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Over the years I have studied many aspect of cable behaviour. The more that I learn about cables and how they influence sound quality, the more that I find there is more to learn.
There are no hard and fast rules for designing a cable to win the most influential awards. In the same way a chef will use good quality ingredients to their own recipe, the cable designed uses good quality materials and scientific processes in the right combination to deliver the optimum solution at a saleable price.
There are just so many engineering design principles to consider and the best cables are designed by simply making the best choices.
The Best Quality Conductor Gives the Most Musical Sound
When I first started designing cables, I found that the most significant way to improve the sound quality of cables was by using higher grade conductor wires. My greatest early successes in cable design was through using higher grade (= more expensive to buy) conductor wires.
Cable Insulation Does More Than Just Insulate the Wire
Even before I started to design audio cables, I had gained a great deal of knowledge on the dielectric absorption qualities of capacitors. At the outset of my design work on cables I knew that I would need cable insulating materials of extremely low dielectric absorption quality to avoid the sonic blurring and loss of focus in sound that is caused by dielectric absorption. Almost every cable that I have designed uses PTFE or silicone rubber on account of their very low dielectric absorption.
If The Best Metals Are Far Too Expensive, Use Them to Plate The Surfaces
I was introduced to the benefits of plating the surfaces of electrical conductors when I found that a turntable company J. A. Michell Engineering was selling loudspeaker plugs and terminals plated in rhodium. I tried these and they made the sound better. That is the start of my journey into the benefits of plating of not only electrical connectors, but also the wires that carried the electrical signal that generated the sound in loudspeakers.
I Discover a Revolutionary New Connector - By Default
Although I knew then that connectors could sound better by the application of plating in a precious metal, I had no idea that a different design of connector could substantially change sound quality. When I submitted one of my best cables to What Hi-Fi? for review, I was surprised to see it beaten to the top spot by a cable terminated in a completely new type of RCA connector, the Eichmann Bullet plug. Well if you can't beat them, you have to join them and that started a glorious upgrade of all my higher end cables, many of which received BEST BUY and 5 star**** awards from critical magazine reviews.
Adding Depth, Clarity and Timing to the music by Deep Cryogenic Treatment
Cryogenic processing, that is subjecting components to deep freezing at very low temperatures (-190OC) has been long used to strengthen mechanical parts to reduce wear. I was intrigued to be approached at a Hi-Fi show by Frozen Solid who invited me to test their processes on one of my cables. The cable that was cryogenically processed did sound slightly different to a similar cable that had not been processed. Whilst the sonic differences were small the music was much more enjoyable with the cryogenically processed cable. A small difference in sound gave a big improvement in enjoyment of the music.
How to Enjoy Much Greater Dynamics from Music with Low Microphony Cables
I was asked by an employee for a cable to be used to connect his guitar to his amplifier. At some point in the testing the musician’s wife walked on the cable and a big bang sounded from the speakers. I mentioned this to the cable manufacturer who said that they made instrumentation cables that were designed for low microphony. I borrowed a low microphony cable sample that used the same wires as a cable that I kept in stock. I compared both cables and the cable designed for low microphony sounded clearer with a greater sense of dynamics in the music. As a result a number of Black Rhodium cables have since been designed for low microphony, the most successful being Prelude. More information on low microphony cables and their applications can be found here. Reviews of Prelude can be found here
Get the Cable Direction Right and Lower the Background Noise Floor
Research into cable direction was prompted by a conversation with a magazine reviewer who also was very much involved in supply PA cabling for pubs and clubs. His suggestion was that negative return conductor was connected in the opposite direction to the lie signal conductor the sound would improve. I tested his suggestions and it worked for speaker cables quite effectively. It also worked for interconnects and mains cables.
It has long been the contention of experienced cable designers that a cable will sound better when connected in one way than another. I tried this with a speaker cable in which the positive and negative conductors had been wound in opposite directions at the factory. There was an audible, but quite small difference. I then reversed one cable of the stereo pair, leaving the other in place. There was quite a difference in sound quality. When both cables were connected in the correct direction, the sound exhibited a much lower background noise floor than when one cable had been reversed. This was a much bigger difference than reversing both cables.
Twist your Stereo Interconnect Cables Together For A More Enjoyable Listening Experience
A customer telephoned us once telling us that a dealer had recommended that the sound of our award winning Illusion stereo interconnect cable could be improved by twisting the cables together. We tried it, first on Illusion, and then on all our other stereo interconnects. Each time the sound quality improved by twisting. To find out more, please click here.
Reducing the Effects Of Magnetic Distortion By Placing The Conductor Wires Further Apart
For years we were delighted not only from the sound quality of our top-of-the-range Ninja speaker cable, but also the very positive response from customers buying Ninja. So we eventually realised that the only real difference between the Ninja and our other cables was the much larger physical distance between the positive and negative conductors. To prove this theory we introduced our ACT 1 and ACT 2 speaker cables in which all conductors of one complete cable were used for the positive connection and all conductors of a second cable were used for the negative connection. The success of these cables prompted us to design completely new cable in which the thickness of the outer insulation was about twice our current standard. These were the Black Rhodium Twist, Twirl and Samba which all received the top awards in leading Hi-Fi magazines. What was so unusual about Twist was that it was designed-down from the Ninja removing everything in the design that affected the cost until all we had left was . . . Twist – at less than 1/50th of the cost.
Radio Frequency Noise Distorts Music – Why It Is Important To Get Rid Of It
For mains power supplies, you can buy some excellent and very effective mains filter units that removes high frequency noise from the power supply. But even in music systems where these may not be used, we still need to remove this noise to prevent distortion to the music. Right now I am still researching the best cost-effective methods and these will be introduced into not only the Black Rhodium cable range, but also into the new cables being designed for the Graham Nalty Legacy Range.
Mechanical Vibration Distorts Music – Why It Is Important To Get Rid Of It
I was fascinated to read of the Oriton Black Bullet connector designed for reducing mechanical vibration in cables, when reviewed by Paul Rigby for Hi-Fi World, it was tested on a high end Black Rhodium cable and still further improved the sound quality. So I was very keen to test the Black Bullet for myself. Using the same high end cable as the reviewer I not only found an improvement in sound quality by placing a pair of Black Bullets between the cable and source, but a further improvement when a second pair was placed between the cable and amplifier. This has prompted over a year’s research and development into vibration reducing components that will be launched on the cables that I have specially designed for the Graham Nalty Legacy Range.
Even Connectors Sound Different If You Listen Carefully
I am most passionate about giving my customers the best possible sound quality when they buy cables from me, Therefore I need to use the very best connectors. Not only do they have to sound good, but they also have to make a reliable long term connection that is not damaged in normal use. I have recently taken on the challenge to design new connectors that not only give my customers better sound quality, but also securely grip the cable better.
Graham Nalty Legacy Range – A New Range Of Values for a New Range Of Products
The Graham Nalty Legacy Range is created from Graham Nalty’s design values incorporated into cables and connectors. Each product contains several original design ideas that Graham Nalty has pioneered for the Black Rhodium brand, used together to create a stunning musical experience. I hope that you will enjoy your music.