Camelot Technology Dragon Pro Jitter Reducer A Note About I2S Cables

Sidebar 1: A Note About I2S Cables

For the past couple of years I've been using I2S as my preferred means of interconnecting CD transports, jitter boxes, and DACs, and I want to emphasize that the standard OEM black I2S cables are perfectly capable of demonstrating the superiority of I2S over single-line interconnections. Nonetheless, as a reasonably compulsive audiophile, it has become necessary for me to try out a variety of I2S cables in the hope/fear that they might affect the reproduction.

Of the I2S cables I've auditioned, all improve on the OEM standard cable in at least two ways: they're built more robustly, and they're shielded. The former is probably more important for reviewers who change components and cables frequently, but it's relevant to others as well. The flimsy standard 5-pin mini-DIN is a failure waiting to happen—I've discarded three or four that have just crumbled. (The 5-pin mini-DIN is the Achilles' heel of I2S; Camelot, Muse, Sonic Frontiers and UltraAnalog are pushing for the use of other connectors and implementations.) The Camelot and Audio One connectors have sturdier molded housings, and the Audio Magic and Camelot connectors have heavier gold-plated metal work.

As for shielding, any listener benefits when the digital interconnects radiate less RF into the listening environment. If you doubt that I2S is pumping out a lot of RF noise, fiddle around with your FM tuner while you turn the digital components on and off—you'll hear it. Now think about how all your RF-sensitive digital equipment is swimming in that same noisy sea. Although the 5-pin mini-DIN connector means that the shield carries both the signal and chassis grounds, these premium cables improve on the OEM cables by providing additional shielding of individual signal lines. All three cables also have tougher and/or thicker outer cable jackets that help resist damage from excessive twisting and flexing.

Consequently, I urge every I2S user to consider using one of these premium cables as replacements for the freebies that came in the box with the transport or DAC. Having said this, I am loath to recommend any one of these over the others for purely sonic reasons. I've listened to them and they sound subtly better than the OEM cables in the way they render the space around individual voices and the decay of sibilants. But while I've tried to characterize their individual sonic effects, all differences among them have been minuscule—on the order of the effects of changes in ambient humidity and temperature. You may find that one of them has a uniquely synergistic effect on your system; if so, that's great. But even if not, they're better than the OEM cables for environmental reasons.—Kalman Rubinson

Footnote 1: Suitable cables: Audio One I2S Bus silver/Teflon digital cable. SW Marketing Inc., 116 Orthodox Drive, Richboro, PA 18954. Tel: (215) 953-7482. Audio Magic Mystic Cable silver I2S digital cable. Audio Magic, 456 South Potomac Way, Aurora, CO 80012. Tel: (303) 364-8202. Camelot Excaliber I2S digital cable. Camelot Technology Inc., 30 Snowflake Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006. Tel: (215) 357-8356.
Camelot Technology
30 Snowflake Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006-1518
(215) 357-8356