Thursday, March 22, 2012

Launch of the Aurealis R1 Interconnect

I have been making my own stereo interconnects for the last 5 years. This included trying out variety of different wires, designs and RCA connectors. Recently, however, I decided to take this a step further. For the last 3 months I have been experimenting with a number of different designs using the famous Eichmann bullet RCAs and ultra pure Neotech Teflon coated wire. The results have been way beyond what I expected, and I have now decided to commercialise the best value for money design. In fact, it sounds as good as the other designs I tried but costs less to make. I tried various braiding techniques, various gauges of wire, silver and copper wire and heavier shielding. But the Aurealis R1 which is the most minimalist design I tried still produced excellent sonic results. 
The interconnect uses 3 strands of the solid-core 7N Neotech Teflon coated wire, 20 awg copper, 24 awg copper and 28 awg silver, terminated in the Eichmann copper bullets. A loose twist of the signal wires and the signal and return paths is used to provide basic shielding against unwanted radio frequencies (RF). 

Here's a few interesting things I found out while testing out the various designs: 
  •  using more silver wire in the design didn't noticeably improve the sound. Effectively, the Eichmann copper bullets, as good as they are, limited any improvement you would get using more silver in the signal or return paths. My intention is to switch to Eichmann silver bullets for a silver wire series of the same interconnects. 
  • adding more shielding added nothing to the performance; if anything it slightly dulled the edges of the music. I live in a high RF environment and a simple twist of the wires was sufficient shielding. 
  • while a lot of people would argue that 20awg is unnecessary in interconnects, there was a noticeable improvement in the bass response when it was used in the design. Bass was more prominent and precise.  Similarly, despite the limiting aspects of the Eichmann copper bullets with silver wire, a think strand of Neotech silver (either 30 awg or 28 awg) did give a nice sparkle to the upper end.  The whole combination produces excellent clarity across the mid-range
  • not all silver solders are the same.  I tried out 3 and found that Mundorf (3.8% silver) was the best. Its melt, flow and bonding was much better than the others I tried. 
  For the packaging, I went with an approach that I felt was in keeping with the do-it-yourself (DIY) origins of the interconnects which I summed up by the term "homebrewed". The appropriation of the iconic album cover "The Who Live at Leeds"will be obvious. Thanks to online shopping, the bags, boxes and printing stamps where all readily available once I had the design concept worked out. It's been a lot of fun and a great learning experience, and I am hoping I can sell as many of these as I'm able to make. The Aurealis R1 interconnects are available from my Ebay store Audio Turntable Accessories. The introductory price is AUD$99.95.

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