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#188054 - 2013-03-27 21:53 Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question.
Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless

Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
Loc: Preston, UK
Hi all, and welcome to my first post on this excellent forum, which I've dipped into many times for information in the past.

I have recently purchased a 502 and 557 pre/power combo to complement the 500/563 transport/DAC which I have had for about 5 years and I am instantly impressed by the power and precision of my new amps when played through my other "new" acquisition of KEF 104/2 speakers. (BTW my other source is an LP12/Ittok/Dynavector XX-1)

Now to my questions!!

I am currently using RCA phono interconnects and wish to move to balanced cables to get the most out of my Meridian gear. But which ones?

I have read on various threads that balanced cables have inherently less of an impact on sound quality / presentation than is claimed for RCA phono cables, particularly on short runs. The suggestion being that one does not need to spend too much money to get the "best" as said less expensive balanced cables are "as good" as the expensive ones, as long as they are well made and incorporate good plugs (Neutrik?).

I have also read that AES/EBU 110ohm "digital" cables are "better" than "normal" balanced cables, although this is in part contrary to the previous claim.

Taking these two points together suggests that a cable such as the Van Damme AES/EBU cable with Neutrik plugs would be perfect at around 20 for a 1.0m pair (new on eBay) and would be "as good" as any of the far more expensive options! Can this be true? (God, I hope so smile )

Does anyone have any thoughts, based on either experience or theory, to suggest which balanced cables I should go for between my various Meridian components? (BTW I'm happy to consider different cables at different places in the chain).

Many thanks in advance for any and all thoughts and guidance that you can give me.

Edited by ThrangThrang; 2013-03-27 21:55.
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#188059 - 2013-03-27 23:31 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: ThrangThrang]
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 1,699
MI' Offline
Knows where his towel is
MI' Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 1,699
Loc: United Kingdom
Van Damme AES/EBU cable with Neutrik plugs

Perfectly acceptable!

Syles, spinster of this parish and a fellow Hitchiker, I guess, will see this and agree!

Regards I




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#188060 - 2013-03-27 23:35 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: MI']
Registered: 2009-09-13
Posts: 5,319
Ludwig Offline
President of the Imperial Galactic Government
Ludwig Offline
President of the Imperial Galactic Government

Registered: 2009-09-13
Posts: 5,319
Loc: Europe
Is that also recommended for analogue connections, such as the 2nd and 3rd link in his chain?


Ex-moderator
Sitting room: 818v3, 8kSE
Office: 818v3, Stax SRM-T1, Stax SR404LE
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#188061 - 2013-03-27 23:36 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: MI']
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,513
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,513
Loc: London, UK
Van Damme AES/EBU for the digital
Van Damme balanced analogue for the analogue

Recommended, because these are what I use.

All the best,

Steve.

PS If you need some Van Damme AES/EBU cable, let me know, I have about 10m left over from an installation I did.


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#188064 - 2013-03-27 23:49 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: MI']
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,513
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,513
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: MI'
Syles, spinster of this parish


Spinster; no
Spiv; maybe...



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#188071 - 2013-03-28 01:28 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: ThrangThrang]
Registered: 2012-02-07
Posts: 448
Neil H Offline
Paranoid android
Neil H Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2012-02-07
Posts: 448
Loc: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Hi

I had some nice balanced cables made for my Meridian analogue system using van den Hul D102, now D102 III Hybrid. This is balanced shielded cable and was not expensive then.

The right dealer can make up and supply any length you need as it is available in rolls. Very good for active speakers too.

Neil


MC200, MS200, Oppo 93VL, G61RSL, Revivers, DSP5000.2, DSP5000C.2, DSP3100.

MS200, F80.
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#188074 - 2013-03-28 03:08 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: ThrangThrang]
Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless

Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
Loc: Preston, UK
Originally Posted By: MI'
Van Damme AES/EBU cable with Neutrik plugs

Perfectly acceptable!


Originally Posted By: Syles
Van Damme AES/EBU for the digital
Van Damme balanced analogue for the analogue

Recommended, because these are what I use.


Thanks both of you. I think I'll give the Van Damme stuff a go as it is really no money at all. The analogue stuff is about the same sort of price as the AES/EBU, although there seem to be a number of different types available in all sorts of colours.

Is the one also known as "microphone cable" the one to go for (I think I've read that somewhere too)? If not what was yours labelled as when you bought it?

BTW did you try other balanced cables before plumping for the Van Damme or did you too work on the theory that all balanced cables should sound the same?

Originally Posted By: Neil H
Hi

I had some nice balanced cables made for my Meridian analogue system using van den Hul D102, now D102 III Hybrid. This is balanced shielded cable and was not expensive then.

The right dealer can make up and supply any length you need as it is available in rolls. Very good for active speakers too.

Neil


Thanks Neil

I might have to look at other options like the van den Hul if the Van Damme stuff doesn't prove satisfactory.

Trouble is I've already blown my budget on my amp and speaker upgrades and I'm looking for a better phono stage as well ( currently using a Musical Fidelity LPS (original model) which is decent enough but not on a par with the rest of my set up).

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#188096 - 2013-03-28 17:54 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: ThrangThrang]
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,513
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,513
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: ThrangThrang
The analogue stuff is about the same sort of price as the AES/EBU, although there seem to be a number of different types available in all sorts of colours.

Is the one also known as "microphone cable" the one to go for (I think I've read that somewhere too)? If not what was yours labelled as when you bought it?

BTW did you try other balanced cables before plumping for the Van Damme or did you too work on the theory that all balanced cables should sound the same?


I use Van Damme 268-022 for analogue, it's bright red!
This range is the "Tour Grade Classic XKE Microphone" cable and is available in 10 different colours, see this link for product details.
All the colours are electrically the same.

My experience with balanced cables is that they don't sound different; this is over short lengths and with equipment with low output impedance and high input impedance.

The only ones that made a difference were the VDH carbon ones; they have high inline impedance and roll off the high frequencies because of this.

Cables with poor capacitance will also effect the frequency response; this will only be noticeable over long lengths.

All the best,

Steve.


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#188102 - 2013-03-28 18:36 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: Syles]
Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless

Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
Loc: Preston, UK
Perfect! Thanks Steve.

I've done some shopping around and the cable you speak of is the readily available and ridiculously inexpensive one I was hoping it would be.

I can buy a 1.0m pair with Neutrik XLR plugs for 20 pair including shipping via Amazon, which is cheaper than the proverbial chips! Time to pull the trigger.

BTW did you ever check these cables against RCA phono alternatives? I'd be interested to hear your (or anyone's) opinion on the actual benefits (or not) of using balanced cables as opposed to theoretical expectations.

Regards

John

Edit: Just spotted that for an extra 5/pair I can get them with the gold plated Neutrik plugs, which, for that money, must be worth it.

Edited by ThrangThrang; 2013-03-28 18:48.
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#188133 - 2013-03-28 22:57 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: ThrangThrang]
Registered: 2012-12-04
Posts: 425
JaapJan Offline
Paranoid android
JaapJan Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2012-12-04
Posts: 425
Loc: Land van Maas en Waal, Netherl...
Hi John,

A very nice subject! I can only advise you to go out and listen. your ears will tell you what you like but be prepared to invest and plan long term.

My experience is with my previous 506.20 , 502, 557 on Xanadu DS reference monitors and later on a set of Magnepan. I started with an unbalanced set up, then dispite the carefully chosen set up I was quite disappointed by the thin sound. My dealer lent me at first a separate Meridian DAC but that did not do the job I was looking for. He then lent me a selection of quality interlinks from vd Hul, MIT and siltech which I intensively listened to. My absolute preference was MIT.

The next steps where the following: hardwire powercables (shielded vmvk cable very cheap) separated the digital and analogue powerlines, added the Monarchy Audio DIP 24/96 and the mini M-audio DAC from the digital out of the 506.20 via Apogee wyde eye SPDIF, then in the analogue section it was fully MIT balanced up to MIT speakercables. The apogee wyde eye is a great SPDIF.

The initial cheaper range MIT where later upgraded to some more costly but fantastic higher end ones. What did it do above unbalanced, well it made my music come loose from the speakers, it added depth and definition and improved the whole balance. MIT brings a beautifully extended bass and sweet highs.

I learned that a good unbalanced system is beter than a no good balanced one, so do not expect major improvement with cheap balanced or unbalanced cable. Also look for a full one brand set up.

I hope this helps a bit?

All the best and enjoy it!
Jaap Jan


System 1: MC200, 818v3, DSP7200SE
System 2: DSP5000.1, Monarchy DIP24/96, Squeezebox Duet.
Office: MS200, STAX SRM-323II, SR303
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#188148 - 2013-03-29 03:52 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: JaapJan]
Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless
ThrangThrang Offline
Harmless

Registered: 2009-07-07
Posts: 6
Loc: Preston, UK
Hi Jaap

Thanks for your input - plenty of food for thought there.

Trouble is I don't have anything like the budget for high end cables such as the MIT ones which you have had such success with.

I would have been very surprised to find that cables costing vastly more than the Van Damme ones which I am considering are not better, but at this stage at least I'm looking for "good" quality at "budget" prices. Most of what I have read on various threads, and supported by MI and Steve in this thread, suggests that "budget" balanced cables can be as good as some fairly expensive unbalanced cables.

In the longer term (a couple of years down the road)I'm sure that I might end up with something more up market, perhaps like the van den Hul ones that Neil has suggested, but that is for another day. At that time I'm sure I will try to borrow a selection from my local dealer to help make a choice. Maybe I'll be tempted at that time to spend more money than I am currently planning, but it will take a lot to persuade me that I would not be better spending that sort of money on upgrading my CD player wink .

As you say, at the end of the day it will be my ears that will be the deciding factor, and I'm just glad that I can get hold of balanced cables which others have used successfully without spending any real money, even if I only get a fraction of the benefit of balanced cables.

Regards and thanks again for your thoughts.
John

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#188158 - 2013-03-29 05:46 Re: Meridian 500 - 563 - 502 - 557 balanced cables question. [Re: JaapJan]
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 1,699
MI' Offline
Knows where his towel is
MI' Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 1,699
Loc: United Kingdom
Van Damme 268-006-000 is very similar to the one Syles advised, just a smaller overall diameter as a result of thinner jacket,

Regards I


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