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Speaker Cable Faceoff 2 - AV Cable, Acoustic Research, Tributaries

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AV Cable 10AWG Speaker Cable

AV cable cables

What's there to say about Zip Cord that hasn't already been covered on this site? 10AWG Zip Cord is the very basic speaker cable in which all exotic speaker cables must be judged against. Sadly most costlier exotic cables simply don't measure up as can be seen in the tabulated measurements and analysis section to come. AVCable makes no snake oil claims so my write up here on their product is short. They utilize the same banana terminations as Cobalt Cable. This is a decent banana plug, but tends to stick out a tad too far when connected to equipment. While I would have liked to see compression banana plugs terminating this cable, I realize it would have been far too cost prohibitive for such a high value, quality speaker cable.

Acoustic Research Master Series 10AWGACOUSTIC RESEARCH CABLES

The Acoustic Research (AR) Master Series Silver Copper 10AWG cables represents AR's top of the line offering.

When I first glanced at this cable I remember thinking to myself, what a nice looking, but so poorly designed zip cord cable. Poorly designed? Yes! The reason being is the intentional spacer that insert between the conductors for which they make the following claim:

6mm cable signal separator: Controls magnetic fields, allowing accurate sound reproduction

The problem with spacing conductors out like this is you lose the benefit of mutual inductance to lower the overall effective inductance of the cable. Inductance of a cable is based on the spacing of the conductors. The closer the conductors the lower the effective inductance, the farther apart, the higher the effective inductance. For more information on this check out our article Calculating Inductance of Twin Feeder Cables. I am not sure I understand their alleged benefit of allowing for more accurate sound by "controlling" magnetic fields, but the engineers at Acoustic Research may wish to reconsider this if they would prefer to design a more accurate, less "tone control" type speaker cable. This cable measured the highest inductance (no surprise) out of all of the cables in this review. The banana plug termination was adequate, but subject to easy bending if too much force is exerted on it. The tip was also a bit too long like the AV Cable, making it stick out of the banana receptacles of the connecting equipment more that I would have liked to see.

AVIC Speaker Cable 11

clip_image006_002.jpgAVIC is a relative newcomer and until we received their email we weren't even aware of their existence. When they heard about this review via gossip in the forums, they asked to be part of it and we happily accepted. We wish more cable companies would be this proactive in having their cables objectively reviewed as it does a great service to them since many cable vendors and other audio publications lack the precision test gear to adequately test their designs. It also does a great value to the consumer in that they know exactly what they are getting. When I initially peered at the specifications of this cable on their website, the inductance to capacitance ratio didn't seem quite right. Not surprising, when I actually measured the cables I found the inductance to be about 14 times higher than their spec (a measurement which was still incredibly low) and the capacitance to be about 3 times higher than their specification. I was glad to see them update their website with the correct specifications based on my measurements. It is not atypical for cable vendors cable specifications to be inaccurate for the reasons previously mentioned. In fact I have found a great bulk of the cable vendors in this review to be a bit off on their cables, but most of the cables still measured extremely well and this was only mentioned for academic purposes. In any event , the AVIC cable is certainly an interesting one. Its shiny silver wrapping reminds me of a disco-tech style look from "Saturday Night Fever" or the evil Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. They were cool looking and could certainly dress up any high end system quite nicely.

Description

Price

1M Banana-Banana

$99.95

1M Banana-Spade

$99.95

1M Spade-Spade

$99.95

2M Banana-Banana

$129.95

2M Banana-Spade

$129.95

2M Spade-Spade

$129.95

3M Banana-Banana

$169.95

3M Banana-Spade

$169.95

3M Spade-Spade

$169.95

4M Banana-Banana

$199.95

4M Banana-Spade

$199.95

4M Spade-Spade

$199.95

5M Banana-Banana

$239.95

5M Banana-Spade

$239.95

5M Spade-Spade

$239.95

8M Banana-Banana

$279.95

8M Banana-Spade

$279.95

8M Spade-Spade

$279.95

A few excerpts from their marketing literature that I found interesting:

The Invisible Cable
We start with four of our ChonoSync™ conductors, each protected by AViC Involution™ shielding. The conductors are helically wound end to end, resulting in a cable that has incredibly low inductance, resistance and capacitance. To put it in other words, the cable is "invisible", as if the signal travels directly from the amplifier to the speaker. You will hear everything you should, and nothing you shouldn't.

I certainly cannot argue with these statements since I did not rip apart the cables to examine the shielding, but based on my measurements, they truly were a low inductance cable as they claimed while the capacitance was also equally low and impressive. Usually, low inductance cables tend to be high in capacitance based on the conductor spacing ratios. This cable reminds me of a Star Quad configuration which is popularized by many DIY gurus. It is certainly a valid method for producing a cable with reasonably low inductance and capacitance and reduced RF immunity ( not typically a real world problem for most environments).

Connect your speakers with a set of AViC SC1100 speaker cables for 45 days, and if you do not like what you hear, return the cables for a full refund.

It is refreshing to see a cable company offer its consumers a 45 day trial period without luring one into believing the "Break In" fallacy to persuade the consumer into keeping it beyond the return policy or motivation for the consumer to actually bring it back.

With characteristics that eliminate any perceptible colorations or distortions, the AViC SC1100 lets your speakers play pristine full-range audio that will tantalize your ears and have them begging for more.

While I can certainly see how a cable may "colorize" a signal acting like a tone control or filter, AVIC is lightly treading on the dangerous grounds of injecting the word "distortion" to discuss cables. While this is obviously a subjective statement on their part, I felt it appropriate to note the term distortion in their statement should either be eliminated or clarified as to what type of distortion they are referring too.

As previously mentioned, cables DO NOT introduce non linear distortion. Be very wary of any cable vendor, audio publication or cable forum cult hobbyist that claims otherwise. Be equally wary of a cable vendor that slaps batteries on their cables to allegedly minimize this fictitious problem.

The AVIC speaker cables utilize the same banana terminations as the Cobalt and AV Cables and unfortunately have the same limitations as I previously mentioned. Perhaps AVIC would consider offering a compression banana plug in their future cables for a minimal cost addition. This cable is certainly worthy of a top notch termination.

Tributaries

clip_image008_001.jpg This is a brand new cable from Tributaries. Little info is available on their website and I am not certain if they are being sold through retail at this time. We asked Tributaries to send us their cream of the crop, and this is what was delivered. Ordinarily this cable is sold as a biwire cable with the high frequency section of 14AWG and the low frequency section of 12AWG. Since we are not big believers of biwiring, and in order to make measurements easier, we asked Tributaries to terminate the cable with one set of banana plugs on each side. The effective gauge (14AWG in parallel with 12AWG) works out to about 10AWG. Be cautioned however that biwiring and/or paralleling twin feeder cables does double the pair to pair capacitance. If the cable capacitance is excessively high to begin with ( > 100pf/ft) we advise against this practice.

Tributaries makes few (if any) questionable product claims on their site. All I can discuss about this cable is it has the same superb compression banana plugs found on the River Cable Starflex and Flexygy 6 speaker cables. I have come to find all Tributaries cables I have had the pleasure of inspecting incorporate some of the best terminations and workmanship in the industry. Many years ago we did a Component Video Cable article that highlighted their termination as a benchmark method for all manufacturers to be judged by and these speaker cables are no exception. The outer sleeving of this cable is quite attractive and can certainly stand toe to toe cosmetically with any exotic cable at considerably higher cost. Tributaries did not furnish any cable specifications so I had nothing to validate other than the cable itself.

 

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