22 August, 2009

Review: Belden 9497

Review: Belden 9497, Part I
Best Buy

See Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Official Spec's

This VERY cheap speaker cable came to underground fame because it was used by Master Shindo himself.

I have used this no-nonsense cable for a long time and can attest to its neutral tonal balance and transparency. I use it with my Tannoy. Some of my friends who use Kondo even use this cable!

If your setup does not need high-current delivery, using high efficiency speakers or SET amps, this is an excellent choice. But you have to order a roll, which is a pain.

Here's what I wrote in 06 in R33:

Since so many people took interest in this cable, I researched my own newsgroup, where it all happened (my memory proved to be at least 2/3 correct; yes it's Belden, yes endorsed by Shindo):


The story for this giant killer cable went like this (I think):

Our dear, but temperamental friend, Tanuski, actually wrote an interview of SUN AUDIO for Taiwan's Audio Art magazine. May I say I only recently read it, and a very good article (I always wanted to translate it, but too lazy; one thing SUN AUDIO insisted was their trannies now are not made in China, as rumors suggest)

This all happened in 2003:

Tanuski wrote:

"I was interviewing the Uchida (father and son team) of Sun Audio when I first heard about the Belden Speaker cable last year.

In Japan it is called: the "Studio 497".

When I visited the Hino Audio, the boss Hiromu Maruyama san also confirmed the info. I talked to other serious audiophiles, who are super rich customers of Hino. Most of them agree with the opinion. Even the uncle of my wife said good things about the Studio 497.

When I am back to NY, I called Belden. No one in the company knows what "Studio 497" stands for. After some struggling, they sent me to a tech guy and the closest he can come up with is the model"9479". And he finally recommended me to order a few thousand feet to "try it out".

At that point I am quite out of gas on the Belden issue. Besides I do not believe it will be as good or better than the Tara Labs RSC Master Gen 2.

The Studio 497 is consisting of one red and one black wire twisted together. If you want to take a look, please follow the link:

May be Keith can help finding out from Allied Electronic whether they can ID the 9497. If we have a bingo, I will be more than happy to chip in and give it a shot..."

Then very nice Keith, now relocated, researched:

"...Belden 9497 can be ordered through www.alliedelec.com for $129.74 per 500ft spool. Allied Part #216-2154

The Japanese are big fan of Belden. Lots of them said the Belden 9497 is the best Belden speaker cable.

The "Belden 9497" cable is a unshielded twisted pair of 16ga stranded tinned copper wire. Tinned copper - "hmmm, this thing can acutally sound good?" was the first thought I had when I realized the conductor is not pure bare copper.

Anyways, after listening to it all day today, I can safely say this is indeed a good sounding cable. I am comparing it to the 4TC, which is the only reference I have. I find it tonally balanced and has excellent imaging, just like the 4TC. The difference between the two that I can detect is that the 4TC seems to have more slightly more "weight & slam" and slightly more "forward" in its presentation. The Belden 9497, on the other hand, is more transparent.

These are two cables I dont mind having. I am not good at describing at things I hear (or fail to hear), but something in my heart tells me to leave the Belden 9497 in there for now.

Considering its dirt cheap price, and depending on what others think about it, it may very well have a shot at making the "cheap audio hall of fame"..."

(DJ: MOST expensive cables should be in BS audio Hall of SHame).

A European Franck Joncheray said:

"...Hi, could you tell me how you got this information ?

A few months ago I asked Mr Shindo what speaker cable he could advice to me, and he told me that Shindo uses Belden 9497 between the crossover and the drivers because the Shindo cable was not better at this..."

(DJ: Can you imagine!)

Even the famous Thorsten Loesch chipped in:

"....Hi DJ, Maybe you wish to forward this.... From the looks, temperature ratings etc of Studio 497/9497 it is simply standard stranded PTFE insulated silverplated copper. I use what is in essence the same in my Bedroom system with a non whizzer cone 6.5" Fullrange Speaker.

For my main system this kind of cable lacks tonal balance (evenness) and resolution. It is not bad nevertheless and quite cheap..."

To which I replied:

"...Good to hear from TL. I'm sure he's right.

I'm sure the cable is not the last word in resolution. I am not sure about tonal balance. If it is PTFE definitely it would be rolled off on top, but good ones just a bit. The bass can be good with thin AWG. If the funky retro cloth WE cables are anything to judge by, tin-plated may just be my preference for musicality. It just doesn;t have any of that weird lumpy dynamics you get in many of the expensive cables. Sorry Tanuski, Tara Lab THE ONE included.

Yes, let's experiment. BTW I'm even more interested in the 22 awg one. Anyone?..."

Then Keith, Tanuski bought someone and got CFT to bring some to me.


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    1. There are sellers selling them on EBAY, ~USD 1 per foot: