For the last year plus I have had the privilege of reviewing and using the High Fidelity Cable CT-1 and CT-1E Enhanced, and the CT-1U Ultimate Reference cable systems. Although in those reviews I gave the best technical explanation I could, they are for the most part way beyond my understanding. Still, I will try to give a brief restatement of how these cables work.
Rick Schultz holds patents for a “Magnetically Enhanced Electrical Signal Conduction Apparatus and Methods,” or what he calls “magnetic conduction.” In his cables there is both a magnetic as well as conductive paths for the signal. Rick says the magnetics make the signal flow more easily. Both ends of the cables have different pole magnets, which are part of the design. The conductor itself uses a proprietary, highly permeable alloy mostly known as “Mu metal”, and is integral to Rick’s patents. Most cables become directional and a few even are directional to some degree from the start. The High Fidelity Cables are obviously very directional because of the way the magnets are used.
Let’s take a moment to look at how the High Fidelity Cables differ from one another. The original CT-1s are basically coaxial cables with a permeable carbon based conductor and special connectors with many magnets in them in their patented design. The CT-1Es have gold plated contacts, use a new alloy center pin that is higher in permeability, and a new Teflon dielectric. In the CT-1E speaker wires there are what Rick calls a “wave guide.” The patented wave-guide is made of a series of extremely powerful magnetic plates with specialized polarity that forces energy signal to the core of the conductor. The Es have six-inch wave guides.
The CT-1Us’ connectors have “rare earth” magnets and use an even stronger magnetic center pin that is also pure nickel. Both Neutral Chem and Stabilant 22 are used in the Ultimate connectors. The conductor material itself used in Enhanced and Ultimate Transmission lines is of higher magnetic permeability. The CT-1Us use the “wave guides” in both the speaker and interconnect cables. They are chrome tubes with black caps on the ends with the cabling extended through them on the two top HFCs. The Ultimate speaker cables have sixteen inch “wave-guides.”
I really didn’t think the CT-1U cables could be improved upon and I also thought it would be difficult to consider spending more than these astronomically expensive cables already cost. Still, I could not resist (I know, I need to learn to “just say no”) when Rick ask me to review the new Ultimate Reference versions of these cables.
When I first unpacked the Ultimate Reference cables the first thing I noticed was how much heavier they were than the Ultimate. On their website it simply says, “the Ultimate Reference is our final cable with this current technology. It contains very rare and expensive magnets that are an order of magnitude more powerful than those found in the standard CT-1U.” Rick says, “they use a new biology in them that really lowers the noise while the much more powerful magnetic system delivers more information. The new wave stabilizer system literally floats in an acoustic damping gel we developed/discovered for audio. It is quite a breakthrough and I know of nothing quite like it. So we’ll be creating a trade name for this before your review but it is part of what you’re hearing.”
Set Up and Installation
The High Fidelity Cables Ultimate Reference interconnects are heavy, and like all of the HFCs the RCAs fit incredibly tight. So be careful when hooking them up and positioning the cables that they do not put too much strain or weight on the pieces of equipment you are hooking them up to. For example, the Soundsmith Strain Gauge preamp is fairly light, so I had to be careful to place the cables so they did not pull the unit off the shelf. This was not hard to do but I thought it should be mentioned.
As far as break in goes, these didn’t seem as difficult as with the Ultimates. I expect this has to do with two things. First, I left them on the cable cooker for a few extra days, and then there is the fact that my system had already adjusted to the heavy magnetism of the CT-1U cables. If you’re not using a cable cooker (if your dealer has one ask him to cook them a few days before sending them to you) and your system has not already had the Ultimates in it then I suggest you go back and read my review of the CT-1Us. In that review I talk a good bit about their break in.
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