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a short diary of some part of my life.

I really don’t know what the fuss is all about, about this Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference. It’s $139 by the way. Let’s be honest here, its construction is so-so and it looks pretty cheap to me. The XLR plugs are about $2 each and I’m willing to bet, the cables are dirt cheap. I managed to find a Taiwanese company who produces cables for high-end cable companies through-out the world. UP-OCC (Ultra Pure – Ohno Continuous Cast) wires from them are cheap, very cheap.

Before I opened this Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference XLR cable, I used it briefly with my system. I thought, this would be the cable that would finally make a difference. It turned out that my Blue Jeans Cable XLR is a better cable. Not only it does things right (superb SQ) but it is also very flexible and well made. I’m done with experimenting various after market cables. None of them offer anything but fancy looks, mediocre build quality, and questionable specs.

Update (January 23, 2011):

I am currently in Taiwan. I love traveling as you may have known. Traveling add your knowledge about certain parts of the world that you simply will not know unless you go to that place and actually see what the place looks like in person. My business trips to Taipei and Beijing continue to be very beneficial for me. In this post, obviously, this is about cables and the materials used in them. I visited several factories that produce copper and many other materials. In general, copper is one of their best selling raw materials. They are cheap. That’s what you need to know. The way the cable factories make their cables out of raw copper is quite, well, how to say this, dreadful. The raw materials aren’t even good to begin with. The factory that I visited is one of the biggest cable factories BTW… The purity of the copper can be and mostly manipulated. You won’t know their purities unless you run tests on them.

Now, how are you going to know (as a customer who knows nothing about the materials used in the cables that you just bought) about the so-called high purity audio grade wires is in fact high purity copper wires? 90% purity copper is cheaper than 92% purity copper. Basically, the less the purity, the cheaper the copper will be. The price differences can be quite astonishing. My father told me a horror story about how Chinese do business are often not-very-honest. They can send you a test sample that you can use in the lab to be analyzed, the sample will be very accurate to the manufacturer’s specifications. But the actual raw materials that you just purchased from them to you may differ greatly. The first shipment may be accurate but the rest could be very questionable.

How are you going to send the raw materials back when the raw materials have arrived from China or Taiwan? It cost a lot to ship them to begin with. Usually, the manufacturers will offer discount, that’s it! My fear towards Chinese made audio grade wires grows exponentially. I think from now on, I would not spend a penny on any Chinese wires for my audio system. I will continue to use Blue Jeans Cable. I know where they are located and I have spoken to them in person. Blue Jeans Cable is a very honest company.

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  1. Dura #
    July 10, 2010

    Very interesting.
    Partly thanks to your blog I ordered the Blue Jeans cables.
    Oh, and a Reference 5 to hang on one end 😉
    Thanks for the information; just what I was looking for: difference between DAC19 and REF5, difference between REF5 and W4S DAC-1, 3 DACs on top of my shortlist.

  2. Peete #
    July 23, 2010

    DIY is the way to go …..you can make cables using very high quality conductors (siolid silver for instance) for less than it costs to buy a set of budget cables (most of the time).

    For instance I made some ACSS cables from Mundorf silver/gold that really do outshine the A-gd sharkwire stable mates for about 65USD for a 3 ft pair. The same cables made by Nordost would be several hundred for a .6m set of something similar. Even Red Dawn is silver/copper although I do like Nordost despite the cost (speaker cables are superb). IC’s by and large are a poor investment because of what you point out in your comparison…the profit margins are huge with some of these companies while others give value but nothing special. The real magic lies in the conductor material and the geometry, the terminations as long as they are well made and complimentary can be had for low cost (silver plated pin XLR for silver cables, gold plated for copper…easy to remember).

    Have fun and thanks for the thoughts about BJ/Signal.

    Peete.

  3. July 25, 2010

    Hi Peete,

    Thanks for your comments.
    I agree, DIY is the way to go.

    I am well aware of DIY options out there, I have experimented with various wires (ALO SXC, Cyro-parts SCSCag, VH Audio OCC silver/cotton, ‘Taiwanese’ UP-OCC silver & copper, ….), including the Mundorf wires that you used for ACSS cables. They are very cheap, you can get them for $30-40 per 20 meters, probably cheaper… The Mundorf wires are also manufactured by the same Taiwanese company that I found. I also have a friend whose parents own a cable factory, she told me all about cables in general.

    I made a simple switcher box (Hammond aluminum enclosure + Neotech OCC copper wires + Neutrik jacks + Goldpoint selector switch; the latter is also used in my Audio-gd RE5, replacing the stock selector switch) and tested myself if I could differentiate them. So far, I failed to differentiate what the differences between cheap but well made cables and expensive wires/cables really are. I do find properly shielded cables sound somewhat better in certain conditions. The construction of my DIY cables are pretty much the same as expensive cables, I even made one that look very similar to Artisan Silver Cables.

    From my findings above, I have decided not to pursue any more tests and stick with Blue Jeans Cable. It’s been a fun experience! 🙂

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