Open and revealing - I/C's that transfer what the source produces !

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borism

I know this is an old thread, but the subject of my review are the same copper ICs - Sonny's copper sweetspot reveals. This thread is also responsible for my considering Tuan's (Sonny) cables when the need arose.

Briefly, I needed a 1m pair of RCA to XLR interconnects. In the past I have used Kimber's Hero, Mogami and Morrow Audio (MA2 and 4) ICs (still have the Morrow 4 and Hero in part of my system). I briefly considered getting another pair of Morrow ICs but realized that I could try out Sonny's copper cables for less than half the cost.

Tuan was very quick to respond to my inquiry and was accommodating to my needs. I basically had the new RCA-XLR cable within a week. My first impression was of a very well made cable that also looked very thin. The Morrows in comparison seemed much more substantial though this was probably only due to the wider sleeve.
I rushed to put the cable in my system and to my disbelief there was no sound in the right channel. To make it short, the special Bullet-style RCAs connectors - quite well made and stiff - were not completely pushed into the female connector. That was quickly remedied.

After this I noticed everything working and I let the cables burn in for about 5 days before any critical listening. My comments are primarily in comparison to the Morrow MA-4 ICs (with copper Eichman Bullet plugs). One caveat is that I don't have another RCA-XLR cable. Both ICs were plugged on one end into my Tranquility SE DAC (using an AQ RCA splitter plug). The other end - my Atma-Sphere MP3 preamplifier has balanced inputs (for the Sonny XLR) and SE inputs (Morrow RCA) as part of the recording monitor loop. I was reassured by Ralph Karsten there was no penalty in sound quality using the SE inputs. I compared the cables using computer AIFF files through the Tranquility DAC and by switching back and forth between ICs.

I should note that I found in the past that the Morrows were more detailed than the KK Heros. The Heros on the other hand may have had an edge regarding bass. My first impression on comparing Sonny's cables and the Morrows was that differences were subtle. My system is not geared to be hyper analytical but rather musical. In a different system I could see the differences much more pronounced.

I was quickly reassured that Sonny's ICs had plenty of tuneful bass (must have experienced some anxiety after seeing how thin they looked), certainly equal to the Morrows. Upon further listening I felt that Sonny's cables seemed to give a little more body to female vocalists and present them more three dimensionally. The Morrows seemed somewhat flat in comparison. I also could not help but notice more sibilance (sssh) on some recordings with the Morrows. Sonny's cables had all the treble information but it was more organic and less in your face. Overall, Sonny's cables were more musical to my ears.

So, to sum it up, Sonny's cables are an incredible bargain. I would have been happy to have performance equal to the Morrow cables but in my system Sonny's cables seem to out perform them at less than half the cost. With high-end audio prices rising steadily this seems very refreshing.

Hope this was helpful.

Boris     

GentleBender

I couldn't help ordering some cables from Tuan (Sonny) at his current prices. Plus helping a fellow AC guy in tough times is the right thing to do. :wink: Can't wait to post my impressions when the cables show up. Sonny is very quick to answer questions and real easy to work with. Good luck Sonny!

Sonny

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« Last Edit: 25 Apr 2015, 04:48 pm by Sonny »

Bob2

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Sonny,
where can I get more info and possibly purchase some of your cables?
I would like to try some for my TT.
Thanks,
Bob2

Sonny

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« Last Edit: 25 Apr 2015, 04:48 pm by Sonny »

GentleBender

GB, just finished them,, Will be on their way to you tomorrow!


Those look nice! Can't wait to hook them up in my system. How long does it take to break them in?

TJHUB

Those look nice! Can't wait to hook them up in my system. How long does it take to break them in?

I've owned a couple of pairs of these IC's.  Give them 2 days to settle in, and all will be good.

ACHiPo

Any idea of the capacitance? I need xlr interconnects for a long run (25') so low k is preferred.

Speedskater

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In pro audio on location recordings, XLR cables of up to 300 feet are often used.  At 300 feet total capacitance isn't a big deal, so at 25 feet it shouldn't be a problem.
But some of the best balanced cable like Belden 1800F has only 13pF/foot capacitance.
Only use bulk balanced cable from the major cable manufactures, because it takes big expensive machines to make good balanced cable.

RDavidson

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Actually, big expensive machines have nothing to do with absolute cable quality. Sure, these big machines can make cables in VERY LARGE quantities and hold a certain spec tolerance the whole time. In that regard, consistency with VERY high production is great with machines. But the idea that only machines can produce high quality cables is absurd. Keep in mind that the big cable manufacturers are married to their machine investment. With machines come limitations that don't apply to the small manufacturer making small batches of specialty cables. With that said, there are some folks building small batches of cables that use VERY well made, super high quality, tight tolerance, individual conductors produced by machines in their products. What these folks are doing is bridging the gap between what can be made into the final product straight out of a machine, while combining better design geometries and material combinations that cannot be done economically in any other way, than by hand.
« Last Edit: 27 Apr 2015, 03:14 pm by RDavidson »

brj

In pro audio on location recordings, XLR cables of up to 300 feet are often used.  At 300 feet total capacitance isn't a big deal, so at 25 feet it shouldn't be a problem.

Some amps are more sensitive to capacitance than others, so I'd be careful with the above generalization, especially if you aren't using pro amps.

ACHiPo

I'm using a Rowland Consummate pre and AtmaSphere M60 amps.  Not pro gear, yet I suspect pretty robust.  Everything sounds ok with the Mogami Gold I'm using, but I'm thinking I can do better.

Sonny

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« Last Edit: 25 Apr 2015, 04:47 pm by Sonny »

ACHiPo

Thanks for your interest... My xlr cables are about 30pF per foot. Only thing is braiding 25 ft. Of solid core cables is not trivial by hand.

Tuan
Tuan,
Thanks.  The capacitance would be fine, but having braided my old 6' speaker cables and 15' interconnects I can relate.  I definitely wouldn't want to do it for 25'.

Evan

GentleBender

GB, just finished them,, Will be on their way to you tomorrow!


Tuan, the cables arrived and I hope to get them in the system tonight. I noticed the arrows on the ends. Do I hook them up with the arrows pointing out of the phono stage and pointed toward the amp?

Sonny

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JohnR

Sonny, you're not allowed to engage in commercial activity here. This is supposed to be a user review.

Speedskater

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Some amps are more sensitive to capacitance than others, so I'd be careful with the above generalization, especially if you aren't using pro amps.
We are dealing with balanced analog interconnects, so a power amplifier's output is not a factor.
With modern low impedance interconnect output stages total capacitance should not be a problem, but some microphones have much higher output impedance's to capacitance can be problematic.

Speedskater

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  • Kevin
Actually, big expensive machines have nothing to do with absolute cable quality. Sure, these big machines can make cables in VERY LARGE quantities and hold a certain spec tolerance the whole time. In that regard, consistency with VERY high production is great with machines. But the idea that only machines can produce high quality cables is absurd. Keep in mind that the big cable manufacturers are married to their machine investment. With machines come limitations that don't apply to the small manufacturer making small batches of specialty cables. With that said, there are some folks building small batches of cables that use VERY well made, super high quality, tight tolerance, individual conductors produced by machines on their products. What these folks are doing is bridging the gap between what can be made into the final product straight out of a machine, and better design geometries and material combinations that cannot be done economically in any other way, than by hand.
Well no, that's not correct.  Bill Whitlock writes:

“Good” vs “Bad” Balanced Shield Connections
• Commercial cables have capacitances from each signal conductor to
shield are typically mismatched by 4% to 6%
• It’s because the two wires have different colors … honest!
*******************************************************
• Common-mode output impedances of drivers can also have 5% mismatch
Wires of different colors must be made on different machines – the machines that
extrude the liquid insulation onto the wire as it is pulled through a die. Die diameter
has a tolerance on the order of 0.001”, according to Belden. Therefore, two wires of
different color but otherwise identical, can have insulation thickness differences.
Calculations of capacitance, using the dielectric constant of the PVC insulation,
generally confirm capacitance differences (to the shield) in the vicinity of 5%.
Bill Whitlock, 9/4/2012 Overview of Audio System Grounding & Interfacing page88

brj

This thread is wandering a bit far afield.  Context, comparisons and background material are fine, but let's still try to keep focused on reviewing the product at hand.  Thank you.

Sonny, responding to direct questions from users is fine as long as the focus is on providing information on your product, such as listing the tech specs per foot, for example.  It's when vendors start making subjective statements relative to competing products or talking sales/pricing that things get a bit sticky.


Quote from: Speedskater
We are dealing with balanced analog interconnects, so a power amplifier's output is not a factor.  With modern low impedance interconnect output stages total capacitance should not be a problem, but some microphones have much higher output impedance's to capacitance can be problematic.

Not everyone uses amps with "modern low impedance interconnect output stages".  Vintage gear is popular with many people, for example.  In short, there are amps in active use that may still have stability challenges when facing sufficiently capacitive loads.

(Plenty of people reading these threads could design an amp from the ground up, but others may not have the background necessary to appreciate the limits of a generalization.)