NOTE: This article is historical, and was created in 2011.
A perfect audio cable would transfer every sonic detail from one component to the next as if they were docked directly together, a condition called 'cable-bypass.' Wireworld is the only company that follows through on this essential concept by testing cables against the reference standard for cables, a direct connection. The portable audio system described below, facilitates these 'cable-bypass' comparisons, which demonstrate that the losses caused by common cable designs are often severe and nearly always audible. Consequently, the fact that cables can sound different does not prove that any of them provide optimal fidelity, unless they match the pure sound of a direct connection.
Wireworld is the only manufacturer that will subject its cables to bypass testing in public. Of course, we’re very pleased to perform cable testing demonstrations, because they show that our methodical development process has created cables that preserve more musical information than any other brand. And not just our top-of-the-line cable, but at each price level! We invite comparisons with other brands, and challenge anyone to top our wire standards and ability to preserve the natural acoustic details and dynamics of music.
The Cable-Bypass Demonstration System™
- This demonstration uses an iPad2 as the music source, playing CD-quality .wav files through iTunes.
- The USB output feeds directly into a Headamp Pico DAC through a custom-made jumper.
- The DAC feeds the Pico Amp directly through interconnect jumpers made of high-quality RCA plugs.
- The amp is driving Sennheiser HD380pro headphones.
Although the total cost of this system is less than $1000, it reveals variations in cable fidelity so well they are clearly audible to most listeners. Performing the same objective test with high-end components and 24-bit music reveals even greater differences between cables and the bypass. We also perform cable-bypass tests under double-blind conditions with our Cable Comparators™ (U.S. Patent #5,740,255).
This test begins with a generic two-meter USB cable connecting the iPad2 to the DAC. After playing a short musical selection, we replace the cable with the jumper to create a direct connection. The track is repeated, revealing a great deal of musical information that was simply not audible with the generic cable. With the direct connection, the music sounds dramatically more detailed and lifelike. Next, we play the same selection through a series of one-meter USB cables, starting with a generic cable and progressing though the four Wireworld USB cables. We end with Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, which nearly equals the ultimate sound quality of the direct connection.
The Cable-Bypass Demonstration System can also test audio interconnect cables by inserting them in place of the jumpers between the DAC and the headphone amp. The colorations and losses of interconnects, even most expensive models, are clearly audible in comparison to the harmonic purity of the direct connection.
Simply comparing one cable to another may reveal audible differences, but the only way to really hear how well a cable preserves music, is to compare it to a direct connection. The popular audiophile concept that cable colorations can be useful in system tuning becomes far less attractive after hearing the information loss and dynamic compression associated with those colorations. Providing the closest possible sound to a direct connection, Wireworld cables are invaluable tools for recreating the feeling of live music in your home.