MODIFICATIONS
ART USB Dual Pre
Behringer B2 Pro
CME UF8
Denon DP-61F
Dynaco ST-70
Hafler DH-110
Hafler DH-500







  Hafler XL-280
Klipsch KG1
Klipsch Promedia 2.1
Nakamichi CM-300
Scarlett 2i2
Tannoy 603
VOX Pathfinder 15








MOGAMI/CANARE
INTERCONNECTS
DIY









  • Years ago Stereophile magazine stated there were two approaches an audio system could take:

    1). Reproduce music as closely to the original master recording as possible.
    2). Reproduce music using whatever means to create the most pleasing result.

    My opinion is that interconnect cables should be as neutral as possible...and not used to tailor, brighten up, or color the sound. Otherwise you're obscuring the sound of the electronics...I want to hear the music, not my cables.

    My story is that I've been using a set of aging Monster Cable Reference 2 cables on my amp/preamp/CD for years. You know how it is...they were getting shabby but I had so many good memories of them I couldn't bring myself to spend $$$ on a new set. And there were too many choices which made comparisons tricky. After thinking things through...I decided the only way I could be confident that any new cables were "correct" was to select parts and fabricate them myself.

    I first looked at bulk coaxial cables but per Wiki: "Coaxial cable is used as a transmission line for radio frequency signals. Its applications include feedlines connecting radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas, computer network (Internet) connections, digital audio (S/PDIF), and distributing cable television signals". My reading is that coaxial is designed for high frequency transmission, not low-frequency analog signals. So despite it's common use as an RCA audio cable I decided against it.

    The next choice was to look at the bulk multi-conductor cables made for the music industry. Notable are the manufacturers Canare, Gepco, Gotham, Lake Cable, Mogami, Redco, and West Penn. There's no way I have the time or energy to try each of these companies products so I decided to concentrate on two: Canare and Mogami. Both companies make several types in both premade and bulk, in 2 and 4-conductor styles, and in higher resistance/capacitance versions. Which is correct?

    As a clue, Canare markets a "GS-6" cable for instruments and hifi-interconnects, stating: "Low capacitance and low series resistance provides improved frequency response (flat to 50kHz). To me this means low capacitance and resistance are important features in an analog audio cable. GS-6 is a coaxial cable however and I was interested in 2 or 4-conductor version. But in comparing specs I found that 4-conductor microphone cables have twice the capacitance of 2-conductor cables. So my final requirements became:

    - OFC, 2-conductor, spiral wound, with outer shield
    - low impedance and low capacitance
    - available in colors other than black.

    So I settled on two cables to test: Canare L-2T2S, and Mogami W2549. They met my requirements, are inexpensive and can be easily bought in small lengths online. See their specs below.

     


    A combined screenshot, Canare on top and Mogami on bottom
     

    Between the two companies Mogami has the best website, best feature/benefit statements, and most the detailed specs.
    The Specs between Mogami/Canare are close, but rather than agonize over them I bought identical lengths to test.
    The Canare in blue, the Mogami in red.

       

    For connectors I decided not to go overboard. I went with an inexpensive set of Rean Neutrik NYS373 RCA connectors.
    Respected in the AV industry and well built, the gold connectors are heavy, solid and the black shell is metal. Instructions are easily found online.


  • Silver and exotic solders can impart their own sound so I always use fresh Kester 60/40 rosin core on my electronics.
    The gold connectors solder easily and I decided to go rogue and reversed the wires putting blue on the hot...the wires are
    identical internally so no harm done. I soldered the shield braid to the ground wire on the preamp end of the connector...and left it unconnected on the amp end. This is a good practice to ensure low noise.



  • Mogami Neglex W2549...what great looking cables. A 4ft pair cost me about $10 total and a 1/2 hour of my time to fabricate.

     

    Canare L-2T2S...identical diameter and feel to the Mogami with a more tightly wound braided shield. The rubber cover is thicker as well.
     

    THE TESTS

    My minimalist listening room uses a Denon DP-2900 & Sony DVP-9000ES CD player, Musical Concepts Hafler 110 preamp, and a restored 1963 Dynaco ST-70 with 7199s. Speakers on 24" stands are either Tannoy 603s or Klipsch KG1s depending on my mood. My Sony player has two outputs which lets me run both set of cables to my preamp...and flip the input between them quickly for comparison. Like most of us I have several favorite CDs that I use for demoing.

    Alison Kraus and Union Station- So Long,So Wrong
    Terry Garland- Trouble in Mind
    Pat Metheny Group- Quartet
    Dire Straits- On Every Street (the acoustic tracks)
    America- Homecoming (the acoustic tracks)

    MOGAMI
    Compared to the Mogamis I found the Monster 2s had a slightly brighter, thinner sound. Maybe this was due to age, maybe they were originally wound to provide a brighter sound, maybe there was a difference in resistance/capacitance...or maybe it was my imagination. Dynamics on the Monsters were good but seemed slightly flatter, the soundstage denser.

    The Mogamis had a more vivid quality. Imaging and instrumental dynamics had a more musical 'pop'. Acoustic guitar was liquid and detailed in the midrange instead of just focusing on the transients and notes. Sounds seemed to settle down more quickly into a quiet soundstage. Accurate and open.

    CANARE
    In a perfect case of Murphys Law I used the last shred of my fresh solder on the Mogami pair. And rather than wait a few days for a new batch I used some old solder I had lying around. I knew it wouldn't make for a fair test but I was impatient and decided I could always redo them later.

    The sound was very similar to the Mogami but there was a sense of grunge on some transients. The soundstage seemed muddled at some frequencies. Not better or worse but I could sense it was different. I use Canare cable on a large diaphragm condenser microphone of mine and love it. So I blame any perceived difference on the old solder I used. When I receive some new solder I plan on redoing the test.

    CONCLUSION
    Fabricating my own interconnects was the most 'mod fun' I have had in a while. Easy to do, cheap, and provides a great sense of satisfaction because you really can't mess things up. You can even select a color to complete the feng shui of the room if that's your thing.

    Some will say that differences between cables are inaudible and ridicule those who claim to hear it. Yet common sense is that cables with different capacitance/impedances can produce audible results when dealing with microvolt audio signals. I guess the argument is that its not the cable itself that sounds different but the signal changes made by the cable. Same difference.




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