Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
Sound Room Stereo Dave Forum Reviews Contact Us

Cobra Audio Cables

In my other product performance papers, I have referred to "electron flow". Now I must define and explain this term. Many manufacturers and audiophiles have not bothered to explain or use this simple and basic term. All voltage signals including; phono cartridge voltage outputs, CD's tape decks, tuners, surround sound processors, and all other equipment which pass voltage or amplifies voltage is subject to "electron flow" principals. When I first opened The Audio Alternative In Portland, Oregon over 20 years ago, a very talented and brilliant man, Rober Fulton of Fulton Musical Instruments, in Minneapolis, Minnesota shared many of his observations and theories with me. Mr. Fulton broke down the audio chain and put it in simple turms of water running through pipes. Regardless of the amount of voltage we were dealing with we had to consider the capability of the voltage. At the time Mr. Fulton explained this theory to me we were primarily dealing with the phono cartridge as the best source of reproduction available, whether it be a moving magnet or a moving coil cartridge. He explained that the audio signal at the output of the phono cartridge was the absolute, and as the absolute signal traveled down the cables to the preamp, through cables to the poweramp, through wire to the speakers, through wire in the speakers, to the dividing network (crossover), and finally through wire to the actual speaker driver, this once absolute signal has been changed dramatically. Of course the less change you could achieve greatly improved the musical experience. In simple termes if we consider the phono cartridge capability as a 12 inch pipe folowing maximum water, as this signal flowed through the cable in the tone arm it was reduced to a 10 inch pipe flowing maximum water. As the tone arm cables attached to the turntable connecting cables, the signal was diminished to an eight inch pipe. Regardless of the preamps effect, the connecting cables to the power amp, again diminished our flow to six inches, and the speaker wire from the amplifier to the speaker again changed our signal to a five inch pipe and the speakers internal wiring being a terrible problem )since you can't see it most speaker manufacturers use the cheapest, smallest gauge wire available) our once absolute signal is reduced further to only a three inch pipe with maximum water flow. The pipe sizes are not important, the improtant issue is to understand that cables and speaker wire dictate, yes dictate, the performance of your electronic components and speakers. Now consider a CD, LD, DVD, cassette deck, or any input device including satellite dishes, the same diminishing signal scenario is at work. Now that your depressed and half way out the door to purchase the most expensive connecting cords and speaker wire, lets talk about "electron flow". Mr. Fulton explained what I now only have learned to understand, large guage speaker wire, high quality connecting calbes, and improved quality phono cartridge leads, all these improvements are mearnly lowering resisitance to improve the electron flow. Incidentally FMI was the first company to use bi, tri, and quad wiring techniques for their speaker line. What do all of these improved cabling techniques have in common? Better "electron flow" and integrity. "Electron flow" is simply "Electron flow". If you go back to the phono cartridge, you're dealing with the smallest "electron flow" device in the audio chain, producing womewhere between 1/2 millivolts to 7 millivolts, a very small voltage. The "electron flow" principals connected to voltage: that is the higher the voltage the more "electron flow" there is present. If you consider a five millivolt voltage or signal, and you lose 10%, that is very significant, if you consider a five volt signal which is possible and you lose 10% it is still significant, but not as musically important as the beginning point of our music system. How do you minimize the musical losses? Consider a piece of copper wire, all of the molecules of copper are bound together to form a single strand of wire. As electrons flow (electons are defined as an electrical charge) or jump from molecule to molecule, they have a path from one end of our copper strand to the other. Some electrons will be lost in the flow process due to each molecules resistance to allow our electron to pass through it. The lost electrons produce small amounts of heat which cause no danger, but the problem exists that some electons are lost. This can be measured by using a meter, to measure the "voltage drop" from one end of a piece of wire to the other, for instance lts say a 100 foot piece of wire loses two volts, that means that the difference between the input voltage and the output voltage is two volts. Imagin going back to our 12 inch pipe that is now transparent and six feet long and packed tightly with hundreds of white ping pong balls each touching each other forming paths from one end to he other. Now imagine each ping pong ball at the input end being red. The red balls are electrons and the white balls are copper molecules. The electrons jump from one ball to the other untill they reach the other end, the ouput end. Simple right? Not quit so simple. There are impurities in copper, dirt, oil, by-products, ash, and many other types. thake our 12 inch pipe and add black ping pong balls randomly, lets say 50 balls, this represents impurities. Now as you look through the transparent pip you can only see 9 black balls but internally in our pipe are 41 black bals that also represent impurities. The red electrons still have to jump from molecule to molecule but now sometimes there is a black ball, or an impurity in the electrons path, the electron may enter the impurity and be lost. Simple description but in reality this realy does happen all the time. Solution, very pure copper wire. The other copper problem is air pockets which confuse the electron while on its path from input to output of our copper wire. The second solution is "oxygen free copper" (OFC). Now you should understand why pure OFC copper is very important. The next problem is a friction connectoins like the pins and connectors on the back of phono cartridges, like the plug that connects turntables to preamps, preamps to amplifiers, amplifiers to speakers, crossover wires to speaker components: these are the worst situations for "electron flow". Lets break this connector down, instead of being attached to each other as molecules are with minimal resistance to electon flow, the connections merely touch each other. The "friction connections" are microscopically just very rough surfaces like very course sand paper. When the two curfaces touch each other there are many black balls between them and fewer white molecules touching each from one surface to the other surface, there fore the fewer "friction connections" the better, and try to utilize the best male and female phono plugs. Ceramic insulators are best, fiberglass insulators are next best, now we should talk insulators.

Insulators are simple, the best way to separate two conductors is insulations. Just like you insulate the walls of your house to keep heat in and cold out: we want to keep voltage or "electron flow" away from each other. We deal with AC line voltage that comes out of our wall sockets, plus and minus voltages inside electronic components, and in connecting cables we have plus voltages and "0" voltage (zero voltages called ground), also a neutral wire where neither plus or minus electrons are present. I believe that when any of these wires are allowed to touch each other a loss due to less than 100% isolation from each other occurs. This occurrence happens when two or more wires touch isolation from each other occurs. This occurrence happens when two or more wires touch each other once or many times, I call it "leakage". This leakage is always present unless the wires are separated by air, the best insulator, ceramic or glass insulators, or the next best insulator cotton. I use a large number of strands of OFC, very pure copper wire that is P.V.C. (polyvinylchloride) coated as the insulator, then I use cotton covering to give it 100% isolations from leakage to make our "Cobra Audio Cable". After all, this is supposed to be about our "Cobra Audio Cable", not just physics 101. Ok, now we have the highest quality of wires, cotton covered. Next step, plugs and attachment of these wires to these plugs. I have found only one plug to use, the only plug to have the least amount of loss. Remember back to insulator theory - air, ceramic, glass - fiberglass, yes I know cotton was next, but that is because it is fleaxible, but you could not use cotton as an insulator in a plug, the cotton would scorch just like an iron on a white shirt, if the iron was left on long enough it would burn the cotton leaving carbon, a conductor, as our insulator in our plug - hence fiber glass is chosen because of it's high temperature before becoming carbonized. I use only "silver solder" in all my connections and construction. I have developed a special technique to optimize each solder joint, "silver solder" is not a significantly better conductor as you migt guess but it "eats up" the copper forming an ally of copper and solder improving the "electron flow" (sorry there it is again) through the solder joint.

There are many significant details in "Cobra Audio Cables" if you are interested call me and I will elaborate. What we are trying to do is minimize any losses and maximize the "electron flow" from component to component which will improve your audio and video experience. Borrow a pair and give them a listen. We have sold our cables, over many that were fifteen times more expensive.



Dave Herren, Owner

Innovative Audio Products

Portland, Oregon

Home | Sound Room | Stereo Dave | Forum | Reviews | Contact Us
Copyright 2015 Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative. All Rights Reserved.