Mar 192017
 

It’s always a treat to hear from Jim Smith, and as many of you know, I have the greatest respect for Jim and his many contributions to the worlds of music & audio, and am just generally a big fan of Jim’s!

Jim Smith of Get Better Sound fame!

Jim’s demos at CES over the years have always been impressive, and you have to really know your stuff to get those kind of results at CES!

Jim has been awesome in teaching others about his methods as well, which you can learn more about at his Get Better Sound website. If you haven’t had a chance to read Jim’s books and watch his DVD’s about room and system setup, it could be one of the most import things you can do for your audio experience.

But I digress, as what I really wanted to tell you about was Jim’s email to me today about his experiences with the Duelund DCA20GA tinned-copper interconnects he had Chris at Parts ConneXion make for him:

Hi Jeff,

I wanted to send along this brief report regarding the Duelund DCA20GA when used as single-ended interconnects, unshielded.

First, I have been using the Belden 8402 for some time now.  I thought it very musically engaging. I had switched speaker cables from WE to Duelund DCA16GA and appreciated the improvement, though in my system, it wasn’t as huge as I had hoped.

Recently, I wanted to see what the DCA20GA would do, especially at its very affordable price. Chris Johnson & Co. at Parts ConneXion were amazingly prompt, as my assembled 2M IC cables arrived from Canada in about three days from placing the order!

Lacking the patience to wait on burning the cable in on my Audiodharma cable cooker, I simply inserted the new cables into the system, removing the Belden (which was constructed exactly as suggested by Yazaki-san).  My system only uses one pair of ICs, so this was too simple to wait … 🙂

This time, going to a Duelund cable was not somewhat better – as it had been when changing speakers cables from the WE.  It was tremendously better!  Better bass, mids & trebles, but especially noticeable were the improvements in Presence & Tone!  Unexpectedly – but most welcome – dynamic contrasts stood out in greater relief.

The sound was simply more alive, more immersive, more engaging.  The difference was amazing, even before considering the price/performance ratio!

I used the Duelund rca connectors, instead of the Switchcraft that I used on the Belden.  I thought I would try the Switchcraft afterwards, but if it ain’t broke… 🙂

All of the usual audiophile-approved descriptions apply in this report.  But I’ll just say this – In my audio career, I have never heard such a musically engaging improvement from simply swapping out a pair of ICs.  And this is pre-burn-in …

Thanks to you for telling us about them, to Chris at Parts ConneXion for being so helpful, and especially to Frederik Carøe at Duelund.

Wishing You All the Best in Music & Sound,

Jim Smith

A photo Jim’s system from a couple of years back.

As you can imagine, I found it really gratifying to read Jim’s email, and I’m sure Frederik will be thrilled at the response his DCA20GA is receiving.

Duelund DCA20GA interconnects.

I’m using the Duelund DCA20GA interconnects (above) in my main music system from my vintage McIntosh MX110Z preamp to my vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers, and as high-frequency speaker cables from my MC30’s to my Westminsters’ Duelund CAST crossovers, with excellent results.

System photo as of March 2017.

Next I want to make a shielded pair of Duelund DCA20GA interconnects to use for my SUT to preamp connection, as well as rewiring the high-frequency sections of my Duelund CAST crossovers with DCA20GA.

I also want to make another unshielded pair of Duelund DCA20GA’s for my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre system … I just have a hunch it would be superb.

A huge thank-you to Jim Smith for his update on the performance of the Duelund DCA20GA in his system, and for allowing me to share it with you all. Thanks, Jim!

There will be lots more Duelund DCA20GA adventures coming, so stay tuned, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

 Posted by at 4:55 pm

  37 Responses to “Jim Smith Checking In: “Unexpected results from the Duelund DCA20GA Interconnects””

  1. Hi Jeff & Jim ,

    I’m very impressive with the Jim’s audio results as for the Duelund DCA20GA IC’s .!!

    ( Anyway is something that I expect it ..) , but ..just out of the box !!! No way !!

    Jeff, yours comments ??

    I am ready for an order to Parts Connexion…..!!

    I have the Duelund DCA16GA as speakers cables ( 120h now….) with extremely good results ..!!

    ( Analysis Audio magneplanar speakers + EAR ..etc )
    ( I’ll let you know soon with more about it….)

    How is your cold, Jeff ??

    best regards from GREECE
    john

    • Hi John,

      The Duelund DCA20GA makes for a very nice pair of interconnects, and as Jim says, the affordable price makes them an unparalleled bargain!

      Let me know how the DCA20GA interconnects work out for you, I always appreciate the feedback.

      The cold is slowly getting better, and I’m on the road to full recovery (I hope!).

      All the best!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  2. A comparison of IC with swichcraft connectosr woudl still be welcomed.

    • Hi Thomas,

      It’s a comparison I’ve wanted to do, but it hasn’t made it to the top of the ‘to do’ list yet. One of these days, I hope!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  3. Jim Smith’s comments regarding the Duelund DCA20GA Tinned Copper wire perfectly describe what I hear using the same wire as internal hook-up wire in my Texas Instruments TPA3118 Class D amplifier. I also installed the Duelund DCA16GA wire connecting the amplifier’s outputs to the speaker binding posts. Since the amplifier runs off 14VDC, it outputs about 11 watts per channel into my efficient Klipsch Forte II speakers. The wire really transformed the amplifier into a very natural sounding amplifier with some vibe.

    I also have a vintage Sony TA3060 solid state amplifier that I would like to re-wire with the Duelund wire. This little obscure gem was the first generation of Sony’s solid state amps that were voiced like tube amplifiers made in the late 1960’s. It’s one of the better sounding solid state amps I’ve heard.

    This also has me convinced to explore the DCA16GA wire to replace the Western Electric AIW 16ga wire I use for speaker wire and a pair of DIY DCA20GA interconnects using the Switchcraft 3502AAU RCA connectors.

    I highly recommend Jim Smith’s book. It helped me a lot in setting up my man cave and get the most out of my system.

    • Hi Rich,

      I was impressed by the similarity of your report and Jim’s, and it certainly validates my own impressions.

      To hear both yours and Jim’s reports is particularly exciting for me, and I continue to look forward to more Duelund DCA20GA experiments of my own!

      Keep me posted on your adventures!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Hi Jeff

        I too have ordered the Duelund 20 ga tinned copper cable today for my balanced ic.

        I was also wondering how one strand of the Duelund 16 ga which is 30 ga sound as an ic. There are a few people who use one strand of 30 ga as an ic and are very happy with the sound. 30 ga will have a lower capacitance which is considered good for an ic

  4. Guys thanks so much for the responses – learning alot-Since I just reconfigured my system and now will need a 4 meter run from my new Joule -Electra LA-450 Platinum edition pre to my Metronome C8+ DAC which both are balanced- Should I use the 16 or 20 gauge- I am using the 16 from the Joule electra VZN-100’s to my speakers-thanks for the advice- gary

  5. Also for Connectors- do you rec. the Duelund rhodium or should I go for the Furutech Rhod.- again thanks for the advice!!!!

  6. I just got a pair of pre-made Duelund 20ga interconnects w/ Switchcrafts from USAudioMart. I was really impressed by the quality – but, oh my gosh – the tone of the DCA20GA is amazing. I’ve been using the Duelund 16GA for a while now as my speaker wire, and Belden 8402/Switchcrafts for interconnects.  The Duelund 20GA does what the Belden does, but it just does it better!  Jeff, I so appreciate your blog and the work you’ve done with Duelund.  Thank you!

    • Hi Tysen,

      That’s fantastic! You’re right on, the Duelund DCA20GA is like Super Belden 8402 microphone cable interconnects, but better in every way.

      Thanks for the kind words, appreciated!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  7. Hi Jeff.
    Thanks for your comments.
    I have been using the Duelund 16ga as speaker cable and Belden 8402 for ics.
    and I was wondering about Duelund 16ga or 20ga as an ic for my tube power(el34) to tube pre amp and power cord for other sources.

    Kind regards

    • Hi Henry,

      Both Duelund DCA16GA and DCA20GA work great as interconnects. I urge you to try pairs of interconnects out of both so you can compare the two, it is really quite the inexpensive audio adventure!

      The Duelund DCA16GA & DCA20GA is intended only to be used as signal wire, and it should not be used in AC power cords. The lack of an inner plastic sheath on the Duelund wire means that it could actually catch fire if used in a power cord, burn down your home, and kill you.

      The missing plastic sleeving in the Duelund wire means it sounds a lot better as signal wire in interconnects and speaker cables than wire with plastic sleeving, but it makes it ineligible for use in power cables.

      Let me know how you like the interconnects!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Jeff – I am using the Duelund 16 ga for the runs from the crossover to both the midrange and tweeter. I have some 20 ga I am going to try for the tweeter runs. Have you listened to the 20 ga in that configuration long enough to determine whether it is better than the 16 ga?

        Regarding use for a power cord (12 ga), couldn’t you wrap the wire in teflon tape or use a teflon tube?

        Thanks.

        • Hi David,

          I like the DCA20GA better for tweeter runs & my high-frequency crossovers’ wiring.

          The Duelund DCA tinned-copper wire is designed for signal use, not power cords. I don’t recommend you use it for AC power cords, given it has an oil-soaked & baked dielectric next to the conductors, which could catch on fire, burn your house down, and kill you.

          Use something different for power cords, as I want to make sure you’re alive and can still send me comments in the future! 😉

          Kind regards,

          Jeff

  8. Hey Jeff –

    long time reader here – I really appreciate you sharing your experimentation and discoveries with us here.

    I have been riding the tinned copper magic with you for the past year or so. I’ve been using Belden 8402, WE16GA, WE18GA, DCA16GA, and DCA20GA for interconnects. I find it very exciting and rewarding to see how each of these different interconnects work in different positions in my signal chain. It is amazing to hear different details depending on which cable is in which position. To me its as fun as tube rolling!

    My most recent adventure has been listening with my DCA20GA interconnects. Immediately when switching from my Belden 8402s + DCA16GA interconnects, I noticed a much more natural tonal balance across the frequency spectrum while still retaining the magical 3D sound stage that is so characteristic of tinned copper. I have made a few shielded DCA20GA ICs based on your recommendation a bit ago. I’m still in the preliminary listening stages (maybe 50-75 hours) but I am VERY happy with the added density to the midrange.

    cheers from Detroit!

    -chris

    • Hi Chris!

      It really has been fun experimenting with tinned-copper wires, and dialing in the sound by “wire rolling” until you hit the magic combination is a blast!

      I ordered what I need to build some shielded versions of the DCA20GA this morning, and I’m really looking forward to giving that a try.

      Keep me posted on your results!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  9. Dear Jeff – I have been following the discussions with interest and switched my speaker connections to DCA16GA with amazing results. The Leben never sounded better – until thanks to Chris (above), who very kindly made me up some DCA20GA RCA interconects, both shielded and unshielded. Both are magical and bring all the sonice improvements others have outlined. I’m running the shielded versions now and really enjoying the vintage tone to the full. Chris and I have been in regular contact across the miles – Detriot to Beijing and its a real pleasure to meet a like minded adiophile with a shared interest. Finally Jeff – I bought the Leben unheard on your recommedation – best amplifier I have ever owned!!!

    • Hi Philip,

      Thank you so much for commenting on your results with the Duelund DCA16GA and DCA20GA! It really is gratifying to hear the positive results coming in.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the Leben CS600, it is one honey of an integrated amplifier, and has been in my system playing music longer than any other audio component I have.

      All the best!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  10. All,

    I just ordered some Duelund 16GA for bi-wiring my MC30 to Tannoy Turnnerry speakers. It is going to be a fun project. Have any of you tired to twist or shield the wires in this application? Also, it made me wondering if Duelund makes a solid core version of 16GA and 20GA wires may even sound better!!??

    Griffin

    • Hi Griffin,

      I have been twisting the DCA for my interconnects & speaker cables, although I have had reports from the field that some prefer their sound when not twisted (linear runs), citing a slightly warmer and more natural sound.

      When I made my pair of shielded DCA20GA interconnects I did not twist the conductors, and they do sound good, but I haven’t compared them to my twisted & unshielded pair of DCA20GA IC’s yet.

      Duelund doesn’t make a solid core versions of the DCA16GA or DCA20GA, but I have been encouraging Frederik to try making a solid core DCA24GA with an oil-soaked & baked silk dielectric that could be used for interconnects as well as *headshell wires*.

      After hearing how fantastic the solid-core WE24GA tinned-copper silk-insulated wire sounded as headshell wires I was completely smitten. I had tried to buy more sets of them from a dealer in Japan, but was told they were not available for sale outside of Japan. Bummer.

      I suspect there’s a bunch of us that would like to have DCA24GA solid-core tinned-copper for headshell wires, but alas, unless the head magician at Duelund decides it’s a good idea …

      Anyways, let me know how the DCA works out for you!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  11. Hi Jeff, I have just made up some DCA 20GA interconnect and I must say they sound fantastic.
    One question I am experiencing a small amount of hum noise when there is no music, even if I turn the
    Volume right down I can still hear it through the speakers..
    I may have done so thing wrong as this is my first attempt at cables..
    I soldered one wire to the ‘pin’ and one to the base post of the plug and repeated this on each end of the length.
    Is this correct? I notice you mark one end of your cables up with a green tape and you said this is your source end, what have you done differently to the other end? Mine are identical both ends!
    Best regards
    Adam

    • Hi Adam,

      It sounds to me like you constructed them exactly right. Mine are identical on both ends as well, I just use the green tape to mark the source end for consistency’s sake when I plug them in, so that I maintain directionality.

      Here’s my guess at what’s causing your hum. Sometime’s if interconnects are not shielded you’ll get some hum.

      For example, I have to run shielded versions from my SUT’s to my MX110Z preamp or I get hum, but it’s fine if I use unshielded IC’s between my MX110Z preamp & MC30 amps, and I get no hum.

      Between my Leben preamp and MC225 amp in my AV system, it will hum with unshielded interconnects. If I’m using shielded IC’s I also mark them with tape at the end where the shield is grounded, so I can remember to hook that end up to the source end connections.

      In my experience IC’s always sound better unshielded … unless … you get the dreaded hum, then you have to add shielding, and the hum will go away.

      I hope that helps!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  12. Thanks for the Reply Jeff
    I suppose it’s the trade off on unscreened cables..
    The sound is great though..and used in conjunction with DCA 16GA speaker cables
    amazing presentation..and at this money a no brainer. Thanks for your research into this and of course sharing.
    Best Regards from London
    Adam

  13. Jim,

    Hello I had good experience with the DCA20GA myself. I was wondering if you went with Rhodium, or Gold plated RCA plugs?

    Kind regards,

    Bill

  14. Bill,

    Chris @ Parts Connexion built mine with Duelund gold-plated RCAs –

    http://www.partsconnexion.com/connectors_rca_duelund.html

  15. Bill,

    I didn’t even know they had rhodium. Not sure which would be better…

    • Jim,

      Thanks for the info. I went with rhodium ( gold was out of stock) see how it goes between pre and amp. I want to try the gold sometime as well maybe on a source. I will see how these work out first. I was using Switchcrafts I want to see if I hear a difference. Probably take awhile as mine had a lot of miles on them.

  16. Checking in on my fourth day ( more like 8 for a regular listener) of listening to this cable recipe. I do not recommend a cable burner on these as i’ve noticed while it does smooth them out it kind of makes them thin sounding as well ( your miles could vary on that one, but that’s generally what I heard from all tin cables burned in. Unless they were shielded even then it thinned out a Beldon on me that was super lush sounding. Thought it would improve it I was wrong. Its good to get the process started though just don’t over do it if your gonna). Naturally let them settle in its not a huge deal as these sound pretty good compared to others sooner. So i’m really liking them I think I have a new favorite combination. I really don’t think Its fully broken in either, and I can confidently say its better for my needs than the Swtichcrafts. I was hoping for the cost of them. In the beginning the teething problem Jeff speaks of tin is a bit more on these. The Rhodium top end can really come at you hard, but its clear as a bell. It may not work for everyone, but man is it an exciting sound. Not sitting back with a drink this is edge of your seat get up stand up event arena sound. Things are relaxing a bit though I hope not to much because it’s such a fun sound. As things open up at lower volumes i’m sure it will be a nice sound to relax too. I bet you will want to turn it up though. These are not neighbor friendly. To be honest at first I was thinking it might not work for me, but I liked a lot of what I was hearing. I was already thinking of ways of working around it to improve a synergy with my setup. I really think they will work out now without the need. Although I always take time out to listen for ways to improve my sound. I noticed it has a much more solid sound ( punchy, grippy and louder) and more resolving. Everywhere not just the top end. Its been sort of a roller coaster ride as the wire settles in I believe its gonna be a balanced sound, but not sure. Its funny how like today the midrange is just starting to open up and that diminishes all the other areas a little as that fills in more. So its starting to balance out more big highs and big lows in the beginning. The first day I had the bass knob down by three by accident you talk about top heavy mind boggling detail.

    Wonderful sound all around movies are excellent as well. For those of you who like to use your hifi for movies as well will enjoy these a lot. As glass breaking sounds like glass breaking I haven’t heard that sound right in awhile since I been into surround sound. My setups been to relaxed up top. Last night I was watching a movie the wind was whipping I had a flash back of my surround sound days very good special effects. Its like tube rolling a tube can sound great it has something special, but give it the three day test see if you still like it. Often times you don’t compared to your old faithfuls. What stood out and made you like it is exactly what you do not like about it anymore. Well these plugs have me anxiously awaiting whats next better yet to hear what it already has. Good sign i’m not sick of it yet. These are still very musical as the core sound of the DCA20GA is shining through. I’m curious where this ends up after it all opens up. There is a more spacious sound to everything so it’s only gonna get even bigger. Some of the inner detail can be down right creepy at times you’ll see what I mean if you ever try this combo. I do have one nit pick is the sibilance hope that goes away, or subsides more it has today some which is good. Also taking awhile for the midrange to bloom some compared to the Switchcrafts which have wonderful midrange from the get go. Switchcrafts are a bargain for what you get no doubt. I wanted to try something different almost went silver then thought everything is just sounding so good. Then this article clicked in my brain, and I thought why did Jim hear such an improvement? I did but not quite like he did. System differences and all that aside It dawned on me he used the Duelund plugs. You could upgrade your preamp, and not gain some hifi adjectives these plugs will add to your sound. Of course that has a lot to do with the DCA20GA as well. Some folks won’t be able to jive with the top end in their systems I would dearly miss it after hearing it now.

    Disclaimer: I am using Tinned CAST Duelund Capacitors in my crossover so even a coat hanger might sound ok.

    Cheers,

    Bill

    • Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the great report on the DCA20GA!

      I’ve noticed too that in general, the DCA tinned-copper wire doesn’t behave the same way on the Cable Cooker as the copper or silver wires I’ve tried. Not sure why that is.

      I’m coming to the conclusion that tinned-copper wire works best if not cooked, and just installed to run-in naturally.

      I’m totally with you on the Duelund CAST tinned-copper capacitors, they are in a league of their own!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  17. I would like to add it might sit to neutral for some folks compared to the Gold sound. No extra warmth yet it is smooth and musical.Also its very dynamic but doesn’t give in to distortion. Some of the dynamics lean towards the forward side. Mainly the top end its clean and detailed.

  18. Jeff,

    Not really sure where to post this. I think I discovered something with the Duelund Tin wire. If its running thin and sometimes cooking them can do this. But I noticed on two different cables not sure if this is coincidence if you cook them in “voltage mode” ( The cable dielectric is excited by electric fields. Leave the far end of the cable open circuited while cooking) you will add more warmth and richness to the sound. As well as overtones ,and texture that were not there before or just hidden. I’m not sure how long this anomaly last , or if it’s just a coincidence. Takes only about 12 hours to. The longer I noticed more effect almost to much. Might be a good way to “charge” up some thinned out ones if this is a real thing. I did this last night to mine I didn’t notice on all sources, but things like a local radio station I immediately noticed. As well as an SRV guitar tone I listen to always as to see where the sound is at immediately noticed the Rhodium was closer now to the sWitchcrafts in the midrange. If you got a a pair to experiment with try it. Only thing is if your completely satisfied with a sound not sure you should as it will change the sound. More relaxed too now. I heard this on two cables, and I do not know if it is just regular burn in. Hagerman recommends this cooking process for the first 24 hours he’s an intelligent guy I’m not so much just a tone guy, but I do not I say do it at the end of the burn as you want that tone and texture to remain. It could get rid of it in “current mode” just speculation. Anyways just thought I would share this. If anyone tries it and hears it as well it would be nice to know.

    Best,

    Bill

    • Thanks for the awesome comment, Bill. I’ve just asked Alan Kafton to find out if there’s a way to do a similar method of cooking with the Audiodharma Cable Cooker.

      Thanks for sharing this observation!

      Jeff

      • Hi Bill,

        I checked with Alan to see if I could duplicate your open-ended voltage method on the Cable Cooker, but apparently I can’t, its design doesn’t allow for that.

        I’m not sure why the Duelund DCA responds to the CC the way it does. The Duelund DCA seems less compatible with the CC, and the results aren’t as predictable.

        Shorter conditioning times (8 hours) seem to benefit the DCA slightly at times, mid-length times (~3 days) are a crapshoot, sometimes it’s better, and sometimes it’s not, depending on the gauge.

        Longer than that seems to lean it out and make it brighter and more forward, kind of the opposite of what happens if you run the CC too long with most copper & silver cables.

        Alan told me that with the Duelund he suspected that it does better with lower voltage / current conditioning as occurs when just running it in naturally, “…the common denominator is the much lower voltage and especially the much lower current (which primarily treats the metal conductors).”

        So I’m guessing the DCA just likes to see less voltage/current during the run-in process, as Alan has suggested. So far, just letting the DCA run in naturally provides the most predictable results.

        The DCA also seems to get back too its normal self after a while even if it’s been cooked to leanness. Just leaving it out of the system for a while, a week or two, seems to reset it to its original sonics.

        On the other hand, the Duelund silver cables benefitted from time on the CC in more typical fashion, as have other copper & silver cables I have cooked.

        Best,

        Jeff

  19. Jeff,

    Awe that’s a bummer you can’t try it out. I noticed tonight the sound is still there. I’ve heard the reset you talk of as well to a T. Either over cook it under cook it no matter what it’s gonna settle where it wants too. What I like about this is it reminds me of hundreds of hours on it naturally. Hard to explain because I still can hear that the cable still needs more time, but the overall softened warmer sound is something I don’t hear unless it has TONS of hours on it. What i’m thinking maybe if I like this sound I can condition it now and then to get it back. I’m sure it will just get better though, and I won’t even have the need for that. I think this method of cooking benefits shielded cables even more. If you wanted to borrow mine I might be able to arrange that. You might like your shielded DCA20ga more.

    Best,

    Bill

    • Howdy Bill,

      Many thanks for the kind offer, appreciated! 🙂 At the moment I think I’ll take a raincheck though, as my system is sounding so bloody good its almost scary! All my Duelund wire has settled into as perfect a balance one could hope for.

      The Duelund DCA wire is a little different when it comes to conditioning than say the Western Electric WE16GA or the Belden 8402. I think all that extra dielectric they have is the reason (and the shielding of the Belden).

      I just ordered a Hagerman Audio Labs FryBaby2 to try on future projects. The flexibility it offers is intriguing!

      I’ll report back once it arrives and I’m able to try it. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Jeff

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