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RU Connected? I am, sort of. (Review of RU connected's entry level RCA Interconnects)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
ruconnected.png

Disclaimer: This review represents my own personal opinions, and are just that, opinions.

A couple months back, Philip (Gotez) posted this gracious offer regarding a new start-up called RU connected based out of Bussum in the Netherlands and that he wanted testers for their cable line. I was stoked as no one had offered review samples to me before because either I wasn’t qualified or lucky enough, so I shot Philip several PM’s and before long a set of cables were on their way (thanks to both of you guys!). After a small snafu with the postal service, I finally got my pair of RCA interconnects a couple weeks back:

r0025308.jpg

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SPECIFICATIONS (via Google Translate)
Quote:
Conductors: Dual core OFC copper signal (PVC and copper insulation)
Shielding: Thin layer of aluminum with copper braid over-top
Jacket: Dark blue with a black PVC sleeve
Connectors: Gold-plated RCA connectors with split signal and a light tapered crown for optimum connection.

Because the connection between the core and the signal connector at many cables the weak spot, we have a lot attention. In this connection all interconnects in solid cast PVC, the audio cables are clamped to the connector and it is finished with a shrink sleeve. The final touch is the all-metal protection for the head, both firmness and a good shielding.
COST

They retail on the RU connected web store for €24,95 plus shipping which, in USD, is around $36. Far, far away from boutique cable pricing (Nordost etc…), yet more expensive than your typical DIY cables. On the other hand I suspect these are marketed towards typical consumers in your typical Best Buy (or big box electronics retailer), so this price point is right on the ball.

CONSTRUCTION/AESTHETICS

To be honest, they looked like any other interconnect that other companies were doing, down to the Techflex sleeved cables and shiny RCA plugs. The actual wire itself is a dark (almost navy) blue, with black Techflex sleeving over-top. The RCA connectors have a shiny dark chrome finish with a silkscreened logo and gold plated contacts. They feature a split ground pin and a six pronged ground ring portion. Took all the barrels of the RCA plugs off and saw that some of the Techflex ends were melted leading to some fraying, overzealous with the heatgun perhaps wink.gif? There were no markings on the wire so I cannot confirm if this was a proprietary product or an OEM rebrand (their description seems to suggest it was custom made).

Note: Upon initial insertion onto my DAC and amp I found out the plugs were tight – extraordinary so. Good if you never remove your IC’s, bad if you like swapping cables every so often. I suspect the clamping force will go down after more use, however.

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MUSICALITY


The cables were left to burn in for over a week with regular music playing (I did not use pink noise, but I also do not like to listen to static, hence the music). Right off the bat, I can hear that the RU connected IC’s are quieter than my DIY Mogami Starquad IC’s, but since I don’t own a decibel meter I cannot assign a value to it. However I would hazard a guess that it has more to do with the length of the cable (similar to how you would get speaker cables that are also as short as possible to reduce power lost). My DIY IC’s are about one foot in length, whereas the RU connected ones are a tad over three feet long. General advice to buyers: get interconnects that are as short as possible. I also wished I could test for capacitance, but my Fluke doesn’t get into the picofarad range, so this is a moot point.

TESTING

My gear (a tad basic, but I think appropriate for this class of cable):

-Nuforce uDAC/uDAC-2
-JBL Power 20 Class A Amp
-Monoblock Chipamps
-Zaph ZBM4
-DIY Mogami Interconnects
-foobar2k with ASIO


The interconnects were hooked up between my DAC and speaker amp. My DIY interconnects sound fairly neutral with a slight mid emphasis. That combined with a fairly warm DAC gives an overall warm and slightly thick presentation, not cold or harsh in anyway (and for me, just the way I like it when I relax in my chair).

I also tested it on my dad’s system (just for the hell of it, will not include my observations though):

-Cello Amps
-Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy
-Wadia 270 Transport
-HTPC

Onto the music tests! I listen to a variety of music, but I have strayed away from a lot of English stuff so most of my listening tests are done with Chinese/Cantonese music. Everything is in CD-quality FLAC (16/44.1kHz).

1) Bondy Chiu’s Tempting Heart (趙學而 - 心動)
First off, a fantastic cover of Shino’s (林曉培) classic performed in a more of a jazz fashion, in fact, the entire disc is fantastic and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone that listens to Mandarin songs, the mastering done by Kent Poon and his team is superb! Her vocals are what makes this song and gives me chills every time I listen to the track. Personally, aside from the reduced volume, I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference from my DIY cables. I agree with Philip’s comments in his initial thread that the cables are fairly neutral.

2) Kit Chan’s Chase/In My Lifetime (陳潔儀 - 追 & 今生今世)

Another fabulous song(s), this time in Cantonese with Kit Chan on vocals covering Leslie Cheung's golden hits. Echoing what I said previously, I can hear no discernible difference between my old cables and the RU connected IC’s. Perhaps my setup is already at its epitome, and that I need to upgrade to a higher quality source and amp.

3) Magnetic Man & Katy B – Perfect Stranger
Lastly, throwing some English into the mix, some modern dubstep to be exact. Again, no distinctive differences.

As you can gather, I don't like to add a lot of words to my reviews. I honestly did not hear a huge difference between my old cables and the new ones, aside from the reduced output. As such, I do not recommend buying a set of these interconnects because they did not offer anything over my existing cables (and are many times the cost). Nevertheless, they are a decent set of cables and would be a good choice (if they get the aforementioned niggles sorted out) if you’re shopping for a pair of cheap premade, minimal hassle interconnects.

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Verdict: 6/10

Pros:
+Looks high end
+Seems decently constructed and do not feel like they will fall apart anytime soon
+Does what RU connected advertises
+Fairly flexible, drapes easily


Cons:
-Similar performance to a pair of cheap DIY interconnects
-Some construction/QC issues
-Length (for me, one meter was three times longer than it needs to be)


Once again, thank you Philip and RU connected for providing the review sample!

Brendan
Edited by cyberspyder - 6/22/11 at 7:24pm
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
Reserved. BTW, my first cable review, give me some pointers!

biggrin.gif Brendan
post #3 of 7

I think it is an excellent review and brave of you to say that there was so little difference you cannot recommend them over your own DIY cables. I dont think you can make length one of the cons as that is irrelevant to all other users, particularly as you use particulalry short ICs.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes definitely, if you need a one meter long interconnect, then my con would shift into a pro.

Thanks, Brendan
post #5 of 7

For me more important than length is flexibility. I bought one of the cheapest ICs I could find at the time, a SHB Synergy 2i as it was very short. But it was so still that when bent to go from my DAC to my amp, it could lift my DAC off the stand so was its desire to go back to its original shape. I ended up using Van Damme cable as you can tie it into a knot it is so flexible.

 

So I would change your pro/con to show how flexible the cable is as that is relevant to all.

post #6 of 7
Thank you for the review, it is an excellent read.

I have two questions that will help me better understand the final rating.


1) In howfar has the lengh of the cables had an influence on the final markup?
2) Did you compare them to store bought cables? I am very interested in your findings.


Thanks in advance,

PS: I would like to state that I have no connections to RUConnected. I am simply offering them a helping hand without any form of compensation.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotez View Post

Thank you for the review, it is an excellent read.

I have two questions that will help me better understand the final rating.


1) In howfar has the lengh of the cables had an influence on the final markup?
2) Did you compare them to store bought cables? I am very interested in your findings.


Thanks in advance,

PS: I would like to state that I have no connections to RUConnected. I am simply offering them a helping hand without any form of compensation.

Hey Philip, my answers are in bold:

1) In howfar has the lengh of the cables had an influence on the final markup?

My review is biased because I though that a one meter long cable was excessive for my needs, I dinged it one point for that. I also thought that the construction/quality control could've been be better, so there was another mark gone. As I did not find any improvement over my own sets of cables, I subtracted another point, and lastly because I didn't find it to be good value I took off another point.

Bear in mind, this is all my opinion as it did not really fit my needs, but that may not be the case for another person. Perhaps one meter is the perfect length for them. It is just that, personal opinion.

2) Did you compare them to store bought cables? I am very interested in your findings.

No. I did compare it to my own cables that I made. I tried a Mogami interconnect as well as a Gotham interconnect and didn't find any difference. Perhaps other faults in my system overshadowed any effect cables have, again I am not saying this is the case for everyone.

Brendan
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › RU Connected? I am, sort of. (Review of RU connected's entry level RCA Interconnects)