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Wireworld was founded with the unique mission of perfecting audio cables through objective listening tests. These scientific tests ensure that each new generation of cables we produce lets you hear more of the original sound than previous cables. After five years of development beyond our highly acclaimed Series 7, we have released our Series 8 cables, the next great step toward musical perfection.
For Series 8, the DNA Helix designs have been upgraded by increasing the number of strand groups, which strengthens the electromagnetic field that moves the signal through the cable. Also, our third generation composite insulation, Composilex 3, combines low loss with the lowest triboelectric noise ever for amazing purity and focus. In addition to those improvements, many of the new speaker cables and some interconnects also benefit from increased wire gauge. The combination of these technical improvements provides surprising upgrades in recreating the power and delicacy of live music.
Neutral Cables for Lifelike Music Reproduction
Neutral cables are essential for lifelike music reproduction, simply because the cable effects that color the sound also remove essential details and expression from the music. Identifying the colorations of most components is difficult because it is impossible to compare them to a perfect component. However, cable colorations are much easier to identify, since cables can be compared to a virtually perfect cable, a direct connection between components.
The upgrade audio cable industry exists because people realized that conventional cables are not neutral. They realized this by observing that changing cables alters the character of the sound, especially the presentation of quiet musical information. Unfortunately, simply comparing one cable to another does not tell us what either cable is doing to the sound. This fact is proven by the widely varying opinions on the sound of popular cables. Of the many cables described as neutral by reviewers, few actually sound close to neutral under objective test conditions. However, when cables are compared to a direct connection, the descriptions of their sound quality are far more consistent, accurate, and useful.
The most audible differences among cables are caused by electromagnetic (inductive) effects, including skin effect, proximity effect and the especially problematic eddy currents. This is not surprising, since the electromagnetic field actually moves the signal by vibrating electrons in the conductors. Eddy current losses are created where the strands follow a different path than the field. These effects create losses and time-related distortions that blur the sound and cause tonal colorations. The audibility of these effects is reduced as cables are shortened. The most surprising aspect of these effects is the way they can interact within a system. While some audiophiles use cable colorations to compensate for the colorations of other audio components, the effects of the interconnects and speaker cables within a system tend to interact with one another to an even greater extent. That is why interconnects and speaker cables that are designed together tend to produce the most neutral and coherent result when they are used together.
Of course, the most lifelike music reproduction is achieved when both the cables and components are extremely neutral, however, most cables have substantial colorations due to phase shift and loss. Most speaker cables accentuate the lower treble and upper bass range. Similarly, most interconnects accentuate the mid treble and mid bass. While these colorations may balance out in an acceptable way, the losses that caused them will still mask quiet information, compress dynamics and limit frequency extension. From this we conclude that in the real world of cable and component limitations, the highest value is obtained by selecting components for their neutrality and connecting them with the most neutral cables available in the appropriate price range for the system.
Conventional swap-and-listen cable comparisons cannot tell us if a cable is neutral and they also cannot reveal the details a cable is losing. Cable Polygraph tests overcome those limitations by providing a reference connection with negligible loss and coloration. These tests also provide the first proof that standard cables cause audible degradation, which is necessary for upgrades to even exist. We believe that the previous lack of proof that upgrade cables can improve fidelity has undermined the high end audio industry in general. Some people still believe that the concept of higher fidelity audio cables is a farce, and that those who believe in or profit from them are either dishonest or incompetent. This anti-cable position has been reinforced by the fact that many “upgrade cables” have little or no real benefit.
Wireworld addresses these issues by demonstrating and promoting
cable polygraph tests to audio professionals and consumers. These
tests have even convinced the former cable skeptic and author of
numerous audio engineering books, Bobby Owsinski, that our cables actually improve fidelity. The popularity of high quality headphones and headphone amps has made it easy to perform interconnect listening tests. Interconnect cables can easily be swapped with reference adapters between a source component and headphone amp, revealing the losses and colorations caused by the cables. Tests of speaker cables can be done with mono amps docked directly to speakers as the reference. In these objective tests of fidelity, Wireworld Series 8 cables outperform all others in preserving natural tone quality, quiet details, spatiality and dynamics. Our end result is a closer and more powerful connection to the music we love.
It’s all about grain structure! The microstructure of copper and silver conductors is actually made up of individual grains of the metal. Unavoidable angular patterns in this grain structure can cause cables to perform differently in both directions. Wireworld cables are manufactured utilizing a proprietary Grain Optimization™ process that specifically controls the grain structure of the metal to produce the highest fidelity when the signal flows in the direction of the arrows printed on the cable. Some other brands of audio interconnects are directional because their shields are only connected at one end of the cable. The shields in Wireworld cables are connected at both ends to provide superior isolation from noise.
For peak performance, always install Wireworld cables with the arrows pointing in the direction of the signal flow.
Science depends upon test results not being influenced by outside factors, so eliminating personal bias is a top priority. Double-blind tests accomplish that requirement by preventing everyone involved from knowing the identity of the test samples. Double-blind listening tests have proven to be very effective at revealing differences in loudspeakers, but very limited in their ability to reveal the finer differences that exist among such devices as amplifiers, processors and cables. For example, MPEG (the Motion Picture Experts Group) has found it necessary to use selected trained listeners and very specific protocols to achieve anything other than a null result when testing lossy audio codecs. Consequently, it is unreasonable to expect double-blind listening tests of cables to yield anything other than a null result without a very concerted effort to perfect them.
Wireworld has been developing and using double-blind cable listening tests since the mid 1990’s, when we patented our first Cable Comparator. Our cable tests, unlike the other cable tests we know of, always include an unadulterated reference, as do the MPEG tests. We’ve found triangle discrimination tests to be the most effective methodology for cables. In triangle tests, listeners are only required to identify the odd sample out of three. With this method, only five out of six correct answers are required to prove audibility. For the most sensitive discrimination, we recommend using one degraded sample and two reference samples to create each set of three samples. The baseline test requires identifying the degradation of generic cables compared to the reference. Some listeners accomplish that identification on their first try, others require training and some never succeed. These results are consistent with the studies published by MPEG.
We encourage all who are interested in discovering the full effects of cables to experiment with direct and recorded tests. Although recorded tests are less effective than testing directly on a system, they usually reveal cable losses when played back on high resolution systems. It is important to note that listener bias is unlikely to be a factor when comparing generic cables to a reference direct connection, simply because no special cables are involved. If the listener does not hear degradation or find that it significantly impairs their enjoyment, then we believe that no upgrade cable can provide value to that listener under those listening conditions. However, any significant improvement in the audio system, the test procedure or listener sensitivity could reverse that result, making an upgrade to a Wireworld cable truly worthwhile.
Below is a list of proprietary Wireworld technologies and a breakdown of what they do.
Composilex 3 Insulation
Insulation materials are considered very important in cable design and designers usually select whatever standard materials they find to work the best. The problem with that approach is that none of those standard materials provide both low loss and low triboelectric noise. To overcome that limitation, we developed our own composite insulation materials. Now in their third generation, Composilex 3 insulation materials are uniquely blended to minimize both noise and loss, enabling us to hear more musical detail and three-dimensionality than ever before.
Composilex 3 insulation has made great improvements in the performance of Wireworld Series 8 cables. It is totally unique to our brand and the incredibly quiet background, tonal purity and expansive soundstaging it provides are a revelation in sonic realism. It works by reducing triboelectric noise, which is caused by static charge/discharge effects generated where conductors touch insulation. The noise is induced by movement, vibration and signal energy. Engineered for the lowest triboelectric noise of any low loss insulation material, including DuPont Teflon, Composilex 3 provides a major advance in preserving tonality, spatiality and dynamic contrast.
DNA Helix Cable Technology
The foremost Wireworld technology is the DNA Helix (Delineated Neutralizing Array) conductor geometry, covered by US patents 8,569,627 and 9,620,262. This unique technology uses layered flat conductors with parallel strands to prevent the electromagnetic ‘eddy current’ losses caused by conventional stranded and solid conductors. The results are audible and measurable improvements in preserving musical detail, natural tone quality and dynamic expression.
Proprietary Wireworld conductors that utilize flat groups of parallel strands to provide smoother signal flow.
The design used in Wireworld power conditioning cords to minimize interference and interaction with the power line. Fluxfield technology was developed by comparing generations of prototypes to perfectly quiet battery power. This process resulted in power cords that improve sound and image quality by filtering and isolating noise. Since they function as filters, longer lengths are more effective, so we recommend two meters or longer for the best performance.
The HD-Bridge module in the active (9m to 30m) Sphere HDMI cables is a technical marvel that overcomes limitations of previous active cable solutions. Compatible with all HDMI revisions from v1.0 to v2.0, the HD-Bridge in active Sphere cables is powered by an external USB connection at the TV. The module requires 0.2A, so it can be powered by standard USB sockets and transformers. To improve resolution, the HD-Bridge module contains three discrete power supplies for digital video, bias voltage and DDC. HD-Bridge also includes exclusive adaptive circuitry and a DDC rise time accelerator to maximize compatibility between components.
Wireworld HD-Grip HDMI plugs utilize innovative tensioning tabs to improve the reliability and quality of connections.
(US Patent 5,413,503)
Silver-clad tubular OFC contacts with Dupont Delrin® insulator and innovative silicone tension band make this the best fitting and highest conductivity RCA plug in the world.
An upgrade to the conventional balanced pair design made by increasing the number of signal conductors and isolating them from the power conductors. The Symmetricon design improves both precision and efficiency, while reducing noise.
Tite-Shield Twinax Technology
The official network cable categories (ie. Cat5/6/7/8) only include twisted pair cables, so these non-twisted twinax cables cannot be rated by those test specifications. However, it is interesting to note that the
100Gb/s (QSFP+) Ethernet cables used in internet server installations are also twinax designs. The patented “Tite-Shield™” design utilized in these cables places the conductors in parallel, with each of the four pairs isolated from the others by dense triple-layer shields. This radical flat design is so effective at isolating noise that replacing only the final cable in the network can substantially improve sound quality.
The Uni-Path design provides similar advantages to the more complex DNA Helix design in lower cost and smaller scale applications. Uni-Path improves electromagnetic efficiency and shielding. This innovation enables more of the original signal information to be reproduced, improving both sound and imaging.
(US Patent #5,740,255)
In engineering, a comparator is a device for comparing something with a reference standard. Wireworld Cable Comparators are custom-built laboratory grade devices that facilitate instant comparisons between cables and the only scientific reference standard for cable performance, a direct connection between components, which is essentially a perfect cable. We call these tests Cable Polygraphs and they can also be performed manually or by re-recording music that has passed through the cables and a reference direct connection.
Most cables add brightness to the sound because their electromagnetic loss creates phase shift that increases the duration of high frequency transients, which makes them sound louder. In comparison, the reduced loss and phase shift of Wireworld cables lets the music breathe, sounding much more organic and vibrant. Individual sounds become more distinct as the whole spectrum gains a faster cleaner attack and decay. Strings sound more delicate, even though their tone intensifies. Quieter sounds become audible and dynamics gain impact.
Wireworld created this term to describe cable listening tests that include a true reference that serves as the test control. These tests can be accomplished with a Cable Comparator or manually, by docking components together with adapters to create the reference or by re-recording music through various cables and a reference connection, which is less effective, but still useful. The importance of these tests cannot be overstated, as they provide the only proof that standard cables degrade fidelity. If no degradation is audible in a particular application, then cable upgrades are not possible, however that result has been rare in our experience.
Eddy currents in cables, like those in rivers, are swirling currents that slow down the flow. They are created where strands follow a different path than the electromagnetic field. It turns out that most of the coloration and loss we hear from cables is caused by this electromagnetic slowing of fast moving transient sounds. Indeed, recent psychoacoustic research* confirms that humans are far more sensitive to transient sounds than engineers have been taught to believe. Wireworld DNA Helix technology minimizes those losses with parallel conductors layered in patterns that strengthen the electromagnetic field and reject interference.
*Kunchur, Milind N.: Acta Acustica united with Acustica, Volume 94, Number 4, July/August 2008, pp. 594-603.
Electromagnetic (Inductive) Loss
The most audible differences among interconnects and speaker cables are caused by electromagnetic (inductive) loss, which is the sum of proximity effect, skin effect and the especially problematic eddy current resistance. While some listeners may like certain sonic colorations caused by cable inductance, these effects are always accompanied by dynamic compression and masking of the finer sonic details. For example, speaker cables with widely separated positive and negative conductors exhibit so much inductive loss that they distinctly thin out, blur and compress the sound. The opposite is true for closely spaced conductors, which can preserve music extremely well if properly designed. This is the principle used to create the Delineated Neutralizing Array, or DNA Helix conductor geometry used in most Wireworld cables. Optimally engineered, closely-spaced conductors reduce electromagnetic losses to provide dramatic improvements in the preservation of harmonic structure, three-dimensionality and dynamics.
Timing errors that reduce fidelity in digital signal transmission. Digital audio cables with superior waveform fidelity reduce jitter.
The patented Ohno Continuous Casting® process creates the world’s purest (99.99999% = 7 Nines) copper and silver conductors. OCC-7N conductors also have the longest grain structure and smoothest surfaces. OCC-7N conductors are only produced in Japan and Taiwan.
Oxygen-free copper is 99.99% (4 Nines) pure, an upgrade over the standard electrolytic grade, which is 99.9% pure.
Silver-Clad / Silver-plated
Since silver is the most conductive metal, adding a layer of silver over copper can improve performance. We use the term ‘clad’ to describe an extremely thick layer of silver. Our silver-clad cables have about three times as much silver as the related silver-plated model. Silver also makes the quietest and lowest loss connections, even when mated to terminals made of other metals. Silver conductors improve resolution, which can reveal coloration caused by design faults, but in the best designs they simply reveal more music.
Noise generated in cables by the interface of conductors and insulation materials where static charge and discharge effects are induced by movement, vibration and signal energy. Polygraph testing has shown that Triboelectric noise causes much of the coloration we hear from cables. It is the primary reason that various cable insulation materials produce different sound effects. Composilex 3 minimizes these effects to reveal the lifelike harmonic structure of the original sound.
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