Home Interlinks don’t do anything! Or do they? 32 rca cables analyzed

Interlinks don’t do anything! Or do they? 32 rca cables analyzed

33
Alpha Audio - Big interlink cable test

PureCable

Cable Purecable Optimus
Balance low, mid and high Everything is there without question. Balance feels a bit uneven. Lots of detail and certainly plenty of body. Quiet background.
Sound color vocals and instruments Saxophone has body. Sonority is good. Falls away a bit though. Good texture in orchestra. Solid separation.
Stereo image Saxophone is towards the back. Mid tones come forward, so does the piano. Carmen also has different placement.
Rhythm Long reverb. Piano notes sound nice and long. Timing feels different with this cable.
Overall Very quiet cable. Lots of detail. Imaging is substantially different though.
Material and construction pc-triple c solid core.
Price €2697

Measurements PureCable Optimus

Scope measurements

Response

Type test
Multitest
Tested price class
Price cheapest product: €45
Price most expensive product: €15500
Production country
Differs

Winkels met Audioquest

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Pleinweg 136
3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
Hooikade 13
2627 Delft, Zuid Holland, NL
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Geldropseweg 105
5611 SE Eindhoven, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Korte Jansstraat 11
3512GM Utrecht, NL
Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
2311 JS Leiden, NL
Koningsstraat 35
2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
Theresiastraat 151 - 157
2593 AG Den Haag, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Chord Company

Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Hermesweg 2
3741 GP Baarn, Utrecht, NL
Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
2311 JS Leiden, NL
Koningsstraat 35
2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
Steenstraat 54
6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL
Rietlaan 4
3851 PA Ermelo, NL

Winkels met Dyrholm

Rietlaan 4
3851 PA Ermelo, NL

Winkels met Grimm

Hooikade 13
2627 Delft, Zuid Holland, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Vijlen, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL
Hennesweg 20
6035 AD Ospel, NL

Winkels met Kimber

Rietlaan 4
3851 PA Ermelo, NL

Winkels met QED

Pleinweg 136
3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Ricable

Sikkel 40 F
3274 KK Heinenoord, NL

Winkels met Supra

Pleinweg 136
3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
Hooikade 13
2627 Delft, Zuid Holland, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
2311 JS Leiden, NL
Steenstraat 54
6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Van den Hul

Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Parkweg 23
8084GG 't Harde, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL
Rietlaan 4
3851 PA Ermelo, NL

33 COMMENTS

  1. Good morning,

    This was a fascinating read and most of it was understandable.

    This inspired me to make up an interconnect cable using Sommer Tricone. Switching between this and a QED QNECT2 was night and day, my ears like the difference and this has told me that swapping interconnects is worth considering.

    I am jumping onto your speaker cable test next.

  2. I have a question. I think it’s a language thing.

    In your measurement of “impedance”, is that actually the resistance value or equivalent of the looped conductors or is it the characteristic impedance of the cable? It doesn’t seem like the latter at all, which might be very interesting to understand.

    Keep up the great work!

      • That’s actually not my question.

        There’s the loop resistance/impedance of the conductors and there’s also the characteristic impedance of the transmission line.

        For example, there’s 50 Ohm coaxial cable. That’s the characteristic impedance. Zip cord has a characteristic impedance of around 90 Ohms. That’s all a combination of the inductance, capacitance, resistance of the wire, and so on.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characteristic_impedance

        This value rises considerably as you go below 100 KHz.

        http://k9yc.com/TransLines-LowFreq.pdf

          • I did wonder. In a youtube video you talk about the HP pulse generator being 500MHz generating a 2ns pulse. At 500Mhz the wavelength is about 60cm, which is shorter than te length of the cable. So you enter transmission line theory territory, and the characteristic impedance comes into play.

            In the video you state that channel 1 is terminated at 50 Ohm and channel 2 at 1 Mohm (which could be considered open ended).

            And in between channel 1 and 2 is the cable., with its characteristic impedance for transmission line situations, which 500MHz is I think. So every cable that does not have a characteristic impedance of 50 Ohms will cause reflections. It does not matter if the cable is good or not, it is just caused by the transmission line impedance mismatch.

            The characteristic impedance of the TPR is given as 110 Ohms, which causes the reflections. I cannot find this value for the SQM, but if that would be 50 Ohm, this would explain its non-reflection-behaviour in the test.

            But in audio frequency territory, this characteristic impedance is of no importance and it does not say anything about the quality of the cable.

            Just a few thoughts that kept me busy 🙂 Love to hear your view on this.

          • Hi F.Vcp.

            You are right. That’s why we didn’t do all tests on those frequencies, but did a series of tests to see what is important and what isn’t important. The ‘reflection-test’ was purely for propagation speed and -variance. Not to analyze impulse behaviour or anything. For obvious reasons, we needed a frequency that gave a shorter wavelength, for we needed to isolate the puse.

  3. Jaap, first very well done. Probably the only way to do this better would have been if you had a reel of the cable 1000M long to determine better what the cable attributes are at 1M.
    But I was talking to a good friend physics about this. Just like component differences, I think the sonic difference has to do with the designers. I always say this at a show, throw 10 designers in a room with the same parts and you get 10 different products.
    In the cable realm you have metal, dielectric, insulation, wind, layout, shielding and directionality…. all these designers have their own take on what is important and that is why cables sound different.
    Plus look at the variables you have on either end!
    Thanks again, really great stuff!
    Gordon

  4. Hey all, there was/is an interesting exchange on this test and its results over on the Dutch side. Jaap has given me permission to use the translation I produced (Apple Translate) and repost it here for all to see. What I love about it is that this is exactly the kind of helpful result a researcher wants to see. Good research typically should generate more questions than answers, especially in its early stages. That’s normal and how the process and what it examines becomes more refined.
    ============================
    April 6 2024 — Posted by Ad Braam (translation from Dutch) with Jaap’s responses following each question.

    Jaap, upon further study I still have a number of questions (sometimes for confirmation) to be able to understand the research well. First of all, it is clear to me that the intention is to investigate whether a relationship can be found between the measurements and the listening tests and not so much to determine what is a good interlink (in my opinion very dependent on the rest of the audio system).

    1. The ‘explanation of measurements’ says ‘Ideal there is no difference’. Is it meant: Ideal is there no difference when the voltage is increased from 0.3 to 1.5 volts?
    A: There is ideally no difference in propagation when the voltage changes.

    2. Does the voltage in an analog interlink vary between 0.3 and 1.5 volts?
    A: A line output works at 2 volts at RCA. But of course the tensions vary with the music. I chose these 3 voltages to gain insight into small and large differences in amplitude.

    3. Is the propagation time the difference in time it takes the pulse to go through the cable?
    A: No. The propagation time is the time it takes pulse to go through the cable. So sometimes there is a difference in that when the amplitude changes.

    4. How is it that the pulse that goes through the cable (green) is higher than the reference pulse (yellow)?
    A: This has to do with the closure impedance, among other things. On the yellow that is 50 Ohm. On the green that’s 1 MOhm. That to imitate an exit / entrance.

    5. As for noise measurements. Is it possible to explain the ‘spectral view’ in more detail. What do the green and brown lines mean? Because of this I don’t understand the statements between vd Hul and Grimm.
    A: Spectral view is not noise measurement. This one displays decay. Often: extinction after a signal. Explaining this goes too far for a comment section.

    6. What is the explanation that at lower frequencies the induction and capacity swings like this?
    A: I don’t know exactly either. It has to do with wavelengths, among other things, but I also have to dive into this.

    7. It is confusing that the vertical scale in the messenger plot is not the same when comparing Ricable and Mogami. I didn’t understand the conclusion at first.
    A: You can’t do anything about that. The software scales itself and that is also necessary to keep it readable.

    8. Propagation variance table very interesting. Do I understand correctly that ‘gets faster’ means that with increasing tension the propagation time becomes smaller?
    A: Yes

    9. Apart from the conclusions listed under the table, can you also conclude that a ‘good’ cable should have a low variance?
    A: Yes. Less variation is better. Ideally it is 0.

    There are a lot of questions, but hopefully I’m not the only one who has these kinds of questions.
    END OF REPOST

  5. it’s pure nonsense, what about the cheap connectors and simple wires inside a unit and i’d like to see these kind of things done by a university, not by a annoying guy which is close to the source……and all those terms:the highs are too promonent,but vague……for example, how do you know it’s not by bad wiring instead of the interlink. As an engineer micro-electronics i can say that you’re an indiot if you buy overexpensive interlinks, you’d better buy a more expensive amp

  6. I wonder if it would be possible to feed all of this tabular measurements, graphs, and subjective observations into an AI model and ask what characteristics are most correlated since it is so complex. Awesome effort guys. I can’t think of anyone else having attempted this publically. Mahalo!

  7. Is it fair to consider that the composite values shown in the All Data table, when coupled with the subjective observations, could hint at a kind of value proposition when MSRP is taken into account? You know…..loosely. Have to factor in the rationality of those doing the listening of course. 😉

        • I really tried to find a link between what we hear and what the data in ‘All Data’ says. What I did notice is that too high a capacitance or inductance is definately not good. Cables that show a decent distribution between the two mostly show a good sound balance.

          The thing is: the data in that table doesn’t show the frequency response, nor the spectrum behaviour. And those two really gave insight in the performance of the cable. Along with the temporal behaviour (propagation variance).

          • There are other variables affecting quality. So its only part of the picture then. Not enough to guide a purchase decision. And, in the end, that’s also going to come down to buyer motivations, which is another can of worms. So I see what you’re saying. Still, this data provides a place from which you or others can build in the measurable areas. Valuable nonetheless. Well done.

  8. Good work 😉
    I wish you would have done the tower and evergreen rca from Audioquest 😉
    Hence my question : if someone is on a budget and need a coaxial cable , I usually advice an Audioquest forest as they are great for the money.

    Is there an rca cable that you recommand also around 50€ ? Audioquest tower and evergreen would be the equivalent of the forest coaxial but they’re completely different type of cable 😉

    Thanks !

    (The rca are for a cd player and a rega io )

  9. First, BIG shoutout to you guys for having the cojones to take this on. Just one look at the data sheet….HUGE undertaking. I have to think that this is a significant contribution to audiophiles everywhere who have been wondering. Perhaps it will stimulate follow-up on the part of others even. That’s what research is all about. Secondly, am I missing something? The data summary doesn’t show any values, Impedance-Inductance-Capacitance, for the Transparent Plus, yet it seems to show in its individual graphs. I’m sure you didn’t miss something so obvious, so can you explain to me? Thanks.

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