Line Level - Interconnects
Our lineup is very simple with two tiers of cables: the Headwaters and the Wind River. The wire and architecture in the two models differs dramatically, with the Wind River being a complex construction that's configured in-house.
Click the thumbnail photo (or this link) for a product overview, along with commentary on lessons we've learned about auditioning and configuring cables in your system.
If you have no time to read it, then know this: think strategically and save time and money. Select your power and speaker cables first, because they will influence your assessment of interconnects.
These musings are by no means our final thoughts on the matter, and while your approach may differ, our hope is to stimulate further thought.
Having said that, scroll down to view our two interconnects.
Wind River - from $845
Introductory Pricing (includes 72 hour burn-in)
RCA Termination (shielded or unshielded):
- .5m: $845
- 1.0m: $895
- 1.5m: $975
- 2.0m: 1,095
XLR Termination: add $175 for ETI Kryo.
- Effective Wire Gauge: 24.5
- Maximum length: 2m
- Capacitance – RCA (unshielded): 17pF / foot
- Capacitance – RCA (shielded): 32pF / foot
- Capacitance – XLR (shielded): 17pF / foot (positive to negative)
- Capacitance – XLR (shielded): 26pF / foot (positive to shield & negative to shield)
Wind River Construction:
- Copper litz wire
- ETI Kryo Low Mass Connectors (RCA or XLR/balanced)
- Cotton sleeving for ideal dielectric behavior
- Shielded cables have a braided, tinned copper shield
Most manufacturers blow their horn over the use of Teflon, foamed PTFE, etc. We’re not most manufacturers. The only dielectric in the Wind Rivers is the heat shrink used for strain-relief, and the thin enamel in the litz wire's construction (along with the serving wrapped around the wire).
Choosing cotton for the jacket was based on sonics, and was validated by our beta test group and several local customers.
We manufacture the Wind River in-house, and it is a labor of love - taking about 4 hours to build a 1m interconnect.
Headwaters - from $249
Don’t underestimate these cables based on their price. If we priced them based on their sonics, we’d charge much more, but we’re bringing them to you based on their manufacturing cost.
If these cables were phono cartridges, the Headwaters would be an EMT, and the Wind Rivers have more of a Lyra/Dynavector presentation.
Click here for the full story of the Headwaters cable project.
Pricing (includes 72 hour burn-in)
- 1m: $249 (RCA shielded/unshielded or balanced)
- Longer lengths: $10 per additional meter
Standard connectors are ETI Copper Link RCAs or Neutrik XLRs
- ETI Copper Link XLRs: add $80 to above price
- ETI Kryo RCAs: add $80 to above price
- ETI Kryo XLRs: add $189 to above price
- Effective Wire Gauge: 22 AWG
- Capacitance: 23 pf/foot
- PVC and polyethylene insulation (we prefer these to Teflon)
- ETI Copper LINK RCAs or Neutrik XLRs
Optional connectors noted above.
- These kits are sold with no technical support, and there are no refunds for any reason. We assume you know how to build cables, and these are priced accordingly.
- ETI RCA connectors are very difficult to solder. Even an experienced builder runs the risk of ruining a connector by applying too much heat. Ruin one connector and there goes your cost savings. There are no refunds for ruined connectors or any other reason.
- The Furutech connectors are nearly as good (but we prefer the ETI in this application). If you're familiar with soldering Cardas RCAs, you'll have no problems with these, but know that we selected the ETIs in our standard build for a reason.
Click on the link above for an expanded commentary on our cabling philosophy. There’s no one size fits all solution, and we can walk you through the decision making process.
Conversion Cables Available
Balanced to unbalanced conversions: applications where a balanced device is connected to an unbalanced device.
MC Step-up Transformer to Phono Stage
Due to the unpredictability of your step-up’s construction, internal shielding, and grounding scheme, combined with the characteristics of your electronics, this is the one one application where we recommend a shielded cable.
The good news is that our shielded cables are still very low in capacitance (see above).
Most noise issues associated with MC step-up transformers are due to magnetic interaction however (where cable shielding doesn’t help), and this is typically addressed by re-positioning and/or reorienting the transformer (laying it on its side, its face, etc.)
While we recommend as short a length as possible, you’ll need to consider the possibility of having to rotate the transformer or move it in order to determine its quietest position. Too short of a cable may restrict you in this regard.
Ideally, we would use a .5m (19.5″) length, but we can adjust it to your requirements.
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!