Cable Theory

Audiophiles have hotly debated the existence of audible differences in wires for years. Engineers and non-engineers alike, on both sides, have latched on to pseudo-scientific papers and/or improperly conducted listening tests to "prove" their arguments. Objectivists continue to claim that if it can not be measured, it can not be heard, and subjectivists, trusting their own senses, continue to believe that one day scientists will measure those differences that they do hear. In the last couple of years, impressive scientific studies have been conducted which have measured some differences in wire performance, including directionality, lending some credence to the subjectivist's camp. While the debate rages on, it is interesting to note, that the engineering knowledge needed to explain exactly why cables do make a difference, and accurately predict what a particular cable design will "sound" like, has been available for decades. Unfortunately for audiophiles, it was not until as recently as 1985 that someone actually applied that knowledge to the world of audio cabling. To this day, the Essex Echo - Unification Tracks 1-4, by Malcolm Hawksford, remains the single greatest work on the subject of audio cabling.

Physicists and some engineering disciplines have long used the waveguide model to most accurately describe the flow of electromagnetic energy. In this model, the energy is shown to actually flow between the conductors, instead of in the conductors. The inaccurate 'water in a pipe' model, on the other hand, describes energy flow as electrons traveling inside the positive conductor and returning in the negative. It uses only the parameters of resistance (R), inductance (L), and capacitance (C) and gross assumptions to simplify low frequency circuit analysis. These gross assumptions, however, are not valid for audio related and certain other physics applications.

In the Essex Echo, Dr. Hawksford uses simple and established electromagnetic principles and equations within the waveguide model to describe a memory or error wave which is the primary cause of sonic degradation in an audio cable. Silversmith Audio's cable geometry, derived from these equations, reduces the error wave more than any other geometry is capable of accomplishing, and our unique application of these principles has allowed us to incorporate metallurgy to push signal error levels far lower than can be achieved by geometry alone.