Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review

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Letitroll98

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Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« on: 4 Mar 2011, 04:59 am »
Wywires Cable Tour Review

I’m going to do this review in reverse order, with the conclusions at the beginning, comparisons in the middle, and system description and playlist at the end.  Wywires seem to work best as a system so they should be presented as such first.  This will be a boon to those who either read only the first paragraph or skim the post quickly (I know I’m guilty of it).  For those who press on you’ll find some possibly controversial results.

I received Alex’s cables with 3 power cords, two RCA interconnects in Hot Sauce flavor, one XLR interconnect, and a set of speaker cables.  Wywires are Litz construction using all copper conductors and an air dielectric.  It appears Alex uses the ubiquitous Teflon tubes to create the air gap, which is maintained by a cotton wrap.  The interconnects had very nice Xhadow RCA connectors, I wasn’t sure what the spades and bananas on the speaker cables were, but also high quality.  All were wrapped in a very attractive flex, black and dark grey with a bit of sparkle.

After incrementally installing all but the XLR’s and a power cord, I was struck by how close the sound matched what Alex sets out as his design goals.  The overriding impression is one of elegance, refinement, and honey butter smoothness.  The most dramatic features were the wholeness of images and natural sounding timbre of instruments and voices.  Images took on a realness that was never matched in any of the cable comparisons that followed.  The cables definitely (from the web site) “Take the edge off sibilance while enhancing inner detail” and achieve “Virtual elimination of irritation or listening fatigue”.  They very nearly turn your SS components into tube amplifiers, I could be very happy listening to these cables for a long time.  But there were a couple of nagging doubts, while transient decay was excellent, there appeared to be a softening of leading edge transients, like that honey butter was dripping over the edges.  And I wasn’t sure the width and depth of soundstage matched my other cables, perhaps not the “Greatly expanded soundstage in all dimensions including the vertical”.

The first to be installed was a power cable for my preamp.  I’ve got a new dedicated listening room that was barely settled in when the cables arrived and the Juice PC replaced a stock OEM doing temporary service.  To say night and day would be a vast understatement.  The improvements in every area related to sound quality were stunning.  Later in the review period I went back and forth with my Zu Cable Birth PC’s on my transport and preamp.  The results were consistent with the Zu’s being more upfront, in your face detailed and the Wywires laid back and graceful.  Bass wasn’t better or worse with either cable, I preferred the Wywires Juice, but not by a wide margin.  Alex informs me they were different versions.  I thought I could detect a slight difference between the different Wywires, but just barely and not enough to be positive about my conclusions, so close were the various Juice PC’s.

Next up were the interconnects, going from DAC to preamp, then a set from preamp to amp.  Again Alex says they are different versions and I heard a slight difference between them, maybe.  Against a set of Zu Oxyfuel they absolutely trounced the Zu.  This is a completely unfair competition for the Qxyfuel as they are out priced by 8.5 times, but be that as it may, the Wywires were smoother, more detailed, better imaging, better bass, much more natural timbre, the Zu only held their own in soundstage depth and width.  Next up were Zu Wylde and this was much closer.  The Wywires exhibited their by now trademark qualities, a smooth, detailed, sophisticated sound, with the qualities noted above.  Wywires sound…expensive, like they’re a fine wine or a silk shirt, comfortable, but not in an old shoe way.  They impress at every turn with cymbals that sound real, acoustic guitar strings that vibrate like when you play guitar at home, and violins in which you can hear the rosin on the bow.  The Zu Wylde could not match this quality.  The Zu had every bit as much detail, but not as real sounding.  The Wylde had a wider and deeper soundstage, but the images within that soundstage were not as convincing.  Bass again was about equal, a bit tighter with the Zu but not by much.  On the downside, all this smoothness came at a cost.  Visceral impact and the snap of leading edge transients are not the Wywires strong suit; the Zu Wylde had the edge here.  But overall I much preferred the Wywires sound, only wondering if too much smoothness was a good thing.  Later the addition of the speaker cables addressed this somewhat, but there’s a wildcard to play first.

I remembered I had a cable whose designer espoused the same goals that Alex Sventitsky had, namely that reducing detrimental skin effect consequences by using ultra thin conductors will eliminate sibilance and result in a smoother sounding cable.  Enter the Magnan Audio Type Vi by Dave Magnan, radically different in design with Micro-thin (.0005”) bronze ribbon conductors with an 8kOhm resistance (not a typo), but also using an air dielectric as in the Wywires.  These are very comparable to Wywires in sound quality, just a slightly different flavor.  With the Magnans in place the impact and transient response that the Wywires left missing returned, as did an added measure of soundstaging depth and width.  Images were outside the edge of the speakers with both the Magnan and Zu Wylde, at or inside the speakers with the Wywires.  Layering and apparent depth was greater with the Magnan, although the images were more clearly lit with the Wywires.  The Magnans equaled the Wywires in smoothness and lack of harshness, but they still couldn’t get that palpable sense of real images in space that Wywires excel at.  I prefer the Magnan Type Vi, but only by a hair, chalk it up to personal preference.  Neither is “better”, it’s what attributes you value more.

Before all this interconnect switching was done, I had installed the Wywires speaker cables, replacing a set of Zu Audio Julians.  Before the switch I had all of the Wywires IC and PC in line and was thinking it all sounded a bit too smooth.  The Wywires speaker cables brought back a lot of the missing snap and high frequency sizzle, all in a good way.  They work very synergistically with the PC’s and IC’s and I would recommend anyone interested to consider purchasing a system wide set of Alex’s cables as the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.  Compared directly with the Julians using the aforementioned variety of interconnects and power cords at hand, the Wywires resulted in opposite conclusions from the other comparisons.  Here it was the Wywires that were more bright and upfront with the Zu’s being the laid back brother.  As noted this engendered a better mix with the Wywires’ own family, but overall on their own merits I preferred the Zu Julian cable in my system.  Detail and bass were about the same, as was impact and transient response.  A slight edge in soundstage to the Zu, instrumental timbre goes to the Zu with individual imaging being better with the Wywires.  High frequency smoothness and lack of listener fatigue goes to the Zu.  There was less of that silky, expensive feeling sound with the Wywires speaker cables than with the interconnects and power cords.

Wrapping up I would say the star of the Wywires line is the interconnect, a beautiful product, with the biggest bang for the buck value going to the Juice power cords.  The speaker cables I judge as icing on the cake, good with these flavors, but maybe not the best mix with every single system.  And you can’t discount the value of Alex delivering up a custom set with every purchase.  I’m sure he could wrangle even better results if he was targeting my system directly rather than shipping a box around on a cable tour.  Thanks very much to Alex Sventitsky for letting me audition his cables, he was responsive, informative, gentlemanly, and an absolute joy to deal with at every turn.  And I haven’t spent a dime with him, I’m sure his customers will be even more pampered, a highly recommended person and company to deal with.  I enjoyed my time with the Wywires immensely and would recommend everyone considering audio cable purchases to put Wywires on a very short list.  Especially if you value the attributes of realistic imaging, smooth fatigue free sound, well integrated and well made products, and a custom touch not available from the mass marketers.

System:

VPI HW-19Jr with Mark III upgrades and Rega RB300 arm with custom wiring.  A classic Empire cartridge presently installed
Cambridge Audio 640P phono amp
Cambridge Audio CD-6 and Oppo 970HD used as transports
JEC TC7510 DAC
B&K CS-113 preamp
B&K ST-202 amp
Magneplaner MMG speakers, modified bases and DIY BudP ground enhancers
Yamaha YST SW100 sub
Lovan audio rack
Pure AV Power Conditioner
Tweaks too numerous to mention

Room:

13.5’ x 10’ dedicated listening room, stereo only, DIY room treatments including 9” bass traps with numerous absorptive and dispersive treatments.

Music:
(Not exclusively here, but most of the go-back-to selections)

Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays: As Falls Wichita, (etc.)
Paul Simon: Graceland
Stereophile Test CD 2&3
Linkwitz Pink Noise and Impulse test
Sara K: Closer Than They Appear
Shadowfax: Too Far to Whisper
The Planets, Holst: LSO w/Geoffrey Simon
Her Infinite Variety, Celtic Women in Music and Song
A Womens Heart 2, various
Celtic Voices, Women of Song
Duets: Rob Wasserman
Lyle Lovett: Joshua Judges Ruth
Indigo Girls: Swamp Ophelia
Liz Story: Solid Colors
The Weepies: Say I am You
Mark Isham: Self Titled
Shawn Colvin: Cover Girl
Sting: The Soul Cages
REM: Automatic for the People
Everything But The Girl, Acoustic

carusoracer

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #1 on: 4 Mar 2011, 05:26 pm »
Well written and very informative.

Alex is very much the audiophile gentleman.

Phil A

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #2 on: 26 Mar 2011, 02:32 am »
Rather than start a whole new thread, I figured I would add my comments regarding the WyWires Eastern Cable Tour here.  I had previously used a WyWires balanced interconnect between my amp and preamp and my comments were posted some time ago at the following links:

Post 37 here:
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=80675.20

Poar 59 here:
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=80675.40

Since those posts, some time ago, I've since changed preamps.  I've gone from an all-in-one pre/pro to a separate music preamp.  A picture of the current system (and a description of most of what I use) is here:




For simplicity purposes, the components used to review the WyWires cables were as follows:

Speakers - Thiel CS3.7s, 2 Rel Storm III subs
Preamp - Modwright LS36.5DM
Amp - Bryston 14BSST
Sources - Modwright BDP-83 (solid state mod), Marantz DV9600 (CD transport only), Bryston BDA-1 DAC
Other - Torus RM20 Conditioner

The room is about 16x20 with a 19ft. ceiling and opens into other spaces.  I used a one third octave RTA to measure and treat the room and and set-up the system.

I do have other items in the system and much of the time (probably more than 80%) I listen to an SACD, I use an HDMI audio de-embedder from the BDP-83 into the Bryston DAC.  I have an upgraded power supply (Channel Islands) for the HDMI audio de-embedder.  For the initial comparisons I left this out of the equation.  Sometimes the highs are a bit better using the analog connection out of the modded BDP-83.

I should also note that the preamp is not fully broken in.  I have probably less than 100 hours on it even at this point.  I was scheduled to be on the tour earlier and I asked Alex if he could move me back as the preamp was on the way and I wanted to get it and have it broken in a bit.

If the posts from the old thread were read, it can be noted that I make my own cables.  I've compared them against many expensive things and I thought about going into the business (slightly different business model - was going to do custom audio whole house installs and cables for those customers with high end installs) after semi-retiring for a bit, but decided against it.  That was probably 8 years back.  It is a very expensive proposition.  One of the last things I did was get a quote for a company to custom manufacture wire for me.  From what I remember, it was going to run me about $5.3k for a 1000 foot test spool.  That was after having gone through thousands on various other raw materials.  The benefit I have today is that I ended up with extra equipment, selling some and upgrading and shifting things around and I have four or five systems hanging around today.

So for cabling, except for the WyWires balanced cable I preferred over mine (as it had more refinement) from the prior comparison, everything else was one.  I first removed my power cord from the preamp power supply.  I made this cord a bit different from my other power cords.  Below is a picture of the cord I used.



I went back and forth with various pieces of music for a few hours.  I could not detect a different between the cords.  I made the cord a bit differently from my other ones (i.e. on the DAC) but do not recall hearing a difference between my cords either (it was some time ago).  I decided at the conclusion of my auditioning of the other cables, I would try the WyWires on the DAC in place of mine.

Next up was the speaker cables.  When I first replaced my balanced cable with the cable I got from Alex when he first posted here on Audio Circle, it took me a few tries to ascertain the differences between mine.  Mine image as well.  The WyWires is more refined and relaxed.  Replacing the speaker cable, I noted the same qualities and it produced a beautiful system synergy.  I listened for a bit.

Next I decided to put my speaker cables back temporarily and see what the RCAs would sound like vs. mine from the Modwright BDP-83 to the preamp.  This comparison took the longest.  I ended up doing it many times with both my speaker cables and the WyWires ones.  While there was somewhat of a more relaxed sound, the differences for some reason between mine and WyWires as not as great as between the balanced cable I previously had done between the amp and the preamp or the speaker cable comparison.  At the end of the day I did prefer the WyWires by a little bit.  As I noted earlier, I tend to prefer listening to SACDs via the HDMI audio de-embedder and I thought to myself I just spent lots of time for this comparison and it's time to move on to the balanced cable to be placed between the DAC and the preamp.

Upon replacing the balanced cable between the DAC and the preamp, I was able to hear the same differences I heard when I replaced the cable between the preamp and amp.  I started initially with my speaker cables and then moved to the WyWires.  By this time the system was sounding like I never heard it before.  I decided to move from the initial equipment to the HDMI audio dembedder to some SACDs going through the DAC where I previously thought going that route lost a bit of the highs.  No more!  This combo of the WyWires balanced cables between the DAC and preamp and the preamp and amp and the speaker cables was simply magic.  I couldn't stop listening to things.

As it was getting close to the end of my time, I changed power cords on the the DAC.  I went back and forth various times and could not hear a difference their either.  Thanks Alex.  I really enjoyed the opportunity and looking forward to receive the speaker cables and balanced cables I ordered.  These cables are the real deal.



etcarroll

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Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #3 on: 28 Apr 2011, 08:44 pm »
Gear:
Denon DP-52 tt with Ortofon MC 25E mc cartridge, E.A.R. 834P Signature phono pre. and Mullard NOS tubes.
Rega Apollo cdp, Sherwood 871 multi-player for SACD
Purity One (Preproduction unit) pre with Mullard NOS tubes and BPT C-7 PC.
Bryston 4B amp, upgraded/recapped by Bryston
Testing done with LS-6 speakers on loan to me, usually run Onyx Reference 3 with Skiing Ninja Master upgrade and Platinum bypass caps.
Speakers are biwired with Supra Rondo 4x4.0 cable, mix of spades and bananas at ends.
ICs:  WyWires - cdp, Clarity Labs Harvest II - SACD, Noble Sound Labs "The Red"- phono-pre to pre, Noble sound labs "The Cyprium" pre to amp.
Power Conditioning: PS Audio Quintet and Leviton hospital grade wall outlet connected with DH labs Power Plus with Wattgate audio grade terminators.
Racking: Cambre Timbre 4 rack with Adona Large Brass Gold Cones and vibrapods.
Tweaks: Herbie's Hal-o Teflon 9 tube dampers, 1" MDF TT platform sitting on No-Rez.

Room:
I have a McMansion, with all the good, and bad, that implies. My 1st floor family room is both my HT room, and in last year, I've put together a 2 channel system seperate from the HT.  The family room measures approximately 19' x 16', with a 10 foot high ceiling, but is in fact open to the entire first floor.


Experience:
After being out of two channel music listening for well over a decade, a year ago I began the process of rebuilding my stereo system. I quickly realized I had no need for cassettes so I sold my Nakamichi cassette deck on eBay and threw away all my pre-recorded cassettes from my time in college, which was a few hundred cassettes usually with two albums per cassette. The only thing I salvaged was my Denon turntable, and even then I realized the cartridge was shot so that was replaced with an Ortofon. Very quickly I came to appreciate sound reproduction via the Rega CD player, but it's been an ongoing struggle to get my vinyl playback to match. In the past year I've gone through two different preamps, in addition to auditioning almost a dozen different phono preamps.

In the past year I also began the process of beginning a classical record collection, as well as expanding my jazz record collection. Because of that, I purchased the VPI 16.5 Record cleaning machine.

So over the past year, with each new tweak or component upgrade in my vinyl playback chain, the sound of my vinyl playback has slowly but surely come closer and closer to my digital playback. But until now, it hasn't quite reached that level.

I'm pleased to say, with the addition of a WyWires Juice II power cord powering my EAR phono-pre, my vinyl playback now matches if not exceeds the quality of my digital playback. To borrow from the review done by Nick 77 of the Juice:
 "it was if i had just upgraded to 3D on my stereo system. The music has taken on a 3 dimensional sound like never before, i can hear echo's in the instruments and fading sounds of instruments crystal clear. I have a new increase of resolution and air around instruments like never before."
"...and the sparkle and air around cymbals is really cool."
"The soundstage has taken on a new dimension as well, i have instruments floating in mid air all over the place, fading in and out with crystal clear clairity. And the depth of the soundstage has increased and is like a concert hall."
In addition, the way the base tightened up was first rate, especially in a system where I felt my base was already well represented and lifelike.

As a result of this tremendous improvement in my vinyl playback, I've purchased the Juice II to for my own use. I can't think of any greater accolade I can give the product. From the beginning it was readily apparent my vinyl playback benefited by the Juice I, which was my initial introduction to WyWires power cords. With the Juice I it was immediately apparent that music was more dynamic with greater space  around instruments, while listening to symphonic music the soundstage was simply huge and the transitions from striking of a single triangle to the explosion of the full orchestra was a real joy to listen to in Mahler's fifth Symphony. Of late I've been listening to a lot of 50s era jazz trumpet musicians such as Miles Davis and Lee Morgan, and again the addition of the Juice power cables really opened up the sound giving depth and strength to the music, while at the same time  not allowing the brass instruments to sound to brassy or harsh.

The other big winner in my system was the insertion of the WyWire interconnects between my SACD and preamp. The Wywire product tamed the high-end glare and harshness that I never realized was even present in my SACD playback, it wasn't until after I swapped out the existing interconnect for the Wywire interconnects, that I realized previously won listening to the music I would tense up and set my teeth on edge, gripping the arms of my chair tightly which I never realized I was doing, once I started using the Wywire interconnects while listening to the music I was immersed in  the music, and totally relaxed. The turning point here was listening to Joni Mitchell's Hejira, and getting halfway through the song 'Coyote', and realizing I was no longer put off by her voice on extended syllables and her attempts to reach higher notes as I have been in the past. A truly remarkable change brought about by Alex's product.

Not every single wire in the package proved to be such a tremendous win, though none of them were negative. Adding the Juice power cord to my SACD player was no change, nor did swapping out the Noble labs Red interconnect for a Wywire's interconnect make that much of an audible difference between my phono preamp and preamp. Also, my system does not use balanced interconnects, and my left speaker is too far away from my rack to make use of the speaker cables are included in the package. I was also disappointed the addition of a Wywire Juice power cord to my Purity One preamp didn't make much of a difference in sound quality, as I find tubed components such as this almost always reflect changes in the system. However, I have a very good BPT C-7 power cord there already, so it would be tough to make a tremendous improvement there I feel.

Summation:
The last two days I've changed all the wires in my phono playback system to Wywire's units, and I just got lost in a variety of music. Be it classical, jazz or rock it didn't matter, everything I threw at the set up sounded more vibrant and alive than I remembered with better definition and clarity of tone, air around the instruments, and easily defined soundstage. The base was tighter and the highs simply shimmered in midair, while vocals sounded more lifelike than I can recall ever hearing in my system.

If you're looking to get that final 10% improvement in your vinyl playback, or any part of your system, I'd strongly recommend you investigate a Wywire component where one might be applicable.

Music:

vinyl-
Bernstein conducts Shostakovich Leningrad Symphony number seven, New York Philharmonic
Debussy: La Mer - Charles Münch/Boston Symphony
Tchaikovsky Concerto number one-Van Cliburn, Kiril Kondrashin conducting
Mahler: Symphony number 5, New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter conducting
Joni Mitchell - Hejira
Jimi Hendrix - the cry of love
Romeo Void - it's a condition
Steely Dan - Gaucho
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 200 gram
John Coltrane - Blue Train
Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder
CD-
Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder
Ella Fitzgerald-the best of the songbooks
Joni Mitchell - Hejira
John Coltrane - Blue train
Donald Fagan-The Nightfly
Eddie Lockjaw Davis - Cookbook vol1
SACD -
Mahler: Symphony number 5- Benjamin Zander and the Philharmonia Orchestra
Getz/Gilberto
Tchaikovsky Concerto number one-Van Cliburn, Kiril Kondrashin conducting
2L - the Nordic sound, sampler disc
DVD-A -
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue




etcarroll

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Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #4 on: 28 Apr 2011, 08:57 pm »
Epilogue: during my final listening sessions, running all Wywire solution to my vinyl playback, there was one more improvement I neglected to mention. And that was removing my do-it-yourself power cable between the PS Audio Quintet and the Leviton wall outlet, and replacing it with a Juice I. Again, nothing dramatic here just another improvement on a magnitude of tenths over what I had previously.

bacobits1

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #5 on: 19 Aug 2011, 11:41 pm »
Only 3 people on the tour since March????????
Wow this schiit right out. :wtf:

wywires

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #6 on: 20 Aug 2011, 12:19 am »
Only 3 people on the tour since March????????
Wow this schiit right out. :wtf:

I've been negligent about the tours...People are on Holiday and we'll get things going again. I think after RMAF we'll start another set of tours with the new new speaker cables and some other new stuff. Stay tuned for an announcement mid September. People have been sampling but not writing up comments. No issues with that.

etcarroll

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Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #7 on: 20 Aug 2011, 01:04 am »
Will there be bi-wire sets for speakers? If yes, I'd like to try them, though I need a bit longer cable than the norm for the left speaker.

Gopher

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #8 on: 15 Nov 2011, 02:32 am »
Is this tour still alive, heh?

Scottdazzle

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #9 on: 15 Nov 2011, 02:40 am »
Gene and Phil,

Thanks for the reviews. Several rooms featured Wywires at RMAF and these were some of the best-sounding rooms imo. Alex seems to have produced some very fine cables and it's good to have confirmation from a few golden ears!

Scott

Phil A

Re: Wywires Eastern Cable Tour Review
« Reply #10 on: 15 Nov 2011, 03:21 am »
Still enjoying my WyWires cables.  I actually really like the connectors Alex uses on his power cords.  I just added one to the DAC.  Seems to fit better.  I also changed amps about 5 mos. back and got a Modwright KWA150SE which is better overall synergy in my system.  Kudos to Alex for making such great sounding cables.  I had much of my own cables in the system which sounded worlds better than mega buck cables I had compared them to many years back.  I was really surprised by the notch up I got from inserting the WyWires cables.  It was certainly not expected.