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

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Anticables interconnects and Audio Sensibility Splitters

During the recently published Anticables Review, I had extensive use of both RCA and XLR pairs of cables to use with the Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement. As has been the case with all other instances of this method, the Anticables products were splendid, much superior as interconnects doubled per channel versus when used as singles.

The review points out that the smallish, higher AWG conductor cables made by Anticables tend toward a thinner sound as well, not as fleshed out as offerings by Clarity Cable and Silnote Audio. The Anticables speaker wires are the most challenging to get a full, rich sound, the interconnects do better, and the Reference Level 3 Power Cords are a wonderful product when used judiciously. In order to get the speaker cables to sound suitable, I had to keep physically doubling them up on speaker posts, laying them in parallel atop one another in order to get a lower AWG, which in my experience results in holistically superior sound.

It should be no surprise, then, that the same held true with the Anticables interconnects, both RCA and XLR. When doubled, they performed with marked improvement, offering a more compelling experience. The company’s house sound, pertaining to the speaker cables, and less so the interconnects, is characterized by a slightly recessed soundstage and a uniform intensity across the frequency spectrum. This tends to be a “basic” sound structure and not terribly compelling for those seeking discontinuity, i.e., extreme detail at the top or a strong emphasis on the bottom.

Doubling the Anticables interconnects elevates their performance nicely. They still retain their characteristic sound, but deliver a fuller helping of it. The interconnects when used with the Schroeder Method were hindered seriously by the previous Y cables mentioned, but the Audio Sensibility Y cables allowed the interconnects to sound more open, refined and dynamically impactful. I judge the cost differential for the Audio Sensibility Y cables well worth the additional outlay. Doubling the Anticables interconnects would be a good option for someone who wished to tone down a strident system, or to deal with a rig that carried too much bloated bass. It is possible to both smooth the frequency response and increase detail using the Schroeder Method.

 

Audio Sensibility Schroeder Method Cables

I approached Steven with the hope of obtaining audiophile grade Y cables, both RCA and XLR. The products he sent have not disappointed. They are not flashy, eschewing wild colors and obnoxious stamped names on them. They appear lovingly hand made and have tenacious build quality. For the purposes of this article I conducted comparisons between home-assembled Anticables RCA and XLR Schroeder Method setups and both the RCA and XLR manufactured Schroeder Method products from Audio Sensibility.

One caveat needs to be mentioned in regards to this comparison: it is not an absolutely apples to apples comparison. One setup uses splitters/Y cables and the other does not. I suspect there to be some degradation due to the splitters or Y cables, however, not enough to render the comparison a false trial. While I discuss comparisons between Anticables and Audio Sensibility interconnects, there may be somewhat less of a gap in performance characteristics due to the nature of this comparison, but I stand by my assessment generally of the performance of these two products. In addition, it should be noted that the comparison is between Anticables’ highest model and Audio Sensibility’s lowest model.

The Audio Sensibility Impact SE cables were used by Steven to create the Schroeder Method models for evaluation. I wish he had used higher end interconnects, but I can understand the motivations of a manufacturer. This is experimental and proof of concept can be determined with lesser cables as well as greater. It is solid logic to conclude that if the lowest interconnect fares well, then so will the highest.

The Impact SE Interconnect, featuring Furutech FP-126 gold plated connectors for the RCA cable and Neutrik Gold Plated XLR connectors, fared extremely well in comparisons against the Anticables Level 6.2 ABSOLUTE Signature RCA Analog Interconnects and the Level 4.1 Reference PLUS Xhadow XLR Balanced Interconnects. Working with a state of the art flagship speaker system under review I was able to entice both brands’ products to show their best characteristics. In addition, the Gold Note PA-1175 Amplifier with the captivating Damping Factor function allowed me to try these cables with a nod toward both solid-state performance and lower-powered tube performance.

In comparison to the Anticables, the Audio Sensibility double Impact SE cables had more illumination, more information retrieval resulting in a broad-based improvement in rendering nuances in the music, as well as richer tonality. The Audio Sensibility Impact SE was more textured and carried superior focus without stridency on the upper end of the spectrum. When the Anticables products were in the system I had to use the Gold Note PA-1175 amp on the high Damping Factor setting in order to get the flagship speaker to be more engaging; on the low Damping Factor there was too much lost in terms of continuity of the frequency spectrum, as the treble was too inhibited. However, with the Impact SE, I could switch to the low Damping Factor setting as there was better elucidated treble such that the tube amp character of the low DF setting nestled in with the speaker beautifully. Top to bottom, the Impact SE was rendering more and doing so more beautifully.

The upshot is that in the Impact SE Steven had provided a solution at approximately half the cost of using the Statement SE OCC Silver RCA or XLR Splitter Cables and the individual Anticables built into a Schroeder Method configuration. The choice of the Schroeder Method Impact SE cables is obvious. The one word of criticism of the Schroeder Method Impact SE pertains to the plastic spacers used to maintain distance between the two cables. Steven feels there is an advantage in keeping the separate cables truly separate by about 1.5” throughout their length. The spacers built into the cable can be moved about by hand, but they also can slip toward each other and become bunched up, and their right angle edges tend to catch on shelving and other cables as they are worked into position. I suggest Steven make some refinements to these spacers and put them firmly into place with rounded edges precluding such nuisances. Note that this element of the Schroeder Method is exploratory on Steven’s part and subject to change. My criticism here is not to be construed as disappointment with a final product because this is a product in development. I normally would review only a final product, but as the Schroeder Method is explored progressively and manufacturers such as Steven are involved in the exploration, such in-development analysis is expected.

 

An explored territory

An experience I had this past week serves to underscore the open-ended nature of the situation at this point. I assembled a system using Clarity Cable Organic XLR Interconnects and was overwhelmed with the performance with the Legacy Audio Whisper DSW Clarity Edition Speaker, which I have used many times with nowhere near the outcome achieved. With the aforementioned Gold Note PA-1175 and the Schroeder Method Impact SE I was hearing things I have never heard from any speaker system in my room. The effect was so complete that even the LF generated by the Whisper entirely reworked the low end of the system with the Legacy XTREME XD Subwoofers. Instantly, it altered my reference point of the high end, extending my perception of what SOTA sound in my room sounds like. All that from doubling some interconnects in conjunction with components that I had used previously.

Schroeder Method cabling is almost entirely uncharted territory at this point. The unknowns in regard to discovering relative performance vastly outnumber what is known. The following is known:

  1. It works for analog signals, both RCA and XLR
  2. It works in well-considered systems between source and preamp, and between preamp and amp.
  3. The quality of the splitters is critical to performance quality.
  4. Cabling retains its attributes, but they are magnified.Relative performance of home assembled cables versus manufactured is not established.

I feel like I have set foot upon terra incognita, a land that has bewildering experiences to discover and that little is known about. The potential experiences are invigorating as they hold promise of experiences vastly superior to what I have enjoyed the past 30 years.

For readers contemplating trying the Schroeder Method, it will be uncharted territory, but one that has potential to bring untold positive changes to your listening sessions. Even if you do not pursue the Schroeder Method, Audio Sensibility cables are worth pursuing. I hope to work my way up the line and see what wonders await with the upper end models. Audio Sensibility has won my respect—and my recommendation.

 

Copy editor: Dan Rubin

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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