Friday, 17 July 2015

Interconnect Overload - DIY Wonders Part 1


The beauty of this hobby and passion in hifi is you tend to meet with other people that has one or two tricks under their sleeve into achieving their each own audio nirvana. In the past few months, I was added into a KOGA Audio Whatsapp group where its members are a bunch of light headed hifi enthusiasts. And among all of them, there is one member that works offshore and has a an electrical knowledge in the background. So, in his free time, he actually does hifi DIY stuff. Among them is that he makes his own set of interconnect based on two brands; Gotham and Micron Acoustic.

Intrigued by numerous debates on the web about audiophiles spending insane amount of money on ICs and cables, I decided to request for a few samples of these DIYed ICs for a review. I must admit that I grew in the hifi scene with the basic red and white ICs that comes along with a hifi unit that we buy. As time goes by, I went through the journey of finding the most suitable match with my hifi and I have settled with Siltech. So then, I received 4 different ICs for this review to see whether is it true that cheaper cables give an inferior of sound.

BUILT

All the ICs have a quite a flexible built. It is sturdy enough to withstand any unintentional force applied to them. Their conduit also feels a little too rubbery for the local tropical climate here. I do wonder how the built quality will deteriorate with time.

The cables were also terminated to a moderately priced of RCA which allow easy connection on the hifi units. Overall, you will enjoy the flexibility especially if you set up your hifi too near to each other.

I am also happy to report that all these ICs do not create any hums when connected to the Lenco.


THE TRACKS

I have chosen only two tracks but these tracks I have them on vinyl and CD/Digital format
  1. Era Gia Tutto Previsto (Andrea Bocelli)
  2. Whiskey In The Jar (Metallica)

There are 2 sets of review:
  1. All ICs used between my Lenco GL78 and the Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL phono stage (analogue)
  2. All ICs used between my  Musical Fidelity M6 DAC and M6i integrated amp (digital)
THE SESSION




Gotham GAC-2 AES-EBU

Gotham GAC-2 V1

Micron Acoustic

Gotham GAC-2 AES ultra pro

Bass heavy. That's how I would describe this Gotham IC model. Once connected to my system, it immediately brought up low end notes up a notch. Even with the piano intro sounded quite bassy and it made Andre's vocal sounded deeper. At times, it sounded a bit bloated with bass but after listening to the track a few times, its more focus towards piano strokes. 

For Whiskey in The Jar, the rendition by Metallica version, Lars's drum pedal was dominating the overall track. It sounded very authoritative. James's vocal took a step back and was buried within the music. Kirk's guitar riffs and solo was very revealing. It truly presented this in a heavy metal fashion.

Sound staging is a little bit effected somehow as at times, I felt that I have lost the big sound from my system.It may also be that the IC provides a more controlled reproduction of the tracks.

Gotham GAC-2 AES-EBU

With this IC model, the overall musical presentation is more balanced where the bass injection is more subtle but still bold enough to be noticed. The warm envelop is more evident with this model. The piano strokes sounded extended with its low notes while Andrea's vocal sounded more dynamic and energetic.

With Metallica, the drum pedals no longer dominate the performance. James's vocal came out more alive than the previous IC. Its more nicely blended into the musical arrangement. There was also a stint of Jason's bass line can be heard. A more refined presentation compared to AES Ultra Pro.


This was the best presentation of Andrea's rendition of Era Gia Tutto Previsto. Vocal was very emotional and fluid, blended well with the rest of musical equipment especially the piano. Even when Andrea was hitting the high notes, it sounded so natural. The piano keys sounded neutral and sweet.

This was more of neutral presentation overall. Bass was not too heavy. Detail and clarity were more evident with Jason's bass line was brought up with much more detail but was not over powering the overall track. Lars's footwork sounded more laid back and Kirk's solo was more melodic compared to the other two Gotham ICs.

Micron Acoustic

The piano strokes was buried behind the powerful voice of Andrea. This is one IC that helps to bring out the clarity and refinement of vocals. At high notes, Andrea sounded a bit restricted but this was compensated by airiness of the vocals. Some layering and colouration between the different musical instruments and the vocals were very evident. This helps a bit with sound staging that the Gotham AES Ultra Pro fails to deliver fully.

The hi-hat on Whiskey In The Jar track was restricted from sound extended as if I am not mistaken, Lars was playing with an open hi-hat set up. It sounded 'safe' and more localised. There was a good blend between vocals and music with a similar layering was experienced. The bass line from Jason was less revealing, which took away the warm character that I heard from Gotham. Not necessarily a bad thing.  

THE CONCLUSIONS

The table is a summary of my review on the 4 IC. Stay tune for Part 2 where all these ICs are used to run digital platform.



If anyone is interested to try out these ICs, kindly contact Mizal via Whatsapp on 012-2746548
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