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AudioQuest Columbia

Stereo interconnect cables with RCA plugs (2-meter/6.6 feet)

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  • AudioQuest Columbia

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  • AudioQuest Columbia

  • AudioQuest Columbia

Item #: 703CMB2MR
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the AudioQuest Columbia

by Ralph Graves
AudioQuest

Get the best sound possible from your audio gear

AudioQuest's Columbia analog audio cables transfer signals with almost no noise or signal loss. Each cable features three solid copper conductors to effectively eliminate electrical and magnetic interference that can add brittleness to the sound. And AudioQuest uses an extremely pure grade of copper to minimize harshness and distortion, for outstanding clarity.

Connector detail

Dielectric-Bias System

Most higher-end cables require a break-in period before they perform their best. A charge builds up in the insulation through continual use, increasing the efficiency of the cable. This charge can dissipate when the cable's not in use, giving you less than optimal performance until it builds up again.

AudioQuest's Dielectric-Bias System (DBS) eliminates this break-in period. A small battery pack attached to the cable polarizes the insulation with a 48-volt charge, giving you clear, expressive sound from your system every time you turn it on. This also helps eliminate the time delay that can create audio distortion.


Cable cutaway

Air tube insulation and shielding

Each conductor has its own insulating air tube, which prevents information smearing better than foam insulation. An additional layer of shielding negates almost all electronic noise, for the cleanest signal possible.


High-quality connectors eliminate the weakest link

Columbia cables feature RCA connectors made of silver-plated copper. The connectors are fastened by cold welding — a process that uses high pressure and silver paste to minimize signal loss. By contrast, solder tends to impede the signal, and the heating of the copper conductor during soldering can negatively affect its performance.

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Highlights:

  • 1 pair of audio interconnects with RCA terminals
  • 3 solid, high-grade Perfect-Surface Copper+ conductors per cable
  • Dielectric-Bias System with attached battery pack (batteries included) maintains constant 48V charge for optimal performance
  • PE Air Tubes to minimize information smearing
  • conductors labeled for proper direction of signal flow
  • cold-welded silver-plated RCA plugs
  • textile braid cable cover
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

  • Two 2.0-meter audio interconnect cables with a male RCA connectors on each end (each with an attached 48V DBS pack)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: This AudioQuest Columbia product contains two 2-meter audio interconnect cables with male RCA connectors on each end. Each cable is equipped with a 48-volt DBS pack which aligns the molecules in the dielectric, and enhances performance. They are for connecting high-end audio sources to your amplifier or receiver.

Triple-Balanced Design: The Columbia audio interconnect cables are Triple-Balanced, with three identical insulated conductors. The shield is never used as an inferior conductor. Two conductors are used together for the much higher potential across the negative connection, providing a substantial performance advantage. The shield is only attached at one end, providing total shield coverage without compromising the negative conducting path.

Solid Conductors: Columbia interconnects use two 21-gauge and one 20-gauge solid conductors instead of stranded conductors. Electrical and magnetic interaction between strands in conventional cables are the greatest source of distortion, often causing a somewhat dirty harsh sound. Solid conductors produce less distortion, thus produce a very clean sound.

Metal: Perfect-Surface Copper+ (PSC+) has a very smooth and pure surface. AudioQuest's proprietary metal processing technology protects the wire's surface at every stage of drawing and fabrication. An ultra pure copper is kept soft, pure, and smooth as possible during the manufacturing process, resulting in a very low distortion PSC+ conductor. The resulting sound is more focused.

Insulation: All of Columbia's conductors are insulated using Polyethylene Air Tubes. Air absorbs virtually no energy (which could be stored and released as distortion), and Polyethylene is a low-loss material that causes very little interference or distortion. The conductors and drainwire are wrapped in a PVC jacket with a black, green and gray nylon braid on the outside.

Dielectric-Bias System (DBS): Each Columbia audio cable has an attached 48-volt Dielectric Bias System (DBS) pack to enhance performance. All insulation slows down the signal on the conductor inside, and when the insulation is unbiased, it slows down parts of the signal differently. This creates problems with time-sensitive, multi-octave audio. The DBS creates a strong, stable electrostatic field which saturates and polarizes the molecules of the insulation. This minimizes energy storage in the insulation and the multiple non-linear time-delays. The audio has more detail and dynamic contrast. A test button and LED allow you to occasionally verify battery performance.

Noise-Dissipation System: This cable uses a metal and carbon-loaded synthetic shield with 100% coverage to capture RF interference that could modulate the equipment's ground reference. The RF is dissipated through a 22-gauge solid, silver-plated copper drainwire.

RCA Plugs/Cold-Weld System: The novel plug design enables a perfect heat-free connection between the cable and the plug.

Directionality: The cables are directional, and should be connected in the direction of the signal flow (i.e. from the CD player to the amplifier). The RCA plugs are marked with arrows on each end to indicate the intended signal direction. When connected in the proper direction, the music becomes more relaxed, pleasant, and accurate. The DBS pack is attached near the audio source end of the cable.

 
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AudioQuest Columbia Reviews

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5 out of 5

Improvement over King Cobra, both very good

Written By Tom, Rochester NY on Tuesday, October 01, 2013
 
I had been using an AQ King Cobra between my NAD M51 DAC and NAD T787 AVR in my main system. The King Cobra was a significant improvement over my prior cables, for mid-range clarity and solid bass, but was just a bit too laid back for the rest of my system and room, and I knew that at some point I'd want to make a change there.

When I got a Bluesound Node for my basement system, I tried several combinations to get the streaming to my NAD T757 AVR down there. Analog out from the node wasn't cutting it, nor was optical direct to the T757. Neither of those DACs did much for me. So I tried popping an NAD C565 CD player in between, using it as an outboard DAC. The Wolfson DACs improved things dramatically. So, to kill two birds with one stone, I moved the King Cobras downstairs to go from the C565 to the T757. And got the Columbia for the living room, from M51 to T787. Two upgrades with one new cable.

However, at first I was more than a bit underwhelmed with the Columbia. While there was some subtle improvement in clarity, especially vocals, it didn't provide the WOW factor I was hoping for -- until I had it for a week or two. When it was fully broken in, my PSB Synchronies began to sing. More life than the King Cobras, incredibly black background, and probably a better fit as the back side of an increasingly digital system. For an analog system, in a cozy environment, where "warmer sound" is preferred, the King Cobras would be more than adequate.
Pros:
Clarity, dead black background, "lively" though accurate, solid throughout the frequency range, not too warm & not too bright
Cons:
price, but if just need 1m it's not ridiculous -- well, yes it is, but they do sound good!
21 out of 22 people found this helpful
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