Publisher Profile APPEARANCE - Editor - Theme Header Google Adsense Top Banner

Wireworld Platinum Eclipse Interconnects And Gold Starlight 6 Digital Cable Review

A guide of using cabling to tune a rig to one's preferences

By: |

An Experiment With Digital Cables

Wireworld Gold Starlight 6 digital cable

Back when I conducted my first review of Wireworld cables including the Eclipse 52 speaker cables and Equinox 52 interconnects, I was sent by mistake two of the Gold Starlight Digital cables with RCA terminations. My curiosity moved me to experiment using them as interconnects. For many months I have used these in a variety of systems to assess the affect upon the sound.

As this review required an upgraded Gold Starlight 6 Digital cable, I cajoled David into sending another along to further my experiment. Dave was clear on the matter, stating that there is more “loss” with the Digital cables than with the proper interconnects. I found the nuanced differences between these products to be useful to dial in a system. Particularly, with a combination of overly bright-sounding gear the digital cables were most helpful in toning down the brightness and making the rig palatable.

This is not a review of digital cables, nor is their use as interconnects being the proper application for them. David has been gracious to allow me the latitude to venture into this territory, giving me complete freedom with his products to reach my own conclusions. He knows I am clearly using them cross-purpose. We have discussed the experiences which I am describing below in great detail. Some cable manufacturers would not be as open to experimentation, and I thank David for his graciousness.

In a nutshell, here are my findings, using as an example of the dozens of tests two tracks from the Jazziz on Disc July /Aug ’08 Women in Jazz vol. 9 sampler. The first is Erin Bode’s “Chasin’ After You” and the second is Mindi Abair’s “Stars”. I used these tracks to compare the Gold Starlight, and the Gold Starlight 6 digital cables acting as interconnects to the Platinum Eclipse interconnects. A better Redbook source I have not had the pleasure of using, as the newly released Ayon CD-5 was just ushered into my room within the month. It’s resolving power and mammoth presentation of soundstage, coupled with a silky smooth sound, was perfect in laying to rest my questions. My findings:

* Precision, clarity and focusing power of these cables increase as one moves up the line from the Gold Starlight, to the GS 6, to the Platinum Eclipse.

* David’s explanation of inductive loss being reduced as one moves up the line was confirmed.

* In certain applications the loss was useful to address a collection of components which were otherwise harsher or edgy sounding. In those cases the highest level of cables allowed all that edginess to come through, however using the cables with slightly less revelatory powers, or higher loss, reduced the sonic glare and made the system more acceptable.

* With an ideal rig, utilizing components suited for each other, the proper interconnect was most engaging and the top model Platinum Eclipse was the best performer.

Further Interconnect Investigation

WireworldPE-7

I also found listening level as well as selection of power cords to have an impact on these subjective judgments, sometimes overturning previous conclusions. I conducted listening tests first at reduced levels, but repeated them at higher levels. Attention must be paid to one’s listening habits when selecting the interconnect proper for the system. At lower levels the Gold Starlight was warmer sounding but significantly obscured the treble, yielding a pleasant emphasis on midrange and bass, albeit nearly a “suckout” in treble. This was the proverbial, “…could listen to it all day,” sound with zero fatigue. While the level was left low, I found I appreciated the extra treble information offered when switching to the Platinum Eclipse.

When the level was raised, the bass emphasis was more pronounced, and the reduction of the treble information was even more noticeable. The Gold starlight 6 improved upon this by reintroducing an acceptable level of treble. The Platinum interconnect was at the optimum point of teetering between detail and warmth. With elevated listening levels it was more obvious that the singers’ voices were “plumped”, made to be deeper, but not necessarily more true to nature (at this point one’s choice becomes very subjective). The Platinum Eclipse made the women’s voices a bit leaner, but with more noticeable nuances in their expression.

Moving from the all-copper Electra 52 power cord to the silver coated oxygen-free copper Silver Electra 52 power cord allowed me to find the knife’s edge with thesystem. The effect of installing the silver coated power cord was akin to changing out a jeweler’s or coin collector’s loupe for one of a higher resolving power. Detail sprang to life, but so did the potential for too much brightness. Indeed, at higher levels and with the Platinum Eclipse, the information retrieval was exemplary, but the brightness was a tad too extreme. Rather than lose detail by dropping down to one of the digital cables, I returned to the copper power cord to recapture some warmth to the sound.

Having conducted these extensive listening tests, would I recommend to anyone that they first seek out digital cables in lieu of interconnects of the same manufacturer’s line? No. However, if the rig was problematic andone was quite taken by the sound of the cabling in general, it certainly would not be a waste of time, and just might be the perfect solution.

Digital Cables As Digital Cables

I actually used the digital cables for what they were purposed, and I found that their essential sonic properties were consistent with my previous findings. With the Monarchy NM-24 and the internal DAC of the Ayon CD-5, the Gold Starlight seemed a bit more robust in the bass due seemingly to the reduction of some top-end information, and a bit light or less energetic in the treble compared to the newer Gold Starlight 6. In every application I used the GS 6, it was cleaner, fuller, and more engaging. This cable took the performance of my favorite economical digital separates, the Cambridge Audio Azur 840C and Monarchy NM-24 (April 2008 Review), to a new peak. The improvement was such that I was considering working with the pairing longer term – until the CD-5 showed up!

Running the digital output from the Sonos Digital Music System’s module, the ZP-80, to the Ayon’s DAC brought a wide smile to my face. The result struck me as at the approximate sound quality of the earlier Ayon CD-2. That may sound like horrible exaggeration to those who own or have heard the CD-2. However, hold your criticism of it until you have heard the CD-5. It is so good that even modest streaming sources are massively upgraded in sound. In every instance of usage, the older model Gold Starlight had been improved upon. The link between the streaming audio source and the DAC is absolutely critical, and anyone with an exquisite system should not be satisfied with “good enough” for a digital cable.

Geometry Does Not Trump Conductor Material

In terms of detail retrieval, each successive generation of Wireworld design does eclipse the former. However, tonally the helix geometry cannot obviate the influence of the conductor material. As such, one may still want to mix it up in terms of copper and silver-clad copper cables. I have spent considerable resources in this review showing how one can use cabling to tune a rig to one’s preferences. As the sunlight’s movement across a panoramic vista can elicit different emotions from the viewer, so also different pairings of Wireworld cables within a set system context can elicit different emotions from the listener. As a preference, knowing the resolving power of the Platinum line, I have learned through experimentation to begin there, and if necessary soften the sound with some copper power cords.

Where is the Platinum line to be placed among cables of different manufacturers? In my experience, they are to be placed among the very best. These are extreme cables at extreme prices, and obviously not your everyday audiophile wires. Does one need them to have a great system? No. Have they been used by me to repeatedly build great systems? Yes. I have used Wireworld consistently in putting together $30-50K rigs, and occasionally $75-100K rigs, and in all occurrences have been able to achieve the results I have wanted. I cannot say that with the majority of cables I have used, as I have often found flaws which have kept them from being for me “ultimate cables”. I have found no such fatal sonic flaw in Wireworld designs. I have enthusiastically endorsed the lower lines of Wireworld, and continue to strongly recommend them. Here, I strongly endorse the Platinum Eclipse interconnects and Gold Starlight 6 Digital cables as suitable for the finest of systems. They are to me audio system Fixers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By : XYZScripts.com