TIP # 2:
Several years ago, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, perhaps the most famous car drag racer ever was winning consistently. This in itself was not unusual, but the buzz in the pits had it that he was using a revolutionary new part, because whenever the body was raised to access the driver or work on the car the head mechanic threw a rag over an area of the frame between the fuel cell and the motor. At the end of the year “Big Daddy” had wrapped up another winning season, and he let his competition in on his secret … a two inch I.D. fuel line! A fuel line four times larger than normal allowed a higher volume of gas into the engine, and more power as a result. Don credited this small change with his championship win. Cables and interconnects between the components in a stereo system are very much like fuel line in a performance engine. They can be the weakest point in an audio system and if this is the case, make a dramatic difference when replaced with higher quality pieces. The technology used today to design and manufacture cables is mind boggling, wrapping at specific angles to cancel inductance to terminating in oxygen free environments to cryogenically altering the molecular make up of the cable material are all ways various cable manufacturers strive to create an even lower amount of loss or distortion between your audio components. You don’t need to be a physicist to make a beneficial decision in what cables are best in your particular system … here are a few tips.
- How much to spend? The ten percent rule applies here, if your system is worth $2000, then $200 is a justifiable cost.
- What to buy? There are many cable companies to choose from, the most famous being MONSTER CABLE, they really pioneered the cable revolution. However, due to the nature of the business, change is constant, ask your audio specialist for his/her recommendations.
- Where to go? Cables interact with different components differently. A “bright” CD player does not require a “bright” cable. Audio companies with staff who have been in the business for a long time are the best ones to consult, their experience with different combinations over the years can be invaluable.
- Why? For a noticeable, positive change in the sound, any high quality shop will allow you to bring back cables you don’t feel provide a large enough benefit.
- Where to start? Start at the source. If you listen to the CD as your primary source, a higher quality than stock cable from it to the amp will net you the most noticeable change. When you have replaced the cables on the source(s) you listen to most of the time then continue down the line toward the speakers with a pre to power interconnect (if necessary) and then speaker cable.
Every change from a stock to a performance cable will net better sound. What improves when the cables are replaced?
- The dynamics increase (the distance in volume between the quietest and the loudest passage of a piece of music without changing the volume control)
- Imaging crystallizes and stabilizes (the “stereo” sensation that sound is coming from between the speakers)
- Vocals become more defined in clarity and richness.