Little known facts about cables

This title is not said lightly. I have read over 4 Hi Fi magazines per month for many years and see countless cable reviews. As a cable designer with many years experience in the field, it has become all too apparent that this subject needs a lot of clarification. Origin Live’s very first product was a cable. In fact, back then in 1986 the company was known as “Cable Design”.

Is Cable Choice a Lottery?

Finding the best cable for your system can be like a shot in the dark. Some users have to try numerous cables before finally getting the results they want. Without meaning to sound arrogant I would suggest that reviews and specifications need a lot of help in their interpretation for reasons which will become clear later on.

Origin Live don’t offer a cable to suite every system and we do not believe that there is such a thing as “the best cable”. We do believe however that there is “a best cable for your system”. This article provides plain talk that could save you a great deal of time and money.

At quite a few Hi Fi shows I have been accosted by sales representatives extolling the wonders of a new cable that we “must” try in our system and be “blown away”. Not being completely cynical, we usually give them a whirl. The interesting thing is that in spite of sometimes consisting of solid silver and costing many times more, we have only found one of these offerings superior and this was 11 times the cost. I hasten to add that auditioning was by impartial consensus, as we usually have non-staff present in the comparisons.

This story is not to say that most cables offered are poor but rather to illustrate that no cable will ever suite all systems. In the world of Hi Fi equipment, cables seem to be one of the most system dependent items by a colossal margin which is one reason we hardly ever submit ours for review.

Myths and Dogmas

If you’ve read cable reviews, you will be familiar with various theories about their design. Before commenting on various cable philosophies you may want to know a little of our background for credibility. Origin Live started in 1986 by designing the very first solid core cable ever produced specifically for Hi Fi. This cable continues to be a fantastic cable for valve amplifiers and only a month ago replaced the “reference” cable used in a reviewers system. We later developed highly configured stranded cables and Litz wires. Walrus Hi Fi described our cables as “the best kept secret in Hi Fi”. These comments should allay fears that the following comments are merely fanciful ideas. Cables are highly controversial so let’s consider a few dogmas.

Silver is the best material for conductors in the cable?

Silver wire seems to increase clarity, sometimes remarkably. However it can also sound rather harsh and bright in the wrong system so one has to be careful.