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#23776 - 03/04/07 01:25 PM Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Lizard King Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 425
Loc: NY
Hello,

I want to inquire with all of you about your experiences with ICs using Silver, Copper, etc. What do you prefer and why? Have you used IC's with the Bullett plugs ?

Liz
_________________________
Outlaw 1070, Anthem MCA5 II amp.
Sony Ps3
Alon 2 Mk2 Loudspeakers
HSU VTF-2 Mk2 sub x2
VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp
ARC SP16-L tube Preamp
Audio Note Dac 2.1 "B" signature
Furutech E-TP80,
Ascend HTM-200, 340C
Sony KDS-55A2020

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#23777 - 03/05/07 04:58 PM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Videodrome Offline
Desperado

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Fairfax Station, VA
I have used a variety of ICs, including OFC copper, silver coated OFC and solid core silver. Silver IC is usually very, very expensive. But if you've got a lot of money invested in a high resolution / revealing system, it's not the crazy investment some people make it out to be and can really take things to the next level.

DH Labs, Homegrown Audio, Cat Cables and Moon Audio are sources for silver ICs that are not priced in the stratosphere. You can also pick up something used on Audiogon.

Ideally, it would be great if you can borrow a pair to try in your system you could see how you like them and if you think they're worth the investment.

As a general rule, I have used silver ICs only on critical listening sources (like CD and phono). The only silver interconnect I have first-hand experience with is Van den Hul silver. I bought them for the interface box of my Sota Sapphire turntable years ago and they were amazing. Ultra revealing without being harsh and bright, added a tremendous amount of air and space around instruments, and really opened up the soundstage.

More recently, I have used the silver coated products from DH Labs that I have described elsewhere on this forum.

Eventually, I plan on upgrading a couple interconnects to silver as I really like the sound you get from them.

As to bullet plugs, I have not used them. I understand Eichmann makes bullet plugs that are well regarded. Apart from that, I have tried/owned some of the high end connectors from WBT and DH Labs with success.
_________________________
Outlaw 970
McCormack DNA-125 (mains), Emotiva LPA-1 (surrounds)
Quad 11L (F&C) Wharfedale (R) LFM1 (Sub) w/ SMS-1
Squeezebox -> Behringer SRC2496 -> Musiland MD10 DAC
Sota Sapphire; Marantz 10B;
Video: Hitachi 42HDS52A; Oppo 971H
System Pics

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#23778 - 03/05/07 06:45 PM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Lizard King Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 425
Loc: NY
Hi Videodrome,

Thanks for the feedback. I am thinking of using PCA for multichannel and trying the
"Signal Cable " Silver Resolution IC for the two channel off the Denon 3930CI.

I want to try a pair of silver ICs and I have 30 days on that. I know silver can be harsh yet this one is designed to be smooth and does not break the back. It uses rhe Bullett RCA.
_________________________
Outlaw 1070, Anthem MCA5 II amp.
Sony Ps3
Alon 2 Mk2 Loudspeakers
HSU VTF-2 Mk2 sub x2
VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp
ARC SP16-L tube Preamp
Audio Note Dac 2.1 "B" signature
Furutech E-TP80,
Ascend HTM-200, 340C
Sony KDS-55A2020

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#23779 - 03/05/07 08:37 PM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
bestbang4thebuck Offline
Desperado

Registered: 03/20/03
Posts: 668
Loc: Maryland
Call me something between a pragmatist and a wet blanket, but one doesn’t really need to go much further in technical capabilities and price than interconnects based on Belden 1694a cable and Canare RCA-type connectors, unless one feels the need for ‘locking/gripping’ connectors. Even going that far may exceed the needs of some.

The engineer in me says that if installing new cable truly results in changes like “added a tremendous amount of air and space around instruments, and really opened up the soundstage,” then either the previous IC’s, the new IC’s or both were affecting the sound in ways they shouldn’t be, and/or the contact points between the cables and the equipment needed attention such that improved contact restored proper signal separation and/or eliminated improper impedance.

I do recommend that all cable connections that rely on solely on friction (interconnects, speaker cable) for proper electrical contact be checked one to three times yearly. The use of decent cable strain relief may help. I know some people who have converted some of their gear to BNC-type connectors because they thought they couldn’t rely on the RCA-type connectors over the long term without preventative maintenance. There are other ‘locking/gripping type’ connectors for IC’s and speaker cable that also reduce the need for recurring attention.

(Videodrome: no slight or criticism of your assessment is intended in my use of your phrase. My post is meant to be an expression of my opinion regarding cables and connection maintenance, not about my fellow Outlaws. I appreciate your understanding.)

Common sense interjection: the cable used by the engineers in capturing, recording and mastering was likely bare, well insulated copper (not oxygen-free or other specially ‘enhanced/aligned’ type) or silver-tinned copper. Attempts to exceed the original engineers’ cable types is, IMHO, too great a ‘reach’ in the audio playback stage of the total process.

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#23780 - 03/06/07 09:46 AM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Videodrome Offline
Desperado

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Fairfax Station, VA
No slight taken.

However, your comments presume a lot and fall into the same traps I see with many people who have engineering / technical backgrounds: Namely, there is a presumption that audible differences in interconnects (1) either do not exist or are minimal; and (2) that looking at the cable solely from the construction / materials standpoint alone is somehow indicative of how it will sound in your system.

Regarding item #1, the differences I have heard between the various cables I have tried in my system had nothing to do with a flaw in the cable, but the intrinsic differences between the cables and how they sounded in my system. And like audio components, how a cable specs' out on paper has little if anything to do with how it ultimately sounds in your system.

I respect your engineering background and the depth of knowledge that brings to the table in forums such as this. However, I do not think that it can somehow negate 20+ years of empirical evidence and real world listening experiences that I, and thousands and thousands of hifi enthusiasts, have had regarding audible differences between interconnects, silver or otherwise. We're not talking about Clever Little Clocks here, we're talking about hosts of manufacturers who have decades of product development crafting hundreds of iterations of cables based on various metals, dialectrics, capacitance levels, braiding, shielding, etc. and an equally well established group of pro reviewers, hobbyists, audio designers, etc. who have listened to and used products and connectors outside the design and construction realm of Belden 1694a. Look at a cross section of high end products out there and you're going to see silver litz wiring, tiffany/WBT connectors and other components used across the board. Do you think these products would be used so extensively if they sounded no different than stuff they could pick up at Radio Shack?

Regarding item #2, we used to run into this all the time at the store 20 years ago. A customer would come in with a magazine that focused on how products compared on paper not actual listening tests (i.e. Consumer Reports). Usually, there weren’t huge differences when comparing equipment in this manner and the usual pronouncement was just get a product that has these minimum spec’s and you’ll be happy, because anything beyond that doesn’t sound any different. Basically, this was total baloney. Indeed, some of our best sounding components fared worse on paper compared to our cheaper lines. A tube amp is going to spec’ out worse in some parameters than a budget receiver. But the tube amp sounded a hell of a lot better. How does how well a product images show up on paper? How does that great liquid midrange that you get with vacuum tubes compare with a solid state amp on a bench test? How can you technically measure how much more natural a human voice sounds, how the body of a violin resonates or how well notes decay on my new McCormack amp compared to my old Adcoms? Fact is you can’t, so you listen and see for yourself. Do you think MKTheater’s excellent review of the 990 vs. the Meridian would have meant anything if he and his audio buddies didn’t sit down and do a shoot out of the two units? Of course not.

My advice to Lizard King is don’t get caught up in paper / technical comparisons as they will tell you little if anything about how the product will sound in your system. Instead, do what most audio enthusiasts, audio designers, and reviewers have done for years: try it yourself in your system and let his ears be the judge.
_________________________
Outlaw 970
McCormack DNA-125 (mains), Emotiva LPA-1 (surrounds)
Quad 11L (F&C) Wharfedale (R) LFM1 (Sub) w/ SMS-1
Squeezebox -> Behringer SRC2496 -> Musiland MD10 DAC
Sota Sapphire; Marantz 10B;
Video: Hitachi 42HDS52A; Oppo 971H
System Pics

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#23781 - 03/07/07 09:22 AM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Videodrome Offline
Desperado

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Fairfax Station, VA
Liz: Two more things, if you decide to give the Signal Cable silvers a try:

First, give them the benefit of some burn in time before you critically evaluate them. Typical burn in time for cables is around 50-100 hours. Some companies have cable cookers they use before they send the products out; not sure about Signal Cable, but they may have some info./guidelines on their web site.

Second, you seem to have a keen interest in people's first-hand experiences with various cables. Keep up the sleuthing! A little homework up front can help narrow the product field a bit before you buy/try something.

With that in mind, I would encourage you to run a query for some of the products you have an interest in at the Cable Asylum at www.audioasylum.com. For non-Outlaw-related products, that is usually my first stop if I'm looking for user opinions on audio gear.
_________________________
Outlaw 970
McCormack DNA-125 (mains), Emotiva LPA-1 (surrounds)
Quad 11L (F&C) Wharfedale (R) LFM1 (Sub) w/ SMS-1
Squeezebox -> Behringer SRC2496 -> Musiland MD10 DAC
Sota Sapphire; Marantz 10B;
Video: Hitachi 42HDS52A; Oppo 971H
System Pics

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#23782 - 03/07/07 05:49 PM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
sluggo Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 361
Loc: Plano, TX
While I can understand that you believe there is more to the sonic characteristics of cable than the engineering belies, it's important to note this: auydio cabling does not permanently change chemically or mechanically with 50-100 hours of use, making the concept of burn-in a bit of a stretch.

Comparing cabling to components of 20 years ago is an apples to oranges comparison: cables are solid state electronics, while the component issues you mention involve tubes, components that change with use by design. If cabling were to act the same way, then (like tube equipemnt) performance would deteriorate over time and parts need replacing in order to continue fuctioning.

It should also be noted that Consumer Reports, while not the audiophile reference, has always relied on real-world listening tests of all audio equipment reviewed. These results are combined with feature comparisons to develop their overall scoring matrix.

I do not intend this as an arguement, but I thought it important to examine the flip side of the coin.
_________________________
--Greg

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#23783 - 03/07/07 08:15 PM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Lizard King Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 425
Loc: NY
Hi VD,

Thanks so much. I know that I will have to let them burn in for 50 Hours, I placed the order and expect them next week. I have a 1070 coming with the PCA IC's and I can compare the two side by side.
_________________________
Outlaw 1070, Anthem MCA5 II amp.
Sony Ps3
Alon 2 Mk2 Loudspeakers
HSU VTF-2 Mk2 sub x2
VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp
ARC SP16-L tube Preamp
Audio Note Dac 2.1 "B" signature
Furutech E-TP80,
Ascend HTM-200, 340C
Sony KDS-55A2020

Top
#23784 - 03/08/07 06:23 AM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
AARONMADLER Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 169
Loc: Needham, MA
Liz,

I took Videodrome's advice and checked out this link. It appears that you have two camps diametrically opposed... either for or against. It doesn't seem that anybody is in the middle regarding the bullet plugs. Please read all of the responses. Please follow up with your opinion once you receive the cables.

http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/cables/messages/127999.html
_________________________
Outlaw 990/7700, Oppo DV-981HD, Gallo S.A.Amp, Nucleus Ref. 3.1, AV C, AV M, TR-2, Paradigm Atom, Pioneer PDP-4214HD, Mtrola DCT6200/2005

Outlaw 990, Aragon 8008X3, 8008, Denon 3930CI, Dahlquist DQ20, Outlaw LFM-1+, Paradigm Atom, Mtrola DCT3416 I

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#23785 - 03/08/07 10:45 AM Re: Silver vs. Copper IC's, Bullett RCA or normal RCA?
Videodrome Offline
Desperado

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 325
Loc: Fairfax Station, VA
No problem, LK. Enjoy the listening test. That's part of the fun of this hobby!

My recommendation is, once you're ready to do the shootout, start with a few cuts from some of your favorite CDs (vocals are always good for listening tests) in 2 channel bypass and play them over one of interconnects in succcession before switching out. One trap you can fall into is to keep swapping the IC's out repeatedly between each song. You're better off settling in with the flavor of one interonnect after a stretch of music samples, then switching to the other.

After you switch out, start with the cut you heard last on the previous interconnect and work your way back. Invariably, once you make the switch you're ears/brain are going to say either: "What's missing?" or "Gee, everything really opened up."

Another test: While it's good to use recordings you know are very high quality, also throw in a CD you know to be less than stellar and/or on the bright side just to see how the cable either improves or exacerbates the problems with the recording.

Lastly, be sure to report back your results!
_________________________
Outlaw 970
McCormack DNA-125 (mains), Emotiva LPA-1 (surrounds)
Quad 11L (F&C) Wharfedale (R) LFM1 (Sub) w/ SMS-1
Squeezebox -> Behringer SRC2496 -> Musiland MD10 DAC
Sota Sapphire; Marantz 10B;
Video: Hitachi 42HDS52A; Oppo 971H
System Pics

Top
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