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  1. #1
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Some low-cost I/C comparisons

    I don't comment a lot on cables but since "a forum member" was so kind as to lend me a pair of Transparent The Link interconnects, I figured I ought to post my impressions. I thank that member very much for the loan; the comparisons I did were informative.

    I compared the Transparent to some cables I had on hand: the following is the comparison list. All were 3 foot or 1 meter unless otherwise stated.


    • Transparent The Link
    • QED Unex 2, (0.5 meter; solid core)
    • Blue Jeans Cable / Beldon 1505F, (stranded)
    • Kimber PBJ, (solid core, branded/unshielded)
    • Ixos 1004, (stranded)


    These are all what most audiophiles would consider low cost interconnects; the Kimber PBJ are probably the most expensive at somewhere <$200. The BJC are the cheapest. These particular QED and Ixos models are no longer sold; I have owned them for over a decade.

    My comparisons were all done with a small number of classical orchestral, choral, and chamber pieces in downloaded hi-rez formats, (24/88.2 or 24/96).

    Differences between these cables was small BUT I think I detected some differences. (I'm not saying that I could tell which was which in a blind test -- that's another matter.)

    Probably my favorite was the Transparent; it was airy, highs were extended but not too bright, and bass was excellent. Next was the QED: it was airy, had great bass, and extended by slightly bright highs. There wasn't a whole lot to choose among the rest. They were all slightly rolled off in the highs and a bit less airy than the Transparent or QED. The Ixos were a bit rolled off in the bass as well.

    I have to emphasis that all differences were very small and impressionist on my part -- I might have been tricked by short audio memory span and/or my own mood or imagination. My advice remains that people with entry and mid-level equipment ought to spend their money on other components rather than interconnects >$100.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    It is fun to hear the differences in IC's but I would suggest you leave the Transparent IC in your system for awhile. Once you hear it over a period of time then change IC's and the differences will be greater IMHO. Hearing a difference and hearing over time what will be the most musical IC can be interesting.

    By the way the PBJ is a stranded cable and not solid core. I owned PBJ's along with 4VS speaker cables and they had all the problems I do not like with stranded cables.

    Glad you are enjoying cable discoveries. They can add to an already good system.
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  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    It is fun to hear the differences in IC's but I would suggest you leave the Transparent IC in your system for awhile. Once you hear it over a period of time then change IC's and the differences will be greater IMHO. Hearing a difference and hearing over time what will be the most musical IC can be interesting.

    By the way the PBJ is a stranded cable and not solid core. I owned PBJ's along with 4VS speaker cables and they had all the problems I do not like with stranded cables.

    Glad you are enjoying cable discoveries. They can add to an already good system.
    I'll take the advice, thank you. I suspect with cables it's the same as with, say, opamps. If your compare two that are generally similar, you won't notice a difference, but if you compare two that are at tthe two extremes of a particular characteristic, the difference will be fairly obvious.

    Do you know if the Transparent are solid core? One thing I don't like about them is that he connectors are brutally tight; it makes me afraid that I might damage something especially when removing them.

    I'd assumed that the PBJ were solid core because they are relatively stiff: the Kimber site doesn't say.

  4. #4
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    Transparent is fairly quiet on design specifics but I'm almost positive they are not solid core.

    It would be interesting to find my old post when I first got some BJC and compared them to IXO, Transparent, Radio Shack and Siltech. As memory serves we have similar observations, I found the BJC to be rolled off some on the high end, the Transparent to have better bass and extended top end, I can't remember if they were a tie on mids. I'm not sure which IXO I had but I hated it finding it to be very unbalanced with almost no bottom end to speak of. I found differences to be more apparent then you from what I read in to your post, however, I compared the cables using Sennheiser HD600's and a CDP into the Musical Fidelity X-can. Siltech was the clear winner but it was also the most expensive of the group I compared.

    I know, cables can make a valuable improvement but rather than saying "you must" or "don't bother", I would tell any one interested to try for themselves and you make up your own mind whether you hear enough improvement to spend the money.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    I don't comment a lot on cables but since "a forum member" was so kind as to lend me a pair of Transparent The Link interconnects, I figured I ought to post my impressions. I thank that member very much for the loan; the comparisons I did were informative.

    I compared the Transparent to some cables I had on hand: the following is the comparison list. All were 3 foot or 1 meter unless otherwise stated.


    • Transparent The Link
    • QED Unex 2, (0.5 meter; solid core)
    • Blue Jeans Cable / Beldon 1505F, (stranded)
    • Kimber PBJ, (solid core, branded/unshielded)
    • Ixos 1004, (stranded)


    These are all what most audiophiles would consider low cost interconnects; the Kimber PBJ are probably the most expensive at somewhere <$200. The BJC are the cheapest. These particular QED and Ixos models are no longer sold; I have owned them for over a decade.

    My comparisons were all done with a small number of classical orchestral, choral, and chamber pieces in downloaded hi-rez formats, (24/88.2 or 24/96).

    Differences between these cables was small BUT I think I detected some differences. (I'm not saying that I could tell which was which in a blind test -- that's another matter.)

    Probably my favorite was the Transparent; it was airy, highs were extended but not too bright, and bass was excellent. Next was the QED: it was airy, had great bass, and extended by slightly bright highs. There wasn't a whole lot to choose among the rest. They were all slightly rolled off in the highs and a bit less airy than the Transparent or QED. The Ixos were a bit rolled off in the bass as well.

    I have to emphasis that all differences were very small and impressionist on my part -- I might have been tricked by short audio memory span and/or my own mood or imagination. My advice remains that people with entry and mid-level equipment ought to spend their money on other components rather than interconnects >$100.
    I wish I had known you were doing the shoot out. I have a pair of Moon Audio Silver Dragons that I'm not using right now, that I would have liked to throw into the mix.
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Feanor, you might want to try some well recorded Jazz to test out the cables. I found that is the best music to hear the subtle different nuances in cables and tubes.
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  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I wish I had known you were doing the shoot out. I have a pair of Moon Audio Silver Dragons that I'm not using right now, that I would have liked to throw into the mix.
    Aren't those Silver Dragons in higher price category the the ones I mentioned? That might make it an unfair comparison.

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Feanor, you might want to try some well recorded Jazz to test out the cables. I found that is the best music to hear the subtle different nuances in cables and tubes.
    I could try it; I have small jazz collect that includes some quite good recordings.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Aren't those Silver Dragons in higher price category the the ones I mentioned? That might make it an unfair comparison.
    You're right. I was thinking what I paid for them. I forgot that I found them on sale. The Blue Dragons would fit better in your test sample.

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