I promised to report in greater detail about the demo that I experienced at the recent Newport Show provided by Wireworld. Their PR person reached out to me as an audiophile blogger and asked if I would like to schedule a time on Thursday…to see the cable “polygraph” in action. I was completely open with the young lady that contacted me. We exchanged a couple of emails regarding whether I would be allowed to record the session and whether David would use one of my own tracks to do the demo. She responded that I could bring my own tracks and the recording the demonstration would be fine. That was certainly a good start.
I left my own sales table in the later afternoon and went upstairs to visit Wireworld. Brent Butterworth was sitting on the floor taking an extreme close-up of a cable when I entered the room. We chatted briefly before he left and we got down to the serious business at hand. My experience with Wireworld is extremely limited. I don’t recall having met David Salz at any previous audio event. He was very accommodating and actually seemed to get behind some of the things I have written about competing cable companies, which was surprising. He believes that the shenanigans that other companies seem to enjoy damage the reputation of legitimate vendors of high-end cables.
The gist of his presentation is to allow listeners to “quickly” compare the sound of very short cables (he refers to these as the “no cable” reference) with other cables. The Wireworld setup consists of a couple of moderately capable speakers (Triad Cinema Reference Surround 2). They were chosen because the connections are located at the top and not because they are particularly good speakers. A couple of Bel Canto M500 Mk2 mono amplifiers were placed on top of the speakers to allow a “no cable” banana plug and spade lug soldered together to deliver the signals from the amplifier outputs to the speakers inputs. NOTE: Lest we forget, there is additional cabling inside the speakers and amplifiers.
The player was a Bryston BDP-2 high-resolution file player. I brought along a USB stick full of real high-resolution audio files (96 kHz/24-bit PCM). We settled on the tune Mujaka performed by the Latin Jazz Trio. It’s a fabulous recording and a perfect demo track because of the metal percussion, full range grand piano, and acoustic bass.
The tests alternated between the “no cable” and two versions of 14-gauge copper wire with clear shielding. The zip cords were 10 feet long — one with the hot and low lines together and one with them apart. David and his assistant went back and forth between the “no cable” and the zip cords…and I’m sure they expected me to register some dramatic or even subtle change. It didn’t happen for these ears. The fidelity of the “no cable” was identical to either of the zip cords. If there was a subtle “bass extension”, “addition of low level details”, or the music “came back to a happy place”, I missed it [NOTE: A “happy place”…really?]. And I know others who have experienced this very same demo have said the same thing. Nothing changed. The sound was the same between the “no cable” and the 14-gauge zip cord.
I’ve read other reviewers state that the “14-gauge zip cord was awful. It sounded like the system died, and lost all life.” But I seriously doubt this assessment since I heard the comparison myself. It didn’t sound awful or even a little different.
I let David know that I didn’t hear any difference so we never proceeded to products designed and sold by Wireworld. After all, why bother? One reviewer who did listen to the line of Wireworld products said, “The Wireworld Eclipse got very close to the ‘No Cable’, as expected at that price point. ($1800).”
As expected at that price point? Wait a second. This is the best example of expectation bias I’ve ever read. The author knew the expensive cable was in place and therefore the sound had to be the best. Come on.