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REVIEW: ALO Au/Ag and Qables SilvercabPRO

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Let me firstly say, although I'm a skeptic when it comes to things like cables and interconnects, I'm nothing short of impressed with the results of these two cables, both in quality AND performance.

Also, I MUST mention that the differences in sound are incredibly minute, and you should NOT take these differences as being anything drastic, dramatic, or otherwise like some other posts give the impression of. I feel ALL cables, the only differences they offer aesthetics aside are subtle at best, and possibly psychoacoustic, but I will still say I can hear minute differences between all these. Cables are the LAST component I would mess with in a rig, and they more or less 'tweak', for a better lack of words, the sound you want.

My "point of reference" interconnect is a TurboDock.


Equipment used was:
Source: iPod nano
Headphones: UM2, RP21, DT770, SR80 (my buddy wasn't around to use his RS2's)
Amps: iQube, Diablo

Songs used:
Rise Against – Prayer of the Refugee
Guster – Satellite
Joe Budden – Three Sides to a Story
Nouvelle Vague – Too Drunk to F**ck
Superbus – Radio Song
Pepper – Zicky's Song
At the Drive In – Arcarsenal
Beatnuts – No Escapin This
Chiodos - Prelude
James Freeman and Orchestra – Black, Black, Black is the color
Julius Airwave – Marina
Radical Face – Welcome Home
Kid Koala – Fruit Belt
Randy Travis -Three Wooden Crosses
Le Tigre – Decepticon
United States of Audio – Back to the Basics (2003)
Xenakis – Metastaseis
Wu-Tang – One of These Days
30 Seconds to Mars – The Kill

----------------------






The obvious ALO Au/Ag up top, the Qables SilverCabPRO, and my trusty, old-faithful TurboDock.


ALO Au/Ag

This cable is MASSIVE and STIFF as are all the Au/Ag cables I've had the joy of listening to and playing with. As you can see it dwarfs the other cables. This cable feels like a SOLID cable, in that it doesn't have really ANY "bend back" in that once you put it into position, it stays there. Also, given that I had to borrow a Mini-LOD, it adds a LITTLE bulk to the rig, but allows for the cable to be used with ANYTHING, which, depending on what other equipment you have, is a positive, and it's not stuck for ONE use. I don't think the mini-LOD adapter had ANY impact on SQ.

It feels VERY solid in your hand and the flexible tubing used is eye candy for sure. It's put together very well and the shrink tubing around the plugs has a rubbery feel to it, rather than typical cables plastic feel. I would say it's like ALL of Ken's offerings and very durable, but that not bending back thing makes me wonder if under portable abuse, if it would sever like solid cable does when you bend it back and forth enough. Probably just me being paranoid.

It has a distinct soft, smooth sound. Not quite tubey, cause it's not "warm", but it has a distinct sound to it that sounds robust, which matches it's appearance. I would say the bass on this cable is the strong point, as its robust and weighty. It's what makes it "distinguishable" for the other cables. It's a hint/smidge on the bassy side, but I would still call it "neutral".



Qables SilverCabPRO

This was my first Qables cable I've came in physical contact with, and I will say the pictures don't do it justice. Yeah, it looks like your typical DIY cable, but when inspecting it with a more critical eye, you'll see the shrink tubing is very evenly heated and cut at what appears to be PERFECTLY. The LOD end is the same high quality peice that Turbo uses, and has a nice solid feel to it, unlike some other options out there that feel hollow and somewhat fragile. The flexible tubing also, I was expecting to be like what Turbo's is like, just mesh around the wires, rather, it's around a solid flexible housing. So you can't really flatten, crease, or squish the mesh. Which is different from a lot of peoples offerings. A nice detail IMO. Appears to be a VERY durable cable.

The sound, what comes to mind is articulate. Nothing really jumps out at me, but it seems a tad more separated and neutral than the ALO cable. And no surprise, it seems to like the iQube more than the Diablo.


In summary

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either of these cables to anybody. I'm a very price conscious consumer always looking to stretch my dollar and while my dollar stretches farther on some than others, all of these are great options dependent on your budget.

The ALO looks beefy, and if that's your sort of thing go for it and don't look back. The SilverCabPRO is a sleeper. It has "plain Jane" looks with, upon second-closer look and feel, a really NICE cable. And lastly the TurboDock is the bang for the buck cable. Simply due to it's low price and durability. It's been banged around and flexed like a portable cable should and still performs flawlessly. Although I have confidence in the other two, cables of those calibers, I would be a nervous wreck abusing them. It would be like wearing a fine watch daily. Yeah, it can take the abuse without flinching, but such an investment is better left to occasions where they can't possibly get lost, stolen, or damaged. Just my 2 cents...
post #2 of 11
A well written review. All cable reviews should be prefaced with what you had at the top there.
post #3 of 11
Thanks for the pictures and the review!

Can I ask how much your portable rig weighs?
post #4 of 11
Good review! I see the ALO Au/Ag is a mini to mini. Do you think if it were iPod connector to mini (LOD) it would sound any different?
post #5 of 11
Actually, that's a good point.

How did you compare the ALO to the Qables if one's an ipod LOD while the other is a mini to mini?
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I borrowed a Mini-LOD for the ALO cable.

As for the ALO, if it were a dock, I doubt it has any impact, but I edited the post to reflect such. I like how it adds flexibility to uses of the cable, but come to think of it, if it's used for an ipod, why wouldn't you just get a dock version instead? Cool if you have other rigs you use it with though...
post #7 of 11
Don't you think it's a bit of a null point then if it's going through another connector?

Are you really hearing the ALO Au/Ag or are you hearing the LOD? If you believe the cables make a difference then surely you must believe having an extra LOD would have an audible affect.

If you don't believe that it makes an audible difference then this review is kind of pointless since you're pretty much saying you don't believe that cables/connectors/docks/whatever affect the sound.

not trying to be pedantic but that's how i see it. regardless of whether you believe in cables or not it kind of seems like a wierd review.
post #8 of 11
I agree with these statements! Mini to Min and LOD cables does not perform the same. There has to be at least a comparable apples to apples argument.

Were all cables burned in the same?
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-cee View Post
Don't you think it's a bit of a null point then if it's going through another connector?

Are you really hearing the ALO Au/Ag or are you hearing the LOD? If you believe the cables make a difference then surely you must believe having an extra LOD would have an audible affect.

If you don't believe that it makes an audible difference then this review is kind of pointless since you're pretty much saying you don't believe that cables/connectors/docks/whatever affect the sound.

not trying to be pedantic but that's how i see it. regardless of whether you believe in cables or not it kind of seems like a wierd review.
If that's the case, then why is it Ken/ALO uses the connector for his iMod/Lisa cables?

ALOaudio - Audio Line Out: Interconnect cables and portable line out docks for iPod

That's about as "high end" as you get as far application specific goes and the dock adapter/connector is utilized. I understand it's because there are caps inside that connector, but don't you think he also would go the "direct to dock" route if it changed the way it sounded? As you can see, Ken at ALO obviously sees it as satisfactory...so it wasn't comparing apples to oranges.

All the cables were burned in for 50 hours prior to review.
post #10 of 11
Doesn't really matter what ken or whoever uses what.

The point is that it's going through an extra set of connectors as well as some internal wiring of which may or may not be the same as used by the ALO Au/Ag which means it would affect the quality of the sound (assuming you're a cable believer of course)

So there's no way it's a direct (apples to apples) comparison. Even of the Mini-LOD was provided by ALO (you haven't mentioned that it is) because they're different types of connectors, plain and simple.

It's not a personal attack on you, no need to be so defensive. Just pointing out that it's two different products being compared head to head even though they are different in quite a large way (to cable believers)
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Not taken as a personal attack....not at all. I guess we just agree to disagree...

I don't however believe it's different, as if it were, that adapter would be a totally different option as far as how they offered with solder connector plating, etc. And if it's offered with the higher echelon of cables, as well as being available as an option with your lower end cables, leads me to believe it has no effect.

Even if it made a difference how much of an impact would it REALLY have? As minimal as it may be, those frequencies are probably well beyond our scope of hearing or even perception.
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