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Pro cabling for audiophile systems


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26 minutes ago, Kimo said:

 

They are pretty rare in the new market as well.  At least in the USA.  Quick google search didn't provide much.  From my own experience, I would certainly agree with them on phono cables and specificity, per what I read on the FM site.  

 

I have a pair of Supra EFF cables in for comparison to the Grimm.  They cost a bit more, but the company has been making cables forever, and the pricing is still cheap by audiophile standards.  

 

Will see how they compare with the Vovox, as well.  

FM gears are super rare in all markets.  I am fortunate to own a 245 pre-amp (the best solid state pre-amp I have heard) and 800A amp.  If you never own an FM product I'd strongly suggest you obtain one and you will understand why they are so highly regarded.

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@Kimo

 

Have you tried out the Gotham XLR cables?

Have heard some very positive things about Gotham cable.

 

 

 

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Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8.7 + JRMC 27 & HQPlayer | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB |  Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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3 hours ago, Nikhil said:

@Kimo

 

Have you tried out the Gotham XLR cables?

Have heard some very positive things about Gotham cable.

 

 

 

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I have not.  I am using their speaker cable, however, and it is a very inexpensive option.

 

To date, I have been very happy with the Grimm TPR.  The Vovox Sonorus was also good, if a little different, but the lack of shielding was a concern.  Sometimes it felt as if the extra detail was a product of a touch of RF.

 

So far, the Supra EFF is a little different from the Grimm and Vovox.  The Grimm has been the biggest and warmest in the lower midrange and bass.  These are all between 100.00 and 200.00 for a 2 meter pair, so I think that they are good value. 

 

Even the Livewire Essential cable I have sounds fine.  The others just seem to offer a bit more. 

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9 minutes ago, Kimo said:

 

I have not.  I am using their speaker cable, however, and it is a very inexpensive option.

 

To date, I have been very happy with the Grimm TPR.  The Vovox Sonorus was also good, if a little different, but the lack of shielding was a concern.  Sometimes it felt as if the extra detail was a product of a touch of RF.

 

So far, the Supra EFF is a little different from the Grimm and Vovox.  The Grimm has been the biggest and warmest in the lower midrange and bass.  These are all between 100.00 and 200.00 for a 2 meter pair, so I think that they are good value. 

 

Even the Livewire Essential cable I have sounds fine.  The others just seem to offer a bit more. 

I'd like to try these brands, given the current economic situation it probably make sense to explore toward the lower end of the spectrum. Where can I buy them?

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59 minutes ago, wr_aspire said:

I'd like to try these brands, given the current economic situation it probably make sense to explore toward the lower end of the spectrum. Where can I buy them?

In the USA, your best best is Ebay for Supra and Grimm. 

 

You can also purchase in bulk or ready made from the Grimm website.  

https://www.grimmaudio.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=65_66

 

For Vovox, these guys seem to have the best prices and ship world wide for free.  https://shop.highend-audiopc.com/collections/vovox

 

Even the top of line from these companies is fairly cheap by audiophile standards.  

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44 minutes ago, Speedskater said:

Didn't Gotham have some strange 3 conductor XLR cables?

They were just asking to be mis-wired and for increased SCIN (noise).

 

10701 GAC-3.  According to the website it has been around for 5 decades.

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Lots of good stuff in that Gotham white paper, but (and this is important) no discussion about Shield Current Induced Noise (SCIN).

SCIN was first written about in the June 1995 AES Journal. With a much more coverage in the early 2000's. A 3 conductor cable will have SCIN problems.

Stick to the 2 conductor Gotham cables.

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On 4/26/2020 at 8:28 AM, Speedskater said:

Yes that StarQuad cable is designed for harsh pro audio situations where the cable might get thrown down with lighting control cable and various power cords.

 

Looks like Benchmark recommends star quad for all applications to provide extra protection against magnetic fields.  I know that Grimm's higher end cable is now all star quad, even for shorter distances.   I don't  recall hearing buzzing through any of the non star quad cables that I have used.

 

Studios, live sound venues and homes all have magnetic fields that can cause interference. Magnetic fields are produced whenever current flows through a wire. AC power cables, transformers, power supplies, computers, portable chargers, motors and light dimmers are among the devices that can emit strong magnetic fields. A microphone cable can pick up magnetic interference if it happens to pass near one of these devices. Cables can also pick up magnetic fields when they run adjacent to AC power. Top-quality star-quad cables can reduce this magnetic interference by at least 20 to 30 dB. This is almost always enough to reduce the interference to inaudible levels.

 

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13 minutes ago, Kimo said:

Looks like Benchmark recommends star quad for all applications to provide extra protection against magnetic fields.  I know that Grimm's higher end cable is now all star quad, even for shorter distances.

While StarQuad is useful in harsh interference pro venues, I think that Benchmark had to work real hard to show those differences.

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On 4/27/2020 at 5:45 PM, Speedskater said:

While StarQuad is useful in harsh interference pro venues, I think that Benchmark had to work real hard to show those differences.

 

Looks like they use Canare wire and simply provide assembly.  The Canare Star Quad that I heard did not seem to suffer on the high end like the Mogami Gold.  Seems like a fine basic option.  

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

More updates.

 

1. Gotham SPK 2.5 remains my favorite for inexpensive speaker cable

2. Grimm TPR remains my favorite for AES, but for analog I have come to the conclusion that it is a little harsh in the treble.  Could be the silver plating.

3. Supra EFF is a bit different.  Has the Supra signature edge relief, but also sounds a little tipped up.  Not as harsh as the Grimm, however.  Again, a silver plated cable.

4. Mogami Gold just does not sound quite right in the treble to me.

5. Canare Star Quad is my new recommendation for XLR cable.  Does not have the issues noted above.

6. Gotham GAC 2 ultra pro is on order.  Will compare it with the Canare.

 

 

Based on this experience, I would be a bit cautious of silver plated cable.  Many seem to agree with my findings with regards to harshness, at least for analog.  I am going to stick to all copper for analog from here on out.  

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On 12/15/2019 at 12:33 PM, audiobomber said:

I had no preference between Cardas Neutral Reference RCA and Yorkville DLX XLR (pro) interconnects feeding my Hafler HA15 headphone amp. Of course there's more involved in this comparison than just cables.

I replaced the Yorkville Sound DLX cables in my headphone system with their Studio One version, which is only a few dollars more, and sounds smoother. I can't find any fault with these cables at all. I borrowed a friend's crazy expensive Cardas Golden Reference XLR cables and prefer the Studio Ones for their neutrality.

“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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  • 4 months later...

Well, it has been over a year and I have sampled a fair number of cables from Apogee, Belden, Canare, Gotham, Grimm, and Mogami.  I must share my findings, if for no other reason than protect an impressionable innocent from wasting their precious hours doing cable comparisons.  

 

Firstly, none of these "neutral" pro cables sounded that much alike.  The brands seem to have a house sound  I spoke to an engineer that explained it this way.  As with microphones, cables need to be free of noise and work when called upon, but they are known to sound different from each other, and a good engineer understands this and makes appropriated adjustments.

 

For example, Gotham can be described as tipped up with a warmish midrange.  While Mogami, and to a lesser extent Canare, a bit rolled off or dull, especially by comparison to Gotham.  Belden seems to fall between the two.  Most neutral then?

 

Here are my picks:

 

AES/EBU: I had to borrow a vintage player to find something with the right output.  I would say that the Grimm cable was likely a little better than Mogami, Gotham, or Belden (Blue Jeans).   I can't recommend the Grimm cable for analog, however, unless your searching for a little airier sound.  Seems to do decay better than the others, but suffers on attack, like many sliver plated cables.

 

SPDIF and RCA: Apogee Wyde Eye is my favorite.  Gotham can sound bright, and Mogami a bit dead, at least for analog.  Belden 1694 is okay, but is a pain to deal with and can sound edgy.  I found the Apogee cables superior to the BJC LC1, which can sound dry.  I would have no problem using Apogee for spdif or rca throughout my whole system.  

 

XLR: I don't have a favorite.  Probably the Vovoxx was best, but it is much pricier than other pro brands.  I will say that I did not find a star quad that sounded as open as any twisted pair.  I think Mogami Silver would be as good a bet as any, unless you are looking for more high end.  Then, go Gotham.

 

Speaker cables:  Mogami can sound dull.  Gotham tipped up.  Belden seems about right.  Blue Jeans cable would be the place to start.

 

Now for the final final conclusion.  I wouldn't recommend going with pro cables, in general.  I think for a little more money you can get into some nice audiophile approved offerings that probably sound better.  I ended buying mostly Black Cat, but some of the cheaper Audioquest, Kimber, etc. sounded pretty good, and I would start there.  

 

If anyone wants to buy my last Gotham AES pair, let me know....

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Could you please share the model numbers of the cables you used?  There is a fair amount of variation in the cables within brands as well. 

 

Thanks for sharing your impressions.

 

Regards 

 

 

.

Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8.7 + JRMC 27 & HQPlayer | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB |  Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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8 hours ago, Nikhil said:

Could you please share the model numbers of the cables you used?  There is a fair amount of variation in the cables within brands as well. 

 

Thanks for sharing your impressions.

 

Regards 

 

 

.

 

Here goes:

 

1. Apogee Wyde Eye: Same cable for analog and spdif.  Did not try them for AES or XLR

2. Belden 1694A: Spdif and RCA

3. Belden 1800f: XLR, BAV XLR

4. Belden Blue Jeans LC1 RCA

5. Belden 5000 series speaker cable

6. Canare L4E65

7. Gotham: GAC 1 ultrapro, GAC 1, GAC 2 AES, SPK 2 x 2.5

8. Grimm TPR AES/XLR

9. Mogami 3173 AES, Silver Series XLR, Gold Series XLR, Gold RCA/SPDIF, 3103 speaker cable

10. Vovox Sonorus  XLR

11. LIvewire Advantage Microphone cable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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