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dual connect

DC-100 gold interconnects

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

 

ROBERT H. LEVI'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Avalon Eidolon and REL Stadium III subwoofer.

ELECTRONICS
E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, E.A.R. 890 amplifier, Pass X1 preamplifier, and an E.A.R. 834L tube line stage, and NuForce 9.02 amplifiers.

SOURCES
VPI Scout/JMW 9 tonearm, VPI SDS Controller, ZYX R100H phono cartridge. ModWright Sony 999 SACD/CD Player with Signature Truth, Mod/Bybee Filters and Revelation Cryo Silver Umbilical. Pioneer DVL 919 LD/DVD Player, and a Marantz DV8400 DVD/SACD/CD player. Magnum Dynalab MD-108 Reference Tuner, Marantz 10B tuner, and Scott 350B FM tuner, AQ 7500 FM Antenna, Stax 7t Electrostatic headphones, Grado Reference 1 headphones, and a Grado headphone amplifier.

CABLES
Harmonic Technology CyberLight interconnects, Soundstring interconnects and speaker cables, or Kimber Select balanced, Kimber TAK phono AG, Kimber Hero balanced and single ended interconnects, Eichmann Express 6 Series 2 interconnects, and Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II balanced interconnects. Kimber D-60 Digital Interconnects. Kimber Select 3038 Silver speaker cables, Harmonic Technology Magic Reference Silver speaker cables.

ACCESSORIES
Monster Reference 350 Mark II v2 Power Conditioner and World Power Power Wing, Kimber Palladian power cables, Tara RSC and Decade power cables, Tiff power cables, Tice power cables, Tice Clock, and Audio Prism Quiet Line IIs. Cable Cooker 2.5, Winds Stylus Pressure Gage, Bedini Ultra Clarifier, VPI Record Cleaning Machine 16.5, Soundstring Pro Power Cables, and Kimber Pro 10 Gold Power Cables.

 

With breathtaking definition, dramatic black backgrounds, solid Rock of Gibraltar imaging, and ultra sophisticated textural nuance, the Dual Connects are the first all gold interconnects in the world, and represent the "Gold Standard" for high-end metal cables in this price range. At an amazingly low cost of less than $1000 for a single ended meter, their performance versus cost ratio makes Mt. Everest look like a hill. I have always wondered what solid gold might sound like—it is pure audiophile heaven on earth!

Distributed by Electrum Audio of California—who distributes Western Electric, KR Tubes, Alps, Elma, Caddock, and numerous other world-renowned brands—the Danish made Dual Connects come in two lengths of single ended and balanced design: half meter and one meter lengths. Supplied as a simple braid of three 35 AWG strands of four nines pure gold solid core Teflon coated wires, they have only 15pf per meter of capacitance, which as far as I know, is the lowest in the world. Soldered in silver solder to the best gold plated Eichmann bullet plugs, they are truly the definition of "highly flexible", though as is typical of bullet plugs, the Eichmanns are a challenge to connect. Being unshielded, they were just as quiet (maybe more so) than any of the heavily shielded cables I have experienced.

The Dual Connect interconnects have very close to no sound of their own. With a slightly lean character overall, they have the kind of supreme definition and colorlessness of the pure silver or other rare metals with almost all of the powerful traction and super smooth linearity of the top all-copper brands. They are a bit sweet like the Kimber Select copper—but with much more definition—and have the powerful drive of the Kubala-Sosna Emotion. They remind me of the $4000 Silversmith Palladium in terms of their openness and you are there musical presentation. Their colorlessness, combined with superb imaging and high-powered pacing, is addictive. From the tiptop to the lowest octave, there is nary a lump or bump. The music comes through almost like there is no cable at all. Speaking of no cable at all, I compared them to the Harmonic Technology Cyberlight fiber optic non-metal cables. The Cyberlights do not sound like the Dual Connects. The Cyberlights are somewhat richer and warmer overall though similarly open sounding and fast—I will have more about this later.

Comparing the Dual Connects to cables within their price range turned out to be a waste of time. Most of my references under $1000 sounded overly rich and euphonic when compared to the Dual Connects. Those that came close in overall definition were dry or bright sounding. I had to ultimately rely on my best cable references to understand the performance of these golden beauties.

In my SET system, I placed the Dual Connects between my Cary amp and E.A.R. 834L preamp. The sound was nearly indescribable. Let us say it was like hearing inside the rare NOS tubes in the 834 selected, just for me, by Dan Meinwald (US distributor for E.A.R.). On the other hand, the sound was just a bit leaner than the Cyberlights they replaced, but the Dual Connects had a different "ultra-open musical character" that was just as equally charming. Overall, the Dual Connects were a Cyberlight "lite," so to speak, with slightly less dynamic slam, just a touch brighter, and with an overall quicker musical pacing. Like the Cyberlights, they had a grain-free musical texture.

In the Avalon system, the Dual Connects were used between the Sony Modwright 999 and Pass X1 preamp, with the 5 meter balanced Cyberlights remaining between the Pass X1 and the NuForce 9.02 amps. In this configuration, the Dual Connects sounded 99% the same as heard in the SET set-up, even with the long run of balanced Cyberlights down stream. I once called the Cyberlights chameleons and this has never been truer! As such, I was able to pin down the overall musical oeuvre of the one-meter single ended gold Dual Connects.

Let's start with the bass. Combined with the bass drive of my NuForce 9.02s, it is a wild ride at Disneyland. The bass drum comes out of total blackness with a thwack of unstoppable speed and texture. Bass fiddles were a bit more neutral sounding than usual, being oh so realistic and ultra detailed with life-like imaging. Music sounded less like a recording and more like a live event. In my lexicon, neutral is good if it is not relentless or fatiguing. This neutral was just right, as it allowed you to hear into the image of the instruments. I grade the bass an A-. Gold is good.

Next are the mids. With the trend setting imaging—and I do mean nearly perfect imaging - the Dual Connects are some of the most honest realistic midrangers around. I did not have a metal wire interconnect in house that presented midrange textures and that "reach out and touch it" definition any better than the Dual-Connects. I just love their sense of honesty and intimacy, along with any lack of noise or other added artifacts. On the other hand, in either system, they did seem to emphasize tape hiss just a bit over other cables. However, with newer recordings (those made without hiss), music floated in the space between, outside of, and behind my Avalons. I am tempted to call these cables real contenders for the best in delicate retrieval of textural nuance, but let us just say that they easily compete with those extremely expensive brands you all know. With the Dual Connects, you will "experience" the midrange and enjoy the performance of your best recordings and components. I grade the mids as A.

Now the highs. The Dual Connects have the most delicate and accurate bell and triangle sound I have ever heard in a metal wire cable. They redefine sparkle and air. The treble has all the same attributes as the mids; the same traction and pacing and a complete lack of edginess. Normally, neither my SET nor Avalon system have any edge, tuned to the brink, if you will, for the highest definition. Therefore, one will clearly hear a cable that is slightly tizzy. The Dual Connects are slippery smooth and completely free of unwanted coloration in the highs and just bloom, bloom, and bloom. I must give the highs an A +!

Just wait until you hear vocals with these cables. You will clearly hear the voice and any artificial sweetening, as separate sounds. Ambience around voices is perfectly rendered and unforced. Textural cues within the voices are so focused, they are hard to describe. I have never heard anything quite like this in a wire cable under $1000! The Dual Connects will provide the listener a re-education of the music on your best discs. I cannot wait to have Dual Connect do a feature presentation at a Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society event.

Reinstalling my reference tube amplifier, the superb E.A.R. 890, yielded greater sonic insights, but remember, the Cyberlights are still in the circuit between the amp and preamp. My first reaction was one of awe. The textural beauty and image specificity were totally satisfying. The images were vital and real. There was no fuzz or grain. I have never heard this amp sound better …ever. True music emerged from total darkness and with not a hint of edginess or strain …how sad the Dual Connects are not priced $2000 to $4000 per pair. Then I would be able to review them as an all out assault on the state of the art. Too bad for me, but really good for you!

I have heard sound very similar to the Dual Connects before with the E.A.R. 890—the HT Cyberlights, Silversmith Palladium, Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Jorma #1 Reference, Nordost Valhalla, Kimber Select Silver, along with a few others I cannot recall. All cut from the same ultra-musical cloth, though it is easy to tell them apart. Even so, there is a life-like feel—make that a connection—between the Dual Connects and tube amps. It focuses them while retaining a musical modesty—a veracity of tone and texture that is just spot on right. What is so intriguing is a newfound difficulty in describing precisely how they sound—and any perceptible flaws they may possess. Those heard with the NuForce Amps are simply absent with the E.A.R. 890. Intimate sounding—more front of hall—the Dual Connects may be some of the most invisible metal interconnects I have heard to date. They were faithful to the input.

I run my REL Stadium 3 Sub with the E.A.R. 890, and with the Dual Connect, the bass is outstanding. The E.A.R. 890/REL combo's bass, leaves nothing to be desired. I would describe the mid bass and deep bass as authoritative, precise, exciting, textured, and musical, with crystal clear and focused images. More focused and imaged than any $1000 cable …ever.

It is obvious that the folks at DACT in Denmark measured and listened to these cables during their development. Their measurement sheet, as supplied with each pair, is quite extensive. They chose a time honored minimalist construction combined with solid core gold and the best connectors around. I have just replaced the sockets on my Power Wing with the gold Oyaide connectors. I know gold sounds great. Funny it took the Danes to use it in a cable and price it right. I wonder if they tried a gold shotgun design in their R&D? I can only imagine.

To test the balanced version, terminated in beautiful gold plated metal connectors, I used my modified 96kHz/HDCD Theta Gen. 5a. The Alesis Masterlink acted as the transport. I compared the balanced Dual Connects, with my favorite balanced Kimber Select Silver cables, and the Acoustic Zen Reference Silver II cables. Both comparators are more expensive than the Dual Connect at its $1149 for the one meter balanced version. The balanced cable—like the single ended cable—is 100% pure gold.

With the Kimber Select Silver balanced interconnects, everything was well defined, but a bit two-dimensional and thin. There was a bit of dryness to the sound overall, along with a subtle out of phase quality to the ambience present around voices and solo instruments. Even so, the sound was very good overall, with good expression of color and a rather intimate sound - just not as clear or well defined as I have come to expect with the more dynamic and less grainy Cyberlights.

The Acoustic Zens were definitely more alive sounding, with rounder images that popped into place. These cables had a nice swagger and drive with no dryness, whatsoever. The background was not as totally black as I am used to—there was a very low grain structure—and though very good, images could have been more accurately defined. They were also mildly euphonic and warm. These cables have about 90% silver and 10% copper. Ambience was about as good as it gets, but I still detected a touch of that out of phase quality in ambience retrieval. However, this was less than heard with the Kimber Select.

Now for the Dual Connect Balanced. First of all, images were absolutely, positively immaculate and properly colored. They floated in space surrounded by gobs of expressive ambience that belonged in the sonic picture. Backgrounds were even darker than the single ended version—not a surprise—and the net result of this extra signal to noise ratio, was to take the Dual Connects to the next level of perfection. There was no grain or grit, whatsoever. Textural cues were more right sounding—by a small amount—than heard with the single ended cables. Drive and pace were just right …not more, not less. Soundstaging, a real strength in the single ended version, was even larger and more realistic. Spatial cues—in all directions—were wondrous. Bass response was just about perfect. Overall, the Dual Connect balanced cables are, in all ways, a notch superior musically to the single ended version. They clearly surpass the more expensive Kimber and Zen in overall performance. If you run balanced cables, you will be flabbergasted by the Dual Connect balanced's life-like presentation and truthful definition of your music.

Even though they are un-shielded, I just had to try the single-ended Dual Connects as tone arm cables. I am using the Kimber TAK AG pure silver tone arm cables between the VPI and the E.A.R. 324 phono preamp. The Dual Connects worked fine with my ZYX .4mv output cartridge—noise was no problem. I did though leave the ground from the TAK AG engaged.

Simply stated, the Dual Connect is the ultimate tone arm cable I have ever auditioned. Clearly more detailed than the ultra defined Kimbers, the Dual Connects offered a more thrilling musical involvement. I do not know if DACT meant them to be used for tone arms, but holy smoke, they are simply so alive sounding and mellifluous. Their 3-D sound, coupled to incredible imaging and their smooth unflappable nature with superb pacing, brought phono to a new and higher plateau. In addition, the blackness between instruments was so intense, as to make the images that much more alive sounding. Depth perspective, right to left spatial cues, and soundstaging were the BEST I have ever heard in my system.

I kept muttering "incredible" over and over again as I listened. You'd think my $800 reference phono cables were shoe laces when compared to the Dual Connect wires. With a clear delineation from the surrounding ambience, voices simply popped into the room. Classical orchestra was live in the room and oh so deliciously natural sounding. With ultra low capacitance and nearly no reactance or inductance, they are a clear WINNER! Their ultra lightweight and flexibility makes them ideal for this application. What a find for phono and analog enthusiasts! The Dual Connects are truly "State of the Art" as tone arm cables! They are the pot of gold at the end of the analog rainbow!

In summary

Gold appears to lack nearly all of the colorations associated with silver and copper wire while retaining the best sonic features of those formulations. Though very slightly leaner and very subtly brighter when compared to my much more expensive single ended references, they never failed to produce real music in ways that engrossed and thrilled the listener. In their balanced version, the Dual Connects are even better, surpassing most of my top in house cable references with those vital sonic virtues I cherish. However, as a single ended tone arm cable, the Dual Connects dramatically surpassed my reference cables and are a "standard setting" in this application.

The Dual Connect interconnects from DACT of Denmark are the new "Gold Standard" for great sounding interconnects at this price. At less than $1000 for a single ended meter, there is absolutely nothing in the price range that can touch them for definition, precise imaging, superb quiet (and I mean silent black backgrounds), ambience retrieval, delicate nuance, lack of grain, musical pacing, or colorless neutrality. With top tube or solid-state gear, they are at home with the best cables, regardless of price. Way, way recommended!! Robert H. Levi

Most of the music used in evaluating the Dual Connect Interconnects:

  • The Carl Saunders Sextet, BluePort CD BP-J011

  • Gene Harris, The Best of the Concord Years, Concord Records CD 4930-2

  • Hovhaness Symphony 22, Cello Concerto, Naxos CD 8.559158

  • Jacintha, Here's to Ben, Groove Note SACD 1001-3

  • Rubinstein, Chopin Concertos 1&2, RCA/BMG SACD 82876-67902-2

  • Piatigorsky, Dvorak Cello Concerto, RCA/BMG SACD 82876-66375-2

  • Suppe Overtures, Mercury Living Presence, SACD 470-638-2

  • Hovhaness Mysterious Mountain, Telarc SACD 60604

  • Turtle Island String Quartet, Telarc SACD 60630

  • The Absolute Sound SACD Sampler, Telarc SACD 60011

  • Howard Hanson, Symphony No.2 etc., Telarc SACD 60649

  • SuperBass2, Telarc SACD 63483

  • Orff, Carmina Burana, Telarc SACD 60575

  • Diana Krall, Love Scenes, Impulse SACD 2841-35

  • A Song for You, FIM SACD 036

  • Duke Ellington, Blues in Orbit, Mobile Fidelity SACD 757

  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia SACD 64935

  • Isomike Sampler, Kimber SACD 2005A

  • Chick Corea, Rendezvous in NY, Stretch Records SACD 9041-2

  • Glenn Gould, Goldberg Variations, Columbia SACD 37779

  • E. Power Biggs, Four Antiphonal Organs, Columbia SACD 87983

  • Saint-Saens, Piano Concertos Vol.1, Audite SACD 92.509

  • Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, What's New, Asylum 9 LP, 60260

  • Duke Ellington, Blues in Orbit, Classic Quiex 200 Gram LP, Columbia CS8241

  • The King James Version, Harry James and his Orchestra, Sheffield LP Lab-3

  • Arthur Grumiaux, Brahms /Bruch Violin Concertos, Haitink Conducting, Phillips LP European Pressing 835234

DC-100 interconnects
Retail: $879.00 RCA, $1129 Balanced (1.0m - 3.3 ft/pair)

US Distributor
Electrum Audio

web address: www.electrumaudio.com

Dual Connect
web address: www.dual-connect.com

 

 

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