Monday, April 4, 2011

Kingrex PSU Mk II - DIY DC Cable

Here is a nice project for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Frustrated with your stock DC cable that comes with your Kingrex PSU ? Come on guys, the cable is far too short !

Parts List

1x Neutrik Male XLR socket
2x 1m 18 AWG Neotech 7N Teflon insulated PCOCC copper cable or silver cable
1x Switchcraft 760 DC jack (fits my Squeezebox Touch just fine)

Instructions

Step by step instructions are probably unnecessary for this simple project.



I twisted the cables together lightly to provide a bit of RF rejection. It is worthwhile to also consider using shielded cable for this purpose.


Impressions

Initial impressions were that of a more detaled midrange and larger image size. Unfortunately, the high frequencies also sounded a bit hashy and the overall sound is quite grainy. In comparison, the stock cable is smooth, with a relatively laidback soundstage. The stock cable also sounds a little bit vague and the tonal contrast is lacking.

After 10 hours of burn in, things got better. The hash and grain are still there but are less prominent. The soundstage is a lot deeper and front to back layering is more distinct. Midrange is more forward which may not be to everyone's taste.

At the 30 hour mark, the cable is well settled and refined. Instruments are firm and transients are solid and distinct.   In guitar solos, you can clearly hear the pluck and reverbation of each string, together with the resonance of the guitar body. The midrange although more forward compared to the stock cable is both more full bodied and detailed.Soundstaging gets a boost too with good gains in stage width, height and depth.

With about 100 hours of burn in, the cable feels quite well settled. It is not a dramatic change compared to the 30 hour mark, but the improvements are nevertheless still significant. The cable still remains more forward compared to the stock cable, and although the treble is grain free, sibilance on female vocals is more noticeable. Piano notes in particular are solid, firm with a distinct separation between the strike of the hammer against the strings, and the resonance of the body of the piano.

In terms of sonic gains, this is at least the equivalent of an interconnect or power cable upgrade.All in all, this is an impressive upgrade for about S$ 30 in parts and less than 30 minutes of time.

If you are interested in a cost no object version, you could try using higher grade Neutrik XLR jacks (there are several different grades depending on the choice of plating of the metal pins), and Neotech's solid silver wire.

Solid Silver Wire Version

Over the last weekend, I decided to try out an improved version as suggested above. Utilising the same twisted wire construction, this cable is made out of 18 gauge Neotech solid silver cable. The cable was additionally cryo treated by the local distributor for a small premium.

Isn’t silver wire bright ? In my experience, silver is seldom bright. Silver plated copper can sound bright, but none of the solid silver cables I have handled or owned sound bright or edgy, which are common adjectives used to describe silver cables.

There were good sonic gains compared to my copper cable. The sound is similarly laidback, but imaging is more focused, and the level of fine detail is significantly better. Although the cable had only chalked up about 20 hours of burn in, it was able to outperform the copper cable by a comfortable margin.

Authority and extension on both frequency ends were enhanced, and the “atmospheric” feel of live records made it feel like you were almost there. The experience was just simply more holographic. You add about S$100 of cost, but this is money wisely spent. Given the overall low cost of making this cable, I would advise all readers to simply plump out for the silver cable version.

4 comments:

horchai said...

A fun and simple project. Do you need to twist the two cables together? Dont forget to put nice sleeving to give it the thousand dollar look! Just wondering, since u have the Fo.q does it make sense to stick to both connectors ends?

Look forward to seeing the photos.

Eric said...

I believe that Techflex actually has an effect on the sound. Similarly, for damping cables, I think that it sometimes makes the cable sound too dark and dry.

J said...

Where did you get the switchcraft DC head from?

Eric said...

Switchcraft DC jacks can be ordered online from Farnell / Element14