The main reason to bi-wire is to eliminate interaction between cables carrying bass and mid/high
There are two main types of bi-wiring: true bi-wiring, and internal bi-wiring.
True bi-wiring is running two separate sets of cables, each of them separate in its own jacket. All cables is this case are individually terminated with a spade or a banana
plug. Internal bi-wiring is splitting the conductors (wires) inside a common jacket into two electrically isolated bundles and terminating each bundle with its own spade or banana plug at one end of a cable, or at both ends. Since the bundles are
electrically isolated, this type of bi-wiring does eliminate the direct electrical (galvanic) interaction between the bundles, but the electro-magnetic interaction still exists (since the bundles are being run in a common jacket, close to each
other). True bi-wiring eliminates both direct and electro-magnetic interaction, while internal bi-wiring still allows for electro-magnetic
interaction. As we can see, only true bi-wiring allows to take full advantage of the bi-wiring
concept. Therefore, in general, true bi-wiring is clearly superior to internal
However, there are exceptions. The STEALTH Cloude Nine speaker cables are internally bi- and tri- wirable without any significant performance degradation (in the Cloude Nine cables, the 6 conductors are flat and being run far enough from each other to consider the electro-magnetic interference
insignificant) With other STEALTH cables, we only only "true
b-wire" - i.e. bi-wiring with two identical sets of cables, each of them separate in its own jacket.
Yes, it's not as convenient as having the cables in a common jacket, but performance-wise, true
bi-wire is better - because the main reason to bi-wire is to eliminate interaction between cables carrying bass and mid/high frequencies; having bi-wire cables in a
common jacket - i.e. too close to each other - compromises the performance;
Please keep in mind that while bi-wiring is a good idea sound-wise, using higher performance cables in a single-wire configuration is usually better than using inferior cables in bi-wire.
In a true bi-wire configuration, you have 4 binding posts of each speaker; to each of them goes a separate cable; Therefore, you have 4 separate cables per side; It's best for the sound if you keep all four of them separate. But if you do not like the way it looks (4 separate cables), they can be spiraled together and appear as a single thick cable which splits at the
If your amplifier doesn't have four terminals per side (for bi-wire) - we recommend fitting two spade lugs onto a single binding post at the amplifier end. If fitting two spade lugs on a single binding post is not possible - then the option is to order one set of the cables with banana plugs at one end, and the other set with spade lugs (and fit a spade lug and a banana plug on he same binding post). Another option is to order a custom bi-wire set both wires of which are
factory terminated into a single spade lug. Like any custom - i.e. non-standard
- order, such cable set requires extra time to be made, and there is extra charge for this option.
We do not recommend banana plugs - since the solid silver spade lugs offer superior performance - but we do offer our cables with banana plugs if there is no way to use spade lugs in a given system setup.
So, if you cannot avoid using bananas, we recommend using the WBT locking bananas: while still not as good as the solid silver lugs, they work quite well, and look excellent.
We only charge the actual cost of the WBT spade lugs and banana
plugs in addition to our cable prices.
Cross-wrapping accomplishes two things:
- it greatly reduces the capacitance of the cable, thus extending the bandwidth to well over 100 KHz with any equipment (even passive preamps, known for being sensitive to the cables used), and
- it insures an extremely low Q inductance (Q is kept low by the inductance being evenly spread over the entire cable length; low Q is important to avoid excessive resonances).
These two features bring the "combined" impedance of a cross-wrapped cable very close to being "purely resistive". I.e. the cable mimics as closely as possible the behavior of a simple resistor-and a very good resistor at that, given the high purity of its silver conductors. Our cross-wrapped cables also share a feature of our less expensive FLR interconnects: use of very thin wires assures minimal "time-smearing", maximal coherence of the signal passing through the cable, resulting in better "focus" and an exceptional tonal balance. Finally, since the cables are made by hand, the wrapping is slightly inconsistent compared to machine-made cables, and this helps considerably to reduce the RF cable resonances that inevitably afflict all cables. (Artifacts of these RF resonances "pollute" the audio range even though the actual resonant frequency can be as high as 8 or 10 MHz.)
Many in the audio community hold Litz wire in low esteem. Since our CWC interconnect uses it, a balanced listing of positives and negatives is called for. As a negative, Litz wire is in effect available only in copper: silver Litz wire is prohibitively expensive, even for a "cost is no object" design philosophy. Yet silver is universally recognized as a better conductor than copper. Another negative association lies in the fact that AudioQuest "Hyperlitz" interconnects, even the expensive Diamond, are no longer highly regarded by most audiophiles. The first of these two negatives is genuine, but still by no means a reason for giving up on Litz. The second is a pseudo-negative, as will be seen once this positive is in sight: Litz wire permits the use of individually insulated wires much finer than any that could be used separately, outside of Litz bundles. This helps greatly to reduce "skin effect", the tendency of higher frequencies to travel on the outside of a wire and at higher speeds than lower frequencies that travel nearer the core. And listening tests comparing cables that are identical except for conductor thickness show decisively that "skin effect" is a prime threat to good sound. This is not a surprise to theory: in particular, it seems obvious that all frequency components of a transient should strike the ear at the same time. But so far from achieving the benefits of Litz construction, AudioQuest "Hyperlitz" cables, which use at most three conductors (in Diamond) in each signal/ground "bundle", don't even achieve the benefits of using thin wire. The wires they use are far too thick for use in a decent interconnect. In at least one critical listening test, blind as to cable materials and configuration, the Litz wire positive of very thin wire easily overcame the negative of silver being a better conductor than copper. It may be relevant that the system used in this test includes electrostatic speakers. In summary, audiophiles would be foolish not to trust their own ears when it comes to a choice between our CWC copper Litz wire cables and other, comparably priced or even more expensive cables in our line. In particular systems, the positive/negative balance will be in their favor.
Why Not Bare Multistranded Wire?
By this term we will mean wire with a number of strands that are not individually insulated, not insulated from each other. Typically, these bare strands are twisted together and insulated as a whole. As a signal travels along such a multistranded wire, there is nothing to keep it from jumping repeatedly from strand to another. While his feature is often mentioned as a defect, certain manufacturers have built enviable reputations on ignoring it, using only multistranded wire in their prestigious cables. But should the defect be ignored? We can get a better perspective on that if we first look into precisely how the signal-jumping is harmful. In our opinion, shared by other knowledgeable people, the main problem stems from the oxide film which covers every metal surface. When it jumps from one strand to another, the signal crosses two oxide boundaries, and a thin air gap. If one strand barely touches another, the resistance of this point of contact might have some measurable value (especially with copper since copper oxide is not conductive). But the most vital concern is that this point of contact will have semiconductor properties, the same properties that solid state diodes and transistors are built to have: it affects the signal passing through it by partially rectifying that signal. Thus our musical signal, which starts out as symmetrical AC, becomes a little asymmetrical. This effect is subtle-but imagine how many of these “little semiconductors” there are in a run of multistranded wire! With silver, this effect is less pronounced since silver oxide is conductive. But the air gap is still there, and despite being conductive, silver oxide still has different conductive properties from those of silver the pure metal. With individually insulated conductors, these effects can be completely eliminated. Bringing other considerations to bear as well, we arrive at this recipe for a near-ideal wire: very thin conductors, to counter skin effect, individually insulated by an excellent dielectric (to charge and discharge quickly to assure fast signal propagation along the cable): And that's very close to how our cables are made...
About the burn-in process:
All our cables require about TWO days of initial break-in after the installation to show their "sound character" - before that time, a slight upper-midrange "brightness" or "glare" (typical for pure silver cables "out of the box") might be heard. For approximately 7 to 10 days after the initial break-in, sound becomes progressively smoother and more natural. In general, in two weeks after the installation, cables are is ready for critical listening. Please note that in order to perform their best, my INTERCONNECT cables should be broken-in on the very same system with the very same components used for critical listening! If a cable is disconnected or used with other components, it might be necessary - for the best sound - to start the break in process from the very beginning... According to my CURRENT point of view on the break-in process in cables, it mostly deals with the "ground potential differences" in the components used - that's why I recommend to break in the cables with the same components that will be used for critical listening. It may sound funny, but cables do break in ( a bit more slowly) with just equipment in "on" position (powered) even with no music or any signal passing through!... So, it's not strictly necessary to play something all the time. Just keep your equipment "on" and play something once in a while... If you wish, you can even leave tubes in "stand by" position (with partial anode voltage applied - if you have this mode... Using any commercial devices or burn-in CDs is possible, but please don't count on a more speedy "break-in" compare to the above mentioned process: as it is mentioned above, cables break in mostly deals with the "ground potential differences" in the components used - not the program material played;
About the AC power cords:
It's interesting that AC power cords' “sound” mostly depend not on the AC carrying wires, but on the ground wire, which NEEDS to be shielded since it's included into the sound SIGNAL PATH (ground path, to be more precise) - that's mostly why different AC power cords sound differently! AC is filtered in the power supplies, but the ground goes in and out just the way it is... Most power conditioners do something to AC, but don't do much to the ground. I guess that's why Cinepro Line Balancers (and other alike conditioners) sound so good!...