Equipment Review No. 3 February 2002
Vampire Wire CCC-II & CCV Review
After spending so much time in high-end stereo shops and countless hours on discussion boards, listening to all the debate on them, I felt the need to review some of the cables and interconnects that are out there myself to see who performs and who does not.
With so many choices in the audio/video world today we decided to put the CCC-II and the CCV from Vampire Wire to the test to see if they perform as well as some of the other name brands out there. The CCC-II are audio interconnects while the CCV is a digital video interconnect.
Since most people are not fortunate enough to have a $10,000 home theater system we decided to use a typical system setup to help simulate what the average person would be using. After all, what would testing a product on a highly expensive system prove to anyone that does not have a similar system? Keeping that in mind, here is what our test system consists of:
- Sony STR-DE935 Receiver
- Sony DVP-S330 DVD
- Definitive Technology BP30 Main Speakers
- Definitive Technology C/L/R 2000 Center Speaker
- Definitive Technology BP2X Surround Speakers
- Definitive Technology PF15TL Subwoofer
- Mitsubishi VS-60705 RPTV
We contacted Stuart Marcus of Sound Connections International (the parent company of Vampire Wire) to see if we might be able to borrow the CCC-II and CCV cables to perform these tests. Stewart was more than helpful in this matter and responded with surprising promptness. We received the test cables within a matter of days.
Upon receipt of the cables, we started off by taking a close look at them to see how well they were constructed as well as the quality of materials used in the manufacturing process. Much to our surprise, everything here was pretty much top notch. The CCC-II cable included a Twin Cables, Polyethylene Dielectric, Stranded Conductor, Mylar Foil - OFHC Copper Braided Shield and a PVC Jacket. These are qualities you normally would see if your were purchasing a cable 5 times the cost of this particular cable. The CCV coaxial was equally impressive with Polyethylene Dielectric, Stranded OFHC Copper Conductor, Braided Foil Shield and a PVC Jacket. The CCV is capable of Composite/Component/RGB Video as well as Coaxial Digital transmission. Now that we have the construction and quality of materials used to manufacturer these cables covered, let's go see how they perform in the A/V aspect of things.
Once the cables were installed we also grabbed a spare set of generic interconnects that come along with your components. We also had another popular brand in the same price range that we will call "Brand MC" to help conceal the identity of the manufacturer.
Along with a partner there to help switch the cables, we threw in the Eagles Hotel California CD and began our testing. I listened to the entire song then my partner would switch the cables to one of the other brands often trying to fool my perception. This is often know as "Blind Testing" and would also assist us in removing any possibilities of the placebo effect. Upon each exchange of cables, I documented a number value of 1,2 or 3 with 3 being the best and 1 being poor. My partner would document what wire was being used so we could compare results later. We did this a total of 15 times using each cable 5 times each in no particular order. Upon completion of this, my partner and I switched places and we repeated the entire process.
Next, we thought we would use the Matrix DVD to perform our Home Theater testing. We used the same testing process as above.
Much to our surprise, the results were completely amazing. See the chart below:
G=Generic MC=Brand MC VW=Vampire Wire
1=POOR 2=AVERAGE 3=EXCELLENT
Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Test
Test 10 Test 11 Test 12 Test 13 Test 14 Test 15 Rating 2 2 3 2 1 2 3 3 1 1 1 3 3 2 1 Wire Used MC G VW MC MC G VW VW MC G MC VW VW G G
With the generic interconnects outperforming brand MC for the most part, and the Vampire Wire dominating the entire test, when it comes time to purchasing, the choice is an easy one. The generic interconnects retailed for about $5 a set, "Brand MC" which retailed for about $60 a set and the Vampire Wires retailed around $60 as well. All 3 being 1 Meter in length. This just goes to show you in some aspects of A/V and Home Theater that the more you spend does not always mean getting a better product.
Until recently we have never used any products from Vampire Wire, nor are they lining our pockets with tons of cash and all the products we want (even though I would love to have this set of interconnect for my own system. (Hint Hint Stuart). This study was based solely on what we felt to be the best interconnect in reproducing sound and video.
When it came to the Vampire Wire interconnects, they seemed to have a "special" sound to them. The audio and video were more vibrant than the other brands. They were smooth, even tonal balance across the spectrum from the high frequency range to the lower end. Vampire Wires offer a smooth, well-balanced musical representation. The bass was deep without distortion, the midrange was very accurate and the highs were crystal clear at all volumes. They are truly an audiophile quality cable at a very affordable cost. To learn more about Vampire Wire and their product lines, visit them at www.vampirewire.com.
In closing, you can spend a lot more money on interconnects and cables, BUT as long as Vampire Wire is around, why would you? Vampire Wire is the clear choice when it comes to interconnect transparency.
- Greg Gentry, Technical Contributor
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