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Viborg VB401S versus Monoprice Affinity Series 24k

amper42

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I tried the Viborg VB401S pure copper banana plugs with silver plating between a March P452 Purifi amp and Revel F328Be speakers. I wasn't expecting to hear a sound difference between them and my existing Monoprice Affinity Series 24k plugs. I was just looking for a better built connector. The RME ADI-2 FS DAC is connected via XLR to the Purifi amp and a MacBook Pro feeds it over USB using the Audirvana app.

Once I attached the Viborg VB401S plugs to both 10' Belden 5000UP 12 AWG speaker cables and plugged the system back in I was shocked how different the sound was with the new plugs. I began playing all my favorite albums. The treble was more pronounced and crisper. The sound quality of my music playback at my normal levels of 60-75dB was more up front and in your face. The OPENNESS and transparency of the music was better than I had experienced. Each track was more identifiable and crystal clear. All I could do was scratch my head and wonder how this could be from simply changing banana plugs?

I thought I must be imagining this. So, I built two more 10' Belden 5000UP 12 AWG speaker cables and installed the old Monoprice Affinity Series 24k plugs on them. This allowed me to easily swap between cables to compare the two plugs. The AB comparison was night and day. The Viborg VB401S pure copper banana plugs open up the sound considerably. It's like I just removed a sheet from the F328Be speakers once the VB401S plugs were playing. They come alive with vibrant crystal clear highs. Turn on the RME Loudness option on the ADI-2 and the speaker becomes a whole new animal with the new plugs.

I was hesitant to post this comparison on ASR as it sounds absolutely crazy. If I had not AB'ed these plugs myself side by side with the F328Be first, I wouldn't believe it. I have Purifi and Hypex amps and have AB'd them with the Revel F328Be. it's really hard to hear a big difference between them. The Purifi seems a bit more refined but they are quite close. These silly 8 silver plugs for about $60 made a much bigger sound difference than my amp swapping. I'm pretty amazed with the difference. I consider this my most affordable audio upgrade to date. :D:cool:;)

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More pronounced treble will clearly show up in measurements or audio recordings. Even your phone would show it.

If it can't, then you've fallen into the same expectation bias trap as countless other people before you.

Basically: pics or didn't happen (wav files are fine, too) :cool:
 
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More pronounced treble will clearly show up in measurements or audio recordings. Even your phone would show it.

If it can't, then you've fallen into the same expectation bias trap as countless other people before you.

Basically: pics or didn't happen (wav files are fine, too) :cool:

Don't have a mobile phone or the monthly fee it mandates. It's not needed to hear the major difference in blind tests. I'm not trying to convince you or anyone else to use these plugs. I would just as soon no one buy them so they are easily available when I want more. :D

I may run a REW scan sometime but I'm not sure if it can detect a clear change in definition. The Monoprice plugs sound like they smear the sound compared to the huge clarity difference with the silver plugs. I just ordered some solid copper plugs (without silver) to see if they sound the same. Since this one little change made such a difference I would like to know if silver has anything to do with it or if it's just the solid copper. I understand your doubting Thomas attitude but it doesn't change the amazing difference I'm hearing.
 
Long time user of Viborg banana plugs here.
Always chose bare copper ones for all of my speaker cables, and never had to regret about their performance or look at any gold/rhodium/silver coated replacement.
I'd like to know which kind of enhancement do these coated plugs actually offer, but it seems to me too adjacent to any of "tube connector" threads, so I elegantly pass. ;)
 
I always thought all banana plugs would sound the same as long as they provided good contact. So I looked for cheap plugs that looked easy to install. At $1.50 each the Monoprice Affinity plugs seemed like a reasonable option. Until I installed and listened to the Viborg full copper plugs with my favorite music I never would have guessed a noticeable audible difference could exist. It's possible the three different plating layer options may simply be a decorator choice? Once I AB compare the silver vs straight copper I'll have a better idea.

At $8 a plug versus $1.50 it's not that much more when you consider the amount put into the music system (speakers, amp and DAC). I'm sorry my untested bias kept me from trying copper plugs earlier.
 
Once I AB compare the silver vs straight copper I'll have a better idea.

It's easy to fool yourself in a sighted test. ;) What is a blind ABX test?

There's no logical, scientific, reason for connectors or cables to make a difference unless something is defective, or you have a bad connection, or unshielded line-level connections, or speaker cables of inadequate gauge, etc.

...With acoustic measurements in a room you are likely to get some differences even if you don't change anything. Awhile back I was doing some experiments with high frequency test tones and an SPL meter on a microphone stand and I was getting variations of a few dB just moving around behind the SPL meter.
 
I still have a set of these (VB401, copper version without plating) and I happen to measure amps with them. Turns out that they do not perform any different whatsoever than any other regular brass/gold plated bananas I have on hands.

You obviously imagined what you heard. To state the obvious.
 
I still have a set of these (VB401, copper version without plating) and I happen to measure amps with them. Turns out that they do not perform any different whatsoever than any other regular brass/gold plated bananas I have on hands.

You obviously imagined what you heard. To state the obvious.

Could the ferromanganese tip on the Monoprice Affinity plugs be the cause? Is that something you have tested? Thanks!
 
I received the copper VB401 banana plugs and tested them. The VB401S (Silver) still has a slight definition advantage compared to the copper only version with the March P452 Purifi amp. Next, I compared the ViBorg plugs to the Monoprice Affinity on another configuration with BMR Monitors and Buckeye NC502MP stereo amp. While the VB401 offered slightly improved definition compared to the Monoprice plug it was much less obvious than with the P452 Purifi. In my tests, when the amp uses brass binding posts there was less audible difference with pure copper banana plugs than if pure copper binding posts are installed.

My Buckeye NC502MP amp uses brass speaker plugs. It would be interesting to test an amp with SpeakOn connectors.

The March P452 Purifi amp uses ETI KYRO silver plater copper Binding posts. That combination matches well with the VB401S silver plated copper banana plugs. It offers significantly more opportunity to hear the difference. My Revel F328Be/March P452 combination really sings with the VB401S plugs. I never would have guessed this could be the case until I heard it first hand.
 
Silver conductivity is amazingly good. The chart below shows manganese offers increased resistivity in comparison to Copper and Silver. The ferromanganese tip on the Monoprice Affinity plugs could be what's causing the difference.

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conductivity2.png
 
@amper42
“The treble was more pronounced and crisper. The sound quality of my music playback at my normal levels of 60-75dB was more up front and in your face. The OPENNESS and transparency of the music was better than I had experienced. Each track was more identifiable and crystal clear.”

Are you implying that these plugs resulted in elevated high frequency response? And if it did make it (probably slightly) brighter then basically you are brighter sound in your system.
In many cases, slightly elevated highs could give that difference provided your speakers then don’t add anything further.
 
When I first installed the silver plugs with the F328Be and March P452 Purifi amp I didn't expect any audible difference. But as my listening session began there was a clarity in my favorite music tracks that made me scratch my head. The sound was more defined. Especially noticeable were percussion instruments like tiny cymbals sounds that were not obvious with the Monoprice plugs. It reminds me of how some speakers can sound more defined once the grills are removed. But in this case, I already had the grills off the F328Be and the silver plugs took definition up a step.

Several readers seem to think this is all in my head so I went back with blind tests and could still hear the enhanced clarity with the F328Be setup. That made me wonder how my other systems would sound with these full copper plugs with Silver plating. What I found was when the amp only had brass binding posts there was much less difference in the sound with the Silver plugs. In fact, with the BMR Monitors and the Buckeye NC502MP amp (brass posts) I was unable to detect the Silver Plugs in a blind test. It was actually, easier to tell if the grills were off with the BMR monitors than notice a difference by changing banana plugs.

That's when I started looking more closely at the ferromanganese tip on the Monoprice Affinity plugs, looking for a dissimilar chain of metals used by the audio connectors and comparing them with connector chains using similar metals. In the situation where the March P452 has ETI KYRO silver plated copper binding posts and they were used with VB401S silver plated full copper banana plugs the chain of copper with silver plating was maintained and the music was more defined. Things started to make sense.

I found some interesting resources:
"Things were always worse if the metals in the connection were dissimilar. A gold-contact RCA plug in an aluminum socket would produce enough galvanic voltages to make Wheatstone-bridge readings impossible. Aluminum banana plugs into gold-plated five-way binding posts produced similar results. I should note here that the common banana plug proved to be mechanically very unstable. Resistance readings would vary widely, sometimes reaching hundreds of milliohms. Even a slight jiggle of the plug would swing resistance measurements wildly."

Lower capacitance is desired.
Higher capacitance will impede hi frequencies. But then again, you won't notice it in a few nano farads.

Lower inductance is desired.
Don't coil your wire, run it straight. Increased inductance may affect the rise time of your signal due to an inductor resisting the rate of change of current thru it. Again, a few nano henries will not be noticed.

To go even further my reading indicates most Banana plugs offer inferior connections for a variety of reasons when compared to using spades or bare wire. I never expected to discover an audio difference between plugs, now I wonder if spades or bare wire are worth a try. Things are never as simple as we expect them to be.
 
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