WireWorld makes A/V cables at many price levels, including some that are very, very expensive. While at CES 2011, I spoke with David Salz about his designs, and I was intrigued enough by his discussion of the physics involved in cable design to request some for review. What I received were cables that showed some of the best bench test results I have ever seen in A/V cables. Needless to say, I was very pleased. They are expensive, but life is a bitch when you love quality.
Wire World Gold Starlight 6 Digital (RCA)
- Interconnect 75 ohms, 1 meter length
- Price: $499.95/each
Eclipse 6 (RCA)
- Interconnects 1 meter length
- Price: $499.95/pair
Platinum Eclipse 6 (RCA)
- Interconnects 1 meter length
- Price: $2,999.95/pair
Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables
- 8 feet length
- Price: $1,349.95/pair
- WireWorld Cable
- SECRETS TAGS: Audio, Wire, Cable
The models that were sent consisted of the Gold Starlight 6 Digital (RCA) Interconnect (75 ohms, 1 meter length, $499.95/each), Eclipse 6 (RCA) Interconnects (1 meter length, $449.95/pair), Platinum Eclipse 6 (RCA) Interconnects (1 meter length, $2,999.95/pair), and Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables (8 feet length, $1,349.95/pair).
The Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables have 12 conductors (6 per leg) of Ohno Continuous Cast Copper, for a total of 10 gauge 4.6mm2 of end surface area conduction on each leg. HDPE is the dielectric (High Density Poly-Ethylene). The conductors are small strips laid out side-by-side- alternating the + and – legs, as shown in the diagram below. WireWorld calls this the Diagonal DNA Design™. By having the flat strips against each other, this minimizes the electromagnetic field reactive impedance. Each strip consists of round strands of wire laid side by side. The Diagonal DNA Design™ applies only to the speaker cables, while the technology in the interconnects is called DNA Helix™.
The Platinum Eclipse Interconnects (shown in the photo at the beginning of this article) also use the DNA Helix™ conductor design, which are OHNO Continuous Cast Solid Silver, with a Composilex™ dielectric and Silver Tube™ Carbon RCA Connectors that have silver-clad oxygen-free contacts. Compsilex™ reduces certain types of electrical noise. These are WireWorld’s top-of-the-line interconnects. They come packed in a metal box with latches like a briefcase, as well as a Certification of Authenticity. Of course, this is part of the “presentation” that goes with such cables. The box would be useful, however, for storing documents.
Shown below are the Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables.
This photo illustrates the Gold Starlight 6 Digital Interconnect next to the Eclipse 6 Interconnect. Besides the slip-over tube label, you can distinguish the digital coax by the single red stripe on the cable jacket.
I am not going to waste your time with, ” . . . it seemed as though a veil had been lifted . . .” nonsense. The differences that cables make are very subtle, if and when they make a difference. And, they don’t always make a difference. It depends very significantly on the components that you are connecting with the cables. The only time I really heard a big difference was when I switched from using heavy lamp cord to flat speaker cable. The difference was huge. It hit me in the face. It is what started me on the track to publishing this magazine.
But comparing well-constructed cables with other well-constructed cables is contentious, invoking angry debate among those who willingly part with thousands of dollars for cables, and the nay-sayers, who are stubbornly incredulous that such people have any sense of getting one’s money’s worth. But, think of it this way: Are the conductors inside your preamplifier and power amplifier the cheapest wiring they could find, or are they carefully manufactured and selected for their conduction qualities? The wiring you purchase to conduct the signal between components is no less important than the wiring inside the components. The lower the reactive impedance of that wiring, the better. As you will see in the bench tests below, the WireWorld cables had almost immeasurabaly low reactive impedance.
The WireWorld cables did their job, but I could not detect any audible difference between them and my reference cables. However, my reference cables are very good. On the other hand, the WireWorld cables, particularly the Platinum Eclipse Interconnects and the Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables, showed the lowest reactive impedance curves I have yet seen in any cable. So, from an electronic standpoint, the WireWorld cables are superior to my reference cables, some of which are higher priced than the WireWorld. Even if one thinks he/she cannot hear the difference high quality cables make, they do make a difference (perhaps subliminally), because reactive impedance in a conductor affects the signal in a deleterious way, always. So, if you want the best fidelity, purchase the best cables you can afford.
Even if I could not hear the difference between the WireWorld and my other high-end cables, that doesn’t mean you would not be able to hear the difference, and remember, a low reactive impedance cable will result in less deterioration of the signal as it passes between components. If you have paid thousands for high end players, preamps, and power amps, it is logical and prudent to pay attention to the quality of what you connect them together with. The brain can perceive things that we are not consciously aware of in an obvious manifestation. It may be as simple as letting you be comfortable for longer listening periods.
On the Bench
First, the Impedance/Phase graph for the Gold Starlight 6 Digital Interconnect. It has a very steady 0.2 ohm reactive impedance and a + 200 electrical phase at 20 kHz.
Below is the Impedance/Phase graph for the Eclipse 6 Interconnect. Compared to the digital interconnect, the Eclipse 6 had a lower reactive impedance (0.08 ohm), but about the same electrical phase.
Next, the Platiunum Eclipse 6 Interconnects. Their reactive impedance was almost non-existent, and the electrical phase was difficult to track.
And, the Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables. The reactive impedance was so low, the phase could not be accurately tracked, so it appears to jump all over the place. I believe that in this case, if it could have been tracked, it would have started out at about + 1200 and then slowly curved downward as the frequency went above 1 kHz.
Although not audibly different than my more expensive reference cables, the WireWorld cables bench tested the best I have ever seen. Those who care about having top notch quality throughout your audio system, take note. The rest of you can just go listen to some MP3 music on your iPod or something.