Experimenting with Straight Wire Crescendo 3 Interconnects

In my previous thread “Unbalanced Interconnect Length”, someone mentioned that since I am now running unbalanced to my amps, that I should also try unbalanced from my streamer to preamp as well.

Well it just so happens that one of my brothers has a spare pair of 0.5m Straight Wire Crescendo 3 interconnects laying around, so he’s letting me try them out in my system.

I’m currently comparing them along side my 10 year old 1m Wire World Oasis 7 XLR cables.

Annoyingly, switching back and forth between input 1 (XLR) and input 3 (RCA), there’s about a good 4 to 5 dB difference between the two, making direct comparisons a challenge. When I switch back and forth, I’m having to quickly adjust the volume as well.

My brother has used the Crescendo 3 cables for a year or more (he’s got the full loom in his system), but they have sat unused for the past few weeks or so. I’ve had them playing in my system for the past 24 hours. At this point, I don’t think any extra burn-in should make any difference.

Anyway, from what I can tell, there’s not a whole lot of difference in sound between my 10 year old, $170 XLR’s and his maybe 1.5 year old, $800 RCA’s.

From what I can hear, the initial “kick” or “impact” of a bass drum is a bit softer on the leading edge with the Crescendo 3, as well as the midrange possibly being just a bit laid back or ever so slightly recessed. Of course, the difference in midrange could very well be just the fact that I’m not getting the volume levels perfectly the same. But the leading edge softness in the bass is certainly a thing.

Other than that, everything else seems to be the same. Not very impressive to say the least. I would expect a pair of cables that cost nearly 5x as much would offer up some decent improvements in sound. Maybe because I’m comparing balanced to unbalanced?

Just went and did a little digging around, and I have a spare pair of Wire World Oasis 7 RCA’s sitting here, probably unused for a couple of years. I’ll swap them in place of the Straight Wire RCA’s and see what happens. If I get that same kind of soft leading edge and recessed midrange, then it just might be a fact of comparing balanced to unbalanced.

At this point however, it’s just pure curiosity as someone else in that other thread of mine also said that I may or may not get any improvements going to RCA or even get any reduced noise. luckily, either way, there’s no extra noise, and that was the main point behind this little experiment all along.

Also, as a side note, I find it a bit odd that on any of the hifi forums I’m on, there’s pretty much zero mention of Straight Wire cables of any kind. Hmm…

True balanced signals will always be 6 dB louder than RCA. Comparing RCA against XLR can be a challenge …

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And I know this… Why I said 4 to 5 dB is beyond me. LOL

Especially considering the fact that I’ve been making 6 dB adjustments on the XP-20 every time I switch between the two.

I have to add, I just pulled the Straight Wire cables and put in the WW Oasis 7 RCA’s, and now there’s virtually no differences between the two (Oasis 7 XLR and Oasis 7 RCA). Same sharpness and impact in the bass, same type of midrange presence, same everything from what I can tell.

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