EXTRAITS D’UNE ENTREVUE AVEC ROB WOODLAND de ETI (EICHMANN)

Directeur général de la compagnie Eichmann (devenue ETI), fabricant des Bullet Plug™, parue dans Ultra High Fidelity Magazine, numéro 71, www.uhfmag.com.

*** Note au lecteur :  Afin de conserver l’intégrité du propos de cet entrevue, nous avons choisi de ne pas en faire la traduction en français. Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension.  BIS Audio.

…Eichmann was the first manufacturer to design most of the metal out of its phono plugs and bananas…

Woodland:… »The Company now exports products to over 30 countries, and our connectors are used by over 60 cable manufacturers around the world »…..

… »Keith Eichmann’s philosophy is to preserve electron flow »…

… »Bullet Plug and Bayonet Plug connectors deliver electrons in the most efficient manner to sockets and binding posts.

The philosophy involves thinking small. Very small! At the electron level, and then designing a methodology to enhance electron flow. However, the proof is always in the listening, and this is where I was convinced the Eichmann philosophy is correct. In fact, the first time I listened to a prototype Bullet Plug, I was amazed by the detail, dynamics and transparency that was completely hidden when using standard RCA connectors. »…

… »our objective is always to use the “optimum” rather than “minimum” amount of metal. That is, the right mass and thickness of material to support current flow but to minimise skin effect problems. »…

… »when you listen to music via an optimum thickness of metal connector rather than a large thickness of metal connector, it is evident that some electrical phenomenon is taking place. »…

… »In the Bayonet Plug (banana) connector, we again use the optimum amount of metal — but this time to support genuine current flow provided by the amplifier. One of the more popular banana plug designs on the market is a laboratory connector with an extremely thin metal contact pin. This is an example of too little mass, where the contact pin doesn’t support current flow. The result is a thin sound, lacking in bass foundation. On the other side of the coin we have huge connectors that sound slow, colored and bloated.

In most standard RCA and banana plug designs, electrons have to travel through large amounts of metal, in many cases poor conductive brass. During that process electrons are impacted in a negative sense. For optimum electron flow, we require an optimum mass and thickness of the metal. »…

… »Over the years audiophiles have been conditioned to think that a quality connector needs to be large and chunky with a layer of thick gold plate, the bigger-is-better philosophy. When people hear the Bullet Plug and Bayonet Plug connectors, they hear their cables in a new light, and realize that “optimum” mass is perhaps a better philosophy.

UHF: You’ve done listening tests against more traditional connectors?

Woodland: Yes, comparison testing plays a big part in the process, and helps in the understanding of how different shapes and thicknesses of metal impact on sound quality.

UHF: Can you be specific? What sort of differences could you hear?

Woodland: The issue of connectors having an influence on sound is the new frontier of audio. Most people, including manufacturers, have never extensively listened to connectors. We all agree capacitors, resistors, transistors, tubes etc have a sonic signature, however we overlook the importance of connectors. Anyone who has hardwired a system will attest to the sonic improvements achievable with connectors removed. But in real life, we need connectors.

Most connectors rob the music of detail and add coloration and texture to the sound. Large-mass connectors tend to have a bloated, sluggish bass with an overlay of dark coloration that extends into the midrange. They sound veiled and congested with limited separation and sound staging properties. Music lacks excitement. Some low mass banana plug connectors sound thin, bright and flat with a lack of bass foundation and dimensionality.

In comparison, a hardwired system is likely to sound clean, transparent and open, with a wealth of detail. Images are separated and solid in a three-dimensional sound stage. The stopping and starting of notes is more precise, leading to an engaging, exciting sound.

In the development of our connectors, we set out to design “no plug” at all. »…

… »One theory used with great effect in our Bullet Plug design is replacing the standard RCA ground collar that surrounds the socket with a pin-like ground that makes single point contact with the side wall of the socket. We immediately eliminate eddy type distortion where the signal enters and exits the collar from multiple directions.

We also place a great deal of importance on the conductivity of material. For example, most connectors are made from brass, due to low cost and ease of machining. Brass offers around 28% the conductivity of 100% IACS copper. Cable manufacturers and audiophiles take great pride in the use of high conductive wire for cables, yet terminate the cables with a lump of low-conductive brass. It defeats the purpose!

In our connectors, we use either high conductive tellurium copper, which is 99.5% oxygen-free with the addition of 0.5% tellurium for hardness, to allow machining, or hard drawn 4-nines pure silver. Both materials offer huge sound quality advantages over brass. »…

… »a certain amount of pressure is necessary to provide secure contact between conductive elements, and to avoid capacitive problems. For example, the Bullet Plug is a firm fit onto RCA sockets, so the polymer collar can force the ground pin against the side wall of the socket. A loose connection inevitably means poor performance. »…

… »We select engineering grade polymers that exhibit good dielectric qualities plus high temperature deflection. »…