Untangle Your Tone – Wireworld Cable Technology Untwists the Secret to Signal and Tone Preservation

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Picture your favorite guitar and amp, the combo that delivers “that” tone that you just can’t get enough of. Your desert island rig. Now, hook it up with the best cable you have in your gear locker. If you’re anything like this writer, you’re probably thinking, “man, it doesn’t get much better than that.” But it does!

Now picture what’s going on between the guitar and the amp. You may be imagining a nice, orderly signal flow from the amp to the guitar and back again. That’s the dream, anyway. Wireworld president David Salz had a theory that he could do it better; through his patented DNA Helix technology.

First, let’s think about how an instrument cable works. The signal energy applied to the cable creates an electromagnetic field that vibrates the electrons in the conductors. Those electrons, in turn, move the signal current through the cable. In a traditional instrument cable the conductor that the signal travels on is made of stranded copper wire. Using stranded wire instead of a solid wire means the cable can easily follow all of your sick stage moves (or, in my case, walking over to a table to grab another handful of nachos) instead of being stiff and unbending. Conductive shielding separated by an insulating layer called a dielectric helps complete the circuit. The whole package is bundled up in a protective outer shell. And there you have it: a bog standard, typical cable.

 

The Flipside of Flexibility and its Tonal Impacts

While we all love a little bit of flexibility in our lives, there is a downside to how it’s traditionally implemented in guitar cables. The twisting used to join the stranded wire together introduces an electric phenomenon called eddy currents, a sort of electro-magnetic churn, which reduce the efficiency of the signal. But Salz figured out a way to beat these sonic obstacles. The DNA Helix design uses flat conductors with the strands running parallel to other, instead of single group of twisted strands. This helps the signal move in a more direct manner while still providing the flexibility expected from an instrument cable.

 “Eddy currents in cables, like the swirling currents in rivers, slow down the flow. It turns out that most of the loss we hear from cables is caused by this slowing down of fast-moving transient sounds. This relationship was first documented in the 1970s by Kouichi Hirabayashi of Mogami,” Salz recently told TheToneKing.com via email. “Eddy current losses make other cables sound mechanical and monotonous as tone colors and textures get blurred and expression is muted.

“Of course there are other cable issues that affect the sound we hear, but money spent on upgrade materials is mostly wasted in conventional cables, because they will still suffer from the audible loss and coloration caused by eddy currents,” Salz said. “Wireworld DNA Helix technology, which was patented in 2013, provides lower eddy current losses than other technologies. Unlike conventional designs, the individual strands in DNA Helix cables are completely parallel and they’re layered in patterns that strengthen the electromagnetic field and reject interference.

“Most cables also accentuate a portion of the high frequency range because their current lag creates phase shift. In comparison, Wireworld cables let the music breathe and sound much more organic and vibrant. Individual sounds become more distinct and the whole spectrum gains a faster cleaner attack and decay. Strings sound more delicate, even though their tone intensifies. Quieter sounds become audible and dynamics gain impact,” Salz noted.

Re-writing the Gold Standard

Gold has been a popular conductive material for cable plugs for many years now, and is typically associated with higher-end cabling. Wireworld eschews gold for silver, however.

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“The plating thickness of gold plug contacts is usually very thin and beneath that thin gold plating is a layer of nickel, which has very low conductivity,” said Salz. “Adding a layer of gold over the nickel makes only a minor improvement in conductivity, but it is useful because gold never oxidizes so the performance is very stable over time.

“However, the conductivity of gold is far below silver, which is the most conductive metal of all. By using a thick layer of silver without nickel, our silver-clad plugs create the quietest connections available,” Salz continued.

“We use the word ‘clad’ instead of ‘plated’ because our silver plating is actually twenty times the thickness of common gold plating. Cables with silver clad plugs sound cleaner and more dynamic than the same cable with gold or nickel plated plugs because the silver reduces noise and loss. In comparison, the sonic benefit of upgrading from nickel to gold is difficult to detect. Silver clad plugs maintain their sonic advantages even if they’re allowed to tarnish, but we still use and recommend contact preservatives to keep them bright. Upgrading from gold plated to silver clad plugs improves tone and texture to a degree that surprises people.”

Direction Does Make a Difference

Wireworld cables sound different in each direction. This directionality is caused by the grain structure of the metal. As the strands are produced at the factory that makes the wire, these strands are stretched through drawing wire dies. When it does so, it actually produces a funnel shaped structure within the metal and that changes the audio characteristics in both directions. Wireworld is not the only cable where you can hear some difference when you swap the direction. But what Wireworld has done, by taking that directionality of sound into consideration, is engineer Wireworld cables to get absolutely the best possible sound in one direction, and that is the direction marked on the cable jack.

Coming Attractions

Wireworld will soon begin shipping their eight-channel studio cable called Evo-Snake. The Evo-Snake features a 110 ohm DNA Helix design with 26 AWG oxygen-free copper conductors. This cable provides a real step forward in fidelity for both analog and digital applications in another area where fidelity and quality are critical; in the the studio and live settings. Improved clarity means that musicians will be able to more finely dial in the sounds they’re looking to hear on tape or in a live setting. It applies the same technology that Wireworld uses in it’s world-class products to ensure the best possible tone available.

Black Friday Sale at Reverb.com!

Now is one of the best times to try Wireworld products for yourself. Especially for Black Friday, Wireworld will be offering 20% off products through it’s Reverb.com store! You can access the savings here  https://reverb.com/shop/wireworldcables  and hear the difference in your tone at a great price!

We here at TheToneKing.com, as well as just about everyone else, have paid a lot more attention to what pulls all of our equipment together; the cable. It certainly was an afterthought for many back in my early days of playing (I’d just find the cheapest one and buy that!). In recent times, however, we’ve come to appreciate the massive impact it can have on tone and signal integrity. With Wireworld cabling, you can rest assured that your best possible tone is making it out into the world.

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