You love your music and movies, and have a great system on which to enjoy them. Most great electronics components are meticulously engineered to generate the best sound and images possible.
Tube Amps, Pre-Amps and Processors, Digital-Analog Converters, Phono Cartridges, CD Transports and Blu-Ray Players all strive to give you the best processing, decoding and reproduction.
Every signal of your chosen media is massaged, cleanly amplified, and delivered. These components work to improve what you see and hear.
The various wires in your audio-video system do not actually make the sound or the picture better. Their real job is ….to do nothing! So in a very real way, the large amount of engineering that goes into cable manufacture is really about damage control. Less is more…
The best cables are unseen and unheard.
A perfect speaker cable or interconnect would have absolutely no effect on the sound and image it carries. Absolute transparency is perfection. Cables are getting closer and closer to this, and this is one of the areas your system can get the biggest benefit for your buck.
It is a boring technical discussion concerning electrical and magnetic fields, energy dissipation in the dialectic insulation jackets and surface vs. core current transfer. Two things, however, are clearly understood by most people:
Catching the Rays:
What’s another word for a long straight rod of metal? (Hint, we used to use them before cable, and there may be one on your car)
That’s right, an antenna! There is so much noise radiating through our atmosphere (cell towers, wifi routers, radar etc) that a poorly protected cable can and will act as an antenna. That sucker will gather noise and will degrade your end result. That’s not unheard, now is it?
When asked to define “noise”, Karen Sumner (Founder of Transparent Cable) rightly said “Anything that’s not music” Bravo!
Look for a cable (this is especially true in Speaker Cables) that has protection against outside electrical and magnetic fields.
Tinting the Glass:
Your audio and video signal transfer can suffer in two main ways: Power Loss and Distortion.
Power loss is inherent with any transmission, that’s one reason we have such powerful amps and efficient speakers. In good cables, it is minimized. Distortion, however, is not acceptable.
Now think about looking at an object through a pane of glass. If we have a very slight gray tint on the glass, you can still see the details and the variations quite well, just not as brightly. That’s power loss.
If, however, we put a slightly red or slightly green film on the glass our object looks weird. No matter how bright, it is wrong (inaccurate) That’s distortion, and boy can you tell when it is present.
With today’s amplifiers and speakers, power loss is not a problem on anything but the cheapest or smallest cables. Distortion (or coloration) is present in many cables, however, and correcting this is the quickest way to a better sound or picture.
Test this yourself. You will be able to hear and see the difference!
In my world, hearing is believing! Next time you’re out, take your cables and your interconnects with you down to your local audio/video retailer. (I’m talking about your stereo/audiophile store, not BigBoxBuyCity!) The specialist working with you on the showroom floor will let you use your cables on a system there, and then swap out for some high-quality cables using the same components, sources and speakers. Amazing.
Be prepared, however! You will probably want to upgrade your signal path right then and there. Do so and enjoy!