We organised a livestream blind test on Sunday, June 4, at Alpha Audio, testing conductor materials for cables. We made a total of six cables using five types of material. One cable was some sort of hybrid. We dived into this subject because there are a lot of preconceptions about sound and materials AND, frankly, we were curious ourselves to see what we were going to find.
The world of cables is pretty crazy. There are a handful of big brands and a lot of small brands. The small brands are mostly founded by independents who started out of a hobby. Some of those small brands make wonderful stuff. Others make absolute junk or even scam enthusiasts by using standard lamp wire as a core material…. no joke!
We used the following materials for this test:
- 1mm solid core Pure silver – 5N – coated – about 35 Euro per meter (price fluctuates)
- 1mm solid core Single crystal copper with graphene – 150 Euro per meter (price fluctuates)
- 1mm solid core Tinned copper, coated (wax / cloth) – Unknown
- 0.5mm solid core Gold/Silver (Mundorf) – not coated – 15 Euro per meter
- Standard DIY lamp wire – copper, stranded – 2 Euros per meter
As plugs we use Neutrik Pro plugs. These work like a charm and work great for soldering. Neutrik Pro has a good reputation among connoisseurs. We don’t want any discussion about the plugs used. As solder we use silver solder from WBT. We then finish things off with a sleeve in nice Alpha Orange.
Making the cables
In the video we show you how we made the cables and how we prepared everything. For example, we measured all cables and looked at the influence of twisting. We found that twisting is simply better: less inductance and lower impedance. The capacitance increased slightly in this case, but not so much that it could have a detrimental effect.
After we made the six cables, they all played for at least a few days. The biggest differences were audible with the copper/graphene cables. Call us crazy, but long playback proved to makke a difference. This cable initially showed a lot of harshness and glassiness. The harshness became less every day. The silver cable showed richness in sound from the start. It really differs per cable how big the difference is and how fast burn in does its job.
The music we used is (Qobuz playlist):
- Rachmaninov: Vespers, OP. 37: No. 5 – ‘Nunc dimittis’ door La Tempête
- Mammal Hands – Labyrinth
- Sinead ‘O Connor – Reason with me