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Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

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  • #91
    Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Fellow Harbethians, I wanted to share with you a recent interconnect discovery I made by happenstance. I will be writing it up for Positive Feedback Online in the future, but I thought you'd enjoy a preview.

    First of all, it is a DIY interconnect, so you have to be a bit handy with a soldering iron to put it together. Somewhat tongue in cheek I call it the the DIY 'GOAT' interconnect (GOAT = Greatest of All Time) because of its extremely modest cost and extremely high performance. This interconnect competes easily with some of my favorite interconnects in the $1100 per meter range, and at times betters them. The GOATs will cost you about $70 per meter to build.

    How this all came about: After a tonearm rewire, I was listening to the tonearm wire through my line stage using my computer/DAC combo as a source courtesy a slick little connector wire with cartridge connections on one end and RCAs on the other. The connector wire connects to the cartridge connections on the tonearm wire on one end and plugs into the DAC output on the other, and then the RCA outs from the tonearms plug into a line level input on the preamp. Well, what happens is that instantly the tonearm wire becomes part of your line circuit so you can evaluate its sonics in a relatively neutral environment.

    So the result was one of those 'Holy Crap!' moments that we all hope we'll have once in a while. This particular tonearm wire makes fantastic interconnects!

    So here's what you need for a 1 meter pair of interconnects:

    1- 2 meters of Cardas tonearm wire. I bought mine from Parts Connexion (parts # Cardas 64312). it has has 4 internal copper Litz wire bundles (red, green, blue, and white) plus a shield and thin wall jacket wrapped around it.

    2- 4 SwitchCraft RCAs. These are the same RCAs used by Ken Shindo on his pricey silver interconnects - they are really good, and very inexpensive, making them a double winner. I bought mine from telephoneparts.com. Search on SWC-3502A and they'll come up. They are $1.95 each in smaller quantities - you'll need 4 for a pair of interconnects.

    I used silver solder, and set my Hakko soldering iron to 375 degrees C (700 degrees F). The tonearm wires are a bit difficult to solder because of their small size, so it might take you a bit to get the hang of it. Be patient and observe sound soldering technique. You might order an extra foot of tonearm wire to give yourself some working room.

    I solder the red & green wires to the center pin, and the blue & white wires to the return. It takes a bit of practicing to get everything just right, so don't feel bad if you have trouble soldering them up the first time. The sonics changes quite a bit over the first 100 hours or so before things settle down.

    My friend Stephaen who writes for 6Moons loaned me his Hagerman Fry-Baby to break in the wires. The FB is a terrific little device and a real time (and ear) saver. There's definately one in my future.

    After you get everything all soldered up plug them in and enjoy! For a meager $70 you'll be able to find out what the cats spending over $1100 per meter for interconnects are enjoying. The result is phenomenal, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Best,

    Jeff

    Comment


    • #92
      Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

      Thanks Jeff.....

      Comment


      • #93
        Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

        Thanks Jeff, wouldn't it be funny if your homebrewed cables bested cardas's own top line cables!

        Comment


        • #94
          Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

          Originally posted by digiphobe View Post
          Thanks Jeff, wouldn't it be funny if your homebrewed cables bested cardas's own top line cables!
          Well, dare I say it, but I actually preferred them in a friend's system to his top-shelf Golden Cross, which is one of my all-time favorite cables, and a cable set that I kick myself for selling off some years ago.

          The GOATs have a tonal balance similar to the Golden Reference cables, but without the Ref's somewhat edgy and overly detailed presentation.

          Overall the GOAT interconnects are the best interconnects I've had in my system, and the fact that they are cheap is the icing on the cake.

          I particularly like the way the GOATs handle the time elements of music like melody, rhythm, tempo, and meter. Very engaging, yet very natural as well, and I always feeling like what the musicians are doing on a recording in the time realm is coming through convincingly without being overblown or softened unnecessarilly. Fixed dynamics like forte, mezzo forte, pianissimo, etc., come across very believably as well, as do the fixed dynamics of creschendos and diminuendos. This really helps me stay connected with the music on an emotional level.

          The GOATs do a really nice job presenting harmonies, overtones, and harmonics. They're detailed enough that you pick up on all those things llke you should, but aren't so overly detailed that they serve as a source of distraction from the music.

          The portrayal of instrumental timbre is natural, but perhaps doesn't have that Kodachrome intensity of tonal color that the Golden Cross does. But for example, the way the portray both bowed & plucked strings will be a revelation from many listeners. Woodwinds and keyboards are quite stunning really, and percussion is out of this worly. Wait until you hear how realistic non-pitched percussion like drums, the triangle, and the orchestral gong sound - you'll be blown away! Pitched percussion like timpani, mallet instruments, the celesta, and tubular bells are equally gorgeous. Brass is pretty impressive, but I wouldn't want it to be any more brassy, or it'd start to border on being a bit aggressive. Fine as it is, but ... .

          All the usual audiophile stuff is there in abundance: imaging, soundstaging, etc. So here you have a cable that is well balanced and soncially and musically, and I think a lot of listeners will find a lot to like about it (at least I do!).

          The Golden Cross are darker & lusher sounding, a little more intense with regards to tonal color, and they beat the GOATS in capturing that last little bit of the volume of sound-space and sense of air, but the GC's mid-bass is also boomier and less articulate, making them a little annoying in my system with the M40.1s (which will reveal anything that is a little out of balance from top-to-bottom). In a system with less bass or a bit of suck-out in the midrange, the GCs could be pretty wonderful though.

          Although, the real story here is that here are some inexpensive DIY cables that can run with the big dogs, take a bite out of their hind quarters in a couple of places, and then run on by and let you settle in and enjoy the music. That's a pretty neat trick!

          Cheers,

          Jeff

          Comment


          • #95
            Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

            Jeff, any advice on if these can be used as balanced interconnects? and if so how would one terminate them with XLRs. Thanks philip.

            Comment


            • #96
              Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

              Originally posted by P.C. View Post
              Jeff, any advice on if these can be used as balanced interconnects? and if so how would one terminate them with XLRs. Thanks philip.
              I've never built any balanced interconnects, so I'm afraid I can't be of much help on that one. Sorry about that, P.C.

              Best,

              Jeff

              Comment


              • #97
                Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                Originally posted by Jeff Day View Post

                ...I solder the red & green wires to the center pin, and the blue & white wires to the return......
                Hi Jeff,
                where you soldered the shield? obviously to the return, but on both ends or just at one end?

                Kindly

                Vlado

                Comment


                • #98
                  Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                  Originally posted by Vlado View Post
                  Hi Jeff,
                  where you soldered the shield? obviously to the return, but on both ends or just at one end?

                  Kindly

                  Vlado
                  Hi Vlado,

                  I 'floated' the shield so it is not soldered on either end. I've found this approach to often produce a very nice result.

                  Kind regards,

                  Jeff

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                    Thanks Jeff....

                    Comment


                    • Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                      Originally posted by P.C. View Post

                      ....how would one terminate them with XLRs.....
                      Certainly it's possible to terminate the cable with XLRs. One wire to + (hot), one wire to - (cold), two wires to GND and it's up to you if you connect (on both sides) the shield to GND or you can leave it floating as Jeff did on his RCA terminated cable. How this balanced cable will sound compared to unbalanced is in the stars, till somebody perform the test.

                      Kindly

                      P.S. you can also try: two wires to + (hot), two wires to - (cold), shield to GND
                      Last edited by Vlado; 03-03-2009, 07:23 PM. Reason: Post Scriptum

                      Comment


                      • Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                        I want to share with you one web statement regarding cables. Posted as it is:

                        The fact that they (the cables) are priced exorbitantly is not a matter of cost but proportional to the number of suckers at any given moment.

                        Comment


                        • Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                          Hi, anyone is using, (or have used), the Kimber 8PR or 8VS speaker cable with SHL5, you know one good speaker cable for SHL5 with tubes?
                          Except Auditorium 23 .Regards.

                          Comment


                          • Speaker cable for SHL-5

                            Since I havenít seen anybody mention my setup, so I would like to know if its ok; Im placing my amp in the side not in middle between the two speakers, hence the amp is very close to one speaker but far from the other.

                            My question can I make the length speaker cable for one speaker only 2 m and the other 6 m? And should the long cable need to be thicker gauge than the shorter cable? And should I go to Classic 79 strand cost £1.95/metre not Original?

                            Im asking this because as far I know long speaker cable degrade sound quality and also one speaker might sound different than the other since the two cable length are not identical.

                            If this has been answered before please let me know the link.
                            Thanks very much.

                            Comment


                            • My question can I make the length speaker cable for one speaker only 2 m and the other 6 m? And should the long cable need to be thicker gauge than the shorter cable?
                              Hi,

                              As far as I know the difference within 25% in length makes no significant effect to the sound.

                              ST

                              Comment


                              • Some years ago I had a setup with 4m on one side and 2m on the other (or something like that) and didn't notice any difference - that was with small Maggies and a Sumo Nine amp (the amp instructions say about speaker cables - go to the hardware store and get some lamp cord).

                                There is a good article on cables on the Pass DIY site (not accessible at time of writing). Personally I'd follow the amp maker's recommendations when it comes to cable, if anything will be affected by choice of cable it is the amp rather than the speaker.

                                Comment

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