In a world where high performance can, allegedly, only be achieved by high price – does a digital interconnect cable priced below 100 US dollars still cut it?
By: Ringo Bones
Back in the middle of the 1990s where the Clinton era economic expansion was in full swing, hi-fi manufacturers were in constant danger of having their products ignored if they decide to price it too low despite performing above its price range. After all, every audio enthusiast worth their salt wound up making easy IPO money back then. Sadly, in our current post subprime mortgage world, an underpriced high-performance audio component is more often than not seen as a “godsend”. Hence the Max Rochlin Memorial DIY Digital Interconnect Cable.
Back in 1998, audio “uber-guru” Steve Rochlin chose an unusual way to mark the memory of his brother, Max Rochlin, succumbing to AIDS via a DIY digital interconnect cable. Steve Rochlin, founder of Enjoy The Music, has since then figured highly on the roster of top audiophile “characters” of the hi-fi industry. A group which then includes Harvey “Gizmo” Rosenberg, Russ Andrews, Max Townshend amongst others whose behavior suggests that no aspect of their lives are unrelated to audio in some form. Even when buying all of the required materials and tools new, the finish fully assembled DIY cable still woks out to be just a whisker above 50 US dollars per terminated length.
The can-do beer-budget DIY digital interconnect cable’s very exceptional performance even got the attention of Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine and even got covered in their November 1998 issue. Using value-for-money DIY components and assembling it into a sub-100 US dollar digital interconnect cable that can fairly compete with ones priced in the 300 US dollar range is not at all difficult for seasoned hi-fi DIYers who are skilled enough to solder a typical vacuum tube amplifier kit to working order. Who knew that a Caig Pro Gold, Canare RCA RCAP-C4F can be cobbled up into a DIY digital interconnect cable that can give a 300 US dollar Kimber Cable digital interconnect or Monster Cable digital interconnect a run for its money.
During the holidays, I manage to get hold of this legendary beer-budget cable for first hand auditions on my own system. Sound quality wise, the Max Rochlin Memorial DIY Digital Interconnect cable neither adds nor subtracts anything – which can be a euphemism for that it sounds a wee bit brighter than your typical sub-100 US dollar digital interconnect cable. And the cable, unfortunately, won’t make your typical “digititis afflicted” CD pressing from the early 1980s sound as if it was an HDCD encoded CD pressing. But for the money, as in my money, the Max Rochlin Memorial DIY Digital Interconnect Cable is a very cost effective way to “hook-up” your CD or DVD or Universal Disc Player to the various outboard digital audio components like stand alone jitter-reducers or your digital audio upsampler that converts your Red Book spec CD’s 16-Bit 44.1-KHz data to 24-Bit 192-KHz like the value for money Perpetual Technologies P-1A D/D digital upsampler (made by guys who use to run Audio Alchemy – i.e. Mark Schifter and co.) to your main digital-to-analog converter or outboard DAC like the Perpetual Technologies P-3A D/A.