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Audio Blast: Audio Sensibility Y Cables Related to Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement

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Writing this article takes me back to when I spent inordinate hours on opamp rolling DACs. I dabbled in it initially in an effort to see whether swapping them had any appreciable effect. That turned into a veritable extended study, with dozens of hours spent comparing first solid-state opamps and then discrete opamps from three different manufacturers. The entire affair was most worthwhile and confirmed once again that lovely rewards come to those who dare to embrace change and the hope of something better. What I did with the opamp rolling was uncommon to the everyday audiophile, but well understood in the DIY community. However, what I have found myself getting into lately is another story.

Once again I find myself off the beaten path in Audiophilia, this time leaving the path altogether and entering uncharted territory as I explore cabling related to the Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement. If that statement causes questions to arise in your mind, I invite you to investigate the phenomenon by reading my initial article on the subject. Briefly, the Schroeder Method involves doubling not just conductors, but entire interconnects, either by use of cable splitters or Y cables. Four interconnects are conjoined to form a pair of doubled ICs. Both RCA and XLR cables can be doubled in this fashion. Note that for assembling XLR interconnects in this fashion you will need splitters/Y cables of two varieties: female to double male, and double female to single male.

I am fully aware of how bizarre, unorthodox and idiotic this seems according to conventional system setup. I also am aware of how theoretically problematic it is. Regardless, it works, and works fantastically. It is a “do at your own risk” method and there are serious limitations to its use, so the reader is advised to thoroughly acquaint him/herself to the potential for damage to certain amplifiers, such as class D amps. I am hopeful that caveat might be revised in time–if and when I get the guts to risk a class D amp or two informally experimenting with it! Any class D amp makers want in on this discovery and the potential glory of being a class D amp suitable for Schroeder Method? However, please believe me when I say that should the Schroeder Method prove to be compatible with your system, investigating it will likely be well worth your time and money.

Steven Huang of Audio Sensibility was brought into my orbit as a recommendation by Taras Kowalczyszyn of TEO Audio, the first cable company to build and sell a product using the Schroeder Method. TEO dismissed splitters or Y cables and terminated two full cables into one plug. If you would like to learn more about Steven’s background and Audio Sensibility, please see this Interview by Larry Borden:

https://www.dagogo.com/an-interview-with-steven-huang-of-audio-sensibility/

 

The scope of the article

My express purpose in receiving the products from Audio Sensibility was to conduct comparisons pursuant to substantiation of the Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement. After I discussed the discovery with Steven he assembled a pair of double interconnects and tried them. His email response was brief, but positive: “Works as advertised.” He was motivated by that success to assist me in exploring double interconnects. The first wave of Audio Sensibility products I utilized were custom splitters for RCA and XLR cables, and the second wave of products were manufactured cables utilizing the Schroeder Method, thus not requiring splitters.

A brief comment regarding Steven’s openness to working with me on creation of manufactured double interconnects. I applaud his open-mindedness, choosing to simply build a set versus prattling on about what he thought would happen according to theory. The responses from industry members regarding theory have ranged incredibly, from disdainful mockery to literally, “It will always make systems sound better!” It is unnerving to discover that there are so many designers boxed in by convention, though they all want to be known as innovators. Some are petrified to do anything perceived as departing from convention because they are fearful that their image of excellence will be tainted and fickle audiophiles will bad-mouth their products. It seems the industry is not nearly as open to novel ideas as it might believe. Steven is a pragmatist; he saw a potential product to sell, but he was sensible enough to try it rather than dismiss it out of hand. Maybe that is part of why his company is called Audio Sensibility.

 

XCELLENT XLR

RCA splitters are readily available for the purposes of doubling interconnects, as it is not uncommon to split the signal from a preamp to double the outputs, allowing the audiophile to use four channels of amplification in what is known as a “passive bi-amp” setup. As RCA plugs are universal the same configuration of Y cable (male to two female) can be used to both split the single output into two, then reduce it back down to a single input. Four of the Y cables and four identical individual interconnects are needed to build one pair of Schroeder Method RCA interconnects.

The XLR plugs are a different, trickier situation, as the typical XLR cable uses a female plug at the source and a male plug at the destination component. Consequently one needs at the source a Y cable with a single female to double male plugs, and reducing the double interconnect back down requires a double female to single male. As audiophiles often split the channels as aforementioned, Y cables to split the signal are fairly easy to find as accessories offered by cable manufacturers. What is much more challenging to source is the “reducing Y cable,” the one at the destination component end (two female to one male). The reason is that under normal circumstances one does not send a signal from two sources to one destination. The expectation that no one would do so means there are precious few such cables to be found.

Yet, doing a search on the internet for that arrangement of Y cable did yield one very low quality product. I was also able to locally root out a second similar reducing Y cable at a pro audio/music center. I had been building Schroeder Method XLR interconnects with these, but a simple comparison by substituting a set of the more common Audioquest XLR Y cables (male to 2 female) left from previous systems using passive bi-amping showed instantly that the poor quality materials of the low grade Y cables was ruinous to the sound quality.

A similar leap in performance was obtained when I switched from Audioquest’s M-22-F/GLX Y-Adapter cable (RCA) to the Audio Sensibility Statement SE OCC Silver RCA Splitter Cable. The quality of the Y adapter is fundamentally important to the best result. I am reinforcing the point for the skeptics who think one adapter fits all. It may physically, but certainly not sonically. If you are afraid to invest that much capital into Y adapters, then note the existence of Audio Sensibility’s Impact SE Splitter Cable in both RCA and XLR forms. (Again, you will need to watch the configuration of the XLR Splitters carefully if ordering for use in Schroeder Method.)

5 Responses to Audio Blast: Audio Sensibility Y Cables Related to Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement


  1. Steve says:

    I cannot use this method on my tube buffer to amplifier connection as I use 15 foot ICs and don’t have two pairs of this length. However, I could try this between my DAC/Pre and buffer – do you believe there would be a noticeable impact in this location? I know the proof will only come from trying it, but I’d like your opinion before spending the $$ on the splitters.

  2. YYW says:

    Hi Doug,
    Do you have a picture of the Schroeder method? A picture speaks a thousand words.

  3. Steve,
    God’s Joy,

    Sorry for late reply. If the other tests are an indication, then it would be quite successful between DAC/pre and buffer. As usual, do your own diligence and it’s a do at your own risk activity. Thankfully, so far there have been no reports of negative effects to equipment.

    Blessings,
    Douglas Schroeder

  4. ARTHUR C CHANDLER says:

    Hi Doug,
    looking forward to trying your method. I ordered some audioquest hard rca splitters and wonder if you could comment on whether and how, in your experience, the Audio Sensibility Impact SE Splitter Cable might be better.
    Thanks, Art

  5. Douglas Schroeder says:

    Art,
    God’s Joy,

    I hope you enjoy the exploration of Schroeder Method! We chatted behind the scenes about the splitter and Y cables. But, I will add here that I’m unsure how much/if the lower end copper Y cables will be much better than the AQ splitter. The higher end, silver Y cables from Audio Sensibility are thoroughly superior.

    Blessings,
    Douglas Schroeder
    Dagogo.com

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