**The HELIX IMAGE

"The HELIX IMAGE" - With a little help from my friends

This post details the very latest developments and updates to the Helix Geometry.
The developments are courtesy of Ernst of Austria and Yordan & Evgeny of Bulgaria

Yordan and Evgeny have contributed with...
  • the performance aspects of various wire types and metallurgy,
  • discovered that the direction the helix coil was wound is critical - see Inside The Helix Geometry.
  • provided an adapted geometry, based on Ernst’s findings, for the HELIX IMAGE Mundorf XLR Interconnect - see ** The HELIX IMAGE Interconenct (1)

Ernst embraced the Helix design some time ago and has been experimenting with some different materials in order to improve on the performance of the Helix design with astounding success.

His first development was to eliminate the use of as many man-made insulation products (e.g. teflon tubing, expandable Nylon sleeve) used in the original designs.
His second development was to use balsa wood as the spacers every few centimetres in order to hold the signal wire in his speaker cables in the centre of the Helix coil.

The reward for Ernst’s endeavours was a significant improvement is sound quality with respect to improved details, clarity, dynamics, bass control and depth and a significantly wider and deeper image.

His approach considered the Dielectric Constant (D.C.) of various materials.
  • Dielectric constant, property of electrical insulating material (a dielectric) equal to the ratio of the capacitance of a capacitor filled with the given material to the capacitance of an identical capacitor in a vacuum without the dielectric material.

Ernst found that using materials having a lower D.C. than the expandable Nylon and heat shrink originally used to centre the signal wire in the Helix, significantly improves on the performance of the cable.
  • Wood has a D.C. of between 1.4(softwood) and 1.5(hardwood)
  • Since air has a D.C. = 1.1, placing the spacers at intervals on the signal wire improved signal transfer even further.

After giving his findings some consideration I considered using wooden beads as the spacers, since they are readily available and very affordable on Ebay

My “adaptions” of findings from Yordan, Evgeny and Ernst, can be found in the following construction details...
The latest design of the Interconnect Cable...

The latest design of the Speaker Cable...

The latest design of the Power Cable...

I am currently using cables that have been modified as in the links above and can report that the modifications have resulted in significant and easily discernible audible improvements over the older design. Improved clarity, sense of space, dynamic performance and improved details are the benefits observed by the geometric changes.

The original helix design concept was to eliminate the parallel conductors commonly used in conventional cable architectures in order to minimizes the noise, proximity effect and Skin effect to imperceivable levels, improving clarity and dynamic performance of the interconnect.

Since those early days, developments include the selection of advanced wire metallurgy, gauge of wire best suited to the task at hand and types of insulation in order to reduce noise to a minimum, which brings us to this moment in time.

The instructions on this web site demonstrates how these cables can be fabricated in the easiest and most cost effective manner in order to achieve extremely good levels of performance that competes with the very best commercially available products for a fraction of the cost.

Will there be any further updates - probably, because there is always someone, like Ernst, Jordan and Evgeny that is looking to improve on the possibilities of “The Helix” cable geometry.

I normally indicate change by issuing an updated MK # (Mk I Mk II etc...), but in this case I have decided to reflect the latest updates by renaming this line of cables
“The HELIX IMAGE” simply because these cables now convey the most realistic and compelling image I have ever observed in any system

The level of detail and clarity, together with precise location of performers and an image that envelopes the listener is stunning

I would like to thank and congratulate Ernst, Yordan and Evgeny on these exciting new developments.

The stunning performance of Helix Cables of today are due in large part to their efforts


Earlier contributors include Todd (US) for developing the first bi-wire version of the Helix speaker cables, Ghislain (Canada), John (USA) and many others

If you have any further questions on these upgrades just drop me a line.

Regards - Steve

DIY Speaker Cables - The "HELIX IMAGE" Speaker Cable

Since their introduction, The Helix Speaker Cable has undergone a significant change to their design, by enlarging the diameter of the Helix and adding wooden beads to centre the signal wire within the helix.



So what makes Helix cables work?


The premise behind its helical geometry (or architecture) is eliminating parallel conductors, since...

  • if two parallel conductors are in close proximity for an extended distance, and current is passed down them, then noise & distortions will occur within them.
  • Speaker cables have to deal with larger voltages and currents and can be subject to more severe distortions than Interconnects, however, their signal is not amplified like the signal in the interconnect and relative to the actual signal the distortion is quite small
In “conventional” speaker cable architectures, the signal conductor and the neutral conductor are side by side in extremely close proximity for the length of the cable, therefore in my mind, I consider it reasonable to assume that some noise, however small, will occur within the signal conductor and neutral conductors.

Why would this matter? Isn’t the neutral is effectively connected to the “ground” ?


Well, the neutral conductor is actually connected to the neutral side of the circuit of the amplifier.

  • Any noise that permeates through the neutral side of the components circuit, will have a negative impact on the amplified signal, resulting in distortions in the signal, which is output to the speakers.

It get’s pretty complicated ...


For more information on cable design issues please read the three articles below that talk about the many problems that challenge cables builders.

They will provide a great deal of insight into the many parameters and design techniques employed to build cables that excellent in their performance.


https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-1/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-2/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-3/


So, how do Helix cables prevent that from happening?


In the Helix design, the neutral conductor is wound around the signal conductor, so the neutral is NEVER parallel to the signal wire.

This minimizes -

  • induced noise
  • Proximity Effect
  • Skin Effect
  • Rise Time and Decay Distortions
  • Minimize Dielectric influences by using only single conductors for the signal and neutral wires

VOILA! - most “cable related problems” are eliminated !!!
(pretty much)



But in addition to that, the Helix acts as a Faraday Cage surrounding the signal wire, which impedes the effect of external RFI/EMI on the signal.

This makes the Helix Geometry one of the most noise-free cable geometries available.

If applied to ALL cables in a system, the resulting level of fidelity you probably thought could only be attained by having components costing considerably more, is only constrained by the components themselves and todays components are actually extremely good.

What will you hear? - for me the most noticeable improvement were the details that came to life in the venue acoustics, i.e. the echoes and reverberations that surround each artist and instrument.

At first, it can sound as though you have an echo problem in the room, but I have several tracks where there are no reverberations, so playing those confirmed my room acoustics were perfectly fine.

Other attributes that are clearly audible include clarity, neutrality, dynamic performance, bass depth and control.

But one effect that took a while for me to realize just how much it effects the sound is an audio effect called phasing.

Phasing controls the placement of instruments and artists in three ways.

  1. Their location within the width and depth of the image
  2. Their location outside of the speakers
  3. The appearance of the “projection” of sound around (even behind) the listener e.g. like surround sound

We all know if you connect the speakers out of phase the image becomes muddled and the bass performance drops off.


But varying the phase by small amounts can move the position of instruments and artists within the image. The noise impacts the phase of the signals of both channels differently, resulting in an inaccurate image.

Since the Helix Geometry eliminates most all of the noise created inside the actual cable - you will notice an incredibly precise placement of instrument and artist within the image AND an incredibly large image that melts the boundaries of the listening room and envelops the listener.


Now the speakers are truly “invisible”


PLEASE NOTE: Your system will probably not achieve its full potential by installing just one set of helix cables...


ALL cables have to be built using the helix geometry !!!


How To Make Them...

FIRST: determine the “Direction” of the Helix - see Inside The Helix Geometry.

Here are the parts...

  • Neutral Conductor: 10 gauge silver plated Mil-Spec wire for the neutral from TAKE FIVE AUDIO (TFA)
  • Signal conductor: For the budget conscious - a 16 gauge, or 14 gauge or 12 gauge silver plated Mil Spec wire from TFA
  • - personally i prefer the 16 gauge, but some people prefer a heavier gauge
  • - if you are using a high powered amp (i.e. > 600 watts) and low impedance speakers (2-4 ohms) you might want to move to a larger gauge
  • But - if no expense is to be spared See Note A: The Signal Conductor below
  • One five foot 1/2” (12mm) fibreglass rod from home depot
  • One set of KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana plugs
  • 100 x 10mm diameter wood beads available from Ebay
  • like these 20x 25x10mm long oval natural wooden unpainted wood beads diy jewelry making

The neutral conductor should be 2.5 times longer than the signal conductor, although you can experiment with this ratio

So for one 10 ft cable PAIR you need
  • 20 ft of signal conductor i.e. 10 x 2
  • 50 ft of neutral conductor.

NOTE A: The Signal Conductor
  • Above I have listed the Mil-Spec wire as the signal conductor, but this is more for proof of concept or for the more budget conscious readers
  • I find 16 gauge Duelund copper stranded with Cotton/Oil insulation provides more details, better bass and larger image.

Please note: the images below may not reflect the wire identified above.

Cut two equal lengths of the neutral conductor - this should be 2.5 times the length of the signal conductor

Put a very tight 90 degree bend in the conductor and tape to the fibreglass rod

Place the end of the fibreglass rod into the chuck of a variable speed drill


Slowly wind the conductor onto the rod

SC 005

Once the other end of the conductor is reached - leave 6”-8” of straight conductor

speaker 3


  • Slide the beads onto the signal conductor and space them evenly along the entire length leaving an 6-8 inch length of wire for connection to amp/speakers
  • I generally leave a gap between the beads equal to the length of one bead
  • Where the signal wire comes out of the coil I use three beads together because I have a shelf at that point, which could press the coil onto the signal wire.
  • i take this approach at both ends of the cable to allow connection in either direction
  • I use a very small dab of glue from a hot glue gun to stop the beads from slipping out of position

SC 002

  • Insert the signal wire with the beads in the helix coil -
  • TIP: to make this job easier tape a spare bead at the end first inserted into the helix
  • it allows the wire to be pushed freely through the helix

SC 004

Attach the connectors of your choice - n my case I prefer bananas - Voila!

SC 003


I highly recommend the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connector/Adaptors because as you will read, they are exceptionally good and elevates the performance of these cables to a whole new level

Small Crystal

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 5.52.25 PM


These cables provide an extremely high resolution listening experience on all systems - i.e. once burned in

They have low levels of capacitance and inductance, so they are perfect for most systems, especially high current solid state designs.

Please allow 100 hours burn in before making any judgement as to their abilities.

Please note: you are free to try whatever conductors you think might work - but the conductors identified above provide exceptional performance and value.

If you are thinking that 16 gauge is too thin to produce an excellent bass performance, I would suggest you try them first. I recommend a heavier gauge wire if the cable is connecting low impedance speakers (e.g. 2 or 4 ohms) to a high powered amp (in excess of 200 watts)

You will find the characteristics of the cables change during burn-in
  • they will sound very good at first
  • after around 12 hours their performance will degrade - bass will fall off and some distortion will occur
  • after 30 hours they really start to shine
  • by 100 hours they are exceptional and will continue to get better

They provide exceptionally detailed and a well controlled deep bass performance

The clarity of these cables is superb, as is the dynamics and imaging

Total cost for a 10 ft pair is around $200 US. (i.e. depending on the wire used)

I have compared them to cables costing upwards of a couple of thousand dollars and they are superior across the board.

Hard to believe? Well, if I hadn’t heard it for myself I wouldn’t believe it either!

When I built these cables I was actually not expecting much in the way of improvement over my existing cables, which were on the pricey side and excellent performers

I thought they might come close to their level of performance - BUT...

I was
Blown Away!!!

But REMEMBER: any system will not achieve its full potential by installing just one set of helix cables...

For optimum performance - ALL cables must employ the helix geometry !!!

These cables are truly exceptional, from a fidelity perspective and from a cost perspective they are excellent VALUE!.

For Helix cable spec’s please see
Its More Than Just Numbers - Isn't It?

I give them my
“Best Bang For The Buck” award.

My Review System:


page6_blog_entry61-page6_blog_entry60-page6_blog_entry52-page6_blog_entry40-two-thumbs-up-2 Give them a try - and - Enjoy The Music! Happy


ADDENDUM:

The development of these cables was something of a collaborative effort. it all started when I responded to a post on the Audiogon Cable Forum by Audiogon member Toddverrone (Todd)

Todd was already familiar with the Helix design since had had already made a couple of my Helix power cables.

We discussed possible approaches, but since I had not actually made a set of Speaker Cables I figured I’d better “Walk the Walk”

And so, the Helix Speaker cables (of the above design) were “born”.

However, since Todd’s speakers were configured for a bi-wire/bi-amp approach he wondered if there was a viable Helix Bi-wire solution in a single cable.

Taking the design above, I modified it in the following manner to incorporate two sets of conductors (LF and HF) into a single cable as follows:

  • the two positive conductors would be wound around the fibreglass rod and then straightened out by hand, but leaving the kinks in the conductors in place.
  • Each conductor is wound in opposite directions in order to stop them from being able to touch continuously to prevent EMI contamination.
  • the two signal conductors would be placed inside two (LF and HF) helix neutral windings, but each neutral would also be wound in opposite directions - again to minimize EMI contamination.
  • The net result is what Todd referred to as - one “bad-ass” design
  • Perhaps I should name it the - Bad-Ass Helix Bi-Wire ?

As part of the process, Todd had first built a prototype along the lines of the original design above, in order to gauge what the single wired cable would sound like.
  • This level if fidelity could then be used as a benchmark for comparison to the Bi-wired version.


Todd also used a high grade silver plated copper conductor for the bi-wire version

Final conductor details:

Signal Conductor
  • One LF 12 awg conductor and One HF 14 awg conductor with a “kinky helix” wind in opposite directions,
  • both are silver plated copper in ptfe from take five audio.
Neutral
  • Dual LF 12 awg silver plated copper conductors in ptfe for the inner helix
  • Dual HF 14 awg silver plated copper conductors in ptfe for the outer helix
  • The 14 gauge was the outer Helix because it is easier to wind


See pictures below...

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 5.15.43 PM


Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 5.15.27 PM


And The Verdict?

Todd’s Feedback...

  • So far, they are superb!
  • The same black background as the single helix with cat 5, but more clarity from top to bottom.
  • There's not more bass, it's just a bit tighter and cleaner.
  • The mids and highs have greater clarity and come further out from the background, with better separation of sounds.

So there you have it! - Seems like Todd is pretty happy with his creation.

Whether single wire or bi-wire these cables provide extremely good fidelity, dynamics and bass performance. But please remember to allow them to burn-in for around 200 hours before serious listening.

A special thanks to Todd for taking on this difficult task - winding those helix neutrals can be quite tiring on the hands Happy

I give them my
“DOUBLE Best Bang For The Buck” award.

page6_blog_entry61-page6_blog_entry60-page6_blog_entry52-page6_blog_entry40-two-thumbs-up-2 Give them a try - and - Enjoy The Music! Happy

DIY Interconnect Cables - The "HELIX IMAGE" Interconnect

Now includes an updated Balanced design...


The “HELIX IMAGE Interconnect” represents the very latest developments in researching different wire types, geometries and materials.
The premise behind its helical geometry (or architecture) is eliminating parallel conductors, since...

  • if two parallel conductors are in close proximity for an extended distance, and current is passed down them, then noise & distortions will occur within them.
In the case of “conventional” interconnect cable architectures, the signal conductor and the neutral conductor are side by side in extremely close proximity for the length of the cable, therefore in my mind, I consider it reasonable to assume that some noise, however small, will occur within the signal conductor and neutral conductors.

Why would this matter? Isn’t the neutral is effectively connected to the “ground” ?


Well, the neutral conductor is actually connected to the neutral side of the circuit of both attached components.

Any noise that permeates through the neutral side of the components circuit, will have a negative impact on the connected components, resulting in distortions in the signal, which is ultimately amplified and output to the speakers.

Any noise in the signal conductor gets gets distorted even further through each stage and again amplified even further

In addition, parallel conductors are prone to Proximity & Skin Effects which alters the resistance of the conductor. affecting the transfer the signal

All of this impacts the phase between the left and right channels, which “smears” the mage.

The original helix design concept eliminates the parallel conductors and minimizes the noise, proximity effect and Skin effect to imperceivable levels, improving clarity and dynamic performance of the interconnect.

Since those early days, developments include the selection of various types of wire, gauge of wire and types of insulation, to bring us to this moment in time

One other nice feature of the helical design is the neutral conductor, being wound around the signal conductor, becomes a very effective shield against external RFI sources - in effect is is a Faraday Cage surrounding the signal wire - because it is connected to “ground” Happy

But Shouldn’t The Two Conductors Be The Same Length?


If you look at the “roles” the two conductors play from the perspective of an attached components’ circuit diagram it becomes clear that cable length is immaterial and they can be made from different materials and gauges.

page2image664

  • The Signal Conductor transfers the signal
  • The Neutral Conductor completes the circuit, BUT, it also connects the neutral sides of the two attached components
  • Any “noise” present on the neutral conductor impacts the operation of BOTH components.


For more detailed information on cable design issues please read the three articles below that talk about the many problems that challenge cables builders.

They will provide a great deal of insight into the many parameters and design techniques employed to build cables that excellent in their performance.


https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-1/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-2/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-3/




How To Make Them...


FIRST: determine the “Direction” of the Helix for the wire you will use - see Inside The Helix Geometry.

The Single Ended IC Design...

The parts list is reasonably priced between $180 - $250 CDN for a 3ft ( or 1 meter) pair, depending on the RCA’s and wire selected - and all other parts can be purchased from many parts providers on the web.

Considering their exceptional sound quality I believe this price range to be excellent value.

You can upgrade or downgrade these parts if you wish, but the parts listed will provide exceptional sound quality.

I use an approximate ratio of 3:1 of Neutral:Signal conductor

e.g. for a 3ft Interconnect cable I use 9ft of Neutral Conductor



The quantities listed is for a single Interconnect cable i.e. one channel -
so double them for a stereo pair

  • RCA Plug: KLE Innovations Absolute Harmony RCA Plugs (SOURCE: KLE Innovations or local parts sources)
  • Neutral Conductor: 9 ft of Mil Spec 16 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire Green Cryo Treated (SOURCE: TAKE FIVE AUDIO - TFA)
  • Signal Conductor: 3 ft of 20 gauge Duelund stranded Tinned Copper with Oil/Cotton insulation (Source: HiFi Collective).
  • WBT 4% silver solder


Step 1.
I first wind the conductor around a 5mm-8mm metal rod. To assist with this I insert the rod into a variable speed hand drill and feed the conductor along its length.

IC1


Once wound, the helix can be removed from the dowel.

IC2

Step 2

Insert the Duelund wire into the helix.

Space the windings over the length of the signal wire

Tighten the helix by twisting it, about an inch at time, along the length of the cable

OPTIONAL: You can place a small piece of Heatshrink tube at the end to allow the two small set screws to grip the cable.

IC 002

NOTE: the signal wire will touch the side of the Helix, but it does not appear to impact sound quality.

IC 005



Step 3

Soldering the KLE Innovations needs a little care to prevent excess heat from damaging the plastic housing

I use a chassis mount RCA jack and insert the RCA base into it in order to wick away excess heat

RCAPhono-vice

I also use a little “rig” to hold the parts while I solder


Vice


I’ve found that it is easier if I first solder the signal wire to the RCA plug first, followed by the neutral wire

Solder PLug



Install the housing of the RCA and tighten the screws

IC 001




Assembly of the “HELIX IMAGE Mundorf” interconnect...


The
HELIX IMAGE Mundorf Interconnect performs at a slightly higher performance level, which I recommend if you want to achieve the very highest levels of resolution. But the improvements may only be discernible when using higher-end components

The
HELIX IMAGE Mundorf interconnect uses Mundorf Solid Silver/Gold(1%) wire without insulation for the signal wire.

  • the construction is basically the same with a slight adjustment to install the Cotton Tube sleeve
  • They really open up the image and presents a fuller, more detailed image with superb dynamics.

The design concept of the
HELIX IMAGE Mundorf interconnect is the brainchild of a fellow DIYer, Ernst, of Austria.

Ernst experimented with the Helix Speaker Cables and found that the Insulation, heat shrink and expandable nylon sleeve previously used in the Helix design actually impacted the sound.

He used wood spacers to position the signal wire in the centre of an oversized Helix Coil, which “effectively” meant a large percentage of the dielectric was in fact air. Performance improved and he passed on his results/design to me.

After giving this some thought I felt that it could be adapted to the Interconnect using small 5mm wood beads to “insulate” the bare wire and to position the signal wires in the centre of the helix. This in fact worked very well provided exceptional imaging.

But I started yo look into the dielectric constant of other materials, and since the Duelund wire performed so well I wondered if it was due to the cotton insulation.

It turns out that Cotton has a dielectric constant of 1.3, which compared to the 1.4-1.5 of wood, should be more beneficial

And so the following Interconnect now provides the best performance of all the Helix cables built to date.

The construction technique is identical to the Duelund version above, but you have to install a cotton sleeve over the Mundorf bare wire...

I use 1/8” cotton expandable sleeve, cut to 3/4” shorter than the length of the signal wire, to cover it. To prevent the ends of he sleeve from unravelling I install a 3/4” long piece of Heat Shrink tube. The tube comes with adhesive on the inside which prevents slippage

I first insert a small piece of the Neutral wire into the end of the sleeve to prevent the tube from collapsing once the tube is heated



Helix 1

I then insert the Mundorf wire into the sleeve - with 3/8” being bare at each end

Helix 2

I then insert the signal wire + sleeve into the helix coil and attach the RCA plug and space the windings of the helix neutral to the length of the signal wire

TIP: use a small piece of masking tape over the end of the wire to hold the wire in place within the sleeve before inserting into the Helix coil

I do leave about 3/4” of the neutral windings at each end close together and cover it with a small piece of Heat Shrink tubing (without the adhesive) so the set screws in the housing of the RCA plug has a more solid base to grip

I also tighten the Helix down around the piece of hear shrink on the sleeve to hold the sleeve in place

Helix 3

Finally I install the RCA plug housing and tighten the set screws

Helix 4


The result is exceptional reproduction of the musical signal, complete with an amazingly large image and the clarity of a live performance.



I leave it up to you as to which wire you select, but all the wires mentioned above will outperform most of the commercial products currently available

Did I try using Duelund or Mundorf wire for the Helix Neutral?

  • I only use Duelund or Mundorf wires for for the signal conductor - not for the neutral Helix - it’s more affordable.
  • BUT: I did try the Duelund wire as the neutral on an interconnect, but I found it did not improve sound quality over the Mil-spec wire, so I continue to use the Mil-spec wire for the neutral.

Can you use other brands of RCA?

NOT RECOMMENDED!

I recommend KLE Innovations Harmony RCA’s because of their stellar performance. Personally, I use the Absolute Harmony RCA because it is their best performer. I have used Furutech plugs, but the KLE Innovations product outperform the other RCA plugs I have tried, including Neotech Furutech and WBT RCA plugs.

Also, the properties of the KLEI Harmony RCA’s are very different from conventional RCA’s, such that they can be used on single ended SPDIF cables without experiencing the issues associated with conventional RCA’s not rated at the same impedance as the cable because their impedance exceeds 110 ohms.

e.g. “convention” states that a SPDIF cable should use an RCA plug of identical impedance

Primarily to reduce/eliminate internal “reflections” of the digital signal back down the cable

However, the KLEI Harmony RCA’S can be used on most digital cables regardless of the cables rated impedance value.

I also believe their higher impedance is responsible for their stellar analogue performance.

Can this cable be used for SPDIF purposes?

Absolutely! - it is an extremely adept SPDIF cable!

And I have found that the following cost saving adjustments do not impact SPDIF performance at all...

  • KLEI Silver Harmony RCA plugs can be used in place of the more expensive Absolute Harmony RCA plug
  • The Silver plated Mi-Spec wire is used for the signal conductor

To date, it is the best SPDIF cable I have used.

What do HELIX IMAGE Interconnects sound like?

The “HELIC IMAGE Interconnect” is a high performance cable with extremely high resolution capabilities.

They deliver a completely “uncoloured presentation” with ultra fast dynamic performance, exceptional clarity, expansive imaging and a very deep and exceptionally well controlled bass performance.

They excel in the delivery of one of the most realistic and compelling presentations of live recordings I have observed.
  • The delicate nuances pertaining to the acoustic reverberations of instruments and voice within a live venue are faithfully reproduced in the most minute detail, with a precision placement of musicians and their instruments within their own “virtual space”.

My system components are quite modest by today’s standards. However my cables are all excellent performers and they work in harmony with the components to achieve an excellent overall “system performance” that exceeds it’s price point by a considerable margin.

Will the
“HELIX IMAGE Interconnect” perform well on all systems?

Based on feedback from people who have made them for installation in some quite varied systems, including all tube, tube hybrid and solid state, so I have no reason to believe their performance will be anything less than stellar on most systems.

The HELIX IMAGE Balanced (XLR) Interconnect

For a 3ft stereo pair:
  • 2 pairs of Neutrik NC3FXX-HA Male/Female XLR Cryo Treated - with Silver Plated Pins ( SOURCE: TAKE FIVE AUDIO - TFA)
  • Neutral Conductor: 18 ft of Mil Spec 16 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire Green Cryo Treated (SOURCE: TAKE FIVE AUDIO - TFA)
  • Signal Conductor: 12 ft of 20 gauge Duelund stranded Tinned Copper with Oil/Cotton insulation (Source: HiFi Collective)
  • WBT 4% silver solder

The “standard” Balanced XLR IC design is “basically” the same as single ended design with a simple modification.

A balanced cable requires two signal conductors
  • one for the positive signal
  • one for the negative signal
  • gently twist the signal wires together - 0ne twist every 5-6 inches
  • Wind the neutral wire around a 6mm rod
  • Insert the signal wires into the Helix
  • add XLR connectors and Voila - you have a Helix XLR Interconnect cable

NEW DESIGN: The “HELIX IMAGE Mundorf (XLR)” Interconnect

Fellow DIYer, Yordan from Bulgaria, sent me this “upgrade” to the original XLR Interconnect design using wood beads similar in principle to the single ended design above, while incorporating Ernst’s approach of eliminating the use of man made sleeving/heatshrink and incorporating wood beads spaced along the signal conductor

The material choices, design elements and construction techniques of this cable makes it a worthy
HELIX IMAGE Mundorf” XLR Interconnect

if you wish to apply Yordan’s modifications and elevate your cable to the version shown below you will need ...

  • Mundorf silver/gold wire, 0.5mm dia, SGW105 Teflon Insulated for the signal wire
  • Mundorf silver/gold wire, 1mm dia, SGW110 Teflon Insulated for the neutral Helix
  • 20 - 6mm diameter x 15 mm long wooden beads
  • Yordan uses Oyaide SS-47 solder for the signal wires and Mundorf Supreme 105 silver solder for the neutral

And Then...
  • wind the neutral conductor in a 8mm diameter spiral around an 8mm dowel/rod, wide enough to accommodate the 6mm diameter Beads
  • Twist the signal conductors together - one complete twist every 2 inches (5-6 cm)
  • Insert the twisted signal wires into the beads and use glue to hold the beads in place
  • Insert the signal wire+bead assembly into the helix coil
  • add XLR plugs and VOILA!




IC XLR 001

IC XLR 002


Yordan has also contributed considerably to the development of the Helix range of cables.

Yordan’s comments on the performance of the XLR cables...

“there was a jaw dropping effect - the sound is on another level”

The Journey...

I’m a frugal person with a distinct dislike of overpaying for something as simple as a piece of wire!


I started making my own cables many years ago, but many of those utilized bulk cable from companies like Van den Hul and DH Labs.

I then investigated some of the more recent cable geometries such as tight twisted pairs, braiding and helix geometries.

My primary goal along the way was to keep the cost of materials to a minimum whilst achieving extremely high levels of performance.

When I first tried the early CAT6 version of the Helix design it was quite clear that it was going to be a very adept performer.

This observation supported my belief that the Helix architecture (or geometry) was an extremely effective approach to achieving excellent cable performance.

The early versions utilizing CAT6 as the neutral conductor were very good - just not “
brilliant”.

Evolution to the
HELIX IMAGE and HELIX IMAGE Mundorf has been gradual with significant period of testing and redesign

The improvements achieved with the latest modifications, over previous versions, were so good that I decided that a new name was warranted - voila...

the “HELIX IMAGE ” and HELIX IMAGE Mundorf was born!


The result:

a cable that actually competes with some of the very best cables in the audio world!


C’mon, Really?

  • OK, I’ll let you be the final judge, but after listening to many cables I believe this to be the case Winking

How Long is the Burn-In Period?

It is imperative that these cables are allowed adequate time to settle and burn-in, which is typically >300 hours.
  • they will however sound extremely good on initial installation
  • they may exhibit some loss in volume and image focus after 3-4 days continuous use, but will return to normal by day 6-7
  • they will sound exceptional after around 200 hours, but they will get even better after 300 hours
  • I have also found ongoing improvements occur up to approximately 600+ hours in the earlier versions
  • The use of cable cookers will expedite this process - start with 100 hours cooking + 100 hours playing

The end of the Road?

My hope is that this design will be embraced and enhanced further by the DIY Community, and encourage them to experiment with different conductor materials to tailor the sound to their own liking.
  • Since the original posting back in 2015, I have exchanged email with several fellow Diyer’s that have contributed to the Helix design.
  • Some people that have contributed to the evolution of the Mark VII design, including: Ernst (Austria), Yordan and Evgeny (Bulgaria), Ghislain (Canada), Todd (USA), John (USA) and many others.

For Helix cable spec’s please see Its More Than Just Numbers - Isn't It?

My Review System:

  • Custom built turntable with a Soundsmith Denon DL103 phono cartridge mounted on an Audiomods Arm with one piece silver litz harness + KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA’s

  • Simaudio MOON LP5.3 RS phono stage

  • Bluesound Node 2 music server

  • Brysyon B135 integrated amp

  • Gershman Acoustics Sonogram speakers.

  • Helix cables throughout



page6_blog_entry61-page6_blog_entry60-page6_blog_entry52-page6_blog_entry40-two-thumbs-up-2 Give them a try - and - Enjoy The Music! Happy

ADDENDUM:

Audiogon Member Toddverrone has also tried these IC’s ...


Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 9.44.28 AM


The Parts List :

  • signal wire: OCC solid silver 24awg in cotton. 3' per cable
  • neutral: OCC solid copper 20awg magnet wire.  2 x 9' per cable
  • connectors: KLE pure harmony solid silver
  • the white tube is a foamed teflon flexible tube that i ran the signal through. it's pretty amazing.  it doesn't kink at all.  it's called hyperflex tubing from vh audio

Todd’s Feedback...

I’m still listening to them, but initial findings on the helix ICs are incredibly positive.

More of the helix magic: less noise, greater clarity, better separation of sound sources.

Good stuff!