Audio cables are one of the most in-demand types of cable on the market; used for everything from home theatre systems to sellout concerts, audio cables come in many shapes and sizes and are often custom-built.
The delivery of quality audio can be impacted by many factors, including electrical interference, the environment in which the cable operates (especially outdoors), the distance between the speakers and the output device and just plain old cable damage.
These are all considerations that a cable designer will factor into the design of a custom audio cable, manufacturing a cable that will be able to stand up to adverse operating conditions while delivering high quality sound. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider if you’re planning on splashing out on a custom audio cable.
Copper or Silver?
The most common wiring material used in audio cables is copper as it offers a highly conductive and fairly low resistance connection. However, in some instances, silver can also be used.
Silver is actually more conductive than copper, although it is more expensive. Most audio experts agree that copper is the way to go; it’s less expensive than silver and more reliable overall. While silver is more conductive, impurities in the material can lead to a reduction in quality.
How Much Distance Between the Output Device and Speakers?
Distance is one of the most important factors governing the performance of an audio cable.The longer a cable is – and the longer a signal has to travel -, the lower quality the signal output is going to be when it reaches the speaker. In home theatre systems, this generally means designing the layout of your system so that cable length can be kept to a minimum and signal integrity isn’t compromised.
However, it’s not always possible to make a cable short, especially if you’re organising a concert or an outdoor event. In these instances, it’s recommended that you opt for a thicker gauge of internal wire, as thicker wires preserve signal better over long distances and produce less resistance.
Multicore cables also offer a flexible solution for high-output applications; the number of conductors within the cable will often depend on the demands of your particular sound system and the distance between the output device and speakers.
What Environment Will The Cable Operate In?
All audio cables are subject to some degree of electrical interference and as such, cable shielding is essential in the design of a custom audio cable. The degree of screening again depends on the particular environment in which the cable will operate; a home theatre, for example, will be subject to much less interference than a field full of people using mobile phones.
You’ll also need to consider any potential for the cable to be damaged physically; as before, a cable in a field full of people at a festival is prone to getting knocked about, as is a cable laid on a stage with a band.
Suitable levels of cable extrusion will help avoid any potential disasters or cuts to the cable, as well as allowing the cable to operate in adverse environmental conditions.
For more information on custom audio cables, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables on 01204 658 784.