**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 Cable Geometry.

Once again we have an update to the Helix Cables, this time the adaptions to the Helix Interconnect Cables are courtesy of a long time contributor on the Audiogon Forum Member Name: Grannyring (i.e. Bill)

Bill has considerable experience with DIY cables and made me aware of the Schroeder Double IC approach and then went on to build several variations of his Schroeder adaption of the Helix Interconnect that has two wires for the signal wire and two wires for the Neutral Helix coil and reported very favourable results.

Needless to say, I had to try this for myself.


In addition to this, I had also been auditioning in great detail the use of an 18 gauge Solid Copper wire from VH Audio for the Signal conductor, which I now "generally" recommend in place of the Mundorf solid silver + gold wire I had previously favoured.

Both of these adaptions are now detailed on the Helix IMAGE Interconnect link below

And let's not forget the previous contributions 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.

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 that of the insulation, expandable Nylon and heat shrink originally used to centre the signal wire in the Helix, significantly improves on the performance of the cable.
  • 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 lots of consideration and thought, and after significant experimentation of my own, I now use insulation materials that have a significantly lower D.C. than the Teflon insulation I had used on earlier versions of the cables, which has improved the clarity, details and imaging capabilities of the Helix Cables to levels I had nor observed to this point.

My “adaptions” of the cables built by Bill, 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 changes in insulation.

I have listed a few options of wires that can be used for the signal and neutral wires, but the digram below shows which wires I use and for which components

System Cables II


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 high levels of resolution 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 Bill, Ernst, Jordan and Evgeny that is looking to improve on the capabilities 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 Bill, Ernst, Yordan and Evgeny on these exciting new developments.

The stunning performance of Helix Cables of today are due to all that have contributed. including earlier contributors such as Todd (US) for developing the first bi-wire version of the Helix speaker cables, Ghislain (Canada), John (USA) and many others.

WARNING: HELIX Speaker cables WILL NOT work with amps of a fully balanced "Symmetrical" design, such as the the Vitus and some fully balanced designs from Musical Fidelity.

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

Regards - Steve

DIY Speaker Cables - The "HELIX IMAGE" Speaker Cable

WARNING: HELIX Speaker cables WILL NOT work with amps of a fully balanced "Symmetrical" design, such as the the Vitus and some fully balanced designs from Musical Fidelity.

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
  • 10mm diameter wood beads available from Ebay - i.e. 6 - 7 beads per foot of cable + 10 beads for each end
  • 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.
  • My favourite wire provides a more detailed and dynamic presentation is a double strand of 18 gauge Solid Copper with AirLok insulation from VH Audio.
  • For ultimate performance, if cost is not an consideration, try a double strand 18 gauge Solid Silver wire with AirLok insulation from VH Audio


Tips on Installing the Banana plugs

Please review this link…

http://www.image99.net/blog/files/tag-banana-plugs.html

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


  • If you are using the 2 stands of 18 gauge Solid Copper, twist the strands in a gentle twist - one twist every 4-5 inches
  • Twist

  • 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 1.25" gap between the beads
  • NOTE: The white beads are simply for clarity for demonstration in the photos
  • The 5 centre (White) beads are NOT glued to in order to maintain flexibility
  • Where the signal wire comes out of the coil I use 7 beads together to prevent the coil touching the the signal wire where it exits the coil
  • 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
  • I use a small piece of Heat shrink tube at the ends of the wire to provide a support.

Signal Wie

  • 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

Speaker EndAmp End


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

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


Helix Geometry Adaptions:

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


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 most often 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.

Granted, they are more expensive than most other DIY cables, but considering their exceptional sound quality and their ability to compete with many top of the line cables from established commercial brands, I believe this price range to be of 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 18 gauge Solid Copper wire with AirLok insulation from VH Audio
  • WBT 4% silver solder OR Cardas Eutectic solder


Step 1.
I first wind the conductor around a 1/8" (3.5mm) 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 rod.

IC2

Step 2

Insert the signal 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 and you are done!

IC 001




Assembly of the “HELIX IMAGE DOUBLE/DOUBLE” interconnect...


This is the adaption that Bill (a.k.a. Grannyring on the Audiogon Forum) made me aware of. It was adapted from an approach known in audio circles as the "Schroeder Method" and Bill's adaption basically doubled up on both the Signal wire and the neutral wire of the Helix coil.

The construction approach is identical to the single wire IC above with the following changes…

THE SIGNAL CONDUCTOR:

I use 2 x 18 gauge Solid Copper wires from VH Audio.

First remove about 3/8" (10mm) of the insulation from one end of the wire.

The best way to remove the insulation from the VH Audio Solid Copper wire with AirLok insulation is to compress the wire using the flat part of needle nose pliers and then splitting the insulation with my finger nail and then trim the insulation with cutters.

This technique prevents wire strippers from damaging the surface of the wire itself

20200821_100136_resized20200821_100214_resized

Twist the bare ends tightly and then twist the two wires in a more "relaxed" manner i.e. one complete twist every couple of inches as shown below

20200821_100623_resized

Strip insulation from the other ends of the two wires, twist together tightly, solder each end and trim both ends to approximately 3/16 (5mm)


THE NEUTRAL CONDUCTOR:

To make the Double helix coil, strip about 3/8" (10mm) of insulation from the ends of two lengths of 16 gauge Silver Plated Mil-spec wire, twist tightly and solder

Then carefully form the coil using a variable speed drill by winding both wires.

20200821_103017_resized

Insert the Signal wire into the helix coil
20200821_103323_resized

Then just as with the single wire version

  • Stretch the coil out to the length of the signal wire
  • Place a piece of heat shrink on the end of the cable
  • attach the RCA plugs

20200821_101921_resized

Please note: in the picture above I have used Cotton insulation - I have since found this is NOT required!

Assembly of the “HELIX IMAGE DOUBLE/SINGLE” interconnect...

In addition to the "Double/Double" I figured it was worth trying a Double/Single variant
- i.e. two signal wires with one Neutral wire for the Helix coil

20200821_103507_resized

So WHY all the different versions?

Well, I was pretty happy with the Single wired version, but Bill had reported significant improvement using the Double/Double approach.

My first thought was that I would just double-up the signal wire to see what kind of improvement I might achieve and leave the Helix Coil as a single wire

The results were very compelling and significantly better than the single wired version.

So now I had to try the Double/Double version in order to assess just how much better the Double/Double was than the Double/Single version.

CONCLUSION:

Well, the Double/Double is the best performer of the three, however, I found that the Double/Single provided about 65% of the benefit of the Double/Double.

What improved in both these cables over the single wired version as the precision and focus within the image, with a more realistic reproduction and a fuller sound

But the Double/Double just edged out the Double/Single version with a more realistic presentation.

So, for those that already have the single wired version - upgrading to the Double/Single version is a very easy process with minimal cost and effort.

For those of you that is just trying the Helix for the first time and want to minimize the expense, the Single/Single is still an excellent cable and the upgrade to the Double/Single is very easy.

But once you've sampled the Helix IMAGE, you too may be tempted by the Double/Double

But here's the weird thing - I actually prefer the sound of the Double/Single on my Phono stage and the Double/Double on my Streamer

So which "variant" is best for the components in your system may not be as simple as just making the Double/Double for everything.

Also, you might want to try different brands of wires for the signal conductor, e.g. some people prefer Mundorf Solid SIlver and others prefer Duelund tinned copper with Cotton Insulation - the choice is yours to make - there is no right or wrong


Did I try using a higher quality wire for the Helix Neutral?

  • I only use the more expensive wires like Duelund or Mundorf and now VH Audio Solid Copper wires for for the signal conductor - not for the neutral Helix.
  • 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. Others have also tried more expensive wires and observed the same results.

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 “HELIX IMAGE Interconnect” is a very 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.

Helix Geometry Adaptions…

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

  • Bryston 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

Other Helix Geometry Adaptions…

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


Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 9.44.28 AM


The Parts List :


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!