We make some bold claims in this section and we don’t expect you to believe us. Contact us about no-risk cable demos, trust your ears and enjoy the music.
The word is beginning to get out, and here’s what one owner had to say. Early adopters will be rewarded with world-class cables at introductory pricing.
Our minimalist design interconnects and speaker cables have an unconventional appearance. The audiophile world has grown accustomed to “garden hose” sized cables, which we consider to be the antithesis of good design.
Some of the key features and benefits of our designs:
- Tone colors come alive
- Dynamics have startling realism due to minimal energy storage
- Ease of handling – complicated equipment racks are difficult enough to manage without having to route stiff cables
- 60 minute break-in – virtually no dielectric in their construction
For an in-depth discussion of our design approach, click the “Technical” tab.
Spring Creek – Line Level Interconnect
Development of the NiWatt amplifiers exposed the flaws in our current cabling. This theme runs through all of our cable products.
The NiWatts showed us how unsuitable many materials are for audio, not the least of which is Teflon.
The near ubiquitous use of Teflon in mainstream audio, combined with our experience with ETI connectors mandated that we develop our own interconnects, and the result is the Spring Creek.
We think you’ll find these cables to be a breath of fresh air. Contact us for details about no-risk demos.
- Copper litz wire
- ETI Kryo Low Mass Connectors (RCA or XLR/balanced).
- Cotton sleeving for ideal dielectric behavior
- Shielded cables have a braided copper shield
- Click the “Technical” tab for more construction details
- Effective Wire Gauge: 24.5
- Maximum length: 5 feet / 1.5m
- Capacitance – RCA (shielded & unshielded): 17pF / foot
- Capacitance – XLR: 17pF / foot (positive to negative)
- Capacitance – XLR: 26pF / foot (positive to shield & negative to shield)
Introductory Pricing (all lengths up to 5 feet / 1.5m):
- RCA (shielded & unshielded): $895
- XLR (Balanced and Shielded): $995
In most cases, we recommend the unshielded version (lower capacitance). Step-up transformer to phono stage is one key exception (see below).
Conversion cables available:
Balanced to unbalanced conversions: applications where a balanced device is connected to an unbalanced device.
Step-up transformer to phono stage.
For this application, we recommend shielding.
This cable should be as short as is practical and as low capacitance as possible. Our cables have a capacitance of 17pF/foot. We typically build this cable in an 18 inch (50cm) length.
The reason length is important in this position is because a step-up transformer multiplies the cable’s effective capacitance by 100 (this is for a 1:10 step-up transformer). In other words, a one foot interconnect in this position has the effective capacitance of a 100 foot interconnect!
Wind River – Speaker Cable
The NiWatt amplifiers showed us the way. They are extremely revealing, and every speaker cable we tried had some sort of flaw. The NiWatts are truth-tellers.
During prototyping, we evaluated the Wind River cables in low and medium efficiency systems. We made minor adjustments, and are comfortable in saying that these cables have near-universal compatibility. Here’s a bit of background on their development.
Every pair of NiWatt amplifiers sold will be delivered with a single wire set of these cables (biwire optional).
- 9 gauge, tinned copper (no, it’s not Duelund – we manufacture the wire to our specifications).
- Gold plated copper Furutech FT-211(G) spade lugs. Furutech FT-212(G) Bananas are optional.
- Cotton sleeving for best dielectric performance
- Click the “Technical” tab for more construction details
Introductory Pricing for single run with either Furutech FT-211(G) spade lugs or FT-212(G) bananas:
- 4 feet: $995
- 6 feet: $1,095
- 8 feet: $1,195
- longer lengths available (inquire)
Banana Plugs – Furutech FT-212(G):
Until we found the Furutechs, we haven’t been able to endorse a suitable banana connector alternative to high quality spades.
While the ETI bananas are very good, they could not accommodate our 9 gauge cable.
The Furutechs are every bit as good as the ETI bananas and have the added bonus of a secure and easily handled locking mechanism
Our general recommendation is to run separate speaker cables for flexibility:
- One set terminated with spades at both ends.
- The second set employing a half set of bananas – terminated with bananas at the amplifier end and spades at the speaker end.
Fall River – Power Cable
It’s unlikely that we would have developed these cables had we not been working on the NiWatt amplifiers.
The NiWatts are truth-tellers, and a perfect platform for evaluating so little as 1″ of wire.
After settling on a design that made the NiWatts happy, we brought the Fall River cables to customers whose systems have different architectures (high power push pull amplifiers, solid-state phono stages, etc.). Our customers came to recognize the universality of these cables.
Contact us for details about no-risk demos. We encourage you to compare these against cost no object cables. These cables are honestly priced with a money-back guarantee. Do not underestimate these cables because of their price. We could easily charge 10 times their selling price, but that’s not how we roll here at Galibier.
Every Galibier turntable and pair of NiWatt amplifiers will be delivered with these cables. The NiWatts and our turntables deserve nothing less.
Using them to run our turntables (in conjunction with a Teddy Pardo power supply) was perhaps the biggest surprise – an upgrade equivalent to the power supply itself!
- 12 gauge, UL 62 and 1581 certified, PVC jacketed cable
- Wattgate IEC connector (optional ETI Legato IEC – see below)
- Pass & Seymour wall plug (optional ETI Legato power connector – see below)
Available in the four colors shown. This may seem trivial, but we’ve found color coding your cables to reduce confusion when things get “busy” behind your rack.
Introductory Pricing (ETI Legato pricing in parenthesis):
- 4 feet: $495 ($795 for ETI Legato)
- 6 feet: $695 ($995 for ETI Legato)
- 8 feet: $895 ($1,195 for ETI Legato)
- 10 feet: $995 ($1,295 for ETI Legato)
ETI Legato Connector Upgrade:
Contact us for details about these wonderful connectors, and read about our impressions of them here.
Note: for customers who purchased power cables built with our standard connectors before we released the ETI Legatos (January 15, 2020), we’ll rebuild your cables with ETI Legato connectors for $375. Contact us for details about this as well.
This applies to power (mains) cables and interconnects from all manufacturers!! Never remove or otherwise disable the safety/earth ground on the power (mains) cable of any of your electronics!
Many audiophiles will remove the safety/earth ground (the third prong) from their power (mains) cables. They will leave only one mains cable with an active 3rd, ground prong – typically, their line stage.
They do this in an attempt to eliminate ground loops.
This is a violation of safety code and should be avoided at all costs. You do not want to die for your hobby!
Bypassing the mains ground on any of your power cables presents two safety problems:
- It puts the burden on the interconnects to carry the safety ground. A safety ground running through an interconnect can fail when potentially lethal currents are present.
- Some electronics “float” the signal. This means that the “ground” on your RCA/XLR is not not connected to the chassis. With these designs, if the mains cable ground is disabled, the chassis is no longer grounded.
If you have a hum problem (ground loop), contact your component manufacturers for a solution, or alternatively, or implement isolation transformers between the offending components.
In the early days of radio, some chassis had a 50% chance of carrying high voltage! Here’s an interesting read on the All American 5 radio. Scroll to the section: “Potential Hazards of the Design”.
Clear Creek – Tonearm Interconnect
This cable is a close relative of the Spring Creek line level interconnect.
A 5-pin DIN connector with either RCA (unbalanced) or XLR (balanced) connectors to link your tonearm to your step-up transformer, phono stage, or preamp.
The Clear Creek takes the same minimalist approach as our Spring Creek interconnects.
- Copper litz wire
- ETI Kryo Low Mass Connectors (RCA & XLR/balanced).
- Cardas 5-pin DIN connector
- Internal cotton sleeving for ideal dielectric behavior
- Braided copper shield
- Click the “Technical” tab for more construction details
- Capacitance: 17pf per foot
- Effective Wire Gauge: 24
- Maximum (standard) length: 4 feet / 1.2m
- RCA termination: $895
- XLR (balanced) termination: $995
Our interconnects and speaker cables are minimalist designs which follow Western Electric design principles: ultra low capacitance and minimal use of plastic (only small bits of heat shrink). We use cotton sleeving in place of Teflon.
Material selection for connectors is as critical to the end results as wire and architecture.
Many manufacturers’ connector design decisions are influenced by cosmetics at the expense of sound.
One example is the popularity of using an intermediate layer of nickel plating over the base metal (finishing off with gold or rhodium). This nickel layer serves only to facilitate a shiny finish, at the expense of sonics.
We think that cables are tools and not jewels, and Furutech and ETI’s obsessive attention to their connectors’ metallurgy is but one reason we specify them for our cabling. Scroll down for more information about ETI and Furutech.
A word about capacitance …
The professional audio world knows the importance of low capacitance cables, but it’s generally glossed over in most manufacturers’ specifications.
Of course, capacitance is only part of the story. Low capacitance doesn’t guarantee good sound, but high capacitance is most certainly its enemy.
Out with Teflon
While having very low capacitance, our experiments with Teflon insulation yielded comments from our listening panel which included words like: “sanitized”, “threadbare”, “uninvolving”, and “it sounds like hi-fi instead of music”. One individual commented that the presentation reminded them of an over-damped listening room.
We had similar observations about the use of Teflon during development of the NiWatt amplifier, and we eliminated it from our design during early prototyping stages.
About cotton sleeving:
If you’re using cable lifters to good effect, then you need to hear our cotton-sleeved, polyester-free interconnects and speaker cables.
Cotton is the next best thing to air in terms of its dielectric qualities. Every demo we’ve performed has resulted in unanimous preference for cotton over polyester braid. We comment further about it in this blog post, this post, and this post.
We demonstrate this effect by slipping polyester braid over our cables. To date, not a single person has preferred the sound of the polyester. The polyester adds a “gritty” overlay to the upper frequencies.
Audiophiles have taken to using cable lifters for the same reason we’ve eliminated polyester braid – because of an electrostatic effect whether it be from braid, or a cable’s proximity to a synthetic carpet.
60 Minute Break-in
It so happens that the best sounding materials have the most benign dielectric, requiring little to no break-in. How does it get better than that? By the time your system is warmed up, your signal cables are broken in!
We have a word for components with long break-in periods: unstable. You’ll never hear us telling you to wait for 400 hours to break in your interconnects or speaker cables.
For compliance and safety reasons, our power cables are fully jacketed. They are burned in at the factory for 72 hours and after an hour in your system, they reach full performance.
Due to its construction, litz has extraordinary high frequency performance, and when used in the appropriate gauge, transmits full bandwidth. You’ve likely read about skin effect, so we won’t repeat ourselves, but a good overview of litz can be found here if you’re interested.
The only negative is that it is extremely labor intensive to work with and very difficult to fabricate in longer lengths.
We’ve had excellent results with litz in our interconnects.
Tin Plated Copper
With our speaker cables, we’ve found that crimping the connectors results in superior signal transfer, compared to soldered connections.
Unfortunately, Litz requires tinning the ends in a solder pot to remove the enamel insulation prior to termination. This works well with interconnects, whose connectors must be soldered.
With speaker cables, the presence of solder on the litz leads results in an inferior cable when either crimped or soldered in comparison with tin platted copper wire crimped to the connectors.
As much as we like litz, it’s not the right solution for speaker cables.
The ergonomic design of their locking mechanism is a bonus that’s not lost on us, but it would be meaningless if they didn’t deliver the “sonic goods”.
Furutech’s IEC connectors are the connector of choice for our power cables.
ETI’s lineage lies in the Eichman Bullet connector which subsequently became the KLE connector. If you’re interested in tracing ETI’s ancestry, click this link (opens in new window). These were the first low mass connectors introduced to the audiophile community and they continue to set the benchmark in performance, in spite of being copied by several well-known companies.
ETI continues raising the bar, and their Kryo line is the latest expression of this design. The contacts are fabricated from Tellurium copper with silver plating. No intermediate layer of nickel is applied. Manufacturers add a layer of nickel for cosmetic purposes, at the expense of performance.
The ground pin on these connectors is of a harder copper, to provide durability and a more secure connection. Lastly, an optimized cryogenic protocol is applied to these connectors.
Similar attention was paid to their XLR connectors, and ETI re-engineered the female XLR. Where common industry practice is to use rolled brass base sheet to form the female pins, ETI considered brass to be unacceptable. For mechanical reasons, a rolled copper pin, is impractical, and they developed a CNC machining process (optimizing the conductor’s wall thickness) to create the female pins from solid Tellurium copper bar stock.