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Interconnects for Your Audio/Video System - Choosing The Proper Cables

Research & Development I began designing audio and video interconnect cables in 1988. I was asked to develop custom interconnects for discriminating audio and videophiles, who wanted to see and hear the quality of their components and the source material without added personality from their interconnects. The cables I constructed were created to solve two specific problems in interconnect design. Prior to this point these problems had not been addressed in the ever-changing field of high-end audio/video. The first was the subtle size difference of the RCA connectors used in the manufacture of mid-fi and high-end components. The second was the inherent loss of information through long runs of cable. It was also important that the interconnects allow our clients the freedom to combine components regardless of the type of connectors utilized by the various manufacturers. The custom cables had to carry information without signal loss and not be limited to short runs. The custom cables had to be extremely flexible and durable to adapt for custom installations. Most importantly they had to maintain state of the art quality while remaining cost effective.
End Connectors
Each connector must tolerate the extreme heat generated by the melting of silver solder at the point of termination. The connector used should be chosen for its compatibility with the wire. Proper strain relief is also a crucial factor in interconnect design. It is important that the wire and connector have a seamless integration. Every pair should be matched and tested for continuity and fit. The connection should then be insulated with heatshrink, to protect against contamination and to create a more durable termination. In a quality interconnect, all of these processes are done by hand, one cable at a time. This combination of quality parts and craftsmanship is essential to the manufacture of a superior interconnect. Low Capacitance
Research indicates that Low Capacitance is the most relevant aspect of design for Analog or Digital Audio and Video Interconnect Cables. Capacitance is determined by the number and thickness of the center conductors in relationship to the outside shield. The material and thickness of the dielectric insulation also determines capacitance. Low Capacitance custom cable provides the best imaging and sound staging in analog audio and digital audio as well as the most accurate contrast and definition in video. This is especially true where long cable runs are required. Over the years, speaker wire manufacturers have shown the importance of heavy gauge wire between the amplifier and the speakers to reduce resistance in the signal path. This notion of "The Heavier The Better" has erroneously been passed on to purchasers of interconnect cables for their components. When dealing with low millivolt signals from component to component, Low Capacitance (measured in picofarads) is the most relevant specification in cutting signal loss. It is not necessary for interconnect cables to be bulky and hard to use. In fact, Low Capacitance Interconnects are rarely heavy gauge and can be very flexible. Flexibility enables a cable to be angled to whatever configuration necessary, without affecting the integrity of the design. A cable should be selected for its purity, flexibility, durability, capacitance and individual specifications for its designated application.

Ross Anderson
CEWL® Custom Connections

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