KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connector/Adaptor Review

After what seemed like an extraordinarily long R & D effort, KLE Innovations has released the long awaited KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor .
KL had “hinted” a while back that these connectors were in the development stage.

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 10.37.14 AM

Well, as with all things designed by Keith Louie Eichmann, attention to detail is paramount and this “philosophy” is evident by close inspection of these banana plugs with the housing removed.

As can be seen in the image below:
  • The design utilizes a double barrel design, with one barrel being just under half the length of the second barrel.
  • The shorter of the two barrels is normally used to attach the cable (up to 4mm in diameter).
  • There is a small shoulder half way down the longer barrel of the plug, allowing for a second Banana to be be inserted into the rear of that barrel.
  • This allows for the “stacking” of plugs - a very convenient feature for attaching jumpers on speakers with bi-wire terminals while using a single-run speaker cable.
  • The shorter barrel can also be used to attach a second banana plug (provided a cable has not been attached), which is a very convenient feature for temporarily connecting a set of bi-wire cables to a speaker having only two connecting terminals.
  • This feature prevents the plugs on the second cable run from flapping around waiting to “short out”. In this scenario the plug is acting more as an adapter.

STACKED CONNECTORS:
Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 10.50.32 AM

So what else makes this plug so special?
  • They boast an IACS conductivity rating >101%  - which is impressive for a copper product, since copper is normally rated at 100% and Beryllium Copper, a material of choice for this style of connector by many other brands, has an IACS rating of between 40%-60%
  • they have perfectly round spring pins - most spring pins are not completely round which allows air gaps that may be prone to micro-arcing.
  • they fit into all of the banana terminals I have tried with an “unforced snugness" that grips the speaker and amp terminals securely, which is probably due more to the ‘friction element’ of the snug fit, rather than the amount of spring in the clip.
  • they are very simple to connect to cables using solder and removal is also very easy should you want to try them on a different cables.
  • Having the second barrel to connect the wire to makes it almost impossible to run solder into/onto the “business end” of the plug - something other manufacturers should consider.
  • KLE Innovators state the bananas can be crimped, but that's not something I would personally try with my crimping tool - I’ve tried crimping spring style bananas in the past and the result was less than satisfactory.

The KLEITMClassic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor, like other KLE Innovations products, are silver finished, not Gold or Rhodium, which is a feature some people could consider less than optimum due to its tendency to tarnish over time.

My response to those concerns :
  • I have been using KLE Innovations connectors (RCA’s and Bananas) for close to 4 years and I am yet to see any sign of tarnish under normal use, i.e. household humidity between 40% - 65%.
  • Any other finish will impact the overall IACS rating, which will degrade performance.

Connecting the cable is extremely easy:
  • remove the plastic housing from the plug.
  • Strip 4-5 mm of the insulation from the speaker wire.
  • “tin” the bare wire with solder - i recommend WBT (4% silver solder), Wonder Solder or equivalent.
  • insert the wire into the shorter of the two barrels ensuring the tinned end comes to the angled end of the shorter barrel.
  • solder the wire in place by applying solder at the angled end of the shorter barrel and leave to cool down.
  • re-insert the banana into the plastic housing - it only fits one way.
  • fold the small plastic door into place and press and ensure the locking tags click into place - VOILA!
ban1Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 5.52.25 PM

SIDE BAR:

  • I have observed throughout the reviews I have conducted that any improvements observed can be impacted by the quality of the components and cables that a newly installed piece of equipment or connector is connected to.
  • In plain language - installing these Bananas on lamp cord speaker cables purchased at the local hardware store will probably NOT dramatically improve the sound of your system!
  • However, these connectors are capable of conveying details to an extremely high level of resolution and as such should be installed on cables of a similar resolution capability.

How do They sound?


The package the plugs arrive in states that the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor will require a 125 hour burn-in period to sound their best!
  • But if your experience is anything like mine, they will improve your sound immediately.
  • and then continue to get better over time.

I was very surprised to hear an immediate discernible improvement across the board, since many products, regardless of brand, normally require a little time before they start to
“step up to the plate”.
  • It was one of those moments when you turn on the system and start streaming content from internet radio stations to begin the burn-in process, only to be “persuaded” to switch over to a source of a higher quality because of “something” very interesting you have heard.

That “something” was - outstanding clarity!


The trip through the content of my library also revealed...

  • a larger, more well defined 3D image with more precision in instrument/performer placement and isolation.
  • a faster dynamic performance across the board, resulting in more sparkle at the top end and more texture in the mid and bottom end.
  • Classical recordings tended to demonstrate the extraordinary imaging the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptors are capable of, simply by providing superb isolated placement of violin/viola/cello/double bass across a very wide image, combined with placement front to back of strings/woodwind/brass and percussion sections to such an extent that left me feeling I was actually sitting in the concert hall.
  • The presentation of Is This Love by Bob Marley seemed as cavernous as a large stadium.

But Could the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connector/Adaptor improve more with burn-in?


In short - very much so!


And so, I turned to my vinyl for a more detailed audition...

The album that had some of the greatest impact was
“The best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler, Private Investigations” - a nicely engineered double LP set on heavier vinyl.

  • The superb clarity and detailing on Sultans of Swing made for a mesmerizing listening experience.
  • The dynamics of Mark Knopflers guitar work on Money for Nothing were perhaps the fastest I had heard.
  • Yet the soft textures of his voice on Brothers in Arms was ethereal.

By contrast, a couple of albums from the mid 1970’s highlighted another attribute of the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptors - their smoothness...
  • Jethro Tull’s - Songs From The Wood and The Steeleye Span Story had always sounded quite shrill, so I was expecting an even brighter performance. However, the harshness of both of these albums seemed to be tamed and the music had much more body and depth without sacrificing the very crisp dynamics.
Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book is a well played favourite in my review process, mainly for the track Superstition...
  • In the opening scene of the movie I Robot - Will Smith plays this track on a futuristic audio system.
  • Of course, with the enhanced sound engineering and Dolby Surround Sound cranked up - it sounds incredible!
  • So I figured that it might be a good track to truly test the abilities of the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptors.
  • The reproduction of sound from this old piece of vinyl was spectacular - a crisp, fast, full bodied, deep, clear listening experience.
  • This album, a favourite for years, seemed like it had been completely re-mastered.

One last album where the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptors delivered an outstanding performance is a TACET recording of Paul Florin (violin) playing Partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • This album demonstrated just how much “space” these connectors are able to convey.
  • I was transported into the church where the recording was made.
  • reflections bouncing from wall to ceiling to wall getting fainter with each reflection.
  • Just me and Paul Florin - an experience I am now able to re-live again and again.

I could go on dissecting and analyzing each album in my library , since it was as though the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor had re-mastered every piece of vinyl.
  • Classical albums best demonstrated their ability to cast a very large image in 3 dimensions.
  • Jazz vocals conveyed superbly soft velvety tones.
  • Pipe organ music demonstrated the amazing control the amp now had over the speakers with superb dynamic textures across the entire frequency range.
  • Pop and rock albums served up dynamic drums and crisp bass lines like never before.

Not to be left on the side lines, one of the nicest improvements was the very analogue presentation now produced by my Bluesound Node 2 digital streamer, since all traces of “digital” had now been vanquished, leaving only an extremely enjoyable listening experience.

Should I have expected anything less?

Perhaps not, especially considering my prior experiences with other products from
KLE Innovations that I have reviewed over the years, that have proven every single time to provide outstanding improvements in sound quality.


But all this from a little Banana plug soldered onto the end of my speaker wires? - really?

Well let’s be quite clear, the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor is not just “a simple Banana plug”...

  • it’s fabricated from high tech modern day materials whose metallurgy is a closely guarded secret.
  • it’s designed to exacting specifications.
  • it’s manufactured to extreme engineering tolerances.
  • It really is...

The “F22 Raptor” of Banana plugs!


Much like the Harmony RCA Connectors also designed by Keith Louie Eichmann, the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor is capable of much more than simply holding a cable in a hole.
It will revolutionize the Banana Plug, just as the Harmony RCA Connectors have revolutionized RCA plugs.

The KLEI™Harmony Banana Plugs (ClassicHarmony and PureQHarmony bananas), are standard on the new KLEIQSeries speaker cable models (QFLOW2/Classic, QFLOW3/PureQ, QFLOW7/PureQ, QPURITY8/PureQ SCs) but not on the current gZero and zPurity models.
For the current gZero and zPurity speaker cable models you will probably be able to have them installed at additional cost – contact
KLE Innovations before ordering.


Summation...

It took a while to bring the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor to market but, I have to award kudos, to Keith Louie Eichmann and his team - for taking their time to “get it right”.

The
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor appear to allow every detail and nuance of the recording to be conveyed with amazing clarity and dexterity - something I have not observed to this level in any similar product.

They really are - THE Banana Plug you want at the end of your speaker cables !


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 A highly recommended product!



DIY Speaker Cables - The HELIX Speaker


They’re finally here !!!


Regular visitors to this web site are probably familiar with the Helix Mark V IC and the POWER Helix power cables and now I’ve finally had a chance to develop the Helix Speaker cable.

I’d been procrastinating about making a Helix geometry speaker cable for some time, mainly because I needed a 10 foot pair of cables.

  • Winding a helix neutral of the correct gauge for a 10 foot cable was, for me, a little daunting, until I found a twisted pair conductor that was perfect for the job.

helix 14


So what makes Helix cables work?

My hypothesis ...

To understand why the Helix geometry of these cables work so well - you have to look at what goes on inside the cable and the attached components.

First - you have to forget the notion that the two conductors inside a cable are performing a similar role.


They Are Not!


  • The signal conductor - as it’s name implies - carries the audio signal.

  • But the neutral conductor connects the neutral side of the circuits of the components that cable is connected to.
If you look at a circuit diagram of any component you will see that the neutral side is always denoted as being connected to a ground point. Which by definition implies that the “potential” (or voltage) at that point should be ZERO!

This is extremely important for the circuit to function correctly!


Now - audiophiles know that if you lay cables next to each other in parallel, they are prone to pickup noise by a process known as induction. So it stands to reason that
inside an audio cable, where the signal and neutral are as close together as you can get them, that the signal conductor is probably inducing noise into the neutral conductor.

Ah! (you say), but the neutral is connected to the ground!


Yes it is, however, electricity is a bit like water. if you spill water onto a surface it flows in all directions - not in one direction only.

So the noise permeates through the entire neutral side of the connected components causing those circuits to distort ever so slightly, and then those distortions get amplified until they become very noticeable.

So, how do these cables prevent that from happening?


ONE: the signal conductor is of a smaller gauge than the neutral conductor - this reduces the effectiveness of the induction process.

TWO: The neutral is constructed from a twisted pair of conductors - this also acts to reduce the effectiveness of the induction process even further.

THREE: The neutral conductor is wound around the signal conductor, so it is NEVER parallel to it.

VOILA! - all noise is eliminated !!!
(pretty much)


For more theory pertaining to this see
Electromagnetic Interference - Considerations in Structured Cabling Systems from Siemens

So there you have it - the Helix Geometry is perhaps the most noise free design you can get.

It should be applied to ALL cables in a system, resulting in a level of fidelity you probably thought could only be attained by having components costing considerably more.

What will you hear? - for me the most noticeable improvement were 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 phasing. Phasing controls the placement of instruments and artists in two ways.

  1. Their location within the depth of the image
  2. Their location outside the width of the speakers

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.

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


They ALL have to have the helix geometry !!!


So How Do I Make Them?


Here are the parts...


The neutral conductor should be twice as long as the signal conductor, although you can experiment with this ratio

The signal sleeve is 12-15” shorter than the signal conductor in order to leave some straight wire for the connectors, but you will require two lengths of sleeve for each cable.
  • Allow extra for the outer layer because when it expands it actually shortens
  • I allowed 6” for the outer sleeve

So for one
10 ft cable PAIR you need
  • 20 ft of signal conductor i/e/ 10 x 2
  • 37 ft of expandable sleeve,
  • 40 ft of neutral conductor.

You will also need around 2 feet of the 3/8 heat-shrink and 3 feet of the 3/16” heat-shrink

Construction...

Cut the signal sleeve to length and insert one piece into a second piece (see below)
Once inserted place a piece of heat shrink at then end to prevent fraying

helix 1


Insert the signal conductor into the sleeve and allow around 6”-8” extra - cut to length
Then remove the conductor - it will be inserted later

helix 2

Next, cut two equal lengths of the neutral conductor - this should be twice 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


helix 3

Slowly wind the conductor onto the rod

helix 4

Once the other end of the conductor is reached (leave 6”-8” of straight conductor) tape the conductor to the rod and remove it from the drill

Heat the conductor with a hair dryer to make it more malleable




helix 5

With the palm of your hand, roll the cable assembly on a hard surface to tighten the coil

Leaving the conductor on the rod for a couple of hours will prevent some unraveling.



helix 6

Remove the coil from the rod and insert the signal conductor sleeve



helix 7

Hot glue the neutral conductor to one end of the signal sleeve


helix 8

Place a small piece of heat shrink over the glue - this helps maintain the joint

helix 9


Starting at the end that has been glued, space the windings and tighten them as you proceed down the length of the cable.

Space the windings evenly (within reason) until the coil end of the neutral reaches the end of the signal sleeve

NOTE: Wearing a pair of gloves will prevent blisters Happy


helix 10

Once the neutral is aligned over the signal sleeve, glue the end to the sleeve and apply the heat shrink as before. This completes this sub assembly


helix 11

Insert the signal conductor into the sleeve and hot clue into place

Place a piece of the red 3/16” heat shrink over the signal conductor


If you do not like the orange/black look you can use some 3/4/ expandable sleeve to cover them.

helix 12



Attach the connectors of your choice - Voila!

UPDATE: I now 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

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 11.04.55 AM

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 extremely 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.

You will find their characteristics 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 $120 US.

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 are excellent performers

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

I was
Blown Away!!!

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

They ALL have to have the helix geometry !!!

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

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 Power Cables - The "POWER HELIX"

The “POWER HELIX” power cable represents several years of “tinkering” and researching different cable architectures and materials.

I started looking at cable architectures a while back, initiated by an experience with a home lighting repair.

I was installing a new two way switch on a hallway light, the type with a switch at each end of the hallway (see diagram below). I decided to play it safe and use my multimeter to verify the open/closed position of the switches.

With the switch in the OFF position everything checked out, but with the switch in the ON position I found that there was a reading of 42 volts on what was supposed to be the "dead conductor" i.e. the red conductor in the diagram below.

page1image6056


I found an article on the web which verified that in this particular situation it is common for one of the conductors in standard household power cable to register an
"induced voltage".

Turns out my digital multi-meter had such a high resistance that it drew no current so the reading was unusually high. However, my analogue meter, which draws a little more current still registered a reading of 13 volts.

That’s still - a lot of "noise".


In the case of “conventional” power cable architectures, the live conductor and the neutral conductor tend to be side by side in extremely close proximity for the length of the cable, therefore I consider it reasonable to assume that noise, at the amplitude measured above, will be induced from the signal conductor into the neutral conductor.
This “pollution” of the neutral conductor may also take place on the ground conductor also and depending on the design of a components circuit, have an adverse effect on sound quality.

The premise of the helical design concept eliminates the parallel conductors and minimizes induced noise to imperceivable levels!


For more theory pertaining to this see Electromagnetic Interference - Considerations in Structured Cabling Systems from Siemens


But First My Disclaimer:

DO NOT attempt any of the assemblies detailed below unless you are an experienced Electrical Professional OR Electronics Hobbyist - otherwise consult a technician!

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for following local electrical codes. Failure to do so may result in personal injury, damage to equipment, or power cable failure which can result in fire.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for ensuring the cable selected is suitably rated for the power requirements of the component(s) it will be attached too !

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for ensuring the IEC/Mains connectors are installed observing the correct polarity !
- failure to do so can result in poor operation, component failure or electric shock.


YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for ensuring the dielectric strength of the insulation on ALL conductors used, meets or exceeds local codes!

e.g. In North America - 600v at 200 Celsius for 120v 50/60 Hz supply


These Power cables are only to be used for
Home Audio Purposes and must not subjected to harsh environments and frequent handling, which generally require additional protective coverings.

The materials mentioned below comply with most codes for NORTH AMERICA ONLY!

Electrical codes in other countries may require the selection of different materials, therefore
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for following those local electrical codes.

YOU are responsible for ensuring “power related” assemblies are safe to use!

Materials...

The materials listed below will build a 6ft power cable that is suitable for use with Power Aimplifiers rated up to 600 watts.

  • 6 ft of Furutech FP-3T762 bulk cable, OR
  • 6 ft of DH Labs Power Plus bulk cable
  • 28 feet of stranded Mil Spec 12 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire, Cryo Treated, Red - available from Take Five Audio (TFA)
  • 14 feet of green 12 gauge mains copper wire from Home Depot
  • 2 feet of 1” black Heat Shrink sleeve
  • 7 ft of 3/8” (10 mm) expandable nylon sleeve (outer sleeve)
  • 7ft of black 1/4” expandable nylon sleeve (for Live conductor - see below)
  • 1 Pair of SONAR QUEST CRYO Ag Audio Grade Silver plated IEC plug + US main plug
  • lead free solder suited for electronics use - or WBT 4% silver solder can also be used
  • 10-12 gauge copper spade/fork connectors
  • For Spade/Fork terminals take look at the Grainger Web site and in their options check box select TERMINAL TYPE: Standard, WIRE RANGE: 12-10 gauge, INSULATION TYPE: Bare and SEAM: Butted
  • Fork Terminals - Spade Terminals - Grainger Industrial Supply
  • 1 6ft x 1/4” fibreglass rod - available from Home Depot

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 4.31.10 PM

The Sonar Quest connectors have heavy Silver plating on pure copper contacts that provide excellent clamping and transmission of electrical current - available from ebay

I use an approximate ratio of 2.5:1 of Ground/Neutral:Live conductor

e.g. for a 6ft power cable I use 14ft of Ground and 14ft of Neutral Conductor




The Live Conductor...

I have tried many different “wires” for this role, and without question the best have been the conductors found in either of the two bulk cables listed above.

Granted, you do have to “butcher” some very nicely made bulk cable, however, you can make three power cables from one length of bulk cable. Happy

First, strip of the outer sleeve of the bulk cable and the shield and remove the internal conductors.

Using just one of the internal conductors - Attach a 10 gauge spade connector, crimp in place and apply solder

Place the 1/4” black nylon sleeve over the length of the Live Conductor

Attach a small piece of 5/16” heat shrink sleeve at each end to hold the expandable sleeve in place

DO NOT apply the second spade connector just yet!

Live Wire


The Neutral Conductor...

The Neutral Conductor is made from two lengths of the
Mil Spec 12 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire listed above.

Why two pieces? - this effectively make the neutral wire a 9 awg conductor, which I have found performs much better, resulting in faster dynamics, better bass performance and control and more natural imaging.

Cut the 28 ft length of wire into two equal length pieces.

On the 1/4” rod, wind the neutral conductor in a helix configuration, space the windings about 1/4” apart and remove from the rod.
Repeat the winding process with the second piece of wire.

Neutral  Wires


With the second coil of wire still on the rod...
- Attach the first coil to the second coil with a 10 gauge spade connector
- Wind the first “coil” of wire between its windings as shown below

Remove the two “intertwined” coils from the rod

Dual Neutral


The Ground Conductor...

On the 1/4” rod, wind the green GOUND conductor in a helix configuration, space the windings about 1/4” apart and remove from the rod.

Ground Wire


Thread the Live conductor through the centre of the red coil(s)

Attach a second 10 awg spade connector on free end of the Live conductor, crimp and solder in place.

Attach a second 10 awg spade connector on the two free ends of the neutral conductor, crimp and solder in place.

Wind the green wire between the “double winding” of the neutral conductor as shown below.

Place 12 awg spade connectors on both ends of the ground conductor, crimp and solder in place


Cable Assembly



Place the expandable nylon sleeve over the cable assembly and cut to length

Cut two adequate lengths of 1” heat shrink tubing and place over the nylon sleeve

Attach the Sonar Quest connectors to the cable assembly
ensuring you adopt the correct polarity!!!


Mains Polarity


Position the heat shrink over the ends of the outer sleeve and apply heat

Secure the connector covers in place to complete the cable assembly

Final Product


Assembly Notes...

If you feel the use of Furutech or DH Labs bulk cable is a little too
“extravagant”, you can opt to use a 6ft length of the stranded Mil Spec 12 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire. In which case I would reduce the upper limit of an attached amplifier to 500 watts.

Why do I use spade connectors? -

  • First, trying to attach the mains/IEC connectors to a 10 gauge cable is very difficult,
  • More importantly - the spade connectors prevent detachment from the connectors in the event of unforeseen stress being placed on the connectors.
  • I have also found that the spade connectors actually improve sound quality.

For a more secure crimped joint, I always crimp from the back - as shown in the image below, which prevents the collar from opening.

Crimp-022


I use pliers as shown in this image that applies an extended crimp along the whole length of the spade connectors collar

imgres


Cables that are more suited to source components can use lighter gauge conductors, but be sure to determine their power requirements and select a gauge that can handle it with headroom to spare.

Can you use other brands of IEC/Mains connectors?


Of course. Some people might prefer to use Furutech, or Oyaide high quality connectors.

Others may prefer to use something more reasonably price, like the Vanguard range of connectors.

I believe the Sonar Quest connector line provides exceptional sound quality for a reasonable price.

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 from Bulk cable with reasonably priced connectors.

I first tried Furutech bulk cable and then stumbled upon DH Labs, which I believe offers similar performance for about 1/3 the price - how could you not like that.

I then investigated a braided architecture which proved very effective, even using plain old Romex house wire.

Finally, I tried the Helix Architecture, which has proved to be the best performing power cable architecture to date.

I have now implemented this architecture on all my cables that have anything to do with audio.

What do they sound like?

The “POWER HELIX” is a high performance power cable that allows connected components to perform to the best of their abilities.

They assist components in delivering ultra fast dynamic performance, exceptional clarity, expansive imaging and a very deep and exceptionally well controlled bass performance.

How Long is the Burn-In Period?

It is imperative that these cables are allowed adequate time to settle and burn-in...

  • they will sound extremely good on initial installation
  • after about 60 hours they allow more of the micro details in the form of venue specific reverberation captured in live recordings, or applied by very talented sound engineers, to clearly be heard.

The end of the Road?

I have decided to end this particular power cable “obsession” with the
“POWER HELIX” simply because...
  • the cost of better materials is making them significantly more expensive
  • I believe any improvements using better materials will probably be marginal from this point onwards

My hope is that this design will be embraced and enhanced by the DIY Community and encourage them to experiment with different conductor materials and configurations to tailor the sound to their own liking.

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

  • NAIM 5i integrated amp (with passive pre-section).

  • Gershman Acoustics Sonogram speakers.

  • KLE Innovations gZero6 Speaker Cables

  • DIY Power Cables - The "POWER HELIX"

  • DIY Interconnect Cables - The "Helix Mark V"



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 Mark V"

The “Helix Mark V” represents several years of “tinkering” and researching different cable architectures 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 one of those conductors, then noise will be induced into the other conductor.

e.g. in a 120 volt mains cable I measured noise in an adjacent conductor of 42 volts!

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 be induced from the signal conductor into the neutral conductor.

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 attached components’ circuitry.

On it’s way to “ground” it raises the potential on the neutral side of the components circuit, which has a negative impact on the amplified signal resulting in a distorted sound.

The helical design concept eliminates the parallel conductors and minimizes induced noise to imperceivable levels.

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 - 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 not only can they be different lengths, but they can be made from different materials and gauges.

page2image664

  • The Signal Conductor transfers the signal
  • The Neutral Conductor merely links the neutral sides of the two attached components


For more theory pertaining to this see Electromagnetic Interference - Considerations in Structured Cabling Systems from Siemens




So How Did I Construct Them?...

The parts list is reasonably priced between $180 - $250 CDN for a 3ft ( or 1 meter) pair, depending on the RCA’s 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 CAT6/Neutral:Signal conductor

e.g. for a 3ft Interconnect cable I use 9ft of CAT6 and 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 Neotech UPOCC 20 AWG, Deep Cryo Treated (SOURCE: TAKE FIVE AUDIO - TFA)
  • Signal Conductor: 3 ft of Neotech UPOCC Silver 28 AWG, Teflon Insulation, Deep Cryo Treated (SOURCE: TFA)
  • Outer Teflon Tube: 3 ft of PTFE 10 Tubing .106"ID .130"OD Approx. (SOURCE: TFA)
  • Inner Teflon Tube: 3 ft of 10 awg AND PTFE 14 Tubing .066"ID .090"OD Approx. 14 awg 1ft (SOURCE: TFA)
  • Floating Shield: 9 ft of CAT5e or CAT6 twisted pair - obtained from a network cable (SOURCE: any computer store)
  • WBT 4% silver solder


1.  Parts list

Why two teflon tubes?
  • Two tubes provide a bigger “gap” between the neutral and signal conductors = less noise!
  • In very tight radius turns, two tubes prevent “kinking” in the walls of the tubes.

Step 1.

The neutral winding is perhaps the most difficult aspect of this cable, but the choice of a solid core conductor maintains the helix shape and spacing, and allows for flexibility.

I first wind the conductor around a 6mm dowel. To assist with this I insert the dowel into a variable speed hand drill and feed the conductor along its length.

Once wound, the helix can be removed from the dowel, but you may have to loosen the helix (i.e. back-off the twist) a little to do so.
2. Neutral WInding


Step 2

Insert the teflon tube(s) into the helix.

Space the windings over the length of the tube

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

3. Teflon Tube


STEP 3

Next, install the “Floating Shield” CAT5/6 twisted pair.

What is a “Floating Shield” ? - it is a conductor that is attached to a “ground point”, in this case the neutral conductor, but only at one end of the cable. The other end is not connected - i.e. left “floating”.

Why do you need it? - it disrupts the ability for RFI/EMI to induce noise into the adjacent cables.

NOTE:

The end of the cable with the floating shield should generally be connected to the “source” of the signal. This prevents the transfer of any noise to subsequent amplification stages.

However, if that source component is equipped with an “isolated power supply” e.g. the Wal-Wart variety - then that end should be connected to a properly grounded component.

In the event both components are not properly grounded the direction of connection is arbitrary and you might want to experiment for best performance - in your system.

  • First, solder the twisted pair to one end of the neutral conductor.
  • Wind the twisted pair in between the windings of the neutral conductor.
  • When you get to the end, simply cut it a little shorter and secure it in place with a glue gun or a small piece of electrical tape

4. Floating Shield

Step 4

At this point I insert the assembly into the outer expandable sleeve and cut to length
- I mark the end of the cable that has the floating shield attached with a piece of masking tape

I then place the RCA housing on the cable

Insert the signal conductor into the teflon tube
(hint: cut the wire to length and strip the wire before inserting - it’s easier)

Solder on the RCA plugs and attach the RCA housing to the body and tighten the set screws in the housing

I then place a piece of heat shrink over the RCA housing to indicate which end the floating shield is connected to the neutral.

5. FInished Product

Assembly Notes...

I purposely did not specify which expandable sleeve to use because it is a personal preference. However, using the neutral conductor identified above requires the use of a thin expandable sleeve (like the one above) in order to get the RCA housing over the cable.
  • If you would like to use a thicker sleeve you can use a teflon insulated neutral conductor, which has a thinner insulation. It will NOT effect the performance of the cable, but it is a little more expensive.

If you do not like the sound of a silver signal conductor you can use a 24 gauge UPOCC copper conductor. The sound will not be quite so bight and dynamic, but the other properties (clarity, image, bass, bass control) of the cable are still exceptional.

Warning:

The 28 gauge centre conductor can be subjected a lot of stresses causing fractures if the cables are frequently handled or subject to multiple tight radius turns.

To overcome this simply perform the following steps:
  • wind the signal conductor tightly around the dowel
  • straighten it out using your fingers only. you will be left with a conductor with multiple little kinks
  • after placing the neutral conductor around the teflon tubes remove the inner teflon tube
  • Insert the signal conductor in the larger tube only (you may require a pull-through)

The “spring” in the kinks will ensure the signal cable does not fracture

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.

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 Pure Harmony RCA plugs can be used in place of the more expensive Absolute Harmony RCA plug
  • The silver signal conductor can be replaced with an UPOCC copper conductor

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

What do they sound like?

The “Helix Mark V” is a high performance interconnect cable with extremely high resolution abilities.

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 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”.

Will the
“Helix Mark V” perform well on all systems?

Based on my observations of previous versions on a couple of other systems, I have no reason to believe their performance will be anything less than stellar.


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 biggest issue with helix designs as a DIYer - how to maintain a uniform distance between the signal and neutral conductors - the teflon tubes alleviated this problem

My primary goal along the way was to keep the cost of materials to a minimum - hence the initial use of the CAT6 for the neutral conductor.

When I first tried the helix design it was quite clear that it was going to be a very adept performer, despite my cost saving CAT6 measures.

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!

With the
“Helix Mark IV” version, I decided to incorporate higher quality materials in the neutral conductor in the hope that I could come even closer to the performance levels of some of todays popular high performance cables for a fraction of the cost.

The improvements were so good and based on my earlier versions that performed better with multiple strands of CAT6 for the neutral, I concluded that a larger gauge neutral conductor would provide additional improvements - and...

Voila, the “Helix Mark V” 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 after 3-4 days continuous use, which will return to normal by day 6-7
  • they may exhibit some bass “blooming” around day 6-7 also, this will return to normal in about 30 hours
  • 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?

I have decided to end this particular interconnect cable “obsession” with the
“Helix Mark V” simply because...
  • the cost of better materials is making them significantly more expensive
  • the improvements using better materials will probably be marginal from this point onwards

My hope is that this design will be embraced and enhanced by the DIY Community and encourage them to experiment with different conductor materials to tailor the sound to their own liking.

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

  • NAIM 5i integrated amp (with passive pre-section).

  • Gershman Acoustics Sonogram speakers.

  • KLE Innovations gZero6 Speaker Cables

  • Assorted power cables


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!

KLEI zFLOW22 and zFLOW33 Review


Serendipitous: to come upon or find by accident.

It is not every day that I get to use such a term, but it does sum up exactly how I stumbled upon the true nature of the KLEI zFLOW cables from KLE Innovations...

zFLOW22-33

Keith Louis (KL) Eichmann had been dropping hints about these new “Top of The Line” products for a few weeks. He hadn’t actually stated what was better about them, simply that they were “rather special”

It wasn’t until he was closer to sending them did he reveal their new nomenclature
“zFLOW”, which is short for “Zero Flow Ground State”, an extension of his existing “gZero Architecture”.

When he told me he was going to send the
KLEI zFLOW33 interconnects and the KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables for my listening pleasure, I had decided the best approach was to install and evaluate the speaker cables first.

  • Primarily because I find having better quality speaker cables normally allows me to better assess any improvements provided by the later introduction of interconnects.

And this is where serendipity comes into play...


By mistake I happened to connect the
KLEI zFLOW33 interconnects first and since they were now installed I decided to audition them anyhow with the already well broken-in KLEI gZero6 Speaker Cables in the mix.

After playing a few tracks I felt that these new cables were only performing marginally better than my “well matured”
KLEI gZero20 interconnects, which I had enjoyed for many months.

Now, I am the first to admit that my system is “modestly priced” and as such there would come a day when the resolution limits of my system would be encountered.

Could his be the reason for such lacklustre performance?


After allowing the KLEI zFLOW33 Interconnects to settle in for approximately 3 days, I still had not noticed any further improvements - which is not the norm for cables from KL - like a good wine they do require some time to “breath” to sound their best.

Feeling quite underwhelmed - and wondering exactly what I was going to write about - I decided to install the
KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables as well.

So with the
KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables “in concert” with the KLEI zFLOW33 interconnects, I restarted the settle-in process

Immediately, there appeared to be an improvement over the previous cable combination
-
i.e. KLEI Zflow33 IC’s with the gZero6 SC’s.

A couple of days later and those improvements had really started to reveal some extremely delicate nuances I had never before heard on most of the tracks played.

After applying some thought, it was clear that the newly installed
KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables were in fact providing a more suitable pathway for the extremely fine details being revealed by the KLEI zFLOW33 interconnects.

With my curiosity getting the better of me, I decided to try a configuration experiment...

  • Case “A” - combine the KLEI gZero20 IC’s with the KLEI zFLOW22 SC’s
  • Case “B” - combine the KLEI zFLOW33 IC’s with the KLEI gZERO6 SC’s

Here’s what I observed of the individual
zFLOW cable usage:
  • Case “A” - the KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables sounded very much like the KLEI gZero6 speaker cables - any improvements were marginal at best.
  • Case “B” - the KLEI zFLOW33 Interconnects sounded very much like KLEI gZero20 Interconnects - again, improvements were simply marginal.
  • AND - both Cases seemed to offer a very similar, almost identical, level of fidelity.

I considered these observations as being below “the norm” with respect to my previous observations experienced for all other KLEI cables auditioned.

Basically, I expected more from their individual use!

However, one thing that was quite clear, having both the
KLEI zFLOW33 Interconnects and the KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables in the audio pathway was yielding performance improvements that exceeded the performance of both case “A” and “B” and was more in line with my previous expectations

Using the two zFLOW products together seemed to allow my system to resolve to a higher level.

With that realization, I installed both sets of KLEI zFLOW cables and allowed them time to settle.

During the “settling time” I did play music, but I did not really sit down to seriously
“audition” the cables. There were a few moments where I detected some improvements, but it was not really enough to make me stop what I was doing and listen more intently.

It wasn’t until about day 6 in the settling cycle that I began to hear significant improvements that really peaked my interest.

Finally, The level of improvement I had previously come to “expect” from installing KLE Innovations products was starting to materialize!

However, rather than a marked improvements in dynamics, or image size, or bass performance etc.., the most noticeable of the improvements was clearly the level of refinement these cables were able to convey.

Now, if you feel that I’m a little
“less enthused” than in most of my other reviews, please remember that my point of reference for this review is the KLEI gZero20 Interconnect and the KLEI gZero6 speaker cables, which have proven to be exceptional performers.

So what exactly were the improvements?

The
KLEI zFLOW cables have an ability to convey an extraordinary level of detail - this was clearly demonstrated by a significant improvement in the reproduction of subtle reverberations in venue acoustics and extremely delicate nuances of vocal performances.

  • Improved clarity across the entire frequency range - which resulted in more life-like performances, even on albums recorded in the studio
  • The improvements in detail and clarity has also improved upon the already superb imaging of the gZero20/gZero6 combination, but added more depth to the image and simply dissolved the confines (i.e. walls) of my listening space.
  • An enhanced realism across the entire image provided more space around artists and instruments together with their individual localized reverberations.
  • The detail and clarity also contributes significantly to an extended bass performance, which not only goes lower than ever, but reveals textures in the bass line that up to know were only ever heard in the live performance.
  • And lastly, strange as it may sound - the detail and clarity seems to have improved upon the dynamic performance.
  • Perhaps the human ear is capable of detecting details so fine that even in the crack of a snare drum or the plucking of a string, they appear to make every performance noticeably “crisper” than before.

Some standout albums and artists:

Nellie Furtado - these cables highlighted her extremely varied vocal tones, from her edgy grittiness, to the softest and delightfully tranquil passages. The extremely dynamic and deep synth work on certain tracks went very deep and divulged many more bass textures.

Diana Krall - Diana’s vocal acuity was simply brought to a whole new level of
“seduction” and the perceived reality of having her perform right there in my living room was surreal.

Jason Mraz’s album - “Yes” - has never been so soulful and engaging with some superb instrumental and vocal textures that highlighted the superb sound engineering.

Miroslav Tadic’s album - “Window Mirror” is one of the first albums I play because of the superb sound engineering used in a live venue recording - the venue acoustics were the best I’ve ever heard them - Miroslav’s guitar playing is none too shabby either - just a superb album.

And finally, one of my stalwart tracks - Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5: by Daniel Chorzempa from “Hear the Light” on Phillips. This track contains the whole gamut of audio reference points ...
  • The Low pitch pipes where the improved deep bass textures now seems to shake the entire house
  • An image that very successfully recreates the cavernous church the piece was recorded in
  • A cacophony of sound from all of the various keyboards & pipes in play is superbly reproduced in amazing clarity, from quietest passage to the loudest crescendos - and I played it LOUD!
  • even the most delicate sounds are brought to your ears with amazing clarity and detail.

So what princely sum will get you these hand built Cables?

Since these cables are yet to be formerly announced I can only state a “provisional price” provided by Keith Louie.
  • KLEI zFLOW22 Speaker Cables - $1699 for a 3 meter pair
  • KLEI zFLOW33 Interconnects - $2399 for a 1 meter pair

Reasonable? or Outrageous?- that’s something each individual will have to ponder. But just take the time to look at some of the esoteric competition before making any judgement and you might find...

Price/Performance to this level of fidelity - represents VALUE!


CONCLUSION...

It was very fitting that KL decided to give the
zFLOW cables their own name, since they clearly perform to a higher level of resolution than the KLEI gZero product line - a very special achievement indeed.

How much better than the KLEI gZero product line are they?

Well, If you already own the
KLEI gZero20 IC + KLEI gZero6 SC combination, like myself, you may assess their initial performance to be “Marginal”, but that is very dependent on the other system components, your ears and your listening space!

I was very fortunate in that the cables I auditioned had already undergone a long burn-in period, therefore new cables will require some 300-400 hours of burn-in - even then, they will continue to improve over time.

So give them adequate time!


Will they offer better performance on components of higher resolution? - undoubtedly!

On my system the improvements started out very subtle, but discernible and after a few days of settling, I found them immensely enjoyable. I also have a feeling they will continue to improve over time just as the
KLEI gZero products do.

Attempting to upgrade to cables having the capabilities of the
KLEI zFLOW product range from any other manufacturer will most certainly cost you considerably more and to be honest, I believe attempting to find better performing cables could prove to be a very time consuming lesson in futility.

Without a doubt, the
KLEI zFLOW product line is clearly KLE Innovations best performer (to date) and it deserves to be crowned as their new “Top Of The Line” without any reservations - that’s the opinion of this reviewer at least.

These cables don’t simply improve on “metric performance”, i.e. the dynamics, imaging, the clarity etc., they provided an astonishing level of refinement and allowed my system to convey the most realistic performance I have heard to date.

They achieve a very “life-like” reality.


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

  • iMac (Music Server)

  • Musical Fidelity V-Link192 USB/SPDIF Converter + KLEI gZero3 SPDIF

  • Schiit Bifrost USB DAC with UBER analogue upgrade

  • NAIM 5i integrated amp (with passive pre-section).

  • Gershman Acoustics Sonogram speakers.

  • KLEI gZero6 Speaker Cables

  • KLEI gZero20 Interconnect Cables


page6_blog_entry61-page6_blog_entry60-page6_blog_entry52-page6_blog_entry40-two-thumbs-up-2 A highly recommended product Line!