In the beginning of March, I was contacted by Brian Goto of BTG-Audio to see if I would be interested in writing a review on his cables. At first I was a bit skeptical because I had never heard of BTG-Audio but I was intrigued as he was located locally and his website showed some very well crafted cables. I wrote him back inquiring about his cables and getting to know him a little better. I quickly learned that he is a high school student who has a passion for music and headphones. I was more than impressed that someone so young was building cables, had his own website and business, all while juggling school work!
Instead of paraphrasing, I’ll let Brian speak for himself. The following is a brief interview Brian and I had over email.
LL: How did you start getting into high end audio?
BG: Rather than it being an “AHA!” moment, I think it was a culmination of a bunch of different forces that ultimately led me high-end audio. Long story short, I was always a musician, since the first grade, playing first piano, the violin, and finally viola. Also during this time, I spent a of time disassembling electronics just to see what was in them.
I never owned an iPod until I was in my Sophomore year. I really enjoyed the iPod touch 2g but I remember hearing people talk about how the iPod’s amp section left much to be desired. So I bought a ZuneHD because of the superior amp section which I A/B’d myself.
LL: What made you decide to start building your own cables?
BG: I began to invest in headphones, starting with Skullcandy Ink’d, and started to realize the horrible build quality of the cables and I was tired of sending in RMA after RMA. So I did some research during the summer of 2011, and decided to buy some wire for my Skullcandy titan’s, because I knew they would break. Surprisingly they lasted me a year, so in the mean time I built an cMoy (which failed) then built a cMoyBB (currently using). After using my first amp. I was annoyed by how long the cable was on the little Fiio IC [interconnect] I bought so I used my new found soldering skills to make a tiny IC.
LL: Were you looking to improve sonics with your cables or just durability?
BG: At first, I thought a new cable would improve the sound. Everyone said an aftermarket cable makes things better. But then I started to become cognizant of all the fallacies in articles by cable manufacturers and their users stating better performance on every account. Why were there no cases saying the headphones sounded worse? Throughout my career, I have noticed that some headphones respond more than others and it’s a crap shoot on what your [sic] going to get. So I cannot lie to my customers and promise them better sound like other cable makers would.
I can however promise the increased durability of my cables compared to stock. I have had 0% failure rate since the start of my career and don’t see any in the future.
LL: How do you think your cables compare to other aftermarket cable manufacturers like ALO and Moon-Audio?
BG: They use UP-OCC and cryo treat their wires. I use finely stranded oxygen free copper. There is no conclusive measurements or evidence that suggests UP-OCC is better or that the cryo process helps the sound at all. So why waste money on what they say is better when they have no evidence?
LL: How do you make your cables so affordable?
BG: Simple. I don’t mark up cables as much as my competitors and I refuse to use exotic supplies. Take this thread for example. It’s very funny and sadly true on how much the mark up is for audio products.
LL: Any plans for expanding your business?
BG: I would love to expand but it would also make it more and more impersonal. I want to be the one talking with my customers and doing the work. That way special requests that could otherwise be lost in the bureaucracy of the corporate world make it to the end product.
I don’t really plan on anything right now because the business is so young, but once I’ve got a steady flow of customers, I will probably get a real website. :-P
LL: What kinds of music do you like?
BG: I like electronic music because of the absolute mechanical precision. It makes great tests of how accurate headphones are. As side from that, I listen to a number of genres and artists, but I absolutely love live classical performances.