In this era where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth dominate the scene of connections between audio and video devices, there is still a niche of people who rightly prefer cables for connecting the various components of their HI-FI system.
I say with good reason as science doesn’t lie: cables affect audio quality. Although the quality of audio transmission via Bluetooth has proved to be of good quality, many undoubtedly appreciate the use of cables for the audio connection of the sound sources.
But to fully appreciate the quality of the audio signal transmitted via cable, it is necessary to pay attention to some precautions especially when using high-quality audio cables.
This sector is quite controversial, online there are opinions for and against certain characteristics of an audio product. This is because the sensory perception of the quality or purity of a sound source is very subjective. It involves the psycho-sensorial component of each of us, so everyone will have a subjective opinion on “feeling”. About this, if you want to learn more, I point out this interesting article by Renato Giussani.
So putting aside the sensory component, let’s see what are the characteristics that good Hi-Fi audio cables must have and why.
What is an Audio Cable
An audio cable is also an important component for the success of a Hi-Fi and Hi-End system, usually for the purchase of good quality audio cables for your audio system, +/- 10% should be allocated of the overall budget for the construction of the Hi-Fi system.
Audio cables have a fundamental task, that of carrying the audio signal from the transmitter to the receiver, trying as much as possible to preserve its characteristics.
Difference between Signal Cables and Power Cables
Leaving aside the power cables, in the sound universe of Hi-Fi it is necessary to make a distinction between these types of cables.
The Signal Cables dealing with transport the audio signal from one hearing aid to another, for example by a vinyl turntable, amplifier. They are characterized by a thin internal thickness and suitably shielded, they have a very short length. Pure oxygen-free copper and in some cases also pure gold and silver and carbon are used to produce well-made audio cables, to improve their electrical conductivity. The insulating materials used are polypropylene, Teflon, and ceramic. Special attention should also be given to the connectors, also made with noble materials such as pure copper, and gold plating.
The Power Cables send the audio signal from the amplifier to the speakers. They can reach longer lengths than signal cables but different cable cross-sections must be used depending on the length. As the distance increases, the section of the cable must also be increased, in order to prevent signal loss.
What is Low-Frequency Noise (LF) Hum
We find the importance of using good quality audio cables when we talk about low-frequency noise (LF), or more simply, the hum that is heard when we turn on the HI-Fi system, also called “Alternating Noise” or Hum in English.
To check for this problem, you need to turn the amplifier knob to increase the volume and hear the resulting hum from the speakers. This interference is caused by interference in Radio Frequency and from Electro-Magnetic Interference and occurs using not properly shielded cables and linear torque cables. A good solution, in this case, is to use cables with intertwining geometries such as Kimber (KIMBER KABLE patented interlacing) or XLO.