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Wyred 4 Sound Thoughts

 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1327
Registered: May-05
Hello All,

Nice to say "hello" after a long absence. I had the chance to live with my Wyred 4 Sound STI500 now for over a year and get the amp, Salksound speakers, and CDP all run in. The longer this system was in play, the better it got and the more I was in love with music.

Then, I decided to go back and read the review that pushed me into looking at this amp and I noted that the reviewer had high praise for the "My Audio Cable" - MAC cables. On a whim, I went to the page, found a special on one of the cables, WOOT!, talked with Steve and got a very nice deal on speaker cables and a power cable.

This system started with stock power cables, 14 gauge wire from Home Depot for the speakers and some RCA cables I had lying around. Those lasted a couple of months and because of Art's various shout outs on the Blue Jeans speaker wires, I bought some Blue Jeans speaker cables and a RCA pair. After 50 hours of burn in, the sound was improved, the pRAT was better, the soundstage was wider and, generally, I was very impressed with the improvement. These remained in place for the last year and I was quite happy.

But, back to the amp review, I had a little extra change lying around and decided to take a chance on the MAC stuff. Out of the box, the MAC power cable, speaker cables and power cable made a difference - 20% to 30% better clarity on voices, better treble and midrange and tighter base. I thought this can't be just cables so I switched in the Blue Jeans and back to very good sound but not the same sound. Now, 25 hours into burn in, all of the above improvements are still there but the soundstage is wider, taller and it's like I've moved 4-5 rows closer to the stage.

Count me a believer in the ability of cables to change things - in this case for the better. I'll try to check in more often and quit listening to this incredible system you guys helped me cobble together.

Dave
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17739
Registered: May-04
.

Good to hear from you, Dak. I've built my own cables for the last few years and my ideas are similar to MAC's. Pretty basic stuff, my cables are for myself and don't need to meet the durability requirements of most conventional cables which means they have the bare minimum to make a connection work.

I've been discussing cables with another forum member and I'm just not convinced the audiophile cable industry has been doing listeners much good for the last few decades. I'm actually rather PO'd that a cable manufacturer can ask the multi-thousand dollars they want for some cables when they are still using the crappiest connectors possible. RCA's were constructed back in the 1920's to make use of scrap material from decent connectors and they have no place in high end audio IMO. All the effort to extract the tiniest of details from a pricey system when a simple switch to balanced operation would provide an immediate +6dB of signal to noise ratio improvement which would reveal a wealth of information currently covered up by the single ended operation of most high end gear.

I read the websites of power cable retailers who go on about the need for "connectivity" and this and that and yet they use the worst connectors possible for AC. A very simple locking, twist type AC connector would be the answer to a good connection and cost only a few dollars. But, instead, they insist on going to expensive and ridiculous lengths trying to make a silk purse out of perpetually lousy connectors and all sorts of BS about their cable construction.

The dielectric constant of most cables is horrible and the sound of a basic cable without PVC insulation is far superior IMO. I'm a fan of solid core and thin gauge. Connectors on most high priced cables are not meant for proper termination impedance and a swap to something like the Eichmann Bullets is a noticeable improvement. The audiophile jewelry on most cables is not good for the music and hasn't been for decades!



So I'm glad you're getting your system together but the question I have is, do you have any idea why the MAC cables make an improvement?



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Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1328
Registered: May-05
Jan,

Great to hear from you. You are using balanced connecting it seems? I'd love to hear why +6db improvement with the balanced connection as I've never even looked into a balanced connector and I'd be interested to know why they produce better throughput than RCAs, even though I probably won't understand your explanation but it's worth the shot.

I agree on what passes as "high end". I borrowed a friend's Nordost speaker cables and he let me use them for a week. I felt that the Blue Jeans were close to their equal, especially given the price differential. I couldn't see spending that extra money for minimal improvement and I know that they're still not "high end."

As for the MAC cables, I do know if it's the synnergy of using cables all made by the same person and the fact that he may makes them to compliment each other and work together or . . . ??? Or maybe, they're just that much better than the Blue Jeans and Nordost speaker cables in terms of build quality, materials and the ability to get to what's on the CDs. But, it is a clear improvement in just about every measure I would use to measure the sound, but most importantly, in the clarity and similarity to "live" music.

If you have any idea based upon your experience with your cables, I'd love to hear it.

Dave
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17740
Registered: May-04
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No balanced lines in my system. For some strange reason, balanced operation in high end consumer audio is limited to the very high end and isn't even making headway at that level. Many of the so called balanced connections found in the high end of consumer audio are not truly balanced - or differential - systems. You can use a transformer to more or less turn an unbalanced connection into a balanced connection which is what many of these components do. This doesn't create a truly balanced system since you are somewhat trying to take the salt out of the cake mix with this method. You can find balanced connections in "pro audio" components as inexpensive as a hundred dollars. Of course, these lines are often made with inexpensive ic's and while they offer many of the advantages of differential circuits they fall short of high quality audio performance. Therefore, we find ourself running smack into the trade offs typical of audio. For every positive we can create with cables and modes of operation, we have an equal number of negatives we must take into account. Buyers tend to make decisions based on their eyes more often than their ears.




A balanced line has three conductors; a hot, a neutral and ground. An unbalanced, or single ended, line has a hot conductor paired with a combined neutral and ground. Either of the lines may or may not be shielded from RFI and EMI. The most basic cable used for an unbalanced connection uses only a single conductor for the hot or positive signal flow. The neutral, or return line, is combined with the ground and the shield. In today's RF and EM saturated world such cables are an open pathway to all sorts of outside interference into the audio signal path. One of the early improvements made to audiophile interconnects was to separate out the shield from the neutral/ground line. This was accomplished by not connecting the shield at one end of the cable which gave way to directional cables - though which way 'round was at times a matter of trial and error as consumer audio has so few standards for input/output impedance that any cable designer simply had to guess at what circuit the cable might become a part of.



Already I'm at the point where I can see this post turning into paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptions about cables and how they operate and why they operate as they do. And, in the end, there isn't much to say about why a cable changes a system's performance since each circuit where the cable is inserted will have its own values which will affect the cable's performance and be affected by the cable's performance. This is especially true in home audio since there are so few conventions adopted as standards. What standards we find in home audio are often the result of making the system cheaper to produce rather than providing better performance. That astounds me since, once again, pro audio maintains many standards down to that $100 range.


As I mentioned in the other thread you replied to, this is one reason cable threads are generally not allowed on many forums. The objectivists come at the issue from the standpoint of a handful of basic numbers which they insist apply to all cases. The vast majority of subjectivists have only anecdotal experience with cables. Anecdotal exeriences can and are easily knocked down by the objectivist's claims of expectation bias. Unfortunately, consumer audio cable designers have all too often made claims for their products which fly in the face of commonly accepted theory. All too often such theories are only theories and real world experience leads to other theories which further our understanding of how things might actually operate.




Balanced lines operate on the theory of common mode rejection. This accounts for the increase in signal to noise performance of a balanced line over a single ended. Rather than me explaining concepts which are easily found on line, you can research balanced vs unbalanced circuits and common mode rejection on your own. In consumer audio we are generally stuck with the things we are provided by the designers of the gear we buy. I hate to be the curmudgeon of all this but when you begin to investigate a bit about cables and such, you begin to think many designers are throwing huge amounts of money at systems with insurmountable obstacles. Consumer audio is genrally hobbled by ideas from the 1930's which were meant to reduce cost rather than improve performance. The more expensive the component or cable or speaker, the more obstacles the designer seems to intentionally place in their path just to say they climbed the mountain to overcome them.

Everything the home listener relies on in audio is an illusion. We twist the rules around to make them be what we want them to be and we turn high end audio not into something about the audio part of music but rather about the visual aspect of a recording. I've said several times on this forum that before we began to pay attention to things like imaging and soundstaging, when the audio engineers had only to worry about capturing the musical performance, they paid attention to the musical performance. There are many different paths anyone is welcome to follow in home audio and I'm not really here to say anyone must follow my lead or be declared a heretic. But, if you get me started on what I see as wrong with most of high end audio, I'll be here for days. I believe in the contribution to musical values that a good cable can add to a system's performance. I'm no objectivist when it comes to thinking only numbers can tell me about a component. Is a blue cable better than a red cable? maybe, there is evidence to suggest that might actually be the case.

Everyone is free to make whatever decisions they prefer in audio and, if a $5k cable is what they feel is needed to accomplish their ideals, then they are free to spend their money as they see fit. I suspect your friend with the Nordost cables would say any improvement is worth the expense of the Nordost cables. And who are we to say they are not?

I've always built my systems on the idea of diminishing returns and I've never chased those last tiny bits of signal apparently found only in acquisitions such as the Nordost cables. But I look at the recommended components from the various magazines and I'm simply astounded they have the audacity to suggest good sound must cost tens of thousands of dollars. If you can't be satisfied with a modest system's ability to extract music from the source of your choice, then you are being dragged around by your nose, never to be satisfied. That is capitalism. I can't tell anyone to not want what this or that cable has to offer. I can only say I prefer not to place so many perceived obstacles in my own way.




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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3018
Registered: Oct-07
I have the amp which came immediately before the W4S offerinngs.

PSAudio had there 'd' amps built by the same people and as I understand it had or may even still have some contractual obligations with 'em.....

My GCC series integrated is an external near perfect match for the W4S integrateds, right down to layout and connections....from the rear you can't tell 'em apart.
They do have some measurement differences caused by the proprietary Gain Cell input used in the PSAudio. However, if you believe the B&O literature, the ASP modules ARE fully balanced. One possible giveaway is that it is NOT a 'common ground' system where the negative/ground of the speaker terminals are also chasis ground. So, you have a ground plane...and a Plus rail and a Negative rail.....Not as Jan would say a Neutral and ground.....Each leg of the balanced will measure either positive OR negative relative to the 3rd, ground pin.
In any event, the balanced connections are these days good for the connection of an external DAC, which is how I'm working it. I'm not a big cable tester, but will for now, stick with my Mogami 'Studio' cables.

Be careful with the front panel 'soft touch' buttons, they are fragile. I had a ham handed person stick one down pretty good and I had to take off the top cover to free it.....

Other than that, the ONLY thing I'd like to do would be a direct comparison between the W4S and the PSAudio piece. I suspect they are 'too close to call' having so much electronics in common....
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1562
Registered: Jul-07
I've tried a few MAC cables and have found them to be very solid value for money. I am using a pair of their Ultra Silver interconnects currently between my DAC and amp. They were a bit of an improvment over the Zu cables I had previously, but only marginally.

I've purchased all my cables on Audiogon auctions and snagged them at a fraction of the retail cost. I'd never spend $400 on a cable, but I only paid $79 for the MAC's. I think I got my Zu cables for about 30% of retail. They probably still made a pant load on the deal.

Dak, happy the system is still swingin' for you. That's all that matters man. That's all that matters.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1330
Registered: May-05
Chris,

Thanks for the input on the cables. I was lucky Steve was in a dealing mood and I had a few extra bucks. I've good things about the Zu calbes but I couldn't see spending the extra bucks when I felt like the MACs were a good math for the electronics, based upon the review. The actuality was even better than I expected so I'm happy I saved the bucks. But Chris, most important, I just couldn't be happier with where my system is right now and I may play with the room some ovver the next year (to the extent my wife will let me) but it's just such a huge improvement over where I started that I'm very happy.

Leo, I agree with the W4S vs. PS Audio. As I understand it, they use a bunch of the same components and, at least one of the W4S guys used to work there. I've never heard the PS Audio amp but I'm sure impressed with what I hear from mine. Great sound, power to spare and I've never worried about overdriving my speakers because the amp just puts out clean power.

Jan, thanks for the education as always. I'm glad you kept it simple. Technical I'm not, but always interested to learn something new. Plus, I appreciate that you always give me some additional references that I look at to learn more. Much appreciated. I've got the new cables broken in to almost 50 hours and it just keeps getting better. Maybe you can't measure the sound wih an instrument but my ears tell me about the improvement and change.

Dave
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