REVIEW: GEKKO CABLES PURPLE HAZE RCA EXPERIENCED
We are always up for trying something different here at StereoNET UK, so when asked if we would like to take a look at Gekko Cables' Purple Haze, we could not refuse.
The Purple Haze is a £2,499 pair of 1-metre hand-crafted directional, unshielded RCA cables with solid-core pure UK silver (99.99%), AWG26 conductors. Initially insulated by braided PTFE threads, and then by an additional layer of cotton. Oh, and that cotton is purple, of course.
Gekko Cables is a London-based company lead by creator and designer Boban Djurdjevic. They specialise in creating bespoke, handmade, high-end audio cables and their products include musical instrument and microphone cables, digital cables, as well as a variety of analogue RCAs at different price points of which the Purple Haze sits at the very top.
The Purple Haze cables arrived in their own little silver flight case. Upon opening the case, a pair of extremely friendly looking cables greets you. Let me clarify that before you call the men in white jackets. These aren't the kind of cables that give off that 'industrial engineering' vibe, quite the opposite. They are wrapped in purple cotton and terminate in wood and plastic plugs. If any audio interconnects were going to give you the warm and fuzzies, it's these.
However, just because they look like your nan has just knitted them it doesn't mean that there isn't some clever technology and, dare I say, scientific reasoning behind the Purple Haze's construction.
Firstly, the cotton content is there because it's the best dielectric. The dielectric constant of air is 1.2; cotton is 1.3–1.4, Teflon (PTFE) is 2.1–2.2 and, finally, nylon is 4.0–4.5. Furthermore, cotton also plays an essential role as a cushion in reducing unnecessary vibrations, therefore, preventing microphony, the so-called triboelectric noise effect.
As well as the purple braided cotton sleeve outer jacket, the two solid-core pure UK silver (99.99%) AWG26 wires are insulated by braided PTFE threads, and then by an additional layer of cotton. PTFE braid, according to the designers, results in more open and dynamic sound than cotton while cotton braid plays a vital role, as already mentioned, by providing a cushion and reducing unnecessary vibrations to secure real sound. The two conductors are also twisted together with two more cotton threads. Then the cable is covered with a layer of cotton and then that purple polypropylene (outer jacket) providing additional mechanical protection to the conductors.
Lastly, those terminals. Purple Haze terminates with proprietary Gekko GAC1 RCA plugs. The design is Patent Pending, and if you look up GB1714554.1, it is there for all to see.
"So, what's so special?" I hear you ask. Well, firstly they comprise of a special soft plastic that includes holes in its body at specified spots that enable the wire conductors to come from the cable itself to form the contacts of the connector without any extra metal conductor or solder. This method essentially makes the cable's wires the signal and return connections.
Boban Djurdjevic told StereoNET:
By reducing the amount of conductive metal material used in the signal and the return conductors of a typical RCA plug Gekko GAC1 connectors reduce inductive, capacitive and eddy current distortion and offers improved signal transmission comparing to all other similar audio cables.
These special plugs require slightly different treatment to fit onto your components. Boban informed me before sending them that they require a little more force than others and, in some cases, might need a bit of a twist.
Gekko Cables Purple Haze review
I kicked things off by listening to the title track of Stanley Clarke's album '1, 2, to the Bass'. This track can either sound awesome or way too bright. Playing it through the Auris Poison8 speakers that I've been fortunate enough to live with these past few weeks and I thought it sounded great until I swapped out my usual cables for the Purple Haze. The transformation was instantly recognisable as the Gekkos reigned in the treble and the record became even more cohesive.
The stereo imaging of my set-up also appeared to improve. This finding leads me on to selecting Yosi Horikawa's track 'Bubbles'. OK, this is insane but fun. It also was enough for me to be convinced that the pair of RCAs had opened up the soundstage. 'Happiness is Easy' from Talk Talk not only showed that the soundstage had opened up, but it had also increased in depth. Marillion's 'Hotel Hobbies' is vast. The intro xylophone is no longer veiled by the bass and hi-hat. There seems to be more space for the instrumentation. Vocals are more apparent and pack more emotion.
The new depth is due to the incredibly low noise characteristics of the cables. There was a new-found clarity being produced that reveals more. No matter which track I choose, and I chose a lot; I was impressed by the difference these cables made. Those nuances that tend to lurk at the back, partly masked, have all of a sudden found their voice.
Most cables I have had to review thus far have tended to slightly change the characteristics of my system or the tracks I am listening to at the time. Some are more revealing, while others may sound 'warmer' or more 'clinical'. However, the Gekko Purple Haze has a transparency that merely allows me to hear the music, source (in this case mostly the Oppo UDP-205), amp and the Poison8 loudspeakers. What I am trying to describe here is neutrality. It isn't easy to wax lyrically about something that, for all intents and purposes, brings nothing to the party. But that is precisely what you want from an interconnect. Cables that add any sonic signature are not doing their ultimate job. However, with the Gekko Purple Haze, I feel that I am getting true transparency.
Gekko Purple Haze RCA review conclusion
Unshielded cables might not be for everyone, although I have had no discernable issue in that regard from the Gekko Purple Haze.
The quality of the craftsmanship and attention to detail are worth noting but where the Purple Haze deserves unfettered praise is that the cables release the entirety of your music without additives, and we all know how bad additives are for us.
StereoNET UK's Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He's captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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