29 December, 2011

Review: Belden 8471

Review: Belden 8471

Official Spec

I have long been a fan of Belden cables (not their power cables though) and it is always a pleasure to try out a different model. Recently I got to try out some Belden loudspeaker cables. I highly recommend the cheap Belden 8471 (16 AWG stranded (19x29) tinned copper conductors, PVC insulation, twisted pair, PVC jacket).

You may remember that the Belden 9497 (write-up and spec here) has long been one of my reference cables. So how do they compare?

Material-wise, the 8471 is similar, though judging by the description the conductor of 9497 is likely faster. Both are completely unshielded and have two twisted conductors. The 9497 is more distinctive by having a much greater twist angle (almost unique in its severity). The 9497 has lower inductance and resistance (capacitance not rated, likely high).

The sound of the the 8471 can be described in one word: beautiful. It is balanced and detailed. Its greatest strength is a top-class treble, incredibly refined, airy and seductive and comparable to anything else I have heard. Its possible weaknesses are a barely noticeable, very mild "slowness" and bass that is perhaps very slightly on the light side. Users of 9497 who would like a little more treble air will likely like the 8471. A winner.

The Belden 8471 is easily available both in the US and in HK. In Hong Kong, a seller on the internet offers irresistible price, and he is a nice guy! Buy with confidence.

Note: I also tried out 8471's bigger brother, the thicker (10 AWG) Belden 5T00UP, similar in construction but using ETP copper (that is more similar to 9497, though it doesn't say tinned). The 5T00UP does not have the outstanding treble of 8471 but is a little faster. Bass is more prodigious but I feel it is possibly less coherent than the 8471 and 9497. YMMV.

3 comments:

  1. Hello Dr John,

    Apart from Belden cable, any recommendation on power cable?

    Regards
    W Chan

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  2. I am sorry, I use generic power cables. Personally I usually find most power cables colored and unnatural.

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  3. I did a comparison with 8471 & 9497, I eventually voted for 9497 because of its sound character, which is more comfortable, natural and balanced. Yes, 8471 has more and clearer treble, but the weakness is the forward soundstage which made me feel uncomfortable.

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