Nov 132016
 

The last week or two I had begun to miss my usual Tannoy Westminster Royale SE loudspeakers with their Duelund CAST crossovers, so I pulled my vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre project loudspeakers out of the system, and put the big West’s back in.

Back to Westminster's.

Back to Westminster’s.

Duelund CAST crossover for the Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeaker.

Duelund CAST crossover for the Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeaker.

Please don’t take that as condemnation of the vintage Altec A5’s, as it merely means that while the A5’s are out of the system their crossovers will transition from breadboards to final design, which is in itself quite exciting!

I plan on reducing the A5’s crossovers’ bases in size, with the idea of mounting them inside the 825B bass horns, or possibly sitting them on top of the bass horns, so the A5’s have a more compact footprint, and a better chance of fitting into the available space in their eventual new home, my TV room.

I’ll have quite a lot more to say about the A5’s as they enter into this exciting final stage of  crossover development.

Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre and Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers.

Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre and Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers.

It was quite a workout moving those big & heavy loudspeakers around and putting them into position by myself! Whew!

Tannoy Westminster Royal SE and vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.

Tannoy Westminster Royal SE and vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.

After I got the big West’s into position I fired them up to give them a listen, with first honors going to the Analogue Productions 45RPM version of Ella Fitzgerald’s Let No Man Write My Epitaph.

Ella Fitzgerald's 'Let No Man Write My Epitaph' on 45RPM by Analogue Productions.

Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Let No Man Write My Epitaph’ on 45RPM by Analogue Productions.

Trouble in paradise. The Duelund DCA16GA interconnects that are such a brilliant match with my more laid back vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theater loudspeakers, were too vivid & forward in the high-frequencies of the Westminsters (as were the vintage Western Electric WE16GA as interconnects before them). The WRSE’s are a bit fussy in that regard

When you get the Westminster’s tonal balance right they are astonishingly good loudspeakers, when you don’t, you suffer, as their metal high-frequency horns will take your head off if you get them wrong.

Duelund solid silver foil / ribbon IC's with Duelund Rhodium RCA's

Duelund solid silver foil ribbon IC’s with Duelund Rhodium RCA’s

So out came the Duelund DCA16GA interconnects, and in went the more laid-back Duelund silver foil & oil-baked silk interconnects that Chris at Parts ConneXion made for me to try (Chris will make bespoke Duelund interconnects for you if you tell him Jeff sent you, and ask nicely).

Duelund

Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnect with oil-soaked & baked silk dielectric, on my vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers.

The Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnect with their oil-soaked & baked silk dielectric are a beautiful match to the Westminsters’ high-frequency drivers, with a smooth, rich, detailed, and natural presentation.

If your high-frequencies are too forward or harsh, these Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects could be your answer for taming them, just as they did with my Westminster’s. (Paul, you might want to consider giving these a try for your Horning Euphrodite Lowther drivers.)

Duelund Shielded Soft Annealed Silver Foil Interconnect constructed Yazaki-san style with shield grounded at both ends.

Duelund Shielded Soft Annealed Silver Foil Interconnect constructed Yazaki-san style with shield grounded at both ends.

That success got me to thinking that the set of shielded Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects that Chris made for me would be a good choice for use with my Intact Audio bespoke monaural SUTs that I use for my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII phone cartridge, so I put them into the system to give them a listen.

Intact Audio SUT Dual Mono SUTs

Intact Audio SUT Dual Mono SUTs

Trouble in paradise part 2. The set of shielded Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects that Chris made for me sounded a lot like the Duelund DCA16GA interconnects, being astonishingly transparent, but too vivid & forward in the high-frequencies of the Westminster’s.

The set of shielded Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects that Chris made for me had their tinned-copper shield connected to ground at both ends, Yazaki-san style, which essentially puts the shield in the circuit as a conductor. I figured that was what was responsible for what I was hearing from them, so I decided a shield-ectomy was in order.

I unscrewed the handles on the Duelund Rhodium RCA’s, and pulled back the cotton wrap of the interconnects to expose the shield, pulled the shield free of the RCA’s, and then trimmed away about a 1/4-inch of shield to make sure it severed the ground connection.

Duelund soft anealled

Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects with shield connected at the source end only.

After reassembling the Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects, now with their shield connected only at the source end, I put them back into the system to give them a listen.

Now they sounded a lot more like what I was hearing from the unshielded Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects, whose smoother, more laid-back tonality is a much better match to the metal high-frequency horns of the Westminster’s.

Unshielded ends of the Duelund soft annealed silver IC's connected to the MX110Z's phone inputs.

Unshielded ends of the Duelund soft annealed silver foil IC’s connected to the MX110Z’s phono inputs.

On the Mo-Fi 45RPM version of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue the modified shielded Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects were a much nicer match now, giving much improved tonality.

Miles Davis' Mo-Fi 45RPM version of Kind of Blue.

Miles Davis’ Mo-Fi 45RPM version of Kind of Blue.

If you’re going to make up some shielded Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects, you definitely don’t want the tinned-copper shielding in the signal path, or you won’t be able to hear the beautiful tonality the soft annealed silver foil in their oil soaked & baked silk dielectrics are capable of. For this specific application I recommend that you connect the shield only at the source end.

In a conversation with Pete Riggle when I was interviewing him about his tonearm, he mentioned to me that I should try what he does for his tonearm cables, which is to not connect the shield to the RCA’s ground at either end of the interconnects, but instead to connect the shield to a grounding wire at the source end, and then connect the ground wire to the source end component ground. Pete say’s it makes for a much better sounding shielded cable, so I’ll have to give that a try and report back.

The behind the speaker view. The WRSE's are wired internally with Western Electric WE16GA, as are their Duelund CAST crossovers. The speaker cables are Duelund DCA16GA.

The behind the speaker view. The WRSE’s are wired internally with Western Electric WE16GA, as are their Duelund CAST crossovers. The speaker cables are Duelund DCA16GA.

The Duelund soft annealed silver foil wire with its oil-soaked silk dielectric, is transparent & articulate, but with a smooth, rich, and laid-back balance, that doesn’t sound like any silver wire I’ve ever come across (i.e. it’s way good), and it has a tonal balance that really complements the high-frequency tonality of my Tannoy Westminster Royal loudspeakers.

As I get more time on the Duelund soft annealed silver foil interconnects I’ll report back with more detailed impressions, and I’m thinking I need to give Pete’s ‘floating shield’ and ground wire approach a try as well, so more to come.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

Update: I forgot to mention that Chris at Parts ConneXion used the Duelund 1.0 silver foil in silk/oil to build the interconnects. It’s quite expensive at $15.98 per foot ($192 just for the wire for a pair of 1-meter interconnects).

Chris also told me that due to all the orders he’s been getting from you, that he sold out of the Duelund RCA’s for the next 2 months, until his next shipment arrives. Chris says he likes the KLEI and DH LABS direct gold over copper RCA’s as very good substitutes.

I haven’t yet been able to compare the Duelund RCA’s performance to the venerable (and cheap) Switchcraft 3502AAU (gold plug & nickel handle) RCA’s that I am so fond of for duty with vintage gear.

It is readily apparent that the Duelund RCA’s are made to a much higher level of quality than the Switchcraft RCA’s, but I haven’t been able to compare them directly yet to hear how they compare in sound quality.

So far I’ve liked the Switchcraft’s better than anything else I’ve tried from a sonic and musical standpoint, with the bonus that they easily fit in tight vintage audio gear spacing (and modern tight TV spacing) when a lot of other RCA’s don’t.

As soon as I get the 1-meter pair of Duelund DCA16GA interconnects I built with Switchcraft RCA’s back from Pete Riggle, I’ll compare them to the DCA16GA interconnects Chris built with the Duelund RCA’s and hear what happens.

Thanks for stopping by!

 Posted by at 6:38 pm

  8 Responses to “Duelund Soft Annealed Silver Foil & Oil-Soaked Baked Silk Interconnects – Update”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I think I was misunderstood, which is easy enough to happen with me. I only offered the example of the floating shield as one way to do the job. I was not suggesting this would sound better than other possible grounding arrangements; but it might, and might be worth a try. Please do let us know.

    As you mentioned: For my Woody tonearms the shield system is not connected to the ground collar of the RCA plugs. At the tonearm strain relief I gather the armwand shield and the cable shield to a common terminal, which is attached through a long ground wire to the phono stage chassis grounding post. Also emanating from the common ground terminal at the tonearm strain relief is a shorter ground wire which can be used to ground a turntable chassis. Grounding the turntable chassis is important for turntables with metal motorboards (think Garrard 301, Thorens TD124, and Lenco). This arrangement floats the shield system and the turntable chassis independently from the phono stage amplifiers (which may be connected internally to the phono chassis ground).

    I’ve looked at different tonearms and find that different designers sometimes use different shield and armwand grounding approaches. For example, SME V tonearms, have the armwand shield connected to the phono stage ground post via a long wire, and have the two separate phono cable shields independent of the RCA plug negative terminals and separately connected to the phono stage chassis grounding post. If the user of the SME V wishes to ground the turntable chassis to the phono grounding post, that is done with a separate wire provided by the owner.

    Thank you for keeping we who are your readers informed of your investigations.

    Best,
    Pete

    • Hi Pete,

      Thanks for the correction and clarification, very much appreciated!

      Best,

      Jef

    • Pete,

      So what do you think? You like the Beldon or the Duelund more in your system? I am curious I am liking both myself, but still have yet to hear the Duleund as a source cable.

      • Hi Bill,

        Pete didn’t get a chance to give the DCA16GA interconnects I loaned him a listen, as they were too short to be able to use in his system.

        The DCA16GA works great with my Altec’s, but not so well with my Westminsters, where the Duelund silver or Belden 8402 are a better match.

        Best,

        Jeff

        • Ok thanks for letting me know. I was wondering what type of solder would you recommend for the silver wire? The more I add the tinned Duelund I may want to add some silver to balance out the sound a little more. Not sure yet I have yet to see where it ends up.

          • I would use the same Kester solder that I use for everything else.

            Kester solder

            Best,

            Jeff

          • Thanks Jeff.

            Update on my crossover to driver install. Things are just starting to settle some, and I hear a lot of what you talked about with the Duelund as a source cable added in your system. It seems to have that much of an impact on the sound. Almost like adding the speaker wire itself more of everything like you said about the interconnect. The crossovers did the same to a lesser degree in my situation.

          • That’s super, Bill! Keep me posted as the sound & musicality continues to develop.

            Kind regards,

            Jeff

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