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Everyone needs cables and interconnectors to complete their home theater or surround sound system. Anyone who is serious about sound or video quality and getting the most from their system should consider the various types and levels of cables – or those thinking of upgrading their existing system. Changing cables alone, is one of the least expensive ways to make the most improvement!
All audio and video cables are not created equal! There are many mechanisms and factors that go into an incredible video or audio cable such as skin effect, strand interaction, cable geometry, conductor material, and insulation material.
We carry a wide range of connectors, cables, adapters and accessories that you would need for your video and audio system including hdmi cable, speaker wire, couplers, USB and more. We even carry cables enhanced by batteries called the dielectric-bias system (DBS)!
Check out some of the different technologies and materials available:
Conductor Material Quality
The best materials have very long grain structures and superior contact between the trains. The quality of a conductive path is most defined by a conductor’s surface. The surface is a meeting of the area of greatest current density inside the conductor, and of the greatest external magnetic field density – it’s like a rail-guide for the entire energy envelope. Conducting materials include oxygen-free high-conductivity copper (OFHC), long-grain copper (LGC), perfect-surface copper (PSC), perfect-surface copper with higher purity (PSC+), and perfect-surface technology applied to high purity solid silver (PSS).
Insulation Material Quality
Insulation material quality is a major source of distortion in a low-level able. Air is actually the best insulation material, so the best cables include as much air as possible. Solid materials all affect the signal, and are best chosen for the nature of their distortion, for having a lack of discernible character. “Low loss” is not itself important, as the little bit that is lost is not heard. Besides air, other materials used for cable insulations include PVC, polyethylene (PE), foamed polyethylene (foamed PE), polyethylene tubes (PE tubes), and teflon tubes.
Speaker cable construction and interconnect cable construction is also important and effect how cables perform. There are various types of speaker cable constructions including stranded, semi-solid concentric packing (SSCP), solid, Hyperlitz, spread-spectrum technology (SST), counter spiraling helixes, single-biwire (SBW), and others. The various types of interconnect cable constructions include coax, symmetrical coax, and triple balanced.
Did you know?
Although copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, silver is even better. Gold plating is also helpful in reducing and preventing corrosion. However, its conductivity is less than optimal. Most gold-plated connectors are brass plated with nickel and finished with a plate of gold. Brass and nickel are poor conductors – they actually cause their own loss of signal and distortion. Material Quality dramatically affects the performance of cables and their terminations – both the intrinsic quality of the metal, such as gold, nickel, brass, aluminum, copper or silver, as well as the way the metal has been refined and processed. Pure silver is the very best performing material for audio, video or digital.
Cables do not enhance the existing quality of a signal. Even the highest quality cable loses some of the original quality and adds distortion. The best cables are those that preserve more of the signal that was there in the first place.
Changing cables, regardless of what one might think, can change sound. Audio connectors and cables are just as important as other audio components. Changing the cable between a DVD player and surround sound receiver, for example, can make a dramatic sonic difference – perhaps more than any other cable exchange.
One of the main issues with an audio cable is digital jitter, which is the intermittent loss or synchronization when decoding digital audio signals to analog – it causes loss of sonic details and audible distortion. For this reason, speed becomes particularly important.
There are two main types of audio cables: digital coaxial and digital optical (also known as toslink). Although a digital optical cable may handle noise better, some prefer digital coaxial.
Just as changing an audio cable can impact sound, so can changing a video cable impact video – and are just as important as other video components.
Several things, such as the electrical tuning, electrical properties of the connectors, type of conductors and insulation that is used, the accuracy of the impedance and phase response, immunity to noise, and frequency response, all can impact the quality of video.
The higher-quality video cables are made with oxygen-free copper conductors and silver-plated copper conductors.
Sound confusing or overwhelming? Don’t worry! We are here to answer any questions you have and to give you recommendations to help optimize your system!