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  1. #1
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    Impressions of Blue Jeans Cable

    A kindly gent borrowed me a pair of Blue Jeans LC1 RCA cables and I wanted to share my thoughts. Especially since many here hold them in high regard. My review will be some what backwards.

    First, let me state that if all I had was $35.00 give or take BJC is a no brainer. They have actually some of the best build of any cable I've had. They also excel and hold their own with more expensive cables in the midrange. Although BJC boasts of low capacitance and the result, not having rolled off highs, per their website. I was surprised the first characteristic that hit me in the face was lack of highs in comparison to all most everything I compared them to. I'm sure I just gave the fanboys a twinge but that will be obvious to any one with ears. Overall the BJC's sound quality is balanced which means the bass is also not pronounced. Hold on, I said, "not pronounced", this doesn't mean it's not there. The bass is tight and defined but not strong and I'm sure it's probably that way to maintain balance as the highs do sound rolled off. The midrange of the BJC is it's strong point and strong it is, as in quality, dialog is on par with more expensive cables and the tonal quality is very natural sounding.

    I compared the BJC to a pair of Radio Shack, Ixos, Transparent and my Siltech. The Siltech was clearly far superior and I won't say any more about those as they are roughly 10 times the price of BJC. The Radio Shack cables were like none I've seen from them before, they seemed to have a network or some type of cylinder thing built into them. I thought they were cool and tried them first. OK, first lesson class, looks are not everything. Despite the fancy look the RS about the same price as the BJC pale in comparison. We'll also forget those. The Ixos had some what better bass and a lot more high end but I preferred the BJC. The Ixos was to bright and the midrange not natural, too edgy. The best competition was the BJC and the Transparent. The Transparent are the older style and new years ago were $75.00. I think between the two it would come down to system and preference, or need. The Transparent had tons more bass AND maintained the bass definition while being more ample. The Transparent had much better extention in the highs. Again, the BJC kicked butt in the midrange, making vocals easier to understand and easier to listen to.

    The first comparison I put the cables between my T+A CD player and Musical Fidelity headphone amp. The second test was just BJC and Transparent between my Audio Note DAC and Adcom gfa-450 preamp. An interesting side note, and this could be because the BJC wasn't overly emphasized in the extreme frequencies, but I was able to turn my Adcom system up to levels of volume not reached before. Not reached because, I stopped, couldn't tolerate it past a certain point. But the BJC remained clean as the volume went up. If the highs weren't there though to pierce the ear drums though you could see how this might happen. It was more than that though, I think the excellent midrange helped keep the distortion from creeping in as soon.

    Despite the faults I think I found, the BJC have a sound I can't help enjoying. Some one once told me in regard to good sound that you have to get the midrange right and worry about the rest after. I think BJC followed that philosophy. If nothing else the BJC perform way beyond their price in the midrange. I have no problem recommending these cables to a point but when your gear starts getting beyond the mid-fi range you should borrow some more expensive cables just to see what you think. To be honest with you in my Adcom system I plan to take the Transparent out and replace them with BJC. I play that system at high volume while on the treadmill and the BJC isn't as aggressive at high volume and as mentioned before remains clearer. But maybe I'm looking at this wrong, if the Transparent had significantly better bass I wonder what would happen if you tried them on a modest system. I really just think for those who care should ignore price, try the BJC and a more expensive cable to see which you will put in your system.

    To sum up, the BJC trounce cables in the same price range, hold their own in certain areas with more expensive cables and build quality second to none. I wish I had a pair of typical Monster to put in the mix, but from using a pair in other comparison listening I think they may fair better than the Radio Shack but out classed by the others in the group I've been talking about.
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  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Thanks, Mr P

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    A kindly gent borrowed me a pair of Blue Jeans LC1 RCA cables and I wanted to share my thoughts. Especially since many here hold them in high regard. ...

    Despite the faults I think I found, the BJC have a sound I can't help enjoying. Some one once told me in regard to good sound that you have to get the midrange right and worry about the rest after. I think BJC followed that philosophy. ...

    To sum up, the BJC trounce cables in the same price range, hold their own in certain areas with more expensive cables and build quality second to none. I wish I had a pair of typical Monster to put in the mix, but from using a pair in other comparison listening I think they may fair better than the Radio Shack but out classed by the others in the group I've been talking about.
    My appreciation of you hearing ablities has gone up even further. I've long suspected your superior hearing given your unwavering "source first" position, and this interconnects review reinforces my impression. As for me, I've admitted several times that my hearing is limited at least in the top octave: basically I'm deaf above 10kHz.

    I'm a bit of a BJC fanboy. However my endorsement has never based on the "superiority" of their cables, but simply on the fact that I don't hear any significant difference versus cables I've used up to 3x - 4x the price. These have included Monster, Kimber PBJ, IXOS, and QED. I bought the Kimber PBJ on the basis that they are relatively high capacitance and low impedance which ought to favor bass or highs; I feel the PBJ do this to a very subtle extent -- 'way to subtle for me to care about in normal usage.

    Recently around here a newbie was wondering whether he ought to spend $200 on cable terminations to connect $100 speakers. This illustrates the idiocy the afflicts a good many neophite audiophiles. My recommendation remains that anyone with an entry level, or even a substantial mid-level, system ought to spend the difference between the Blue Jeans Cable and any more expensive interconnects on other component. With speaker cables I'll allow there is more scope for improvment there depending on cable choice, but still not a lot more with most speakers and amps

  3. #3
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    A kindly gent borrowed me a pair of Blue Jeans LC1 RCA cables and I wanted to share my thoughts.
    Thanks for doing so. I bought a set for the vintage system a while back and promised to do the same, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Some one once told me in regard to good sound that you have to get the midrange right and worry about the rest after.
    I learned that from Harry Pearson but it took me many years to fully grasp. The differences at the bottom could well result from differences between the capacitive loading. As for the top, my experience has proven a somewhat paradoxical theorem among better cables: the best do have extended response, but they do not sound "brighter". This I attribute to better shielding and RF rejection. That is what I favor with the JPS Labs cabling I use elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    They have actually some of the best build of any cable I've had.
    The cable itself is very nice, but they still use molded plugs. The JPS Labs cables use locking WBT connectors that are a step above. Overall, however, I agree they certainly look well built. I chose the cosmetic techflex wrap. Your report has encouraged me to try again comparing the BC-1 to my JPS Labs stuff. I can try the DAC/line stage to amp connection in the vintage system and the phono to preamp connection in the main.

    rw

  4. #4
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I bought the Kimber PBJ on the basis that they are relatively high capacitance and low impedance which ought to favor bass or highs...
    Interesting. The best cables I've heard seek the lowest dielectric constant (product of L X C). The DC of my JPS Labs stuff is very close to that of Nordost Valhalla. A perfect conductor would have a DC of 1.0 - that of air. My JPS Labs stuff is 1.12.

    As an aside, I find it curious that BJC fails to report the inductance of the cable so I cannot compare it directly. There are some designs that minimize one value by increasing the other. Resistance for ICs is largely irrelevant.

    rw

  5. #5
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    I like WBT's a lot too, but that would bring the price up considerably. It would make for a nice option though.

    I don't think Transparent is "bright" though the highs are extended. This is because the bass is strong enough to balance the sound, the mids are in line as well. The Ixos I would label as "bright", they were unbalanced to that extreme. I didn't really care for them at all.

    One thing about BJC I forgot to mention and talking about "bright" brought it to mind. The BJC seem to have a quieter background. I don't know if it's because they are good some how in that area or if it seems that way because of the lower high frequency energy.

    Feanor if your midrange hearing is your best area then I can see how you would be a BJC fan.

    Another thing I'd like to do is put the BJC between my CD player and CJ preamp and fire up the whole system and do some listening.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    I was recently pointed in the direction of BJC after my recent plasma and blu-ray purchase. I needed several HDMI cables to make all of my connections and it could have been a very expensive undertaking. Then after I got everything done, I realized that I needed longer speaker cables. BJC had exactly what I needed and it was here in a couple of days.

    Now I stopped by my audio shop today and they've made a couple of changes. They dropped Monster and switched to Transparent and Audioquest. I think I'll borrow a pair of Transparent speaker cables and a HDMI cable and do a little comparision.

  7. #7
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington
    Now I stopped by my audio shop today and they've made a couple of changes. They dropped Monster and switched to Transparent and Audioquest. I think I'll borrow a pair of Transparent speaker cables and a HDMI cable and do a little comparision.
    Smart move on your shops part. Monster is everywhere and not worth the price at any level that I have heard.

  8. #8
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    It will be interesting to see if there's any noticeable difference in HDMI between the two and how you hear the speaker cables. Typically a cable companies RCA's will mirror the speaker cable in sound, same models.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    Smart move on your shops part. Monster is everywhere and not worth the price at any level that I have heard.
    They see the competition closing, (ie Tweeter, Circuit City, etc) and they know it's time to step up and grab those potential customers. They're going to start opening on Sundays so Best Buy isn't the only choice.

    They just recently took the Wilson Audio account away from the other HiFi shop that is down the road. Started carrying Furman power conditioners. So they're moving forward and not letting the economy hold them down.

  10. #10
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    Mr.Pea,
    Well stated and very well covered. The write up is very accurate from its characteristic to value. I'd like to add that if anyone ever look for digital one, BJC also carry the Canare LV-77S. It has very similar characteristic as the LC1; very full in the midrange.
    The LC1 is from Belden (USA) but the Canare LV-77S is actually from Japan with printed "Made in Japan" along its body. The LV-77 probably has the same OD or lightly bigger, but it has much higher rubber quality, much darker (deeper black) than the LC1. For warmness and "musicalness" (lol, did I just make that up?) I'm dearly enjoying them.
    The LV-61S is 1 step lower and it is a bit skinnier than the LV-77S. They are hooked up in diff sources and I'm too tired to compare diff between them. If I have to guess, I think the LV-77S has a little more punch and that's all. It's not any clearer or more details, etc.
    Like the LC1, the LV-77S has double shielding while the LV-61S has single shielding.

    My Interconnect Cables collection:
    Past: Entry level ones such Transparent, KimberKable. and 1 or 2 more but I can't think of what they are....
    Present: Entry level ones such Nordost, BJC.
    Last edited by gjpham; 03-15-2009 at 10:13 PM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks gjpham. So it's the BJC that you are using in your system preferred over the others you mentioned?
    Mark Levinson #512
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Thanks gjpham. So it's the BJC that you are using in your system preferred over the others you mentioned?
    Each brand clearly has its own diff unique sound, and I use them to mix+match them with my electronics. As we both probably agree, the BJC focus right where they think it's important to them the most, the midrange. Unlike the Nordost that I have ( BlueHeaven and RedDawn, and borrowed brother's Vahalla), the BJC's unique sound is conservative but low-fi, mid-fi, hi-fi, and commercial can "safely" use it with little of rejection..... and with a little of improving as well. The Nordost on the other hand, is very fast very detail, it's "in your face" type. They are very impressive at first but I get tired after awhile, physically. They can be super awesome w/o the brightness in the right electronics and the right music; they are great for movies. My brother said that as we move up on upper line of Nordost, like Quattro Fil, Frey, Valhalla, or Odin, they are more control and tighter. And I def agree with that since I already see a little improvment when comparing just from the BH to the RD.

    I currently use the BJC IC for analog and digital. But as for speaker cables, I find that my other brands ( i have lots of them) is too warm and sometimes too dull when combined with the BJC interconnects. For my personal elctronics and taste, the Nordost speaker cables work best with the combination. So, I have BOTH Nordost B.H and the R.D available right at the speaker ends ready for me to switch back and forth when testing and/or listening.

    Yes, I'm currently using BJC interconnect over the Nordost IC (also BH and RD) and probably over those brands that I had from my past NOT because they are that good, but it's just sound better for my own personal ref.

    No, I can't promise that they will be in my electronics the next year or even months since I like to play around and discover new thing. But unlike many IC that I had, BJC and Nordost will def not gonna be posted on the market ever.
    .......In the end, it's a hobby and it's fun. Well, lucky for me, I can hear a difference in cables. Oops, and probably so unfortunate that I would probably will invest so much more on just rediculous cables.

    My electronics:
    DVD: Denon 5910
    CD: Linn CD12
    Pre/Pro: Anthem AVM-30
    Amp: Anthem A5
    Speakers: Sonus Faber GrandPiano Home
    Power Cond: Ayre and PS
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    Last edited by gjpham; 03-16-2009 at 10:17 AM.

  13. #13
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    Nice system. If you recall, what were your thoughts on the Transparent?
    Mark Levinson #512
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Nice system. If you recall, what were your thoughts on the Transparent?
    Ok, I got my old Transparent MusicLink Reference RCA back to test side by side with the Belden LC-1.
    This test took me 3 hours of listening over and over of 1 cd Diana Krall The Girl In The Other Room. Volume level is at moderate.

    First impression, both brands have very similar characteristics. The Transparent has slightly better transparency, and its soul is slightly leaning toward to high end sound than the LC-1.
    In contrast, the Trans' bass is fuller, but SOMEWHAT smeared, muddy and not as accurate as the Belden LC-1. Both have the same dynamic but while the Transparent reproduces sound equally accross the spectrum, the LC-1 focuses strongly at the midrange.Therefore, the LC-1 is slightly warmer, softer, and sweeter. The Trans seems to "jump out" (InYourFace) just a hairy bit while the LC-1 plays "conservatively" accross the freq spectrum. The Transparent has a better seperation and wider soundstage than the LC-1.
    Listening to the LC-1, its voice /vocal is a very smooth, I would just want to lie back and let the music comes to me. I would say the Belden LC-1 could be great for music lovers while the Transparent is more to Hi-Fi. It's a better cable for those who tend to listen to their gear more than the music itself. Dynamic or loudness is equally for both brands. Considering entry and mid level, the Transparent does fit in its own play ground like Cardas, Kimber Kable, JPS, and alikes but I find that none of them have the "hi-tech" characteristic like the Nordos.
    In the end, I can not favor any one of them; both are keepers. The LC-1, again, proves to be a best bang for buck cable; I'm glad I have them in my cable collection.They are ingredient for my electronics and and switch them back from time to time...

  15. #15
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    I'll say one thing BJC has synergy with Adcom gear. I put the LC1 between the pre and power amp, it was the best overall presentation I've heard with my Adcom. As I stated the Transparent had more bass and high end extension but there is a balance and harmony the Adcom with BJC has, that is very good. Enough so that you'd forgive any short comings. Really unless you did the switch to compare I doubt if the lack in other areas would stand out.

    I know you may have been just trying to contrast the two but I've never had a lack of detail or noticed any "muddiness" with Transparent in the bass. It is usually the first thing that impresses people.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  16. #16
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    Cool Blue Jean Cables are Outstanding

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    My appreciation of you hearing ablities has gone up even further. I've long suspected your superior hearing given your unwavering "source first" position, and this interconnects review reinforces my impression. As for me, I've admitted several times that my hearing is limited at least in the top octave: basically I'm deaf above 10kHz.

    I'm a bit of a BJC fanboy. However my endorsement has never based on the "superiority" of their cables, but simply on the fact that I don't hear any significant difference versus cables I've used up to 3x - 4x the price. These have included Monster, Kimber PBJ, IXOS, and QED. I bought the Kimber PBJ on the basis that they are relatively high capacitance and low impedance which ought to favor bass or highs; I feel the PBJ do this to a very subtle extent -- 'way to subtle for me to care about in normal usage.

    Recently around here a newbie was wondering whether he ought to spend $200 on cable terminations to connect $100 speakers. This illustrates the idiocy the afflicts a good many neophite audiophiles. My recommendation remains that anyone with an entry level, or even a substantial mid-level, system ought to spend the difference between the Blue Jeans Cable and any more expensive interconnects on other component. With speaker cables I'll allow there is more scope for improvment there depending on cable choice, but still not a lot more with most speakers and amps
    I have a Bryston BP20 Preamp, 2 Bridged Bryston 4BSST(2) Ayre CX7 CD Player with B&W Nautilus 800 Diamond speakers. Let me just say, I was using Transparent Musicwave Cables (RCA I will admit) that cost me PLENTY. I just rewired my system with BJC XLR cables and WOW. Better clarity, Bass is incredibly tight, and I am hearing new things off of recordings I never heard before. Imaging is tremendous. I am now convinced the "Sterephile" high end cables are a hoax and all about money. Anyone who wants to spends thousands of dollars on cable is wasting their time. Just my opinion.

  17. #17
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    You should compare RCA to RCA, BJC's RCA wasn't even as good as Transparent's entry level RCA. BJC is good for what it is and I'd even say it performs beyond it's price range but you need to do a lot more listening before making a blanket statement about all cables. The Bryston must have needed a balanced connection to perform optimumly or the BJC tamed the highs so you could better enjoy the combo with B&W, but from experience I know the Transparent is a better cable. Some of the "high end" are over priced but that's why we need to listen first or have an option to return if not happy. People can debate it all they want but it's a fact cables have different sound quality and effects on systems, the manufacturers are able to voice the cable to sound the way they want, some by material, some by wire winding and design and some by the dielectric used. As an example, Cardas has a few different series of cables, Golden, Neutral, Clear, all having a different voicing and it would be system dependent as to which series sounded best if any from what is already being used. Now that you've switched to the XLR's if you were to be fair you'd borrow a set of Transparent to see what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by isiluv View Post
    I have a Bryston BP20 Preamp, 2 Bridged Bryston 4BSST(2) Ayre CX7 CD Player with B&W Nautilus 800 Diamond speakers. Let me just say, I was using Transparent Musicwave Cables (RCA I will admit) that cost me PLENTY. I just rewired my system with BJC XLR cables and WOW. Better clarity, Bass is incredibly tight, and I am hearing new things off of recordings I never heard before. Imaging is tremendous. I am now convinced the "Sterephile" high end cables are a hoax and all about money. Anyone who wants to spends thousands of dollars on cable is wasting their time. Just my opinion.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by isiluv View Post
    I have a Bryston BP20 Preamp, 2 Bridged Bryston 4BSST(2) Ayre CX7 CD Player with B&W Nautilus 800 Diamond speakers. Let me just say, I was using Transparent Musicwave Cables (RCA I will admit) that cost me PLENTY. I just rewired my system with BJC XLR cables and WOW. Better clarity, Bass is incredibly tight, and I am hearing new things off of recordings I never heard before. Imaging is tremendous. I am now convinced the "Sterephile" high end cables are a hoax and all about money. Anyone who wants to spends thousands of dollars on cable is wasting their time. Just my opinion.
    Hello Mr. Peabody. I appreciate your comments and take them with all sincerity. However, I have to say I really have no need to hear the Transparent XLR. I really cannot imagine any better sound out my system. On the other hand, I would be happy to try a pair if someone wants to lend them o me. Listening to acoustic Xmas Music now. the depth of the piano and the in your face sound of the guitars is amazing. Merry Christmas!

  19. #19
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isiluv View Post
    I have a Bryston BP20 Preamp, 2 Bridged Bryston 4BSST(2) Ayre CX7 CD Player with B&W Nautilus 800 Diamond speakers. Let me just say, I was using Transparent Musicwave Cables (RCA I will admit) that cost me PLENTY. I just rewired my system with BJC XLR cables and WOW. Better clarity, Bass is incredibly tight, and I am hearing new things off of recordings I never heard before. Imaging is tremendous. I am now convinced the "Sterephile" high end cables are a hoax and all about money. Anyone who wants to spends thousands of dollars on cable is wasting their time. Just my opinion.
    What you are hearing is a difference between a balanced circuit and unbalanced, not a difference in cables. I have two sets of XLR cables, BJC with the Belden wire and another set from a different source with the same Canare wire BJC offers. Both have Neutrix connectors and cost about the same. I had the Canare wire first and, switching back and forth, I prefer the sound of the Belden wire. I have repeatedly thought it could not get any better and found that it can without spending alot of money.

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