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Outlaw Audio PCA Interconnect Cables

November, 2003

Kris Deering

 

Specifications:

 

6N Copper (99.9998% Oxygen-Free)
Dual Shielded
Threaded RCA Lock-down

● MSRP: $49.95 for One 1.2 Meter Pair; $159.95 for Four Pairs

 

Outlaw Audio

www.outlawaudio.com

Introduction

There have been several Internet companies over the past years that have really broken the mold in terms of price performance. They use the internet to bypass the normal marketing monster that increases prices with its mega marketing campaigns and dealer markups. Some of the most notable in this area are Bettercables.com, SV Subwoofers, and Outlaw Audio. All three of these companies have brought outstanding product and value to their respective markets and allow consumers to purchase a far higher level of product for their dollar.

Recently I had the opportunity to review a new amplifier that Outlaw is offering, the 7100. There was one dilemma though. My current setup uses XLR interconnects between my processor and amplifier. Since this has been the case for sometime now, I didnít have any analog RCA cables for interconnects. Then I found out something that I donít think most people are aware of, Outlaw makes cables too. So I requested a set to use during the 7100 review. They gladly shipped me out a set of their PCA (Pure Copper Analog) cables.

The Design

Outlaw has their cables manufactured using a patented process of cooling the copper after it has been heated and poured. This process reduces the fragmentation of the copper to near zero. Their PCA interconnects use copper that approaches 6N (99.9998% oxygen-free).

There are many debates on the advantages of copper compared to silver as a conductor for audio purposes. It is true that silver is a better conductor but there are VERY few companies that use pure silver for their cable runs. They usually just coat their copper with silver instead. Outlaw offers some pure silver cables as well, but they are a tad more expensive.

When the cables arrived, I was immediately impressed with their construction. The cables are double jacketed and slightly bigger then most designer cables. Outlaw employs separately jacketed conductor paths for their offerings as well as dual shielding. This is supposed to eliminate unwanted noise from RFI and EMI as well as other electrical sources.

The terminations are also a standout. Instead of using typical RCA plugs, they have opted for a tightening screw-type terminator. This is an RCA plug that has a threaded sleeve that tightens down on it. I found this option to be a much more solid connection then I am accustomed to with RCA style cables and more in line with XLR offerings in terms of sturdiness.

There is a downside to this approach though. Most receivers and processors have very little room in between the connectors. Because of the sleeve tightening down, it may be hard for some to get these connectors on or off due to space considerations. But I assure you, once they are on, they arenít coming off unless you want them to.

The Listening

Once I connected the amplifier to my processor using the PCA interconnects, I was very pleased with the results. No, my soundstage didnít change drastically, but I wasnít expecting it to. The noise floor didnít shift at all audibly, which is nice considering I was using balanced cables before. The Outlaw cables didnít intrude, and they offered what seemed like a seamless path audibly. This is what I expect from a boutique cable. These factors, coupled with outstanding build quality, are the reasons one considers a higher end interconnect in the first place.

Conclusions

At the end of my time with reviewing the Outlaw amplifier, I decided to purchase the Outlaw cables they had provided. I was extremely pleased with the connectors and their rugged design. I now use them in my system for multi-channel analog audio. I donít think I can give any product a higher recommendation then buying it myself. I look forward to future cable offerings from Outlaw, as they have outstanding performance at a excellent price point, just like their amplifiers.


- Kris Deering -

 

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