by Paul Knutson
Audiodyne Multipath Interconnects
Silver Conductors (Twin Lead with Passive Ground)
BNC/RCA Connectors (Gold-Silver)
Teflon - Air Dielectric
Price: $155/Meter Pair
|Audiodyne, P.O. Box 34210, Las Vegas, Nevada 89133-4210; Phone 702-242-5629; Fax 702-639-8620; E-Mail [email protected]; Web http://www.audiodyne.com.|
Audiodyne Multipath Interconnects
Audiodyne is a new high-end accessory company that owes much of its early success to the internet and the emergence of electronic commerce. Because Audiodyne advertises on selected Internet newsgroups, they are able to reach a huge audience at a minimal cost. Audiodyne sells their products direct-to-the-consumer, eliminating a couple of steps in the distribution food chain. Without the usual expenses of doing business (retailers and printed magazine ads), Audiodyne is able to price their products, including the Multipath, more affordably than they would otherwise.
Granted, affordability means nothing if the product doesnt perform well. Thats what were here to check out.
Id first heard about their products while browsing the net. Sure, I did come across Audiodynes promotional "blurbs", which were everywhere, but I also read lots of positive comments from customers who were chatting about their experience with these cables. All these factors had piqued my curiosity. When the opportunity to review the cables came up, I jumped at it.
An Interesting Experiment
Just prior to receiving the Audiodyne Multipath interconnects for review, I performed an interesting experiment. I was not happy with the quality of the RCA jacks on my Audio Alchemy VITB phono preamplifier and was wondering what effect those cheesy connectors were having on my phono playback. Being the tweaker that I am, rather than replace the RCA jacks with higher-quality versions, I simply soldered the output wires from my turntable directly to the circuit board of the Audio Alchemy, running the wires through the same holes where the RCA jacks used to reside. This change eliminated one pair of connectors from the signal path. The unnecessary connectors were removed at an especially vital location in the signal chain given the small signal flowing from the cartridge and turntable. RCA connectors are a flawed means of connecting components and werent originally designed to carry an audio signal. We use them mainly because of convenience and because everyone else does . . . in other words, its an old habit.
So what was the effect of eliminating this connection from the signal path? Astonishing! I was hearing more information from my Rega Planar 3 turntable with improved bass definition and striking dynamics. This was not voodoo tweaking. It was a fundamental mechanical change in the signal path that resulted in obvious improvements. Needless to say, the idea of eliminating unnecessary connections moved up on my list of basic concepts to be implemented (wherever possible) in my system.
What does all this have to do with Audiodynes Multipath interconnects? Well, just as I was feeling good about my "eliminate unnecessary connectors" theory, along came the Multipath cables for review. Upon opening the package, I shrieked (not really ... I just wrote that for effect). These interconnects broke my new favorite rule -- they actually had connectors on their connectors! (See photo at right.) The Multipath interconnects are factory-terminated with BNC connectors, and attached to the BNC are BNC-to-RCA adapters on both ends of each interconnect. Ugh (at first).
Truth be told, after seeing the adapters on the Multipath, I was predisposed to assume their performance would suffer because of it; however, I always review with an open mind, and the Multipath would receive no less from me. Before starting the audition though, I contacted Audiodyne and expressed my observations and reservations about the use of the BNC connector along with the BNC/RCA adapter on their interconnects.
Rather than summarize, I thought I would provide Audiodynes (Tom Swenson, Chief Engineer) response, verbatim, which addressed the issue rather well. This is what he wrote to me via e-mail:
"There are several reasons why we use BNC connectors:
1. Our cable designs use a unique tri-core, air core construction that
requires a special termination. Primarily, our BNC connectors feature a
collet that locks the cable to the connector and is far more reliable than a
RCA connector. The internal construction is also designed to properly
terminate the delicate silver conductors.
2. The BNC connector allows cable patching on live systems.
3. The BNC connector/RCA adapter is an RF design rated at 2 gHz and 2 pf
capacitance allowing it to be transparent at audio frequencies. The
connector is "gas tight" and features spring loaded wiping contacts.
Non-magnetic gold/silver plating is applied directly to the copper
connector. Insulators are pure Teflon.
4. Compared to conventional RCA connectors, our BNC connector does not have a
sonic signature. The adapter does not degrade the sound in any way.
We realize that the RCA connector is the "standard", but in our case, the BNC/RCA design is the best choice for our cables ... some of our DIY customers use BNCs. In these rare cases, the adapter is not required."
Good enough for me. The next step was to stop theorizing about how the unique design would sound and start listening ... and thats where the fun began!
Silver and Spice and Everything Nice
Im a fan of silver conductors in interconnects. More often than not, my favorite interconnects have used silver (with the exception of JPS Labs, which uses aluminum?!?). Heck, even my current homemade interconnects use pure silver conductors. Ive always felt that silver passed the most information, everything my source components were capable of sending through it. I know some people who abhor silver, with their main gripe being that it sounds bright. I can only assume that there is a problem elsewhere in their system. Maybe they just need to use tubes.
The Audiodyne Multipath uses silver conductors, and guess what? Yep, I liked them a lot. The use of silver conductors is unique in this price range -- not unheard of, but unique. The Multipath has the positive attributes that I have come to associate with the better silver interconnects I have heard. And no, the BNC/RCA adapters didnt seem to be having any negative effects on these cables. I had no way of objectively verifying that, but my ears told me that these cables were likely performing as designed.
In my system, the Multipath were full and weighty, with better bass response than I had experienced previously. I enjoyed the foundation that these cables gave to my favorite music. John Martyns new album The Church with One Bell is a heavy, bluesy album with one song in particular, "Glory Box", that was really well-served by the bass heft that the Multipath brought out. Albums with sparse instrumentation that includes an upright bass were also fun with the Multipath in the system. Diana Kralls Love Scenes has the unquestionably terrific Christian McBride plucking away and I enjoyed every note through the Multipath.
Imaging was good with plenty of natural detail. As a drummer, Im picky about the reproduction of cymbals, and Im happy to say that the Multipath didnt roll-off the impact or decay of a struck cymbal, or any other instrument up in dog whistle territory for that matter. Highs were as clear and natural as the recording allowed.
The Multipath are also quiet. After installing them, there was a perceptible reduction in hash and spurious noise when I put my ear close to the speaker and turned up the volume with no signal. Obviously I dont have my ear there often, but any reduction in noise is a benefit, and the well-shielded Multipath with their inert anti-static jacket certainly allowed a blacker background than my non-shielded silver interconnects (a lower noise floor means more detail of the music comes through).
In my system, I had the best results with the Multipath between the output of the digital-to-analog converter and the preamplifier. These cables are supremely flexible and therefore simple to route wherever you may choose to put them to use. Audiodyne marks the cables for directionality and I found their suggestion spot-on.
My sole gripe with the Multipath was a reduction in soundstage depth in my system compared to other cables I had on hand. You will note that I was sure to mention "in my system" in the context of that criticism. This is especially important with cables. You may not experience the same soundstage depth anomaly in your system, but I did, and Im just calling em like I see em.
The Audiodyne Multipath is a significant value in todays cable market. The combination of material quality, build quality, good looks, and excellent overall performance leaves the Multipath without much company at $155 per meter pair. Unless your system is on the far edge of the high end, the Multipath will likely do it justice. Apart from my minor complaint about soundstage depth, the Multipath did everything I need my interconnects to do. In terms of price-to-performance, this cable makes an awful lot of sense.
Audiodyne has a generous 30-day audition offer on their products, so if you are in the market for new, affordable interconnects, I recommend that you get in touch with Audiodyne post haste.
Coming soon, I will also comment on the Audiodyne Wavelength speaker cables and Powertap power cord, each of which are in-house and in their early stages of audition.
Audiodyne Response to the Review:
Thank you very much for your objective and
fair review. I am surprised that you found the soundstage depth
to be lacking since many of our
customers claim that this is the hallmark of our cables. Our cables do control the phase aspects of the signal more accurately than common
twisted conductor designs. Perhaps your reference cables are phase shifting the signal and thus adding to the soundstage depth. Just for fun,
you may want to reverse the absolute polarity of your speaker cables to see if this improves the soundstage depth with our Multipath cables.
The staff at Audiodyne would like to thank
you for taking the time to evaluate our products. We have worked
very hard to design and build
quality audio accessories at reasonable prices. Your positive review has confirmed that we have achieved our goals.
© Copyright 1998 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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