I've built two highly regarded inexpensive DIY interconnects, the X-Cable (from www.tnt-audio.com
) and the John Risch 89259 (identical to Bolder Type 1 retail of $70). Both cost around $30 to build using high quality parts, including all teflon dielectric, silver/rhodium Cardas RCAs (89259), and WBT clone locking RCAs (x-cable). I recently did a shootout between these two DIY interconnects, the Straightwire Chorus and the Outlaw PCA.
I could easily distinguish all of them (no blind test done though). The 89259 w/ the very nice Cardas RCA plugs had the best clarity, detail, imaging and soundstage, but was slightly bright and the bass was too recessed (tight is what they would call it on audioasylum) for my tastes. When I first listened to it, comments about Stax sound came to my mind because what visceral bass was there before seemed to have gone missing, and in its place was an incredible midrange with more details and focus, and some excellent, if a bit bright, treble. The X-Cable had even more brightness (silver plated copper wire) and less bass. The Straightwire was warm and smooth, with less details/clarity than the other contenders, and emphasized the midrange, having roll off in the treble and bass. I preferred the Outlaw overall, although I do miss the stunning clarity and details of the 89259 w/ Cardas. In a speaker system I might prefer the 89259, but headphones can use a little extra bass, in my opinion, to counteract the fact that there is no visceral body shaking bass present as there would be in real life.
So while I don't think the Outlaw's are absolutely neutral, nor necessarily even the most neutral under $100, I think they are one of the best I've heard, and will likely stay in my system for some time to come. The various DIY recipes will sound different but not clearly superior to the Outlaws. I think they are a great bargain, and would compete well with anything under $100 if not more. The Straightwire and x-cable are ok, but not in the same league as the other two.
This comparison was done with D500SE -> Corda -> HD600.
Most of what I've read about the SST cables say that the John Risch 89259 is much better than they are. Take that for what it is worth, which may not be much since it is hearsay.