Over time, it becomes clear to the ardent audiophile that there is a distinct sonic difference between brands of cables. I have never reviewed or conducted listening tests in my own system where a distinction between cables has been more pronounced than when I installed Wireworld’s products. Wireworld products are tested and constructed differently than most other cables, and their resultant sound is different, in a very good way.
I have read about and spoken with cable manufacturers who emphasize copper purity, stranding, dielectric, passive components, terminations and a host of other variables. David Salz, Wireworld’s president, has what I believe to be a simple and correct solution to assessment of cables: Get the geometry right.
If you are not a believer in the importance of the geometry of cables, Wireworld’s 5-Squared configuration will make you a believer. The designation “5-Squared”, as shown in scientific notation in the literature, is a bit of a misnomer. It is actually the fourth generation of cables, as David has avoided use of the number four, which in Asia is considered bad luck. It’s not good sales technique to label something with the number four in Asia, so it’s often avoided.
The “squared” portion of the name refers to the flat, rectangular shape. “Squared” sounds more substantial than “flat”. It also looks better physically in many respects. When I reviewed the Magnan Cables, I was always afraid that due to their incredible thinness I would damage them. While that didn’t happen, the Wireworld products are more robust looking.
Some may question the sense of manufacturers spending inordinate amounts of time testing and positioning conductors. I had previously felt conductor material and gauge trumped cable geometry or at least were as critical. I have been forced to reconsider that conclusion in a most dramatic fashion. Having listened to plenty of cables from larger to smaller conductors of various materials, both individually or collectively sheathed in dielectric, none have stood as tall in performance as Wireworld.
“Dave Salz insists that the configuration of the cable determines an incredible amount of its performance, in fact most of its performance!”
Dave Salz insists that the configuration of the cable determines an incredible amount of its performance, in fact most of its performance! He has arranged the leads in his cables to “work with magnetic fields and magnetic lines of influence”, which is the secret of success with these cables. There is something undeniably powerful happening with these cables. It’s not “hocus-pocus” happening here, but something more akin to a law of electromagnetism that Dave has implemented. I wanted to find out what that law of sonics was, so I asked him to clarify.
Wireworld cables have their electrical response tuned for neutrality by, as David says, “correctly proportioning the values of inductance and resistance across the audible spectrum.” What this means is that the exact spacing between conductors, “…produces an effect similar to focusing a lens.” The fine tuning of the cables takes place by comparison to a direct connection in both double blind and non-blind tests. When the minimum difference between the cable and the direct connection is observed, the cable is tuned.
Wireworld’s literature refers to the difficulty long distance phone companies had in the late 1800’s due to inductive loss, and how it was solved by the implementation of telephone loading coils to preserve the strength and integrity of the signal. This technology is still employed today. In a similar fashion, David is working with the geometry of the cables to ensure there is the least loss of strength and integrity of signal from source to destination.
As we discussed his methodology, David revealed a surprising fact: He does not use a full-range sound system to voice his cables!
“He believes that if the midrange portion of the frequency spectrum tests out fine, the entire spectrum will be tuned correctly.”
In his experience, if the midrange is correct, the highs and lows will also be correct. He believes that if the midrange portion of the frequency spectrum tests out fine, the entire spectrum will be tuned correctly. He typically uses a high-end set of monitors rather than a full-range floor-standing speaker in his subjective assessments of his cables. Although in some respects illogical, performance of the Wireworld products are such that I cannot argue with his method.
A description of the cables is in order, so that the reader may understand why spacing of the conductors is critical. Wireworld is big on small conductors, grouped and spaced critically. A cable company using small grouped conductors is nothing new – stranded and braided cables abound. Harmonic Technology uses 32 AWG individual strands in its design, which had the closest sound to Wireworld products of the cables I had for comparison. Years ago, in my own search for superior cables, I worked with Harmonic Technology and found their sound lively and clean. It is more than coincidental to me that Wireworld’s products also utilize multiple small-gauge conductors.
David was enthusiastic and generous in his allocation of cables for this review. I was sent a suite of Wire World products, for use from the outlet to the speakers. The least expensive piece in the group, the Matrix Rock Mount Power Strip is a very unassuming seven-outlet “shielded power cord extender.” In appearance, it is remarkably like a hardware store power strip, and it calls for a detachable power cord with IEC to connect it to the wall. I admit that when I saw it I was unimpressed. It looked like many other power bars that have yielded so-so results which are usually best left out of the system. My impression would change big time when I hooked it up.
I worked with two different power cords, the bottom-of-the-line Stratus 5 and the mid-line Electra 5. All Wireworld power cords sport the same flat, flexible sheath in rich colors differentiating each model. The Stratus was (of course) deep sky blue, and the Electra had an appropriate copper hue. These are among the most elegant appearing affordable power cord’s I’ve seen, with clean, bold plugs and IEC’s emblazoned with the Wireworld logo. They fit snugly and positioned easily, even when the cord had to be twisted. This was very welcome, considering that some manufacturers seem oblivious to real world application of their cables and make fire hoses which must be forced into position, IF they will stay there. There can be such pressure on the twisted cables that the IEC receptacle of the component or the wall outlet is stressed. That would not happen with Wireworld products. I’ll return to discussion of the power cord’s and Matrix Power Cord Extender shortly. For now, let’s turn to how the interconnects and speaker cables are designed.
Audiophiles are quite familiar with switching units found in many box that retailers designed to toggle between components. In the majority of cases, such switching units are utilized not to assess cabling but rather speakers, amps or sources. Even in high-end shops, there are not many conditions to accurately and efficiently compare two sets of cables. I assert that, for the average audiophile, the superior way to conduct a comparison between cables is by focusing on the suite of cables from a manufacturer. If one mixes and matches it becomes nearly impossible to isolate the effects of the cabling.
To that end, David has created the “Cable Comparator”, not being reviewed, a passive switching device, first developed to compare two sets of interconnects, and later expanded to a system for comparing a set of cables (only interconnects and speaker cables, not power cords). This is an imminently sensible action to take, which in my thinking gives Wire World a leg up in terms of subjective assessment in cable manufacturing. The Comparator is a simple switching device which uses the A/B/C (hidden reference) protocol. David employed it in the development of his cables to determine his designs.
While few would debate the usefulness of objective assessment in cable manufacturing, there is no objective guarantee that a wire that looks so good on paper is actually much better sounding than the majority of cables which also look good on paper. It seems that for many a maker of cables, if the tests pan out, and there’s an improvement over time in the design, and if it sounds great compared to a few other makes or the old standard, then it’s a winner.
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