Cables and interconnects
Copyright 2011-18 Troels Gravesen

By request, a few notes on my cables and interconnects.

Cables and interconnects are highly controversial subjects and easily end up in a stew of religion and science. I recall someone mailing me about his speaker cables first reaching full potential after 300 hours of burn-in. This is way after I have left the party! Trying out new cables I always go back after a couple of weeks to my former cables to hear if I miss something. 
What I've had to realise over time is that I have discarded cables and interconnects due to my system not being good enough for revealing its qualities and trying the same thing at a later stage all of a sudden became an improvement in level of transparency, because level of transparency is usually what we're after.

The cables and interconnects seen below is what I use for the time being. This is in no way a recommendation and you may find alternatives that better suit your taste, but I have found these to be a good compromise between cost and performance. In fact cables made from these components will cost you a fraction of some ready-made "super" cables.

I do believe there are differences between cables and interconnects, but we need good gear to hear the difference between two interconnects going from e.g. your preamp to the power amp. Maybe we have severe bottlenecks somewhere else in our system that just doesn't allow us hearing so. There's always the risk that a smooth and easy-on-the-ear cable in fact covers deficiencies in the overall chain of components. If the cable is edgy and aggressive, maybe it's because your system is so and the cable is only a bit more "hifi".

For speaker cable and speaker internal cabling I use PTFE insulated silver plated copper. I know you can find people stating these are rubbish and you need this or that, but there's no other way than try it out for yourself.
Long ago someone brought in an interconnect made from pure silver (cotton sleeve) and we hooking this up between CD-player and preamp and it convinced me this was the way to go. So, I bought 0.4 mm pure silver wire and Teflon tubes and changed all interconnects in my system to these. I strongly believe this was for the better.

Some supplier links are shown, but please do not ask for links to suppliers of all the components used below because I haven't kept them. Use google, eBay and the usual suppliers of hifi paraphernalia, e.g. http://www.hificollective.co.uk/components/wire.html. Many of the things you can buy at e.g. hificollective you can find cheaper on eBay, but it takes time to find the dealers and I have to say I'm amazed from what hificollective has managed to put together over the years; quite a range of products.

Generally I believe we should use a cable having a square section area enough to carry the current, no more. The less metal the better and this goes for binding posts as well. Huge chunks of metal may look cool and expensive but I don't think it's for the better.


I found this in Munich at the High End show and it find it ridiculous.
Behind the wall most likely standard 1.5 sqmm installation cables - and then this monster.
I don't say it doesn't work - but if it does, it works as a filter.
I've never heard fancy power cords to improve my system, but I'm open for suggestions.

I use these for connecting the midrange/tweeter cabinets to the crossover in my larger speakers. With 7 mm spades held firmly in place by the terminal block screw I doesn't get any better - and it costs nothing. I would like to use these for my amps and speakers in general, but I don't due to convenience. I swap gear a lot and banana plugs are faster. They are now available from Jantzen Audio in gold plated quality. They come with four or two connections.

Speaker Cables


Twisted 2 x 16AWG silver plated copper in PTFE insulation used for main speaker cables.
Jantzen Audio has this in black and red as seen below. The orange here were bought on eBay before Jantzen had the same wires below.

 


Jantzen Audio 13 AWG (2.6 mm^2) silver plated copper in PTFE insulation used for main speaker cables and internal wiring for bass drivers.

 

For mid and tweeter internal cabling I use Jantzen Audio 16 AWG silver plated copper with PTFE insulation. 


Interconnects


0.4 mm silver wire and 24 AWG teflon tubing. The silver wire here is oxidised and needs polishing before use.


Finalised interconnects shielded with alu foil and protected by expandable polyester sleeving. Others would use cotton sleeves.

 


I use these Eichmann Bullet plugs for my interconnects because I think they are right,
but the price is ridiculously high and it's a mystery the Chinese haven't cloned them long ago.

I suggest being cautious claiming sonic differences between phono plugs! Paying big time money just should produce some results. The problem is that placebo works - and if it makes you happy, well, it works.

For my turntable I used to make my own cables, but I found these on eBay, made by a guy in Aberystwyth, Wales, and the price was right. Pure silver wires and really nice work. 131 .

 

For connecting Hypex modules to my preamplifier, I use standard microphone cables and XLR plugs. I use red tape to mark right channel.