Why use the same brand of audio cables throughout your hifi system?

Often times when hifi talk comes around to cabling, you will hear people preaching the importance of using one brand of cables throughout an entire system. But what possible difference could mismatched brands make—especially if they are all eminent companies each with upstanding products?

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Each cable manufacturer constructs their products in different ways. They use a variety of different materials and employ a range of specialized technologies to create a core cable design. As a result, companies (and sometimes ranges within each company) tend to have their own sonic signature. The quality and timbre of each brand’s sound may be brassy, light, bass-heavy etc. There are some cable manufacturers that strive to reach a particular “type” of sound with their products by using filters and network boxes. On the other hand, Nordost’s aim is a more neutral sound, filtering as little as possible so that you are left with the music as it was originally intended. Ultimately, it is up to the listeners to determine their own opinion on the merits of each cable’s sound.

What is undeniable is that the effect of mixing cable brands and their respective sonic signatures can have mixed results. If you are lucky, the cables will balance themselves out and you will be left with a pleasant sounding system, but more often than not different cable brands clash, leaving you unable to hear the composition of your system as it was intended. When that happens, you get to deal with the fun task of finding where the problem lies through trial and error.

Besides not being able to find the cable that may be less desirable than others, mixing cable brands makes it harder to determine weaknesses in your components. You may find yourself wondering if thin sound should be blamed on your speakers or your speaker cables, if the slow-timing is the fault of your pre-amp or interconnects. Upgrading a hifi system can become that much more frustrating and time-consuming when it is not clear what upgrades need to be made.

By using a uniform loom of cables, or at the very least using cables that use the same core technology, you are no longer faced with these problems. There is no need to “balance out” a system, weaknesses are easier to assess and fix, the components are all on a level and comparable playing field, and you are able to achieve a greater coherency from start to finish.

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5 thoughts on “Why use the same brand of audio cables throughout your hifi system?

  1. I agree that using a full loom makes a wonderful difference in my system. I switched to an all Nordost cables a couple of years ago, Tyr, Frey and Vishnu. Before this I used Frey speaker cable with Harmonic Tech cable. With an all Nordost everything becomes more relaxed, cohesive and musical.

  2. The logic of using the same loom of cables throughout the system is that all of the cables have the same electrical characteristics. If you measure any cable it will have a particular capacitance, inductance and propagation delay(signal speed). Cables from reputable manufacturers tend to have the same electrical characteristics so it is good idea to use the same brand throughout. If high capacitance and low capacitance cables are mixed in a system the sonic results are usually not good. If cables that use networks are mixed with non network cables it usually will not sound good. This is easily demonstrated and we have done so at dealer and consumer shows.

  3. I am an owner of every range of Nordost Cables except for the Valhalla and Odin range. That includes the Valkyrja and Quattro Fil. Indeed Nordost produces some of the finest cables and without a doubt you cannot have the Interconnects without the Speaker cables. But the power cables on the other hand, I had to remove my Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva because it was a little overkill.
    Just remember, What a cable does is that it does not add anything into the characteristics of your equipment but rather removes it. A good cable removes far less characteristics compared to a regular one. Depending on the preference and the equipment you have, you will need to select your cable and it does not have to be of the same brand to trim the edges of the to get the results you desire.
    Nordost removes very little characteristics from your system and can be overly honest and if your highs are given over emphasis, you will need a cable from some other brand to tame those sounds.

  4. There’s a set of pins grouped toteehgr for power switch, reset switch, Power LED, etc. If you can tell us what motherboard brand and model you are using I think we can figure it out for ya.

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