenic Treatment Max developed, now widely copied, the Fractal treatment remains a closely guarded proprietary secret. This Fractal treatment is one of the main differences between Isolde and F1 cables.

Finally we get to the listening impressions. Well, almost. None of this stuff is ever absolute. Everything is always relative to everything else. The F1 are being compared to no ordinary Synergistic CTS. Mine are using Tesla power modules modified by Michael Spallone with hardwired caps and diodes. These are in turn hardwired into my power conditioner. They are all coated with TC, wrapped in Omega E-Mats, and run off an Audio Consulting isolation transformer. The CTS cables themselves are wrapped end to end in Omega E-Mats and the spades are of course treated with TC.

These are not subtle upgrades! Each and every one of these tweaks individually was a big improvement. All of them together elevated the CTS way beyond the level anyone who has heard them stock would even imagine. They are deeper, wider, blacker, more dynamic and way more natural sounding than when they left Ted’s shop.  

So that is what the F1 are up against. Okay, so how do they do? Well, not good enough to blow the tweaked and modded Synergistic out of the water straight out of the box. Within a couple of hours though they were getting pretty close. In terms of tone and truth of timbre they were definitely better. Only thing missing was a bit of depth and sense of natural ease. That was about when it hit me, “This is without TC!”

I know some don’t get that this stuff matters. Too bad. It does. It matters a lot.

One tiny little speck, not even a drop, spread around nice and even on all the spades and back she went. That was all it took. Now it is not even close. Now the F1 are kicking butt. I have to say- and there is admittedly a good deal of guesswork here, but it’s my system and I know it pretty well- I am quite certain that if it was any normal person with any normal set of CTS (or other similar level cables) then it would not be this close, the F1 would be across the board better. Probably even without TC. The F1 are that good.

What am I hearing? It is a little different than between most other cables. When going from one to a better one it almost always comes down to hearing more details, more dynamics, more resolution, etc. While there is definitely an aspect to that here, what strikes me most is what I am not hearing. The more I listen with the F1 the more I get the sense a lot of what we are hearing with other cables is added and not truly revealed.  

Now I hasten to add, not giving credence to the idea cables are tone controls. Not saying that at all. But what I think is going on, not only with cables by the way but with everything, the manufacturers try and get it as neutral and low distortion as they can. But at the margins, as they are extracting the last little bit of performance, then value judgments come in. And they always go with what sounds good. Which they should. No one wants to buy what measures good unless it also sounds good. A whole decade of measures good sounds bad amps proves that one. What I think is going on is Max arrived at an engineering solution that simultaneously sounds good AND measures good.  

The F1 does not sound sterile, and I would not even say that it sounds neutral. Although the reason I won’t say that is too much gear called neutral is flat, lifeless, uninvolving. F1 are not any of those things. They are more like what I’m hearing with Podiums, natural instruments and voices sound real and involving because their natural harmonic signatures are coming through unimpeded, without embellishment.  

Some might not like that, although I can’t imagine why. This is the kind of sound that makes- no, lets- every recording sound good. It doesn’t favor acoustic over electric, winds over brass, percussion over bass, or any of that. It reminds me a lot of when I first heard my Herron, of a lot of instruments suddenly sounding “right”.

Not only the usual classical instruments either. The MoFi 45 of Dire Straits Money For Nothing has a lead guitar that is so biting yet sweetly distorted I would say it cuts but there was no blood so just a love bite I guess. It is searing- but you don’t get burned. Which strikes me as just right.

Last night listening to Tracy Chapman, even Last Night I Heard the Screaming was captivating. (And that is saying something!) The snare attack that starts She’s Got Her Ticket is sharp and dynamic and very, very clearly a drum with body and presence. This record has a lot of excellent low bass on pretty much every track, real interesting bass lines too, and they are all so much clearer now than ever. I could go on with details but probably the highest compliment and most useful to know is this: I find myself wanting to hear the whole side, and flip it over, and go on and on, more than any time in a long time.

This review is with roughly 20 hours on the wire. There is not supposed to be any burn-in but of course it does sound better now than when it first came out of the box. Quite a bit better. But it seems to have settled down now into the long gradual glide path like they all do, where what I am hearing now is pretty much what it will be a month from now- and I can see no point in waiting that long to let you all know about it.

Cheers!
5c19db42 db1e 4039 96f2 9d2ae7c37947millercarbon
I believe that the cables in question have exceedingly low inductance and with it, very high capacitance. I would expect them to pass the HF better than most cables (due to the lack of series inductance in a low-impedance circuit), but also they have the potential of interacting with amps and speakers, in particular electrostatic speakers. It’s nice to hear they sound good in your setup and others.
Aren't ML Summits ESL? Because we have at least one owner using F1 with them and beautifully.

The story as I understand it is a big reason they sound so good is they are impedance matched with the speaker. Not perfectly of course but a lot closer than other wire. The mismatch in other cables results in ringing, which can be seen on oscilloscope very readily.

It seems to me what happens is normal wire when measured static measures fine. But the music signal is far from static, so the next test they use is a square wave. On this one it shows just a little notch, doesn’t look like much.

But a music signal is not static, nor is it a square wave spaced far apart. Music is a constantly varying signal chock full of transients. Every single one of these transients, when it reaches the end of the cable at the speaker and encounters a radically different impedance, this creates a back wave going back to the source. Where at the other end guess what? Different impedance. So back and forth it goes. This back and forth is the ringing. You can see it on the scope.

When they play music on the scope they can invert the signal and subtract them and show the difference signal. This is visual evidence of the ringing.

All cables then that are not impedance matched will have this same ringing. It will present as hardness, glare, grain, or an exaggerated top end. Any or all of these things depending on how the designer decides to manage the ringing.

This is what I meant by cables are not tone controls, but they do have some aspects of that, it seems to be one of the main ways designers differentiate their brands. In speakers we say they "voice" them. Same thing only with wire.

What fascinates me is this is so similar to what happens with Podiums or Pods. These decouple the component resulting in less ringing and a more pure sound. The F1 sounds just like that.
Max T ( and others ) “ measure and listen “
8 ft long pair is $90....$180 both sides. Now that’s how cables should be priced.
8 ft long pair is $90....$180 both sides. Now that’s how cables should be priced.

For you, as you see things.
"The mismatch in other cables results in ringing ... encounters a radically different impedance, this creates a back wave going back to the source." Wrong!
There is a back wave/current - but it is NOT caused by impedance mismatch! A dynamic speaker is like a microphone in reverse. The voice coil moves in a magnet gap, producing voltage/current. This current (back EMF) then travels back down the speaker wire. Where it enters the amp's output stage and mixes with the current in the feedback loop. Creating another source of distortion! All amps are affected by this back EMF. Amps without feedback much less so! So again, the mismatch between the wire and the speaker's crossover is of NO consequence! Any ringing heard is caused by the AMP - not the wire! 
An electrostatic speaker produces NO back EMF! Another reason why they have a better perceived clarity compared to dynamic speakers! 
Post removed 
Please watch closely. The squiggles shown exactly match the transmission time of the signal through the wire, demonstrating conclusively exactly what I said, ringing as the signal bounces back and forth due to the impedance mismatch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lozs7KWlQ7Q

Please do try and get your facts straight. And do try and be less arrogant about it. It is very embarrassing to be caught so clearly out. So do it for your own sake, okay? I don’t want to embarrass you, but you create it and step into it, don't blame me when you get it all over your shoes. It don't come off so easy, and the stink stays with you a lot longer than you think.
My view is engineering is fine for cars and bridges, things we understand really well. Audio is not one of those things
Is it really so complicated with audio understanding from engineering point of view !? I’m pretty sure that any physicist will have no problem with it.  I think what more complicated and hard to understand is individual ability of audio perception which is based on anatomical, physiological and biomechanical differences. 
Post removed 
I will say, as an F1 speaker cable owner, MC is spot on. I demoed a few different wires and had settled on High Fidelity Cables CT1-E which were considerably better than any of the others, so clear, and detailed. A little cold perhaps but the level of detail was extraordinary.

Then one day I borrowed some Townshend F1, connected them up and pressed play. I remember it well. I was listening to the aria ’Blute nut, du Liebenberg Herz’ from Herreweghe’s beautiful version of Bach’s St.Matthews Passion. I was floored by what I heard. Out of the deep silence came the cutting syncopated violin notes with such texture, and then the soprano voice comes from within the music and hangs in the space of the room above the cellos. It was extraordinary as I know the tune so well but had never heard it this way before.

I did listen to more and found that the F1s had all the detail of the HFC CT1-E but added a real sense of life, warmth, and a holographic depth to the sound, and with contemporary music an amazing bass that seemed deeper than before. And then this incredible way of music coming out of the dark background and sounding so real and lifelike. A very extraordinary speaker cable.
JB52, do you have any firsthand experience with these cables that will allow you to provide informative insights on their performance? I, and I expect others. would appreciate your specific factual comments on the Fractal cables whether those insights be positive or negative. Please, share as MC and duckworp have.
duckworp-
I will say, as an F1 speaker cable owner, MC is spot on. I demoed a few different wires and had settled on High Fidelity Cables CT1-E which were considerably better than any of the others, so clear, and detailed. A little cold perhaps but the level of detail was extraordinary. 

Then one day I borrowed some Townshend F1, connected them up and pressed play. I remember it well. I was listening to the aria ’Blute nut, du Liebenberg Herz’ from Herreweghe’s beautiful version of Bach’s St.Matthews Passion. I was floored by what I heard. Out of the deep silence came the cutting syncopated violin notes with such texture, and then the soprano voice comes from within the music and hangs in the space of the room above the cellos. It was extraordinary as I know the tune so well but had never heard it this way before. 

I did listen to more and found that the F1s had all the detail of the HFC CT1-E but added a real sense of life, warmth, and a holographic depth to the sound, and with contemporary music an amazing bass that seemed deeper than before. And then this incredible way of music coming out of the dark background and sounding so real and lifelike. A very extraordinary speaker cable.


Yeah, thanks. One thing I know, there's people here so deeply Millercarbon Derangement Syndromed they already call me a shill for this and a fanboy for that, so if I was to wax poetic and gush like you just did they would be coming out of the woodwork like a scene from World War Z. So I have to try and tone it down. 

But I'm with you. F1 is pretty extraordinary. Had a pretty good idea it would be, thanks to you and some others talking about it. My review is if anything conservative and understated. How something this good was able to fly so under the radar for so long is a mystery. 
My view is engineering is fine for cars and bridges, things we understand really well. Audio is not one of those things

You can't make these things up...
Oil up yer snakes boys, we’re in for a ride! 
Ignorance, it’s a thing.

At the very same time this is going on I have another thread going off-line with some help with resistors and caps to upgrade my crossovers and build my own Active Shielding for the F1.

Some may find this interesting. Every single one of us in the mod world knows there are differences between caps, resistors, and diodes that are easy to hear.

There’s people out there way out of touch, so let me be clear what I mean by easy to hear.

My first really good speakers were Linaeum Model 10. Designed by a guy in Portland I drove down to meet him one time and he set me up with his new improved tweeters. He gave me the circuit for the new crossover required, I bought the parts at Radio Shack for a couple bucks and put it all together.

Then called him up to say this is nothing like what I heard at his place. It is muddled, unclear, grainy, no detail, crappy imaging, just awful. Eventually after a lot of questions we figured out it was my crap Radio Shack parts! He gave me some names and wondering how on Earth these parts that measure exactly the same are going to make any difference whatsoever I ordered and put them in.

What I heard was what we who do this all know- beautiful clean clear detail, not sharp not etched just liquid crystal clear. The caps and resistors instead of 10 for a dollar at Radio Shack were like $40 each. But there was no mistaking the sound.

This was darn near 30 years ago. My system wasn’t near as resolving. These changes were made hundreds of miles and many days apart. Yet the differences were easy to hear. That is what I mean by obvious and easy to hear!

Flash forward to today, I am once again working on selecting caps and resistors for these projects. When done I hope to have a kit to add Active Shielding to just about any speaker cable that will be a huge performance improvement. Because I have done it before, so am sure it will work again. Only this time with much higher parts quality it should work even better.

So here is the thing. All of us doing this kind of stuff, we all know that not only do every single one of these parts make a difference, but they each have their own unique contribution to the sound. There are caps and resistors that will be more image focus, others more harmonic accuracy, and so on. There is never anyone anywhere who has even the slightest shadow of a doubt.

Except here, where there are people so unbelievably cluelessly out of touch and juvenile they crack jokes about it.


I was going to contact you, MC, to say that SilversmithAudio Fideliums convinced me that ribbon speaker cables are the real deal. But of course you already got there... My experience tallies with yours: a slight drop in loudness but incredible detail and texture in the treble especially: a kind of immediacy that remains totally natural and non-fatiguing and that I had never heard before. In my case, I simply pushed up the volume a bit more--don't have any TC, but I trust Krissy's products would also have helped. I prefer the sturdy build of the F1s, but they are out of my price range. At 1/6th the cost, the Fideliums are a great introduction for those who want to see what ribbons do for timing and detail... And you convinced me to pick up Townshend podiums today. You're hard to keep up with!
@millercarbon 

Ola, guten tag, und Hallo!,

Your feedback has me interested to explore these cables. Did you use these in a bi-wire configuration or single wire? I know you did not mention it, or I may have overlooked it, so, I am assuming single pair for each speaker. 
I have been in contact with Townshend Audio and they are ready to ship as soon as I give the approval. I currently use custom made Neotech pure silver high definition 9 gauge bi-wire speaker cables which for a regular pair are slightly more costly than the Townshend Audio speaker cables. 

Has your listening impressions changed since your last update? If so, better, worse, or the same? Thank you. Ciao,
Audioquest4life
The last month or so has kept me pretty busy. An exceptionally good power cord, Mr Silver, and another power cord Mr White, a power cord so good I can hardly even believe it, came together in one box. Then about the same time Townshend F1 speaker cable and F1 interconnect.  

You can't just plug all this stuff in and expect to have any idea what is doing what. Takes a certain amount of time to form your listening impressions. Which in my case is thankfully not long. But even then everything goes through a settling in process. With that, how long and how much and what happens you never know until you know.  

So I had to hold off and put things in one at a time. Thus the timing of the M one O one and Townshend reviews. Had to give them time to run. Not enough to be sure they are full equilibrium, that could be weeks. But enough to be sure the majority of the burn-in was done and the sound fairly mature and stable.  

Okay so then you will notice that leaves one more wire unaccounted for. The Townshend F1 Fractal interconnect. That review is coming out very soon. 

All of this is background for a better understanding when I say yeah my listening impressions have changed, for the better. I've had time to hear the F1 with a lot more records, with different wire and tweaks. My initial impression hasn't changed a bit. What is different is the depth of appreciation. Absolutely amazing how much music is there once you get rid of all the distortions, resonances and ringing everything else puts on top of it. 

I don't want to steal too much from my interconnect review, but it's like this. A lot of components give you more. Townshend gives you less. It takes a while for it to sink in just how true it is that less is more. Don't mean to be cryptic but it really is true. Fantastic wire. 
I really like the fractal IC between the preamp and a tube amp but not between preamp and a solid state amp....

It also sounded exc between preamp and Chord dac.

It's amazingly transparent and vocals are so palpable just wish there was a little more heft...
Please watch closely. The squiggles shown exactly match the transmission time of the signal through the wire, demonstrating conclusively exactly what I said, ringing as the signal bounces back and forth due to the impedance mismatch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lozs7KWlQ7Q


  • Yes please watch closely. 100 meters of speaker cable. 
  • Anyone have 100 meter long speaker cables?
  • Anyone seen music with true square waves with sub microsecond edge speeds?
  • Yes please notice the the rise of the initial waveform, almost to first settling, which includes the reflections, happens in about 5 microseconds with a 100 meter cable. That would be about 100KHz bandwidth. Drop down to 5 meters typical max speaker length and we are at 2MHz.  Anyone with 2MHz speakers or hearing?
  • After that fast 5usec rise with reflections, the rest is amplifier settling. That is not reflection at that point, and of course it will not change with frequency because it is a true step response, not a frequency response. Those do not happen in audio. We can't record them, and they don't happen in nature.

I would not be making fun of people while proselytizing something you do not understand. 
not sure why the cable deniers persist on trying to convince us that anyone spending over $50 on cables is a fool.

if the cable deniers are happy with their $20 cables that is brilliant and I am happy for them.

for those that believe cables make a difference let us have our own discussion without constant reminders how "foolish" we are.

there are plenty of people who love mp3 or love bose audio and there are those who love lamp wire for their speakers and there are others who llke townshend fractal cables so if you have not heard it nor plan on trying perhaps find another thread
karmapolice241 posts04-23-2021 5:05pmnot sure why the cable deniers persist on trying to convince us that anyone spending over $50 on cables is a fool.




I don't know why people who spend a fortune on audio equipment, but never learn anything about sound recording, sounds recreation, electronics, or how we hear, hence usually have rooms with awful acoustics, or so so speakers hooked up with super expensive electronics and cables, or every tweak in the book (but little real acoustic), feel that everyone else should make the same mistakes as they did?


Of course, I don't know why those same people use the same tired argument that don't even reflect the conversation?  Can you explain that? No one said don't spend whatever you want to spend, no one said they would sound bad, only that the purported operation is wrong, is not new, and there are some other options, even some that are likely to be similar. 


Given that the post is effectively an advertisement, one of at least 3 for the same product circulating right now, I think the floor is opened to people poking holes.
I don’t know why people with no serious desire to create a musically satisfying system persist in spewing bile on those of us who do. But that is okay. What I mean is, I am okay with there being things in life I will never understand. It is nice to understand things, but in practical terms just fine to know how to handle them. The way I have come up with is to take a name, in this case dletch2, and add it to the list of people I will no longer read or respond to.

Last night we had a couple over to hear the Moabs. Every track, no matter what, within a few seconds there would be a, "Wow!" or words to that effect. They aren’t registered here so I posted their FB review to my System page. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367

Everyone is so caught up in the importance of big fancy components it is hard to get them to understand that is not why my system sounds so crazy good. It is all the hundreds of little tweaks.

So I have come up with a little thing that I do to try and help get the point across. I carefully remove the Cable Elevators and lay the speaker cables on the floor. I do this while the music is playing. No pause, and it doesn’t take long. You hear it immediately. Heck, I can hear it from behind the speakers! I don’t even remove them all, just the outer three on each side.

So I said to Tanya, "These are new cables, haven’t tried this yet, let’s see what happens." She had no idea what I was talking about. I then quietly walked behind the speakers and removed the Cable Elevators.

When I did this Tanya shook her head in disbelief, and Jeremy (who was sitting in the sweet spot enjoying his favorite Keith Jarrett solo) said, "I really wish you hadn’t done that! It is all distorted now!" I put them back right away.

This is how you honestly and credibly review: you report what actually happens. No shill will say this, it contradicts Max Townshend who says his F1 have such good vibration control they do not need cable elevators they can be used on the floor. Yeah. Right. Dream on. Got three people here heard the vast improvement.

No matter how good something is, it can always be made better.

Same goes for the haters. However good you think you are, you can always be better. Can the hate. Read. Think. Learn to listen. Learn to write. Grow up. Be a better person. I happen to think you can. Won’t be easy. Few things worth doing are.

Max is busy working on making new and better audio gear. I am busy working on making mine even better still. You could maybe get to work on - well, you know. Getting off the list would be a start.
I believe in using cable elevators after reading yours and others comments about them and subsequently trying them. I heard a positive difference; however I could not say that the sound without them was "all distorted" . I am not saying that isn’t what the aforementioned person heard, but for a cable at its price point, its stated build , and with the sound that you portrayed in your review I am surprised that the difference would be so dramatic.
"So I said to Tanya..."

Who is Tanya?

"Everyone is so caught up in the importance of big fancy components it is hard to get them to understand that is not why my system sounds so crazy good."

I know about big (Moabs), but which are the "fancy" components? You mean that Chinese amplifier?

millercarbon,

However good you think you are, you can always be better. Can the hate. Read. Think. Learn to listen. Learn to write. Grow up. Be a better person. I happen to think you can. Won’t be easy. Few things worth doing are.

Maybe send a big Edible Arrangments basket to people you called morons? You know, those who stayed up all night making sure you survive.

Edible Arrangements® fruit baskets - Star Big Arrangement HD + DP + DA + DB
facten-
I believe in using cable elevators after reading yours and others comments about them and subsequently trying them. I heard a positive difference; however I could not say that the sound without them was "all distorted" . I am not saying that isn’t what the aforementioned person heard, but for a cable at its price point, its stated build , and with the sound that you portrayed in your review I am surprised that the difference would be so dramatic. 

First, his words not mine. I've never described it that way. But that is mostly because my audiophile terminology is a lot more sophisticated. He is not the first one to say the sound goes distorted. Another one said the same and that was with Synergistic Element CTS cables. 

A better description is the sound becomes flat and grainy, much less clear and with much less air or space around images. 

This is all relative. Either one of these cables you could lay them right on the floor, indeed that is exactly what the vast majority do. None of them think the sound is distorted on the floor. 

Your surprise at being able to make a cable at this price point a lot better is surprising to me. Surely you would say the same about flagship Wilson speakers, which nevertheless can be made dramatically better simply by putting them on Townshend Podiums. The examples are endless. My whole system is a testament to the idea that everything no matter how good can be made better. 

So much so that even my tweaks have tweaks! Cable Elevators alone make a big difference. Do I settle for Cable Elevators alone? No! I coat them with TC! Is that good enough? No! I add rubber bands. 

Laugh people all you want, each and every one of these things makes a difference you can hear. So removing the Cable Elevators is really removing three tweaks at once. If you still are surprised it make so much difference, well you are not alone. I myself am a bit surprised. And yet, it does. Come and listen, you will hear.
I did not and am not disputing the impact that tweaks, cable changes, power changes etc.  can make.  I have incorporated changes on a number of fronts myself.  The degree of impact I heard in my system with and without the elevators is just different; for you and him it apparently was more dramatic In my main system adding LessLoss Firewalls for Speakers between my speaker cables and the binding posts had more of an impact than the elevators. Anyway, glad that the changes you make are getting you were you want to get.


I tried cable elevators sold online by an amateur hifi enthusiast and it made the sound worse. To be fair these power and speaker cables were quite heavy..

I let my ears decide not shrill online types who 
swear they know the best albeit experiment the least and rely on what science tells them.  Most non audiophile science and math types probably still think cd is perfect sound.

The negative experience with cable elevators did indicate to me in reverse though that it makes a difference...

What cable elevators are you using on the townshend IC?
The negative experience with cable elevators did indicate to me in reverse though that it makes a difference...

Boy do I ever hope people are paying attention because what you just said, this is the key! When something that you think should not make any difference at all nevertheless does make a difference, pay attention! This is telling you something unexpected is going on. The question then goes from does it do anything to how can we make it do what we want?

I tried a lot of different things early on before settling on Cable Elevators as they were by far the best. But this was many years ago. I was only using them under my speaker cables. Time went by, system got better, new stuff came along, system got better still. Started trying the same idea on interconnects and power cords.

The brand name Cable Elevators are really just one type or model of ceramic insulators. Made for telephone and power lines, you will see them atop telephone poles all over the place. They are engineered specifically to insulate high voltage and static charges from migrating along the surface. That is why the shape, and that is why the ceramic material. Hunt down the catalogs you will see them classified with specs on how many kV they insulate.  

Since they worked the best and being electrical insulators I guessed the idea is insulation. Well there is a field around the cable, maybe it is better kept away from things like the floor, and the best way to do this is with an insulator. Or static charges, same thing. Seemed logical. 

Until I tried coating mine with TC, and wow that was way better still! Except, TC is highly conductive. So there goes the insulator theory!

I was baffled, until someone said whoa touch your speaker cables while music is playing you won't believe how they vibrate! Instead of insulting this guy, attacking his credibility, basically making an a$$ of myself like so many here love to do I actually went and tried and sure enough, huge amount of vibration! 

So then I tried a couple different things and they all seem to support the idea that the reason elevators work is they isolate the cable from vibration. Same as Townshend Pods and Podiums do for other components. The logical extension of this is to further isolate the cables with something like a spring. Which is how I came up with the rubber band idea.

This probably is why Synergistic elevators work so well, they are basically ordinary elevators but with his ECT transducer tech which seems to be another form of vibration control.

So anyway, that is what I use, a mix of different ceramic insulators, coated with TC and with a rubber band that suspends and isolates the cable above the insulator. You can see it work, tap any wire, it will bounce a bit. Almost my whole entire system is like this now. The whole thing, every bit from the speakers to the wire and components, even the conditioner, all are freely suspended and isolated like this. Huge improvement. 

Look at the pictures. Most of them are from before I coated with TC and started using rubber bands. There are a few rubber band shots at the end. The Townshend F1 interconnects are too new, no pics yet, but they are on the exact same towers and insulators with rubber bands as the Synergistic in the pictures. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367

I have to say, listening last night, listened to way more than usual, lost track of time, several times to such an extent I was sitting there in anticipation until the ffft, ffft, of the runout broke the spell I snapped out of the trance and went and changed the side. The music now with full F1 (and not forgetting the incredible Mr White PC!) is so captivating it is hard to describe. 
"I was baffled, until someone said whoa touch your speaker cables while music is playing you won't believe how they vibrate!"
I tried. Mine do not vibrate.
Thanks MC for doing these reviews. The F1 cables have been out for a few years now and there is not much out there on them, certainly not on forums.

These F1 speaker cables are fairly expensive for a 2.5m pair, however.

I am amazed that in 2021, on audiogon of all places, we still have to put up with the sour 'cables are all scams' trolls. They could make the same post in every thread on this sub forum. What is the point?