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Reviewer :
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Analogue Sources: Nottingham Analogue Studio Space Deck driven by Walker Audio Precision Motor Controller. String Theory™ Woody™ Tonearm from Pete Riggle Engineering and Audio. Dynavector 17D2MKII, Dynavector 20xl, and Denon DL103 cartridges
Digital Sources: Wavelength Audio Cosecant USB DAC v3 fed by polycarbonate shell MacBook with dual 500GB LaCie Firewire drives; Tube Research Labs modified Sony SCD-2000ES (for SACD playback). Secondary: TRL-modified Alesis ML-9600 high-resolution master disk recorder
Preamps: deHavilland UltraVerve and Tutay-modified/upgraded Eastern Electric Minimax (larger power supply, 12FQ7 ready, gain cut to 9dB) preamps; Allnic H-1200, self-modified Jolida JD-9, and Herron Audio VTPH-1MC phono stages.
Amplifiers: Wright Sound Company WPA 3.5 monos and Melody i2A3. Secondary: AudioSector AMP-1 integrated amp, Sophia Electric S.E.T.™ Music Baby integrated amp, MiniWatt integrated amp, Outlaw Audio RetroReceiver
Speakers: Three-way Po' Lil' Things—a furniture-grade variant of the venerable Po' Boys—built around B&C 8PE21-8 (for throat horn), RCA model 9584A (permanent magnet midrange compression driver) with 1" throat and 1.34" opening to conical horn, and BMS 4540ND tweeter compression driver mated to tractrix horn; active crossover using hot-rodded Behringer DCX2496 ripped down to the AKM chip. GPA 604-8H-II drivers mounted in 9.1 cubic foot enclosures strongly influenced by Jay Fisher's MLTL design (plus our Dial-a-Vent and Dial-a-Height features). Crossovers incorporate XTC-grade oil-filled capacitors and other tweaks. Secondary: Zu Audio Druid Mk.4; Sound Dynamics RTS-3; Customized REL Strata III utilizing a properly-designed outboard amp (SA1000) not compromised by the obviously under-spec'd resistors chosen by REL.
Cables: Cardas SE-15, DIY WM-XTC, Audience, and Zu Audio Libtec cables; Cardas Golden Cross, Audience Au24, Audience Maestro, and Bob Crump custom copper interconnects. Wireworld Ultraviolet High Performance USB Cable. Secondary: Analysis Plus cables and interconnects
Stands: Two three-tier Grand Prix Audio Monaco units on GPA Apex footers; Secondary: Lovan Affinity Pro6 Series rack, Acoustic Dreams Dead Ball ISOLATElators; Neuance platform
Power line conditioning: BPT 3.5 Signature; cryo'd Pass & Seymour wall outlets; Audience, T.G. Audio Lab SLVR, Analysis Plus Power Oval, Zu Audio Birth and Bok power cords [both on loan] power cables. Secondary: Brick Wall PW8R15AUD
Sundry accessories: HAL-O® Vacuum Tube Dampers, Herbie's Way Excellent Turntable Mat, Locus Design Basic and Bren1 record clamps, VPI 16.5 record cleaner, and Shun Mook Valve Resonators
Music makers: Gibson J-100; Epiphone Dot (Gibson ES-335 knock-off) and Chet Atkins CE (nylon-strung classical) electric guitars; Fender Blues Jr. amp; Privia PX-555 keyboard and 1906 Ellington upright piano.
Office system: Soundquest R601 Tube Hi-Fi FM/AM Classic Radio and a Gibson J-100 acoustic guitar
Room size & treatments: 26' x 19' x 9' (a fractured 'L', nominally 16' x 19' with 12' feet of the 19-foot dimension opening to the 20-foot section of the 20' x 12' kitchen/eat-in area); concrete slab, sheet rock walls. ASC Tube Traps and Sound Planks, Echo Busters absorbers, Shakti Hallograph Soundfield Optimizers and Acoustic Revive RR-77 Ultra Low-Frequency Pulse Generator
Review Component Retail: Quad Braid $200/75cm, Isolate Cu $155/75cm

Variously colored 100% cotton sheaths available.

Product features and review component specs as provided by Elijah Audio. The products allow any S/PDIF converter, DAC or USB cable to utilize clean battery power whilst isolating the cable from 5Volt power. Elijah Audio products (except for Quad Braid) have the 5V contact pin and solder tag removed to further isolate the data signal from PC/Mac noise. All wiring including battery leads is Audience Auric OCC cryo copper (except for the Isolate Ag’s solid-core coated cryo silver). All parts are treated pre-assembly with Peter Belt (PWB) products. Contact pins are treated with Caig’s Pro Gold contact enhancer. Solder used is a combination of Mundorf Supreme silver/gold and Cardas Quad Eutectic.

Quad Braid: Data +, Data -, Ground, 5V power. This is our version of a regular USB cable albeit with the added sonic advantages of Audience cryo copper, cotton tubing for vibration damping and noise rejection by way of a tight four-way braid. The Quad Braid with its regular configuration is compatible with all DACs and PC/MACs.

Isolate model under construction

Isolate: Data, Ground, no 5V power. Whether your DAC or S/PDIF converter is mains or battery powered, the Isolate series will separate your component from the sonic pollution that travels on the 5V+ lead in a regular USB cable. This cable is available in copper and silver and a special order item only. Please contact the maker to review compatibility regarding this product. The Isolate Cu & Ag can have compatibility issues depending on whether your DAC and PC/MAC shake hands through the 5V power line.

About compatibility.
Srajan told me in an email that "this is a very real issue. I've asked an engineer about it already and he had no sensible explanation why, for a self-powered DAC, a missing power line inside the USB cable should matter. Except that it clearly can." He added that both he and Frederic had experienced incompatibility issues: a ‘power-less’ USB cable (i.e. one where the power conductors are missing or not connected) only worked on their Windows machines. "On all of our Macs, the Mac wouldn’t ‘see’ the connected DAC so it would never show up as a selectable audio device. Apparently it's a grounding issue or so KingRex as the maker of one of these 'powerless' USB cables believed." As it turned out, I had zero problems with the Isolate cable going from my MacBook to my Wavelength Audio Cosecant USB DAC v3 or from a Mac G5 to a friend’s Musical Fidelity V-DAC. When I mentioned this to Michael, he replied "I suppose it adds to the mystery of compatibility but it’s a fact. I believe USB is short for ‘Unexplainable Shit Begins!'"*

Publisher's addition on incompatibility issues. Korean reader SongKyung-han had acquired Acoustic Revive's split USB-1.0SPS cable to run on his Eximus DP1 with a Bakoon BPS-02 battery supply exactly as I run mine with an equivalent KingRex cable. "My Mac won't see the DAC. When I pointed out to Acoustic Revive that your KingRex split uArt cable works fine with the Eximus and other DACs and mentioned this 'ground plane' issue you'd been told about, they said they have a pretty good idea why their cable didn't work for me. They're sending me three samples of their USB-1.0SPS with different ground plane designs to try. They said that at least one should work which I'm to keep whilst returning the others." This is a fair reminder on how this particular USB power/cable topic is still collecting data to help makers understand various case scenarios and their requirements.