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Audiocadabra Dual-Headed USB cable & Analogue Interconnects

Audiolab 6000CDT Dedicated CD Transport

Nikhil

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Introduction & Background:

I have been experimenting with cables for the past year or so. One of my first experiments was the USB Cable Tweak which I had posted earlier. After posting that thread I was clear that separation or elimination of the "dirty" 5V power leg from the data leg in a USB cable was necessary for better audio. This has been borne out with several cable manufacturers offering this option but at a premium price. Depending on where you look - prices range from $250 to $1,500 and higher.

Around or just before October 2014, I came across a new online DIY storefront at AUDIOCADABRA - < the closest approach to the original signal. After exchanging notes, the vendor offered to send me a few cables for review and by the end of the month I had with me a nice package with a Dual Head USB cable and a pair of Analog Interconnects. The USB cables were most welcome but quite frankly not so much the ICs. I already had another IC cable with me for demo at the time. However, despite my early inhibitions the cables have made a very good impression on me and I would like to share my impressions on here for the benefit of all forum members.

AUDIOCADABRA Optimus Dual Headed USB Cable

This cable has been in my setup the most - since October I believe. I had been using a "single head" cable which FM Audiopolitan had given me earlier. The difference between the cable I had made with the 5V completely eliminated and the Optimus Dual Cable was weight. Changing between the two showed the earlier cable to sound a little thin in general. With the Optimus Dual Head Cable in the chain there was more meat to the sound. The bass extension filled out the mids and lower end. In addition the higher frequencies got more solidity. This is not a subtle change but is easily noticeable the minute you place this cable in the chain.

Considering the significant more outlay that other manufacturers are charging for a similar cable this has to be one of the best value propositions out there. The cables do suffer in the looks department but considering the braided bare wire is part of the design one can live with them. Perhaps a little more beef near the connectors might give one more confidence. But looks aside these cables will outdo most cables. I preferred these over a USB cable FM sidvee loaned me from Lavry Cable, Estonia which are designed with a different philosophy.

AUDIOCADABRA Optimus Analogue Interconnects

These were the cables that I struggled the most with - I don't know if it was the Amphenol connectors or just simply the overall bare wire design. I had dismissed these cables the minute I got them. I had wanted to simply hook these up on my setup and dismiss them after my ears would confirm what my mind had already made up.

I had another cable in my rig which I was more interested in listening to quite frankly. So when I did get some time I wistfully removed the existing cable and connected the Optimus Analog ICs. Without burn in they were slightly bright or lit up a touch. But apart from that ... not too bad. This was not the plan. I was supposed to hear them sound bad and send them back. Instead here were these cables making a pretty good case for themselves in spite of my bias against them. Still not having the patience to hear them through I placed the earlier cables back in.

With Christmas and January passing, I took the time to let these cables sit in my rig. For about a month and a few days the cables got a little bit of burn in going. With time the cables began to settle in and in time most of the early glare wore off. I began to notice that the cables were actually beginning to sound pretty good. Placed between my DAC and Preamp these sounded as good as the cables I had liked from another supplier. The cables had very good control over the sound. My favorite instrument to evaluate a cable is the upright bass. With the Optimus Analogue IC the sound of the strings had texture and a springiness that conveyed the pressure the bassist applied to the strings. The piano is another instrument that can be difficult to get right. These cables tightened up the tone of the piano on Piano Improvisations by Ola Gjeilo.

People considering these cables should allow for some burn in as they tended to sound lit up initially. With gradual burn in the sound smoothens and opens out. I have them in my setup for about 300 plus hours now. When you take them out they tend to need a little time to settle in when you put them back in. In my setup I would guess this was about 20 hours.

These are great cables and I am glad I gave them a chance despite my reservations. The price level is absolutely a steal when compared to many fancy offerings out there. I have no doubt that these cables will surprise many with their quality. The easily held their own against the WSS Gold Line cables I had in my setup. They presented a soundstage that was more lively and energized. The hard part would be to get people to put them in and allow them to do their thing.

Negatives ...

The only arguments against going for these cables are their looks and the low visibility that Audiocadabra has at the moment. Getting over these early inhibitions will pay off handsomely given their value proposition. But don't look to compare these cables with comparably priced ones - these punch way above their weight.

At the moment the USB cable offers massive value. The Analogue Interconnects probably have to compete with many more but these are still one of the better cables out there.

Finally some pictures:

AUDIOCADABRA Optimus Dual Headed USB Cable






AUDIOCADABRA Optimus Analogue Interconnects






AUDIOCADABRA Optimus Dual Headed USB Cable
Website: Optimus Handcrafted Dual-Headed USB Cables - AUDIOCADABRA
Prices: $89 for 1m, $109 for 1.5m and $129 for 2m

AUDIOCADABRA Optimus Analogue Interconnects
Optimus Handcrafted Analogue Interconnects - AUDIOCADABRA
Prices (RCA to RCA): $79 for 1m, $99 for 1.5m and $119 for 2m
(Also available with XLR connectors)


Review System:

Music Server : Dual Win7 PC + JRMC 20
Music Server Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit)
Digital Interfaces : USB, S/PDIF Coaxial (RCA), Ethernet (UPnP/DLNA), Wireless
Digital to Analog Converter: Acoustic Portrait Thiyaga
Preamplifier : Acoustic Portrait PM1
Amplifier : Acoustic Portrait CPA3 Dual Mono
Loudspeakers : Green Mountain Audio Eos HX
Interconnects : Acoustic Portrait Thallam Reference, Audiocadabra Dual-Headed USB cable & Analog Interconnects
Loudspeaker Cables : Acoustic Portrait Thallam Reference
Power Cables : Custom Cables by Tools & Trade, Bangalore
Remote Control Apps : J Remote + iPad, J River Gizmo + Blackberry Z3
Portable Player(s) : iPad, Blackberry Z3
Power Conditioner: APC Smart-UPS RT 2000VA
 
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