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About us and our concept

We, the team at HB Cable Design, are the producers of innovative interconnect cables which satisfy the sophisticated demands and expectations which our customers place on high-end products. The goal of our cable production is to achieve the highest possible quality standards with regard to the sound and styling of high-end connectors. All cables are crafted with top-of-the-line stereo components in mind. They are designed to enable these components to develop their optimal sound qualities and with an eye to the ambiance surrounding the use of high-end equipment, as reflected in the visual effect and workmanship of our cables.

We regard connector cables as an integral link in the high-end chain, a component which must reflect the sound quality and design of the surrounding system as well as the environment in which the application's musicality is allowed to unfold.



High-End Interconnects – Pros and Cons

Anyone claiming in the 1970s that the type of connection between high-end components could influence the quality of the sound produced by the components and speakers was met with laughter – in the more harmless cases – or ridicule and even derision. Sound quality was thought to be solely dependent upon the devices themselves in conjunction, of course, with properly matched and suitable speakers. The sound properties are determined and varied by the interplay between a device’s material, construction and internal connections – that was the opinion shared by most experts.

And it is absolutely true: material(s), construction and internal connections are indeed of decisive importance for the generation and transmission of the music signals made up of electrical impulses. What's more: this fact applies not only to the high-end components themselves but in equal measure to all connections between the components – the cables.

At this juncture we would like to share with interested audiophiles some of our experience regarding the pros (and cons) of high-end interconnects. We have purposely refrained from including colorful pictures of cable cross sections and/or graphics, endless tables of test results and the (pseudo) scientific researched often used to “document” the supposed quality and properties of cables.

In any case, test results say little about the actual effects of cables. And the popular claim in the 1990s that what can’t be measured can’t be heard has been refuted. Sound technicians have tried in vain to objectively confirm on the basis of test results the variations in sound quality subjectively perceived by the human ear. A measurement which is “good” from the standpoint of physics cannot by far be equated with an excellent listening experience. An LF cable, for example, with very low parallel capacity is probably better than a cable with high, or merely higher, parallel capacity, yet this is not always the case, as comparisons have often shown. The quality provided by a measurable physical property can be counterbalanced or even negated by an unknown – and thus immeasurable – quantity.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, a few developers began to seriously explore the subject of cables. The basic materials supplied by industry for processing and assembly had various applications which had little or nothing to do with signal conveyance for the purpose of sound production in high-end home stereos.

The high-end connectors produced today by (a very few) manufacturers have achieved the status of components in their own right within a balanced constellation of devices. A change of cables, whether speaker cables, interconnects or power cables, can have a strong impact on sound quality. On the whole, however, this market segment continues to be dominated by a wide variety of dabblers making cables based on pseudoscience.

Thus every moderately talented laborer can create ludicrous constructions whose performance is "documented" by equally ludicrous theories, label their products as the ultimate in high-end connectors, and put them on the already flooded market. Unfortunately, their misinformation continues to be gobbled up and published without verification by the so-called trade journals. Stereo dealers often lack the qualifications and willingness to recommend the best cable for their customer, perhaps based on an extended search, rather than the product currently favored by the press and suppliers. Over the years this practice has confused and, ultimately, alienated those buyers truly interested in high-end components. One cable sensation followed another, the promised sound quality soared to immeasurable heights, as did the prices. Dealers charged $23,000 for a pair of speaker cables one meter long without batting an eye; the sound improvements could no longer be measured by earthly standards - Elysian fields beckoned. Or did they?

What, exactly, does a dedicated music lover expect of stereo components, which have undergone constant change and continuous improvement over the years?

A common answer to this question is: to experience "live" music at home; to transport the authenticity of a concert into one's own four walls. Anyone who has experience a live rock, pop or classical music concert quickly abandons, or at least qualifies, such hopes.

To enable an authentic and emotional experience of music within one's own four walls, completely different criteria must be applied than are applied to live events. Can the acoustics of your home studio really be compared to those of a concert hall, which have been optimized through sophisticated architectural design? Or those of a renovated factory building offering 2,000 m2 of floor space for rock concerts attended by up to 5,000 fans?

The atmosphere of a live musical event, which cannot be adequately described in words and certainly cannot be "artificially" created, contributes at least as much to the subjective enjoyment of the performance as, say, the quality and (objective) technical properties of the instruments and other equipment used by the orchestra or band and the room in which the live act takes place. Minor technical deficiencies have as little impact on the quality of the overall experience as the (acoustically) optimized orchestral equipment. A concert evening with José Carreras is not less exhilarating because the first violin in the accompanying orchestra possibly sounds slightly more subdued than during the previous, or next, concert in a different auditorium.

The musical experience within one's own four walls is different. In a limited space which lacks the atmospheric expanse of an auditorium or concert hall, the musical experience often shifts from the rapture of a live concert to the more nuanced sensation of individual aspects which influence the total listening experience. The quality of the recording medium produced in the studio is of decisive importance, regardless of the format selected.

And that is precisely what characterizes an audiophile: the search for perfect sound within his own four walls. This is where a restrained first violin is clearly noticeable. This is where a booming bass that drowns out the other sound components is perceived as overpowering and dominant, where the listener misses the voice of the singer lost in the chords of the lead guitar, where a saxophone playing in the foreground crowds out the other instruments, etc. Music that is experienced live as contoured sound, i.e. sound which is simultaneously layered and blended in space and envelops the listener from all sides, can quickly become an unstructured mush with no spatial separation of individual instruments in the reproduction.

What are the generally recognized criteria for the (nearly) perfect experience of a recorded musical event that is electronically reproduced in a limited space?

There are really just two criteria: brilliance and imaging. “Imaging”
 
   
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