It’s been a fun & interesting time here at Jeff’s Place, with an overwhelmingly positive response from all of you to the posts about the DIY projects of Western Electric WE16GA wire for use as speaker cables, and the Belden 8402 microphone cable for use as interconnects, that Mr. Yazaki-san of SPEC told us about. Thank you Mr. Yazaki-san!
The Belden 8402 with Switchcraft SWC-3502AAU RCA connectors ($5.91 USD each) makes for a fine combination, and delivers a rich, detailed, musical experience that is a delight to hear. You can buy Belden 8402 by the foot (10-feet minimum order) from Best-Tronics Pro Audio in Tinley Park, Illinois, for the princely sum of $3.25 per foot. Here’s a link to their Belden 8402 page where you can buy it by the foot. So for an investment of a mere $56.14 USD in parts you can build an almost 2-meter pair of Belden 8402 RCA interconnects that offer incredibly good performance. The Belden 8402 got so popular after the posts I made about it that it sold out, but Best-Tronics has it back in stock now.
I’ve been having a blast using my Belden 8402 RCA interconnects on my new pair of bespoke step-up transformers (SUTs) that I bought from Dave Slagle of Intact Audio. Dave sent me pairs of copper ($2400 USD) & silver ($3600 USD) SUTs optimized for my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII phono cartridge to try, and they’re phenomenal.
I love Dave’s custom SUTs, and having a SUT that is optimized for my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII cartridge makes sure I get all the performance out of it I’ve paid for. I’m hooked!
As Serge said in the comments, the Belden 8402 makes for great digital interconnects, and I want to build a pair of Belden 8402 RCA interconnects for my digital rig, so I hope to be able to report back on that before too long.
The Western Electric WE16GA wire has been an incredible hit as DIY speaker cables, but it is harder to find than the Belden 8402, is starting to get more expensive, and you have to watch out for forgeries when buying it online. The real thing sells out almost immediately when it does show up, and I’ve missed out twice now because I dallied too long when I had a chance to buy it. Thanks to a heads-up from Mr. Yazaki-san, the third time was the charm, and I was able to buy 50-feet to use in some upcoming projects.
The first project will be to re-wire the low-frequency sections of my Duelund CAST crossovers with the Western Electric WE16GA, replacing the 14 gauge Neotech solid-core UP-OCC copper wire with a Teflon jacket that’s doing duty there now. Then I’ll re-wire the Duelund CAST crossover high-frequency sections with the WE16GA, replacing the 20 gauge Neotech solid-core UP-OCC silver wire with a Teflon jacket that is there now.
If you read my Duelund CAST crossover articles at Positive Feedback (1, 2, 3), you know that the wire choices used in the loudspeakers (Sablon Audio Panatela) and crossovers (Neotech) were very critical to getting maximum performance, and Mark Coles (Sablon Audio), Dr. Paul Mills (Tannoy), and I coordinated very closely on the choices, which you now know were a resounding success.
So I am a little bit afraid to change anything, because the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” maxim is true more often than not. So I definitely have my doubts that anything can work as well inside my WRSEs as Mark’s Panatela cabling, which is positively brilliant. Mark’s choice of the silver conductors used in the Panatela wires for the WRSE’s high-frequencies were an absolute must to get the maximum performance out of the WRSE’s high-frequency drivers, for example, and Mark coordinated closely with Paul Mills on that choice when we did the project. When I was a youngster racing motocross I lived by the maxim “When in doubt, gas it!” We’ll see which maxim wins out in this case!
I’ve got enough WE16GA now to rewire the WRSE loudspeakers & Duelund CAST crossovers, so if my experiments with the crossovers go extremely well, then I may try the same approach to the WRSEs internal wiring. Then again, I may not. We’ll see how optimistic I’m feeling.
Mr. Yazaki-san’s encouragement to do a capacitor adventure with my vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers has been illuminating and a lot of fun. My friend Ron-san (above), well he’s the man who can, and due to the combination of the prodigious audio talents of Yazaki-san & Ron-san, we’ve been having a blast with the capacitor adventure (1, 2)!
Ron and I were reveling in the result of the capacitor adventure on the MC30s, when Mr. Yazaki-san suggested that we up the ante on the MC30s’ performance even further, and do a Resistor Adventure, so that is now in the works. We are awaiting some resistors from Gary at Arizona Capacitors, and then we’ll be diving into the next part of our MC30 adventure!
I’ll also have more to say about Pete Riggle’s Woody SPU tonearm, which I am now listening to. One of the hazards of reviewing is that I change out equipment so often that it induces extra wear & tear on certain gear (e.g. interconnects and phono cartridges in particular), like my beloved EMT TSD-15 phono cartridge in the photo below. The green lead-wire literally fell off the cartridge in my hands while doing a cartridge swap. Man was I bummed. I have reasonable soldering skills, but I didn’t trust myself to do the sensitive soldering job needed on the EMT. Fortunately, Pete rescued me with a little deft soldering with a 15 watt iron and the EMT has been restored! Thank you Pete!
Life has conspired against me a bit lately to keep me from writing & projects & reviewing as much as I’d like to, but I’m hoping that I’ll get some more neat posts out for you before too long.