Review: CH Technologies X15 power cord Power cord

Category: Cables

CH Technologies is owned by Craig Hampel in Champaign, Illinois. I've known Craig for about four years. At the time, Craig was working for Geoff Poor in Geoff's audio shop. Geoff is a partner in BAT (Balanced Audio Technology).

I hadn't seen Craig for about a year when I sold my Wadia 581se CD Player to an Audiogoner also living in Champaign, Illinois. He told me that Craig had perfected his cable line and was now selling them. Dale's system sounded really good and Dale suggested that I try them. I was pretty busy and never got around to giving Craig a call.

Then about four months later, I sold my HRS SX rack to another Audiogoner in Champaign, Illinois. Tom has a Wadia 781i CD Player like I have, and he said that he was also using CH Technologies cables. He told me that I should call Craig and give them a try. This time I did.

Craig sent me two X15 power cords and one set of X10 interconnects and one set of X20 interconnects. They took me completely by surprise! After all of the power cords and interconnects I've had ranging from $1,500.00 to $5,000.00, none do what Craig's power cords and interconnects do in my system.

The CH Technologies power cords and interconnects are the closest cables I've ever heard that don't have a sound at all. I heard more of music than I've ever heard coming out of my system, and it flows in the most natural state I've ever heard. I hear more minute details because it's so quiet. Along with this, those details seem to make every instrument sound more authentic than I've ever heard it in my system.

If you're looking to get closer to your music than you ever have before, I'd strongly recommend sendng Craig an email. Here's the email address of CH Technologies:


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Good question, Sir.
First, and for the most part, when it comes to measurements Time is directly linked to Phase. It's just more impressive to say Time AND Phase. But it's mostly just the actual time aspect that we are measuring.

Now, as to HOW we measure, that gets a little more complicated. And, to be honest, too great of an explanation could potentially reveal proprietary information. So let me handle it this way. To prove that there is efficacy in measuring the time domain in cables, let me point you towards an already published paper on the matter. Nordost has done the audio community a great service in publishing a PDF at their website titled "New Approaches To Audio Measurement". It's near the middle of their "downloads" page. It's a great paper. Everyone should read it.

What they demonstrate is a method to measure aggregate time distortions in audio equipment, including cables. What we've done is identify the individual aspects that lead to these aggregate time distortions and figured out ways to measure each individually. Basically, anything that stores energy has a time component associated with both the build-up and the release of that energy. Cables have more than one means of storing energy when exposed to alternating current. We've done our best to address each one individually. The end result is a significant reduction overall.
I am familiar with the Nordost piece. They have co-developed software that looks at changes in jitter (time error) with insertion of cabling, conditioners, etc.

As you have stated, very little in cable land can be classified as "proprietary." Other than your novel weave that rejects RFI/EMI without shielding, what is unique here that promotes time and phase alignment?
"They have co-developed software that looks at changes in jitter (time error)"

What they measure is not jitter. It IS time errors. But it is not jitter. There is a distinct and important difference.

Also, you misread my post. I did not say that very little in cable land can be classified as "proprietary". I made the distinction that to claim anything regarding materials is proprietary is a canard. Which is so say, there are no meaningful materials that could be exclusively used by one company.
Sure, some company could go to the effort of coming up with some unique alloy that has never been used as a conductor before. But it wouldn't be meaningful. And I would call into question the validity of that claim anyway. It's incredibly expensive to manufacture new alloys. No small time cable company is going to be able to afford that type of research. And in the grand scheme of things, ALL audio cable companies (except Monster, of course) are small!
But this theoretical company might convince a segment of audiophiles that it's "special alloy" somehow sounded better. But it wouldn't.
Science has already solved what conducts best. That was established a very long time ago.

Same goes for insulating materials. Someone could buy the most expensive silk known to man, soak it with a super secret mineral oil that they concocted in their kitchen and call it proprietary. I guess that would be somewhat proprietary. But even if somehow it was, it still wouldn't be meaningful. Again, because science proved a long time ago what insulators were meaningful.
What they measure is not jitter. It IS time errors.

One contributes to the other and are synonymous in audio parlance, right? Teasing out the definition is not germane to the topic at hand and seems like digression to me. The Nordost/Vertex contribution has potential and could/should make cable manufacturers nervous (

you misread my post. I did not say that very little in cable land can be classified as "proprietary". I made the distinction that to claim anything regarding materials is proprietary is a canard.

Not really. Here is what you said:

In short, the proprietary element of our cables is the specific geometry. To claim anything else in a modern cable (Ie. materials) is "proprietary" is simply a canard.

The construction of that sentence is a little awkward and threw me off I guess. You start with an open ended declaration and then qualify it with "i.e. materials." Which brings me to my next point:

Which is so say, there are no meaningful materials that could be exclusively used by one company.

This is incorrect. If you have any experience with patents, you would realize that common materials can be patented within the context of a specific application. For example, magnets are used by many in audio including cable manufacturers. Rick Schultz, formerly of Virtual Dynamics, recently applied for a patent regarding the use of magnets in cabling when assembled in a specific array. Conceptually, this is similar to the CH "proprietary" winding pattern. Furthermore, the sheer range of patentable things is stunning. You can literally patent a thought and a sketch without concrete prototypes, research, etc.

We never mention who exactly for two reasons. First, because it distracts from the cables themselves. We believe our product to be unmatched, and so far this has proven true. But knowing who is behind all aspects of the design would be cumbersome and ultimately will not let your ears know what they can do for your system.
The second reason is more practical. It turns out that the end design has appealing applications in other scientific areas. And some of those who contributed to the project are doing further research in their own specific fields. They are doing this on their own and we are facilitating it by not mentioning who they are. The competition between Universities and laboratories can be fierce. We don't need a singular University preemptively claiming credit for future discoveries.

This makes little sense. Knowing the who's and why's would invigorate me and many audiophiles and contribute significantly to the cause. I do understand a reticence to divulge intellectual property. I also understand the impulse to avoid patents as they can become a blueprint for theft if you lack the cash to pursue the case.

So dude, let's hear more particulars. The prosaic essays on your site are not satisfying. I know I am made of carbon. What is your wire made of and how does it work?
Wow, lots to respond to. Let's see how well I can keep from rambling......

RE: Jitter
One contributes to the other and are synonymous in audio parlance, right?
For general discussion, I suppose so. From a design perspective, very different.

The construction of that sentence is a little awkward and threw me off I guess.
I do that all the time. There is often a disconnect between my brain and my syntax.

This is incorrect. If you have any experience with patents, you would realize that common materials can be patented within the context of a specific application.
The operative word in my sentence there was "meaningful". And we do have experience with patents. A LOT of experience. But, in the interest of avoiding argument, let's chalk this up as personal opinion. We don't think anything other than the most conductive materials are "meaningful" in designing a perfectly transparent audio cable. Those metals are known. Playing around with "special" alloys doesn't appeal to us. In our research, we tested all sorts of different alloys. None of them returned results nearly as good as what science had already proven worked best long ago.
Furthermore, turns out I could have been partially wrong anyway. I claimed that small time audio companies wouldn't bother with "proprietary" alloys. But in the meantime I came across JPS Labs and what they call "Alumiloy". This sounds like some sort of aluminum alloy. But it's only a trademarked name. Which means not an actual patented alloy. Though it seems they are trying to patent whatever it is. Not even sure if it is an alloy. They're kinda vague on that point. I wonder, would you demand of them to know exactly what the "ultra-pure metals and other elements" were in they're design? If they refused to tell you, would you move along? Just curious.

This makes little sense. Knowing the who's and why's would invigorate me and many audiophiles and contribute significantly to the cause.
Honestly, I doubt it. (incidentally, Agear, don't read the rest of this as a directly personal response. It's more of a general response for anyone who ever comes across this thread. Thanks!)
But before I get too far into it, let me reiterate, it's not up to those of us engaged in this audio commercial endeavor. Let me try to explain as best I can.
The primary occupation of just one of the scientists we worked with is NMR. (You can Google that if you like.) And he has seen huge potential in applying what we all learned from this project to his primary occupation. In this Google age, where cross referencing the right search terms can lead you to the most interesting information, he specifically does NOT want his name mentioned anywhere near our product. Why? Because he doesn't want it popping up alongside some random search associated with his name. Let's say some other lab looks him up. They see that he's doing some research that could drastically alter the efficiency of their work. They also see him associated with us. Whats not to stop them from posing as audiophiles, buying samples from us and trying to figure out what he is up to? Sound far fetched? NOT Nearly!! Having that happen would kind of make for a bad day, probably even longer. We have several of just these types of scenarios to deal with.
So it begs the question, why mention this sort of pedigree at all, if you won't come clean on WHO it is? Well, you can't ever please everybody. But you can please some people. And for some people, just knowing that we have THAT level of intellect that contributed to this product is enough. Others won't (and haven't) cared at all. All that matters to them is that it works as described. And there will be some who will yell, "Liars!!" because we won't mention exactly who we speak of. And you know what? That's fine. Move along. Nothing to see here. Sound harsh? Like I said, you can't please everybody. And we've found that the ones who demand that you tell them everything about your stuff aren't really interested in buying it. They just want the satisfaction of having gotten the information out of you. Mostly so that they can then argue with you about how it won't work as described. (Without ever hearing it, of course.) And some, more sinister types, want to steal from you. And yes, we've already encountered that as well.

Warning! From here on out I'm going to wax philosophical on this subject.

SO!!! What exactly do we use and how do we use it?
Oh, a little silver, a little copper. Ten nines pure, of course! Oh, and also single crystal. Of course the exact recipe is proprietary!
Does that make you want to run out and try it? Nah! Everyone is doing that. What makes you DIFFERENT?
OH! That would be the algorithm that we use to determine the exact content of all the materials.
Does THAT make you want to run out and try it?
Absolutely not! I want to know the algorithm first.
Really? And what will that tell you about how it sounds?
See, NONE of this information will tell you how it sounds.
Here are but a couple reasons why.
1) Some materials have earned a reputation for a certain "Sound". Not always true. But trying to reverse years of strongly held belief is near impossible.
2) One company touts wicked fast propagation times. Another's claim to fame is their ultra low impedance.
How do these relate to each other? They don't. Practically apples and oranges. Does it tell you anything about how they sound? Nope.
But what it will do is provide all sorts of fodder for anyone who loves to argue to ceaselessly to engage in just that sort of behavior.

This why the only thing important to us is that WHAT you know is that we design from a time domain perspective. (This is all over our website.) HOW we do that is not important.
Trying to explain HOW will fly over the heads of those who are not versed in science. It will give opportunity to steal ideas from those who are. How is either one beneficial to us?
Because it will generate interest!!
Highly doubt it.

Let's get back to the WHO we had on our design team.....
Let's say that none other than Nikola Tesla was alive and well and that HE was on our team. Would that impress you enough to listen to the cables? For a tiny few it might. But probably only those who know who he was very well. But along with that there would surely be a dozen Edison types who would want to argue with us endlessly. (If you are not familiar with the Tesla/Edison history, look it up. It is very fascinating!)
And it STILL won't tell you how the cables sound!
We like to think we have the most accurate cables on earth. And we state that at times. But you have to take it on faith that what we say is true until you actually hear them.
We also were fortunate enough to arrive at this design due to the ridiculously fortunate input from some of the worlds elite scientists. But you are going to have to take it on faith that what we say is true. What difference does it make WHO it was? Until you actually hear the cables, you are still taking it on faith that it mattered in the first place. It DID matter, to us! It shaped the way we all approached each new problem. We found that there is a difference in the way some scientists approach problems. Kind of like the difference between Michael Jordan and your average college player. Sure, there is a difference in talent level. But more importantly, there is a difference in the way they approach the game. The same holds true for scientists. That was the biggest contribution from some on our team. It was the occasions where it was said, "Here, look at it THIS way." that made all the difference.
So, final word on exactly WHO was on our design team. If anyone ever reaches the same level as the most elite that we worked with, we'll go ahead and tell you the whole roster. How will we know anyone has reached that level? Simple. We may just be reading about your timely vacation to Sweden. :)

In conclusion (to this TOO long post), I'm going to relate a meaningful example to try and sum up how we see ourselves fitting into this industry, our intention to keep some things secret, and how we feel about internet forums in general.
A couple years ago I came across an very long thread at Headfi that was all about the Sonicweld Diverter, a USB to SPDIF converter. And I trudged through all 21 pages of it.
It was early on that contributors became indignant about how on earth a simple USB-SPDIF converter would/could cost so much. It wasn't long before there were calls for the designer, Josh Heiner, to weigh in on the discussion. What transpired after that was both illuminating and frustrating. There was the gamut of people commenting. Some were grateful for Josh's time and contribution. Some were absolutely indignant that he did not lay out in extreme detail everything inside his product. The discussion started to turn nasty and it wasn't long before Josh bowed out.
A few things became abundantly obvious in that thread.
The most notable to me was that there seem to be a LOT of faceless people out there who just love to argue. And mixed into that crowd, it became obvious, were people who would try to leverage and manipulate for the sole purpose of gaining information that would allow them to replicate his ideas. And there were a few that were simply the jealous types. "Why make the construction so elaborate?" "You don't need to make it that expensive!!"
Basically, the lesson learned was that not only are you NOT going to please everybody. You're probably not even going to please most people.
But even with all that, the most notable thing about that whole thread, to me, was the way in which Josh both held his ground and did it with dignity.
That's what we aspire to be like with CH Acoustic on any sort of forums.
It seems inevitable that we occasionally join in the discussions, for the sake of the curious.

That thread on the Diverter was memorable to me. I wasn't in need of one. But much later we had a customer who was doing extensive trials with USB-SPDIF converters. He wasn't aware of the Diverter and had pretty much given up on the idea. At first it was awkward to approach him and make a recommendation on an item we had never heard ourselves, especially one so expensive. But that's how impressed I was with who the designer was, based solely on his engagement in that hostile thread. By our customers own admission, everything we had claimed prior to that had turned out true. So he went ahead and purchased a Diverter. And, Holy Cow!, that thing is good! If we had need of one, you can bet we'd be getting one for ourselves. And if it weren't for the fact that having metal encasing our cables is a performance detriment, we'd probably be having Josh make cosmetic ends for us, even if it did increase the price drastically.
But here's the point of all of this. While there were a LOT of hostility towards Josh for not revealing every tittle of information that people wanted. My personal response was one of admiration and respect. And it turned out well for me. And the last time I checked, Josh is still selling a lot of Diverters.

So I think there is something to be said about sticking to your guns. Keeping the things you want to keep secret, secret. And not worrying about what others will think. There is no way we are ever going to please everybody. But we'll please enough.
We've already learned that once customers get a hold of our cables, they absolutely love them. And since word of mouth from very happy customers is still the greatest advertising, we'll stick with that.

So we're not going to answer every question. We're going to keep certain information private, sometimes stubbornly. And we're not going to worry about the results of that. If our philosophy resonates with you, that's awesome! We are pretty sure you are going to love our product.