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Hi folks, 

 

I would like to discuss the impact of a good quality RCA cable on the brightness or otherwise of my current setup - Yamaha WXAD-10 (Streamer) - Rega Brio R - Focal Aria 906 (bookshelf). 

 

The Aria's are known for being on the brighter side of things. Many of the higher quality RCA's claim to add additional brightness to the sound. Similar feedback is provided in relation to speaker cables as well. 

 

I am still relatively new to this .

 

Am I over thinking this. Any advice would be welcome. 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Cheers, 

 

Jol

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Hi Jol

 

In my opinion.   Silver adds more detail to the mids  and upper register, Which people misunderstand and say it’s brighter.  Pure copper will add warmth. Or maybe could be considered slightly less upper register

 

if your worried about too much so called brightness, then try a hybrid copper / silver cable.  I’m sure that will give you best of both worlds 

 

Cheers 

Bill  

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Also the differences between cables will be small. Some hear it more than others, some don't hear it at all. Think Bill makes some with just pure japenese OFC yeah?

 

If you're finding the speakers too bright. The best results will obviously be from changing speakers (dur), then amp section, then maybe exploring EQ (very effective, if you're into it), then cables. Wacking in the warmest RCA cable isn't going to make bright speakers not bright.

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5 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

 

 

If you're finding the speakers too bright. The best results will obviously be from changing speakers (dur), then amp section, then maybe exploring EQ (very effective, if you're into it), then cables. Wacking in the warmest RCA cable isn't going to make bright speakers not bright.

 

Definitely.

 

Although good cables can often make significant improvements in the sound of a given system, they are not a magic bullet and should not be used like  tone controls.

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Yep. Poor cables can negatively affect. Reasonable quality all mostly sound the same. And very high quality may get you that last handful of percent.

 

I'd definitely find a speaker you naturally like first, then hone the rest of the system toward squeezing the last bits of performance out.

 

If you don't want to EQ or change speakers, a basic thing like the Schiit Loki may work for you.

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2 hours ago, Bengineer said:

If you're finding the speakers too bright. The best results will obviously be from changing speakers (dur), then amp section, then maybe exploring EQ (very effective, if you're into it), then cables.

If "too bright" speakers was my problem, I would just replace current grills with ones made of thicker fabric. This is the cheapest option.

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17 minutes ago, rockeater said:

If "too bright" speakers was my problem, I would just replace current grills with ones made of thicker fabric. This is the cheapest option.

Fingers in the ears kills the highs for me too. Might do the job for OP. :P

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3 hours ago, JolB said:

Hi folks, 

 

I would like to discuss the impact of a good quality RCA cable on the brightness or otherwise of my current setup - Yamaha WXAD-10 (Streamer) - Rega Brio R - Focal Aria 906 (bookshelf). 

 

The Aria's are known for being on the brighter side of things. Many of the higher quality RCA's claim to add additional brightness to the sound. Similar feedback is provided in relation to speaker cables as well. 

 

I am still relatively new to this .

 

Am I over thinking this. Any advice would be welcome. 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Cheers, 

 

Jol

The 906 and the Rega are bandwidth limited. Not the best combo in my view. Best part of your system is the 906 by far. A nice little valve amp would go well with those.

Taking that into account, you could also buy some cables off Bill and maybe swap them if not correct. What he says is pretty correct. Cables are just important in your system as any of the electronics as far as I'm concerned. Doesnt mean you need to spend heaps though.

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29 minutes ago, rockeater said:

If "too bright" speakers was my problem, I would just replace current grills with ones made of thicker fabric. This is the cheapest option.

Remember reading some  users back in the day used silk fabric to tune down brightness of a tweeter.  Worth a shot.

 

 

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4 hours ago, JolB said:

Hi folks, 

 

I would like to discuss the impact of a good quality RCA cable on the brightness or otherwise of my current setup - Yamaha WXAD-10 (Streamer) - Rega Brio R - Focal Aria 906 (bookshelf). 

 

The Aria's are known for being on the brighter side of things. Many of the higher quality RCA's claim to add additional brightness to the sound. Similar feedback is provided in relation to speaker cables as well. 

 

I am still relatively new to this .

 

Am I over thinking this. Any advice would be welcome. 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Cheers, 

 

Jol

Its a fine balancing act here, where you want to tune down the brightness without sacrificing the naturalness of the speaker.  Sure you can start with a pair of copper rcas.  See how this impacts the sound.  Dont mix and match different cable brands if you can, will just complicate things.  For example - @Bill125812 makes good copper rcas for not much of an outlay.  I have been using his cables for years and they're pretty good.

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Bright speakers are easy to fix - keep turning the speakers further away from the listening position till you have the tonal balance you want. Cables can't remotely achieve as much as that can.

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thanks for all the reply's. Much appreciate. 

 

The one that sticks out, apart from Bill famous cables, is the comment regarding bandwidth. This is a completely new observation and I am not sure what it means in terms of the performance of my system. Perhaps others have some insights in this regard. 

 

The comment was:

 

The 906 and the Rega are bandwidth limited. Not the best combo in my view. Best part of your system is the 906 by far. A nice little valve amp would go well with those.

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22 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Bright speakers are easy to fix - keep turning the speakers further away from the listening position till you have the tonal balance you want. Cables can't remotely achieve as much as that can.

True, but stereo and imaging can be lost at least to some degree.

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1 hour ago, JolB said:

 

The comment was:

 

The 906 and the Rega are bandwidth limited. Not the best combo in my view. Best part of your system is the 906 by far. A nice little valve amp would go well with those.

 

Put another and more accurate way is that the 906 speakers are not full range, ,just like 99% of other stand mount speakers, so low frequency extension is probably round 50Hz. This does not necessarily mean that hey are bright, although Focal speakers have had a forward house sound for as long as I can recall.

  The Rega is not bandwidth limited at all and describing it thus is not especially  helpful.

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2 hours ago, rockeater said:

True, but stereo and imaging can be lost at least to some degree.

 

I don't see why ... if the degree of toe-in is the same in each channel?

 

Andy

 

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8 hours ago, andyr said:
10 hours ago, rockeater said:

True, but stereo and imaging can be lost at least to some degree.

 

I don't see why ... if the degree of toe-in is the same in each channel?

Proper stereo, the one that gives you also the depth perception, very often has only one specific toe-in in a particular room and with particular pair of speakers.

Naturally you can fire speakers parallel to side walls and you can point them at the listener (and all positions in between these two) but the magic is normally achieved in only one certain position. At least this is my experience. But this is off-topic.

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The Audience RCA's in the Classifieds at $159 would be an excellent choice as Good Quality RCA's for your system. A good spring clean of all your system contacts using CAIG cleaning products (or similar) is worth doing now and regularly.

Cheers

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19 hours ago, JolB said:

The 906 and the Rega are bandwidth limited. Not the best combo in my view. Best part of your system is the 906 by far. A nice little valve amp would go well with those.

Having heard and sold both the speakers and older Brio's, this is my opinion only. I have not heard the new Brio's and do not own one as other people on here do.

You made comments in regards to brightness and I looked at other areas that might be problematic here.

And yes Bandwidth limited can be used in defining a specific problem in a system. A grain of salt is needed with anyone's opinion. 

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If no speaker/amp/system specific advice are forthcoming:

  • buy several sets of IC's cables etc. and keep the ones you like and sell the rest. If buy used here and elsewhere at market related prices, you should be able to recoup a large proportion of the costs on the cables you do  not want.
  • Try to borrow some interconnects

 

Maybe not what you want to hear, see if you can try an amp from a brand that is known to pair well with Focal.

Edited by Jventer
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From personal experience, I like these two rca's. For a budget  cable at $120 this is a well balanced,easy listening cable. For twice the price this cable takes a bit of the edge off the top end I have found (everyone's systems are different though). I think the Sydney is very good.

 

 

https://www.audiotrends.com.au/cables-accessories/analogue-cables/rca-to-rca-cables/audioquest-sydney-rca-cable-1-metre.html

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Another way of saying a speaker is bright is to say it lacks bass. Any reduction of a certain frequency band will result in the over-emphasis of the remaining bands.  A solution?  Add  a subwoofer, which will give you a more balanced sound if it is set up properly This worked really well for me.  

If you don't want to spend the money then you can try covering the tweeter as suggested earlier.  Not exactly "audiophile" but it will reduce the treble and is certainly worth a try.

Changing interconnect cables wont significantly change the sound balance, unless the cable is weird.

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IMHO the most influencing factor in any given system is the frequently overlooked or simply ignored listening room acoustics. Obviously this doesn't apply to headphone listening, but for the majority of us with a system with loudspeakers IME cables costing a quadzillion $$$$ make a very small difference (if any) in a listening room that is acoustically poor.

 

Cheers,

Alan R

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On 02/03/2021 at 11:33 PM, rockeater said:

Proper stereo, the one that gives you also the depth perception, very often has only one specific toe-in in a particular room and with particular pair of speakers.

Naturally you can fire speakers parallel to side walls and you can point them at the listener (and all positions in between these two) but the magic is normally achieved in only one certain position. At least this is my experience. But this is off-topic.

 

Not off topic IMHO.  In fact quite related.  The often overlooked solution to the problem.

I sometimes find it amusing and saddening all at the same time that someone would spend thousands of dollars on a pair of interconnects only to realise that the only person who benefited from the "upgrade" was the retailer who sold them.  :( 

Now please don't misinterpret my words.  I'm not anti-cable or a person who doesn't believe in worthwhile improvements, but I'm with @rockeater on this one.  Take care of the room acoustics and try different loudspeaker positioning first before pointing the finger at your interconnects as been the primary problem in your system.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

I can almost hear some shouting at their computer or tablet screens - "Heathen!!!  You're a heathen non believer.  How dare you.  Leave this place immediately and don't come back."  Well I don't give one iota what anyone spends their money on.  It's your money, your audio system and your pleasure.  To each his/her own.  👍

 

Cheers,

Alan R.

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On 02/03/2021 at 10:04 AM, Bill125812 said:

Hi Jol

 

In my opinion.   Silver adds more detail to the mids  and upper register, Which people misunderstand and say it’s brighter.  Pure copper will add warmth. Or maybe could be considered slightly less upper register

 

if your worried about too much so called brightness, then try a hybrid copper / silver cable.  I’m sure that will give you best of both worlds 

 

Cheers 

Bill  

 

Matches my experience 100%. That said if a speaker itself is bright I've generally found it very difficult to rectify. Dayton USA PS220-8 for example are very bright on axis and being source point, off axis you lose that wonderful imaging. Stagely I find Van Damme LC-OFC a good match with these. Cheap and effective. For better, more natural speakers though I'd suggest looking ay hybrid copper / silver from either Aurealis Audio or Bill. These two are the best I've run irrespective of cost.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do the O/Ps speakers use passive x/overs. I raise this point because so many forget that the components used in x/overs can and do affect the output.  You might get a fright if you open up the box to take a look at the x/over and where it is located. I bought over 20 years ago a s/hand pair of Heybrook Sextet Mk1Vs. They use a now discontinued Tonigen ribbon tweeter and SEAS mid and woofer. Probably the best design by Peter Comeau.  I have mentioned on another thread that I was shocked at what I found when I opened up the cabinet to remove the x/over, I hope things are better for you if you decide to take a look.

 

Invariably you can use better power resistors and caps. Take a look at the internal wiring you may well decide to change that too. Most manufacturers know that punters tend not to look inside speaker cabinets. Take a look inside and let us know what components are there. It maybe that the x/over can be left alone but it is one avenue to explore.

 

As to RCA i/connects, I used to make these over 10 years ago as I was really disappointed in commercial stuff and I didn't trust the b/s that commercial companies came out with so I started from scratch. 

 

It's no good anyone judging their own efforts with the best will in the world you will have biases. So my comments on materials are from those who trialled with blind tests ergo they didn't know which was which, I used different coloured sheathing on the 2 types of cables I made., so they commented on  red and black.

 

MWS silver plated copper solid core - silver 20 microns over OFHC 24AWG. The silver I used just to stop oxidisation - all who trialled these said they were neutral.

 

High purity silver solid core 24 & 26 AWG - preferred by all and added just a hint of warmth.

 

I am about to make a set of 6N 26 AWG solid core, I expect a more solid punchier sound with more bass and a softer top end but this is theory, real time listening will confirm or deny this. After 10 years I deconstructed 2 sets of i/connects to see if silver sulphides had formed - only at the last 1 cm that was exposed but not inside the air cored FEP tubing. Now I make sure that I use a diluted 3-1 of Pro-Gold. I always use heat shrink tubing to seal the RCAs,never those stupid screws that compress the dialectric.

 

I should also add that it wasn't until near the very end of 4 years of experiments that I found using air cored (oversized)  FEP dialectric was head and shoulders better than anything else, TEFLON doesn't compete. Since that time both FEP and air cored dialectric are being adopted by more and more commercial companies.

 

Can i/connects make a difference - yes. I moved to Spain in 2001 and at the time there was an album being played on all the radio stations by a Catalan Gypsy - Rosario Flores - Mucho Flores. Sounded great on the radio so I bought the CD (no LP was produced). Got it home and using a World Audio Designs heavily modded KAT88 with the same company's modular valve  Pre 11 PSU/preamp and phono stage, a Marantnz 63KI CDP and Heybrook speakers found it unlistenable it was so bloody bright. With all the cables I made over the 4 years I used this CD to test them. By the time I had reached the final construction and materials this once unlistenable CD became very enjoyable.

 

The way that most commercial cables are constructed has sod all to do with how they 'sound' and everything to do with construction costs - time is money. It should also be noted that most cables are made by OEM manufacturers not the designers themselves. When a cable company says that their designs are secret and they don't want to give away their secrets is total and complete b/s. Anyone can buy a set of cables and taking them apart and sending materials to a metallurgist will know exactly what they are made of and how. 

 

If you pay a fortune for RCA plugs you are a mug. They are simple, the simpler the better. The more plastic the better - mass has been neglected as part of the equation over plugs and as for those where you have to solder the return to a metal body are a bad joke. Puresonic make some very good plugs, especially the Balanced type. Stay away from the b/s of carbon fibre bodies (big mark up) and Rhodium - check it out against gold and silver, reject nickle plated and brass. I was going to place an order with an OEM in Taiwan for some RCAs to my design which would have weighed 4. 2 g. each with a 6 mm body exit but wasn't sure I could sell them since connectors are not considered important. Remember signal wiring is what carries the musical information - do your i/connects and internal wiring transport the information with as little corruption of that information as possible - crap in- crap out.

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Following on from that, I definitely agree about the low mass, plastic bodies RCAs, the closer you can get to plugging the bare wire straight in the better. they use a solid copper tube with a thick silver plating as the signal conductor, with a small single point ground contact.

 

I personally bought a pack of these a while ago and made up a batch of cables for myself. 

Only disadvantage to these is if you have RCA sockets with that spiral ground contact seen on some extreme "high-end" connectors, the ground pin might not make contact in certain orientations. 

 

That said, the basic ones from pro grade manufacturers like Neutrik and Amphenol, while they are all gold plated brass (like 99% of connectors) are plenty good for getting started with DIY cabling, and they can be upgraded down the line as you get more adventurous.

s-l1600.jpg

20200907_203412.jpg

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23 hours ago, Southerly said:

Do the O/Ps speakers use passive x/overs. I raise this point because so many forget that the components used in x/overs can and do affect the output.  You might get a fright if you open up the box to take a look at the x/over and where it is located. I bought over 20 years ago a s/hand pair of Heybrook Sextet Mk1Vs. They use a now discontinued Tonigen ribbon tweeter and SEAS mid and woofer. Probably the best design by Peter Comeau.  I have mentioned on another thread that I was shocked at what I found when I opened up the cabinet to remove the x/over, I hope things are better for you if you decide to take a look.

I'd be tempted to also have a look at the XO, could be some components holding back the speakers potential performance, and well thought out component replacements can certainly tame a perceived brightness.

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23 hours ago, Southerly said:

Most manufacturers know that punters tend not to look inside speaker cabinets. Take a look inside and let us know

I dare anyone with their $500 plus cables to cut the branded heatshrink and look inside the plugs 😉

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12 minutes ago, rockeater said:

I dare anyone with their $500 plus cables to cut the branded heatshrink and look inside the plugs 😉

I have. Many times.   That’s why I started making my own.  

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GaryT,

snap - I use those as well. I bought a couple of sets of what were supposed to have a plastic body - they weren't. Also I agree with you about the small spigot for return, that's why I punted the Puresonic ones. The Balanced type  are literally that - the same amount of gold (forget the Rhodium b/s) plated beryllium copper is used for signal and return. This balance thing is very important. An i/connect is actually a circuit so the signal and return should be the same. When I started experimenting I used cheaper material for the return,  it does nothing for continuity.

 

Iv'e seen so often people saying that using different types of i/connects in a system is a good thing but with out substantiating this - continuity is a rational argument and all theory should come from practice. From years of experimenting I only use solid core wire and I always use oversized air core dielectric, and again from actual experiments I ended up using multiple conductors - 4 x for signal and return. Others will have their own materials and construction ideas. 

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