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Alpha-Core Goertz Triode Quartz Silver Interconnects and Python AG2 Silver Speaker Cables

September, 2005

John E. Johnson, Jr.

 

Specifications:

Triode Quartz RCA/RCA Interconnects

● 10 AWG 99.99% Silver Conductors
● Polyester Terepthalate Dielectric
● Gold-Plated Connectors
● MSRP: $293/Pair/2 Meter Length - RCA/RCA
    ($366 for 2 Meter Pair XLR)

Python AG2 Speaker Cables

● 25 AWG 99.99% Silver Conductors
● Polyester Terepthalate Dielectric
● Rhodium-Plated Connectors
● MSRP: $161/Foot/Pair - Terminated

 

Alpha-Core

www.alphacore.com

Introduction

Of all the cable designs out there, Alpha-Core Goertz is one of the most interesting.

It uses a twisted flat conductor configuration, with the two conductors laid back to back. In the photo, you can see that they are twisted in a helix. The conductors are separated by a ground, and the three are separated by layers of flat dielectric.

I suppose the name Alpha-Core comes from the biological term alpha helix, which refers to amino acids and peptides forming peptide bonds (postulated by Linus Pauling, Nobel Laureate).

DNA in living things consists of amino acids, paired in such a helix. So, the pair of conductors in the Alpha-Core cable is arranged in a similar fashion, although DNA has right hand twists, and the Alpha-Core cables have a left hand twist.

So What?

Anyway, besides the interesting biological similarity, what does the flat helix do for the signal?

Basically, the design minimizes crosstalk and RF interference, but also keeps inductance low. This seems to be borne out with our bench tests, as shown below.

The review cables consisted of Triode Quartz Silver interconnects (RCA/RCA and XLR/XLR) as well as Python AG2 speaker cables. All of these cables have (essentially) 100% silver conductors, except for the ground, which is copper.

In Use

I tested the Alpha-Core cables with a Class CDP-10 CD player, BAT VK-5i preamplifier, BAT VK-75SE power amplifier, and Magneplanar MG1.6/QR speakers.

My aging ears are not the best in the world, but I could detect more high frequency detail than I was used to. (When my hearing was tested before entry into the US Air Force many years ago, I was able to hear 10 dB lower SPL than average, but those days are long past.)

Of course, this could be just psychological, but the leading edge of transients just seemed more apparent.

Alpha-Core cites data that show how audio signals are altered with conventional cables, but not with the Goertz cables. A photo from their tests is shown below.

The top trace is from a 12 kHz square wave passed through a 25 foot Goertz cable. The bottom trace is from a "conventional cable", brand not specified. What the graphs show is that harmonics of the 12 kHz fundamental are filtered out by the conventional cable, and the shape of the leading edge is changed.

I did not notice any difference with the bass. The increase in high frequency detail gave the sound more body, more realism. The differences were very subtle though.

On the Bench

The LCR data show that the interconnects have higher than average capacitance, but very low inductance. The speaker cables have very high capacitance, but very low inductance. Resistance of both types of cables was about average. We cannot test for reduced RF interference.

Below is a summary table of my evaluation of the Alpha-Core Goertz Cables.

 

Construction Performance Durability Value High Points Problems
Outstanding

9/10

Outstanding

9/10

Outstanding

9/10

Excellent

7/10

Amazing transient detail. Top notch build quality. Connectors have precious metal plating.

A bit stiff.

(Number Ratings: 1-2=Poor, 3-4=Fair, 5-6=Good, 7-8=Excellent, 9-10=Outstanding)

Conclusions

Alpha-Core cables are as good at sound reproduction as they are fascinating to look at. The solid-silver interconnects are competitively priced, and if you can keep your speaker cables short, those will be very affordable too. Highly recommended!



- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

Copyright 2005 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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