It's just wire…again

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Wire used to build interconnects, power and speaker cables cannot add anything to the performance of your system. That thought started out yesterday’s post and we continue it today.

We’ve no doubt all heard or thought things like “silver based cables adds a tizziness to the top end” or “These give me great bass but the top end is gone”. I am sure there are some reading this that believe cables (especially power cables) make no audible difference at all; they would be wrong. Cables do make a difference in your system but they cannot add anything tonally.

To add something to an audio signal we need to inject more than we started with. With a passive (no added energy available) device like a cable there is simply no mechanism for adding anything not already present. Think of this like the proverbial water hose. The hose can only deliver what is fed into it and has no capability to add more. In fact, all it can do is restrict the flow of what’s coming through – and that is the entire point.

Certainly cables can sound bright, but they do so only because they are restricting the lower frequencies and, to your ear, the imbalance of too little bass makes the top end sound “bright”. We aren’t adding, we are only subtracting.

Another good example to help us understand this concept is light. It’s a common misconception that a piece of red paper, for example, is red because there is a lack of any other color present on the paper. What’s actually happening is the paper is absorbing all colors except red and that color is reflected back to your eye (white light is a combination of all colors).

In the same way, a bright cable is restricting bass and letting higher frequencies through without restriction.

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll finish the mini series on cables.