interconnects with parallel members typically have the highest
propagation speeds and the widest bandwidth with some of
them passing signals freely into the gigahertz region. Coaxial
interconnects are also relatively high propagation speed,
wide bandwidth designs. Flat and coaxial interconnects are
the designs of choice for digital and radio frequency transmission.
When these extremely wide band interconnects are used for
audio applications, however, they are particularly subject
to noise infiltration along the entire length of the interconnect,
much like an antenna.
standard ways to approach noise infiltration are through
shielding and twisted pair technology, both of which limit
interconnect bandwidth to an extent. Good shielding will
reduce electrostatic (ES) noise infiltration. A twisted
+ and - pair will theoretically prevent electromagnetic
(EM) noise infiltration by nulling out these noise frequencies.
Interconnects that employ these geometries will still pass
signals freely into the 100 megaHertz region and beyond,
however, which is far more bandwidth than what is required
for audio applications
reality, however, twisted pair technology only goes part
of the way toward cancelling out EM noise because the proximity
of the twisted + and - pair is never identical over the
whole length of the interconnect regardless of how carefully
the interconnect is manufactured.
reduce EM noise beyond what can be achieved through twisted
pair technology requires a properly designed network fitted
to the specific application and the length and type of interconnect.
infiltration obscures the ability of the interconnect to
transfer extremely low level harmonic and spatial information
accurately, and it has a tendency to make the system sound
brighter and harsher in the high frequency region than what
is recorded on the source material. Increased noise floor
directly affects our ability to perceive full dynamic range
and all its gradations.
Role of Inductance and Capacitance in Audio Interconnects
and capacitance need to be carefully controlled in interconnect.
Too much or too little of either characteristic will provide
undesirable results. Flat interconnects, coaxial interconnects,
and twisted pair interconnects exhibit electrical characteristics
that are not in the best interest of music for several reasons.
In lengths suitable for most home audio systems, these interconnects
have too much bandwidth for audio applications and are particularly
subject to noise infiltration. Another problem is the point
at which these interconnects achieve electrical resonance;
i.e., the point at which inductive reactance equals capacitive
reactance.But interconnects with extremely wide bandwidth
create a thinner and brighter sound than interconnects with
Role of Group Delay in Interconnect Design
propagation speed of frequencies will be delayed to one
degree or another in any interconnect. The critical concept
regarding propagation speed in interconnects designed for
audio applications is that all frequencies should be delayed
for the same amount of time (uniform group delay). This
means that if different frequencies enter the interconnect
at the same time, they should leave the interconnect at
the same time.
bandwidth and extremely fast propagation speeds usually
go hand in hand. The inductance of interconnects with less
bandwidth is usually sufficient to reduce overall
propagation speed, but if the interconnects are designed
properly, the delay in these interconnects should be uniform
over the usable bandwidth of the interconnect.
Effect of Interconnect Length on Bandwidth and Resonance
extremely short interconnect will have wider bandwidth than
a longer interconnect of the same type because the shorter
interconnect will have less inductance and capacitance.
Extremely wide bandwidth interconnects are subject to noise
infiltration and resonant behavior and sonic byproducts
that do not serve music. Extremely short interconnects will
sound more alike than they will sound different because
of their similar bandwidth and resonant characteristics.
In our opinion, they will tend to transfer an audio signal
so that it is more like a hi fi experience than it is a
to popular opinion then, shorter is not necessarily better
from a musical standpoint. A longer interconnect will tend
to sound less bright and fuller because it will have more
inductance and hence less bandwidth and a lower resonant
point than a shorter interconnect.
same sonic pitfalls that apply to the "shorter is better"
perspective, also apply to "Interconnect Comparator" tests.
From an electrical perspective
the interconnect comparator behaves like an extremely short
piece of interconnect. In other words, the interconnect
comparator will have extremely wide bandwidth and will have
a relatively high resonant point. A typical interconnect
without a network will most closely resemble the electrical
characteristics of the interconnect comparator than will
a interconnect with a properly designed network. It also
follows that the shorter the piece of interconnect, the
more it will resemble the sound of the comparator. The basic
premise of this comparison is based upon an assumption that
a short interconnect is better from a musical performance
perspective which as we have discussed earlier, is not the
case at least from the point of view of our extensive tests
Ideal Interconnect Length for Audio Applications
is, in fact, an ideal length for any type of interconnect
which will establish the proper relationship between capacitance
and inductance; i. e., ideal bandwidth and a resonant point
that is as low as possible for the application. If this
specific "ideal" length of interconnect is compensated properly
in its natural roll-off region with a network, it will exhibit
very uniform group delay characteristics throughout its
entire usable bandwidth; i.e., phase, imaging, timing of
harmonics to fundamentals, etc. will be true to the source.
THOR Interconnect regardless of length is tuned so
that it achieves the same electrical characteristics as
an "ideal" length of interconnect for the application, and
then it is properly compensated to achieve uniform group
we typically use a variety of different lengths of interconnects
in today's complex audio and video systems, our musical
interests are better served by choosing interconnects that
have all been tuned to achieve the electrical characteristics
of an "ideal" length of interconnect.
Strand and Conductor Technology
material should be pure and consistent, and the conductor
surface should be smooth and uniform for best signal transfer.
In our opinion, pure silver conductors do not possess inherent
qualities that make them a better conductor of music range
signals than copper conductors. For audio applications,
pure silver will usually require more compensation than
many copper conductor configurations, and the cost of pure
silver is exorbitant.
conductors in the THOR Interconnects
consist of many strands of single gauge, precision extruded,
oxygen free copper. Each strand is annealed to provide an
extremely smooth and uniform surface. The strand bundles
are precisely wound around a center core of dielectric.
extruded teflon has superior dielectric insulation properties
compared to just about any other material except air, but
interconnects with sufficient air insulation would be very
bulky and difficult to manufacture with consistent results.
Teflon works very well on interconnects which require a
relatively thin layer to insulate them properly, but teflon
insulation would result in a very stiff and difficult to
use speaker interconnect.
discussed earlier, twisted pair technology results in superior
audio range performance because of the nulling effect of
+ and - conductor proximity. Many audio interconnects provide
twisted pair technology. The precision and consistency of
the twists are very important to achieving as much nulling
as possible and to insure that any two sections of interconnect
of the same length will exhibit the same relationship of
inductance to capacitance. The interconnect jacket must
be tightly and precision extruded around the twisted pair
to hold the twisted pair firmly in place. The tight jacket
insures that interconnects will maintain their intended
electrical characteristics even when the interconnect is
flexed or bent as in home audio installations.
speaker Interconnects consist of strands of copper that
are precision machine wound to our exact specifications.
Interconnect jackets are pressure extruded to hold conductors
firmly in place when the interconnect is bent or twisted.
THOR Interconnects have amazingly consistent electrical
characteristics from sample to sample. They also exhibit
rock solid electrical characteristics when they are bent
or twisted. These manufacturing techniques allow us to fit
every performance level and length of THOR Interconnect
do not use solder pots or extremely hot soldering irons
to construct THOR Interconnect. We carefully temper the
strands in each conductor with heat controlled soldering
irons, and we use only enough heat to flow high purity silver