Budget (< $50) Interconnect roundup
Jun 2, 2002 at 9:17 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

AdamP88

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Ok, so I recently bought a cd changer to replace my portable cdp, which has been my main headphone listening source for ages now. I've got a pair of Radioshack gold ICs, but we all know they aren't exactly screaming quality. So I've done a little searching (mostly on audioadvisor), and here's a preliminary list of ICs in the sub $50 (for 1 meter).

$16 - Straightwire Concerto: I'm assuming this is basically the same cable as the RCA-mini cable that Headroom sells. Nothing too spectacular, but a bit above your generic ratshack deal

$18 - Straightwire Harmony: A step above the Concerto? or below?

$25 - Tributaries Delta: Haven't heard anything about these - anyone?

$35 - Audioquest Sidewinder: Have seen several reviews stating that these are excellent cables for the money, and one that said that they're a little lackluster in comparison to the higher end of the Audioquest line, but the higher end is also significantly more expensive.

$40 - Monster M350i: I know I know...Monster=bad, but they're in here for the price.

$40 - Straightwire Chorus: Lots of good reviews - smooth, clean with a slightly rolled off treble being the biggest comment against them.

So that's the list so far - what I'm looking for is some comments on any of these, as well as any additional cables in this price range I should keep in mind. Right now the ones at the top of this short list for me are the Straightwire Chorus and Audioquest Sidewinder. I think if I had to choose today I'd get the Chorus, but that's where you guys come in.
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Jun 2, 2002 at 10:33 PM Post #2 of 31

dhwilkin

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The RS Gold aren't great, no, but they aren't that bad, either. Of course, several people around here have really liked the Outlaw interconnects. And you might be able to DIY a Belden 89259 cable, or get somebody to make you one. Speaking from experience, the Belden is relatively neutral, leaning slightly to the warm side. No real weaknesses. Scales quite well w/ better systems.
 
Jun 3, 2002 at 2:21 AM Post #4 of 31

Vertigo-1

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I haven't heard the Outlaws but at the <$50 range, I'd rather stick to Radioshacks.
 
Jun 3, 2002 at 4:04 AM Post #5 of 31

slindeman

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I recently did a shootout between the following interconnects: feebie oem, Radioshack Gold Series, Straightwire Chorus, DIY Belden 89259, DIY X-cable, and Outlaw PCA. The Outlaw PCA and Belden were head and shoulders above the rest in my opinion, although the Chorus were pleasant to listen to. The freebies and radioshacks were yucky, and the x-cable was very bright. I did a big write-up but never got round to posting it. This comparison was done with mid-fi equipment, namely Cambridge Audio D500SE, Corda, and HD600. I've heard better and more expensive interconnects, but not in my own system, so I have no baseline among more expensive products to compare too. The 89259, however, is considered a good benchmark at AudioAsylum, and I built it with excellent Cardas connectors.

I think that both the Outlaws and 89259 will get you to the point where more money is better spent upgrading your source and amp.

The Outlaws now reside in my main system, while the Chorus and 89259 have been relegated to duty at work. Let me know if you want more info. Also don't rule out buying used cables. I've seen Straightwire Encore go for around $50 used.
 
Jun 3, 2002 at 5:58 AM Post #6 of 31

Hirsch

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The Outlaws I have are holding their own in my main system, which also contains MIT MI-330 II cables, and one run of Homegrown Audio Silver Lace. I use them in different places, so I don't want to draw out the comparison, but IMO the Outlaws are holding up well with both of these other cables, each of which is about three times the cost.
 
Jun 3, 2002 at 9:13 AM Post #7 of 31

AdamP88

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Thanks for the input all. I'd say DIY cables are out of the question right now (no experience plus no time to really get into it), but thanks for the mention of the Outlaws - after doing some more reading they are definitely catching my attention, and my wallet's attention
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. If anything they might be a little overkill for my system: (I'm waiting on the) sony cdp-ce405, Creek obh-11, and Senn HD565 as main listening phones, although the ER6 gets decent playing time. Not exactly your top-notch system, but it's a starting point, and I guess it'd be good to start out with good cables that can move along with me as I (inevitably) upgrade sources and amps later on down the road.

Hmmm...I still have to convince myself whether or not I want to spend $65 on ICs at this point...although I suppose I don't technically need a full meter of cable...damn, those outlaws are TEMPTING!
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Another side note - slindeman - where would you recommend looking for used cables?
 
Jun 3, 2002 at 12:12 PM Post #9 of 31

BenG

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PCA-Pure Copper Analog .5m (1 pair) $34.95
PCA-Pure Copper Analog .5m (3 pairs) $89.95
PCA-Pure Copper Analog .5m (4 pairs) $119.95
PCA-Pure Copper Analog 1.8m (1 pair) $54.95
PCA-Pure Copper Analog 1.8m (3 pairs)145.95

I hope they don't get too popular, glad I got mine early thanks to kwarth and co.

They also just introduced a digital/video coax cable, the PSC (not listed on the order form but mentioned on the product pages):

http://www.outlawaudio.com//products/cables_video.html

There's also an Outlaw forum, saw a couple of Head-fi members on the cable forum:

http://www.outlawaudio.com//community.html
 
Jun 3, 2002 at 6:14 PM Post #11 of 31

eric343

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I'd go with the Outlaws. $65 is *not* a lot for ICs!

But if your budget is firm, then doing DIY cables is not difficult if you know which end of the soldering iron to hold on to. Trust me, I was once a "Solder?! ME?! No way!" type too... But that all changed when I got a decent soldering iron! $100 bucks for a nice temperature controlled job that does the schweetest joints...
*realizes how far off topic he's strayed*
Uhh, yeah. Go Team DIY!
 
Jun 4, 2002 at 3:04 AM Post #12 of 31

Neruda

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the outlaws are sweet cables. give them a shot.

by the way eric, nice poem pick there
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Jun 4, 2002 at 4:02 AM Post #13 of 31

JML

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I hate to say, "Me, too," but get the Outlaws. I replaced my Chorus with them. You'll be happy for a long, long time, and the extra few dollars is well worth it.
 
Jun 4, 2002 at 5:07 AM Post #14 of 31

eric343

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Neruda: thanks
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I'd have stuck the whole thing in, but then my sig would have been very very long. (yes, longer than Jude's! as impossible as it may seem...)
 
Jun 4, 2002 at 7:25 AM Post #15 of 31

AdamP88

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After everyone's comments here and reading basically everything I could find on the net related to the Outlaws, it's clear that the PCAs are probably THE best bang-for-the-buck interconnect bargain out there. After realizing that my amp and pcdp sit only a few inches apart in my current setup, I don't think I'll need any more than .5m (which is a great relief to my very-budget-minded wallet!
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). So now I'm set on the Outlaws.
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One more question - how flexible are these cables? The OBH-11 is very light by amp standards, and I'll most likely have it sitting on top of my cdp, so I wouldn't want the cables dragging the Creek off the back of the cdp or anything
wink.gif
.

Thanks for all the input. If I'm up to it I'll post a mini review of the Outlaws vs. Radioshack Gold once I have my system all set up.
 

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