I’m a little late to this game, but let me say better late than never. I am an avid read of Jeff Day’s blog “Jeff’s Place”. For over a year Jeff has been talking about using the Western Electric WE16GA for speaker cables and Belden 8402 microphone cables for interconnects. This all started for Jeff because of a recommendation from Mr. Shirokazu Yazaki founder of SPEC Corporation. He used the Western Electric WE16GA wire as speaker cables as his personal reference both for the research and for the design work for the SPEC Corporation Real Sound Amplifiers.
Then Jim Smith, author of “Get Better Sound” and “Quarter Notes” begin to talk about this combination. Jim is one of the people who helped me come to understand much of what I know about high end and high end set up. The only problem was by this time; there wasn’t much of the WE16GA left, and I was fearful of buying some off Ebay and it turning out to not be the real thing. By the way, the common denominator of the Belden 8401 and the WE16GA wire was that they both use stranded tin-plated copper wire.
So when I read on “Jeff’s Place” that Frederik Carøe of Duelund Coherent Audio had become so intrigued with the Western Electric WE16GA wire that he had decided to produce a contemporary Duelund Coherent Audio version. It is very similar to the Western Electric WE16GA in concept, but utilizing Mr. Steen Duelund’s original axiom of a natural materials philosophy. You can read more about this at “Jeff’s Place.” Anyway, that was enough to entice me to get on the waiting list. I ordered enough to make a set of three-meter speaker wires. Then a little over three weeks ago it arrived.
When I unpacked it, I thought I must have gotten the wrong thing. I mean the wire just looked too thin, but then the smell of the oil-baked cotton told me it was the right wire. I then cut it into four sections a little over three meters and stripped away enough of the oil-baked cotton to have enough bare wire to connect to the binding post. That’s right, not fancy banana plugs or spades, just stripped, stranded tinned copper wire. I then twisted it into two runs of speaker cable. Next, I removed the beautiful looking and even more beautiful sounding High Fidelity Cable Ultimate Reference speaker cables and replaced it with this tiny black cables that you could hardly see from three feet away. I thought this is the craziest thing I’ve ever wasted $120.00 on; that’s right the twelve meters cost only $120.00 retail.
At first, it sounded a little rough on voices. It begins to sound better after about 5 hours. The sound was anything but etched. It was very alive sounding from the very first. It’s a little hard to put into words, but my system sounded more like real performers were in the room than before. It helps that I had heard live jazz the last three Saturday nights. I also really like how it sounds on rock.
After about eighty hours of playing I broke down and put the High Fidelity UR speaker wires back in the system. I was very surprised how similar they sound, but unbelievably I prefered the Duelund. With the High Fidelity UR, there is definitely a quieter and blacker background, there is also a little more separation between instruments and voices, there was more detail, and the bottom end was tighter and deeper. In the upper bass through the upper midrange, the Duelund was simply more alive, I could hear more energy, more overtones from both instruments and voices, drums sounded more like real drums. The soundstage may not be quite as wide but it is more holistic and to me more believable. When it comes to which one makes me want to listen longer there was no contest; the Duelund was simply more emotionally involving and simply sounded more like I was there in the venue listening to the performance.
This was enough to get me on my computer ordering enough Belden 8402 interconnects to connect the rest of my system. I’ve now had them in my system for nearly 100 hours. The first thing I would like to say is that the Belden did not sound nearly as good right off the bat as the Duelund. The Belden was closed down for the first few hours and very ragged sounding for about the first twenty hours. It got progressively smoother and more refined from then. I used the Belden every where except my tonearm cable. So, the only place in my system that I wasn’t using tinned copper wire was from the cartridge to the DS Audio phono equalizer/preamp for their optical cartridge.
When Jeff and others talk about the “Vintage Tone” of tinned copper wire, I don’t want you to miss understand. These two tinned copper wires are not forgiving in the way most audiophiles use this term. I could easily hear the difference in which tonearm cable I used and which power cables I tried. What I think they mean by vintage tone or real sound is something I heard Jim Smith say years ago. He said that the way a system played the music between the mid-bass and lower-midrange decided if a system sounds like real music or not. I think this is the area where these two tinned-copper wires add such realism and tone to the music being played. The sound in this range was rich and full, but there was no sense of overhang or looseness in this range. This overall richness doesn’t seem to keep the sound from sounding transparent or naturally detailed.
I can think of many audiophiles I know that rarely listen to live music and are really into soundstage, imaging, and detail. They might not prefer these wires, but I know which one I like, and I am simply shocked.