LFD Cables (phono and I.C.) from the UK, cables as components

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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I don’t think it will scare folks away, Mike.
good.
I think it will more intrigue people who presumably would want to understand how these dongles actually work based on the science. That is how does one arrive at the choice of various thicknesses? Why does the negative have so much more wire than the positive? What are the capacitance measurements pre and post dongle insertion? What materials are preferred and why? What governs choice of dongle length? Does the dongle preserve shielding if the preceding interconnects are also shielded? What is the inductance pre / post dongle insertion? Is the dongle behaving as a filter - if so what frequencies is it acting on? Is a dongle universal or only suited to specific components for which it is designed electrically?
Mik? calling Mik?:)
 

Violetmachan

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Feb 25, 2012
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Sam, many thanks for adding your information here.

i wonder if all this will scareo_O anyone away? it's is a bit halloween and goblins sort of stuff. maybe helps if you listen with the lights dim. :rolleyes:
Just right for the season ahead ….was daunting initially….but blends with time …
difficult bit is needs good safe support
like your new props
 

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Violetmachan

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Feb 25, 2012
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Mike did you find the LFD raptor tone arm cable a better match to your tone arms and Etsuro gold and vinyl setup …than others you have used in the past
I am sure the new dongle on the raptor has its magic and synergy even it is just a day old ….definitely matures with time …..I haven’t touched the set up for 15 months or more
 

PeterA

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Dec 6, 2011
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Sam, many thanks for adding your information here.

i wonder if all this will scareo_O anyone away? it's is a bit halloween and goblins sort of stuff. maybe helps if you listen with the lights dim. :rolleyes:

Mike, Over on Tang’s thread we have a brilliant video reminding me of Wednesday and Pugsley Adams playing Schnittke’s piano and cello sonata. Now we have something that looks like Dr. Frankenstein built in his laboratory helping a mature system blossom.

Contrary to what some might suspect, I am actually quite intrigued by this and appreciate the discussion. This is what I like about WBF. I did all sorts of my own experiments on steel plates with some guidance and learned a lot. Everything underneath and above those plates mattered. Who knows where the next discovery lies?

The close-up photographs are fascinating and quite helpful.
 

Bobvin

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Never, ever, let your wife look behind the equipment racks!
 

108CY

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May 4, 2013
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Thanks for your insight Mike and Sam, it is always very interesting to read feed back from owners, as these cables and cable enhancers (dongles) will never be available commercially. They were all experimental prototypes that cost millions to develop, headed by Eric Tsang and Richard Bews and to some degree myself. In fact, the cost of R&D (materials only) could never be recovered. Luckily all of the costs were subsidised by the development team.

Enhancers are not a new idea. The concept has been around since 1997 when we started investigating the effects of using large rod-like conductors mixed with smaller conductors to enhance the sound. We found that it was limiting to use just one size of conductor as per the majority of manufacturers. A combination of different numbers and sizes of conductors enabled the sound to be enhanced significantly over the use of single conductors. Some of the LFD cables incorporate enhancers internally, and sometimes use different conductors between enhancers based on extensive R&D extending to thousands of hours of prototyping and listening tests.

The enhancer is essentially a short transmission line approx 2 to 6 inches long, which is designed to improve the sound. Most commercial cables are heavily compromised by the manufacturing practicalities and cost limitations involved in producing a commercially viable product. This results in the majority of internal wire used in commercial cables being of at best good, and often poor, sonic quality. Therefore the enhancer is designed to address these limitations. This is achieved by using different conductors, metals, dielectrics and geometries which can be highly complex. Some of these enhancerss have up 84 different diameters of silver, amorphous platinum and pure gold to get the desired effect. They typically improve detail retrieval, give greater nuance and reduce grain by a significant margin.

Silver is typically described by listeners as a bright but clear conductor, this is because not enough silver material is employed in the commercial cable. Generally the biggest diameter used in almost all cables is less than 2.5 mm squared (typically less than 0.5mm squared) some of the the conductors that we use exceed 30mm, 40mm and just started on 50mm squared in area. By comparison they are absolutely enormous and totally un-bendable, basically solid rods of material. They cannot really be called 'wires' in any sense of the word. Some conductors have to be hand-pulled to get the precise diameter and some of the large dongles could have up to 400 hours of labour in their manufacture. There are many different silver profiles, including ribbon and D shaped conductors, used within the construction. Prototyping also extended to the examination of different annealing times and temperatures and also the effect of using different sheathing materials (Silicon/PTFE). The large size and complexity of the design is important to the enhancement of the sound.

One major improvement that is achieved by the enhancer is the significant reduction of grain that can be associated with very high quality horn loudspeakers and large panel speakers. Incorporating enhancers into these systems can produce a much more realistic and natural presentation of the sound. Many box speakers are heavily compromised due to the compromises made in their drivers and internal wiring. Listening tests have shown that they can be dramatically improved with the use of the right cables, enhancers and good equipment.

Mike's set up uses a semi commercial enhancer called the Cobra Tail. This allows large silver round and d conductors to be connected to a 5 pin din tonearm connector. This enables the use of very large interconnect cables which would otherwise be too big to use as a tonearm cable. Most tonearm cables, especially silver ones, do not use enough conductor material, hence why many commercial copper cables sound more preferable even though they have have significant amounts of grain. They have a sense of bass foundation and represent a cheaper and easier option. Most cheap inexpensive copper cables make a reasonable compromise when compared against expensive small silver tonearm cables. However, the Cobra tail has proven that even with the extra connections and conductors, a superior sound can be achieved again and again opening up the use of other large interconnect cables. The majority of audiophiles have never heard what is possible with this ultimate development, as it is too labour intensive and expensive for commercial production.

There is a lot to this and some of the ideas were inspired by the work of Yammamura, but taken in a direction we felt achieved very good results. The quest will always continue, limited only by the depletion of our wallets and the availability of resources, (not to mention all the time involved in making them). We have come to the conclusion that we will never be able to recover our costs.

One might say, "Why bother???" but then we would not progress in terms of sound quality. In the same way it could be said, " Why bother with improving turntables electronics and loudspeakers???" but at least those items can be visually appealing. Unfortunately enhancers are less sexy and impressive visually. But they can be more important, as just upgrading system components will still result in the system being limited by the interconnects used. The improvements made by enhancers cannot be achieved by other methods, and they are just as fundamental a part of the overall system as the source, amps, speakers and cables.

I have often sent people videos of enhancer changes and have been told it sounds equivalent to a huge component upgrade. As soon as one tells them what it actually is, they are not sure what to believe. I would not waste my own money and time pursuing this avenue of research unless there were significant sonic improvements to be achieved within high-end systems.

I am convinced that dongles can produce a much more realistic and natural presentation of the sound. Listening tests have shown significant improvements with the use of the right cables and enhancers. The proof comes from the listening, and if you are lucky enough to listen to the effect of 'dongles' in high end systems, you will be convinced in a heartbeat.
 
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Barry2013

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Oct 12, 2013
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I don’t think it will scare folks away, Mike. I think it will more intrigue people who presumably would want to understand how these dongles actually work based on the science. That is how does one arrive at the choice of various thicknesses? Why does the negative have so much more wire than the positive? What are the capacitance measurements pre and post dongle insertion? What materials are preferred and why? What governs choice of dongle length? Does the dongle preserve shielding if the preceding interconnects are also shielded? What is the inductance pre / post dongle insertion? Is the dongle behaving as a filter - if so what frequencies is it acting on? Is a dongle universal or only suited to specific components for which it is designed electrically?
I have had a number of listening sessions with Mik's systems including a number of high end turntables, arms cartridges and amps. His heavily modified Rockports were constants. LFD cables and dongles.
State of the art sound and distinctly different character to the sounds of the different turntables, arms and cartridges in play. All using dongles which I am sure contributed to the superb sounds and their different flavours.
 

Chop

Well-Known Member
Aug 9, 2020
214
258
135
England
Thanks for your insight Mike and Sam, it is always very interesting to read feed back from owners, as these cables and cable enhancers (dongles) will never be available commercially. They were all experimental prototypes that cost millions to develop, headed by Eric Tsang and Richard Bews and to some degree myself. In fact, the cost of R&D (materials only) could never be recovered. Luckily all of the costs were subsidised by the development team.

Enhancers are not a new idea. The concept has been around since 1997 when we started investigating the effects of using large rod-like conductors mixed with smaller conductors to enhance the sound. We found that it was limiting to use just one size of conductor as per the majority of manufacturers. A combination of different numbers and sizes of conductors enabled the sound to be enhanced significantly over the use of single conductors. Some of the LFD cables incorporate enhancers internally, and sometimes use different conductors between enhancers based on extensive R&D extending to thousands of hours of prototyping and listening tests.

The enhancer is essentially a short transmission line approx 2 to 6 inches long, which is designed to improve the sound. Most commercial cables are heavily compromised by the manufacturing practicalities and cost limitations involved in producing a commercially viable product. This results in the majority of internal wire used in commercial cables being of at best good, and often poor, sonic quality. Therefore the enhancer is designed to address these limitations. This is achieved by using different conductors, metals, dielectrics and geometries which can be highly complex. Some of these enhancerss have up 84 different diameters of silver, amorphous platinum and pure gold to get the desired effect. They typically improve detail retrieval, give greater nuance and reduce grain by a significant margin.

Silver is typically described by listeners as a bright but clear conductor, this is because not enough silver material is employed in the commercial cable. Generally the biggest diameter used in almost all cables is less than 2.5 mm squared (typically less than 0.5mm squared) some of the the conductors that we use exceed 30mm, 40mm and just started on 50mm squared in area. By comparison they are absolutely enormous and totally un-bendable, basically solid rods of material. They cannot really be called 'wires' in any sense of the word. Some conductors have to be hand-pulled to get the precise diameter and some of the large dongles could have up to 400 hours of labour in their manufacture. There are many different silver profiles, including ribbon and D shaped conductors, used within the construction. Prototyping also extended to the examination of different annealing times and temperatures and also the effect of using different sheathing materials (Silicon/PTFE). The large size and complexity of the design is important to the enhancement of the sound.

One major improvement that is achieved by the enhancer is the significant reduction of grain that can be associated with very high quality horn loudspeakers and large panel speakers. Incorporating enhancers into these systems can produce a much more realistic and natural presentation of the sound. Many box speakers are heavily compromised due to the compromises made in their drivers and internal wiring. Listening tests have shown that they can be dramatically improved with the use of the right cables, enhancers and good equipment.

Mike's set up uses a semi commercial enhancer called the Cobra Tail. This allows large silver round and d conductors to be connected to a 5 pin din tonearm connector. This enables the use of very large interconnect cables which would otherwise be too big to use as a tonearm cable. Most tonearm cables, especially silver ones, do not use enough conductor material, hence why many commercial copper cables sound more preferable even though they have have significant amounts of grain. They have a sense of bass foundation and represent a cheaper and easier option. Most cheap inexpensive copper cables make a reasonable compromise when compared against expensive small silver tonearm cables. However, the Cobra tail has proven that even with the extra connections and conductors, a superior sound can be achieved again and again opening up the use of other large interconnect cables. The majority of audiophiles have never heard what is possible with this ultimate development, as it is too labour intensive and expensive for commercial production.

There is a lot to this and some of the ideas were inspired by the work of Yammamura, but taken in a direction we felt achieved very good results. The quest will always continue, limited only by the depletion of our wallets and the availability of resources, (not to mention all the time involved in making them). We have come to the conclusion that we will never be able to recover our costs.

One might say, "Why bother???" but then we would not progress in terms of sound quality. In the same way it could be said, " Why bother with improving turntables electronics and loudspeakers???" but at least those items can be visually appealing. Unfortunately enhancers are less sexy and impressive visually. But they can be more important, as just upgrading system components will still result in the system being limited by the interconnects used. The improvements made by enhancers cannot be achieved by other methods, and they are just as fundamental a part of the overall system as the source, amps, speakers and cables.

I have often sent people videos of enhancer changes and have been told it sounds equivalent to a huge component upgrade. As soon as one tells them what it actually is, they are not sure what to believe. I would not waste my own money and time pursuing this avenue of research unless there were significant sonic improvements to be achieved within high-end systems.

I am convinced that dongles can produce a much more realistic and natural presentation of the sound. Listening tests have shown significant improvements with the use of the right cables and enhancers. The proof comes from the listening, and if you are lucky enough to listen to the effect of 'dongles' in high end systems, you will be convinced in a heartbeat.
Absolutely fascinating, thanks for the post Mik. Hope all is well with you.
 
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108CY

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Thanks wayne hope all is well will be in touch for a catch up soon

I remember many years back Be Yammamura would spend frantic amounts of time designing specific wiring for each input on his pre amp and specific wires for the input and output sections of his power amps etc. He used to use an old ware house in London to demonstrate and work from and even back then would show us his concepts using aluminium conductors which were quite mental for that Time. If he decided on using a different capacitor just say or resistor he would then design a new cable to compliment it even back then in the 80s there was eveidence on the impact. Obviously be had his own ideas which he did explain many of which were all based on trial and error but not one could argue with the outcome and his determination.
 

Chop

Well-Known Member
Aug 9, 2020
214
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135
England
I remember many years back Be Yammamura would spend frantic amounts of time designing specific wiring for each input on his pre amp and specific wires for the input and output sections of his power amps etc. He used to use an old ware house in London to demonstrate and work from and even back then would show us his concepts using aluminium conductors which were quite mental for that Time. If he decided on using a different capacitor just say or resistor he would then design a new cable to compliment it even back then in the 80s there was eveidence on the impact. Obviously be had his own ideas which he did explain many of which were all based on trial and error but not one could argue with the outcome and his determination.
I have some Yamamura speaker cables, 4000 I think, which I am still very pleased with. IMO this particular cable sounds very like the PHY.
I also have short , only around 12", Yamamura 5000 speaker cables from when I had monoblocks. These are much thicker, more like the thickness of a fat thumb, were used close up behind the back of the speakers. I recall this as a ridiculously good cable and its a great shame that I have no use for them! Can't bear to be parted from them though, just in case I ever go the mono block route / long interconnect route again...
 

gian60

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Apr 17, 2016
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Good to remember the BIG Yamamura.
Around end of 1988/89 he left London to come to live to Italy,and i was first friend and customers in Italy and he stayed 3/4 months in my home to build a system,pre and amp 8 stack of 320 kg,and i brought him and his girlfriend 2 weeks to sky in Megeve and Ortisei.

He was thinking to do my amp,push pull of 845, using battery he was thinking can have from Military in Scotland,used for nuclear submarine,but unfortunatly he cannot have and one day told,dear Gian i am sorry,i cannot have this battery and i cannnot do because in the whole market there are no good battery.

Staied around 3 years with Yamamura was the biggest and more than incredible adventure in hifi for me.
Thanks Yamamura and RIP.
 

108CY

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May 4, 2013
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Good to remember the BIG Yamamura.
Around end of 1988/89 he left London to come to live to Italy,and i was first friend and customers in Italy and he stayed 3/4 months in my home to build a system,pre and amp 8 stack of 320 kg,and i brought him and his girlfriend 2 weeks to sky in Megeve and Ortisei.

He was thinking to do my amp,push pull of 845, using battery he was thinking can have from Military in Scotland,used for nuclear submarine,but unfortunatly he cannot have and one day told,dear Gian i am sorry,i cannot have this battery and i cannnot do because in the whole market there are no good battery.

Staied around 3 years with Yamamura was the biggest and more than incredible adventure in hifi for me.
Thanks Yamamura and RIP.
Thank you Gian, you are very fortunate to have exposure to yamammura only a few understood his sheer atttention to detail and not many will ever understand how he considered everything to be important. A quality that is dying due to commercial considerations, I remember be having a huge stock of parts and valves stored in the uk fortunatly I was able to purcahse a large quantity of RCA 211 valves from he at a time when no one had any use for them. I remember seeing boxes and boxes of prototype amps at the time including the most tiniest 1 what amp that just sounded glorious. I was a young boy at the time and certainly his dedication and approach has kept my interest alive. I am positive if he was with us today he would be still pursuing the quest and taken things to even more extreme levals such was his true passion he would spend he last penny on parts and research and development such was his true love for the hobby.Nothing he did was commercially viable. Yammamura would never use stock wiring in any of his products and never use the same wiring through out a product everything was created for its purpose, the problem is taking care of vintage yammamura products today would be quite a task if somthing failed as it would be impossible to find an exact replacement and one could easily alter the balance. Little known to many Dr Richard Bews follows this exact approach hence why when many listen to his designs they are left speechless due to his attention to detail, however for many the eyes dictate the purchase over ones ears.
 
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R S

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Mar 13, 2021
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This is a fascinating thread. Thanks to all contributors. I think an earlier post referred to an LFD product / price list. Is there a more up to date version somewhere or where is best to find out more on LFD cables for various applications (AC / IC / SC)?

Apologies if this is a diversion from the main phono cable topic.
 
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108CY

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This is a fascinating thread. Thanks to all contributors. I think an earlier post referred to an LFD product / price list. Is there a more up to date version somewhere or where is best to find out more on LFD cables for various applications (AC / IC / SC)?

Apologies if this is a diversion from the main phono cable topic.

There have been quite a few new cables added recently and an updated price list is currently being worked on. You are most welcome to pm me.
 
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108CY

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Mike, I find this LFD dongle to be an interesting addition and look forward to reading more about what it does and how it sounds in time. Do you think that the potential exists for other cable manufacturers to explore this new area? Has Mik tried one at each end of an IC? Could they be considered for trial on Ron's 50' long IC run as a way to avoid a super expensive alternative?
Great point Peter the use of Dongle on each has been tried and test have shown that different but complimentary dongles work best compared to the same dongle at both ends, and work exceptionally well with long runs.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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.....as these cables and cable enhancers (dongles) will never be available commercially. They were all experimental prototypes that cost millions to develop, headed by Eric Tsang and Richard Bews and to some degree myself. In fact, the cost of R&D (materials only) could never be recovered. Luckily all of the costs were subsidised by the development team.
Sorry Mik, but I have to question the notion that these cables and enhancers "cost millions" to develop. Unless that includes your monthly rent, your car, your entire audio system and possibly college and post-grad education for your entire family, I'm going to remain skeptical. I do high level medical research and have a good idea what "millions" can buy. In addition since there is apparently a price list and the cables and dongles are indeed being sold , why do you say they will "never be available commercially"? I cannot comment on their sound as I have never heard them and I always applaud efforts to extract more from musical playback. But R&D costs this high seems unrealistic, at least to me.
 
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108CY

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May 4, 2013
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Sorry Mik, but I have to question the notion that these cables and enhancers "cost millions" to develop. Unless that includes your monthly rent, your car, your entire audio system and possibly college and post-grad education for your entire family, I'm going to remain skeptical. I do high level medical research and have a good idea what "millions" can buy. In addition since there is apparently a price list and the cables and dongles are indeed being sold , why do you say they will "never be available commercially"? I cannot comment on their sound as i have never heard them and I always applaud efforts to extract more from musical playback. But R&D costs this high seems unrealistic, at least to me.
Hi Marty its nice to hear from you make a valid point as to most it would seem rather outlandish and maybe even comical, there are literally thousands of dongles made this spans over 25 years many have been aborted, I will pm you privately some time, the permutations have been endless in a very crazy sence this also includes what I have been doing to my own system with the use of platinum and gold all our knowledge has been combined. As learning about the material it self was part of the process this all has to be considered, its not just we made one dongle or one cables there are then litterally thousands of individual cables of dongles most of which are still lying around and many other cable concepts got aborted we had to learn from our mistakes which is costly. We have have now created an approximate matchmatical models for each conductor geometry and material type this has allowed to avoid making inappropriate cable designs/ dongles but this still currently an approximation and the final evaluation can only be carried out by the final listening tests.In this process I also had trasformers manufactured using silver gold and platinum as well as speaker drive unit coils so all this is one big massive project.

The LFD price list features cables and dongles that relatively commercial but still have to be hand made from all the experience we have gained over 25 years actually it stems further back to the 1980s but in in 1997 there was a major breakthrough with multi diameter silver cabling conductors. It would be impossible to price up some of the very large dongles and then take in account the crazy hours they take to construct.

I understand this seems rather far fetched but I can truthfully say it is not, as its been more an obsession than a commercial enterprise. If we were not working as a group and used other incomes to subsidise the research and development this knowledge would have been attained and would have been left in the dark.

It understanable that you are sceptical as you have not been on this journey, if it does not produce the worthwhile sonic results then it would a waste of time effort and money, but we feel we have acheived something quite special but with alot of pain in the process. Its not that all systems benifit the same say as a system of high calibre is almost mandatory to be able to show the benifits as everything works works in tandem as three are only good systems not just good components.
 
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Amir

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these dongles looks like lessloss x640 filters .
are they decrease grain by emi filtering?
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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Sorry Mik, but I have to question the notion that these cables and enhancers "cost millions" to develop.

Mik asking his clients for payment for the dongle



Luckily when Mike bought it price was only 1 million

 
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