15 pair Cat 5 speaker cable.
21 pair Cat 5 speaker cable.
Interconnect implementing the Eichmann Ratio™.
ZapPulse 2.2 SE based power amplifier.
My career in HiFi was started by a friend who had been a self proclaimed HiFi freak in his younger days. Once he got a family and children, he had to give up the most extreme aspects of the hobby, but he was still able to get me started.
After a couple of false starts, I ended up with an YBA Integré CD player. At the same time I bought a pair of WireWorld Orbit speaker cables. Only a couple of weeks later I stumbled across TNT-Audio. At that time the only Cat5 speaker cable was the TNT FFRC. I promptly got hold of some Cat5 cable at work, and made a set. They more or less matched the WireWorld cables, but I wasn't quite satisfied. At the time had an old pair of KEF 104/2, which I had rewired internally using the Cat5 cable. So I made another pair of speaker cables, this time using 6 runs of Cat5 in parallell, with a 7th cable (not connected) in the center to act as a core that the other six cables could be twisted around. The whole thing looked like a rope. This cable was slightly better in the bass, on account of the doubled cross section.
I lived happily with this cable in my system, until the TNT Triple T was posted on TNT-Audio (I was a regular reader). Since I already had a cable with the correct number of runs in it, it was a simple job to unwind it, and braid it. The effect was quite surprising, I must have spent 15-20 hours that weekend going through my CD's, to hear what they really sound like. It is the treble that this cable transmits much better.
After quite a while, I had changed my speakers to a pair of Dynabel Euforia and the amplifier to Tandberg 3026A and 3028A, I started thinking. If the simple change from twisting (like a rope) to braiding could have such a large impact on the sound, what if I stripped the Cat5 cables and braided the individual pairs? So, I got hold of some more cable, and made up a triple braided cable (first braid three pairs, then braid three of these braids, and then finally braid three of these double braids). This cable sounded as much better than the Triple T as the Triple T had sounded over the FFRC. At this time I found the DIY Cat5 Speaker Cables by Chris VenHaus. I won't repeat his excellent explanation on why this cable is so good, but even a good thing can be made better - Chris VenHaus fails to emphasize the importance of matching the twist rate of all the pairs in the cable. I have also discovered a trick that can make the production of these cables slightly less painful, and I have also tested out a new topology that I have not found anywhere else on the net. See the 15 pair Cat 5 speaker cable and 21 pair Cat 5 speaker cable pages for details on how to make these cables.
All my interconnects used to be of the X-Cable kind. But then I started using interconnects based on Chris VenHaus' DIY Silver Interconnects, except that my current interconnects implementing the Eichmann Ratio™ are made from copper wire. They sound better than the X-cables, and they are so much faster to make, that changing all cables in the system is possible in a fairly short time.
The most significant commersial tweak (I had to buy something) that I have performed, is to replace the clock in my CD player with a LClock XO 2 Precision Reference Clock. Even expensive CD players come with a poor clock with large amounts of jitter. This tweak is not subtle, you can hear at once that something significant has changed. It is particularly in complex music passages that the difference is heard, passages that used to grow together into an unintelligible wall of sound can now be separated into different sources of sound.
Exciting things are happening on the amplifier arena. PMW (Pulse Width Modulation) has been known for years, but only lately has the technique become good enough for use in HiFi. I have now replaced my Tandberg power amplifier with a home made amplifier based on the LC Audio ZapPulse modules.
Here is my HiFi / Home Theater setup. Normally the baffles are off the speakers, because they reduce the quality of the sound. The book shelves hanging on the wall above the speakers act as a sound trap, helping reduce slightly the echoes from the wall at the listening position (reduced reverbation).
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