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Which cd player best match for my amp

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by martian1, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. martian1

    martian1
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    I want to upgrage my ageing Pioneer pd703 cd player for either of these two models.

    Marantz cd63 KI Signature
    Arcam CD72T

    I will most likely try and pick one up on ebay, I quite like the sound of my pioneer but find it a bit bright at times. Bearing this in mind anyone with experience of trying to match these with amps.....Help!
    I have an Audiolab 8000S amp which i dont want to change [and hope this isnt causing the brightness]. My speaker cable is QED silver anniversary and a pair of Kef q50 speakers.
     
  2. ditton15

    ditton15
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    a few comments:

    - I have been told that the QED silver ann can cause brightness.
    - since I have the 8000S, I'd like to think it was just clean
    - I was prompted down the Meridian transport + good dac route to match the 800S
    - see recent thread on Meridian CD players for more

    btw, how do you do dvd play? you say that you like pioneer; do the newer i-link pioneer dvd models appeal? one of these could act as cd transport for use with a top dac, like the Dax Deacde, say, which is also a pre-amp (volume control).

    from below, you can see that I use the 8000S in power mode

    hope this helps
     
  3. karkus30

    karkus30
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    The audiolab amp has always had a very neutral sound, a shade uninvolving to my ears, the Pioneer is probably not going to do it any favours.

    I have used the KI sig model in my set up, its not extremely bright, but is detailed, which would probably make it sound a bit harsh in your system. I dont know the CD72, but I used to own the older Arcam player, which was less detailed but was quite rythmnic in its presentation avoiding any harshness, probably a better match.

    Silver cable does add to a brighter sound, but it might be worth mucking about with room acoustics, moving the speakers back against the wall to re enforce the bass, heavy stands, toing in the speakers, adding some soft furnishings etc. etc
     
  4. martian1

    martian1
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    Ditton my dvd player is a sony DVP-900NS [Was their flagship player] i havn't tried it with the audiolab but did with the 8000a i had, i prefered the pioneer. I found it much more detailed. I may be being a bit picky but at higher volumes the brightness in high pitched vocals is killing the sound which i otherwise love.
    Do you think adding a DAC to the sony or pioneer would be worth it. And what am i likely to pay.
    Karcus30 i dont think i will bother with the Marantz you are not the first to mention its brightness in certain systems. I may still have a listen to a Arcam player, i may experiment with speaker movement [hav'nt much room to move them though] and may try the Chord rumour4 speaker cable. I have a feeling if i swap cable i may lose the detail as well as the brightness. And the rumour cable isn't cheap.
     
  5. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Try and audition one of the Reference KEFs the Ref1 1.1, 2, 2.2 etc. The Q50 uses the N19 Supranol 19mm tweeter in it's Uni-Q driver, which has a tendency to sound a bit 'edgy', the Reference range use the N25 synthetic silk cloth 25mm tweeter which gives a far sweeter HF response. I'd also give CableTalk Concert cable a try, I prefered it to the QED Silver stuff, it also has more bass weight.

    EDIT
    For background info I thought it would be worth mentioning that I used to have Audiolab amps (8000Q, 8000P, 8000M, 8000MX) and KEF speakers (Q15, 100, TDM34, Ref 4) and QED cable (79 strand, Silver standard and Bi-Wire).
     
  6. martian1

    martian1
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    Thanks gary you might be on to something here, i think my speakers may be the weak link. My amp is crying out for better , i don't think i had this problem before because my Kefs had never been pushed hard enough before!
    Luckily i have a pair of old Cyrus [before mission] speakers i can try, i cannot remember exactly what they are but my local severnoaks dealer wanted to snap them up from me [for himself] so they can't be bad! i will see if this improves brightness. If it does then its a speaker change.
    One other question do you think it worth while getting my cd player upgraded [timing etc] i have heard of this being done to my player but i don't have a clue who could do this, at a reasonable cost.
    If this isn't cost effective and its not my speakers i am starting to get a little lost, i am being steered away from my original ...change cd player idea!
     
  7. GaryG

    GaryG
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    I have no experience with the Pioneer PD 703 so can't comment, however you may find this link of interest.

    http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread/t-19388.html

    Also, of the various re-clocking boards available, you should consider Audio Synthesis, not a well known name but certainly one of the best.

    http://www.audiosynthesis.co.uk/transcend_conversion.htm

    Given the cost of the above board I would suggest you talk to David at AS and ask his advice on such an upgrade.

    I was in a similar situation to yourself a few years ago, upgrading from Cyrus speakers (spooky or what!) through Mission to KEF, upgrading my CD from Arcam to Meridian and then moving on from Audiolab to Krell amps. I now use a Meridian 602 transport fitted with an earlier version of the above re-clocking board, after listening to a fair number of CD players and transports the 602 came out top of the pile.

    http://www.geocities.com/shianjer/Meridian_602_606.html

    I bought a Meridian 596 earlier in the year in the hope of having a combined DVD/CD transport but was disappointed with it's CD performance, I phoned David at AS for his advice on a universal transport to rival the 602, his answer, there isn't one. He told me that the 602 was one of the best transports available and given that you can get them second-hand for less than £800 they are a bit of a bargain. There are several available on the adverts section of www.hififorsale.com. Also Ditton 15 has several Meridian combo's for sale as he has now upgraded through the statosphere!
     
  8. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Thats a myth actually. If anything, proper silver cable has calmer highs than copper cable. People have heard silver plated copper cables, which tend to be no brighter IMO than copper, but certainly more detailed, but read this as being bright. Decent silver cable should certainly help calm hot treble.
     
  9. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Martian, Some excellent replis so far, here is another tact : as an existing owner of an Audiolab 8000S does this amp have pre-ins to be used as a PA ? If so read on how about a DAC/Pre amp upgrade ? I also note you have a Sony NSV-900 SACD/DVDV player, well a friend of mine has recently added a TAG Pre 32 to his NSV-900 fed into TAG 60PA and lest say he is more than happy, both with the upgrade in Pre-amp into the PAs (he was using a 8000A before FWIW) and the DAC section upgrade. TAG have a couple of factory refurbs for sale if your interested over on the their website (you may have to register to browse these sections) : FWIW I think the sound I get from my DVD player via my TAG DAC 20 (2 versions down from the 24/192Khz Pre32s below is awesome, and that’s even downmixing 5.1 DVD-V into 2 channel stereo via the DAC.


    http://www.tagmclaren.com/members/news/news14.asp

    When the DPA32R was launched it was the first high-performance pre-amplifier, that provided analog pre-amplification + high-precision digital to analog conversion + full cross conversation between analog and digital for DAT/MD recording + full configurability + remote control + TAGtronic Sync Link to minimise jitter to a technical minimum + TAGtronic Bus for power amplifier control plus the option to add a high performance DAB Digital Radio.

    No other pre-amplifier came even close to this specification and that has been the case until today.

    This is what the judges had to say in January 2003 when they awarded the DPA32R the Hi-Fi News Editor's Choice Award 2002: "Built to uncompromising quality standards, TAG McLaren's digital electronics command respect and win loyal customers. This digital stereo pre-amplifier offers a host of unique features and is very flexible in operation."
    It followed Hi-Fi News statement from May 2002: "Taking build, flexibility and support into account along with the excellent performance standards, the pricing of this model seems to me to be extremely keen."

    So the message is, the DPA32R is for you if you want to build a superb two-channel music system of highest sound quality.

    We have received 3 prototype DPA32R from our Marketing team. These 3 products were built 1999 before the production line started, hence they are called PA32R on their fascia, the initial name given but then changed to DPA32R for the production run.
    Prototypes from the outside, latest technology inside, including 192kHz/24bit DACs! These are the only DPA32R you will see on these pages for a very long time, so better hurry to prevent disappointment, so often seen when people contact our helpdesk just too late.

    Serial Number: PT-390-002
    Colour: black

    Serial Number: PT-390-004
    Colour: black

    Serial Number: PT-390-007 <--- SOLD
    Colour: silver

    All three are in equally good condition (85-90% optical quality indicator), second hand but well treated, hence they are offered with a 12 months back to factory warranty.

    Your price: GBP 999.00 without DAB, GBP 1299.00 with DAB Digital Radio - if that isn't a bargain, what is it then?


    Having spent £350 on a “refurbed” TAG DAC 20 with 2 year warranty direct from TAG I never thought I would see a better bargain from them than that, the PRE32s above are IMHO with icing on top.

    FWIW I find pure silver ICs marry very well with large cross sectional individually insulated solid conducted copper. Not bright in my system at all.
     
  10. karkus30

    karkus30
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    As you stated , it gives the impression of brightness due to being detailed. My experience is based on the use of three cables in my system......Blue heaven, which is a pure silver cable, gave a far too detailed (too realistic? :rolleyes: ) sound, that exaggerated the harshness of brightly recorded media. Chord Flatline gold, which is my cable of choice and is copper with some strange insulation and finally stranded copper cable, cant remember the make, but it was a Naim copy, this gave a muddy sound which was bass heavy and lacked detail.
     
  11. martian1

    martian1
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    I have my Marantz 6200 amp going into the pre-in on the Audiolab so it can drive my front pair of speakers for home cinema. I would consider a DAC upgrade and use the sony as the transport [would you plug the DAC into the sony's Digital out? can you explain how this works!] I only have a budget of £350 so i am looking at a second hand DAC. Are you guys sure this would work better than trying for a cd player would the sony be good enough as a transport, and what about timing errors etc.
    Karkus 30 I have now tried some ixos copper speaker cable i have, the brightness isn't as bad but i have lost some detail and the bass while being more powerful seems a bit muddier now. do you think Chord rumour 4 cable might give the balance i want?
     
  12. Plump

    Plump
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    I'd try to find used Arcam Alpha9 on Ebay or so.
    You can get them for under 500 nowdays, still a steel. You won't need any other CD player ever again...
     
  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Martian you have 2 digital outputs of your NSV900 Player one RCA Coaxial SPDIF & one Toslink Optical SPDIF, route the Toslink Optical connection to your 6200 AV amp for DVD-V movies, then route your RCA Coaxial output towards a DACs RCA SPDIF input. When listening to CD ensure your SACD/DVD-V players output is set to PCM or Linear PCM, your NSV 900 should default to this when reading CDs but some DVD players have to have their output types toggled in a menu. There is loads of info/opinion in the FAQ above :

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=41923

    Well no-one can be sure Martian only your ears can tell you, but I would sell my granny if you spent say £350-400 on a 2nd hand DAC like a TAG DAC 20 (End of line units still available direct from TAG BTW) or a MF A3.24 Upsampling DAC and preferred either of the CD players you are considering above TBH. Well once you start worrying about timing errors and the like in DACs you are on course for having a system that cost you a packet (including an upgrade of your Amp & speakers IMHO) and you will probably not be happy with it until you have exhausted every eventuality in DAC terms, be that with Digital cable quality, PSU cable, top level connections used, supports etc. A lot of us get very acceptable vibes from the off with DACs.

    …. until your 2nd hand CD transport gives up the ghost and you need to buy a new one, No argument Plump the Arcam 9 is a classic & good sounding CDP, but lets for a moment forget CD replay here, can you route the digital outputs from DVD-V (DD 5.1 downmixed stereo via a DAC, LPCM 16/48), Minidisc, CD-Rs, PC SCs, Freeview/Satellite Digital TV-Radio or DAB radio for further reprocessing via your DAC. My biggest bugbear is that users considering CDPs at the £300-400 new sector would overlook DACs like the ones mentioned above, put off by talk of timing/jitter and the like, a well designed DAC is a good starting point, they can of course be upgraded again with a higher spec transport if you wish down the line, but in stock form a £300-400 DAC available on the second hand market is a better bet for 95% of people trying them than a similar priced CDP I have found.
     
  14. martian1

    martian1
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    CJROSS i have decided to look at getting a DAC as amongst otherthings the flexability of one has sold me!
    I will try it in my present system and if i want to upgrade later i can get a good transport, my Pioneer [10yrs old] has a digital connection so i can try both this and the sony player. I may even get the Pioneers transport [which has had good reviews ] upgraded.
    I like the sound of the DIY cables you have could you possibly PM me with the supplier you used and any tips you have for doing this.

    Cheers!
     
  15. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Martian I will post DIY info here for future reference in case anyone else wants to grab a solder iron.

    Speaker cable design from here :

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

    Ordered from here :

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Products/Module.asp?CartID=031218104334967&ModuleNo=19868&MR=N (Code VB20W)

    Pure Silver ICs again from Maplins :

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Products/Module.asp?CartID=031218104334967&ModuleNo=6227&MR=N (Code CC23A)
    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Products/Module.asp?CartID=031216125517454&ModuleNo=34965&MR=N (Silver Solder)

    Then some very decent silver plated locking RCA WBT clones plugs from Audusa £20 for 4.

    http://www.audusa.com/connectioners.htm

    So a £50 IC (2m x £15 for CC23A + £20 for plugs) and you will have a higher quality set of ingredients than you could by at a dealers for more than £100 for an IC.

    If you are looking for a digital cable for your DAC above I would urge you to check out Mark Grants Power Buys Forum digital cables, a very reasonable price for a decent cable.

    FWIW Martian Im a bit of a cable sceptic hence the DIY angle above. I believe they make a difference when I know they are there (ie with my eyes & pre-belief in what they do sonically) if that makes any sense, but to be able to select an IC from a blind A/B test I would not bet my life on it.

    ATB
     
  16. GaryG

    GaryG
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    CJ has a good point with regard to the speaker cable. A woven Cat 5 cable will tame some of the 'brightness' you are hearing due to the inductance of the weave. I've made a number of these and found that the jacket material has quite an effect on the sound, they weren't suitable for my system due to the roll-off of the high frequencies but give it a go, they cost next to nothing except about a day of your time doing the weaving. From memory you want one with a Teflon coating, like Belden 1585A.

    Here's some useful links:
    http://www.venhaus1.com/diycatfivecables.html
    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/cables/messages/16488.html
     
  17. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Gary

    I have 2 sets of CAT5 cable at home, One LSZH (VB20W) one Teflon, a guy over on HFC imported a reel of Terflon from the states and a few of us bought his excess, quite expensive at the time I paid £50 odd for it IIRC, The VB20W from Maplins sounds identical to me TBH, and it costs £14 for a 5m pair. Anyway not doubting you have heard a difference but I cant say I noticed any at all IME as far as Teflon - LSZH Polyethelin IIRC goes, the one to avoid at all costs is PVC insulation & multistrand CAT5 Martian FWIW.
     
  18. GaryG

    GaryG
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    I think the first one I did was some form of PVC and was a major disappointment with the amount of effort it took to make it. I haven't tried the Maplin variant, are you still using the ones you made?
     
  19. martian1

    martian1
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    CJROSS just a couple of questions about the cat 5 cables. From what i have read is this correct.
    You buy 36m of VB20W and create 2 lengths each comprising of 3 seperate cables 6m long, 2 of these cables in each pair are for Bass and the other for treble.
    If this is correct i have been looking at buying the various bits and seem to be struggling finding decent expandable braided nylon cable. Maplins don't seem to stock it any ideas, iv'e looked at radioshack with no joy, also what spades do you recommend for terminating? Maplins only have the one type and Audusa don't seem very good with the ordering of goods [e-mail credit card etc]

    Cheers Martin
     
  20. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Gary yeah still using the orgininal set I made with VB20W been using them for well over 3 years now, lets just say since I put them in my system I have never felt the need to go for any dealer bought cable again at any price, the Plenum Teflon set (Light Grey) are sitting in a cupboard awaiting use in future when I split my system to a Vinyl based one & a Digital based one.

    Martin here are some links for you to peruse, the picture link below is of both sets of FFRC the lilac/blue set are Maplins VB20W terminated with Ixos 204 Banana plugs, The GWS pictured are made with Insert Audio RCAs now used elsewhere in my system (Anlg recording from my DAC to a MD deck), they have been replaced with the Audusa Locking RCAs, and TBH I don’t notice any difference from the old set :

    http://evildonut.34sp.com/diy/graphics/CJ_1_FFRC_GWS.jpg

    http://www.directdistribution.org/item1793.htm available here for £8.51 a pair damn fine banana plugs, The Light Grey set are the Plenum Teflon set are terminated with a set of cheaper £6 a pair Michell Type Bananas again from the company above. You will also not that there is no expandable brading sheathing on the cables as its very hard to come by, but it makes no difference to the sound of the cable, most FFRCers are happy to have the braid on display, The black stuff you see terminated the FFRCs is various diameters of “heatshrink” again available from Maplins :

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/products/module.asp?CartID=031219095729381&moduleno=301&Products=13

    This is very good for a number of reasons, 1: that it makes the finished cable look as professional/tidy as any dealer bought one, and 2 : it reinforces the breakouts of the cable where you attach the bananas/ spades IIRC I used FB130 and the 5 mm Heatshtrink. FWIW I would only be using Spades if you have a proper crimping tool to attach them other than that bananas are fine.

    http://evildonut.34sp.com/diy/FFRC.html some other shots of FFRCs the HFC crowd have made
    http://evildonut.34sp.com/diy/GWS.html some other shots of GWS the HFC crowd have made

    Re. Audusa I have orderd form them via the phone with my credit card bno problem at all, I would never put my credit card details over email FWIW.They seemed fine to me had no problems. There is a dude over at HFC who makes these GWS under the name of Orpheus called Frontfloater he makes them at very decent prices (comapred to dealer bought cables) and used WBT 0144 midlines for the plugs it may interest you if you do not wish to attempt them yourself :

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=6793

    One last thing, you have read the TNT recipe for FFRC this is called the TNT-FFRC, but there is another recipe called the CC-FFRC, the Colour-Code FFRC is a version that split one set of coloured conductors for positive & the white striped condcutors for the negative feeds, this means in each of 3 CAT5 cables you have both sets of polarity running against each other ie opposing, this IIRC gives a different inductance/capitance effect comapred in the opposing polarity at close proximity. The TNT-Treble feed cable is this CC desgin but their bass feeds (ie one cable each) are separate. I have used CC-Code FFRC for the simple fact that you cannot ever have cross feeds with incorrectly labelled feeds at amp-spkr ends, ie that colour always = positive, white striped = negative, the TNT-FFRC you have to label all the CAT5 cables and there is always a risk in getting them mixed up unless you are ultra careful, if making a biwire set just combine the 3 sets of CAT5 and make little jumpers for treble feeds.

    http://evildonut.34sp.com/diy/graphics/CJ_2_FFRC.jpg Colour coding of CAT5s (2 cables in this instance but exactly the same with 3 CAT5s)

    http://evildonut.34sp.com/systems/lawrie/graphics/system_Lawrie_Signum_back.jpg Cable jumpers

    Last thing don’t forget your multimeter for testing your finished products.
     
  21. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Thanks CJ. 3rd time lucky perhaps?, I'll give it a go with the cable you recommend.
     
  22. GaryG

    GaryG
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    CJ, just to confirm, for a 1.5m length I just need to braid 3 x2m lengths of cable?

    My previous attempts were using the Venhous technique which was to split out the twisted pairs from the sheath and braid those as well, using 54 pairs. The FFRC method looks dead simple in comparison, just want to make sure I'm not missing anything as I can hardly keep my eyes open at the moment from too many late nights on the Internet!
     
  23. martian1

    martian1
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    Excellent photos CJROSS thanks for all your time very much appreciated. I like the look of the braided cables, but i am a bit confused about how you seperate the cables out for termination!
    I have by chance got 2 pairs of X0S 204 Banana plugs [from a mate for £5] which plug into my speakers [non bi-wirable Kefs q50's] . I have noticed you have your cables bi-wirable at one end [the amp i think!] and the other end has a pair of bananas [speakers]. How did you seperate the cat 5 out to do this, i can see the three cables seperating out into four terminals. How do you split cables to do this? and what method did you use to ensure you didn't mix them up!
    Sorry for all the questions, and yes i have read your link about making cables up but the termination explana'tion was a bit vague to me.

    Thanks
     
  24. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Yep Gary that is correct, the tighter the braid the more length you lose, ie my 6m CAT5s go down to 4.5m in length once braided, take note of the TNT-FFRC & the CC-FFRC both different designs in electrical specfication due to opposing polarity at such close proximity. Ive always used the Colour Code, You can use as many CAT5 cables as you wish BTW, there is another design on TNT called the TTT (Triple Twisted Twins) which is 6 CAT5 cables, I think its overkill myself but quite a sensitve set of speakers & an average 8ohm load so 3 CAT5s are enough for me.

    Martin first off, the cables you mention above with 2 amp breakout & 4 speaker end breakouts are the full length Biwire version of the FFRC I only use single feed FFRCs in my system those are other BW duders on the HFC forum. The CC FFRC mode came about after concerns about the TNT FFRC both being confusing and having a chance of cross feeds if you were not careful. Inside each of the CAT5 cable there are whats called 4 “twisted pairs of conductors” so these 8 No. conductors in each cable, now adding all these conds up make 24 in total, if you are making a non biwire set of FFRCs you simply have 12 for + & 12 for – at ea end of the cable, but if you want a BW breakout then you have 4 conds for treble + feed, 4 conductors for – feed, 8 for bass + feed & finally 8 for bass – feed. 24 in total. I would not bother with this arrangement but go for 2 breakouts at each end & use cable jumpers if your require. Again use the Colour Code method to totally isolate the chance of a “cross feed” from the TNT method. The best way I got round the TNT instructions was to draw them out with a piece of paper, ie 3 wires with 8 conductors (4 coloured – 4 white) and where these wires all go, now you can go the TNT route and this leads to confusion or you can simply braid all 3 cables, then breakout each set of 8 conds, then separate into groups of 4 conductors, then combine 3 groups of 4 white conds & 3 groups of coloured conductors. Your cable will be coloured coded at each end and broke out into 2 separate feeds for amp & speaker end, then use cable jumper if required.

    Tips : make a nick in each conductors insulation with a stanley knife or razor then pinch off insulation with fingernails. Get a feamle to help you braid, they have been doing it since they have had pigtails and skipping ropes and it makes the braiding process survivable, alternatively if you wish simply attach the 3 cat5 cables to a drill bit and fire off your drill till they have all bunched together a method a guy used over on HFC but I would advocate braiding TBH.

    HTHs - Edit to add Colour Coded FFRC diagram :

    http://evildonut.34sp.com/diy/graphics/FFRC_concept.jpg
     
  25. ditton15

    ditton15
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    clearly an engaging hobby now the nights have finally drawn in. Now, if you find that you've made one or two too many ...
     
  26. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Called in at Maplin at the weekend, this cable is special order only so I've ordered it off the web, hopefully it will arrive later this week, it will give me something to do other than stuff my face and watch the telly!
     
  27. martian1

    martian1
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    Thanks for the tips, i will make up a pair with the 2 breakouts at each end. When they are made up and tested i will post findings.

    Cheers
     
  28. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Well, I've made the cables and connected them up to burn them in, initial reaction was that they sounded better than the other two versions I made. I'll post my thoughts on them in comparison to CableTalk Concert in a couple of days when they've had chance to settle down.
     

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