Jun 022016
 

A lot of you (and me) have been lamenting that the superb Western Electric WE16GA wire has become essentially extinct, and I am down to the last little bit of WE16GA I have left, which is what I am using to wire my new crossovers for my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers project. Knowing that I am almost out of WE16GA has made me feel a bit panicky!

Western Electric WE16GA wire.

Western Electric WE16GA wire.

What makes Western Electric WE16GA so special is that it has very desirable tonal properties that musicians and musical instrument manufacturers refer to as vintage tone.

In the world of musical instruments, musicians and their listeners have great reverence for those instruments from history that have exceptional tonal qualities. Those desirable tonal properties are what separate Stradivarius violins from other violins, or a Martin 1937 D-28 guitar from a contemporary guitar, or Eric Clapton’s Blackie Stratocaster from a run of the mill Strat.

Sonic and tonal properties are somewhat subjective, but among musicians there is broad recognition and quite a lot of consensus that there are certain vintage instruments that possess very special tonal properties that enhance the music, like the aforementioned Stradivarius, 1937 Martin D-28, or Blackie.

Eric Clapton playing Blackie in 1978. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Eric Clapton playing Blackie in 1978. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

This recognition and consensus is not lost upon musical instrument manufacturers who strive to attain the holy grail of incorporating those special vintage tonal properties into their modern production instruments, which is not necessarily easy, because it is not just about specifications & materials, but about incorporating the very essence of vintage tone itself. Take Martin’s exciting line of guitars based on their Vintage Tone System as an example, or Fender’s Custom Shop Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster as another.

The same is true for enthusiast audio, where there is broad recognition and quite a lot of consensus that there are certain vintage components that have very special tonal properties, like vintage Marantz or McIntosh vacuum tube electronics, vintage Altec Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers, vintage Garrard 301 turntables, vintage Sprague Black Beauty or Bumblebee capacitors, or vintage Western Electric WE16GA wire, to cite a number of well known examples.

Western Electric WE16GA wire.

Western Electric WE16GA wire.

All of these components possess what is referred to as vintage tone, which is to say, they are examples from our audio & musical history that possess special tonal properties that enhances the beauty, meaning, spirit, artistic intent, emotional connection, etc., of reproduced music.

Well, I have some really exciting news to tell all of you Western Electric WE16GA wire fans out there! If you have been reading carefully here at Jeff’s Place, you know I have been dropping some hints here and there that one of the world’s finest high-performance audio companies has been looking into producing new ‘Western Electric WE16GA’ wire for the cognoscenti, and now that it has successfully passed the prototyping stage, I have permission to tell you about it.

In an ongoing dialog I have been relating to Frederik Carøe of Duelund Coherent Audio much of what I have described here at Jeff’s Place about Western Electric WE16GA and its desirable vintage tone, and my slow realization that it may only be possible to fully experience the entire acoustic palette of tone that vintage components are capable of when using this sort of vintage tone wire.

Frederik became intrigued with the Western Electric WE16GA wire through our conversations, and decided he wanted to investigate producing a Duelund Coherent Audio version that was very similar to Western Electric WE16GA in concept, but utilizing Mr. Steen Duelund’s original axiom of a natural materials philosophy.

WE16GA internal structure.

WE16GA internal structure.

Frederik has worked closely with a specialty manufacturer to provide the 26-strand, 0.25mm diameter, tinned-copper conductors that are the heart & soul of the Western Electric WE16GA wire, but has eschewed its plastic inner sleeve in favor of a black cotton dielectric that is impregnated in oil, whose fully organic nature imbues more natural tone than the use of plastics can allow for. Frederik says the oil impregnated cotton dielectric is then baked “so people won’t get a messy cable” and that “its main role is to make the dielectric anti-static, and the cotton more durable.”

Like all Duelund products the wire is all hand-assembled with meticulous care and attention to details.

The beautiful Duelund CAST components as used in the Duelund-Westminster project.

The beautiful Duelund CAST components as used in the Duelund-Westminster project.

The Western Electric WE16GA inspired Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA wire should be ready to ship in 6-8 weeks, so distributors may want to get their orders in ASAP, and those of you who want to order the DCA16GA wire for your own use may want to check with your current Duelund dealer so you can get your name on the list to reserve some, that way you can get some as early as possible after it comes out.

This isn't a photo of the new DCA16GA, but another type of Duelund wire, but the DCA16GA will look very similar.

This is what the Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA will look like.

Final pricing will be announced as soon as manufacturing costs are fully accounted for, but Frederik tells me that he hopes to be able to provide the DCA16GA wire in the range of what I paid for Western Electric WE16GA back when I bought the spool you see in the photos here at Jeff’s Place from Yazaki-san (approximately $25.23 USD per meter of twisted pair wire, which translates to about $12.62 USD per meter for single-run wire).

For a custom DCA16GA wire handmade by Duelund Coherent Audio to their lofty standards, I’d say that’s a bargain if Frederik can get anywhere close to that kind of pricing.

The new Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA wire is cause for celebration here at Jeff’s Place, and here’s a big “Thank you!” to Frederik for taking on this project of developing a new ‘vintage tone’ Western Electric WE16GA style of wire, and I am thrilled about it.

Frederik will be sending me some Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA to compare against my Western Electric WE16GA, so that should be really exciting, and you can expect to read all about it in the not too distant future here at Jeff’s Place.

* Breaking News! *

I just got a note from Frederik that you will be interested in knowing about:

Parts Connexion has received the initial 2 types of ‘vintage’ wire types. Meaning, that real vintage-type wire without any plastic is now available at (for us at least) quite low price points. 

The 0.8mm solid core copper in cotton and oil – has launched at 5.95 USD per meter (8-9 times cheaper than Duelund wiring used to start at), the 0.4mm silver in the same jacket at 11.95 per meter – This will later be joined by the Western Electric type wire.”

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

 Posted by at 1:56 pm

  23 Responses to “Breaking news! Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA! I’m really excited about this! Update!”

  1. Jeff,

    AWESOME NEWS!

    I went through my entire reel as well.

    If the Duelund is close to – or maybe even better than – the WE, and at a competitive price, it could be huge.

    Best,

    Jim

    • I can’t wait to find out how the DCA16GA performs, Jim, this is really going to be interesting!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  2. Wow! I am very excited to!

    I am using cables based on copper/gold (the conductors) and also have a cotton sleeve and…..the sleeve is treated with a mineral oil, based on pine tree resin. When the cable is treated with this oil than de sound becomes much more organic and three-dimensional. Nice to read that Duelund is also doing something alike. I do believe that the tinned-copper conductors with the treated cotton sleeves must sound very organic and three dimensional! I am looking forward for the first reviews of the DCA16GA!

  3. yes; exciting news Jeff; as i have been searching far and wide for WE16ga for some time and only able to find short runs. will be following how it compares when it comes out
    George

  4. Heya Jeff…

    Intriguing… In some ways I’m glad to see a company trying a new product like this, BUT (and it is a big but at that), I have to wonder if there will be any real difference between this Dueland cable, the vintage WE cable and a modern PVC coated 16AWG tinned copper hook up cable… Y’see, I’m not massively convinced that there is all that much of a tone-contribution in the insulator of a speaker cable. The wire, yes. The insulator – not so much.

    This gives a possible opportunity for an interesting comparison and future article – a comparison between the Dueland, WE, and any number of modern hook up wire types. Looking at DigiKey & Mouser, a 100foot spool of 16AWG 26/30 tinned copper PVC insulated wire is about $45. Call it $100 including postage for 2 spools. That would give you 100feet (30.5m) of speaker cable at roughly $3.30/m. Compare. Contrast. Write up an article…

    I’m not saying that a modern wire will sound better than a vintage wire, but if a modern wire can get close while costing less than 1/7th the price per meter, well, that may be of interest to many readers…

    Just a thought… G

    • Hi Gareth,

      It will be interesting to compare the the Duelund DCA16GA to my Western Electric WE16GA, for sure. I do think the conductors will be the most important contributor to its performance, but in addition to the nice folks at Duelund, Mark Coles (Sablon Audio) also says he hears a nice performance improvement by going with a cotton (or silk) insulator, so I’m definitely interested in giving the DCA16GA a listen.

      As for the generic wire you mentioned, it may very well sound good, but I’m probably not going to get to that comparison, as I have just too many other things going on audio-wise that need my attention (thanks for the suggestion though!).

      Best,

      Jeff

  5. I want some………. :^)

  6. In my excitement about this I pushed submit too soon and have a few more things to say. I heard (or didn’t hear them!) in Jim Smith’s system recently and although I couldn’t isolate the contribution of the cables, the whole system was absolutely incredible! It never would have sounded that good if the cables were anything but fantastic. Never thought I’d be able to get the WE16GA for a new system I’m building, but I’m encouraged these may be close, equal, or who knows maybe even better. Thanks Jeff for all your pioneering work to smoke out great upgrades and gear and then tell us about it. This probably never would have happened if it wasn’t for your dedication and persistence in pushing the limits of sound reproduction. Hats off with much appreciation!

    • Hi Spence,

      Many thanks for kind words, I appreciate it.

      There’s a certain natural musical character that I’ve found to be inherent to tin-coated copper conductors, and the approach that Frederik is taking in ‘cloning’ the WE16GA conductors, and then using a an oil soaked cotton insulator instead of the plastic/fabric combination of the vintage WE16GA, sounds very promising to me.

      Having experienced the original Western Electric WE16GA wire, and knowing Frederik and how good all the Duelund products I’ve experienced sound, I’m betting the Duelund DCA16GA is going to sound great!

      We shall see if my high expectations for the Duelund DCA16GA wire hold up in the listening to come. I’m very excited about giving the Duelund DCA16GA wire a listen in my system.

      Stay tuned!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Jeff,

        Since you started all this hysteria and appear to be in touch with Frederik, could you ask him for a listing (or link) to Duelund dealers in the US once the DCA16GA becomes available?

        Thanks,
        M3

        • Hi M3,

          I’ll ask Frederik about that. In the meantime Parts ConneXion is always a good choice.

          Best,

          Jeff

          • Parts Connexion has already booked a bunch. They will be the first dealer to receive this wire.

            Also, I welcome mails from other people than Jeff. 🙂

            (Always a pleasure when Jeffs writes me of course)

            Best regards,

            Frederik

  7. Hi Jeff! What’s your feeling on using this tinned stranded vs. the upcoming Cotton Cu solid core for wiring up these big PIO caps on crossovers? I’ll planning to use solid core 0.8-1.0mm for a external POI cap project on a DAC… I think anyway, but not sure what to do about the crossover caps. Right now I’m using some cannibalized Belden 9497 (also stranded tinned copper) that due to the vestigial twisting isn’t as clean as I’d like to use.. Not sure which way I would lean for these runs… Hmm…

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58102603/Crossover.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58102603/DAC_CAPs.jpg

    • Hi Josh,

      Looks like you are having fun!

      On my Duelund-WRSE crossovers I really like the Western Electric WE16GA in the HF section of the crossover, much better than the silver Neotech wire I had been using.

      In the LF section of the crossover I liked the WE16GA better than the copper Neotech I was using, but it was much closer, whereas with the HF section it was no contest.

      I hope that helps.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • I also preferred the WE to the Neotech on both sides of my Duelund xover.

        The sound became – for want of a better term – more “organic”. For me, everything seemed to have better tone from top to bottom.

        Best,

        Jim

        • That’s a good description of the Western Electric, Jim. The WE16GA was a pretty big slap down on the Neotech!

  8. Hi Jeff – I’m likely to commission a modification project for the amp and the speakers. I’m highly interested in using Duelund DCA16GA for internal wiring, but not sure how they would perform sonically and musically. Therefore would really appreciate a review of Duelund’s new wires. Thanks!

    • Hi J-W,

      It sounds like you have an exciting project in the works! Frederik is planning on sending me some DCA16GA to try, which I’m really excited about, so I’ll be able to compare it directly to the Western Electric WE16GA that inspired it.

      I’ll be writing more about it as soon as I get some to try.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  9. Hey guys as far as I’m concerned you guys have every right to be getting excited about this new line of wire… I just got in 7m of the Duelund 0.8mm solid core oiled cotton wire and it is incredible! Much more substantial than you would except. The oiled cotton it thick, rich, beautiful, and luxurious. As far as I am concerned it it this best hook-up wire out there unless you are looking for silver… then there is the 28 gauge of that as well as PTFE Mundorf. But right now I am loving copper and will definitely also be buying the stranded 16 gauge wire when it comes out. I might use it to rewire the inside of my speakers,,, and maybe even run it rom the amp. As far as the solid core goes. I’m in love with this wire. Check out the output cap upgrade I’ve been wanting to finish for the past few weeks: Vitamin Q bypass cap; PIO external 1uF cap; and lovely Duelund hook-up wire… <3

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58102603/DAC%20CCX1.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58102603/DAC%20CCX2.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58102603/DAC%20External%20Wire.jpg

    • That’s awesome, Josh, thanks for the update! I’m really looking forward to checking out the Duelund wire myself!

      Cheers,

      Jeff

      • Thanks! I should mentioned that last week I had these external caps put together with CAT5 wire, but yesterday I’ve never heard this DAC sound even close to this nice. It could be the PIO caps break-in and/or the wire, but it seemed to be pretty dramatic for being only one day. IMO it has to mostly be due to the upgrade from solid-core CAT5 Duelund copper/cotton hook-up wire. Just fantastic!

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