The effect of audio cables on a system’s performance has always been a hotly debated topic in the audio community. There are those who fall for high-end products that promise outlandish performance in exchange for exorbitant prices. On the other hand, there are those who opt to get the most basic and feature-less Point A to Point B cables.
But Isn’t it possible to get high-quality audio cables at a reasonable price? It is, actually. All you have to do is know exactly what to look for. So here’s a complete guide to understanding the importance of quality audio cables and how to spot great audio cables.
Are Expensive Audio Cables Worth It?
There is a very large price range for audio cables but this doesn’t mean the quality will continue to match the price. When you’re buying hundred-dollar cables, you’re just paying for the brand at that point. There isn’t really a distinguishable sound difference.
But that doesn’t mean that low-quality audio cables don’t exist. You just don’t want to fall for the marketing guise of companies promising unrealistic standards. You really want to find that happy medium, so below we’ve provided a checklist to follow when searching for cables and how you’ll know their good quality.
How To Know An Audio Cable Is High Quality
Two of the main functions of audio cables are (1) to pass the audio signal with absolute purity at full fidelity, and (2) to reject interference that can add noise to the signal. Which basically means that you get a “clean” sound.
You know an audio cable has high quality if it lets your system perform at its best, while still remaining faithful to the source material. It also enhances your sound experience by adding depth or complexity by revealing tighter, better-defined bass, among
- Exquisite imaging
- Improved transient response
- Dynamic resolution
- Accuracy across the frequency spectrum
While some may not require audio at all, for those that do it’s important you get a high-quality sound. Otherwise, you can be stuck with static or unrecognizable audio and we want to make sure you get the most out of your purchase.
Use this checklist when scouting for audio cables:
So now that we’ve covered what great audio cables should sound like, below is a checklist for what they should look like.
- Silver-plated copper wire that is micro-polished to a mirror finish
- Expanded polyethylene as the insulation material in direct contact with the conductor
- A minimum quality of insulation of either PTFE or Teflon™
- The minimal amount of metal around the connector contacts (more metal results in more noise pick up among other issues)
- A good high-frequency shield, normally a braid in conjunction with an overlapping foil, fabricated to the highest possible standard
We understand to someone unfamiliar with audio cables it can be challenging to truly decipher what’s best. So, if you are still unsure of the quality of audio cables you want to install, it will never hurt to consult professionals.
Choose What Works Best For You
At the end of the day choose the audio cables that work best for you. Don’t fall for popular brands that are promising something extravagant for hundreds of dollars. Find something that fits your budget and works for your application.