I am expecting changes in the Spectral cables

ack

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I know that the MIT 770 UL Series II speaker cables have recently been retired. It also now appears that Spectral have moved all [amplifier] required cables up until now under their Archives section.

I assume newer design may appear, but am also curious if they are modifying their amp designs to not require them anymore? This is pure speculation on my part... Watch this space...
 

kee

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I have just received my DMA-260 to paired with DMC-30SS Series 2 which I received few mths back. I am currently still exploring the the cables option. I have previously compared Spectral MI-350 UL2 and MH-770 UL2 combination Vs MIT Oracle MA interconnect and speaker cables. Though the Oracle MAs excelled in hifi aspects, the old spectral cable combination was somehow more musical to me. With spectrals cables, music just flowed better and more engaging (hard to put in words), though they sounded veil vs Oracle MAs. I just suspect that the spectral cables are custom made by MIT to spectral specification as compared to the Oracle MAs which are made to suit many brands of electronics.

Did any forumer have similar experience as me? Any news when spectral will be releasing the new cables? I hope the new cables can improve the various hifi aspects while retaining the musicality.

One additional point. the Oracle MA interconnect tested was balance while the MI-350 UL2 was RCA. I do not have any scientific explanation, but I prefer RCA interconnect sound over balanced in general (on most brands of electronics and cables that I have heard).
 
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ack

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FWIW, here's my thinking on these cables; opinionated to be sure. I haven't seen any new products yet, if there are to be any...
 

ack

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MylesBAstor

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And in case anyone's feeling bored one day, here are some of the MIT patents that I have found interesting but with questionable results in the audio band:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6658119.html
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5956410.html
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4954787.html

And while we are on the subject of cables, I found this older juicy thread on Kubala Sosna. I guess I am in the mood of ripping cable manufacturer claims apart lately :cool:

Claims aside, MIT and K-S cables are among the best I've heard.
 

kee

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Hi ACK, thank you for the info. I personally dislike the idea of those adjustment knobs on the Oracle MA:p

Beside myself, both of my friends picked Spectral MI-350 UL2 and MH-770 UL2 over Oracle-MA when we did the comparision. I just wish spectral new cable would be less veil while maintaining the original virtues. I am a minimalist person, I dont need need those fancy knobs on the high end MIT.
 

ack

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Interesting data, kee, and I am glad you and your friends took that path. Perhaps the Spectral cables are a little veiled, but I have not experienced that myself, nor would the huge price differential ever justify the purchase of the MA family to me, even if the "high end" were less veiled. Not to mention that I still have absolutely no clue what MIT are talking about with this "articulation" stuff, after discussing with a number of people and dealers ad nauseum over the last 5 years or so. In the end, if the patents I quoted - which certainly contain a lot of information - fail to convince me of the applicability of the claims in the audio band, I stand no chance of understanding something (articulation) on which there is absolutely no information, especially scientific.

But take all this with a grain of salt - I tend to over-analyze stuff, but it makes me feel good, thinking that I keep a neutral perspective :)
 

mauidan

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I called Spectral last week and was told that they're still selling cables

I also contacted MIT and asked which one of their speaker cables was closest in performance to the Spectral MH 770 ULII, and was told the AVt MA. The networks, cable materials and winding geometry are similar.

The $3K AVt MA has 26 poles of articulation. The $38K Oracle MA-X Rev. 2 HD has 105/130 poles of articulation.





 

lydon

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In a recent conversation I had with a salesmen at Music Lovers, Berkeley, CA. I was told that there is an emerging probability that Spectral may end its long term relationship with M.I.T. and start to producing its own cables. This information was gleaned from the recent Spectral business conducted on the premises for the new SDR-4000SL CD Processor. It was Richard Fryer that spoke on the subject but quickly squashed further inquires. I am told to check back in a couple weeks for any further developments. Since cables either speaker or interconnects are no longer in production through M.I.T. the need to scrounge for our needs are in the hands of previous owners, and brokers.
 
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nirodha

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I love MIT (playing with the rev.2) because there is a correlation between price and performance. HOWEVER, I don't think the Revs 2 are 13 times better (considering the price) than the AVT MA. Or are they? :confused: :rolleyes:

I called Spectral last week and was told that they're still selling cables

I also contacted MIT and asked which one of their speaker cables was closest in performance to the Spectral MH 770 ULII, and was told the AVt MA. The networks, cable materials and winding geometry are similar.

The $3K AVt MA has 26 poles of articulation. The $38K Oracle MA-X Rev. 2 HD has 105/130 poles of articulation.





 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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In a recent conversation I had with a salesmen at Music Lovers, Berkeley CA, I was told that there is an emerging probability that Spectral may end its long term relationship with M.I.T. and start to producing its own cables.

Yes this is the outcome I expect. Frankly, they should have done this years ago.
 

nirodha

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Yes this is the outcome I expect. Frankly, they should have done this years ago.

Why? Isn't it better to have a choice? Suppose Spectral is going to develop their own cable system which become mandatory for Spectral gear...and they do not reach the quality of MIT's top range. I mean Spectral's MIT cables were always great for the money but they were not even close to the MA-X level for instance. I remember the days when Spectral said that the standard power cables were all you needed ;-)
 

lydon

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The MIT and Spectral collaboration has produced measurable results that up to now have been pleasing to both parties primarily when it comes to related sales. If providing future users of Spectral products with optimized interconnects and speaker interfaces is no longer in MIT business plans, then who better than the engineers at Spectral to design and implement a solution to this little challenge. There is really nothing MIT has done for Spectral in the past, that Spectral doesn't understand or could not produce themselves. If the specs come from Spectral then they should after all of these years have the competency to assemble there their own designs. Who knows in the future they may include a set of speaker & interconnect set with the purchase of a preamplifier/amp for free just so the warranty would be safe guarded and the engineers and service technicians could save time and money from serving bad mismatches with non approved interfaces from other companies. It's just a thought who's time may have come, or not we'll see.
 
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mep

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Are all of the cable interface issues with Spectral gear due to their extreme bandwidth? I don't understand why they design into the MHz range which puts you in danger of all types of RF pollution and then expect the cables to filter out this excess bandwidth in order to prevent RF issues if that is what they are doing.
 

kee

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There is really nothing MIT has done for Spectral in the past, that Spectral doesn't understand or could not produce themselves. .

Agreed! It was published by Spectral many years back that the Zobel network is best to closer to the speaker instead of residing in the power amp. That was the reason they work with MIT to have them build the network cable. Though I agreed MIT have futher developed the technology since then but really there is nothing that spectral do not know to design something for their amp. Put it this way, Spectral could just like most brands in the market putting the low pass filter in the amplifier and we could have the flexibility of using any cables we like. Or they could just build the cable with the filter closer to the speaker. Whether it has the MIT 'magic' ? Well, the sound quality would speak for itself. Anyway, one could just buy the MIT cable if he likes. For me, I am haapy to hear this news as I think MIT pricings are crazy. A set of cable 2X the price of SDR-4000SL, I would rather buy SRD-4000SL....
 
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nirodha

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Aug 11, 2010
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Agreed! It was published by Spectral many years back that the Zobel network is best to closer to the speaker instead of residing in the power amp. That was the reason they work with MIT to have them build the network cable. Though I agreed MIT have futher developed the technology since then but really there is nothing that spectral do not know to design something for their amp. Put it this way, Spectral could just like most brands in the market putting the low pass filter in the amplifier and we could have the flexibility of using any cables we like. Or they could just build the cable with the filter closer to the speaker. Whether it has the MIT 'magic' ? Well, the sound quality would speak for itself. Anyway, one could just buy the MIT cable if he likes. For me, I am haapy to hear this news as I think MIT pricings are crazy. A set of cable 2X the price of SDR-4000SL, I would rather buy SRD-4000SL....

This forum is called: What's the best... not What's the best for the money ;-)
If Spectral can come up with the goods it will be great news. If they don't... Lets just wait and see.
 

lydon

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In light of the possibility that Spectral would roll there own cables for use in there system. I just wish Spectral would allow new customers and old if they elected to; for the option to use BNC connections throughout the audio system; that is for unbalanced connections outputs/inputs on CD players, pre-amps, ampilifers. I believe that Robert Harley on more than one occasion mentioned the superior nature of this termination compared to RCAs. "Though BNC is better than RCA-mechanically, electrically, and sonically-it never caught on". And yet there are XLR connections available, and the [system remains inherently balanced]. Customers are encouraged to use [single ended connections] because as some writers on this subject and on this forum have found out that it just sounds better. Huh! Why not just engineer it to be totally balanced and get the best performance out of the system?

The following, which is dated information has haunted me over the years, I hope Mr. Miller's experiences and insights adds to this thread although it does go off some what. As the above infers I think that Spectral "could and should" offer their customers the option to use BNC connectors on their equipment if its truly deemed an advantage in the ways already mentioned. When your shooting for the best, it should be obtainable, don't you think?

The Real Meaning of BNC, XLR

Editor:

I read with interest Wes Phillips article “Totally Wired” in the Spring of 1996 issue. While I applaud his intent, the utility of the article is marred by serious errors of fact which must be addressed. I hope that you and Mr. Phillips will accept these constructively, as they are intended. I will deliberately avoid any discussion of “six-nines” copper, OFC, litz-wire construction, etc., as positions on these subjects are in my opinion matters of religion rather than science.

Let’s start with the glossary in the sidebar on page 14. BNC is not an abbreviation for “British Naval Connector!” It really means Bayonet N, Compact. The N connector was introduced near the end of WWII for UHF and VHF applications, such as radar sets. It is rugged, waterproof, and can handle a considerable amount of power (at least 1kW at VHF). It’s about an inch in diameter and has a threaded coupling nut.

Two smaller connectors were derived from the N: the TNC and the BNC. Both use the same “guts” as the N, but are considerably smaller (around ½-inch in diameter), as they were designed for smaller cable. The BNC has a bayonet coupling nut (hence the name). The TNC is identical in dimension, but has a threaded coupling nut like the N.

All three connectors are optimized for RF, and the real ones maintain a constant 50 ohm impedance throughout the mated connector pair. Only recently have mechanically-compatible true 75 ohm BNCs become available, because they are required for serial digital video (SMPTE 259M). The BNC has been the standard broadcast/professional video connector for at least 20 years, so it’s unsurprising that products primarily aimed at that market employ it almost exclusively.

The term “bayonet” refers specifically to a turn-to-lock coupling nut like the one on the BNC, which is based on the coupling used to fix a bayonet onto a rifle. It does not refer to the center contact, as Mr. Phillips infers in his comment regarding the F connector. The male F is just a crimp-on ferrule with a threaded coupling nut. It was designed for cable TV and master antenna applications, where a premium is placed on low leakage, low cost, and ease of installation in the field, and is intended to be mated once and left in place for the next 10 or so years. Cable TV drop cable typically has a hard-drawn copper or Copperweld center conductor, so it was felt that a separately-installed center pin would be an unnecessary expense.

F connectors should always be tightened using a wrench, preferably an open-ended box wrench or one of the special types made for the purpose, but never over-torqued. Premium F connectors are available with crimp-on gold-plated center pins. The push-on F connectors on the jumper cables supplied with most VCRs are beneath contempt, and should be trashed.

The RCA connector was never intended for baseband audio, or video, for that matter. It was designed for RF and IF connections within TV receivers, from the input balun to the tuner to the chassis. As such, its nominal impedance should be 75 ohms, not 50, although most don’t maintain a constant impedance at all. Premium quality crimpable RCA connectors have recently been made available. The real problem with the RCA connector is the female center contact [inside the jack], and you’re at the equipment manufacturer’s mercy here. If you have the skill, tear ‘em all out and replace ‘em with BNCs!

The XLR connector: “X-series Lockheed, Rubber,” indeed! The XLR was introduced by Cannon in 1956 as an improvement on their XL connector, which in turn an improvement on the X connector. The X was a friction-retained audio connector, similar to the P connector series but much smaller. The XL added a positive latch or lock (hence the L). The XLR was distinguished by the resilient (thus the R) ribs and mating face on the female connector. There was also a version with phenolic dielectric in the male and female connectors, which was dubbed the XLP. The most common current versions from Switchcraft and Neutrik are closer to the XLP than the XLR, although some types employ spring members to emulate the feel of the resilient ribs.

By the way, the XLR is not the only available connector for AES/EBU digital audio. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recently standardized a coaxial interface using BNC connectors. Since BNCs are much cheaper to install reliably than XLRs and since AES/EBU audio is reliably handled by analog video distribution equipment, many broadcasters have opted to use BNCs and coax for it.

The spade lug: The “audiophile-approved way to terminate speaker wire”? Not in my book! The problem is not the lug-to-wire crimp but the binding-post-to-lug connection, which is virtually impossible to torque correctly. A better approach, in my humble opinion, for connecting to the binding posts is the banana plug, but I think the greatest promise is shown by the Neutrik Speakon connector, which is specifically designed for this purpose. Few outside the professional sound community are aware of its existence, however.

If that film of oxidation that forms between loosened connectors only behaved as a capacitor, poor connections wouldn’t sound half as bad as they do. The real problem is that the oxides behave as semiconductors, exhibiting a nonlinear response to applied signals. In English, that means they introduce distortion, and the lower the signal level, the worse the effect.

A final comment about interconnects. No matter the quality of the cable or connectors, an interconnect is only as good as the methods used to assemble it. I’ve been a broadcast engineer for 20 years, and I’ve evaluated, bought, assembled, or installed several hundred thousand cables and connectors in that time. In my experience, there is no better termination technique than a precision, gas-tight crimp. The problem with solder is that there are so many ways for a solder connection to be screwed up, and the spot welds you find in molded cables are often underdone or burned through. Given the proper tools, even a moderately skilled technician can turn out consistent, reliable crimps every time.

My interconnect of choice for unbalanced connections is made of broadcast-grade coax and crimp-on BNCs with gold center pins and tarnish-resistant nickel-plated shells. Even in small quantities these connectors are available for single-digit prices. There are over a million BNC connectors in the TV facility in which I work. Fewer than a hundred fail in any given year, and the vast majority of these are due to abuse. If you’re serious about quality connections, invest $100 or so in a proper set of coax stripper and crimpers, and learn to use them, or buy your cables from someone who does.

William C. Miller
ABC Broadcast Operations &
Engineering
Fellow, SMPTE​

This letter to the editor was taken from: Sterophile Guide to Home Theater, Summer, 1996 pages 12-13.
 
Last edited:

nirodha

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2010
599
210
435
In light of the possibility that Spectral would roll there own cables for use in there system. I just wish Spectral would allow new customers and old if they elected to; for the option to use BNC connections throughout the audio system. I believe that Robert Harley on more than one occasion mentioned the superior nature of this termination compared to RCAs. "Though BNC is better than RCA-mechanically, electrically, and sonically-it never caught on". And yet there are XLR connections, the system remains inherently balanced. Customers are encouraged to use single ended connections because as some writers on this subject, and on this forum have found out it just sounds better. Huh! Why not just engineer it to be totally balanced and get the best performance out of the system?

This RCA vs XLR questions has always bothered me. The strange thing is that dCS really takes off when using balanced interconnects while Spectral themselves advocated RCA from the early days. I chose to go balanced all through the chain (from dCS to Spectral)
 

lydon

New Member
Jul 10, 2011
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Follow up to the question

In a pointed conversation I had with Jae the owner/manager of Music Lovers in Berkeley CA this Friday 18 Nov, 2011 @ 10:00 hrs. I asked for followup information on whether Spectral was marketing or soon to market there own designs and stop using M.I.T. to do this for their system. Jae was emphatic and told me that their was no truth to such a rumor. Jae then stated that in the early part of 2011 M.I.T. was having difficulties with parts being supplied to them to build the Spectral/M.I.T. ultra linear series II cables. But that after a brief period, got back into production and have had no trouble with availability. Of course, if you are looking to save some money you'll want to go looking on the used market to get half off, but that's another story. I also told Jae that the source of this rumor came from one of his sales associates after Spectral came to Music Lovers to debuted the SDR 4000SL CD Processor and that Richard Fryer spoke briefly on the subject. Jae apologized for the misunderstanding as there was no validity to such a statement. One last point: for interested parties looking to acquirer these optimized cables, Jae suggested that you work with an authorized dealer directly. M.I.T. doesn't sell the Spectral/M.I.T. to the general public. You can buy comparable designs that should work from M.I.T. extensive line of products, but the ultra linear series II; the 770 speaker cables and 350 interconnects, dressed in black network boxes which is the most current offering from M.I.T. for this specific application can only be had new from an authorized M.I.T. dealer.
 
Last edited:

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,229
41
575
New York City
In light of the possibility that Spectral would roll there own cables for use in there system. I just wish Spectral would allow new customers and old if they elected to; for the option to use BNC connections throughout the audio system; that is for unbalanced connections outputs/inputs on CD players, pre-amps, ampilifers. I believe that Robert Harley on more than one occasion mentioned the superior nature of this termination compared to RCAs. "Though BNC is better than RCA-mechanically, electrically, and sonically-it never caught on". And yet there are XLR connections available, and the system remains inherently balanced. Customers are encouraged to use single ended connections because as some writers on this subject, and on this forum have found out that it just sounds better. Huh! Why not just engineer it to be totally balanced and get the best performance out of the system?

The following, which is dated information has haunted me over the years, I hope Mr. Miller's experiences and insights adds to this tread although it does go off this tread some what. As the above infers I think that Spectral "could and should" offer their customers the option to use BNC connectors on their equipment if its truly deemed an advantage in the ways already mentioned. When your shooting for the best, it should be obtainable, don't you think?

The Real Meaning of BNC, XLR

Editor:

I read with interest Wes Phillips article “Totally Wired” in the Spring of 1996 issue. While I applaud his intent, the utility of the article is marred by serious errors of fact which must be addressed. I hope that you and Mr. Phillips will accept these constructively, as they are intended. I will deliberately avoid any discussion of “six-nines” copper, OFC, litz-wire construction, etc., as positions on these subjects are in my opinion matters of religion rather than science.

Let’s start with the glossary in the sidebar on page 14. BNC is not an abbreviation for “British Naval Connector!” It really means Bayonet N, Compact. The N connector was introduced near the end of WWII for UHF and VHF applications, such as radar sets. It is rugged, waterproof, and can handle a considerable amount of power (at least 1kW at VHF). It’s about an inch in diameter and has a threaded coupling nut.

Two smaller connectors were derived from the N: the TNC and the BNC. Both use the same “guts” as the N, but are considerably smaller (around ½-inch in diameter), as they were designed for smaller cable. The BNC has a bayonet coupling nut (hence the name). The TNC is identical in dimension, but has a threaded coupling nut like the N.

All three connectors are optimized for RF, and the real ones maintain a constant 50 ohm impedance throughout the mated connector pair. Only recently have mechanically-compatible true 75 ohm BNCs become available, because they are required for serial digital video (SMPTE 259M). The BNC has been the standard broadcast/professional video connector for at least 20 years, so it’s unsurprising that products primarily aimed at that market employ it almost exclusively.

The term “bayonet” refers specifically to a turn-to-lock coupling nut like the one on the BNC, which is based on the coupling used to fix a bayonet onto a rifle. It does not refer to the center contact, as Mr. Phillips infers in his comment regarding the F connector. The male F is just a crimp-on ferrule with a threaded coupling nut. It was designed for cable TV and master antenna applications, where a premium is placed on low leakage, low cost, and ease of installation in the field, and is intended to be mated once and left in place for the next 10 or so years. Cable TV drop cable typically has a hard-drawn copper or Copperweld center conductor, so it was felt that a separately-installed center pin would be an unnecessary expense.

F connectors should always be tightened using a wrench, preferably an open-ended box wrench or one of the special types made for the purpose, but never over-torqued. Premium F connectors are available with crimp-on gold-plated center pins. The push-on F connectors on the jumper cables supplied with most VCRs are beneath contempt, and should be trashed.

The RCA connector was never intended for baseband audio, or video, for that matter. It was designed for RF and IF connections within TV receivers, from the input balun to the tuner to the chassis. As such, its nominal impedance should be 75 ohms, not 50, although most don’t maintain a constant impedance at all. Premium quality crimpable RCA connectors have recently been made available. The real problem with the RCA connector is the female center contact [inside the jack], and you’re at the equipment manufacturer’s mercy here. If you have the skill, tear ‘em all out and replace ‘em with BNCs!

The XLR connector: “X-series Lockheed, Rubber,” indeed! The XLR was introduced by Cannon in 1956 as an improvement on their XL connector, which in turn an improvement on the X connector. The X was a friction-retained audio connector, similar to the P connector series but much smaller. The XL added a positive latch or lock (hence the L). The XLR was distinguished by the resilient (thus the R) ribs and mating face on the female connector. There was also a version with phenolic dielectric in the male and female connectors, which was dubbed the XLP. The most common current versions from Switchcraft and Neutrik are closer to the XLP than the XLR, although some types employ spring members to emulate the feel of the resilient ribs.

By the way, the XLR is not the only available connector for AES/EBU digital audio. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recently standardized a coaxial interface using BNC connectors. Since BNCs are much cheaper to install reliably than XLRs and since AES/EBU audio is reliably handled by analog video distribution equipment, many broadcasters have opted to use BNCs and coax for it.

The spade lug: The “audiophile-approved way to terminate speaker wire”? Not in my book! The problem is not the lug-to-wire crimp but the binding-post-to-lug connection, which is virtually impossible to torque correctly. A better approach, in my humble opinion, for connecting to the binding posts is the banana plug, but I think the greatest promise is shown by the Neutrik Speakon connector, which is specifically designed for this purpose. Few outside the professional sound community are aware of its existence, however.

If that film of oxidation that forms between loosened connectors only behaved as a capacitor, poor connections wouldn’t sound half as bad as they do. The real problem is that the oxides behave as semiconductors, exhibiting a nonlinear response to applied signals. In English, that means they introduce distortion, and the lower the signal level, the worse the effect.

A final comment about interconnects. No matter the quality of the cable or connectors, an interconnect is only as good as the methods used to assemble it. I’ve been a broadcast engineer for 20 years, and I’ve evaluated, bought, assembled, or installed several hundred thousand cables and connectors in that time. In my experience, there is no better termination technique than a precision, gas-tight crimp. The problem with solder is that there are so many ways for a solder connection to be screwed up, and the spot welds you find in molded cables are often underdone or burned through. Given the proper tools, even a moderately skilled technician can turn out consistent, reliable crimps every time.

My interconnect of choice for unbalanced connections is made of broadcast-grade coax and crimp-on BNCs with gold center pins and tarnish-resistant nickel-plated shells. Even in small quantities these connectors are available for single-digit prices. There are over a million BNC connectors in the TV facility in which I work. Fewer than a hundred fail in any given year, and the vast majority of these are due to abuse. If you’re serious about quality connections, invest $100 or so in a proper set of coax stripper and crimpers, and learn to use them, or buy your cables from someone who does.

William C. Miller
ABC Broadcast Operations &
Engineering
Fellow, SMPTE​

This letter to the editor was taken from: Sterophile Guide to Home Theater, Summer, 1996 pages 12-13.

There are a lot better ways to terminate than crimping; a cold weld is a far better connection. As far as connectors go, I think the Bocchino's from Australia are top notch, if not a bit unwieldy.
 

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