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Reviewer: Paul Candy
Financial Interests: click here
Digital Source: CEC TL51X transport, PS Audio DL III DAC w/ Cullen Circuits Stage Three Mod, Audio Zone DAC-1, Shanling PCD3000A.
Analog Source: Pro-Ject RPM 5 turntable, Pro-Ject Speed Box, Pro-Ject Tube Box phono stage, Ortofon Rondo Blue cartridge, Blue Circle Fon Lo Thingee [in for review]
Amps: Audiomat Opéra Référence integrated, Audio Zone AMP-1, Audia Flight Three integrated [in for review], Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000 monos.
Speakers: Green Mountain Audio Callisto (on sand filled Skylan stands), (2) REL Q108 Mk II subwoofers, AV123 Strata Mini, Hyperion Sound HPS-738.
Cables: Acoustic Zen, Audience, Auditorium 23, DH Labs, JPS Labs, SilverFi.
AC Cables: Audience, GutWire, Harmonic Technology.
Stands: Grand Prix Audio Monaco four-tier rack.
Powerline conditioning: BPT Pure Power Center with Wattgate, Bybee Quantum Purifier and ERS cloth options, Audience aR1p AC conditioner, GutWire MaxCon.
Sundry accessories: Grand Prix Audio APEX footers, Acoustic Revive RR-77, Isoclean fuses, Caig Pro Gold, Auric Illuminator, Audio Magic/Quantum Physics Noise Disruptors, Crystal Cable Bridge, dedicated AC line with Wattgate 381 outlet, Echo Busters acoustic room treatments.
Room size: 11' x 18' x 8', long wall setup, suspended hardwood floors with large area rug, walls are standard drywall over Fiberglas insulation
Review Component Retail: Equinox 6 interconnects $199.95/1m pair, Equinox 6 speaker cables $724.95/2.5m pair, Starlight digital US$79.95/1m, Aurora 5² power cords $189.95/2m, Matrix power strip $119.95.

Back in the day some 100 years ago when a new-fangled invention called the telephone was all the rage, Ma Bell and company were struggling with poor sound quality when sending signals through increasingly longer phone lines. Along came British mathematician Oliver Heaviside who theorized that this problem was caused by inductive (electromagnetic) losses. He proposed a solution whereby in intervals along phone lines, inductive loading coils were added to prevent amplitude and time delay distortion of the transmitted signal. This optimal balancing of capacitance and inductance is called the Heaviside Condition and expressed by this innocuous looking formula:

G is shunt conductance (in siemens per meter), C is capacitance (in farads per

meter), R is resistance (in ohms per meter) and L is inductance (in henries per meter). Simply, inductance and capacitance of a signal transmission line (that's audio cables for us thrill-seeking music lovers) should not only be kept as low as possible but, they both need to be reduced together. Such is the technical rationale behind Florida-based Wireworld which offers a vast line of audio/video cables.

Now entering its third decade, Wireworld is one of the most recognized and respected names in the cable industry. While their materials and geometries may have changed over time, the company's core design philosophy has remained the same: to offer audio cabling that presents sound as close as possible to a direct connection. Wireworld even developed their own testing devices called Cable Comparators along with a battery of structured double-blind and sighted listening sessions to test their products and those of competitors. As you move up Wireworld's product line, each increase in cost moves you closer to this perfect direct connection.

During a phone conversation with Wireworld president and founder David Salz, I got the impression of a very knowledgeable and driven perfectionist. No doubt if David had been running General Motors, we'd all be driving well-built, reliable gasoline-free vehicles by now.

For a SideBar interview with David Salz, continue here.

Wireworld's product lineup was recently revamped to reflect David's latest research. Most notably, his Symmetrical Coax design, a staple from the early days, has now been replaced witha twisted flat ribbon geometry called DNA Helix and a few other changes, which I shall get to shortly.

In my experience mixing and matching different brands of speaker cables and interconnects is unpredictable and often frustrating. It turns out there is a direct electrical relationship between interconnects and speaker cables. According to David, for interconnects and speaker cables to have complimentary sonic characteristics, the frequency at which the interconnect changes from mostly resistive to mostly inductive must be roughly four times the transition frequency of the speaker cable. Due to the sheer magnitude of cable designs currently available, all with varying transition frequencies, it stands to reason that mixing and matching is at best a crapshoot. Instead of pursuing musical truth, you are essentially trading one coloration for another. Even if you do not fancy Wireworld cables, you would probably be better off sticking to a single brand.

Further complicating all this mixing and matching is that a great number of cable firms have little or no technical understanding of signal transmission line theory. They simply try various materials and geometries and pick the combination that sounds best to them and possibly a number of beta testers. For example, one of my favorite speaker cables is the Auditorium 23. While I have had good success with this cable, some component and interconnect combinations sound terrible with it. Granted its designer developed this cable as an ideal match for low-power tube amps and high-sensitivity speakers. But would it not be better to use a cabling system that functioned well in all systems? That is essentially what David Salz is after - cables that simply sound no different than if the components were directly connected together at their jacks/posts. A tall order for sure but an admirable one nonetheless. Considering the modest price, with the Equinox 6 cables, Wireworld seems surprisingly close to that goal.

David kindly sent me a full complement of cabling; Equinox 6 interconnects and speaker cables, Starlight 6 digital, several Aurora 5² power cables and the Matrix power strip. The attractively priced Equinox sits right in the middle of Wireworld's lineup and features the same basic geometry as Wireworld's more upscale cables. What changes as you move up are materials quantity and purity, which should translate into greater fidelity and a sonic character increasingly closer to that direct connection.

The Equinox 6 interconnect features four thin flat OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) six-nines purity copper conductors arranged in a parallel array twisted in a helix not unlike human DNA. Not surprisingly, Wireworld chose to call this geometry Delineated Neutralizing Array or DNA. "This configuration optimizes the electromagnetic field between the conductors, effectively neutralizing the electromagnetic loss that filters the signal in other cables". Also new to this generation of cables is Wireworld's Composite Dielectric Technology™ (CDT), a proprietary (unspecified) mixture of insulation materials that supposedly minimize the signal distorting noise
modulation that typically occurs with lesser insulating materials such as PVC or PE. According to David, this mystery concoction is so effective at reducing noise; it even replaces highly regarded Teflon and micro-porous Teflon in many of Wireworld's cable products. The new RCA connectors are laser engraved black aluminum plugs with silver-clad tubular OFC contacts and a proprietary silicone rubber tensioning band.

While Wireworld's larger more upscale cables use a diagonally stacked conductor array housed in a flat outer profile, the smaller Equinox 6 uses a simpler array of four flat 15 awg OCC conductor groups twisted into a helix not unlike the matching interconnects. Insulation is High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Banana and spade terminations are available. My samples came terminated with Wireworld's silver-plated OFC spades.

The Starlight 6 digital cable sports a DNA Helix design similar to the analog interconnects but optimized for the transmission of digital signals. Conductors are silver-clad OCC copper with a silver-clad OFC shield. Connectors are the same laser-engraved black aluminum RCAs as are on the Equinox.