Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MIT cable loom: From the outside in

When I was at Tong Lee in Plaza Low Yat, Kuala Lumpur, I managed to obtain various MIT cables and a power distributor for an experiment in setting up an MIT cable loom.

The results were quite interesting as just by plugging all the power cords to the MIT Z Strip, I could already hear the benefits of the MIT sonic signature.

So instead of changing interconnects and speaker cables, using just one MIT power distributor would be enough to improve the sound. It is a case of upgrading the sound system from the outside in.

With the MIT Z Strip in the power supply chain, the immediate effect will be an improvement in the bass and you will be able to follow the bass better, especially the bass guitar which will be heard as a separate entity instead of being fused with the bass drum. The sound will also be cleaner and more detailed.

Plugging a Shotgun Z Trap to the power cord connected to the power amp makes things smoother and removes some sharpness and hardness in the treble.

After that, using the Shotgun MA interconnects and the Shotgun MA biwire speaker cables will result in incremental steps to sonic bliss.

Strangely, if I use the interconnects and speaker cables without the Z Strip power distributor in the sound system, the improvements are more pronounced.

Since the Shotgun Z Trap is a unique universal IEC in and IEC out design, I tried plugging it to a normal power distributor so that every component connected to it would benefit from its power supply cleaning capability. It worked - the sound improved somewhat. But the Z Strip was in another class and outperformed the Z Trap/normal distributor combination.

MIT Shotgun Z Trap.
The MIT Z Strip. The orange sockets are for digital components.

The sound system - with the complete MIT cable loom - performed at a much higher level, but it's a question of whether the MIT sonic signature is what you desire.

The best way to describe the MIT sonic signature would be greater wide-band clarity from the bottom octaves to the highest notes, a more detailed presentation of the music, more stable but etched out imaging, greater transparency and a deeper soundstage. Compared with some other branded cables, the images rendered by MIT cables are somewhat leaner and more etched-out with more defined edges. For want of a better word, the MIT cable loom sounds 'audiophile'.

MIT's power products use parallel filters to filter out mains noise so that dynamics are not restricted. The Shotgun Z Trap uses the American company's parallel filter technology with three 'Filterpoles' while the Z Strip has multiple parallel tuned filters operating over a wide frequency range. The Z Strip will not limit current although there is a 10-Amp fuse.

Of interest is that the MIT Z Strip is one of the few power distributors that has Power Factor correction to reduce transmission losses and improve voltage regulation. It also features surge and spike protection.

It has six hospital-grade US outlets and two digital isolated outlets for the CD/DVD player and DAC.

MIT's interconnects and speaker cables are based on what the company calls 'poles of articulation'. The theory is that one wire can function well only for a limited range of frequencies or what MIT calls 'a single pole of articulation'. Thus the wires are tuned to function in as many 'poles of articulation' as possible, which explains why there are boxes connected to MIT cables.

Indeed, some curious folks have prised open the boxes to find capacitors and inductors inside them.

The MIT Shotgun MA biwire speaker cable. Note the network box.
These 'pigtails' are to connect the network box to the speaker.
The MIT Shotgun MA interconnect.
MIT's impedance matching system is featured in the Shotgun interconnects.

The Shotgun MA interconnects have 22 poles of articulation plus selectable impedance matching networks - technology filtered down from the ultra-expensive Oracle Series. You can select Low, Mid or High input on the selector switch which will make the sound either too bright, too bassy or just right.
The Shotgun MA biwire speaker cables have 32 poles of articulation and use other technologies like the CVT Coupler which is supposed to reduce signal reflections.

The cable loom that I set up costs about RM20,000 which is about the price of a very good DAC or turntable. So it's a question of what your needs are. In a very high-end and expensive sound system, an MIT cable loom may just be the thing to take its performance to a higher level.

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