I felt that my hi-fi equipment, although modest by today's standards, had more to give in terms of transparency and depth of soundstage. I could hear it's potential, it was there but it was locked away. I needed a key. I needed better speaker cables!
My music seemed veiled and because of the warmness of the main components, (Pioneer A400 GTE amp, almost analogue sounding Meridian 203 DAC with Meridian 200 transport and very warm Wharfedale Diamond 8.4 floorstanders with fabric dome tweeters) it all sounded, well......as though the music was being sat on. In a word - dull!
I was also suffering from bass-boom deafness because I couldn't get far enough away from those mighty Wharfedales in my relatively small listening space and I couldn't get THEM far enough from the back wall which compounded the problem, they need lots of space around them. So in my search for second-hand, (I'm poor) higher-end cables to replace my QED Mk.2 original bi-wires, I came across the FFRCs and some rave reviews on the net. So I thought for the sake of £30 and 3 hours labour I'd give them a go. Mine are a 4 meter pair in a very fetching and cool-looking pinkish-orange.
The effect was immediate. They were initially very bright in comparison to all previous cables but not harsh and the boominess had completely disappeared. The veil had been lifted, giving astonishing clarity, greatly improved depth, width and even height of soundstage. Now there's loads of space around all the instruments and vocalists and they appear in a holographic soundstage as though I'm witnessing the event as it happened. The bass is more tuneful, even faster than before and very tight. The highs are much higher and cymbals shimmer like never before.
They took what seemed to be 20 to 30 hours to burn in, improving all the time and now I'm in Hi-Fi heaven, sitting in the sweet-spot with a great big smile on my face.
I listen to mostly 60's and 70's music, from Steely Dan to Beefheart, from Donovan to Rory Gallagher and even on the early, more primitive recordings, there's only the slightest hint of harshness. A very small price to pay for the advantages of this fantastic cable!
Even my dated and lowly Technics FM Radio sounds amazing.
I think that anyone who remarks that the bass in their system has diminished when switching to this cable, must previously have been using cable which highlighted the bass frequencies. This cable offers a flat response, more or less from top to bottom and so does not emphasise any particular part of the sound spectrum.
My advice is, save yourself a fortune and GET SOME!
I’d like to give my opinion of the FFRC (solid core and stranded core) and do a comparison of this with the Cable Talk 3.1 and QED mk2.
My system is a Denon UD-m31 and Quad 11L speakers. Ok so my system may not be top end but even with a modest system such as this the FFRC made a huge difference.
Having hooked up the system with Cable talk 3.1, I immediately knew something was amiss…u know the felling where you know that the system just does not sound right! The vocals were recessed and lacking in depth, bass was murky and it seemed as if everything was swished around. I was quite disappointed as I bought the Quads because they were a VERY nice and natural sounding speaker. Here began my quest to find speaker cable!
I decided to go out and buy some QED original mk2 about 2m just to see if I could hear any difference and sure enough there was….although not much. The bass was now not as boomy and vocals were slightly more pronounced and generally there was not as much ‘murkyness’. Looking at the 2 cables although both stranded core with a similar cross sectional area, I noticed that the individual stranded of the QED used smaller and more individual stranded and maybe this was why they differ.
This led me to look for a radically different design as I knew that the cable was altering my sound! Searching the NET I found reference to the FFRC. Big things were said of the FFRC about clarity, transparency, separation etc…….I just HAD to have a go.
Knocking up some FFRC with standard patch LAN cable, the difference gave me a right shock! Vocals now seems to come out of the speakers now and gave the feeling of being there, all the murkyness cleared up and you get a nice clarity to the sound…..you can tell this immediately with piano solos, the notes now can be heard as individual as opposed to being intermixed with the next note. The difference was amazing but all was not excellent. I noticed that the highs were very high and I guess would cause some people fatigue and bass was very reduced. This I guess was down to the strands of copper being very small…..incidentally stranded patch cable is a big NO NO for FFRC in some American forums. I then made up the FFRC with the Belden 1583Enh with LSZH jacket which had a solid core. The highs were now tamed and bass returned but not to the levels of the QED or cable talk, the transparency, clarity and separation was still there and the sound seemed a lot wider? (dunno if that’s how it’s expressed!! Lol).
My explanation for this clarity and separation is down to the insulated strands of copper used in LAN cable, maybe this causes less mixing of the signal…I don’t know…and maybe the thickness of the individual strands affect bass performace. Certainly this is exactly the same as what Kimber use for their cables i.e individually insulated strands and some of their cables even have variable individual strand size, which they say is to extend bass response……so I guess I’m not far off with the explanation. The Kimbers are highly regarded and have won many awards, so you could either spend megabuck on Kimber or try the FFRC which costs fractions less!
All I know is that I can now enjoy my music, which in the end is all that matters, I’ve been told that this cable rivals the likes of more expensive cable in the £10-20 range..and I can’t disagree to that, it really does bring out the response in your system. If you like your music to be clear with a fast edge and generally involving you should try the FFRC…if you’re a bass junky then I guess the cable is not for you…but then again if you’re a bass junky there’s no need for special cable anyway lol.
Hope this has been helpful, I know I won’t be buying anymore cable as this is the sound I want, maybe you should try it!
Incidently I have more of the Belden cable and I can sell you some for a cheap price or I can even make up some of the cable for you, if you can’t be bothered lol I am in the UK, message me or post back on the forum and I will respond. Thanks…….maybe someone else can finally be satisfied!
This cable is probably representative of the most bang for you buck you will ever encounter if hifi land. Strongly recommended.
Ah, and my wife, an audio luddite who just happens to spend all her time in the kitchen, occasionaly calling through random comments and four word sentences with no adjectives in them, blurted out
'great imagery and focus, real depth of timbre !' What further proof do you need, go out and make yourself a set ? Best terminated with banana plugs as well.
Remember to ask an adult before using wire cutters if under 16.
Cant add much more than the guys above have said, it is really one of the hidden gems in hifi this cable a ‘must do’ if you want to upgrade your cabling for a very small amount of cash and were talking here of upgrading current cabling price by 10X to achieve the same level of performance IMHO. It has it all : effortless mid-range performance very good bass performance, delivery and power capabilities are phenominal. It’s performance I find to be in perfect synergy with DIY pure silver IC’s IMHO. Needs 100+ hours minimum for running in. I’ve upgraded my system 3 or 4 times with new kit and the FFRC has never been found wanting – which makes me wonder what it can really do. As my system does’nt do it justice I reckon. !!
Pioneer DV-717 DVD Player Transport (24/96 PCM)
Musical Fidelity X-24K DAC
Linn Sondek LP12, Valhalla, Akito, K9.
Sony TAF-3000-ES Amplifier
Sony MDJ-510 Minidisc
Ash Design - Cosmic Classic 4 Hi-Fi Rack
Castle Richmond Speakers - Partington A4 Stands
DIY "Great White" Shark Silver IC (Insert Audio Phono Plugs) - DAC to Amp
Van Den Hul - The Source Hybrid Coaxial Cable - DVD Transport to DAC
Ixos 106 Optical Cable - MD to DAC (Playback)
QED Digital Cable - DAC to MD (Coax recording)
Russ Andrews Yello 4-way Power Extension fitted with SuperClamp.
I was definitely very sceptical about DIY cables and how they could be so much better than commercial cables at a fraction of the cost. But having had the satisfaction of handmaking my very own cables and burning them in for about 200 hours, I must say it is very rewarding.
The cables were made with plenum wires shipped from the states but the LSZH ones you can get from Maplins in UK is very recommended as well. The design of course is FFRC on the tnt-audio site but there are other reviews on this site which uses other formats. The link is LAN Network Cables (IIRC).
The first thing I noticed when I changed my cables from the QED Mk IIs was an increase in detail and soundstaging. The frequencies were more extended as well. Suddenly, the musicians popped into my room and everything had a better definition detail wise but also definition in the way of space around the instruments. String instruments in an orchestra sounded more individual like rather than a mass of musicians and the bowing motion became clearer. I began to hear more subtle sounds from CDs as well.
But having said all that, I don't think this cable is for everyone. There has been some issues about siblance on the top end as things can sound a little too shrill. I must admit, these cables are abit biased to the midrange and treble. It will project the midrange really well, but maybe too direct for some tastes or for people who would like their music more warm and are utterly prone to listening fatigue. The lower frequencies went a bit deeper like I said previously, but somehow there seems to be some loss in the upper bass frequencies.
Go figure. You can't have everything I suppose. The bottom line is, these are very good speaker cables that will bring out the detail from your CDs and improve the soundstage but in the end it's the system synergy that counts. But for a fun day doing your own DIY project, the end results were very good, satisfying and these cables are staying on my system!
First I want to say that I know everyone hears with different, lets say "resolution". That's to say the differences you hear, I might not and vice versa. I also realize that as we progress in our quest for better sound what we are left with is wanting more realism, which is subtle but very importan ... Read More »
After reading that John Michael is quite happy with his Rocket J Squirrel 440's by Audio Quest, I got to thinking (after having done some reading on these cables) these might be a superior cable to my AQ Type 4 speaker cable.
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Currently my AQ Rocket 44's have a bad banana at the amp end. I think either the banana was made too thin or weak in the center where it broke. I noticed the wire pulling to one side and it was then I saw the plug was dangling at the midway point.
Since I did not want to risk a short I replaced t ... Read More »