Witch hat cables

I moved over to N2 after giving up on the NAC5 - that stuff so inflexible I doubt whoever designed it gave any thought to any practical consideration - and haven't thought about it since, which is always a good sign. The wire covering is a nice woven fabric if you're into tactile considerations.

WitchHat was , I think, started by an ex Naim employee familiar with the design requirements who had their own ideas of correctness.

They make some unsanctioned leads not to be discussed here. Similarly, any servicing work they do is unauthorised and invalidates any Naim warranty so beware. But their DIN to XLR interconnect was an improvement on the stock lead and very good cost performance.

I can vouch of Witchhat N2 speaker cable. A decent upgrade over NACA4, but no experience of the interconnects (yet).

Currently have a 5m run of N2 with the my UQ2 system and am very happy. During a small office refurb it meant my 4m NACA4 would no longer reach. The thought of contorting on the floor trying to thread and bend NACA5 around the many room obstacles did not appeal.

N2 came in at a reasonable price, is very flexible, nicely finished and improved on the sound a little with this modest system, but wonder if this is due more to freshly soldered cable banana plugs compared to the rather tarnished plugs on the ancient run of NACA4.

The N2 stays for now, but when I start box swapping again (more than likely next year) I’ll investigate the Phantom cable and alternatives to compare. 

Suzy Wong posted:
 Richard Dane posted:

Bob, SW, please respect forum rules, thank you.

Sorry, but please clarify which part of the rules I infringed.  As I made clear,  The cables to which I was referring do not carry DC power. 

Apologies, SW if I made a mistake.  It was late and I can't go back to double check - it did precipitate comment on those other cables..

Yes,have both the phantom and A5 cables and their is a big  difference in sound presentation not saying one is right or wrong,both very good, i would say listen to both if you can  and you may be suprised, only thing i would say if you have a bass shy system the Naim A5 would be a better choice.

I realize that low end cables sound worse than high end cables. And that all cables will have different effects on the signals passing through them. But I wonder whether many people outside the factory have compared high end cables in a true blind test. That would involve the person being tested not knowing which cable is in to start with and also not witnessing the switchover process or speaking to the person switching the cables over before doing the test. Otherwise there is enormous pressure of 1. social conformity 2. expectation bias 3. cognitive dissonance 4. experimenter effect.

So I have a theoretical interest in this question as above. But also a practical interest. I have a fairly low end system: 272/serviced 150x, 14 year-old Arivas. Will it make a significant difference if I replace my 14 year-old 8m Chord Rumour 2 with, say, 3.5m NACA5 or Phantom?

JimDog posted:

So I have a theoretical interest in this question as above. But also a practical interest. I have a fairly low end system: 272/serviced 150x, 14 year-old Arivas. Will it make a significant difference if I replace my 14 year-old 8m Chord Rumour 2 with, say, 3.5m NACA5 or Phantom?

Depends on how much oxidisation creep has attacked the two ends of the cable. After 14 years, even a well sealed cable might have 20cm creep at the ends.

Not uncommon to replace copper speaker cables every 10 years at all.

JimDog posted:

I realize that low end cables sound worse than high end cables. And that all cables will have different effects on the signals passing through them. But I wonder whether many people outside the factory have compared high end cables in a true blind test. That would involve the person being tested not knowing which cable is in to start with and also not witnessing the switchover process or speaking to the person switching the cables over before doing the test. Otherwise there is enormous pressure of 1. social conformity 2. expectation bias 3. cognitive dissonance 4. experimenter effect.

This isn't always the case,

I tested a group of Ethernet cables to see which would sound best and introduce the least destructive interference into my streamer.  I tested two 'Audiophile' cables and two generic 'Ethernet patch leads', two of the four were screened, two were UTP, all were Cat6 or above.

I didn't know which of the audiophile cables would be best, but I expected the SFTP patch lead to considerably outperform the generic UTP lead - that was obvious.

Except it wasn't...  The really cheap UTP patch lead won the test quite clearly, beating the SFTP lead and both the expensive 'audiophile cables'.

Aceone posted:

Thanks for your replys I think iam going to give them a try 

Same here, in fact I ordered a set of Phantom cables (3.5 m) last night. Always a bit of a gamble when you can't audition before buying but they have received consistently good reviews and the price is very reasonable. I recently went from Audiovector Zero Compression Avantgarde cables to NACA5 (posted in this thread: https://forums.naimaudio.com/t...ature-speaker-cables) and while on balance I prefer NACA5 in terms of musical enjoyment I do think there's improvement to be had. Hopefully, the Phantom cables will accomplish that.

JimDog posted:

I realize that low end cables sound worse than high end cables. And that all cables will have different effects on the signals passing through them. But I wonder whether many people outside the factory have compared high end cables in a true blind test. That would involve the person being tested not knowing which cable is in to start with and also not witnessing the switchover process or speaking to the person switching the cables over before doing the test. Otherwise there is enormous pressure of 1. social conformity 2. expectation bias 3. cognitive dissonance 4. experimenter effect.

A blind trial is very difficult to achieve for long enough to get past different and a doubleblind even more so, listener fatigue will also set in very early if you manage to actually set one up. Swapping the blinding for a decent ammount of time (weeks) followed by a revertion to the original usually gives a pretty good idea. The time allows for acclimatisation to any differences that my sound impressive but prove irrelevant to enjoying the music in the long run. The reversion can come as a relief or "how did I ever put up with this" and if neither than you can probably save your money.

Huge - I have a Cat 5 bog standard 2m ethernet cable running (quite tightly) from my Plusnet router into my 272. Should I change it to a cat 6 or something else? Your test is very suprising and a fascinating result. What do you think made the difference to ick that one (cheapest) cable out? Is it better shielded from interference? Does it have a greater cross-section (presumably not)? Or is it a mystery? I guess we can rule that the idea that actually all 4 cables were equal in terms of audible SQ but your expecation was greater for the other 3 cables, so the obviously worst cable vastly exceeded your much lower expecation because it was not worse at all?

PSAN or ACE - any news to share?

JimDog posted:

PSAN or ACE - any news to share?

Not yet. Cables are delayed until end Oct/early Nov (as WitchHat are awaiting a new cable reel from their supplier). Once I've received them and listened for a bit I'll provide some initial feedback.

Do report back about the Phantom when the time comes.

My A5 is a bit shabby and is obviously a PITA to fiddle with. So I might be tempted to try Phantom at some point. But if it loses any mid-to-lower-mid body or accentuates anything higher up the frequency spectrum, it wouldn’t be worth bothering.

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