I want to share an interesting finding that got me rethink and reconsider my beliefs toward cables. Currently I use Chord Signature Tuned Array RCA cable between my nDAC and SN2. I decided to test a lot cheaper interconnect from a manufacturer called Neotech. After several days of testing and swapping cables I concluded that the Chord highlighted a bit more some of the highs and mid frequencies at the expense of weaking the midbass and bass. With the Neotech cable I got a fully neutral balance having all parts of the frequency in great balance which resulted in a very pleasant listening experince. The difference was so big that I experienced for the first time what great bass performance my Monitor Audio speakers can show. What is more I even heard new effects and details that were missing with the Chord because of lack of performance in some frequencies. Everything sounded fuller and weigthier, even the midrange and highs. I didn’t find any lack of detail compared to the Chord cable. Currently, listening again with the Chord I’m annoyed by the wholes and dips in the midbass/bass region.
It seems that more expensive does not always means better. It is important to find cables and equipment that provide great synergy and neutrality in your system. Initially I didn’t want to believe it but now I want easily to use this Neotech cable instead of the Chord.
P.S. I’m not a Neotech representative, whatsoever, I even don’t know the exact model of the calbe. I’m a big fan of Chord cables but this experiment really shocked me.
IMHO There seems to be an infinite choice of cables available and it looks very difficult to A/B demo and so just luck if you actually land on the “best” cable. When my hobby is hi-fi rather than music I could spend I fortune on constantly changing cables.
For peace of mind you may as well stay with Naim house cables and rely on Naims in house specification and listening tests. Makes like a lot easier and cheaper in the long run.
Hi Corsuse that’s very interesting findings. I was thinking of buying a used Chord Signature Tuned Aray digital cable on eBay the other day but something inside told me not to. I’m using a Clearer Audio Silverline Optimus SPDIF digital cable at the moment and it’s very good, certainly better than an Atlas Mavros SPDIF cable I tried. Out of interest what is the model and price of the Neotech cable you are using?
Hi, I agree with your findings, it’s a reasoning valid for the whole HiFi world, imo…
I am using Neotech Nemoi 3220, since there years with my active bi-amped system and I experienced your same musical involvement.
What I can suggest you Is to try also the Nep 3003 Power cable that would work perfectly with digital devices.
I just tried the cables out of curiosity, but there is a chance I might order a pair. They were analogue RCA interconnects in my case. I’m not sure there are digital versions, but probably SPDIF connectors can be mounted. I don’t know the exact model but I can ask my local dealer. The pair I used costs around 130$.
I also found my experiment interesting and I didn’t want to believe it since the Neotech cables are 8 times cheaper than my Signature Tuned Aray RCAs but this is what I heard in my system…
Neutrality and synergy might be two different things regarding cables.
I would suggest still keeping your expensive chord cables in storage. They might have in respect truthfully played the signal, whereas the cheaper one might in fact be less truthful but putting things in an order that’s agreeable with you and your present system.
If you were to perhaps put a Power Supply on your nDac you might well prefer the other.
But I agree with you, why go to the expense of more power supplies when a cheap interconnect can give more pleasure.
That’s an interesting logic. The Chord might reveal something in my system that is not in balance, but it also might not. To find out I should try different electronics and wait for the upgrade that will eventually put everything in balance hypotetically, but there is no guarantee for that. I’m using actually a HiCap DR to my SN2. I’ve read the nDAC gets transformed when using a PSU and it has even stronger bass. This might fill the missing midbass I experience but unless I add one I won’t know the answer. In the end, you might be right and having an unbalanced system might explain the differences I have experienced, but there is also an option to buy a 130$ cable that will mask this unbalance and provide enjoyable listening experience. But yet, it is not absolutely sure I have an unbalanced system, unless nDAC really transforms at 180 degrees after PSU upgrade and fills everything missing right now.
Tobyjug brought up a good point on synergy. I have full loom Chord Signature TA on my 282/HCDR/250DR and didn’t compare alternative cables from other makers to the Chord other than standard Naim cables but concluded in my system and to my ears the Chord sounds better. The overall macrodynamics and bass punch are improved with the Chord as music sounds flatter and pale with the standard Naim. It’s all in the context of the system as there will be others who prefer standard Naim. My Harbeth SHL5+ is slightly laidback and needed a little kick or boost in dynamics and the Chord provided that.
I recently switched to another speaker and again synergy plays a crucial role, not cables. The Naim is now out since I experienced the same thing as what you did with the Neotech interconnects. I find that I couldnt listen to the Naim anymore with the new speakers, and although I reverted to standard Naim cables in an attempt to salvage the situation, it was to no avail. I finally got another amp in and that resolved everything. The amp is not cheaper than the Naim by 8 times though.
I’m glad you have found a better cable that improved the sound of your system. If you have reached the end of the road with the SN2, do not be shy to experiment with cables as in my book cables are important and part of the system as well. I pay a lot of attention to cables after I have reached the end of the road with respect to equipment upgrades. I usually don’t go too easy when spending on cables although I am aware cost does not always correlate to performance, especially with cables.
This is probably not what you want to hear or consider, but I came across a great price on Ebay for a Hi-line 5 pin Din to 5 pin Din. I’m not a high priced cable guy, I just go for low capacitance, like BJC cables. This one was 1/4 of the price tho, so I bought it.
I’m sorry to say … the difference was immediately noticable. A big improvement in detail and clarity, and yet smoother as well.
I could sell it for almost double what I paid, which was actually the original plan; but now I have to keep the da** thing. Even my wife wanted to keep it.
Anyway, the nDac has an analogue Din out. I’d look for a deal on one of these cables.
I use neotech cables in my system, I have 4 or 5 of their HDMI cables and I think three optical cables. I got them from my local dealer, who recommended them as good cables that will not cost a fortune, I agree. I have not tried any of their analog cables though, but have never felt the need to upgrade the ones I have.
The cables I have tried are Neotech KCS-200. Brilliant and neutral cable. The price per meter is very cheap. The pair I had was a bit more expensive because it used rhodium connectors (again from Neotech), which cost more than the cables. I started missing the cable listening now with my Chord. The feeling now is that the scene is further back while with the Neotech, it seemed everything is in your room - lots of solidity. I was impressed what my electronics and speakers are capable of. In my country it is hard to lend something for a demo and now I ended up with a couple of cables which I don’t use and have to sell with a loss. At least I have found now cables which if not perfect are at least neutral and pleasant for listening. I probably would keep the Chord Signature though, just in case.
It’s worth pointing out that none of the above cables carry an audio signal (they carry data or power); so in these cases, ‘neutrality’ is not a valid concept as the only way in which these cables can have an effect is to alter the operating conditions of the components to which they are attached.
Hence the “audio” performance of these types of cables is entirely dependent on the precise type and model of the component to which they are attached (there is no true consistency in their performance between different systems). The perceived effects are always indirect (caused by the effect on the HiFi component not the effect on the audio signal).
There can however be consistent “audio” effects from analogue cables as they carry the audio signal itself, and hence can directly affect it.