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July 2006
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Audiolics Anonymous
Chapter 81

Tweaks III
Article By Bill Gaw

 

  Welcome to another meeting of our help group for semi-insane audio nuts. It's June as I write this, and my part of New Hampshire has just come out of three weeks of the wettest weather in the past 100 years, with over 20 inches of rain. While this may not sound like much for those of you living in rain forests or Seattle, it's been fun here keeping the basement from flooding. The only advantage has been the inability of doing the Spring-cleaning chores, which has allowed me more time for evaluation of audio equipment.

 

Nanotech Music Strada Golden Strada #79 Cable
First up on the list for today is another product from Nanotech Systems, Inc., of Tokyo, Japan, I received two 10 foot lengths of some new speaker wire called Music Strada Series Golden Strada #79. Now, I don't usually like to review speaker wire, as it's usually very unrewarding, as most of the best costs more than the national budget of some countries. Also, one tends to get letters from the "all wire sounds the same" group, and, frankly, comparing more than two sets at a time is worse than sitting in a dentist's chair. Years ago I settled on silver foil from Alan Wright, AA Chapter 5, which has beat out, at least in my system, wire costing mega-bucks more, and has been in my system for at least five years. But when Steve swore that this Nanotech wire approached the best that he's heard, who could refuse a trial.

Cables

Compared to other speaker wires, this stuff looks cheap, sort of like what one could buy at Home Depot for use in the garden. The outer sheath, 10 mm. in diameter, is black fairly thick PVC, with cotton strings and Japanese rice paper surrounding two twisted strands of red and white coated about 14 gauge multi-stranded copper wire. Thus, it goes against just about every tenet of audiophilia for high-end speaker wire. They also claim the wire has no directionality until you start using it, and can be made to any length and use any termination without effect. Price per 8-foot pair with termination is $960, and it can be cut to any length and configuration.

On the other hand they do use oxygen free long chain copper of high purity, with 50 strands of 0.18 mm per leg. Where they claim their difference from other wire is the use of a medium of nano-sized Gold Micro-particles dispersed in Deep Sea Shark oil soaked on the surface of the copper. Notice that's Shark Oil, not Snake Oil (or maybe it is). Anyway, they claim that this is the secret to their process. They don't say why it has to be deep-sea shark and which species, but they do say that the gold particles are 3.5-8 nanometers in diameter. Interestingly, when one looks at the copper, one cannot feel any oiliness or see any golden discoloration. But the United States distributor (Steve of  Sounds of Silence) has never steered me wrong, so in they went replacing the silver foil on my left and right mid-horn-tweeters.

At first, there was the perception that the sound had dulled, with an apparent loss of high frequency information but after a few minute it dawned on me that what was missing was some upper mid-range glare that I had become adjusted to over the years but that other listeners had commented on. In its place was a wider-deeper soundstage with a mid-range that reminded me of Carnegie Hall, rather than the Lincoln Center I'd been accustomed to. In addition, there was more low-level information, adding slightly to the perception of hall space, which had been hidden in that slight glare.

To say I was floored by this cheap looking cable doing what only other mega-bucks types had done in the past with my system, is an understatement. Then I found out that one can order the cable in lengths to build it ones-self. Thus, I measured up what I'd need for my three front speakers, called up Steve, and the next weekend was spent in construction, and placement. Making the wire itself was a snap, as one only has to strip away the outer PVC, cut away the cotton thread and rice paper, and strip away the insulation on the two wires. Finally the wires were tinned and banana plugs were placed on the amplifier end. Placing the wire on the speakers was a little more trying as the horn woofers had to be opened for the hot wiring and in order to do that, the 200 lb. subwoofers had to be moved. What we audiophiles will do for the ultimate sound! For those more sane individuals, building them is a snap compared to most speaker cable kits that use Litz wire or multiple individual wires. Steve will also make them up for a nominal fee.

After a break-in period of two days, which should be enough for any wire except those with huge cross sections, listening commenced. The first thing noticeable was, again, a loss of the upper midrange glare present before. In its place was a crystal clear presentation of the sound stage with considerable improvement in the retrieval of low volume information. I don't know whether it was the loss of the glare which prevented the hearing of the information or the fact that this wire is great at transmitting it, or the fact that the wire was now also transmitting the low frequency information which makes up much of the hall sound, but the presentation was the best I've heard to date from my system. So much so, that I've decided to keep it as my new reference.

I've been out of the speaker wire game for several years and may be behind on what's available at present, but, for the price, which while expensive, actually falls into the mid-price range these days for speaker cable, I bet you can't go wrong. With this quality I'd be willing to wager that United State distributor Sounds Of Silence might be talked into giving a money-back 30-day guarantee.

 

Reality Check Fluids
Back in AA Chapter 77, George Louis' fluids for CD cleaning were first discussed. Since then, he's delved deeper into the mysteries of why cleaning the disc surface with various fluids can so change the retrieval of information from the discs. There are people out there who still are of the "bits is bits" crowd who think as long as one retrieves the digits without loss that there can be no difference, but my friend Clark Johnsen and others have presented the fact that the reading of the discs is actually done in the analog domain, as how the digits are transcribed and read is based on the length of the pits in the CD, much like dots and dashes of Morse Code. If the beginnings and ends of the pits are not distinct, much less whether there are any micro-scratches across the disc that may be seen as pit changes, then the laser may misread where the pits begin and end and thus how they represent the bit of information. Thus by clearing the surface, the solutions may make the ends of the pits more distinct, thus decreasing read errors.

Anyway, George has come out with two new fluids, called Ultrabit and Ultrabit Gold, which indeed do improve on his originals. I won't go into details here, as George, Clark and I have been having a "lively" discussion on the Idiot Asylum discussion board on absolute polarity, which has degenerated into a free-for-all, for which I've banned him from my email box. The improvements over his previous fluids are significant enough that I must put aside my mixed feelings over George's delusions on that subject, to at least let you know that there is an improvement in information retrieval, especially with the Gold solution, which is not that much more expensive.

It's well worth the expense and time for cleaning of each disc, especially since now there are fewer steps, as there is only one fluid instead of three. Also, while the fluid costs more than his originals, he claims that one can do many more CD's with the amount sold, and thus, it's less expensive and time consuming.

 

 

 

 

Gryphon Audio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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