In addition to room acoustics, one of the most significant influences on system performance is the choice of equipment to partner together. We have listed the main issues below
All equipment has a tonal balance — usually described as “forward” where you hear more top-end frequency, like sitting in the front row at a concert. At the other end of the spectrum you have “laid back” sound which is more like being at the rear of the concert. When you listen to unknown equipment it is simply impossible to know the character of the individual components — all you hear is the system. For example, if the speakers are bright then to get a more balanced sound the tendency will be to partner them with “laid back” amplification, etc. There are other factors that affect system synergy which would be the subject of some very long explanations. All you really need to know is that it is usually safest to evaluate a product in the context of your own system and room acoustics.
Cables should be viewed as a component in their own right and play a major role in how a system performs. This statement is controversial in some quarters but once you get a high-resolution system then the audible character of cables is easy to demonstrate.
There is no such thing as a “best” cable and the search for this Holy Grail will inevitably end in frustration. There is a “best cable” for your particular system and this accounts for the huge diversity of rave cable reviews where all manner of cables are hailed as the ultimate, etc.
Our first product was a loudspeaker cable and I well remember this being received very favourably until arriving at the Naim Factory where Julian Vereker kindly allowed me to demonstrate them to him. I could not believe what I was hearing, the cables sounded below the level of their cable. This was an embarrassing experience but Julian patiently explained to me that his amplifiers were designed for a very specific cable specification and could even blow up if used with very low inductance types.
Since then there have been many experiences which have underlined that cables are incredibly system dependent. We have had innumerable occasions of people coming into our room at Hi-Fi shows with astronomically priced cables and being told they will blow away what we are using. They never have, because so much depends on the type of equipment being used.
Experience has shown that there are 2 families of cable. Those with widely spaced conductors, usually flat or dumbell shaped and those which are round with their conductors twisted. When an amplifier or speakers is designed then one of these 2 types of cable will be used in the fine tuning and listening stage of design. This will then determine the best cable for the end-user.
For example flat cables are generally preferred in systems using Linn, Naim, Exposure and others.
Twisted cables are generally preferred in systems using Sugden amplifiers and most Japanese amplifiers.
As a rule most systems prefer twisted cables and this is in our view an inherently superior design as it presents less load to the amplifier.