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Image: Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect (Ohno Continuous Cast copper, Composilex composite material dielectric, DNA Helix twisted flat ribbon cable geometry) terminated with Wireworld Silver Tube rca connectors (silver plated OFC hollow center pin with Teflon insulator, silver plated OFC ground contact with silicone elastomer tension band, aluminum shell).
Wireworld Equinox 6 Interconnect Report
Over the past several years, an ordinary Motorola DCT2224 digital cable television terminal placed in my 2-channel main audio system has been the center of much attention towards improving the audio performance of movie soundtracks, digital music channels, FM radio feeds, and general television viewing/listening including well produced documentary soundtracks. Many audiophile power cords, audio interconnects, CATV coaxial cables, and vibration control devices have come and gone, with the Motorola DCT2224 being the only immutable object unable to be upgraded nor invasively tweaked. For a number of years, a pair of VH Audio Spectrum Cu interconnects terminated with WBT Nextgen Cu rca connectors ($359.99/1m pair) have performed excellently when placed on the audio outputs of the Motorola DCT2224, but my impressions of the Spectrum Cu when placed on the digital CATV terminal has included a caveat of perhaps being "too good" or not ideal in terms of synergy for the particular application. I found the Spectrum Cu to be rather unforgiving towards numerous sonic artifacts often present in sub par audio program material, including edgy sounding aspects of less than stellar soundtrack engineering, audio processing anomalies on the broadcast end of things, and the inherently mundane performance level of the digital CATV terminal in and of itself. Nevertheless, I've found the unit to be worthy of serious audiophile attention, since such efforts have indeed provided more satisfying audible results. When I recently came across mention of Wireworld's moderate-cost level Equinox 6 interconnect ($199/1m pair), intensive research of the product moved me to take a chance and evaluate the cable for use with the Motorola DCT2224.
The Wireworld Equinox 6 Interconnect features state of the art Ohno Continuous Cast single crystal copper wire, which is a real deal maker for copper line-level cable fans who desire a silky smooth, liquid characteristic while still retaining the "amber glow" sonic signature that copper conductors tend to present for line-level use vs. that of pure silver wire. The cable also features an obviously proprietary insulator called Composilex, a composite material which Wireworld claims to be an advanced dielectric that has replaced the use of Teflon in some Wireworld cable designs. Based on my subjective impressions, the cooler sounding sonic signature of Teflon is not present within my evaluation of the Equinox 6 interconnect, while not sounding as lethargic as PVC and PE can sound in many cases. Another notable design factor is the DNA Helix design: a twisted flat ribbon geometry which Wireworld claims to mitigate inductive loss and other performance issues (see text taken from Wireworld's product literature below). Otherwise, the appearance of the cable is not unusual and its flexibility is excellent, with no problem routing the cables throughout the configuration of my audio system. Perhaps the most immediately impressive design feature is Wireworld's Silver Tube rca connector:
The Wireworld Silver Tube rca connector deserves special mention here, since I subjectively believe the design to be on par with the best rca connectors I've ever experienced. It features a silver plated OFC hollow center pin with Teflon insulator, silver plated OFC ground contact with silicone elastomer tension band, and an aluminum shell. When the connector is plugged into an rca jack, the elastomer tension band positioned around the silver plated coper ground contact initially produces an unusually tight tension on the tip of the rca jack ground shroud until the plug finally slips onto the surface where it then provides a very firm but not a ridiculous amount of grip that would make the plug difficult to remove. The "feel" of this particular action is a joy to experience, and makes the notion of a locking barrel rca connector seem obsolete. The hollow copper center pin with direct silver plating is of obvious benefit and at least in theory is superior to the direct gold plated copper hollow center pin of the Eichmann Bullet Plug. Finally, the medium-mass aluminum shell that covers the Silver Tube rca connector is likely of benefit to the rigidity of the rca connector for vibration control purposes, as well as providing a level of EMI/RFI rejection. I'm so impressed by the plug that I look forward to implement the Silver Tube rca connector (8.5mm version only $10 each via Galen Carol Audio) for a DIY interconnect termination, and try to determine its intrinsic sonic merit apart from what it contributes to the sonic signature of the Equinox 6 Interconnect.
During the first 100 hours of burn-in, an incoherent veil seemed to obscure low-level information, with buried micro details and a level of micro dynamic reticence being of real concern about the future of this newcomer if ample burn-in time did not solve these fundamental issues. Fortunately, I found the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect to sound better and better, day after day, as the burn-in process progressed. That said, a substantial amount of burn-in time was required before I could do a proper evaluation. After 150 hours of continuous playback, the Equinox 6 interconnect certainly sounded far more open than it did previously, while a great deal of further improvement was found after 250 hours of burn-in. If a particular cable is actually deemed to be a keeper, I usually allow 400 hours burn-in before making a final judgement. In this case, it did not require any more time to make up my mind about the cable after the 250 hour burn-in mark.
In my experience, the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect presents a full bodied, information rich sonic signature including a well developed midrange with excellent presence. While not a definitively warm sounding cable, the gestalt is on the warmer side of neutral. I would tentatively assume that Wireworld's unexplained Composilex dielectric may contribute to this subjective perception of warmth vs. that of Teflon. After sufficient burn-in, the top end presented plenty of treble energy but was in no way bright sounding while sounding extremely smooth, with notable liquidity. The leading edge transients became better defined and more energetic as opposed to sounding a bit ill-defined and restricted prior to the 150 hour burn-in mark. Imaging and spatial cues within the soundstage are impressive and as integral as the reference cable provides. After 250 hours burn-in, the bottom end opened up and became more extended. I found the nature of the bass to be generous and well controlled, with enjoyable concussive impact readily apparent while listening to movie soundtracks with explosive audio content. Overall, in this application I found the primary difference between the Equinox 6 and the reference cable is the Equinox 6 presented a richer sounding tonality, while the reference cable sounded a bit leaner if not faster. I find more than satisfactory system synergy with the Equinox 6 placed between digital CATV source and preamplifier, and the reference VH Audio Spectrum Cu interconnects terminated with WBT-0110 Cu NextGen rca connectors placed between preamplifier and power amplifier.
I couldn't find a single caveat to mention while the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect was being evaluated within the context of my 2-channel home theater application, and can say it has subjectively bettered all interconnect cables above, around, and below its price point when placed on the audio outputs of the Motorola DCT2224 digital cable television terminal. How the Equinox 6 cable might fair when placed on a higher performance DAC or CD player is unknown to me, since my main audio system requires a longer interconnect for my DAC than the 1 meter length acquired for the digital CATV box.
The smooth liquidity, palpable presence, and obvious dynamics of the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect make it a real winner for my 2-channel home theater application, and believe it worthy of serious consideration by audiophiles who demand a high level of musicality within their critical listening sessions rather than a supremely analytical perspective. In my opinion, the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect is a new moderate-cost level favorite that I can gladly recommend, and a fine example of an affordable high performance interconnect of which audiophile experts, neophytes, and non-audiophile music lovers may find common satisfaction.
The following text taken from Wireworld's product literature:
A perfect audio cable would transfer every sonic detail from one component to the next as if they were docked directly together, a condition called a ‘cable-bypass.’ Wireworld is the only company that follows through on this essential concept by designing cables to provide the closest sound to a direct connection. The current Wireworld cable designs incorporate the knowledge gained from over 30 years of continuous development based on this unique objective approach.
Progress in cable design has apparently been limited by a basic misconception of how signals flow through cables. The common belief that signal energy is transferred as electron flow within the conductors is not true. Most of the energy is actually transferred in the electromagnetic field surrounding the conductors. This misconception has lead to the false assumption that using thicker conductors would improve sound quality. Increasing the thickness of conductors can only reduce the amount of energy that is lost as heat (resistive loss), while it actually increases the electromagnetic (inductive) loss that causes most of the audible degradation that we hear from cables. Resistive loss is less audible because it affects all frequencies equally, while electromagnetic loss is very uneven, changing the shape of the musical waveforms.
The inductive loss of cables is complex, as it includes skin effect, proximity effect, eddy current resistance and mechanical modulation effects caused by structural instability. The DNA designs were formulated to provide a comprehensive solution to these effects based on their audibility in bypass testing. To minimize skin effect, the flat conductors in the DNA designs are as thin as a single strand, yet there are enough strands to provide very low resistance. The strands are completely parallel, providing the most direct signal path possible. The flat conductors are arranged in stacked arrays to channel the electromagnetic field energy as efficiently as possible (See blue lines in Illustrations). Furthermore, for each design, the spacing between the positive and negative conductors is fine tuned by ear to match the pure sound of a direct connection. The effect of that tuning is like focusing a lens, with the beautiful textures and dynamics of live music coming into vivid 3-D focus when the spacing is just right.
The DNA Helix design (patent pending) used in Wireworld interconnects consists of a stacked array of four flat conductors, which are twisted together and tightly compressed within a composite shield. In addition to channeling the electromagnetic field energy more efficiently than other designs, this configuration also provides superior immunity to EMI/RFI interference. The conductors in Wireworld interconnects are insulated with Composilex, a proprietary material technology that minimizes triboelectric noise and noise modulation distortion, resulting in quieter backgrounds and cleaner transients than cables that utilize conventional insulation materials.
By combining the most efficient designs with the best upgrade materials, Wireworld audio cables advance the art of preserving the natural tone quality, spatiality and effortless dynamics of live music.
Wireworld connectors are engineered to provide the purest and most lifelike sound quality available. Awarded U.S. Patent #5,413,503, the Wireworld RCA plug design provides the highest conductivity of any RCA plug in the world. The most unique feature of this design is a silicone rubber tension band, which creates a smooth firm grip over any jack. The Silver Tube Mini Jack has solid one-piece silver-clad contacts for the ultimate in strength and sound qualtiy. With superior sonic transparency and a perfect fit every time, Wireworld connectors are simply the world’s best.
Bright gold-plated connectors may be beautiful, but they’re not a reliable indicator of quality in cables. Most gold-plated plugs are made of brass, which is plated with bright nickel and a thin layer of gold. Brass and nickel are rather poor conductors that introduce significant loss at the points of contact. Furthermore, the thick metal sections of conventional plugs reduce sonic clarity. Wireworld RCA plugs utilize thin- walled tubular contacts made of the best conductors, oxygen-free copper and silver, to provide distinct improvements in clarity, smoothness and dynamic range.
IME, this company is doing so many things right!
Duster - Thank you for taking the time to tell us what you heard. The TechRadar review dovetails with what you reported.
Some quotes from the TechRadar review are:
(Near the beginning)
"... Treble not as defined as some of the competition"
(At the end)
"Even better, if you're more interested in upper frequency regions there's no price to pay in terms of definition higher up, as the bass is achieved without dominating midrange or treble.
The very highest treble may not be absolutely as crystalline as with, say, the Black Rhodium Polar Illusion, but both it and the midrange are unemphatically detailed."
I have found that any DIY cable soldered to this connector takes on a coloration warmer and "thicker" than neutral. I have finally given up on them.
Try the experiment yourself and see.
Just about any connector imparts a substantial sonic signature of its own that can sometimes make or break, or simply laterally change a cables performance characteristics. IME, a number of very popular rca connectors I've worked with present dramatic effects on the tonality of the cables I've terminated with them, so much so that I sometimes wonder why other folks don't comment about what seems to be a very obvious factor. Different strokes for different folks, I reckon ;-)
I've used several Wireworld connects over the years and think they're really good.
I've had mine burned in by Alan Kafton of Audioexcellence AZ. He uses his special burner which opens them up more than a human can possibly do. Results? My wires are usually well burned in by 50 hours.
Turnaround time is a couple of weeks, more or less depending on where you live.
I have heard that this particular cable is a little grainy in the upper registers but you claim it is smooth sounding. How is this possible?
I can't account for a difference in experience -- there's no grain on top, to my ear. Perhaps that particular opine was about a previous Equinox version, such as the Equinox 5 or Equinox III.
System synergy is the most likely culprit. I would expect the helix construction, while low in inductance, to be high in capacitance. Not all equipment likes that.
A serious Google search did not result in any report I can find, of any Wireworld interconnect featuring the DNA design as presenting a grainy sonic signature due to high capacitance or otherwise. Only one report even mentioned that the Equinox 6 might present a detrimental level of high capacitance, in their opinion. Besides, the most noticeable effect of substantially high capacitance tends to be a rather dulled sounding treble, not a grainy effect. In fact, to my ear, the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect clearly presents the smooth, grain-free sonic signature that OCC single crystal wire is most often known for. It would be silly for Wireworld to implement state of the art OCC conductors that are intended to sound grain-free for a cable that does not deliver the goods in that particular department.
just my 2 cents
I was thinking more along the lines of it causing instability in an already poor match of components and thereby causing the driver component to distort. I did a search and the only examples I could find is when excessive would act as a low pass filter and would, as you say, make the treble sound dull because it would be rolling it off. I also would not expect a respected company like Wireworld to design a cable with that much capacitance. Another example would be a tube preamp that lacks a cascode follower stage, and because of this, has a high output impedance driving a long length of cable. But this to would also cause a high frequency roll off. There was mention of store-release properties of high capacitance cables, but I could not find anything concrete. From this, I conclude that is unlikely that capacitance could account for the differences heard in this cable by other inmates.
Dave, Mungo Jerry has not heard the Equinox 6 and has only claimed that the cable sounds grainy in another persons opinion, an opinion I simply can't find on the internet. I don't see why a false accusation should be acknowledged as valid in Cable Asylum.
Because you couldn't find it on the internet, does that mean it doesn't exist? Does that require you to utter a "false accusation"?
What if I heard that from Don Morrison. Would you believe me? Or does it have to be on the internet somewhere to merit worthiness. By the way it was on the internet. See my other post.
"By the way it was on the internet. See my other post."
You misinterpreted what you read on the internet, so it was "misleading information". However, I could have been less sharp than using the term "false accusation", so for that I apologize. See my reply to your other post.
Techradar did a review and called the upper treble not as crystalline as another cable. I interpreted that as grainy. Maybe it didn't sound grainy on its own, but by comparison, it did.
Crystalline as an audiophile term connotes the notion of transparency, for example, the perception of abundant extended treble energy with a bell-like clarity. Grainy refers to a rather specific textural artifact that is coarse in nature, with more "fine grained graininess" often referred to using similar descriptors used in wine tasting, such as fine particles on the surface of the mouth which feel powdery, chalky, grainy, gritty, etc. depending on how large or small those particles may be perceived. In the case of the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect, I sought a more polite, more forgiving interconnect cable for my digital CATV box, so the treble energy of the Equinox 6 does sound more subdued, with less treble energy than my reference cable, so I would also agree with the notion that the Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnect does not sound as crystalline as my reference cable does. However, the cable does not sound grainy, in any manner, to my ear.
"Crystalline as an audiophile term connotes the notion of transparency, for example, the perception of abundant extended treble energy with a bell-like clarity."
Are you sure? Seems to me that the distinguishing thing about Bells and Crystals (whether of the quartz or glass ilk) are that they are high-Q resonators which would mess up both temporal and frequency response and thus be a defect in an audio system, not transparency...
Dusty, maybe you should provide a glossary of approved "audiophile" terms so there won't be any confusion in the future; like PRAT, house sound and all that other nonsense. You used the word "lethargic" to describe the sound of a wire with a particular cover (can't remember if it was teflon or PVC now). I had to re-read that to make sure. I still can't believe it!
I see your point. Hearsay is not very valid evidence of anything. However, I do find the subject fascinating that equipment, including cables, can sound very different in different systems. I have heard it for myself, when I sold audio. I have also been reading proponents of high and low capacitance cables. There are good arguments for both. Actually, it is not that difficult to DIY both.
From what I've gathered, the higher than typical capacitance of the DNA Helix design is due to the nature of a tuned LC cable geometry rather than some sort of shortsightedness on the part of Wireworld. While some folks might think that just lowering capacitance and inductance will make a cable sound superior, in my experience and understanding, audio cables with the lowest numbers don't always perform like what one might think they should simply based on measurements. That said, if the circuitry of a given component doesn't like to see higher capacitance cables, such as Goertz speaker cables that can cause some amplifiers to oscillate, there's always other, more compatible cable options to choose from.
".. typical capacitance of the DNA Helix design is due to the nature of a tuned LC cable geometry rather than some sort of shortsightedness on the part of Wireworld."
I did not think is was shortsightedness, give your comments and the care they appear to put in the design. At some point in the design process, you have to make some choices on benefits. There probably is not a perfect cable for all situations.
I have a Threshold CAS-1 which is and amp that a Goetz cable would blow up! I really like the sound, which is a major reason I am interested in this subject.
That may, of course, be also due to NOS tubes and newly rebuilt Quad ESL speaker which are now better than new.
No grain, no pain.
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