These are the results of a blind comparison between AudioQuest Coral ($89/.5m pair) and Outlaw ($30/.5m pair) audio interconnects. The equipment list: Yamaha RX-V596 receiver; Yamaha K-960 dbx cassette recorder; Carver SD/A-360 CD changer; Panasonic RP-91 DVD-A player; Paradigm Monitor 90P speakers. All tests were 2 channel stereo, no DSP effects, tone controls flat. The 3 listeners were not allowed to see which or even if I changed cables during the test. Some of the CDs were Elton John's Madman Across the Water, Tears for Fears Songs From the Big Chair, Derek and the Dominoes Layla and Other Love Songs. The DVD-A was Metallica Metallica (the Black Album). The cassettes included songs from each of the CDs.
People, it wasn't even a contest, all listeners were able to discern the differences in every test and from all the sources. They unanimously chose the Outlaws over the Corals, without hesitation. Soundstage, imaging and clarity with the Outlaws were notably better. In comparison, the Corals sounded almost muted, as if the bass and treble controls were set to cut. ( I checked, they weren't.)
Of course, since I made the cable changes I could not make a blind selection, but I agreed with the listeners 100%. I also tested both cables against the optical output from the SD/A-360 and the Outlaws again seemed to perform better over the optical connection, although that test was not blind and the differences were very subtle. However, the Corals again were clearly inferior. FYI, this test indicates that the DACs and circuitry in the Carver are superior to those in the Yamaha. I intend to run the same test with the RP-91 this weekend.
Surprisingly, the assorted Monster, Radio Shack Gold and various generic cables I also tried during the test, although clearly not as good as the Outlaws or the optical connection, did in some cases seem marginally better than the Corals, although this was not unanimous (2-1).
Some comments: I had expected to hear either no difference or for the Corals to be slightly better, I was very surprised at the outcome of the test. The Outlaw cables seem very well constructed, the locking connector is well designed and of course, the sound quality was excellent. The only drawback is that the connector diameter is a little too large and it may be necessary to spread the connectors apart slightly to turn the locking rings if the ports on the back panel of the component are close together (as most are). Also, the Outlaw RCA connectors are soldered, while I prefer crimp. Another point, they are only available in .5 and 1.8 meter lengths, they need to offer a 1m length.
Based on the results of this test, I intend to replace all my audio interconnects with Outlaw cables. It looks like Outlaw has again brought an outstanding value to the market.
FTR, I have no connection with Outlaw or AudioQuest and I paid for all the cable out of my own pocket.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."