Doug Schneider - DAS

Authorized DH Labs Dealer

November 1996

How do I connect thee?

"Let me count the ways...Toslink, SP/DIF, AES/EBU, I2S....." Many different connection formats are available to digital consumers for joining their separate CD transports and DACs. And while the standard coax connection (SP/DIF) using RCA jacks may not be deemed the most technically proficient, it is still very popular and depending on your Transport/DAC output/input configuration, about the only connection you can count on being supplied stock on digital products. And when all is said and done, it can sound extremely good with the right cable performing the task.

So now there will be those out there who say, "Yeah right, a digital cable. Whack in any ol' 75 ohm cable and they'll all sound the same." Well, I'm not going to argue with you because it's not a battle I feel like spending my time on today. Frankly, I have heard the difference the various cables make and I'm a believer. My goal here is to tell you about two products, two great products, that depending who you are, and what you can afford, will do the coax connection job extremely well for you with great sonic results.

DH Labs D-75 Digital Interconnect

Price: $69 USD - 1 meter terminated, $89 USD - 2 meters terminated

DH Labs is the manufacturer of the very high-performance and cost-effective Silver Sonic lineup of speaker cables and interconnects. Like the rest of the DH Labs products, the D-75 is designed to offer great performance at a price you, I, and the rest of us can afford. And it does that job exceedingly well.

The D-75 is very well made. It's nicely tailored in a somewhat rigid, but still flexible, almost brown colored jacket. The RCA connectors seem to be the same as those used in the DH Labs analog interconnects. These are very good connectors that give solid contact, yet they won't rip your jacks off when you have to rearrange things.

And sonically, D-75 performs admirably. I've found sonic differences between coax cables to be difficult to determine at best (except in a few, unique cases--so read on). Matter of the fact, I couldn't even tell the difference between the D-75 and my more than double the price Theta Coax cable! However, I could easily tell the difference between it and another sub-hundred dollar cable. The D-75 simply trounced it in terms of detail, clarity, soundstaging, and resolution. And yet another contender in the just under $200 category was entered. It was deemed somewhat different in performance, but not necessarily better.

My opinion on this one? It's a steal, and if I were going to spend up to $250 on a cable, I'd have a look at the DH-Labs D-75 first! But if you're going to spend a little more....

Illuminati D-60 Digital Interconnect

Price: $225/meter + $100 termination USD

Quite simply, the Illuminati D-60 is a product in another league. And in this league there are people that may not be able to afford or simply would never consider paying this much money for any type of cable. But for those who have the means, quite simply, this is the best digital interconnect I have ever used in my system. It is also one of the most expensive. But it so clearly outclassed almost all other digital cables I've tried, that its somewhat higher price can be easily justified.

My understanding is that the goal of this cable design is to achieve as near perfect 75-ohm impedance from connector end to connector end as possible, a feat supposedly not achieved with many digital interconnects. Hence the unique connectors, first-rate materials, and precision construction. However, the only test instruments I have or know how to use are on each side of my head--so I'll have to go with just what I hear.

Inserting the D-60 into my system gave me what I call the deer caught in the headlights syndrome (other technical terminology for this syndrome exists such as frog in the flashlight, etc.) This state is achieved with only those products that perform shockingly well or shockingly bad.

From the first moment I leaned back in my listening chair I sat bugged eyed and staring right between my speakers. It was like a trance! I just could not believe the increase in resolution and air from simply switching a coax cable. The soundstage seemed much larger, the highs cleaner, and the imaging more focused. There was not an aspect to the performance that was not improved by this cable. But most of all, there was an amazing increase in low-level detail, air, and sense of space. As well, there was a more relaxed aspect to the presentation that makes living without this cable wholly unacceptable for me. This is my personal reference for the best.

The D-60 is finished like the precision instrument it is intended to be. The custom-made connectors are beautifully machined, the white cable jacket glistens wonderfully while dangling behind the rack, and as a nice touch, each cable comes individually labeled with a serial number and measured performance chart. Sure, high-end audio shouldn't be about looks, but in my opinion a reference grade product should look and be finished pretty darn well--and the Illuminati D-60 has this in spades!

And Which is Best for You?

Both! The DH Labs offers exceptional performance for the dollar. Considering the workmanship, quality, etc., the $69 asking price is a rip-roaring bargain ($89 for 2 meters even more so). And the Illuminati? Yup, it's better! A true reference-quality product with performance that makes it worth the asking price to those who can afford it. It is, quite simply, the best.

...Doug Schneider

DH Labs/Silver Sonic Cables
  • DH Labs, Inc.
    612 No. Orange Ave., #A-2
    Jupiter, FL 33458
    Phone: (561) 745-6406



  • For more information about DH Labs cable, you can contact Terry Rossen at TRI. TRI is the Manufacturer's Representative for DH Labs and Clayton Audio:

    13604 Hartsbourne Drive
    Germantown, MD 20874-2828
    Phone: 301-601-4745
  • Illuminati

  • Illuminati ES&C, Inc.
    1465 Gabriel Drive
    Lawrenceville, GA 30243

  • Distributed by,
    Kimber Kable
    2752 South, 1900 West
    Ogden, UT 8440

  • DH Labs and TRI respond:

    Thank you very much for auditioning our D-75 digital cable. I would like to add that the cable is also available terminated with 75 ohm BNC connectors. This option, which costs $26.00 extra, improves performance even further. In fact, we feel that our BNC terminated D-75 will compete with any digital cable at any price!

    Best Regards,

    Darren Hovsepian
    D. H. Labs


    Dear Doug,

    Thank you for taking the time to sit back and enjoy our D-75! I have found that this cable is more friendly sounding than many cables that cost 3 to 5 times more. I for one do not enjoy a hyper-detailed sound. The D-75 is one of the most natural sounding digital cables I have enjoyed in my system. I have had several dealers and customers indicate that they preferred the more lively sound of our BNC'd D-75. I also want to tell SoundStage! readers that our awesome D-110 AES/EBU digital cable is also available!

    Once again, Thank You!

    Best Regards,

    Terry Rossen