Jan 212017
 

I made up pairs of 2-meter interconnects with the new Duelund Coherent Audio DCA20GA tinned-copper tone-wire with my favorite affordable RCA’s, the Switchcraft 3502AAU RCA’s, soldered together with Kester ’44’ rosin core.

Kester ’44’ rosin core solder and Switchcraft 3502AAU RCA’s.

I made up two pairs of 2-meter interconnects with the DCA20GA, the first with pair single runs of Duelund DCA20GA pin-to-pin and ground-to-ground, and a second pair with single runs of Duelund DCA20GA wire pin-to-pin, and two runs of DCA20GA ground-to-ground, as I suggested in my previous post.

Belden 8402 mic cable IC’s (center), Duelund DCA16GA IC’s, Duelund DCA20GA IC’s, and Duelund DCA20GA ‘triplet’ IC’s (top).

I took the pair of Duelund DCA16GA interconnects out of my system that I’d been using in the MX110Z preamp to MC30 monaural amplifiers position, and I put the first pair of DCA20GA interconnects I built into my main system for a listen while I was building the second set of ‘triplet’ DCA20GA interconnects.

Closeup: DCA20GA ‘triplet’ IC (left), DCA20GA IC (middle), and DCA16GA IC.

I almost forgot to mention it, but I’ve found giving the Switchcraft 3502AAU RCA’s a wipe down with a very light coat of DeoxIT makes for a better connection with my vintage McIntosh electronics.

The Duelund wire doesn’t have directional marking on the casing like the Belden 8402 microphone cable does, so I use Peavey microphone tape to mark channels and direction. The green tape signifies the source end, the red is for the right channel, and white for the left channel, to keep me from getting mixed up when I’m changing interconnects.

When I finished the second ‘triplet’ set of Duelund DCA20GA interconnects I put them on my audiodharma Cable Cooker to condition them for a few days to hurry the run-in process along, and in the meantime I occupied myself with listening to the ‘normal’ DCA20GA interconnects to get some very preliminary first impressions.

I ran through a number of albums, like Harry Connick’s When Harry Met Sally soundtrack album …

… and Bill Henderson’s Live At The Times d “Send In The Clowns” …

… Miles Davis’ Ascenseur pour l’échafaud …

…  and a bunch of other albums.

What did I hear?

The interconnects I made with the Duelund DCA20GA sound very different than the interconnects that I made with the Duelund DCA16GA.

Given they both were the same length, had the same RCA’s, the same solder, and the same oil-soaked and baked cotton dielectric, I wasn’t expecting the twenty-six strands of 0.25mm tinned-copper wire conductors in the DCA16GA to sound a lot different than the twenty-six strands of 0.15mm diameter tinned-copper conductors in the DCA20GA, but they did.

The well run-in pair of DCA16GA interconnects in my main system have in spades what I’ve come to think of as tinned-copper signature tonal properties: vivid tone color, superb dynamic response, melodic sophistication, harmonic complexity, live-like timbral complexity, a high level of emotional engagement, as well as some impressive hi-fi hooks like spooky imaging presence, natural live-like resolution, and a generous portrayal of soundstage & soundspace.

The ‘raw off the roll’ Duelund DCA20GA interconnects I made were smoother, silkier, less vivid, more relaxed, tonally mellower, but also more nuanced, more detailed, more even top-to-bottom from a frequency standpoint, and yet still had those recognizable tinned-copper conductor qualities I described above, just in a lesser amount than the DCA16GA, probably because there’s simply less metal in them.

The ‘raw off the roll’ Duelund DCA20GA interconnects have had a bit of fussiness & sibilance that I have come to expect from ‘raw’ tinned-copper conductors on vocals & brass, but to a much lesser extent than the Western Electric WE16GA, the Belden 8402, or even the Duelund DCA16GA did before they were fully run-in.

Now after just a couple of days of playing music they are starting to settle in and are losing the bite of their ‘baby teeth’ and the vocal sibilance & slight edginess on muted trumpets are diminishing, and if they remain true to form for the other tinned-conductor wires I have used, they will settle in to perfectly represent natural vocal sibilance and the natural sibilance of muted trumpets.

I like the DCA20GA tinned-copper tone-wire a lot, and from what I’m hearing so far I think it may be a more appropriate match for the smaller signals of interconnects than its bigger brother, the DCA16GA.

Also, in comparison to my Belden 8402 microphone cable interconnects, which I also like a lot, the DCA20GA does share an audible family resemblance that is no doubt due to them both sharing twenty-six strands of 0.15mm diameter tinned-copper conductors.

However, the Duelund DCA20GA sounds silkier, more organic, more transparent, and more nuanced than the Belden 8402, no doubt due to only having an oil-soaked & baked cotton dielectric instead of the heavy casing, filler, shielding, and plastic dielectric of the Belden 8402.

I can imagine the DCA20GA excelling as tonearm cables or SUT cables if shielded, and I hope to follow up on that adventure before too long.

Please consider these to be very preliminary fist impressions, and I’ll provide a more detailed description of the Duelund DCA20GA interconnects as they continue to run-in, and I get a better handle on how they’re performing, but so far so good!

Duelund DCA20GA as speaker cables for the high-frequency section of my WRSE’s crossovers.

I was impressed enough with the sophisticated high-frequency presentation I was hearing from the Duelund DCA20GA as interconnects that I decided I’d like to try adding some Duelund DCA20GA speaker cables for the high-frequency connections on my crossovers (with DCA16GA for the low-frequency connections).

Duelund DCA20GA as high-frequency speaker cables.

I cut a couple of 2-meter sets of DCA20GA for high-frequency speaker cables and wired them up to my MC30’s and Duelund CAST crossovers.

Again, this is also very preliminary, and I don’t have any details to offer yet, but I like what I’m hearing from them as high-frequency speaker cables too!

Many thanks to Frederik for offering the Duelund tinned-copper tone-wire in both 20-gauge and 16-gauge, it opens up a world of exciting voicing possibilities for optimizing system performance!

Duelund DCA20GA speaker cables for the high-frequencies, and DCA16GA speaker cables for the low frequencies.

Ok, it’s shaping up to be a busy day with a long ‘to-do’ list, so I’ve got to run, but check back for updates in the near future.

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

 Posted by at 11:10 am

  32 Responses to “First Listen: The Duelund Coherent Audio DCA20GA tinned-copper tone-wire adventure begins!”

  1. Howdy Jeff,

    About a year and a half ago I contacted and bought and amp and preamp from Dennis Had the retired founder of Cary Audio. The amp is a single ended pentode triode wired. The amp uses a pair of 6V6’s to KT150’s, a single 6SN7 and any 5 volt rectifier.6V6ST’s are limited to an 80 or 5Y3. The pre is his LP27A that use a pair 27 triodes, a 6BX7 and 80 rectifier. All the Inspire gear is made by him in a small shop and are point to point hand wired. He sells them on the auction site. Anyone interested in very affordably priced low power tube electronics should check the Inspire line out.

    Fast forward. I tried the WE speaker wire, Belden 8402 IC’s and recently installed a pair of Arizona Blue Cactus .022uf coupling caps in the amp. They are not daddy’s Vitamin Q’s. I have tried other caps but these are keepers. Last week my Jehova’s Witness missionaries knocked on the door. I was streaming Jazz 24 or Radio Swiss Jazz, not sure which. They asked me if someone was playing piano and how wonderful it sounded. 🙂

    I have the Dueland 14ga speaker wire and will give it a go after the caps are fully settled in. I’ll have enough extra wire to make up some IC’s too.

    Thanks for the intro to the fine and affordable wire and caps. I’m stunned by the results.

    Regards,

    Les

    • Hey Les!

      I have great respect for Dennis Had, he does great work. Years ago I bought a pair of his Cary 805C mono amps from him, and I loved what they did. I solid them to try something else, which was a dumb move on my part. Wish I still had them.

      My buddy George has a pair of Dennis’ amps similar to what you describe, and they are indeed very nice.

      That’s awesome on the audio adventures with the WE, Belden, Arizona cap’s, and Duelund – great stuff!

      Thanks for the kind words and keep me posted on how your adventure turns out!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  2. Haha I just noticed the new books on the kicking back coffee table picture. Nice!!! 🙂

    • Howdy Josh,

      You’ve a good eye, The Garrard Story and Speaker Enclosures are great reads!

      Thanks for the recommendations on Speaker Enclosures, it’s a terrific book!

      Cheers!

      Jeff

  3. Hi Jeff,

    I’m just another happy user of the Duelund DCA16GA speaker cable in my Unison Research based system (Unico hybrid integrated + Max-1 loudspeakers), and I wanted to thank you very much for sharing all these great ideas and nice experiments with us. Looking forward to read your final impressions about the new DCA16GA cable, both as speaker/tweeter cable and also as interconnect (in both versions).

    Best regards,
    Cata

    • Hi Cata,

      Nice system!

      Thanks for the kind words and telling me about your results with the DCA16GA, I appreciate it.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  4. Hi Jeff,
    Please, tell us some word about Duelund and 47 Labs Ota cable. Do you prefer…..? Why?

    • Hi Giovanni,

      I haven’t used the 47 Labs cable for ages because I found cable solutions that I liked better both musically & sonically. As time has moved forward I’ve been exploring the musical & sonic charms of cabling made with tinned-copper conductors of late, which I like better than copper, silver, and gold conductors, in general.

      For a full description of my thoughts on the Duelund DCA16GA (and an introduction to tinned-copper conductors) read the article at Positive Feedback here.

      For my thoughts on the DCA20GA you’re getting ahead of me, as I’m not ready to discuss its musical & sonic performance in detail yet, but you can read my previous posts about it to get my very preliminary impressions about.

      Much listening still needs to be done to the DCA20GA in various applications, and your post reminds me that I need to remind everyone about what’s involved in the review process, and how long it takes, to really get the full measure of something being analyzed for its sonic & musical performance.

      Best,

      Jeff

  5. Hi
    I am considering to use DCA 20GA as phono cable on my Thorens TT.
    Is there any idea of it?
    Thanks

  6. Hi Jeff,
    I was wondering if you – or any of your site readers – have tried DCA20GA interconnects with ETI Copper Bullet Plug or KLE Harmony Copper.
    Any RCA I have tested – from Neutrik and Amphenol to Oyaide and WBT expensive ones – is not bringing the image, focus and musicality of ETI Copper-Gold plugs (I found them better than KLE equivalents).

    I have tested for two weeks DCA16GA as speaker cable and DCA20GA as interconnect (with Switchcraft). These cables are so good it is hard to imagine before having them…
    I prepare to order them for me and I was wondering if you found Switchcraft RCA as the only option in achieving the musicality and coherence of this beautiful sound-image.

    (I have a home-made tube amplifier EL84SEP inspired by Decware/RH84 similar projects and build with care – ASC Oil capacitors in power supply bypassed with Mundorf SilverGoldOil, Kiwame resistors in power supply, Amtrans resistors as grid stoppers, preamplifier cathodes and anodes, EL84 G2, and feed-back; Siemens E88CC in preamp section, preampifier Anodes and EL84 G2 tension filtering at stage; Amtrans Copper Foil PIO interstage, custom made transformers in a small workshop in Italy; Mullard EL84 with Mills and Silmic on cathodes, Toshiba GZ34 from early 60s; my digital source is inspired by Audio Note 4.1x, probably better than AN due to choice (of my idea) of better components; Lenco PTP4 – still work in progress – as analog source with home made phono preamplifier; open baffle with old German cinema drivers and a pair of Pioneer CS-A31 with upgraded crossovers as speakers.)

    All the best from Romania,
    Lucian

  7. I am still making IC’s with the new Duelund 20ga to replace my already nice Belden IC’s. These Duelund ICs continue to amaze. I am nearing the end of my roll of silver Wonder Solder and am now considering a solder purchase.

    Any suggestions? Does silver content help? Do I need rosin core and why. Is cleanup an issue with rosin core? What is a good diameter for general audio DIY?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Paul,

      I tend to like the non-silver solders the best. My favorite solder is the Kester leaded rosin-core solder, it’s a little bit of an insider secret that Jonathan Halpern at Tone Imports put me onto.

      Kester Solder

      You can buy it from Amazon.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  8. Hi Jeff, its been a while since I reported results of my trial of DCA16GA and. DCA20GA cables so allow me to share now. My first purchase was the DCA20GA for speaker cables for my Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Concert Grands. Important to note the VA speakers are supposed to be 90db efficient but they tested to 89 on one of the leading rags review. The initial result for me was great but over time There were a couple things I could not get beyond; cymbals just fell shorter than they did previously with sibilance issues, and decay seemed to be cut way short. I eventually went back with my original cables, remembering Jim Smith commenting the Dueland cables were really great but he wondered if less efficient speakers might not get full benefit. I think this was the case for my speakers.

    Not ready to give up on the Dueland’s yet I had a complete suite (Phono Pre to Pre-Amp to Amp plus CD to Pre-Amp) of 1.5 meter XLR terminated Interconnects made up for both the DCA16’s and DCA20’s. It’s interesting that I don’t recall anyone speaking about using these cables in a balanced configuration so I hope this helps someone else. After getting them made up by your recommended source for cables Jeff, I sent them out to have them burned in before delivery to me. Very inexpensive cost and a weeks extra time for very worthwhile results IMO. Note that in the interim I purchased Tyr speaker cables to match the Tyr Interconnects already in my system, just in case this test somehow did not work out for me.

    Starting with the DCA20’s I was impressed with them immediately, they rivalled the Tyr 1 interconnect’s I’d been using in most every way. I ran them in my system for at least a month (25hrs +) insuring they were fully seated, I was not dissapointed with the results. Finally I decided to give the bigger DCA16’s a test since I have them. Man, am I glad I decided to do so! My system never sounded better; more of everything in spades! Blacker backgrounds, more dynamics, improved transients, attack and decay, tighter more extended bass like never before, plus articulate as all get out and well balanced dynamically. Like I said, more of everything. They’re just cming up on about 20 hrs break-in and the improvement has been more than notable every session.

    I thnk I could spend thousands more money for interconnects and would not be any more satisfied than I am now! Thanks again for turning us on to these cables Jeff. Larry (Olskool)

    • Hello Larry Johnson.
      What XLR connectors did you use for the 16/20 GA IC’s? Thanks.

      Jeff/anyone:

      Re; the 16/20 GA IC’s RCA connectors, does the Switchcraft Gold provide the synergy people seem to like? Or would another warmish connector work?

      I have some Furutech FP 126 gold I might try. Also the Duelund Gold RCA seems similar to the FP-126 (different barrel).
      Thanks for any ideas.

      • Hi Dave

        They were Vampire XLR’s at the suggestion of Parts Connexion…

        “The Vampire XLR’s use the same direct gold over copper connections as the Duelund RCA…..so, they area good value….about$20 pair.”

        So far I have no trouble with the validity of his suggestion, great performance!

        Larry

      • Hi Dave,

        I’ve had good results with the gold Switchcraft’s for DCA16GA & DCA20GA, and while they sound very good and are inexpensive, the quality of the Duelund (or the Furutech, which I haven’t tried) are at a much higher level.

        I could predict a very fun time for you if you made up 3 set’s of IC’s with each of the different RCA’s!

        All the best,

        Jeff

    • Hi Larry,

      Many thanks for your report, that’s great feedback!

      I think you’re approaching it exactly right, trying different combinations of DCA20GA and DCA16GA until you find the combinations that work best for particular applications in your system.

      I haven’t tried a full set of DCA20GA as speaker cables for both HF and LF connections, but I have had good results with DCA20GA as HF cables for the bi-wire DCA16GA/DCA20GA cable set I made, and both of them as interconnects in various system locations. For the Sumile phono cartridge IC’s the Duelund silver/silk wire was a wonderful match. Now I have the Duelund DCA12GA here, and it is very nice as well.

      Finding the best wire to use in each system position is really paying dividends, and it really helps having a cable library to dial in the performance of equipment in for review.

      Keep me posted on developments!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Thanks Jeff, good to communicate with you on this. So I have aquestion as I’m not really that technical? My TT is nearly full spec Linn TT with an Ekos1 tonearm and Lyra Delos cart. If I were to try the Dueland as the phono cable how would I go about that? First, I understand there is a calculation for the correct capacitance (length) of cable to use for the tonearm, do you happen to know that or where I should look to find it. Also, would the smaller 20’s or the larger 16’s or maybe even the new 12’s you mentioned be the likely candidates for the cable? Finally the Linn uses a 90 degree connector so any recommendations for the 90 and the RCA’s? I’m intrigued at this thought and had not considered it previously! Your input is appreciated.

        Larry

  9. All of this Dueland interconnect talk is almost making me cut up the as yet unused dca16 for my TAD horn project and try as interconnects and speaker wire. I must resist! I have barely enough for the speaker hook ups 🙂 My path will absolutely be dueland all the way through, but I currently have a stinging wallet from drivers, horns and crossovers so I’ll just have to bide my time before ordering some more. Note to all other Jeff’s readers, make sure to leave me a few metres in stock!!

    • Keep me posted on your adventure, Robbie, it sounds like fun!

      Cheers,

      Jeff

      • Will do Jeff, fun and worry and excitement all rolled into one! I have just finished some trials with my yuichi 490 horn, TD2001’s and JBL 2405h slot tweeters and they are sounding superb, time to build some test boxes for the tl-1603 monsters.

    • Robbie, I had a good listen this past weekend and last night and it just keeps getting better! My thoughts of upgrading cables is now only limited to the ToneArm.

      Larry

  10. Hi!
    New here. I bought the 20AWG and am running it between an MC240 and a set of Tannoy Golds. (2 meter lengths) It sounds a bit brighter and I have run it for 30 hours. When should it calm down and settle down?
    Did I do wrong in purchasing the 20AWG instead of the 16 for this app?

    • Hi Paul,

      I was running a bi-wire set of DCA speaker cables on my West’s, with DCA20GA on the HF’s and DCA16GA on the LF’s, and that was working nicely for me.

      Then the DCA12GA arrived, and I replaced my bi-wire set of DCA speaker cables with a single wire set of DCA12GA speaker cables that connect to the LF connections on my crossovers, and I use a DCA12GA jumper to the HF connections of the crossovers. I really, really, like the way the DCA12GA is working with my West’s.

      In general, I’ve found that as I start with the smaller gauges of DCA, and work up through the larger gauges, that they become warmer, with the DCA12GA being the warmest of all.

      I was running in my DCA cables on my Cable Cooker, but I’ve stopped doing that, as the tinned-copper cables seem to sound better if I just plug them into the system, give them a couple of weeks to run-in, and then just leave them alone.

      Anyways, I’m thinking that if the DCA20GA are sounding too bright you might want to give the DCA16GA or DCA12GA a try, and see how that works for you.

      Gook luck!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

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