THE HELIX IMAGE" Power Cable

The “HELIX IMAGE” power cable represents several years of researching different cable architectures and materials.

I started looking at cable architectures a while back, initiated by an experience with a home lighting repair.

I was installing a new two way switch on a hallway light, the type with a switch at each end of the hallway (see diagram below). I decided to play it safe and use my multimeter to verify the open/closed position of the switches.

With the switch in the OFF position everything checked out, but with the switch in the ON position I found that there was a reading of 42 volts on what was supposed to be the "dead conductor" i.e. the red conductor in the diagram below.

page1image6056


I subsequently found articles on the web which verified that in this particular situation it is common for one of the conductors in standard household power cable to register an "induced voltage".

In the case of “conventional” cable architectures, the live conductor and the neutral conductor tend to be side by side in extremely close proximity for the length of the cable, so is it reasonable to assume that noise will be induced between the conductors in a power cable?.
Would “noise pollution” also be present on the ground conductor, which, and depending on the design of a components circuit, might also have an adverse effect on sound quality?

Additional research revealed even more to consider regarding good cable design...

For more information on cable design issues please read the three articles below that talk about the many problems that challenge cables designers.

They will provide a great deal of insight into the many parameters and design techniques employed to build cables that excellent in their performance.

The articles are specific to Interconnect and speaker cables, but much of the theory also applies to power cables


https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-1/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-2/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-3/



The premise of the helical design concept eliminates the parallel conductors which minimizes cable issues to imperceivable levels!

BONUS! - the Helix acts as a Faraday Cage just for the LIVE wire!



But First My Disclaimer:

DO NOT attempt any of the assemblies detailed below unless you are an experienced
Electrical Professional OR Electronics Hobbyist - otherwise consult a technician!

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for following local electrical codes. Failure to do so may result in personal injury, damage to equipment, or power cable failure which can result in fire.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for ensuring the cable selected is suitably rated for the power requirements of the component(s) it will be attached too !

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for ensuring the IEC/Mains connectors are installed observing the correct polarity !
- failure to do so can result in poor operation, component failure or electric shock.


YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE: for ensuring the dielectric strength of the insulation on ALL conductors used, meets or exceeds local codes!

e.g. In North America - 600v at 200 Celsius for 120v 50/60 Hz supply


These Power cables are only to be used for
Home Audio Purposes and must not subjected to harsh environments and frequent handling, which generally require additional protective coverings.

The materials mentioned below comply with most codes for NORTH AMERICA ONLY!

Electrical codes in other countries may require the selection of different materials, therefore
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for following those local electrical codes.

YOU are responsible for ensuring “power related” assemblies are safe to use!


What size wire do you recommend for various components?

For "power components" i.e. amps and power conditioners, I have found that using a single 2 x 14 gauge live Conductor (effectively an 11 gauge wire) will suffice for the most demanding components (e.g. amps up to 600 watts).

You might think an 11 Gauge cable is capable of handling much more that 600 watts, HOWEVER, transient peaks in the music can result in very high instantaneous current demands. This cable has been designed to accommodate a significant amount of "headroom" in order to handle those peaks without compressing the signal,
so I conservatively rate its use up to 600 watts.

However, since you will NEVER drive a high output amps to their max, these power cables can be used with higher wattage components up to 1000 watts.

For the LIVE Conductor of Source Component power cables:
Either…

  • 2 strands of 14 gauge Neotech UP-OCC solid copper - my preference for Heavy Duty cables
  • 2 strands of 18 or 16 gauge UP-OCC Solid Copper for Source power cables

Materials...

The materials listed below will build a 5ft power cable that is suitable for use with Power Aimplifiers rated up to 600 watts.


For 5 ft power cable you will require…
  • LIVE conductor: 10 ft of one of the wires identified above
  • NEUTRAL Conductor: 15 feet of Stranded Neotech UP-OCC wire with teflon insulation
  • GROUND Conductor: 15 feet of green 12 gauge mains copper wire from Home Depot
  • 4" of 3/4" or 1” black Heat Shrink sleeve
  • 2" of 1/8" black heat shrink sleeve with adhesive
  • Optionally 6 ft of 1/8" diameter cotton sleeve - when installed the sleeve expands, which makes it shorter
  • 1 Pair of SONAR QUEST CRYO Ag Audio Grade Silver plated IEC plug + US main plug
  • eutectic solder suited for electronics use - or WBT 4% silver solder can also be used
  • 1 - 5/16” (7-8mm) diameter fibreglass rod 4-5 ft long - available from Home Depot

For the Spade/Fork terminals…
  • buy the 10/12 gauge (yellow) for the double neutral conductor
  • and 14/16 gauge if using solid wire for the Live conductor, otherwise use the 10/12 gauge
  • I buy them from a local auto supply, electrical or hardware store
  • Spades


Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 4.31.10 PM

The Sonar Quest connectors have heavy Silver plating on pure copper contacts that provide excellent clamping and transmission of electrical current - available from ebay

I use an approximate ratio of 3:1 of Ground/Neutral:Live conductor

e.g. for a 5ft power cable I use 15ft of Ground and Neutral Conductor



How To Make Them...

To determine the “Direction” of the Helix - see Inside The Helix Geometry.


The Neutral Conductor...
On the 5/16” rod, wind the neutral conductor in a helix configuration, space the windings about 1/4” apart and remove from the rod.

pc1



The Ground Conductor...

On the 5/16" rod, wind the green GOUND conductor in a helix configuration, space the windings about 1/4” apart and remove from the rod.

pc3

  • Interleave the Neutral conductor and the Ground conductor while the ground conductor is still on the rod
  • apply heat shrink to each end such that the connectors have a more solid foundation for the cable grip to clamp onto.


power one



The Live Conductor…

Constructor the Live conductor as shown in…
The HELIX IMAGE (Air)

  • Thread the Live conductor assembly through the centre of the red & green coil(s)
  • Trim and attach a second 12/10 awg spade connector on free end of the Live conductor, crimp and solder in place.
  • Attach a second 12/10 awg spade connector on the free end of the neutral conductor, crimp and solder in place.
  • Place 12/10 awg spade connectors on both ends of the ground conductor, crimp and solder in place
  • OPTIONAL: add expandable nylon tube for added cable protection


Here are two of my earlier power cables sitting on cable lifters...

Power cables

NOTE: When Attaching the Sonar Quest connectors to the cable assembly...

PLEASE ensure you adopt the correct polarity - your life may depend on it!!!



Mains Polarity




Assembly Notes...

Why do I use spade connectors? -

  • First, trying to attach the mains/IEC connectors to a large gauge cable is very difficult,
  • More importantly - the spade connectors prevent detachment from the connectors in the event of unforeseen stress being placed on the connectors.
  • I have also found that the spade connectors that are crimped and soldered actually improve sound quality.

For a more secure crimped joint, I always crimp from the back - as shown in the image below, which prevents the collar from opening.

Crimp-022


I use pliers as shown in this image that applies an extended crimp along the whole length of the spade connectors collar

imgres


Cables that are more suited to source components can use lighter gauge conductors, but be sure to determine their power requirements and select a gauge that can handle it with headroom to spare.

Can you use other brands of IEC/Mains connectors?


Of course. Some people might prefer to use Furutech, or Oyaide high quality connectors.

Others may prefer to use something more reasonably price, like the Vanguard range of connectors.

I believe the Sonar Quest connector line provides exceptional sound quality for a reasonable price.

Power Cables for my Source Components...
Most “Source components” - like CD players, phono stages, DACs, etc.. draws significantly less power than amplifiers. They typically consume up to 40 watts

So, they do not require a 12 gauge power cable !


Most source components have a “less capable” power supply than amplifiers.

So their performance can be improved using a better “quality” power cable !


The following are details for building the
HELIX IMAGE - SOURCE power cable as follows...

  • A dual neutral conductor made from 14 gauge silver plated Mil-spec wire,
  • OR, a single neutral conductor made from a single strand of 14 gauge Neotech stranded UP-OCC copper wire - is simpler to fabricate and will improve performance
  • The ground wire is a single 14 gauge copper wire - I now use the Mil-spec wire - it retains the coil shape better
  • for neutral and ground wires - use a ratio of 4:1 neutral to signal to provide adequate helix coverage
  • The Live conductor can be either a 2 x 18 or 2 x 16 gauge UP-OCC bare copper wire, each wire inserted in a teflon tubes
  • The construction techniques are almost identical to the standard HELIX Image power cable above
NOTES:
  • DO NOT use wire that has a cotton insulation - they are not rated for mains use in power cables

So - for a 5 ft cable you will need...
  • 2 x 5 ft of 18 or 16 gauge Neotech Solid copper for the Live conductor
  • 2 x 20 ft of 14 gauge Silver plated Mil-spec wire from Take Five audio for the neutral OR…
  • 1 x 20 ft of Neotech stranded UP-OCC copper wire with insulation removed
  • 1 x 20 ft of Teflon Tube (PTFE 10 Tubing .106"ID .130"OD Approx. 10 awg ) from Take Five Audio
  • 1 x 20 ft of 14 gauge Silver plated Mil-spec wire from Take Five audio for the Ground conductor
  • 7 ft of 1/8” cotton sleeve (if desired)
  • 14 and 18 gauge Spade connectors - auto supply stores normally have very cheap spade connectors
  • 2" of 1/8” heat shrink tube with adhesive
  • some masking tape
  • quality solder - I now use eutectic solder, but high content (e.g. 4%) silver solder can also be used



So why do they work?

The power supply of an amplifier tends to be very well designed and built, because of the power requirements at play, whereas the more affordable source components, tend to be built to a price point and therefore the power supply is very often not as “capable” as the rest of the circuit.

The rest of the electrical components are very often just as capable as those in the amp, but in operation, their performance is impacted by the inadequacies of the power supply when handling transient peaks in the signal

So if you use a very good power cable on a source component you can mitigate some of the inadequacies of its power supply.

Solid silver wire, if used for the Live conductor has an IACS rating of around 106% compared to UP-OCC copper at around 103%


What is IACS? — it’s a measure of the conductivity of various metals relative to “Pure Copper”, a standard developed for copper wire producers, annealed copper having a rating of 100%

So the silver wire in these cables is able to respond more quickly to transient signal demands.

ALSO - the insulation on this particular silver wire has a Dielectric Constant (Dk) of 1.4, compared to Teflon at 2.1. But if the Air adaption is used the IACS approaches 1.1-1.2

The continual change in polarity of the alternating current charges and recharges the insulation much like the dielectric in a capacitor, which induces noise into the conductor. A lower Dk reduces the amount of noise generated internally within the conductor itself.


What improvements did I observe?

  • There was a significant improvement in the details of “venue acoustics” - i.e. echoes and reverberations
  • dynamics were noticeably crisper
  • the image was noticeably larger front-to-back and there was more precision of artist location within the image
  • there appeared to be more “air” around each performer
  • clarity was improved, i.e. you could hear more of the fine details and layers within the music

I recommend making the single 2 x 18 gauge cables...


ONLY - if your component draws less than 40 watts - WHY?

The 18 gauge wire(s) is rated at around 1 amp - HOWEVER - transient spikes can result in significantly higher current draws, which can impact performance or even overheat the cable.

For components rated BETWEEN 40 - 80 watts - use 2 x 16 gauge strands (effectively 13 gauge).



Using Helix Power Cables in a more "Demanding" Environment?
Let's face it, power cables in an audio system "generally" sit at the back of the audio rack and DO NOT move, except for the occasional component swap or audition. It's not what I consider a dynamic environment. so the construction methods and materials above are "safe", but for this style of use ONLY!

I will warn that the Helix power cable IS NOT SUITED (intended or designed) to be used in extreme rugged and demanding environments. such as a recording studio or a live performance !
If you need a "REALLY HEAVY DUTY CABLE", then, The Helix IS NOT the cable you need, so get yourself a length of Furutech bulk mains cable, which is designed to be used in almost any environment.

The Journey...

I’m a frugal person with a distinct dislike of overpaying for something as simple as a piece of wire!


I started making my own cables many years ago from Bulk cable with reasonably priced connectors.

I first tried Furutech bulk cable and then stumbled upon DH Labs, which I believe offers similar performance for about 1/3 the price - how could you not like that.

I then investigated a braided architecture which proved very effective, even using plain old Romex house wire.

Finally, I tried the Helix Architecture, which has proved to be the best performing power cable architecture to date.

I have now implemented this architecture on all my cables that have anything to do with audio.

What do they sound like?

The “HELIX IMAGE Power Cable” is a high performance power cable that allows connected components to perform to the best of their abilities.

They assist components in delivering ultra fast dynamic performance, exceptional clarity, expansive imaging and a very deep and exceptionally well controlled and very natural bass performance.

How Long is the Burn-In Period?

It is imperative that these cables are allowed adequate time to settle and burn-in...

  • they will sound extremely good on initial installation
  • after about 60 hours they allow more of the micro details in the form of venue specific reverberation captured in live recordings, or applied by very talented sound engineers, to clearly be heard.

The end of the Road?

My hope is that this design will be embraced and enhanced by the DIY Community and encourage them to experiment with different conductor materials and configurations to tailor the sound to their own liking.


For Helix cable spec’s please see Its More Than Just Numbers - Isn't It?

My Review System:



page6_blog_entry61-page6_blog_entry60-page6_blog_entry52-page6_blog_entry40-two-thumbs-up-2 Give them a try - and - Enjoy The Music! Happy


The "HELIX IMAGE" Interconnect

The “HELIX IMAGE Interconnect” represents the very latest developments in researching different wire types, geometries and materials.
The premise behind its helical geometry (or architecture) is eliminating parallel conductors, since...
  • if two parallel conductors are in close proximity for an extended distance, and current is passed down them, then noise & distortions will occur within them.
In the case of “conventional” interconnect cable architectures, the signal conductor and the neutral conductor are most often side by side in extremely close proximity for the length of the cable, therefore in my mind, I consider it reasonable to assume that some noise, however small, will occur within the signal conductor and neutral conductors.

Why would this matter? Isn’t the neutral is effectively connected to the “ground” ?


Well, the neutral conductor is actually connected to the neutral side of the circuit of both attached components.

Any noise that permeates through the neutral side of the components circuit, will have a negative impact on the connected components, resulting in distortions in the signal, which is ultimately amplified and output to the speakers.

Any noise in the signal conductor gets gets distorted even further through each stage and again amplified even further

In addition, parallel conductors are prone to Proximity & capacitance issues which creates distortions in the conductors.
All of this impacts the phase between the left and right channels, which “smears” the mage.

The original helix design concept eliminates the parallel conductors and minimizes the noise to imperceivable levels, improving clarity and dynamic performance of the interconnect.

Since those early days, developments include the selection of various types of wire, gauge of wire and types of insulation, to bring us to this moment in time

One other nice feature of the helical design is the neutral conductor, being wound around the signal conductor, becomes a very effective shield against external RFI sources - in effect is is a Faraday Cage surrounding the signal wire - because it is connected to “ground” Happy

But Shouldn’t The Two Conductors Be The Same Length?

If you look at the “roles” the two conductors play from the perspective of an attached components’ circuit diagram it becomes clear that cable length is immaterial and they can be made from different materials and gauges.

page2image664

  • The Signal Conductor transfers the signal
  • The Neutral Conductor completes the circuit, BUT, its ONLY function is to connect the neutral sides of the two attached components
  • Any “noise” present on the neutral conductor permeated through the entire circuit of BOTH components and impacts their operation.


For more detailed information on cable design issues please read the three articles below that talk about the many problems that challenge cables builders.

They will provide a great deal of insight into the many parameters and design techniques employed to build cables that excellent in their performance.


https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-1/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-2/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-3/




How To Make Them...


FIRST: determine the “Direction” of the Helix for the wire you will use - see Inside The Helix Geometry.

The Single Ended IC Design...

The parts list is reasonably priced between $180 - $250 for a 3ft ( or 1 meter) pair, depending on the RCA’s and wire selected - and all other parts can be purchased from many parts providers on the web.

Granted, they are more expensive than most other DIY cables, but considering their exceptional sound quality and their ability to compete with many top of the line cables from established commercial brands, I believe this price range to be of excellent "value".

You can upgrade or downgrade these parts if you wish, but the parts listed will provide exceptional sound quality.

I use an approximate ratio of 3:1 of Neutral:Signal conductor

e.g. for a 3ft Interconnect cable I use 9ft of Neutral Conductor



The quantities listed is for a single Interconnect cable i.e. one channel -
so double them for a stereo pair

  • RCA Plug: KLE Innovations Absolute Harmony RCA Plugs (SOURCE: KLE Innovations or local parts sources)
  • Neutral Conductor: 9 ft of 16 gauge solid Neotech UP-OCC Solid Copper wire with Teflon insulation
  • Signal Conductor: 2 x 3 ft of 18 gauge bare UP-OCC Solid Copper wire - My preference, with the Teflon insulation removed.
  • OR: for a slightly more mellow presentation use 2 x 18 gauge UP-OCC solid copper with AirLok insulation from VH Audio
  • OR: 2 x 18 gauge UP-OCC solid Silver wire with AirLok insulation from VH Audio for a very detailed and smooth performance
  • WBT 4% silver solder OR Cardas Eutectic solder

Assembly of the “HELIX IMAGE DOUBLE/SINGLE” interconnect...


i.e. the Live conductor has two wires and he neutral conductor is a single wire


Step 1.
Construct the Signal conductor as indicated in
The HELIX IMAGE (Air)

Step 2.
Wind the conductor around a 1/8" (3.5mm) metal rod. To assist with this I insert the rod into a variable speed hand drill and feed the conductor along its length.

IC1


Once wound, the helix can be removed from the rod.

IC2

Step 3

Insert the signal wire into the helix.

IC-4

Space the windings over the length of the signal wire

You may need to tighten the helix by twisting it, about an inch at time, at each end to accommodate the RCA housing

Place a small piece of Heat shrink tube at the end to allow the two small set screws in the housing to grip the cable.

Step 4

Soldering the KLE Innovations needs a little care to prevent excess heat from damaging the plastic housing

I use a chassis mount RCA jack and insert the RCA base into it in order to wick away excess heat

RCAPhono-vice

I also use a little “rig” to hold the parts while I solder


Vice


I’ve found that it is easier if I first solder the signal wire to the RCA plug first, followed by the neutral wire

Solder PLug



Install the housing of the RCA and tighten the screws and you are done!

IC 001




Assembly of the “HELIX IMAGE DOUBLE/DOUBLE” interconnect...


This is the adaption that Bill (a.k.a. Grannyring on the Audiogon Forum) made me aware of. It was adapted from an approach known in audio circles as the "Schroeder Method" and Bill's adaption basically doubled up on both the Signal wire and the neutral wire of the Helix coil.

The construction approach is identical to the single wire IC above with the following changes…

THE SIGNAL CONDUCTOR:

Is identical to the signal conductor used in the DOUBLE/SINGLE cable above



THE NEUTRAL CONDUCTOR:

To make the Double helix coil, strip about 3/8" (10mm) of insulation from the ends of two lengths of 16 gauge Neotech wire (with Teflon insulation) , twist tightly and solder

Then carefully form the coil using a variable speed drill by winding both wires.

20200821_103017_resized

Insert the Signal wire into the helix coil
20200821_103323_resized

Then just as with the single wire version
  • Stretch the coil out to the length of the signal wire
  • Place a piece of heat shrink on the end of the cable
  • attach the RCA plugs

20200821_101921_resized

Please note: in the picture above I have used Cotton insulation - which is a personal preference.

Assembly of the “HELIX IMAGE DOUBLE/SINGLE” interconnect...


So WHY all the different versions?

Well, I was pretty happy with the Single wired version, but Bill had reported significant improvement using the Double/Double approach.

My first thought was that I would just double-up the signal wire to see what kind of improvement I might achieve and leave the Helix Coil as a single wire

The results were very compelling and significantly better than the single wired version.

So now I had to try the Double/Double version in order to assess just how much better the Double/Double was than the Double/Single version.

CONCLUSION:

Well, the Double/Double is the best performer of the three, however, I found that the Double/Single provided about 65% of the benefit of the Double/Double.

What improved in both these cables over the single wired version as the precision and focus within the image, with a more realistic reproduction and a fuller sound

But the Double/Double just edged out the Double/Single version with a slightly improved presentation.

So, for those that already have the single wired version - upgrading to the Double/Single version is a very easy process with minimal cost and effort.

For those of you that is just trying the Helix for the first time and want to minimize the expense, the Single/Single is still an excellent cable and the upgrade to the Double/Single is very easy.

But once you've sampled the Helix IMAGE, you too may be tempted by the Double/Double


I now use a single wire of 16 gauge Neotech wire with Teflon insulation on both interconnects and it sound pretty amazing

Also, you might want to try different brands of wires for the signal conductor, e.g. some people prefer Mundorf Solid SIlver and others prefer Duelund tinned copper with Cotton Insulation - the choice is yours to make - there is no right or wrong


Can you use other brands of RCA?

NOT RECOMMENDED!

I recommend KLE Innovations Harmony RCA’s because of their stellar performance. Personally, I use the Absolute Harmony RCA because it is their best performer. I have used Furutech plugs, but the KLE Innovations product outperform the other RCA plugs I have tried, including Neotech Furutech and WBT RCA plugs.

Also, the properties of the KLEI Harmony RCA’s are very different from conventional RCA’s, such that they can be used on single ended SPDIF cables without experiencing the "reflection" issues associated with conventional RCA’s .

e.g. “convention” states that a SPDIF cable should use an RCA plug of identical impedance

Primarily to reduce/eliminate internal “reflections” of the digital signal back down the cable

However, the KLEI Harmony RCA’S can be used on most digital cables regardless of the cables rated impedance value.

I also believe their higher impedance is responsible for their stellar analogue performance.

Can this cable be used for SPDIF purposes?

Absolutely! - it is an extremely adept SPDIF cable!

To date, it is the best SPDIF cable I have used.

What do HELIX IMAGE Interconnects sound like?

The “HELIX IMAGE Interconnect” is a very highly resolving cable providing extremely good performance metrics with ultra-low distortion.

They deliver a completely “uncoloured presentation” with ultra fast dynamic performance, exceptional clarity, expansive imaging and a very deep and exceptionally well controlled bass performance.

They excel in the delivery of one of the most realistic and compelling presentations of live recordings I have observed.

  • The delicate nuances pertaining to the acoustic reverberations of instruments and voice within a live venue are faithfully reproduced in the most minute detail, with a precision placement of musicians and their instruments within their own “virtual space”.

My system components are quite modest by today’s standards. However my cables are all excellent performers and they work in harmony with the components to achieve an excellent overall “system performance” that exceeds it’s price point by a considerable margin.

Will the
“HELIX IMAGE Interconnect” perform well on all systems?

Based on feedback from people who have made them for installation in some quite varied systems, including all tube, tube hybrid and solid state, so I have no reason to believe their performance will be anything less than stellar on most systems.

However, each listener is unique and the synergy between components is varied, so you may need to adjust you particular cables to suite you YOUR ears. To that end I have provided the names of two wires that perform very well, but will allow you to personalize to your tastes.

Helix Geometry Adaptions…

The HELIX IMAGE Balanced (XLR) Interconnect

For a 3ft stereo pair:
  • 2 pairs of Neutrik Male/Female XLR Cryo Treated - with Silver Plated Pins ( SOURCE: TAKE FIVE AUDIO - TFA)
    • For even better performance these are available on eBay
      • Hi-End Silver plated Tellurium Copper Male female XLR balance Connector
  • Neutral Conductor: 18 ft of Mil Spec 16 AWG Silver Plated Copper Wire Green Cryo Treated (SOURCE: TAKE FIVE AUDIO - TFA)
  • Signal Conductor: 12 ft of 20 gauge Duelund stranded Tinned Copper with Oil/Cotton insulation (Source: HiFi Collective)
  • WBT 4% silver solder

The “standard” Balanced XLR IC design is “basically” the same as single ended design with a simple modification.

A balanced cable requires two signal conductors
  • one for the positive signal
  • one for the negative signal
  • gently twist the signal wires together - 0ne twist every 5-6 inches
  • Wind the neutral wire around a 6mm rod
  • Insert the signal wires into the Helix
  • add XLR connectors and Voila - you have a Helix XLR Interconnect cable

NEW DESIGN: The “HELIX IMAGE Mundorf (XLR)” Interconnect

Fellow DIYer, Yordan from Bulgaria, sent me this “upgrade” to the original XLR Interconnect design using wood beads similar in principle to the single ended design above, while incorporating Ernst’s approach of eliminating the use of man made sleeving/heatshrink and incorporating wood beads spaced along the signal conductor

The material choices, design elements and construction techniques of this cable makes it a worthy
HELIX IMAGE Mundorf” XLR Interconnect

if you wish to apply Yordan’s modifications and elevate your cable to the version shown below you will need ...

  • Mundorf silver/gold wire, 0.5mm dia, SGW105 Teflon Insulated for the signal wire
  • Mundorf silver/gold wire, 1mm dia, SGW110 Teflon Insulated for the neutral Helix
  • 20 - 6mm diameter x 15 mm long wooden beads
  • Yordan uses Oyaide SS-47 solder for the signal wires and Mundorf Supreme 105 silver solder for the neutral

And Then...
  • wind the neutral conductor in a 8mm diameter spiral around an 8mm dowel/rod, wide enough to accommodate the 6mm diameter Beads
  • Twist the signal conductors together - one complete twist every 2 inches (5-6 cm)
  • Insert the twisted signal wires into the beads and use glue to hold the beads in place
  • Insert the signal wire+bead assembly into the helix coil
  • add XLR plugs and VOILA!




IC XLR 001

IC XLR 002


Yordan has also contributed considerably to the development of the Helix range of cables.

Yordan’s comments on the performance of the XLR cables...

“there was a jaw dropping effect - the sound is on another level”

The Journey...

I’m a frugal person with a distinct dislike of overpaying for something as simple as a piece of wire!


I started making my own cables many years ago, but many of those utilized bulk cable from companies like Van den Hul and DH Labs.

I then investigated some of the more recent cable geometries such as tight twisted pairs, braiding and helix geometries.

My primary goal along the way was to keep the cost of materials to a minimum whilst achieving extremely high levels of performance.

When I first tried the early CAT6 version of the Helix design it was quite clear that it was going to be a very adept performer.

This observation supported my belief that the Helix architecture (or geometry) was an extremely effective approach to achieving excellent cable performance.

The early versions utilizing CAT6 as the neutral conductor were very good - just not “
brilliant”.

Evolution to the
HELIX IMAGE and HELIX IMAGE Mundorf has been gradual with significant period of testing and redesign

The improvements achieved with the latest modifications, over previous versions, were so good that I decided that a new name was warranted - voila...

the “HELIX IMAGE ” and HELIX IMAGE Mundorf was born!


The result:

a cable that actually competes with some of the very best cables in the audio world!


C’mon, Really?

  • OK, I’ll let you be the final judge, but after listening to many cables I believe this to be the case Winking

How Long is the Burn-In Period?

It is imperative that these cables are allowed adequate time to settle and burn-in, which is typically >300 hours.
  • they will however sound extremely good on initial installation
  • they may exhibit some loss in volume and image focus after 3-4 days continuous use, but will return to normal by day 6-7
  • they will sound exceptional after around 200 hours, but they will get even better after 300 hours
  • I have also found ongoing improvements occur up to approximately 600+ hours in the earlier versions
  • The use of cable cookers will expedite this process - start with 100 hours cooking + 100 hours playing

The end of the Road?

My hope is that this design will be embraced and enhanced further by the DIY Community, and encourage them to experiment with different conductor materials to tailor the sound to their own liking.
  • Since the original posting back in 2015, I have exchanged email with several fellow Diyer’s that have contributed to the Helix design.
  • Some people that have contributed to the evolution of the Mark VII design, including: Ernst (Austria), Yordan and Evgeny (Bulgaria), Ghislain (Canada), Todd (USA), John (USA) and many others.

For Helix cable spec’s please see Its More Than Just Numbers - Isn't It?

My Review System:

  • Custom built turntable with a Soundsmith Denon DL103 phono cartridge mounted on an Audiomods Arm with one piece silver litz harness + KLEI Absolute®Harmony RCA’s

  • Simaudio MOON LP5.3 RS phono stage

  • Bluesound Node 2 music server

  • Bryston B135 integrated amp

  • Gershman Acoustics Sonogram speakers.

  • Helix cables throughout



page6_blog_entry61-page6_blog_entry60-page6_blog_entry52-page6_blog_entry40-two-thumbs-up-2 Give them a try - and - Enjoy The Music! Happy

Other Helix Geometry Adaptions…

Audiogon Member Toddverrone has also tried these IC’s ...


Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 9.44.28 AM


The Parts List :


Todd’s Feedback...

I’m still listening to them, but initial findings on the helix ICs are incredibly positive.

More of the helix magic: less noise, greater clarity, better separation of sound sources.

Good stuff!