Eliminating terminals?

Since we can’t go as far as eliminating cable as a necessary bottleneck, how about getting rid of standardized terminals in setups where cost is no object?
As they are in most all equipment, they’re not cryomagnetically treated and of the best materials, and even if they were, they’d still be high-mass and otherwise mechanically and electromagnetically non-optimal due to adhering to standards created for a plethora of benefits including practicality and not including ultimate performance. So our very expensive cryomagnetically treated cable that is always a bottleneck in itself is bottlenecked further at both ends.

Imagine having a whole signal chain from a single crystal with no mechanical separation… or something like that. Some practicality allowed.

Whilst I appreciate the pursuit of perfection, there has to be a point where we say “good enough”.
In part because, being as how this is all an analogue world, perfection can never be achieved, and no matter how close we might get, someone, somewhere, will always claim they can hear a difference/improvement.
In the end, practicality has to prevail, whether it be cost or otherwise.
When freed of cost constraint, there still has to be a point where we say “no” even if a further “improvement” can be made, as in reality no body will appreciate the difference.
The alternative is to consume the entire planet in pursuit of a better machine (I am minded to mention The Krell here (and I don’t mean the manufacturer), for no particular reason other than I am rambling and thought of a planet sized machine :slight_smile: )


Do the Krell give you nightmares? Then why are you on their plane(t)? :smiley:


Arenith just enjoys the thought experiments, clearly.


The easiest way to eliminate cables is to have less components.

Around 1990 I purchased a Marantz CD-94, which was one of the early CD players to have an outboard DAC option, that doubled the price. The “basic” unit was so well made - as it was focused on Japanese and European markets - that I didn’t bother. My next spinner was the excellent Primare D30.2 with four Burr-Brown PCM1704 DACs. I then abandoned CD in 2009 and bought a streamer, again with internal DAC and also volume control.

So from this fairly typical European perspective having loads of boxes connected with endless cables is more the exception than the rule (unless you collect Naim boxes) and why for 30 years I’ve not been that excited about external DACs. The first one I owned was from PS Audio, and I only briefly owned another one. Plus, I think American audiophile take cables far more seriously than most other places.

The good news for @Arenith is that the number of options for 1 or 2 box systems is huge and growing daily, at all price-points, so he will soon be able to take his cables to the charity shop.


Me, I like cables (preferably home made or relatively cheap and well constructed).
Studiospares make a nice range :slight_smile:

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The only down side to your idea is when you eliminate cables you tend to get shared power supplies and compromised components. Think receivers.
Not that receivers are bad but they can be bested by separates with cables.

Many years ago when I had a very limited budget for audio, I saved money on half the connectors by hard-wiring, on one end, interconnects and speaker wire to my DIY equipment. A bit inconvenient, yes, but I’m sure it helped the sound quality. I’ve tried so many connectors over the years I am convinced that they are a huge factor in causing or reducing damage to our music. And…connectors have to cleaned regularly and checked for a tight fit. I just went through that this week so my system is in top condition for Sunlight!! (upcoming DS DAC firmware)

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The might have been the case 20 years ago, but switch mode power supplies have moved on dramatically, in particular planar devices. For the companies that have developed them it is their core technology. Nowadays for anything under $5,000 it’s easier to use an nCore power supply, which are very good.

I saw a video about speaker wire resistance where it said the connectors on each end had measurable resistance. Since I had five way binding posts on my speakers and amps, I cut off the spade ends of my speaker wire. I reconnected the wire and there was a “clear” difference! Not imagined! I’m not sure this would work for all wire but it did work for me.

Arenith you could always bypass components all together and
have an implant in your brain with state of the art electronics :+1:

Perfect sound …no need for cables, regenerators just a wireless
source…with an implant; your auditory nerve would be the direct recipient of music
or other audio of choice…very high dynamic range to boot … :grin:

Just not for me though…


… or give up audio and go to live concerts every night. A lot cheaper as well.


I don’t hate cables and separates, quite the opposite, I’m enthusiastic about cable, the geometries and metallurgies of high-end cables are very interesting and alluring. I love having quality cable that also looks and feels nice.
Some cable is always required and it should be good enough to be as neutral as possible - least losses and least “component-like” impact on the signal as can be. I’m all into having the components give me the type of distortion that best suits my ears, so to say, colouring the signal. Cable should not do this and isn’t meant to do this, it should simply be good enough to stay out of the way sonically, imo.
Hard-wiring (preferably without solder so ultrasonic welding or what have you…) or having optimized terminals is something that’d give quality cable its rightful potential. It really got me thinking what the designer of those Fidelium cables had to say about what standard terminals do to the precious EM wave we so much care about. They’re bottlenecked designs even with the best materials. The best materials we tend to see are used at the cable’s ends anyway, it’s not like component manufacturers could afford having every connection with cryomagnetically treated silver base metal and rhodium plating. So how much good will it do to have those materials in contact with standard gold-plated terminals on the component’s side? (Probably not a huge difference in impedance characteristics on paper, but hey, if we have cryomagnetically treated silver at all, it should be everywhere!)

If I had the money for a loom of cables good enough that they’d satisfy me for the rest of my life (as if…), I’d spend a portion of its cost on having it professionally hard-wired where applicable and where terminals can’t be avoided, the devices would be fitted with after-market terminals matching the cable. A very simple bottleneck-eliminating procedure that I don’t see people with >100k$ systems mentioning… Even just the after-market component terminals! It’s the least the millionaire audiophiles could do if they’re piquant enough to buy state-of-the-art cabling.

By the way, are there other methods for high-tech solder-free welding than ultrasonic? Something that’s as friendly to lattice structures as possible. Lasers?

Also… how come speaker terminals seem like the only terminal that’s being actively developed for just high-end use in mind? How come we don’t have high-end oriented alternatives for RCAs, XLRs, etc? As in low-mass, geometrically contact surface optimized down to the atomic lattice level with the best RLC characteristics? This is being done to existing (ancient!) connectors, why not just develop new ones that account for all-round optimality by their core design?

I’m far from an engineer, yet I don’t have a hard time imagining better terminal structures. The RCA is ancient! ANCIENT!! And it’s NOT ******* GOOD ENOUGH! (Picture an angry Gordon Ramsay saying this while hurling a plateful of RCA connectors into the trash bin)

Problem with a new connector is getting anyone else to use it instead of their own superior connector they just developed. The nature of competition I guess, maybe we need socialism but only for connectors :smiley:

e.g. a few have started using HDMI style connectors for I2S, but even then they haven’t all agreed on the same exact pinout etc.

XLRs are pretty good when implemented really well, even RCAs have their uses (and can be uprated with better contact surface at least).
By your own admission you would rather hardwire anyway so is any connector ever going to satisfy your thirst for the very best spec (don’t get me wrong, as a thought experiment this stuff is useful to consider) :slight_smile:

We already have this as an integrated feature, it’s just mainly closed off outside of dreaming! Meditating long enough intently might give access to this…
As for accuracy of memory, it’s pretty much perfect. I’ve heard a Radiohead track played back in my dream with more fidelity than the record contains.

Maybe. I’m actually very satisfied with my relatively low-spec systems of today.
The thirst for the very best specs is an idealistic pursuit - I’ll never have money for it anyway, it just should exist!

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aye i know what you mean :slight_smile:

These connectors are the closest to none at all. They have very little metal content. DNM goes so far as to house their entire products in acrylic and they make cables and connectors with little metal content as well.




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I used the bullet-plugs and cable pods for years, and more recently they have been improved by the original designer with a new company KLE Innovations. They are even better!

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Thanks! Now that’s some nice no-nonsense engineering, and not pricey.