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A couple of weeks after discussing my system with MIT Vice President Kent Loughlin, I received a pair of Shotgun S1 speaker cables, two pairs of Shotgun S1 interconnects and a Shotgun Digital cable. As with all of MIT’s non-bulk cabling, the Shotguns feature MIT’s Multipole Technology. The theory is that ordinary cables—regardless of conductor, insulation, geometry and terminations—have a very narrow frequency range over which the cable functions or articulates optimally. MIT calls these cables single-pole designs. MIT adds parallel network circuits (those black boxes) to increase the number of articulation poles, which results in significantly wider frequency range wherein the cable articulates optimally. The greater the number of poles, the more extensive the network, the better the performance and of course, the higher the retail price. The performance level of each cable is measured by number of poles. The S1 interconnect has 10 poles while the S1 speaker cable has 17. MIT’s top cable system, the Oracle V1.3 interconnects and speaker cables, have 36 poles and 80 poles respectively. However, they are priced at $7,995 and $24,999. Incidentally, all this additional circuitry runs parallel to the signal. There are no series components in the signal path.

For a more in-depth technical explanation, I suggest you read the white papers and patent information on MIT’s site. Apparently there’s more to cables than minimizing resistance and obtaining the optimum balance between capacitance and inductance. Some concepts were difficult to grasp at first as math and physics are not my strengths but I commend MIT for attempting to be as forthcoming as possible. Also, check out Edgar Kramer’s review of Bruce’s DIY cables. Kent Loughlin offers a well-articulated explanation of their Multipole Technology.

If on the other hand you’d sooner undergo a prostate examination than read a cable firm’s white papers, then Bruce offers this simple analogy. Imagine buying three cables each with different strengths. One cable may offer great bass but a rolled-off treble. Another might be the bee’s knees with highs but no bass. The third might display an awesome midrange but miss the frequency extremes. Now take those three cables and turn them into a single cable that shows all the strengths but none of the weaknesses. That in a nice neat nutshell is Multipole Technology.

The cables were attractive in their black Nylon mesh jackets. Overall build quality was excellent. A tad bulky with their network boxes, the cables were flexible and easy to route. The interconnects sported good quality RCA connectors with locking barrels. The speaker cables featured MIT’s patented iconn system. The ends are terminated with small threaded pins that allow the user to screw on their choice of the supplied bananas or spades. Also included are small lock nuts to ensure a tight connection if you need to loosen a spade, for example, to accommodate a tight angle. I loved the flexibility this clever idea offered.

As Shotgun cables are directional, signal flow arrows on the ends indicate proper orientation. While the network boxes of the speaker cables were quite large, they were reasonably light and didn’t pose any issues. The tails at the speaker end were approximately 18” in length, which should be fine for most floorstanding speakers. Since the binding posts of my stand-mounted Callistos sit quite high, the tails weren’t quite long enough to allow the boxes to sit flat on the floor. No matter, I just let them hang from the backs of my speakers.

The network boxes on the interconnects differ from the speaker cables by having a selectable impedance switch. This switch allows the user to "tune the cable to maximize performance for each component’s specific input impedance". Three impedance ranges are available, low (5-50kΩ), mid (40-100kΩ) and high (90kΩ and up).

The Shotgun S1 cables have additional technology trickled down from their previous top-of-the-line models such as the CVT Coupler input module, which is the smaller enclosure near the amp end of the speaker cables. This circuit "lowers the apparent noise floor by shunting unwanted high frequency noise to ground in a predictable, effective manner". There are even tiny networks within the RCA connectors of the interconnects designed to attenuate energy reflected back to signal sources within cables.

Internally, the Shotgun S1 cables feature six-nines or 99.9999% pure drawn OFC twisted into MIT’s patented Vari-Lay geometry which is essentially groups of multiple conductors of various gauges and lengths wound  such that the frequency components of the signal arrive at the cable end simultaneously. Some of the conductor groupings carry the main signal while others are utilized for the parallel network connections. Insulation material (dielectric) is PE (polyethylene) which has a low dielectric constant similar to Teflon. The outer jacket is PVC (polyvinyl chloride) with Nylon mesh sleeving to resist UV and reduce wear.

The Shotgun Digital outwardly appears similar to the interconnects albeit is far stiffer and slightly thicker and without parallel network boxes. Here the miniaturized network circuitry is housed within the connectors and primarily concerned with reducing jitter and energy reflections. While not specified, I suspect that this is a heavily shielded coaxial design.