Audio Cables

Wireworld Eclipse 5 and Silver Eclipse 5 Audio Cables

ARTICLE INDEX

Introduction

While at the CEDIA show last September, I got the chance to meet David Salz, founder of Wireworld. As a professional scientist who does electrical engineering-related work for a living, I am typically skeptical of the claims of cable manufacturers. Not that I believe all cables sound the same, mind you. I just have issues with the claims that many manufacturers make as to why their cables sound different/better than others. David's company, and David himself do not fall into this category. They use real, well-accepted engineering principles to design and build their cables.

The Design

The basic principle behind Wireworld's cable design is the Heaviside condition, named after Oliver Heaviside, a 19th century physicist. Audio cables have very low resistance, and the + and - conductors are well insulated from each other. The Heaviside condition then demands that that both the capacitance and inductance of the cable should be kept as low as possible, but the capacitance and inductance have to be reduced together. When the Heaviside condition is met through balancing the capacitance and inductance of the cable, the electrical impedance of the cable matches the load impedance (i.e. the speaker). Time domain smearing and frequency dependent loss are eliminated.

Specifications

  • Eclipse 52 Interconnects: OCC copper Conductors, Teflon Dielectric, Silver Clad OFC Plug Contact, MSRP: $449.95 1m pair
  • Silver Eclipse 52 Interconnects: OCC Silver Clad Copper Conductors, Teflon Dielectric, Silver Clad OFC Plug Contact, MSRP: $699.95/1m pair
  • Eclipse 52 Speaker Cables: OCC Copper Conductor, 10 AWG/4.6 mm2, high-density polyethylene dielectric, silver clad OFC contacts, MSRP: $1149.95/2.5m pair
  • Silver Eclipse 52 Loudspeaker cable: Silver clad OCC copper conductor, 10 AWG/4.6 mm2, high-density polyethylene dielectric, silver clad OFC contacts, MSRP: $2149.95/2.5m pair
  • Silver Electra 52 AC power cord: Silver clad OCC copper conductor, 12 AWG/3mm2, Composite insulation, Silver clad copper alloy contacts, MSRP: $699.95/2m
  • Wireworld Cable

Wireworld's cables are designed to be matched as well as possible to low output (for interconnect) and load (for speaker) impedances seen in audio gear, changing the impedance of the connection as little as possible. In addition, Wireworld then does cable bypass testing with both single blind and double blind listening, in addition to traditional listening. In these tests, a junction box allows listeners to compare the sound of a system with a cable in the signal path to the sound of no cable at all. Using this combination of cable design, measurement, and testing, Wireworld tries to make cables that sound as close as possible to no cable at all.

Shown below are the Eclipse 52 interconnect and speaker cables.

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Wireworld provided me with a full complement of cables for my system, with front and center speaker cables, interconnects for both two-channel audio and multi-channel signals, and four power cables. Silver-clad copper Silver Eclipse cables were used for all the two-channel interconnects and the full range stereo speaker cables. Less expensive all-copper Eclipse cables were used for the center channel and the second voice coil on my Gallo Reference 3.1s, and for SSP and second voice coil amplifier interconnects. Both types of cables use super high purity Ohno OCC single crystal copper conductors. The silver clad cables add high purity silver cladding on top of an OCC copper core. Interconnects use Teflon dielectric, while the speaker cables use high-density polyethylene dielectric. Connectors are silver clad oxygen free copper. These are the highest quality materials available for cable construction, short of solid silver conductors. Wireworld makes solid silver conductor cable (Gold Eclipse), but I considered this gilding the lily when I made the request to Wireworld for the review cables. The cable compliment they sent me already had a suggested retail price in excess of $12,000.

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The unique engineering of Wireworld cables is in the conductor geometry, which can be found in most of their cables. The various cable grades mainly differ in the type and amount of conductor used for speaker cables: oxygen free copper (OFC, 99.99% pure), Ohno OCC single crystal copper (99.9999% pure), silver clad OCC copper or OCC solid silver (99.9999% pure), and 10 or 12 gauge effective wire size. Interconnects vary by type of conductor material and type of insulation (HDPE or Teflon).

Wireworld tunes the capacitance and inductance of their cable using their proprietary cable geometries, which can be seen in the photos below.

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The power cables are particularly interesting. The geometry was chosen to act as a low pass filter, preventing the conduction of high frequency EMI through the cable. These are also available in a variety of conductor materials.

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For those who lack the coin to spring for $12k worth of cables for their system (like me), I predict much of the benefits I found with these cables could be had with less expensive Wireworld products with the same geometry as the cables reviewed here. However, keep in mind that only the top five interconnect models, and top six speaker cable models offer the carefully engineered geometry of the cables reviewed here.

Build quality of these cables is top notch, as it should be for the asking price. The speaker cable is reasonably stiff, but actually more flexible than you'd think, given its size. The cable is flexible in one axis only, as is expected with a flat cable. The spade terminations are very beefy. For connection to small, cheesy binding posts like those on my three-channel amp that does center and rear surround duty, the big spades can be an issue. I had to take care to avoid the spades shorting to each other. For good binding posts as found on my speakers and Emotiva stereo amp, the big spades worked very well.

The interconnects have well made RCA connectors, machined out of solid copper, and then gold and silver plated. The interconnects were all clad with a clear flexible plastic jacket that shows off their outer braid, while protecting them. The interconnects are extremely flexible, while still feeling very sturdy. The only negative to the cladding was that the interconnects tended to bind up on each other or other cables while trying to fish them around the back of the rack. The flat conductor AC power cables are also very flexible, with molded on IEC jacks and AC plugs that also use high quality silver-plated copper contacts.