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Max Rochlin's Memorial digital & video cable (DIY)

Heart & Soul

[Italian version]

Product: Max Rochlin's Memorial digital & video cable
Designer: Steven Rochlin - USA
Approx. price: FREE (visit the site for details)

[Max Rochlin's Memorial Cable]

Steven is a friend. After all :-)
He likes what I like: Music, HiFi, vinyl, tubes, Ferrari's and Italian cars in general, nice women...and helping audiophiles around the Globe to enjoy their fav Music better. He manages a wonderful site about Music and Hifi: the well-known Enjoy the Music.
Browsing through the hundreds of pages of the EnjoytheMusic site you'll find a pretty cool and interesting DIY project for building a coaxial digital and video cable: the Max Rochlin's Memorial digital & video cable.
Steve's brother passed away because of AIDS so Steven is offering this design for free and suggests, in turn, to buy his wonderful EnjoytheMusic T-shirt. Buying this T-shirt you will support the research against AIDS. Need I say more.
If you're going to build the cable please refer to the EnjoytheMusic site where you'll find a fool-proof no-frills say-it-all step-by-step description of the whole eaaaaazy procedure.

[ETM cable...nudo]

Please don't ask me about this, here you'll just find the listening test.
I've asked Steve to build a digital cable for me and here it is!!!
For those digital hi-tech guys out there who are already complaining: "...uh-oh, what's next? After all a digital cable has to trasfer a sequence of 0's and 1's...what difference can it make?". I won't go deep into tech details here but let me remind you the main problem about digital transfers of signals: jitter! The infamous time distortion between the transport and the converter clock. That is, the main reason why optical/toslink connections sound horrible compared to electrical ones.
For details I warmly invite you to read an Inter.View, here on TNT-Audio, with a world famous digital mastering guru: Bob Katz...

Back to reality. The Max Rochlin's Memorial digital and video cable seems to work well even on video connections. Being a die-hard audiophile I've tested it only into my HiFi system...:-) (Oh yes, I own a earth-shaking Home theater system too...but..please!)

Heart and Soul

[Steven Rochlin]

The tonal balance of this cable appears to be naturally bright, with an excellent upper end and a shiny mid range. The harmonic richness of this cable is outstanding and can be compared with way more expensive commercial cables.
The mid range has something, dare I say it, "analogue", smooth and refined with a good level of introspection. Just sometimes I've noticed a "grainy" and "nasal" sound on certain voices and instruments.
The sound is airy and "refreshing", plenty of inner detail and harmonics.
The bass range appears to be fast and dry, with a slight sweet roll-off at the lowest frequencies, at least when compared with my reference cable in "mid-class" price range: a Tara Labs Prism D-1.
This compact bass range contributes to the agile sound of this cable which is also very coherent. The mid and the high range melt together better than the mid-bass with the bass, though.

Dynamics and soundstaging

I'd rate very good the dynamic performance of the mid range and good on the whole audible spectrum. Bass notes are tight and fast, sometimes explosive, especially with the kick drum and the snare drum while "darker" toms appear to be less full-bodied than they were with reference cable.
Pipe organ pedals attacks go deep but fail to reach the lowest fundamentals.
The width of the soundstage is excellent and the 3D image is wider than the space between the loudspeakers. Depth and height are good. The tonal balance of this cable helps keeping a bright light spot on the soundstage, so that players and instruments appear well lit up and focused.

Some advice

Warm up and break-in. Steve suggests at least one week of continuos break-in (with signals or Music, it doesn't really matter, I'd suggest Music for your neighbourhoods' sake :-) ) and I can only confirm this. Clearly the dielectric of the cable needs some time to settle in properly.
Another advice refers to the process of actually building the cable by yourself: follow the instructions carefully or some of your HiFi components may easily become history. You've been warned.


Well, the cable Steve has soldered for me is simply excellent, pro-level finish, appearance and cool looks. Kudos to Steve! So, my only complaint refers to the bass range that I'd have preferred "heavier" and deeper. Ok, I know, we're talking of a 8$ cable here....


Do ya need a digital cable and don't want to spend your hard-earned bucks on an outrageously expen$ive commercial cable? Do you know how to use a soldering gun? Give the Steve's cable a try: the idea is clever, the dude is cool (even if ugly ;-) ), the sound is very good and the price is...right (what else?).
Do yourself a favour and buy an EnjoytheMusic T-shirt then: you won't look as cool as Steve (or as yours truly :-) ) but you'll feel better inside, knowing your money has been spent for a good cause.
Just a reminder: this project is by Steven Rochlin so for details, queries, questions, doubts, complaints, flames, fears and fortune-telling please refer exclusively to the Enjoy the Music web site: it's the site your mother warned you about :-)

A warm thank you to Steven Cool Dude Rochlin for having sent me his cable for reviewing and for all his efforts to make this world a little bit better.

© Copyright 1999 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com

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