Full Loom Cable Evaluations: Intro

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Full Loom Cable Evaluations: Intro
« on: 5 Aug 2015, 04:25 am »
I’ll start this off by giving a bit of an overview of what we are doing.  We’ve been talking to various cable manufacturers (hopefully the list continues to grow) and asking if they’d like to submit a “full loom” (IC’s, digital cable, power cables, and speaker cables) for evaluation in  2 separate systems and then have the results posted i. We’ve decided to do the  “reviews” in their own threads that will have very similar titles so they can easily be searched for  as a group and we’ll also post and update links to subsequent reviews as they are posted.

The idea is not necessarily a “shoot out or direct comparison” but more of an evaluation of how the cables performed in our systems. We’d like to provide readers with the general characteristics and effects the various cables provide especially as a full loom when possible. In some cases, the full loom may not be possible in both systems, we already have had a couple manufactures only  sent XLR IC’s and unfortunately,  my DAC  does not have XLR outputs.  In such a case, we’ll continue to use our own cable in the missing cables position but will make note of this in the review.

We’ve suggested  the companies  submit cables that do NOT exceed $1k per cable or per pair of cables (IC’s  / speaker cables), it’s not a  “hard line” just a suggestion.
We’ll be evaluating the cables in  2  different systems with significantly different price points.

My System:
I hate doing this having already started the series, it was suppsed to happen prior to the first evaluation. However, there were some unforseen circumstances and subsequent delays. So , after the Arkana loom, I've  added a couple pieces of gear and replaced the Jolida in my system (noted below). I've spent a couple weeks getting accustomed to the changes with my "normal" cables before starting in onthe next loom. This series was never about  direct comparisons (although the odd one will be made), we don't have all the looms here at once . It will continue to be about what the looms do for our systems, the general characteristics and the pros/cons to each  loom.
  • Modded Jolida JD302 CRC (caps/resistors/dioodes upgraded, NOS Amperex ECC83 pre tubes/Mullard CV4024 driver tubes, Canada Fuller EL34G power tubes)
  • Dodd battery powered preamplifier, variabale gain, 6H30P DR
  • Dodd / Richie battery powered prototype amplifier
  • Grant Fidelity Tube DAC 11 (Mullard A-frame 6DJ8)
  • GR Research OB7 (upgraded c/o's & M130X woofer upgrade)
  • GR research  dual OB 12" direct-servo controlled subs (H-frame)  / ch
  • PI Audio Mini Buss
  • Marigo Ultara 5 power cords (1M), Real World Acoustics IC's (1m), DIY  speaker cables (4 conductor solid core  high quality copper 4.5’)
  • DIY absorption panels at 1st reflection points, DIY poly diffusers behind OB7's
  • Room Size: 18.5’ x 12’ x 7.5’

Don's system:
  • Bryston 14BSST2 Amp
  • K&K RAKK DAC MKIV (Dueland caps)
  • Berkley USB Alpha USB-> SP/DIF re-clocker
  • Piega P10 Speakers
  • PI Audio USB cable (1.5m)
  • PI Audio UberBuss
  • Various Onda Power cords & XLR  IC's, nickel plated copper speaker cables

Some of the artists/albums we’ll be using for the evaluations:
  • Bob James / David Sanborne  -  Double Vision
  • Diana Krall    Love Scenes
  • Doug MacLeod  -  There's a Time
  • Eric Clapton   -   Unplugged
  • Fourplay  -  Fourplay
  • Gaye Delorme  -  Blue Wave Sessions
  • Govi  -  Guitar Odyssey
  • Hubert Sumlin  -  Blues Guitar Boss
  • Jazz at the Pawnshop
  • Katie Melua  -  Piece by Piece
  • Lee Ritenour  -  Wes Bound
  • Matt Andersen  -  Leve From the Phoenix
  • Steely Dan  -  Aja
  • Steely Dan  -  Gaucho
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan  -  Couldn't Stand the Weather

Full Loom Review: ZenWave Audio
Full Loom Review: Arkana Physical Research (blue loom)
Full Loom Review: Triode Wire Labs
Full Loom Review: Arkana Physical Research (grey loom)

« Last Edit: 14 Feb 2016, 09:05 am by Captainhemo »


Re: Full Loom Cable Evaluations: Intro
« Reply #1 on: 8 Aug 2015, 08:54 pm »
Nice work, both Jay and Don!

The amount of effort in this undertaking is significant, so a huge "thank you" to both of you for putting this together!  And kudos to the various vendors for their willingness to support such efforts!  Much of audio is quite subjective and definitely subject to personal taste, so this isn't a simple proposition.

A few thoughts -
  • First, consider describing your room size and layouts.
  • Second, consider describing how long your current cables are, and mention any length differences relative to the review cables.  (Being clear on cable lengths across reviews may be important... for example, people worried about rolling off the highs when using a speaker cable having a higher capacitance per foot may have those concerns alleviated by realizing that their system requires a shorter cable than the review cable evaluated.)
  • When setting up the reviews, consider asking the vendors whether they have specific cable recommendations based on your gear and listening preferences.  (For marketing reasons, it's often easier for vendors to sell cables in a generic "good / better / best" format, but in many cases, what sounds best will really be dominated by what is most electrically compatible with your gear and the cable lengths you require, and that may not always be the "best" cable in their line.)

Note that I post these thoughts as much to benefit others considering a cable review as for any other reason.  From what I've seen of the first review, the detail was impressive.  On top of that, Jay was very diligent in reaching out to me prior to their posting their first review, purely with the intention of making sure things progressed smoothly, and that was very much appreciated!

Again, nice job all around!


Re: Full Loom Cable Evaluations: Intro
« Reply #2 on: 9 Aug 2015, 04:20 pm »
Thanks  brj, appreciate the feedback :)
I added a bit more info  (calbe lengthjs , room size etc) to my system, wil lhave to double check with Don on  some  more details regading his sytem.
I also added the  cable lengths of the Zenwave cables Dave supplied at the top of the review to better describe up front what we are evaluating.  I'll try and keep this in mind as I'm writing the reviews.