November 2019

"The HELIX IMAGE" - With a little help from my friends

This Page is an overview of the very latest developments and updates to the Helix Cable Geometry
Last Update: December 2020.
Please see each cable type below for details

This latest development incorporates Neotech Solid UP-OCC Copper wire with Teflon Insulation into all of the Helix Cables
  • 12 gauge wire for the Live conductor of the Helix Power Cable
  • 14 or 12 gauge wire for the signal conductor of the Helix Speaker Cable
  • Two strands of 18 gauge wire for the signal conductor of the Helix Interconnect

The fabrication details and the Neutral wire remains unchanged, which is Silver Plated stranded Copper Mil-Spec wire

I first upgraded the live conductor of a couple of power cables connecting my amp to the mains wall outlet.
The improvements I heard at that time were mainly in the area of improved dynamic performance and more spacious image.
Next was an upgrade to my speaker cables. Based on past versions I decided to use the 14 gauge. in place of the previous 2 x 18 gauge VH Audio wire. Some might prefer the 12 gauge, but I thought this to be too stiff and based on past experiments I had noticed little difference between 12, 14, 16 and 16 gauge wires, with respect to dynamics and bass depth.
Upgrading the Interconnects using the 2 x 18 gauge "Double Shotgun" approach I had employed with the 2 x 18 gauge CH Audio version of the interconnect cables, completed this "trifecta" and highlighted just how good this wire is.

There were improvements to every single metric we use to assess performance -
  • Dynamics, Clarity, Details, image size, image focus, space around performers, bass depth and texture
  • But there was also a warmth and more body to these cables
  • the high frequencies were smoother, cymbals had more texture and vocal sibilance was more "human"
  • the mid frequencies had more body and sounded more natural
  • the depth of the bass was a little more noticeable and textured.
  • But please remember, a single set of cables cannot produce these amazing results.
  • in my system ALL of my cables adopt the Helix Geometry and use the Neotech wire!

But were they that much better than the VH Audio or Mundorf wire?
With wires and cables of this caliber you can discern the tinniest improvements or changes.
I now list three wires on this site - Mundorf, VH Audio and Neotech, all of which are capable of achieving extremely good performance on any system.
They are quite different when it comes to the
"extremely fine details" and will convey a slightly different sonic presentation.
Also, it could well be that it comes down to personal preference and component synergies.
My preference is for the Neotech wire in all of my cables, but individual preferences on other systems may required that a combination of these wires be used.

So from that perspective I am unable to recommend a specific wire, but in general, for the Interconnect Cables…
  • Mundorf 18 gauge Solid Silver with1% Gold is very detailed with a smooth clarity
  • VHAudio 18 gauge solid UP-OCC copper with AirLok insulation is perhaps a little warmer, with a little more presence
  • Neotech 18 gauge solid UP-OCC copper with Teflon insulation improved performance (slightly) across the board
Again I stress that the improvements are very small and one specific wire may not be suitable for all systems or all listeners.

Burn-in of these cables is critical. Up to the 250 hour mark they can vary in their sound, sometimes harsh and bright and they sometimes presented an unbalanced nature to their image, in that some instruments sounded a little louder and more "forward" than they should i.e. they were not really an integral part of the overall image.

These anomalies are not uncommon during the burn-in process, but you do have to be patient and allow the process to proceed without interruption

See the links below for fabrication details

The previous adaptions to the Helix Interconnect Cables are courtesy of a long time contributor on the Audiogon Forum Member Name: Grannyring (i.e. Bill)

Bill has considerable experience with DIY cables and made me aware of the Schroeder Double Shotgun approach and then went on to build several variations of his Schroeder adaption of the Helix Interconnect that has two wires for the signal wire and two wires for the Neutral Helix coil and reported very favourable results.

Needless to say, I had to try this for myself.

In addition to this, I had also been auditioning in great detail the use of an 18 gauge Solid Copper wire from VH Audio for the Signal conductor, which I now "generally" recommend in place of the Mundorf solid silver + gold wire I had previously favoured.

Both of these adaptions are now detailed on the Helix IMAGE Interconnect link below

And let's not forget the previous contributions courtesy of Ernst of Austria and Yordan & Evgeny of Bulgaria

Yordan and Evgeny have contributed with...

  • the performance aspects of various wire types and metallurgy,
  • discovered that the direction the helix coil was wound is critical - see Inside The Helix Geometry.

Ernst embraced the Helix design some time ago and has been experimenting with some different materials in order to improve on the performance of the Helix design with astounding success.

His first development was to eliminate the use of as many man-made insulation products (e.g. teflon tubing, expandable Nylon sleeve) used in the original designs.
His second development was to use balsa wood as the spacers every few centimetres in order to hold the signal wire in his speaker cables in the centre of the Helix coil.

The reward for Ernst’s endeavours was a significant improvement is sound quality with respect to improved details, clarity, dynamics, bass control and depth and a significantly wider and deeper image.

His approach considered the Dielectric Constant (D.C.) of various materials.
  • Dielectric constant, property of electrical insulating material (a dielectric) equal to the ratio of the capacitance of a capacitor filled with the given material to the capacitance of an identical capacitor in a vacuum without the dielectric material.

Ernst found that using materials having a lower D.C. than that of the insulation, expandable Nylon and heat shrink originally used to centre the signal wire in the Helix, significantly improves on the performance of the cable.
  • Since air has a D.C. = 1.1, placing the spacers at intervals on the signal wire improved signal transfer even further.
After giving his findings lots of consideration and thought, and after significant experimentation of my own, I now use insulation materials that have a significantly lower D.C. than the Teflon insulation I had used on earlier versions of the cables, which has improved the clarity, details and imaging capabilities of the Helix Cables to levels I had nor observed to this point.

My “adaptions” of the cables built by Bill, Yordan, Evgeny and Ernst, can be found in the following construction details...

The latest design of the Interconnect Cable...
The new USB Cable...
The latest design of the Speaker Cable...
The latest design of the Power Cable...

I am currently using cables that have been modified as in the links above and can report that the modifications have resulted in significant and easily discernible audible improvements over the older design. Improved clarity, sense of space, dynamic performance and improved details are the benefits observed by the changes in insulation.

I have listed a few options of wires that can be used for the signal and neutral wires, but the digram below shows which wires I use and for which components

System Cables

The original helix design concept was to eliminate the parallel conductors commonly used in conventional cable architectures in order to minimizes the noise, proximity effect and Skin effect to imperceivable levels, improving clarity and dynamic performance of the interconnect.

Since those early days, developments include the selection of advanced wire metallurgy, gauge of wire best suited to the task at hand and types of insulation in order to reduce noise to a minimum, which brings us to this moment in time.

The instructions on this web site demonstrates how these cables can be fabricated in the easiest and most cost effective manner in order to achieve extremely high levels of resolution that competes with the very best commercially available products for a fraction of the cost.

Will there be any further updates - probably, because there is always someone, like Bill, Ernst, Jordan and Evgeny that is looking to improve on the capabilities of “The Helix” cable geometry.

“The HELIX IMAGE” - these cables now convey the most realistic and compelling image I have ever observed in any system

The level of detail and clarity, together with precise location of performers and an image that envelopes the listener is stunning

I would like to thank and congratulate Bill, Ernst, Yordan and Evgeny on these exciting new developments.

The stunning performance of Helix Cables of today are due to all that have contributed. including earlier contributors such as Todd (US) for developing the first bi-wire version of the Helix speaker cables, Ghislain (Canada), John (USA) and many others.

WARNING: HELIX Speaker cables WILL NOT work with amps of a fully balanced "Symmetrical" design, such as the the Vitus and some fully balanced designs from Musical Fidelity. they will not harm the amp, they just sound bad

If you have any further questions on these upgrades just drop me a line.

Regards - Steve