Well, I’ve had the Duelund DCA16GA as speaker cables for over a month, and the Belden 8402 microphone cable as interconnects for over three weeks. I have passed the 150-hour mark with the Belden and over 200 hours with the Duelund. My opinion on using the Duelund DCA16GA for speaker wire has changed, but not much. In my first article on these tinned copper wires, I said this about the Duelund DCA16GA when compared to my High Fidelity CT-1UR speaker cables. On the plus side for the High Fidelity cables I said:
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 by how similar they sound, but unbelievably, I preferred the Duelund. With the High Fidelity UR, there is definitely a quieter and blacker background, and there is also a little more separation between instruments and voices, there was more detail, and the bottom end was tighter and deeper
Then in favor of the Duelund cables I said:
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.
The one thing I have learned over the years is that the very thing I’m blown away with may come back to haunt me later. The only part of the statement about the Duelund cables that came back to haunt me was the phrase “more energy.” I expect this also has a good bit to do with my Teresonic Ingeniums XR speakers that use the Lowther DX4 drivers with the silver wound voice coils. You have to be careful in matching gear with them even with the very effective way that Teresonic use the cabinets to handle the peak in the Lowther drivers.
So how does this extra energy affect the sound of my system? Well, it means that there is not quite the relaxed, natural sound that makes me want to sit in listen to entire performances. It also means that while trumpets and saxophones sound fuller with the Duelund, they also sound slightly more abrasive. So it turned out the statement “When it comes to which one makes me want to listen longer there was no contest;” turned out not to be correct. I so wish the CT-1URs had the fullness in the upper bass and lower midrange that the DCA16GA cables have.
Let me make a few more comparisons based on listening for over a month. I should also remind you I am comparing a pair of cables that cost $120.00 a pair to those that cost $14,700; that in itself is ridiculous. The advantages of the CT-1UR cables I mentioned in the first article are a little more than I realized. There is no doubt the High Fidelity UR are significantly quieter making it much easier to hear the air around and within both instruments and voices. I was also correct when I said the bottom end was tighter and deeper, what surprised me was that over time I missed this more than I had thought I would. Which of the two cables sounded most alive seemed to vary from album to album.
At the end of this column, I will summarize how different cable combinations rank in my system. Right now I want to talk about how the Belden 8402 microphone cables as interconnects sounded in my system. They have continued to improve, but they have some shortcomings in my system that I’m not willing to live with. The shortcomings have to do with how they handle dynamics. They just get a little ragged on large dynamics or when a singer really belts it out. As I mentioned above, I would not be at all surprised if this has something to do with the fact that I have Lowther speakers.
I should also mention a couple of other things; I tried a couple of other copper cables up to $1500 per meter that also exhibited these same characteristics when combined in my system with the Duelund DCA 16GA tinned wire for speaker cables. I have much-preferred silver cables or the magnetic cables fro High Fidelity Cables with my Teresonics. I should also mention that if I had never heard the Duelund combined with the High Fidelity magnetic cables, I might not have been so aware of this effect on the sound of my system.
So, let me share my preferences in my reference system for interconnects and speaker cables.
First place: 2 meters of High Fidelity CT-1UR speaker cables and two one meter CT-1UR interconnects. Total cost is $32,500.
Second place: 2 meters of Duelund DCA16GA as speaker cables and two one meter CT-1UR interconnects. Total cost is $17,920.
Third place: 2 meter of Audience Au24 SX speaker cables and two one meter Au24 SX interconnects. Total cost is $$7,200.
Fourth place: 2 meters of Duelund DCA16GA as speaker cables and two one meter Belden 8402 microphone cables as interconnects. Total cost is $260.00
If you want me to say that number one is 120 times better than number 4 the answer is no. The difference between second place and third place is more than twice or even three times as good. So, number two is a good value, but if you can’t afford it number three is still significantly better than number four. I do not care for mixing the Audience interconnects with the Duelund speaker wires.
So, it turns out I have chosen to stay with the CT-1UR wire in my system, but only because I already have them. I could never justify the cost difference between first place and second place except I already have setup number one. I should mention I still want to hear a setup that uses the Duelund DCA16GA wire as interconnects. No, I don’t expect it to better system number one, but it might move to number three and cost less than $300.00. I guess there is one more obvious thing here. You could put together one heck of a system for the difference between the cost of cable system number one and the cost of number three or four.