Cone Feet - Isolation or Draining?

What is the Purpose of Component Feet?

When I first looked at component feet, most of them were made from a rubberized material, which would suggest that their prime function was to prevent vibrations from being transferred to the component.

I quickly learned that those rubber feet were less than ideal at satisfying that particular goal, so I looked into Cone feet.

Having considerably less surface area in contact with the shelf of the component rack seemed like a logical step, but I was not sure of the effectiveness of the various cones and spikes and thought they might actually anchor” the component to the shelf.

After applying some thought to the problem I came up with a DIY “ball bearing” and “marble” feet (see below), which seemed to work very well and did not require the little spike protectors to prevent the foot from digging into the shelf.

I also applied a small piece of sorbothane between the component and the DIY foot to further isolate the component from rack-born vibrations.


More recently, I decided to investigate cone feet in more depth after an interesting exchange with the fellow DIY audio enthusiast,

For more information take a look at:

Turns out, my thoughts about isolating the component from the rack were only partially correct.

A much more interesting aspect of applying cone feet to a component, is their ability to drain vibrations from he component case/chassis, which improves clarity and imaging.

So I decided to try some beech wood cones just to see what effect they might have, and was quite surprised at the improvement in sound quality

The DIY enthusiast informed me that Brass cones provided the best sound, so I decided to try some different materials in order to assess, which material would provide the best improvements.

I decided I would limit this exercise to the materials in the above picture, wood, brass, steel ball-bearing on steel washer and glass-marble on steel washer, which were placed under the Phono stage, since in previous auditions the phono stage appeared to be quite sensitive to the style of foot..

The first audition was the Ball-bearing on steel washer - without the layer of sorbothane
  • this combination sounded very clear, but unfortunately the image had been moved very far back behind the speakers.
  • imaging was very focussed but overall the image was very narrow
  • it also resulted in a loss of volume
  • it sounded similar to being at a hockey game in the seats furthest away from the ice
  • however, the dynamics were very fast, to the point of sounding quite brittle

The second audition was the Glass Marble on Steel Washer
  • This was much better than the Ball-Bearing in that it brought the image back to a more disirable location behind the speakers
  • Clarity sounded a little less harsh than the ball-bearing
  • image size was larger and very well focussed
  • Dynamics were crisp, without appearing brittle

The third audition was with 1.25” Beech wood cones
  • This was the warmest of all the materials with mid tones being a touch more prominent
  • The image was larger than either of the DIY feet but a little less focussed.
  • The dynamics were not quite as crisp as they were with the DIY feet, but just by a very small margin

The final audition utilized brass feet that I had made for me.
  • The brass feet performed very close to the Beech Wood feet
  • They provided the widest image and improved on musician placement and focus
  • Dynamics improved to match the DIY feet
  • They were not quite as warm as the Beech Wood feet, but sounded very full

Other factors that will effect the sound quality ...

The size of the foot used for a given component
  • On my Bluesound Node 2 there is very little space within which to place the feet, so I use 3/4” diameter cones.
  • The Phono stage was a little larger, so I am using 1.25” diameter cones and larger cones made no difference
  • My amp seemed to sound the best with 2” diameter cones
  • The Turntable has 2.5” diameter cones, but that is more for overall styling than effectiveness

Foot placement
  • This is unique for each component
  • For my amp the two main feet are placed each side of the mains transformer and the third foot positioned for optimal stability
  • For my phono stage the best results were obtained be placing one under the transformer one under the circuit board and the third for optimal stability
  • For the Bluesound Node 2 there was not much room, so I placed 2 at the rear and one at the front
  • The turntable was perhaps the most complex (see diagram below)

The Node 2


The Phono Stage


The Turntable


Foot Location is as follows...
  • As close to the edge of the turntable as possible
  • Equal distance from the three centre lines created by the
  • FOOT 1 to spindle to arm bearing
  • spindle to FOOT 2
  • spindle to fFOOT 3

TT Feet

PLEASE NOTE: This is far from a definitive analysis of Cone performance and placement, but it did yield a substantial improvement in clarity, imaging and focus.

I would recommend you try both wood feet and brass feet to see which works best for your individual components and try different foot positions - it will surprise you.

I hope this inspires you to try them for yourself.

  • The angle of the cone section was 10 degrees from the horizontal plane
  • the height of the shoulder on the cones were
  • 3/4” diameter cone had a 3/16” shoulder
  • 1 1/4” diameter cone had a 1/2” shoulder
  • 2” diameter cone had a 3/4” shoulder
  • 3/4” diameter cone had a 1”” shoulder

The cost of making 5 sets of three feet was $300 CDN

The cones were made at a small local fabrication company and the brass was purchased from Metal Supermarkets

My Rack is made from steel, from a company called Lovan and is there entry level product

Each shelf is MDF and has a granite tile on top with a layer of drawer liner between them

The cones sit directly on the granite - I do not use the little brass protector feet often sold for speakers

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

Inside The Helix Geometry.

Since its conception, I have been sharing ideas and thoughts with like-minded DIYers about construction techniques and materials. But it was not until recently when I realized that there was aspect of the design I had not really considered.

I had been sharing my thoughts and designs via emails, with like minded DIYer
Yordan Yanakiev of Bulgaria.

In one email, Yordan reported that he had experienced an improvement in sound quality simply by winding the helix in the opposite direction to that initially shown shown on this site, so I decided to investigate.

Putting my photography skills to work I took the following images in an attempt to account for a reason as to why such a noticeable improvement might be experienced, simply by reversing the direction of the Helix winding.

This first image (below) shows the helix being wound in (let’s call it) a clockwise direction.

As you can see, the
actual strands of the wire used in the Helix, are crossing the strands in the signal wire at approximately 70 degrees

However - if the helix is wound in the opposite counter clockwise direction (see below), then the angle of the individual strands is much closer to the desired 90 degree angle in order to minimize induced noise even further.


Please Note: that before deciding to wind the Helix in a particular direction, you must take into consideration the direction of
the twist of the strands in the actual wire you are using
  • in this case, the strands have been twisted in (let’s call it) a clockwise direction
  • If the wire had a counter clockwise twist - then the helix should be wound in a Clockwise direction to achieve the 90 degree angle.
So Here’s How You Wind It...

This image shows how to wind both the neutral/ground conductors of each and every Helix cable, i.e. provided you are using a wire that has strands twisted in a CLOCKWISE direction as indicated in the images above.

Helix Spiral
  • If the wire used has the strands twisted in the opposite direction, then the Helix should be wound in the opposite direction to that indicated in the above image
The Skeptics Among Us...

This initially included myself, after all, how much of an improvement could this possibly make???

Well, after converting all of my own cables to the counter clockwise twist I was completely surprised to find that the changes were very discernible and contributed to a much improved image and very much improved clarity.

How Anal Do You Wanna Get?

In the images above, I have used the same wire for both live/signal and neutral conductors and as such the twist of the individual strands in both wires is the same. But what if the strands in just ONE wire is twisted in the opposite direction, which direction should the helix be wound in ???

That decision I will leave to the individual. Happy

Personally - I think this level of “detail” is beyond the resolution capabilities of my system, but I felt it should at least be mentioned for those out there that may wish to investigate

Other Observations from Yordan include...

Having had many email conversations with Yordan, he has shared the following observations he experienced, which include:
  1. The cables sound more open when the expandable nylon sleeve i.e. to give the cable a “professional appearance”, is NOT used
  2. The power cables sounded better without spades
    • Personally, on my system I found the spades provided faster dynamics and bass delivery
  1. avoid using heat shrink tubing where it draws the signal and neutral wires closer together
  2. To better isolate the signal (or live) wire use teflon tube - not the expandable sleeve as identified in the web site

NOTE: I have tried a couple of things above, but on my system I did not experience the same observations. But as in Yordan’s case, on your system you could observe improvements by following his tips. so give them a try

So, the Proof of the Pudding...

So, to put Yordan’s
“Helix direction” findings to the test, I rebuilt built all of my Helix cables, this time with the Helix neutral wound in a counter clockwise direction. with everything else being identical.

Right from the very first track it was apparent that the direction of the helix REALLY DOES MATTER!

The image was larger in all dimensions, with the location of musicians being more precise and with more space around them, details and associated clarity improved, dynamic performance was faster, bass performance was faster with more texture and the mid and upper frequencies revealed a new warmth not previously there.

But Was It Easily Discern-able?

To these old ears -
very definitely. I spent over two hours playing the tracks I use to audition cables and components, just so I could hear how much better they sounded with the revised Helix cables.

So there you have it - taking into account the actual direction of the Helix winding has proven beneficial

What if I have already used a Clockwise Helix???

If you would like to correct a cable that has a Clockwise wound helix...
  • DO NOT simply pull the Helix coil straight - this will over-twist the strands inside the wire
  • Remove the Helix coil from the cable i.e. slide the coil off of the live/signal conductor intact
  • Then slide the helix coil onto a suitably sized steel/fibreglass rod - NOTE: you will probably need to compress the coil
  • Finally, pull on one end of the coil, allowing the coil to spin around on the rod
  • this technique prevents the twisted strands inside the wire from becoming deformed
  • You can then rewind the helix in the correct direction without any issues
  • The important thing is that you “UNWIND” the helix coil
  • Otherwise: it may deform the strands inside the wire, which will impact performance
  • NOTE: - power cables are not as sensitive as Speaker cables and interconnects and changing the direction of the Helix does not offer any real discernible improvements in sound quality, so changing their helix direction is not necessary

I have performed this procedure several times and can report that it is actually very easy and a much more effective method than trying to simply straighten a helix coil.

Is all this really necessary?

Well, the choice is yours. The Helix cables will sound extremely good no matter what direction the Helix coil is wound in!

But the improvements achieved on all of my cables by winding the helix in the correct (counter clockwise) direction is the icing on the cake.

Regards - Steve

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.
Small Crystal

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:
The design utilizes a double barrel design, with one barrel being just under half the length of the second barrel.
KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6899_01
  • 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 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.

KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6901_01KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6895_01

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 Innovations states 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 outer housing from the plug.
  • Strip 4-5 mm of the insulation from the speaker wire.
  • KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6898_02
  • “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.
  • KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6899_01a
  • 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 - Note: it only fits one way.
  • fold the small plastic door into place and press and ensure the locking tags click into place - VOILA!

Being a proponent of
“Less is More”, I leave insulation on the wire such that it too will be inserted into the barrel as well, which effectively prevents the the solder from filling up the barrel.
  • KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6900_01

In the case where a thicker wire is used, I remove enough insulation so that the flap on the housing can close, but I add a piece of heat-shrink to
prevent the the solder from filling up the barrel and insulate the exposed conductor.
KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6906_01

The finished result is a neat connection with no possibility of an accidental short circuit
Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 5.52.25 PM

How do I remove the plastic plug housing once the flap is closed?
If you wish to open the small flap at the back of the plug housing once it has been closed, you can simply...
  • Insert another Banana Plug into the plastic housing part only
  • PLEASE ENSURE the banana plug is NOT inserted not the metal barrel part of the plug as it may damage the plug
  • GENTLY pry the flap open
  • I recommend that you use an old Banana Plug to do this and NOT another KLEITMClassic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor.

KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6902_01KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6903_01

What if the plug slips out of the Binding Post?
Since binding posts do not adhere to a strict “standard size” for the hole, the fit of the KLEI Banana Plug may not be snug enough to prevent the weight of the cable from pulling the plug out.
Should this be the case, you can simply enlarge the size of the barrel by inserting another banana plug into the barrel for 5-6mm
  • PLEASE NOTE: you want a snug fit, i.e., the plug can easily be inserted into the Binding post.
  • So try 2-3 mm to start with and work up 1 mm at a time until the desired fit is achieved
  • EXCESSIVE FORCE should NOT be required to insert the KLEITMClassic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor into a binding post
  • Rotating the KLEITMClassic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor while inserting it is NOT recommended under any circumstances.
KLEI Banana PlugDSC_6907_

So, 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 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.

Moving On...
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 Knopfler’s 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.

How can it be used as a “Connector & Adaptor” ?

To this point I had only auditioned the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor as a simple banana plug installed onto my speaker cables.

But as the name implies, the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor actually provides additional flexibility in areas where other “connectors” fall short.

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 10.37.14 AM

For Example...

KLEI Banana Plug_DSC_6895_01

It is very simple to create quality bi-wire jumpers, to allow the use of single run speaker cables with loudspeakers that have bi-wired terminals, without having to “reconfigure” the actual cable in some way.

The existing banana on the speaker cables can simply plug into the back of
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor on the link itself.


If you are using bi-wired speakers with bi-wire cables, but only have a single pair of binding posts on your amplifier, you can simply insert the banana plug into the binding post of the amp and then insert both bananas of your bi-wire cables into the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor, again, without having to “reconfigure” the cables. Basically it operates as an adapter


If you need to hook up a subwoofer via the loudspeaker terminals, the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor can be attached on the speaker cables and the subwoofer cables at the speaker for easy installation.

Now, you might be thinking that “stacking” banana plugs for either of these scenarios could cause some degradation of the audio signal.

After all, it is “generally accepted” that sound quality improves when there are fewer “interfaces” in the electrical path. Adding interfaces is bound to degrade performance to some degree?


KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor, as it turns out, is far more advanced that any other connector I have encountered, in that...

it can actually improve sound quality when used as a simple “interface” between the binding post of an amplifier or loudspeaker and the existing banana plugs on a speaker cable.

Huh - ???

That was my (initial) reaction!

How can

adding a banana plug “interface” into the signal path improve sound quality?

And, if you think about it
It is actually two banana plugs
One at each end of the speaker cable!

But when Keith Louie Eichman (KL), requested I audition the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor as in this very scenario, and “hinted at the possibility”, OK “strongly inferred”, that I would hear discernible improvements, let’s just say there was “some degree” of ambivalence - on my part.

So, setting aside my ambivalence, I installed a new set of the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor’s into the binding posts of my speakers and amplifier, that are part of my Audio/Video system, and listened to them throughout the burn-in process.

  • The connected components of my A/V system is a Bluesound PowerNode 2 digital streamer/amplifier and Tannoy Mercury Fusion 4 tower speakers.
  • Not perhaps the highest resolving components out there, but solid performers that punches above their “weight-class” due to the installation some many months ago of high performance power and speaker cables.
  • The existing bananas on my cables are of the tubular spring variety and silver plated.

Initially, I was unable to discern any immediate improvements, but then again, there was no sign of sound quality degradation either.

As I listened, the recommended 125 hours burn-in period seemed to shorten, as some improvements seemed to materialize earlier than I had expected...
  • at around the 80 hour mark there seemed to be improved focus and improved artist placement within the image
  • at around the 100 hour mark the upper register of violins and cymbal reproduction had more body and tone and were far smoother than before
  • by the time the 125 hours has elapsed I was also able to discern improved clarity and just a hint of improved dynamic performance and the warmth at the high-end had permeated thought he mid frequencies also

For me, most developments in the world of Audio/Hi-fi have a rational explanation e.g.
  • why one amplifier sounds better than another - better power supplies, capacitors, etc.
  • why one cable sounds better than another - better materials and geometries etc.
  • why one connector sounds better than another - better materials, better clamping etc.

But why the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor improves the sound of existing cables/bananas has left me without explanation and KL has not offered any insight, other than to say it is due to his proprietary formulation and advanced manufacturing processes.

If I were asked, prior to performing this audition, if I thought a “connector” could improve sound quality when used in this manner - I would have said NO!

Now - I have a very different opinion.

Would I recommend using
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor’s in this manner as a simple “adapter” ?

Well - that’s a tricky one...
  • after all I do promote the use of quality connectors that screw on
  • in this case it is just a push-on “adapter” - so to use as a proof of concept - perhaps yes

For me, this audition has proven that using the
KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor for bi-wire applications, such as those above, is without any risk of degrading sound quality and would in all likelihood would prove beneficial.

So, as it turns out the name of this banana is actually very well suited.

KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor is just that...
  • A Bananas plug
  • A Connector, and
  • An Adapter

  • But far more than that...

It’s an incredible achievement!


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”.

KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Plug/Connector & Adaptor appears 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, but it turned out to be easier than I expected.

speaker 1

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 is connected to the neutral side of the amplifier circuit and as such should not influence the efforts of the amp to hold the neutral side of it’s circuit at ZERO volts.
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 (sometimes referred to as “cross-talk&rdquoWinking 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. This is generally known as the “Proximity Effect”

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?

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

SECOND: The neutral conductor is wound around the signal conductor, so it is NEVER parallel to it - minimizing induced noise!

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 width and depth of the image
  2. Their location outside 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.

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...

They ALL have to have the helix geometry !!!

How To Make Them...

To 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: a 16 gauge, or 14 gauge or 12 gauge silver plated Mil Spec wire from TFA
  • - personally i have not found any difference between these three different gauges, but some people prefer a heavier gauge
  • Signal sleeve : Nylon Expandable Cable Sleeve OR Polyethylene Expandable Cable Sleeve (from TFA)
  • 3/8” Black heat-shrink (from TFA)
  • 3/16” Red heat-shrink (from TFA)
  • One five foot fibreglass rod from home depot
  • One set of KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana plugs
  • 3/8” Black CPA 100 Adhesive Lined Heatshrink (from TFA)

The neutral conductor should be 2.5 times longer than 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 an additional 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,
  • 50 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

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 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

speaker 2

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

speaker 3

  • Slide the signal sleeve into the coils
  • Stretch the coil to the length of the signal conductor
  • Then insert the signal wire into the signal sleeve

speaker 4

  • Place a piece of the red 3/16” heat shrink over the signal conductor
  • Use a piece of the 3/8” adhesive lined Heatshrink to hold the coil to the signal conductor

speaker 1

Attach the connectors of your choice - 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 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


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.
  • 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.


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!


The materials listed below will build a 5ft power cable that is suitable for use with Power Aimplifiers rated up to 600 watts.

  • LIVE Conductor: 5 ft of stranded Mil Spec 10 or 12 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire, Cryo Treated - available from Take Five Audio (TFA)
    • 10 Gauge for amps and pre-amps or large phono stages
    • 12 gauge for small-medium components e.g. DVD, CD, DAC and small-medium phono stages
  • NEUTRAL Conductor: 30 feet of stranded Mil Spec 12 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire, Cryo Treated, Red - available from Take Five Audio (TFA)
  • GROUND Conductor: 15 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 5ft 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 3:1 of Ground/Neutral:Live conductor

e.g. for a 5ft power cable I use 15ft of Ground and 30ft of Neutral Conductor

How To Make Them...

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

The Live Conductor...

I have tried many different “wires” for this role, and without question the best have been the Mil-spec wire listed.

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 30 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.


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


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.


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


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...

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.


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


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 with improved imaging.

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