Aug 042017

It sure is nice to get home from work on a Friday evening, fix a dirty martini with some Tito’s handmade vodka, and put on some music and play some audio games.

I just pulled my Duelund DCA20GA interconnects off the FryBaby2 after about 12 hours of voltage-only conditioning, and installed them in the system in place of the FB2’d DCA16GA in the preamp to amplifier position, that I wrote about in my last post (which sounded bloody good!).

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals’ ‘Lifeline’ album with the DCA20GA interconnects.

So, I put on my Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals’ Lifeline album, and gave it a listen with the DCA20GA interconnects.

DCA20GA on the MC30’s, DCA16GA in the foreground.

If you’ve never heard Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals’ Lifeline album, I highly recommend it. Great music, and a great recording!

Well, the unshielded DCA20GA interconnects after 12 hours of voltage-only conditioning, are exhibiting the same sorts of effects that I heard with the shielded DCA20GA interconnects, and the unshielded DCA16GA interconnects.

The unshielded DCA20GA interconnects are maintaining everything I liked about the uncooked versions, but with more warmth, richness, textures, and nuance of overtones.

The voltage-only cooked DCA20GA interconnects made Lifeline sound spectacularly good!

Leo Kottke’s ‘6 & 12 String Guitar’ album.

After Lifeline I put on Leo Kottke’s 6 & 12 String Guitar album, another album of great music and superb production.

The FB2’d shielded DCA20GA impressed me on 6 & 12 String Guitar just like it did on Lifeline, and sounded sonically refined, imminently musical, and with a dose of extra naturalness and emotional involvement from the voltage-only conditioning.

So that’s three consistent results in a row from voltage conditioning, and each time there was a significant improvement in warmth, richness, texture, and overtone nuance, that I really enjoyed. Tone was off the charts!

I’m really beginning to appreciate the separation of voltage and current conditioning with the FryBaby2, it’s powerful in being able to voice the Duelund DCA cables exactly the way you want them.

I’ve been so happy with the result of the voltage-only conditioning that I haven’t tried the FB2 for current conditioning, but I suspect that being able to optimize the conditioning of the dielectric (voltage-only conditioning) and the conductors (current conditioning) separately is the way to go for the Duelund DCA tinned-copper cables.

I suspect there’s an optimum ratio of of voltage-only and current only conditioning for every cable application that results in a perfect match to each listener’s preferences, which is a truly exciting thought.

The fact that the FB2 conditioning is a reversible process is good news too, because you can go back and forth a bit with current and voltage until you hit the desired overall balance of musicality and sonics.

Tonight I’m putting a pair of over-cooked DCA12GA speaker cables on the FB2 for a little voltage-only conditioning, and will report back on the result.

After that will be some Duelund DCA26GA headshell leads.

Will the trend continue? I’ll find out!

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

 Posted by at 7:13 pm

  13 Responses to “A little bit of voltage conditioning for my unshielded Duelund DCA20GA interconnects!”

  1. Jeff,

    I am curious how you will connect the thicker GA speaker wire to the adaptors that come with the FB2? I been using the small little holes on it. I could see banana plugs working possibly, but bare wire not sure how I would use thicker wire. Maybe run it straight through like a banana plug and come up through the larger hole in the middle? I want to voltage condition my speaker wires I got over a thousand hours on them naturally still want to do it. 🙂


    • Howdy Bill,

      I’ll keep you posted on that one. I ended up running-in some more interconnects so haven’t got to the DCA12GA speaker cables yet.

      The whole voltage-only conditioning thing is a real eye-opener for me. The results are quick and the effects large in magnitude, which is a very hand combination!



  2. Something I noticed in my system not to relevant as everyone will most likely not keep their systems on 24 hours a day ( some solid state guys might). After voltage burn in sounds good ,yes. I listen a little let it rest over night and the sound is even warmer. Noticed this more than once. Like these need rest after burn in much like building muscles or something. Its an odd observations but I hear something different the next day, and it’s warmer usually.

    • Thanks for the tip on that, Bill, I’ll have to listen for that.

      The Duelund DCA is very intriguing, it really doesn’t behave the same as anything else in my experience, but I sure do enjoy the result!

      Kind regards,


  3. Hi Jeff,
    I’d like to share my simple comparison of four different RCA plugs soldered to Duelund DCA 20GA wire for ic’s.
    The RCA plugs were:
    1. KLEI Silver Harmony
    2. Furutech FP-126 (G)
    3. Switchcraft 3502AAU Gold
    4. Valab-Star-Tellurium Copper Gold Plated (eBay)

    Of the four #4 from Valab proved to my ears and system that it was superior to the others. Furuteck FP-126 (G) was second in performance. The Valab RCA’s were more dynamic, bass was well controlled and solid. Greater clarity and detail top to bottom. These RCA’s are well made and sturdy. And only $20.00 for two pair. Duster at the Audio Asylum shared info re these RCA plugs. So all of you who are using Duelund DCA 20/16GA wire for ic’s might like to give these a try.

    • Hi Marvin,

      Thanks for your comparison, appreciated!

      Can you share a little more about these RCA’s overall tonal balance? Rich, timbrally natural, good tone color resolution, etc.?

      Kind regards,


  4. Hi Jeff,

    I started using DCA16GA as speaker cables and I like results.
    I built DCA20GA interconnects with Vampire #5XCB RCA connectors.
    They sound is extremely transparent, detailed with big soundstage and nice tone.
    But compared to my vintage Japanese Acrotec 8N2080 DCA20GA sound too bright and in my system I feel lack of low midrange and bass.
    I just ordered BryBaby2. Should voltage mode burn-in fix these tonal balance issue (in my system) or need I try DCA16GA IC?

    Other question, anybody tried to compare Swichcraft connectors to Duelund Gold?


    • Hi Alex,

      If the DCA20GA sounds too bright in your system, I think the DCA16GA would probably be too bright too. Another possibility is the Belden 8402 microphone cable, which is a tinned-copper wire with a warmer tonal balance that might be a better match for your system.

      Here’s my take on the gold Switchcraft RCA’s: The Switchcraft’s are nice cheap RCA’s and they have a nice tonal balance. Their downside is that they tend to get loose on the RCA inputs if they are unplugged/plugged a lot, which causes a poor connection, which can result in some noise/distortion when the barrels start getting loose.

      The Duelund gold RCA’s are my favorite RCA to date. They have extremely high quality, they work great on vintage RCA inputs and won’t damage them, they maintain a constant grip on the RCA inputs that doesn’t get loose over time, and they also have a great tonal balance. I love the use organic materials and they’re beautiful to look at. Their down side is they’re expensive.

      If cost was no object I’d build all my interconnects with the Duelund gold RCA’s, but because I build so many IC’s as trials, I can’t afford to do it with Duelund’s, so I use the Switchcraft’s because they are inexpensive and still have great tone and live with their relative unreliability.

      Keep me posted on your results!

      Kind regards,


      • Hi Jeff,

        I also tried Belden 8402 in my system too. You are right it has darker tonal ballans that sutes better for my system.

        I can’t say that sound with DCA20GA is bright. I just used to a littel darker sound.
        No wonder, because I use these Acrotec cables for 16 years!
        Audiophile in North America are not familiar with Japanese cable companies. But some these companies do a really good products. And they have maybe the best in the world copper technology. Acrotec (now this company has name Acronink by Esoteric) use ultra clean 8N copper.
        I think Acrotec has more colorations or less neutral, compared to DCA20GA, but I prefere more dark and refined sound of Acrotec IC in my system.

        I used WBT solder. But I have Cardas solder too. I’m thinking to solder DCA20GA with “darker” sounding Cardas solder.


        • Hi Alex,

          Let me know what you end up with for interconnects.

          I forgot to mention that the Duelund DCA12GA provides a warmer presentation as speaker cables, so that might help too.

          Kind regards,


  5. Hi Jeff,

    Just a reminder to give Robbie Basho a try if you like 12 string. He could really make it sing.

    He was friends with John Fahey and lived in Berkeley. I knew him as a friend and heard him play many times. Sadly he passed at 45 but his recordings are still very much alive. In fact he is probably better known now than before he passed.


    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check into Robbie Basho.

      He has a lot records … which ones are your favorites?

      Kind regards,


      • Probably Bashovia, The Voice of the Eagle, and Zarathrus.

        I like his instrumentals the best but some may find his singing voice….err… unique 🙂

        Either way he was a 12 string master.

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