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Purple Haze

15Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport, Jay's Audio CDT2 MkII & DAC2-SE
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE 300B or Elrog ER50; Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT3. F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos, Bakoon AMP-13R, SAG AIO
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; EnigmAcoustics M1; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150; Acelec Model One [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: £2'499/1m/pr RCA interconnects, £8'200/pr/3m speaker cables

Kissing the sky.

26th June, 2015. "I'm a regular visitor to your site. I enjoy all the reviews and non-biased opinions on audio gear and accessories. I have a pet project called Gekko Audio—more of a hobby to be honest—making audio cables for home use, studios and musical instruments. My philosophy is simple: get very high-quality conductors (silver, OFHC copper and UP-OCC), cover them in cotton braids and build audio cables. They include interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. The whole idea of my venture is to make high-end cables and sell them at very reasonable prices." That had been Boban Djurdjevic from London's Old Gloucester Street inquiring about a review back when.

6th October, 2017. "Since our last communication, things have changed with Gekko Cables. We have a new interconnect called Purple Haze whose connectors are based on an idea I've seen in your review of the 47 Laboratory Cable Kit. Unlike the reviewed DIY cable, Purple Haze has custom one-piece connectors but still uses the cable's own conductors to make direct contact with a component's RCA sockets. We have a few samples ready for review. Since 6moons is directly responsible for this model's existence, you are first to be offered a review."

When I didn't pounce on this second solicitation, two more years passed before the conversation resumed. Just how many solder slingers with a work bench braid up or twist wires by hand to sell direct and bypass traditional dealers whilst wielding customer endorsements claiming superior performance over established brands? They even work from holiday destinations like Bali. There Hendry Ramli of Vermouth Audio makes cables from off-the-spool quality assemblies built to his own specs by probably Neotech to tailor-cut and terminate them in his Denpasar shoppe with top-quality connectors.

Many even big hifi cable houses outsource fabrication of their raw assemblies to industrial plants who normally supply military, medical, telecom and aviation contractors in far higher volumes than even the biggest audio companies could order. This leaves termination, packaging and sales & marketing for actual location work. It's cable manufacture like a perfectly legit chop shop. Meanwhile highly specialized one-man outfits like Chris Sommovigo's Black Cat Cable operate custom-built cable-winding machinery to fabricate even complex geometries in-house. With Furutech, Oyaide, WBT & Co. already crafting the most desirable connectors, it's the rare cable house that bothers with their own. That makes it hard to decide where exactly the line falls between DIY and pro. If pro is shorthand for profit, DIYer and professional both can work out of a garage and hand-braid wires with OEM connectors. If we broaden the definition to include costly test gear, a degree in electromechanical engineering and rigorous measurement-driven R&D, we'd not be left with as many cable brands. Boban's opening emails suggest how Gekko Cables operate. A £2'499/1m/pr tag and distribution like Ibex Audio in German-speaking Europe however indicate rather more upwardly mobile aspirations than his humbler hobbyist beginnings.

Boban's Purple Haze concept exists as RCA/XLR interconnect and speaker cable. Only the RCA sports his custom 47Lab-inspired plug. But all cables in this family use twisted solid-core pure silver conductors with braided polytetrafluoroethylene dielectric best-known by its Chemours trade name of Teflon. Today's interconnect adds a cotton layer atop its 26-gauge conductors for vibration absorption and very low dielectric constant. Then it twists its pairs in a lazy 50mm lay with more cotton and sleeves them in an outer purple polypropylene jacket for mechanical and cosmetic finishing. The final diameter is a slinky 11mm and the primary electrical parameters, per meter, are 1.8μH inductance, 0.07Ω resistance and 38pF capacitance. Wooden name barrels ride the center section where they might suppress a standing wave and wooden barrels also surround the non-conductive plastic bodies of the RCA connectors which hold the signal/return wire contacts in place. How Boban's non-standard Purple Haze connectors would jimmy into our components I would learn soon enough.

For the full hit, he proposed to add a set of matching speaker cables which use a dozen equivalent 24-gauge pure silver conductors and construction to arrive at a 22mm overall diameter. Because I'm no advocate of gratuitous mix'n'match for cables to instead prefer a consistent loom front to back, I accepted. They'd arrive neither tomorrow nor at the end of time but sometime in September.