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Connectors - Audionote versus Vampire RCAs
As you certainly know, the connectors have significantly improved over the past years: this sector is one of the most dynamic with the cables one. We all know that good connectors are a part of the equation to get a high end system.
Amongst the dufferent types of connectors, the RCA asymetrical ones are probably the most quality sensitive, and the ones that can produce tha biggest sonic differences in a system.
At Threshold-Lovers, we have the chance to own a state-of-the-art DAC, the latest revision of the Counterpoint DA-10 in its 24bits/96kHz version, equiped with a Rapture Premium DAC card and PLITRON transformers.

This DAC, -which has nothing in common with the original Counterpoint DA-10 except the cabinet...-, has got an RCA output connectors upgrade with the AUDIONOTE Ag Teflon insulated RCA connectors approximately 18 months ago. We wanted to know, on a perfectly known and higest quality DAC, if 2 state-of-the-art RCA connectors could make a sonic difference.
So we have replaced these AUDIONOTE connetors by the VAMPIRE CM1F/CB Copper OFC Teflon insulated, that are the top level of the Vampire connectors. This choice has been made without any idea of the possible result, we just wanted to check if a difference couls be identified.

AUDIONOTE Ag Teflon insulated VAMPIRE Cu OFC Teflon insulated (CM1F/CB)
audionote_rca_chassis.jpg vampire_rca_chassis_cmf1-cb.jpg
The cable used for our comparison is a SIGNAL CABLE Silver Resolution, the same that we have been using for years in this system, equiped with the famous EICHMANN Silver Bullet male connectors. So the modulation line is mainly using silver.

Regarding the solder, we had the choice between the AUDIONOTE Ag or the new WONDER Solder Signature that gains a highly regarded reputation. This one is available in 4 versions: Signature or not, and unleaded or not. This solder is available from PERCY AUDIO for example.

Last remark : the AUDIONOTE were perfectly burned in , as they have been used for 18 months, whereas the Vampire are totally new.

Setup and practical aspects:

The installation is a no problem experience: both connectors are easy to install, the soldering is easy too.
The mechanical quality of the 2 connectors is very good.
We could just expect to have more available space in the chassis, but this is independant from the connectors.

So regarding the mechanical quality, both connectors are excellent.

Sonic results of the AUDIONOTE and VAMPIRE.

This is of course the most important point for us, and we could ask ourselves "can we really ear a difference between 2 state-of-the-art connectors ?".
Well, not only the answer is yes, but the difference is HUGE ! The 2 connectors provide a totally different sound.

The AUDIONOTE Ag provides a sound with an excellent bass: the bass section of this connector is simply the best that I have eared to date. Period. It is extremely punchy, incredibly alive, and offers all the qualities we can expect from a bass section.
The medium/high sections are pleasant, no more, and we have no additional comment until we lesson to the VAMPIRE CM1F/CB.

The VAMPIRE CM1F/CB is a totaly different connector. It is not slightly different but offers a totaly different sound. The bass section is not as good as the AUDIONOTE one by a large margin: it is softer and largely less punchy, but the rest, I mean the medium and high sections are just... magic !
These sections are incredibly juicy, varied, alive elegant, pure, etc... I suspect the OFC copper to be seriously responsible of that...
The scene is large, beautiful, and the nuances are perfectly reproduced.
We could say that the AUDIONOTE are less analogic, provide a less beautiful sound that the OFC copper based VAMPIRE.

What is the conclusion ?

Gloabally, I have found the AUDIONOTE Ag less pleasant than the VAMPIRE CM1F/CB.

But in a bi-amplified system for example, it is certainly an excellent idea to used the AUDIONOTE Ag connectors on the bass part of the system, and the VAMPIRE CM1F/CB in the mid-high section.

In a tube based system with a sweet bass section, the AUDIONOTE connectors may bring the missing punch in the bass...
In a punchy transistors class A based system, that would provide a lot of punch in the bass, the VAMPIRE CM1F/CB could bring the "magic and sweet sound of the tubes" for a few dollars...

For the time being, I keep the VAMPIRE CM1F/CB, but I will probably test other state-of-the-art RCA connectors in the near future, such as the WBT Ag or WBT Cu Nextgen to try to identify if one of them would be a better compromise...

Remember that the RCA connectors DO make a huge sonic difference !

audionote_rca_chassis.jpg TL_5.jpg vampire_rca_chassis_cmf1-cb.jpg

Discuss about this articles and RCA connectors in our Forum by using this DIRECT link !

Article written by Nounours18200


Creation date : 30/05/2010 @ 12:17
Last update : 19/01/2016 @ 17:33
Category : Connectors
Page read 692 times

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