Brilliance Hi-Fi custom-made audiophile cabling solutions PayPal Verified
‘Excellent’ Agility,
‘Tremendous value’ Synergy
- Hi-Fi Journal
Upgraded Plugs for the Euphony XLR Synergy scoops What Hi-Fi Best Stereo Interconnect Award

Hi-Fi and AV Cable Selection Considerations


Cable synergy and selection is a common subject of discussion for the Hi-Fi press. Although these are not explicit recommendations from ourselves, the following section contains a summary of hi-fi and av considerations often cited by many leading audiophile columnists and periodicals including John Gregory of Hi-Fi+ and the well respected Hi-Fi Choice.

When buying a hi-fi or AV system, it is very easy to concentrate upon the hardware such as amp, CD player and speakers, with the cables being an afterthought. Even worse, as most systems evolve, so do the cables they rely on, resulting in a hotch potch collection of different types. The fact is that different cables do sound different to each other, having dissimilar electrical and sonic characteristics. Their choice is therefore paramount if you are to maximise the performance of your hi-fi or AV system. You should treat your cable loom that laces your system together as a single component, and allocate a proper budget.

On cables, Hi-Fi Choice say "In terms of budget, spend as much as you can afford but consider at least 15% of your total system budget as a minimum". At these levels of commitment, the choice of cables must be right.

Cable synergy considers the matching of interconnects and speaker cables as a means of maximising system coherency, thus helping to ensure that you get the most out of your hi-fi or av set-up. Once you have set a budget, there are a few golden rules that are regularly cited:

  • To minimise variables, always buy your interconnects from the same company, one with a coherent design philosophy across its range.
  • Always look for consistent materials and construction across the product range, e.g. Teflon, PTFE, copper, silver etc.
  • Signal voltages usually increase from the source at the lowest level through to the speakers at the other extreme and hence becoming less sensitive to losses, interference and distortion. You are advised to pay particular attention to these source cables and you should not underestimate the importance of a good digital link from CD transport to DAC, or DVD to many AV processors/amplifiers. You might consider upgrading your cable loom starting from the source.
  • Don't be fooled by glitzy packaging and expensive advertisements. It is the sound quality that matters.
  • It is not unusual for a single run of high quality cable to outperform an inferior double run. Don't assume that bi-wiring your speakers is going to be automatically better - it is likely to be different but as in all cases, different does not necessarily mean better.
  • Your cable loom is perhaps the least expensive part of your system. It will be possible to upgrade your system cables for significantly less than if you started changing the boxes. Consider upgrading your cable loom first - you could be amazed at the performance of your current system.

Follow this basic approach and you will be rewarded with a far more musically coherent and enjoyable performance. One that actually releases the musical potential that lurks in those boxes you spent so much time agonising over.

  Home | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions |
Contact Us | Useful Resources
©2004 Brilliance Hi-Fi, All Rights Reserved.