Originally introduced as a limited ´one-off´ run, the ´El Cid´ interconnect has proven to be much more popular than expected. Problems with sourcing some of the necessary materials, and requests for a more aesthetically appealing appearance led to a rethink of the cables design. After a bit of effort a new sheathing material has been found, and more importantly, a higher quality cable.
The new cable has improved specifications and build quality over the original. In particular, the capacitance has dropped from 65pf/m to 63pf/m. I know, this isn´t a massive change, but an improvement none the less. Along with the new sheathing material and cable there are also new phono plugs. The original Neutrik Rean plugs will still be available, but the default phono plugs will now be Amphenol Audio. The Amphenol plugs don´t differ dramatically from the Neutrik´s in materials, or build quality, but having the plug bodies in different colours makes the right and left channels easier to identify. Lastly, a new higher silver content solder is being used on these ´El Cid MkII´ cables.
The first couple of pairs of the new interconnect are now in the main audio system for testing, and first impressions are very good. The setup is using a 0.5m pair from CineMag SUT to Bottlehead Reduction phono stage, and a 1.0m pair from the phono stage to the preamplifier. The differences between the MkII, and the original ´El Cid´ cables is subtle, but there is certainly a bit more refinement in the upper end. From a practical point of view the cable is easier to handle, and a little more aesthetically pleasing.
The Mk II cable is more expensive to build due of the new parts, and this is reflected in the new prices.