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Interconnects to do SACD (or DVD-Audio) justice

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by dave48, Apr 26, 2002.

  1. dave48

    dave48
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    I have recently ventured into the SACD world - more as a by-product of buying a DVD player and out of curiosity than a vote that SACD is necessarily going to be the future.

    There has been lots of stuff about amps needing inputs capable of handling up to 100KHz to take advantage of the full potential blah blah.

    But what should you use to connect the player to the amp? Given that multi-channel sound comes out of the 5.1 output of the player and 2 channel can come out of the normal audio outputs, this implies you need 8 interconnect cables to drive the thing.

    This can be very expensive - or you can buy one of these more economical 6-pack cables where you get six cables as one unit. But doesn't this defeat the point of the whole thing?

    Has anyone done any experimentation on this? Does it make the blindest bit of difference which interconnects you use, or do top-quality interconnects take you straight to musical nirvana?

    Dave48
     
  2. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Dave,

    “Has anyone done any experimentation on this? Does it make the blindest bit of difference which interconnects you use, or do top-quality interconnects take you straight to musical nirvana?”

    Cables have been the subject of countless experiments, none of which have ever proven any audible difference under ABX conditions. Only when there are elements of bias introduced do folks ‘hear’ differences. The moral is: be sensible. Just get some cables that a) won’t fall apart and b) are adequately shielded.

    I've heard talk of the need for ultra-fancy wire because of the higher frequencies capabilities of DVD-Audio and SACD, which is absolute nonsense, we are after all only talking about 100kHz or so. Save your money and buy software!


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  3. JSW

    JSW
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    Hi Dave,

    Yes 8 phono's would be required should you wish to listen to the seperat 2 channel and 5.1 channel recordings.

    On top of this you also need to remember to switch your output on the player from bitrate to analogue multichannel or analogue 2 channel.

    With regard to the phono's you could allways make your own.
    Shielded Cat 5 is apparently very good and for a small outlay and a bit of soldering you get quality that would cost many times more.

    I have my fronts bi wired using cat 5 home made cables and they are deffinately an improvement over the £100 quids worth of cabletalk 3.1 I had before.

    Look at this site and then get your soldering iron out :)

    http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/tweaks.html

    Good luck
    Bry
     
  4. dave48

    dave48
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    The Cat5 approach sounds worth a go - although most articles I have read on the web talk about cable lengths of e.g. 3m not 10 - 15m.

    Let's see what happens!

    Dave48
     
  5. Stuart M. Robinson

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  6. JSW

    JSW
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    You dont put 6 RCA males on the end you put 1 !
    You use 1 wire from each twisted pair giving you 2 lots of 4 wires you then twist the 4 wires together all the solid coloured ones to centre pin (+) of rca and all the striped ones to (-) case of rca.

    BTW Maplins sell them ready made. http://www.maplin.co.uk/products/details.php?cartid=&modulecode=&moduleno=27484&manufacturer=Stinger
     
  7. Stuart M. Robinson

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    JSW,

    “You dont put 6 RCA males on the end you put 1 ! You use 1 wire from each twisted pair giving you 2 lots of 4 wires you then twist the 4 wires together all the solid coloured ones to centre pin (+) of rca and all the striped ones to (-) case of rca.”

    This is an atrocious configuration. The shielding is horrendous, as in all likelihood will be the capacitance and the impedance is also incorrect for inter-connect use. I also doubt this ready-made cable from Maplin actually uses CAT 5, since there is no mention of it in the text and a foil screen is included. Incidentally, there is no such thing as a ‘directional cable’.

    Many of the so-called cable ‘tweaks’ on the TNT site have absolutely no grounding in science or controlled listening techniques. I am actually intimately familiar with one of the cables there, the ‘Max Rochlin Memorial digital and video cable’. Steve Rochlin, who ‘designed’ it, actually failed a blind listening test conducted by Brad Meyer of the Boston Audio Society and couldn’t tell his own cable apart from a bog-standard Radio Shack interconnect.

    My advice would be to stick to single coax lines for each channel.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  8. JSW

    JSW
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    "This is an atrocious configuration. The shielding is horrendous, as in all likelihood will be the capacitance and the impedance is also incorrect for inter-connect use."

    Have you tried it, have you tested impedence and capacitence?

    Cat 5 is a catorgory of TWISTED pair that is proven to allow data transfer at a specified speed.

    Twisted pair is Twisted pair whether used in phone cable, data cable or the maplin interconnects.

    As i understand it Twisted pair gives a very clean signal.

    Twisted pair can be shielded or unshielded.

    I have not used cat 5 for interconnect use and have only read about its use on sites such as the TNT site which as in my post I said "apparently"

    I have however used it as speaker cable and I am not disapointed
    My cabletalk cable now lying in a cupboard.

    Can I tell the difference? maybe, maybe not but it certainly did not degrade my sound and it is only 27 quid for 250 yards :)
     
  9. dave48

    dave48
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    I was only thinking of using Cat5 cable for loudspeaker cables, not interconnects - sorry I got slightly side-tracked onto another open issue I have running at the moment, namely how to find a decent solution to the long cable runs I need for my surround speakers that sounds good, is "domestically acceptable" in a no-carpets environment (i.e. nowhere to hide them) and is acceptably priced.

    As far as audio interconnects goes - I'm planning on sticking to a ready-made solution. I'm just trying to find out what the best approach is.

    Thinking about the physics of the whole thing, I am sure Stuart is right and the 100kHz bandwidth of SACD/DVD-Audio is a red herring and utterly irrellevant.

    Dave48
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I think quality RG59 / RG 6 works really well but can be a bit stiff.
     
  11. infomatique

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    I sourced cable (three pairs) for this purpose from www.htcustomcables.com. This company is based in Australia but they offer an excellent service.

    Unfortunately as I am still waiting for my Sony SACD (three months) I have not had a chance to compare different configurations. As soon as I get everything set up I will let you know if these cables make a difference.

    I will be using the Denon AVC-A1SR coupled with the Sony SCD-XA777ES (if it ever arrives).
     
  12. Cool-hand

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    Once again I must strongly advocate the use of heavy duty parcel string which has been dipped in water, pulled tightly from amp to speaker, as a top class conductor of signals. :mad:
     
  13. dave48

    dave48
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    I had not started this thread with the intention of it becoming a "silly" thread - it was a very serious question.

    All I'm looking for is a solution which will not compromise the quality of my setup, without breaking the bank.

    Going back to one of Stuart's earlier replies, the approach of using simple good quality coax (e.g. the cable referenced from the Maplin's catalogue) sounds like the best of the solutions I've come across to date.

    The follow-up questions I have on this are below - sorry if some of them are a bit "trivial" but I haven't made my own cables to date yet much ....:

    - are the phono connectors you use important, or are most of the connectors from e.g. Maplins roughly the same thing / quality?

    - how do you connect the phono connector to coax cable (serious question - I've never done anything with coax cables before)

    - if as I assume you have to solder them, does it make the blindest bit of difference what kind of solder you use?

    Dave48
     
  14. JSW

    JSW
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    You will be ok with any gold plated phono connector.

    You unscrew the case of the phono and slip it over the cable, then strip the cable sleeve about 2cm, roll the coax layer back, strip 10mm of the centre core, then solder the centre copper strand to the centre pin of the phono and depending on phono you crimp or solder the outer lugg of the phono around the coax then screw back on the cover.

    Silver solder is regarded as the best for hi-fi use.
     
  15. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Dave make your own pure silver IC's - the cable is available from Maplins and costs £15/m then use pure silver solder on the plugs and your off dude. FWIW these DIY silvers work wondrously with CAT5 (TNT FFRC my friend)

    Edited to add :

    http://www.ifrance.com/evildonut/hifi/

    Guys check out this site - it's ran by my mate and it has an excellent DIY section that gives you all the codes and websites to visit to get plugs & materials for your DIY cabling. FYI - GWS stands for Great White Shark - This is the DIY name for the Pure Silver IC made by lots of us over on the Hifi Choice website.

    HTH's - If one dude makes this cable or the FFRC then it has worked IMHO. Later Amigo's
     
  16. dave48

    dave48
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    Can you give me a ref. to the entry on the Maplins website for the silver cable?

    Thanks.

    Dave48
     
  17. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Dave link above - the code IIRC is cc23a - do a search on "pure silver" and it will also give the code for the solder.
     
  18. stranger

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    don't take what stuart says as written in stone.although he is extremely knowledgeable he tends to forget that the main ingredient of hi-fi a/v is emotion. every ear every brain interprets sounds differently, no machine on earth can measure this and its this that makes it so enjoyable. i know a lot about some things but admit i will not stop learning 'til the day i die. stuart still seems to believe that his is the definitive view imo.
     
  19. Chip

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    Stranger,
    Your point is well taken but I don't entirely agree with your outlook.
    Stuart M Robinson has more access than any of us here regarding testing equipment and also has far more listening (and tech) experience than anyone else on this thread.

    I would rather trust the words of this man than the brash tongue of someone like airhead.

    I also don't see how you can measure someone else's "emotions" and cannot see evidence in your assumption that Stuart thinks his view is definitive. Sorry mate, you're backing the wrong horse on this one.

    Chip
     
  20. stranger

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    chip, i'm not backing any horse just stating MY opinions which would have been obvious if you had read my post properly. go back a way to see how stuarts other posts come across in general. btw i have a lot of respect for stuarts views but my main point this time is something individual( emotion) that only each person can measure! for themselves. p.s. i'ljudge sound by my ears before a scientific instrument,or anyone elses ears come to that.
     
  21. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    I've deleted and edited several posts in this thread to bring it back on topic.
    FYI airwise has been permanently banned and other members have been pm'd asking them to be less abrasive.
     
  22. Dubbing Mixer

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    I have to agree with Stuart Robinsons thesis. The safe, tried and tested approach is to use decent quality screened audio cable and decent phonos. Maplins, Studio Spares, Van Damme and Canford can all oblige. You might want to consider individually jacketed multi-way with the tails tidied up with pliosil sleeves and heat-shrink. I have some Van Damme cables I made up this way and it is a neat way of dealing with this many signals.
    Cat 5 is data cable and the screened version may or may not do a good job. However I really cannot see the point of obsessing over interconnects when there are tried and tested solutions out there which do not either cost a fortune or require huge effort for little or no return.

    By all means waste money on exotic brand name interconnects if it makes you feel better but beware of witchcraft. I defy anyone to tell the difference in a true AB blind test.
     
  23. dave48

    dave48
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    So is the consensus that either of the Maplin (as an example) coax cables (i.e. the cheaper one mentioned earlier on in the thread or the £15 / m silver cable) would do the job fine?

    Looking at my overall configuration, I need 8 pairs of interconnects either to connect bits of kit that are currently not connected, or to replace "freebie" connectors. So if I can build this using cable that costs £2 / m and phono plugs that cost e.g. £1.50 each (without compromising sound quality), that would be ideal.

    Dave48
     
  24. thompma

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    i have used Van Damme RG59 video cable as an audio interconnect, excellent on either video or audio use, very flexible. RS components sell it, but i'm trying to find another supplier, if anyone knows?
     
  25. Dubbing Mixer

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