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:
SPECIFICATIONS (via Google Translate)
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.
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.
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 ? 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.
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.
My gear (a tad basic, but I think appropriate for this class of cable):
-JBL Power 20 Class A Amp
-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):
-Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy
-Wadia 270 Transport
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.
+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
-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!
Edited by cyberspyder - 6/22/11 at 7:24pm