Frequently Asked Questions

In any high fidelity audio system the cables need to be considered like components in the system. Cables play a crucial role in an audio system. They have the task of helping to get the music from your audio files, CDs, and records to your ears as unaltered as possible.

Just as you would not put the lowest quality fuel in your high performance car, you should not trust your music collection to low quality cables. Sure, your high performance car will operate with the lowest quality octane. However, you’re not going to get the most out of your car! In fact is could have undesired effects. The same is true with your high fidelity audio system, you’ll hear the music with any low quality cables. However, you’re not going to hear and feel everything that is there!

What’s the difference between a high performance car and an economy subcompact? It’s true that both get you from point A to point B. The difference comes in how the car drives, how it handles, how it accelerates, and how car appears (the fit and finish). The high performance car is carefully crafted with parts that will allow it to drive with precision, hug curves, accelerate with authority, and have the feel of a premium product.

The same is true of high fidelity audio systems and quality cables. Imagine your high fidelity audio system as a high performance car. In order for it to perform at its optimum level all the parts in your finely crafted system must be of the highest quality. With quality cables nothing is left to chance:

  • The metals used in the conductors
  • The dielectric of the conductor jacket
  • The shield around the conductors
  • The dielectric of the wire jacket

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My preference is for longer interconnects and shorter speaker cables. But, like everything else in life, there's a caveat. To have the longer interconnects, you must have equipment that can drive low impedance loads. As an example, if you are using a passive pre-amp, then you could not use long interconnects, because you'd need to be concerned with the capacitance of the cable. Or, another example: if you are using a computer running into a small DAC that uses a IC stage that does not have a current drive for long interconnects, you probably should not use long interconnects. 

To help with calculating the treble cutoff frequency of your cable, this calculator may be a helpful start:http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-cable.htm . 

Concerning the speaker cable, is that the speaker itself possesses a very low impedance. Typically, you're talking from 1-16 Ohms impedance. Here, Ohm's Law prevails. The cable length itself also has an impedance. Both of these will begin working together. The cable will consume power from your amplifier, and one of the things you do not want is for your speaker cable to become hot, or in other words, to create resistance. As it creates resistance, you start having frequency dropouts of your speaker cable. That is, it will roll up or roll down. 

So, how long should cables be? Is there a "rule of thumb"?

With true balanced, you can pretty much go any length from 1m to 100m. With RCA's, you need to be a little more cautious. I'd say anything from 1m to say, 20m should work fine. It also depends on the equipment being used and whether it can support that length. 

With speaker cables, I'd say anything from 1m to 4m. Most of the high-end manufacturer's equipment I have seen should not cause an issue, so long as you pay attention to the gauge. Say, a 14 gauge down to 8 gauge, you should not have an issue. If you go the other say, say 16 or up, you need to start being concerned for the speaker cable length.

Jim originally responded to this in AVShowroom Forums.

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A two (2) cable set of speaker cables are a stereo pair (one for the left channel and one for the right channel). In each cable There is a lead for positive (red) and a lead for negative (black). The Vesta, Genesis, Musaeus, Poseidon, Aqueous Aureus, Venustas, and Corvus are built in this way.

A four (4) cable set of speaker cables are also a stereo set (two for the left and two for the right). The positive (red) is a separate cable from the negative (black) making two cables per channel. The Neptune, Dominus, and 25th Anniversary are built this way.

Also see our Speaker Cable Types document.

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  1. Have your speakers in the approximate placement you want
  2. Measure the distance from the speaker terminals on your amplifier to the floor
  3. Measure the distance on the floor from your amplifier to your speaker
  4. Measure the distance up from the floor to the terminals on your speakers
  5. Add the three distances together

You want the cable to rest on the floor or cable stands. This takes any stress off of the speaker terminals. Please try to avoid any tight kinks or bends, especially near where the cable plugs into equipment.

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The Purist bi-wire speaker cable is for a different setup than the standard cable. In this setup, the speaker has additional binding posts. The benefit of this division means that the highs and lows of the sound may be handled individually.

To allow these additional drivers to connect to the amplifier, the Purist bi-wire possesses additional leads. One of the things that sets Purist apart from our competition is that when we craft a bi-wire speaker, we double, not split, the conductors. In other words, you’re getting more, not less.

Also see our Speaker Cable Types document.

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Cable loss can be described as a low-pass filter model. For example, your preamp has an output impedance of 100 Ohms, and your capacitance of your cable of your 1 m is, let's say, 100 pf. Your high frequency cutoff would be around 16 million.

Let's do another example. Say your preamp has an output impedance of 50k, and everything else stays the same. The high frequency cutoff would be around 32k. If we increase the capacitance to 1000, the cutoff becomes 3k.

The basic idea is that the more capacitance and interference you have, the shorter length the cable needs to be to avoid high frequency cutoff. 

To figure your cable length, you need to know your capacitance of your cable per meter, and your source impedance. These numbers are usually found in the manufacturer's specs. If not, give them a call or email. Then, I'd use a calculator like the one here: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-cable.htm



We're lucky to have sites like this one. Used to, you had to do all of this by hand or slide rule. 

Jim originally responded to this in AVShowroom Forums.

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The source end, on our cables, are indicated by the arrows. The arrows show the direction of signal flow.

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Cable positioning comes into play in two ways. The first is outside interference, the second is cable weight. 

When it comes to positioning due to interference, there are a few things to consider. The first is shielding. With Purist's cables, positioning against interference isn't as crucial due to our shielding technology. Our Ferox©, Contego©, and fluid shielding blocks out RF and EMI interference. Our shielding also helps eliminate vibration. If your cables do not possess this shielding, positioning becomes more important. For example, you might use lifters on your speaker cables, to raise them from the floor. Flooring can create an electrostatic charge, which can influence an unshielded cable. If you're running an electrical cable or a signal cable, as a general rule of thumb, make sure these cables do not come in contact with each other. Some argue that no cable should touch any other cable. I've seen, in Japan, some truly exotic set-ups where cables are suspended from the ceiling. Again, the technology we use here at Purist makes this not as much of an issue. But if the cable does not possess this quality of shielding, it's definitely something to position for.

Other reasons you might pay attention to cable position have to due with the cable weight. Cables should rest comfortably when connected. If a cable is heavy, or is a distance from the floor, or if the connector is too light, weight can be an issue. There is an inexpensive, yet effective way to deal with this. 3M makes a "Cable Tie Base" that you can attach to the back of your equipment and with minimal effort, you can use it to support your cables and take the weight off of the connector. 

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With an ethernet cable, everything matters. The connectors, the overall cable quality matters as well as the application. Are you going from your server directly to your computer? How are you linking it? Are you wiring your entire house? In the ethernet world, if you are wiring the whole system--if you have just one CAT5 you plug in some place, the whole system becomes that speed. So if you do wire a system, you need to maintain the system to cat7 tolerance. It isn't just a case of I buy one wire, I put one wire in and expect it to do miracles. That's not how it works. You have to evaluate your whole system.


Some of the electronics take up what CAT7 can do, and maybe they're only cat6 capable. Then, even though you have a CAT7 wire, it's not going to give you CAT7 performance.


Our cable is a higher quality, lower noise product. But, you have to pay attention to the whole system. 

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The USB is an open-ended type of cable. It's like taking water and pouring it down a hose. You basically shoot stuff down the USB cable, and there's no bit checking or sum checking or other safeties like there are with HDMI. Is what you send what you get? You have no idea. You're also dealing in the megahertz range. You're not dealing in the audio frequency range. Things that affect the signal at high and low frequencies, it's a whole different game. Things like skin effects and reflections really come into play. RF and EMI reduction plays into the quality of the cable as well.


Purist has taken and applied finely-tuned Ferrite beads to our Ultimate USB to reduce noise at the higher frequencies. We've looked at the connectors, and opted for something that let the cable do what it's optimally designed to do. We focused on functionality and what is sonically superior. We focused on good engineering rather than what glitters. We believe you'd rather have a solid product, that performs optimally, rather than a pretty case. That's why we've made you a great USB cable.

 

UPDATE: I give a more detailed response in this article by Positive Feedback Online.

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Electromagnetic Interference, or EMI, comes from everyday devices--such as computers, cellphones, wireless devices, bluetooth devices, and audio or video components. To imagine what this kind of interference can do. Any one of them could cause static or distortion in your system.

30 years ago, I began to address the EMI problem and pioneered the first, fluid-shielded cable. Nicknamed the "Texas Water Cable" (back in about 1986), the Aqueous was something no one had seen before. Its design helped revolutionize the way we think about things like EMI and RF reduction, noise filtration, and even vibration reduction in our systems. At the time, I was considered a little crazy. 

Today, they're almost industry-standard concerns. We just helped pioneer it. Now, with the wide variety and styles of audio systems, we offer a wider variety of shielding technologies, too.

Our shielding offers benefits beyond EMI protection.

Shielding Technologies
Shielding Fluid Ferox Contego
Description Purist Audio Design’s proprietary fluid shielding provides: The Ferox shielding is a doped silicon-based granular material that yields: Contego is a semi-fluid slurry of doped silicon and a propriety fluid which gives:
Properties Sweeter midrange
Softer top end
More Depth
Great acoustic dampening
More neutral midrange
More extended top end
Deeper bass
Superior EMI and RF rejection
A more airy crisp extended top end
A more smooth and seductive midrange
A more rich, tight, solid, and bold bottom end

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= Left Channel

= Right Channel

= Single Channel (It is also used for a center channel)

= Digital Cable

= Power Cable

= Tone arm Cable

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To change the ends on your speaker connector, you will need the following:

  • The kit that came with your Luminist revision Neptune, Corvus, Dominus, or 25th Anniversary Speaker or Bi-Wire cable, or purchase one from your dealer
  • Two small clothes
  • Two sets of pliers

Changing Your Spade or Banana

Open instructions in PDF

Removing the Spade:

  1. Put one cloth on the base of the connector.
  2. Grip the base of the connector (NOT the carbon fiber barrel) with the first set of pliers.
  3. Lay the second cloth over the spade.
  4. Firmly grip the spade with the second set of pliers.
  5. Turn the spade counter-clockwise slowly until you feel the spade loosen.
  6. Unscrew the spade by hand.

Attaching the Banana:

  1. Screw the banana in place.
  2. Tighten the banana down firmly.

Attaching the Spade:

  1. Unscrew and remove the banana. Be very careful not to damage or bend the banana end.
  2. Snap the cap off of the Loctite and set it aside.
  3. Gently apply the Loctite to the spade at the top of the threads.
  4. Only apply a small amount. It is okay if the Loctite gets on the top two threads.
  5. Screw the spade into the connector until it is seated firmly.
  6. Wipe off any excess Loctite.
  7. Let the spade cure for 24 hours for best results.

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At its heart, I have always felt that high end audio is an art. It's something you savor and enjoy. The name "Luminist" pays homage to an art movement which emerged from the Hudson River school and would eventually inspire more well-known schools such as the Impressionists. In a way, Luminism was the underdog who started it all.

In their work, the Luminists emphasized fine detail. They worked tirelessly to depict nature in her unaltered beauty. Strokes of paint were so exquisitely done that they made the brush's mark invisible to the naked eye. These artists worked countless hours to share with us nature's landscapes in its purest form. In their works, you saw the beauty of light and the true depth of canyons, rivers, and the natural world. One of my favorites is Albert Bierstadt (seen below), although there are many others.

However, I like to think our Luminist edition has more in common with the Luminists than just the attention to detail, or even the appreciation for the true beauty of the uncontaminated landscape. You see, the Luminist movement was made in the USA, too. We strive for no less attention to detail, and to let flow music's natural beauty and depth flawlessly. It's why we've been connecting you to the music for nearly 30 years.

You can read more about Luminism as art movement here, here, and here. (These links will take you offsite.)

"Among the Sierra Nevada" by Albert Bierstadt

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Diamond Revision Dominus Power Cord

Diamond Revision is new for 2017 and is currently exclusive to the Dominus Power Cable. We are always striving to improve our cables and with the Diamond Revision Dominus Power Cable we made many improvements through tireless testing and reasearch!

  • Full nano technology upgrade
  • Completely reoptimzed conductors
  • Contego™ shielding
  • Cyromag© treatment
  • Furutech’s NCF (Nano Crystal2 Formula) connectors

For specifications and information Click here.

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