Wireworld Digital Cables Review 
Home Theater Accessories AV Cables
Written by Andre Marc   
Sunday, 22 May 2016

Wireworld has been making audiophile grade cables for decades now, and the company’s products have been on my “to investigate” list for several years. This is for a number of reasons.
They don’t pack their product line with too many products. They don’t churn their models. They have an online store where you can purchase or price out any cable in the line. They also have an extensive dealer network.

Here is another reason I jumped on board the notion of evaluating Wireworld products: They offer an easy to understand product comparison chart for consumers. This allows a potential customer to understand what differentiates each model in the line. They also provide a clear understanding of how the cables are designed and built via cutaway graphics and detailed explanations of the design concepts. Wireworld also owns patents for their cable design, which is rather unique.

From speaking to representatives of Wireworld, and from reading their literature, it is clear that their ultimate goal is to reduce distortion and noise. In other words, to do as little harm to the signal as possible, because, in the end, no cable is better than any cable, and even Wireworld understands this.

Wireworld products are designed and developed in the USA at their facility in the sunshine state of Florida, under the stewardship of founder and CEO, David Salz. Recently the company announced they are about to bring to market a new audiophile grade Ethernet cable, and they are the first audiophile cable company to produce a purpose built USB. 3.0 cable.

What I received in for review are half meter samples of the Gold Starlight 7 balanced AES/EBU digital cable, along with the Starlight 7 and Platinum Starlight 7 USB cables. The AES/EBU cable starts at $325 for a half meter, the Starlight 7 starts at $90 for a half meter, and the Platinum Starlight 7 starts at $550 for a half meter.

Taking a look at the Gold Starlight 7 first, it is one of the sturdiest digital cables I have ever come across. It will most likely outlast its owner. The Gold Starlight 7 is one level down from what Wireworld markets as their top digital cable, the Platinum Starlight 7. The cables can be ordered with RCA or XLR connectors. The connectors, which Wireworld calls “SilverTube”, are in house designed, and the cable employs flat solid core silver and silver clad conductors in Wireworld’s proprietary (Tri) DNA Helix geometry. Wireworld uses an insulation material called Composilex 2, saying it reduces noise to a minimum.

 

The USB cables are very interesting in that they are flat in appearance, and are specifically designed with the power lead completely separate and shielded from the data leads, for sonic purity and the cleanest possible signal. The Starlight 7 uses Wireworld’s Symmetricon geometry, with four data conductors. The Platinum Starlight 7 uses their DNA Helix geometry with six data conductors. Both cables are extremely well made and the connectors appear to be of exceptional quality.

Set Up & Listening

I used the Wireworld AES/EBU cable in my main system, and the USB cables in both my main system, and my office system. The main system was composed of an Aric Audio Unlimited tubed preamp, a Simaudio 760A power amp, Bryston Mini T speakers, the recently reviewed JL Audio d108, and a Bryston BDP-2/BDA-3 streamer and DAC combo. My Bryston BDP-2 outputs both AES/EBU and USB. It sounds excellent with either output, but of note, it only outputs DSD via USB.

My office system consists of an Aric Audio Expression tubed preamp, an Onkyo M-5000R power amp, Magnepan MMG speakers, another JL Audio d108, a Simaudio 280D DAC, and the new Sonore microRendu streamer. Analog signal and power cables were Wireworld all the way around, with a review of those cables forthcoming.

I spent a good amount of time with the Gold Starlight 7 AES/EBU cable first in the main system. Cold, out of the packaging, without any settling in, I found the presentation to be a game changer for my system. The music seemed to be come from a deep, spacious soundstage, with no sense of any electronic footprint that I could detect. Mind you, I have some very good AES/EBU cables in house, but the Gold Starlight 7 was a distinct level up.

Specifically, there were fine nuances in very familiar recordings that I honestly had not heard before. Listening to Irish singer Luka Bloom’s last few albums, all immaculately performed and recorded, was a huge treat. Before I knew it, the hours flew by and the playlist came to an end. The title track to his album Head & Heart, a John Martyn cover, was as analog as I ever heard Redbook CD sound.

The 192 Khz Pono remaster of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young super classic, Deja Vu, was a remarkable window into the magic that combo produced back in 1970. The bass and drums, in particular, sounded far more muscular, and the contribution of each member was far easier to hear. The Gold Starlight 7 provided depth, vividness, and body that was goose bump inducing.

It was now time to compare the USB output of the BDP-2 with the Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable to what I heard with the Gold Starlight 7 AES/EBU cable. I normally favor the AES/EBU output slightly, and it also allows me to use the optional synchronous upsampling on the BDA-3 DAC. I toggle between both inputs, because as noted, USB is currently the only way to stream DSD.



Much to my surprise, for the first time, I felt the USB setup was every bit the equal of AES/EBU in my system. I did not anticipate this huge leap in USB quality with the Platinum Starlight 7. This is having used many other premium USB cables. The reduction in hash, and the purity of the presentation is the best I have heard via USB in my system.

The self titled debut album from Hozier, while well recorded, does have a bit of a digital sheen at times. Much to my surprise, this sheen completely disappeared with the Platinum Starlight 7. There was more presence to the midrange, and a smoother lower treble region. Hozier’s mix of rock, soul, and alternative sounds familiar yet distinctly new. Tracks like “Jackie And Wilson”, ”Work Song”, and of course, the world wide sensation, “Take Me To Church”, were simply thrilling with the Platinum Starlight 7, more so than half a dozen other similarly priced cables I have previously used.

http://www.avrev.com/images/stories/equipaccessories/wireworld/psb_sm.jpgI used the Starlight 7 USB cable in my office system connecting first a SOtM sMS-100 server, then a Sonore microRendu server to a Simaudio 280D DAC. Both the SOtM and the microRendu (review forthcoming) have high quality, well engineered USB outputs, and I have achieved excellent sound with the USB cables I have on hand, but installing the Starlight 7 was really a “wow” moment, the kind that does not happen that often in reality.

Specifically, there was a level of clarity and liquidity to the system that set a new standard. I recently fleshed out my Alice Coltrane discography with some beautifully mastered titles from her heyday on the classic Impulse! label. I was taken aback by the spaciousness, and sheer scale of the music on such titles as A Monastic Trio, Universal, and Journey in Satchidananda. The presentation was simply magical, and even more impressive given these albums were released fifty years ago. The music is complex and layered, but seemed easy to unravel.

I also cued up some later period albums by the recently departed Prince. Overlooked gems like Planet Earth, Musicology, and The Rainbow Children draw more on rock, hard funk, and jazz influences than earlier work, and were a demonstration of how unlimited Prince’s talent really was. The system with the Starlight 7 in tow framed these albums with precision, and nuances in the mixes were easier to follow, and there was more coherence. Even I was surprised how much difference a USB cable could make in this regard.

Conclusion

Having been curious as to how Wireworld’s unique designs would perform in the real world, I finally got the opportunity to give them a good evaluation. I held them to a high standard due to the numerous positive user and professional reviews that are out there, and the fact that Wireworld enjoys a unique reputation among audiophiles. Their Gold Starlight 7, Starlight 7, and Platinum Starlight 7 AES/EBU and USB cables indeed did live up to my high expectations and actually exceeded them. The Platinum Starlight 7, for the record, is the best sounding USB cable I have had in my system to date.

The Gold Starlight 7 AES/EBU and Platinum Starlight 7 USB are not inexpensive by any means, but if you can afford them, and your digital gear is on par, they must be considered on a very short list if shopping for the best. The Starlight 7 USB may just be the sweetheart of the line, and in my opinion, is a great achievement in digital cables. Dare I say it is a bargain starting at $90. Please don’t take my word for it, go out and audition the cables. In the near future, I will be reviewing a full loom of Wireworld analog signal and power cables, and if the performance of the digital cables are any indication, I will again have high expectations.


Specifications


Gold Starlight 7 AES/EBU cable: Starting at $325
Starlight 7 USB cable: Starting at $90
Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable: Starting at $550
www.wireworldcable.com


Review System 1


DAC: Bryston BDA-3
Server: Bryston BDP-2
Tape Deck: Revox A77, Revox B77
Preamp: Aric Audio Unlimited
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Simaudio 760A
Speaker: Bryston Mini T
Cables: Wireworld analog and power, Acoustic Zen, Element Cable, DH Labs, iFi
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Bryston BIT-15, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Music Server: SOtM sMS-100 w/ Battery XPS, Sonore microRendu
Preamp: Aric Audio Expression, Belles Soloist 3
DAC/Streamer: Simaudio 280D w MiND
Power Amplifier: Onkyo M5000R
Tape Deck: Sony TC-350
Speaker: Magnepan MMG, Spendor S35R
Cables: Wireworld analog and power, DH Labs
Accessories: Cable Pro Noisetrapper, iFi iPower, Audience aR6






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