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Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects (Read 16872 times)
Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #45 - 01/29/12 at 15:51:40
 
Actually, I found it interesting the comment about the perceived loudness of the Reality cable, as I had the impression of perceived more quietness when now using the MAC Ulatrasilver when switching from the Decware cable. That said, the Ultrasilver sounds very good to me.

I looked at the Reality site and there's very little real information (which is generally a turn-off) and an aura of mystery seems to surround the structure and materials of the cable. But reading reviews they're highly-regarded and I am interested. If I were to buy one, it would make sense for me to buy ones with XLR to RCA and thus I could utilize the balanced out on the PWD to feed the other input on the Torii, and cable comparisons to cables with RCA connectors on both ends would be very easy, I could just toggle between inputs. I don't envision using the second Torii input for any other purpose, and I could always re-purpose it if needed. Thanks for the website suggestion.

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will
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #46 - 01/29/12 at 18:47:19
 
Yes the proprietary info stuff can be off putting. But I guess it is understandable. After loads of research, when you arrive at something amazing and want to benefit from you efforts, while still having the stuff be inexpensive....well.... Even MAC, or the big dogs rarely say the specific wire, twists, solder etc they chose...They just don't tell us they are not telling us!

And the basic story is there. Lots of experimentation and listening. Best copper they could find for sound, vampire, best assembly/construction they could find for music, all cryo'd, all burnt in, 20 day return. To me the 20 days is a clincher. If they stand behind their stuff without restrictions, this is a very good sign.

By the way, it sounds like standard IC lengths are returnable straight up so presumably the balanced to RCA are?

I guess part of it is that the little guys are audio heads themselves on a budget, and are trying to make really good stuff inexpensively. Then they may not be so focused on marketing tools and don't want to raise the price by hiring marketers to do it just right?
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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #47 - 01/29/12 at 18:57:17
 
Oh I know, it's not that unusual and it's understandable due to their business model. I just like to see more information when I am making these sort of searches.

I've gotten so used to the "sound of silver" in the last years that buying copper ICs seems odd. Wink I'm nowhere near ready to buy a pair but it's fun dot do the research and think about.

Greg, yeah XLO . . . very good reputation too. I'm thinking it's fun to try out these "maverick" independent guys though. and as we know the magic can definitely happen in their midst!
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Pale Rider
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #48 - 01/30/12 at 06:35:31
 
I am always happy to check out someone with a value approach, so I may try the Reality at some point. "Proprietary" this and "secret" that can contribute to suspicion, but it's all in the sound either way.
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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #49 - 02/02/12 at 22:13:13
 
You're right Greg, it's all in the sound. I did end up ordering an XLR to RCA cable from Reality Cables.

I swapped out the MAC and the Decware cables today for a few hours. I like both these cables, a lot. I think the Decware is just a hair more dynamic (at least at this point in the MAC's state of being) and the sound stage is just a hair wider and larger. But the tonal balance is a hair "better" (more to my liking) with the MAC cables at the moment. Just a bit "mellower", perhaps "refined" as you've expressed will. An interesting comparison.

Also very interesting is the "footer" set-up I've had for the ERRs for some days now. The freeze-plug / acrylic ball setup is a minor pain to utilize, and when you do finally get it setup you sure don't want to try another speaker position Smiley but I've really enjoyed the effect that the new configuration has on the sound. Hard to explain, but the sound is a bit more free of the speaker confines and the sound breathes a bit more: a bit more dynamic, a bit more open, a bit more vibrant. This was easy to hear with either interconnect. I guess in time I'll see if I can find an even better metal piece to use than the freeze plugs (perhaps a bit longer and a bit more shallow, but not any taller) and try that out.

And in about two weeks I should have the Reality Cable interconnect to try out. Some good fun ahead, some great times this last week.
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will
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #50 - 02/03/12 at 01:23:55
 
Lon, Sounds like you are having fun. I think the sound stage differences will likely disappear with the MACs in more time. Burned in, mine showed no apparent difference. I get more difference with different rectifiers! And I think that thing we are trying to describe about the cable...more solid maybe, plays into the soundstage, increasing saturation slightly.

When I compared the MG944s without and with spikes (5/8 h x 1/2 wide) I got very similar effects as you did with your footer rigs, but I would say more pronounced..more than "a bit", but this could just be semantics.

My HR-ONEs came with some honker spikes (1 h x 3/4 w) and since my floor is brick, their mass shows up clearly, and in a way I visually prefer less than the subtler MG ones. So I tried the spikes from the 944s. They sounded fine, but interestingly, going from the smaller spikes back to the larger on the HR-ONEs, and listening carefully for differences, the the shift from the smaller to bigger ones yielded similar results to your footers, subtle, but audible.

Got me, but the bigger spikes Bob chose stay!
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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #51 - 02/03/12 at 01:38:56
 
I've tried a few spikes with my HR-1s and ERRs (not the ones from Bob because I don't think I received any) but they make the speakers too tall and I don't like where that places the tweeters, makes everything too bright for me in my room, at least the last time I tried them. So these footer assemblies work out better for me.

I guess the changes are more than "a little bit". . . I'm being cautious with my descriptions of my perceptions.

The engineer Barry Diament hypothesizes that the roller ball on the curved smooth surface moves and transfers the vibrations from the speaker. This is isolation, not coupling. It has a different effect than spikes, and I like it. My speakers are on carpet over suspended hardwood floor, from my experience a different scenario from brick or concrete.

Anyway, for about 20 bucks a nice experiment that's working out. I like the effect better than the Herbie's Audio Lab Little Fat Gliders I was using.
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« Last Edit: 02/03/12 at 01:56:05 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Pale Rider
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #52 - 02/03/12 at 14:41:47
 
Lon, maybe I missed your description of the experiment elsewhere or earlier in this thread, but tell more.

I know Barry from Soundkeeper Recordings and BDA. By the way, I highly recommend their recordings to folks. Very, very good stuff, especially the hi-res files versions.
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« Last Edit: 02/04/12 at 03:58:55 by Pale Rider »  

Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #53 - 02/03/12 at 15:15:07
 
Right, Barry's studio is very well laid-out with attention to signal noise, isolation, power quality, etc. He pays attention to detail and he's not "hide-bound" by any rules other than what his ears seem to tell him.

I have read of Barry's "hip joint" isolation devices for years and my main problem with them is that he always anchors a smooth concave metal surface to a wood block base, and that combination raises the speaker height which for my seating position(s) and the tweeter height of my speakers doesn't work out well. So I got to thinking that with the sort of "compressability" of the surface of my carpet the steel concave piece will be well anchored by the weight of the speaker. Barry uses 1/2" to 1" steel ball bearings in his design, but I know how neutral in signature the acrylic balls that Steve Herbelin used to use in his IsoCups are, and I had eight of those handy, so I thought I could use those. So I bought a dozen automobile engine freeze plugs, they have a polished smooth concave surface, and just put those down on the carpet near the corners of the speaker and put the acrylic balls in the center, and placed the speaker on these. It takes some time and a bit of frustrating energy to find the best balancing position for the set-up, and to get both speakers toed-in (or not) and properly positioned, etc. so you want to sort of get it right quickly and not mess with it.

Barry's assertion is that the speaker's vibrational energy is absorbed by the ball moving even the tiniest amount within the concave smooth surface of the bottom piece. There is a very expensive highly machined bit of audio bling like these that you can purchase but this is a twenty dollar tweak, much more affordable. I think the reasoning is sound (sort of like the Aurios ball bearing footers or other bearing and cup footers, and the IsoCups, though within those the ball really can't move unless large force is applied). Barry thinks that isolation such as this is better than coupling speakers.

Anyway, I had interesting results with just the acrylic balls on the carpet when I first got the speakers but I decided that some sort of tonal linearity was lost and just had the speakers flat on the carpet. With this set up, adding the freeze plugs seems to allow the balls to move freely enough, and the change in sound seemed more linear. I'm not sure I have the speakers exactly where they are at their best with this set-up, and will probably play with location over time. But I like what I hear, and I would say the biggest changes are a sweetening of the treble and a bit more soundstage imaging detail (though I am not sure that is anything more than subtle). Fun to play with, I really enjoy isolation components and their effect on my system. A friend thinks that it is because of my pier-on-beam foundation old creaky house that these things seem to make a difference, but he hears it too and we both find less of a change using these in his concrete slab apartment. Anyway, this is something to keep the boredom away! In time maybe I'll think of or stumble upon a bottom piece that works better in this set-up, or try smaller steel bearings. . . I think the steepness of the curve of the freeze plugs may be limiting the movement of the balls (?)
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« Last Edit: 02/03/12 at 15:15:41 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Pale Rider
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #54 - 02/03/12 at 19:17:36
 
Interesting. I also have some spare "lamp black balls" that I bought from Herbie's, that I could use in such an experiment. In looking around, I have found a snootful of freeze plugs, of all sorts, sizes, and material (a sampling here). Did you find a size that worked well?

I have ERRs on both carpet and hardwood, so it could be interesting to try this experiment.
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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #55 - 02/03/12 at 19:37:53
 
I bought mine from amazon, I got a 1 and 5/8" diameter package of ten. Bigger might be better, but then the "bowl" would be deeper and I think shallower is better than deeper.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B4JW0I/ref=oh_o05_s00_i00_details

Often concave drawer pulls are used in these hip-joints, and those are longer and shallower. They may be best if I can use them without bases and keep the profile low that would be worth checking out.

I bet that the lampblack balls will work well. I was going to try those but only have six not in use with other components, and I quickly determined three under a speaker is even more difficult to set up than four! And now Herbie's Audio Lab is using yet another form of ball. There's llots of room for experimentation as far as that goes.  I did use split brass ones (two halves with a foam insert in the center and both halves resting on a synthetic gemstone) from Herbie's that I bought years ago and let's just say they don't work well in this application. Which is a shame as they were very expensive, and they don't work well for me under components either! Smiley
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« Last Edit: 02/03/12 at 20:29:40 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #56 - 02/15/12 at 23:20:10
 
Received my Reality Cables ICs today. Very well made attractive cables. I have them going from my XLR outputs of my PS Audio PerfectWave DAC into one input of my Torii. In the other input I have my pair of MAC Ultrasilver ICs. I can toggle back and forth between the two inputs and compare the same material from the DAC on the different cables.

Just a few hours in I have to say the Reality Cables are very nice. Interesting differences between them. The Reality fill the sound stage and seem "bigger." They also seem warmer. But switching back to the MAC neither is really that simply true. The MAC are a bit crisper (perhaps a bit more traditional "detail") and though both are equally dynamic there's occasionally a more "marked" contrast in dynamics with the MAC, as if a sound were exploding out of a darker silence. The MACs also seem to have a bit more depth, while the Reality a bit more width. Both are excellent choices and source material may be the ultimate arbiter on which I prefer on any given moment. (And being able to flick a toggle switch between the two sets of cables is cool). Still, the Reality ICs are just out of the shipping box. I expect a little change, though they've been very well "cooked" before getting here.

I was curious because will was so fond of these cables and I have to thank him again for mentioning them, I think I'm going to really enjoy the sound.

In a way I have a sense that the sound difference is similar to the DAC's output straight into the amp compared to the DAC's output into my CSP2 and from there to the amp. Not a profound difference, and I've been happy either way. The MAC seems more like the DAC without the CSP2 in the loop. And it's interesting to have copper ICs back in the system as I'd been using silver for years, and taking copper ones on hand out pretty quickly when comparing. The Reality are not coming out quickly though. Time will tell, but I really doubt that the Reality cables will be sent back. Wink
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« Last Edit: 02/16/12 at 14:28:53 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #57 - 02/22/12 at 15:21:54
 
It's been almost a week now that the current has been flowing through these cables nearly non-stop, at least 100 hours. About 36 hours ago the sound went through a very pleasant glowing change and then stabilized again. Very natural sound. Very quick sound. Slightly big sound.

I have to say I like these very much and they're a good match for the PWD's openness and the Torii's muscle and depth. In some ways I can clearly hear the "copper signature" in the way that I heard the "silver signature" in the Decware and MAC cables. I also seem to hear a character that I would say is related to the cryo'd tubes that I have used/am using, a quickness and a richness (which don't often come in combination in audio).

Anyway, I'm very happy with these cables and can safely recommend them to Decware system owners.
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Fireblade
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #58 - 02/22/12 at 17:27:44
 
Lon, are you referring to the Reality IC cables?  If so, how do they really compare in your setup with the Decware IC's?  Have you A-Bd them as you did with the MACs?  

I'm still on the hunt for a good, cost-effective pair of IC cables.  So far I see both MAC and Reality are acceptable choices given your valid assessments.  What about the Decware ICs?

Would you rank them, even if the differences may be just dependent on your particular setup, or maybe related to the XLR (i.e., balanced) vs RCA outputs from your dAC?

Thanks!
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« Last Edit: 02/22/12 at 17:37:57 by Fireblade »  

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Lon
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Re: Affordable, cost-effective RCA interconnects
Reply #59 - 02/22/12 at 17:44:47
 
I have compared them to the Decware, a few days ago I put those in place of the MAC in my system.

I'd rate the MAC and Decware as really very very close, there is a tiny tonal difference which would lend themselves to being favored over one or the other by listener preferences on how they like to hear a tonal balance. I do prefer the Reality Cables to both, that's just my personal preference: they're a bit more neutral sounding (I feel in comparison the other two cables have a bit more energy in the upper mid and treble). It's not a huge difference, and I am using these in an XLR to RCA configuration, and the difference may be the same in an RCA to RCA or not. I don't know that at the moment.  I might buy an RCA to RCA cable in time. I need to make money though. I may be working at the Harley dealer I frequent next month though, I've had two successful interviews and should hear on Monday. I can then afford more audio goodies, and also sock some money into the bank for my high property taxes and travel to my family.

Bottom line: all three are very good cables for the money. I think right now I prefer the Reality Cables a bit.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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