By Michael Taylor
Going to trade shows and dealer events are great chances for me to get out there and meet both current and future Nordost customers. You might have seen me during one of these shows, either performing cable demonstrations or manning the sales booth in the market place. One thing I always encourage is for attendees to take the opportunity to ask questions during these events. Now I would like to share two of our most-asked questions with you!
Question 1: It’s easy to position round speaker cables in a system, but what do you do when they’re flat? What is the best way to position Nordost speaker cables?
Well, I can tell you what not to do: lay them flat on the floor! (Unless, of course, they are rear channel speaker cables that need to be hidden under the rug.) Let me explain… our speaker cables have a flat construction in order to keep conductors apart—allowing for both low capacitance and inductance. The secondary benefit of this construction method is that the separation of conductors makes it possible for them to resonate naturally, enhancing the performance of the cables. Since we mechanically tune most of our premium cables, we can get even more performance benefits from these resonances. Laying cables flat on the floor will dampen them, not to mention that the more surface area is in contact with the floor, the faster buildup of static charges occur. All cable dielectrics hold electrical charges, which can impede or alter the signal passing underneath them. We suggest laying the cables in a vertical position, where only one conductor touches the floor (or using Sort Lifts where nothing touches!). Additionally, if you have any excess cables, don’t coil them. Simply run them in a serpentine pattern.
Question 2: Why aren’t Nordost 75 Ohm Digital Interconnects terminated with RCA connectors?
The answer is simple: they simply aren’t good enough. RCA connectors are, and should be used for, analog interconnects. But when it comes to digital signals, performance is dependent on keeping impedance exactly where it needs to be. The more you deviate from 75 ohms, the worse the performance—and we won’t accept that. RCA connectors allow too much variance, which is why we won’t use them. For 75 Ohm matching to occur, you have to use a connector which is specifically designed for that purpose: a BNC connector. We terminate all S/PDIF cables with BNC connectors, and include a BNC to RCA adapter in the package in case your gear requires an RCA termination. Even though an adapter may be used, it is still far better than terminating the cable with an RCA and having the impedance swing in all directions.