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In Reply to: RE: Help me pick XLR from Pre to Amp posted by Industrial on April 29, 2017 at 08:11:33
Each make/model will certainly sound different, since the conductor types of each design are quite divergent:
Oyaide Tunami Terzo XX V2 - Bare stranded copper
Nordost Blue Heaven - Silver plated solid core copper
Tara Labs RSC Prime M1 - Bare solid core copper
Have you considered re-teminating your Kimber PBJ interconnect cables with XLR connectors? Doing so might be satisfying in itself, or a least give you a reference point in order to compare each new cable option you might decide to evaluate vs. the PBJ, and would at least give you an idea of how different your single-ended interface is vs. your balanced interface.
It would be an easy DIY project for anyone to do since the PBJ features three conductors that are easy to terminate especially if you choose a set of XLR connectors that feature solderless set-screws. Since the PBJ features their Ultraplate RCA type connector which is rumored to be rhodium plated, an XLR connector that features rhodium, palladium, or platinum plating would be advisable.
This is my favorite XLR connector featuring solderless set-screws offered at the best price found for DIY projects:
Wow thanks great idea. I may need those PBJa intact to use as ht bypass on my old preamp however. But damn good idea. Would almost be funny to see those big XLR connectors on those tiny strands.
Pros and cons of stranded copper vs solid core and then solid core vs SPC solid core?
Image: Kimber PBJ Balanced XLR Cables
Since you wish to keep your PBJ rca interconnect cables intact, there are six bulk-length Kimber 3-wire braid cable models for DIY projects available from PartsConneXion to choose from (see link below):
These are generalizations, but the sonic signatures of the three types of conductors for line-level applications tend to be (YMMV):
Bare stranded copper conductors tend to sound very full-bodied with less emphasis on the frequency extremes vs. the midrange which tends to sound more diffuse vs. solid core conductors.
Bare solid core copper conductors tend to sound more natural vs. silver plated solid core copper conductors for line-level applications, in my experience. Tara Labs RSC design features rectangular bare solid core copper conductors intended to decrease skin effect vs. round solid core conductors.
Have you looked into any other balanced XLR cables, or are those three cables the only ones you have decided to choose from?
I initially used a balanced Kimber PBJ in 1993. Between a B&K Pro10MC and Muse Model One Hundred, that balanced PBJ was under $100. Yet, it was better (less muddy, bulbous, murky, opaque) than the AQ Emerald, Cardas Quadlink, and MIT (sorry, don't recall the name) I had previously been using.
As I would use more and more balanced interconnects, I came to appreciate Kimber's selection of the Switchcraft XLR over the more ubiquitous Neutrik models. The Switchcraft XLRs sound better balanced, with less treble roll-off (a bane of balanced XLR operation).
Incidentally, the balanced Silverstreak and KCAG also utilized the same Switchcraft XLRs. So, once you Cook everything, it becomes very interesting, how the PBJ, SS, and KCAG compare.
By removing distortions, the Cable Cooker makes the distinctions between cables easy to pick out. All cables make changes to signal. But using the Cooker eliminates the guesswork, and lets you decide.
Switchcraft XLRs are considered better than Neutrik XLRs which are unacceptable, to my ear. You may be surprised how much better the moderately-priced Teflon dielectric XLRs sourced from eBay and AliExpress sound, based on the Xhadow Precision XLR design concept. Perhaps you might consider an XLR re-termination project for an orphaned pair of balanced interconnects within your cable collection, Lummy.
"Have you looked into any other balanced XLR cables, or are those three cables the only ones you have decided to choose from?"
Ive looked into others such as DR acoustics but found no info on them online. Those 3 were the ones that caught my eye from reviews and just general reading.They were at the price point/interest in each brands line.
From your description so far Tara Labs is coming out on top.
Between the three, I would agree, but since I have no experience of the particular cable, I can't vouch for it.
BTW, what is the target price point for your interface change/cable upgrade project? BTW, does your audio system feature aftermarket power cords?
"BTW, what is the target price point for your interface change/cable upgrade project? BTW, does your audio system feature aftermarket power cords? "
From 400-600$CAD. IT got spured on after I upgraded my pre from Rotel to Simaudio a couple weeks ago. Ive never had to buy interconnects before. Dealers gave me the IC's the PBJ (all PBJ for 5.1 surround) and Neotech I have. No after market cords yet. Those I can get many models of used from someone I trust,xlr IC's however not as much.
You have a decent budget, so I'm sure you can find something that provides good synergy when placed within your particular system.
I'm in agreement about the getting the midrange right, since the vast majority of information presented by an audio playback system is within the midrange frequencies.
As previously mentioned, the weakness of many balanced interconnect cables is the typical pro audio XLR connector which sounds like low-budget rca connectors, IME. Virtually impossible to obtain high-performance by their use, IMO.
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