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Funny thing that you mention gold as a conductor. A few (10+) years back Siltech used to play with gold conductors. At one point they offered the same cable with diff count of gold wires - FTM-4Si which was pure silver, FTM-4Sg which used one single golden wire, and FTM-4Su which ATAIR used 4 golden wires (the rest was silver). Me and all my audio buddies who have heard them, all prefered the least expensive, all-silver version. Siltech quite soon abandoned that technology.
Musicman, Platinum being a good conductor of electricity is an urban legend. . . Even Iron is a better conductor than Platinum. Here are some resistivity figures:
Silver: (20 °C) 15.87 nO·m
Copper: (20 °C) 16.78 nO·m
Gold: (20 °C) 22.14 nO·m
Aluminum: (20 °C) 26.50 nO·m
Rhodium: (0 °C) 43.3 nO·m
Zinc: (20 °C) 59.0 nO·m
Nickel: (20 °C) 69.3 nO·m
Iron: (20 °C) 96.1 nO·m
Palladium: (20 °C) 105.4 nO·m
Platinum: (20 °C) 105 nO·m
Tin: (0 °C) 115 nO·m
Lead: (20 °C) 208 nO·m
So, I shall ask again: why seek Pt in wires?
Platinum is sometimes preferred because of it's high resistance (as is bronze) by certain cable designers such a Joe Magnan who bases his designs on high resistance ribbon cable. His white papers at: http://www.magnan.com
Hmm, I visited the site and found statements like:
"Reduction in electron group velocity distribution and quantum mechanical effects are presently considered the leading candidates."
Sounds VERY 'impressively scientific' without saying much of anything. . . . I fear I's smellin' some kind'a New Age rodent mumbo jumbo!
The biggest innovations I know are in Synergistic Research's Tesla line of SC, IC, and Power Cords. Their upcoming power conditioner is a complete marvel.
Look over SR's site, read up on the Tesla line, and borrow some Power Cords e.g. the T2 $ T3 for starters from the Cable Company. You will be very surprised... I was.
Straight Wire is still around in the Chicagoland area. The website is very outdated but their product performs very well with excellent build quality and reasonable pricing. While I do not know what the dealer network in other areas represents, I can tell you that in the Chicagoland area you will not find a single dealer that carries the same brand of wire as another (with the exception of Monster and Audioquest - big box retailers). Take a look at this web site... www.straightwire.de Why it is not used here is a mystery to me.
Straightwire does indeed make excellent products but they have been noticeably absent in terms of press and advertising for a while. Innovation is critical, it always has been but especially in todays world. Level 3 and 4 in the SW line can absolutely hold its own against classic brands and most newcomers all day long.
Level 3 and 4 in the SW line can absolutely hold its own against classic brands and most newcomers all day long.
I don't know if I'd agree with this statement. I didn't shed a tear when I sold off my Encore II interconects for (I believe) a less expensive offering from PS Audio. Even when I sold my cables, I told the buyers that the PS Audio cables were much better, but I guess at the price I was selling them for, they couldn't pass up the SWs.
I guess I did make an absolute statement about perhaps the most "variable" link in a playback system. What I should have said is in my system Maestro II speaker cables are as enjoyable or more so than many cables I have owned including Kimber 3035, Audience AU 24, MIT Oracle v3, Magnum M2, 750 shotgun, Nirvana SL, Goertz...just to name a few.
And by variable I mean synergy is impossible to predict without trial and error with cables, the combination of cartridges, arms, tables, electronics and speakers is almost endless. And in my findings the cables link this all up and either help or hinder the ultimate sonic signature. And throw in an audiophiles preference, some like it hot some like it cold and some like it in the many steps between....whew!
I have been a long time Straightwire owner. I moved up the line quite quickly after Steve Hill in a telephone conversations offered to allow me to sample the low end Encore and Maestro speaker cables. I did and sent them back as they weren't even as good as Kimber 8TC.
I took the plunge and moved up to the Serenades and never looked back. I followed up on the interconnect side and did my whole system in a combination of balanced and RCA. For my VPI TNT Turntable I moved up to the Virtuoso "R".
While the Kimber 8TC outperforms the bass attributes of the Serenade, all other sonic qualities don't compare.
Though your right, Steve and his company have for all intents and purposes fallen off the planet. I live in the NY metro area and I can;t find a straightwire dealer to be had!!! What a shame.
I've never tried Straightwire IC's but in my system the Maestro II speaker cables are more balanced and open with my Thiels than a long list of contenders mentioned above and then some. The top end is impressive, totally open, extended, and airy but not bright or splashy as some cables can be, especially with Thiels. They also have tons of low level detail in the midrange. The SW's just really surprised me!
I know Thiel uses SW for internal wire or used to, don't know if they still do, SW's web site is older than dirt. Surely, that can't be the connection! That would be too easy.
I too use Thiel 3.6's and the bottom end with the Kimber 8TC is mind blowing via my Bryston 7b-sst's. Though in using the Serenade's I will sacrifice some of the very deep bottom for everything else they do so well in my room.
I don't know what is going on with Steve Hill and hopefully he is well. He is a transplanted New Yorker who moved to Florida. You know what they say about Florida, its for the "Dead and dying!" Hopefully Steve and his business are not among that group.
I have recently gone back (at least for now) to Straightwire ICs after trying quite a few other brands, most of them more expensive. And unlike Nrenter above, I replaced PS Audio's top two ICs (Transcendent and the copper equivalent) with Encore II ICs and believe them actually better...they do not mess with the response and timing like the PS wires. I am using Maestro from the sources to the pre. We will see where I end up, but this is where I am now. I think that the majority of highend cable makers have lost their minds, and they can kiss my ...
Dabluguy...the fact that Straightwire is used internally means nothing. We audiophiles use cable from the amp that must execute a very different job than internal wiring. I was talking to Richard Vandersteen about this who said that there are many kinds/brands of wire in his speakers...each used for the specific purpose intended.
I just spoke with Steven Hill and am planning on doing an interview with him very soon. Needless to say, I was very impressed! He does a lot of business supplying cable to the likes of Harmon Kardon and others, and has a loyal fan base that still buys his cable.
I am planning on posting up my interview on these pages, along with a review of one of their bi wire speaker cables. It will also go up on my site, ayllonmedia. com.
Definitely alive and well, producing great products and giving customer service and support at a level that surprised me. They are very interested in helping you get the best performance from a system, to a level far beyond just worrying about their products. Much like my local dealer, they seem to want their customers to build a good, cohesive system, not just buy product.
Using a PrimaLuna PL3 Pre - PL7 amp - KEF LS50 combo. I had Kimber Hero and MIT SL6 RCA interconnects on my system along with an older set of PS Audio Prelude speaker cables (solid core Cu). My local dealer recently took on the Straightwire line and was raving about the quality and value, and I was tired of disappointing trials of not-inexpensive cables. Well, he has always been spot on in the past so I figured I would give Straightwire a try.
I replaced all the old cables with Straightwire Rhapsody speaker cables and Rhapsody and Encore RCAs and was very, very impressed at the price point...cheaper than the Kimber Hero but IMHO slightly better sound quality and much better RF noise rejection...the Kimbers were unusable with my turntable > phono pre connection because of hum and RF noise from my noisy old-neighborhood AC. The Rhapsody / Encore combo displayed very little noise on the phono circuit, getting it down to an acceptable level.
After the good initial results I moved the Rhapsody/Encore combo to my TT and contacted Straightwire to see what they recommended to get the most out of my system. Surprisingly, they took the initiative to work with my local dealer and get me simultaneous home trials of the Expressivo, Serenade, and Virtuoso RCAs so I could see if I could hear a difference on my system.
Well, did I ever. The Expressivo and Serenade interconnects are some fine kit, improved resolution over the Encore and Rhapsody for just a bit more money, but also showing some of the limitations of my Prologue 3 preamp and especially my inexpensive TT/phono pre combo.
Steven Hill, president of Straightwire, was really helpful, taking the time to explain engineering reasons on how different cables make systems sound different, and how the most expensive cables are not necessarily the best fit for a given system. This was consistent with my experience where higher end cables started to make limitations of some of my components very obvious.
I eventually upgraded to a Dialogue Premium pre, and the system really woke up and I was able to really understand what moving up the the Virtuoso R can do for a system. Noticeably better extension on the top and bottom, much better perceived stereo imaging, and just smooth, great sound.
I never thought RCA cables could make such a big difference, but I am a believer now after having the opportunity to A/B test in the home with equipment that can rise to the level of high end accessories. Most surprising is the quality of the soundstage and imaging with the Virtuoso R...depth is no longer wishful thinking.
I've kept the Virtuoso R in my digital and pre circuits, but my cheap low-end turntable the phono pre work best with the Encore and Rhapsody RCAs. I am using the digital coax now as well, true 75 ohm cable that outperformed some much more expensive digital cables in impromptu tests at the local hi-fi shop.
They have made me a loyal customer the old fashioned way with value, service, and quality.
Hi Dbong, I enjoyed reading your last post here, sounds as if you are now a believer that cables are a component them self's,I have the same opinion, also, I did the same as you, when state of the art cables exposed limitations, I tracked down the cause, replaced all that was needed to accommodate the cables I bought, I have been doing this for years!, there is more than just one way to get a level of realism, cheers.