Welcome To My Mind
(Hang on, the ride may get a little bumpy)
Okay, first things first. Full disclosure – I’m new to this.
Not new to building cables – I’ve been doing that for about 20 years – but new to doing it as a business (or as my son would say, "bid-ness" - he's six, I'll let it go). I’m also new to building a website, so please forgive the amateur-hour design.
There are also a few other things you should know about me, what I do, and how I do it. Here goes, in no particular order:
I take building cables very seriously. I am proud of what I build, and I stand behind my work 100%. If you want to read about why I make cables, you can do so here
I try not to get bogged down with overly-technical terminology and/or industry jargon about the materials I use. However, I am upfront about my materials and why I use them, and you can read about that here
I have a simple cable design and construction philosophy – I believe in Math and Science not marketing
I have an equally simple marketing approach - Hear More. Spend Less.
My goal is to make cables that are not only attainable, but have a build quality and corresponding sound quality that will leave you saying, "How is this even possible at these prices?! He must practice witchcraft or something."
I respect all of my competitors, as I know first-hand how tough it is to build high-quality cables. That said, I still want to eat their lunch/drink their milkshake. You can read about that, and the cable that started all this in the next section
As seriously as I take this, I like to have a little bit of fun with it (and my clients). While I don’t do this solely for fun, it is a major factor - if you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong
Speaking of having a little fun, I would now like to invite you to poke around my site and enjoy my musings about TV, movies, music, and… uh… hang on, I’m know I’m forgetting something...
Not just any cables, mind you – but well-built, hand-made, high performance cables without markup-ups that are, as my attorney would say,
NRG Custom Cables
The story of 'The .1'
This is less than a 2-minute read, and I promise you it's worth it.
A power cord has two jobs – get electrical current from your outlet to your gear (using conductors and plugs), and keep the signal as clean as possible (using shielding). You could distill it further and simply say, despite what some companies may tell you in their marketing, a power cord conducts electricity. And when it comes to conducting electricity, there are two simple and steadfast rules:
1. Larger Gauge = Lower Voltage Drop and Resistance
(more/better current flow – the garden hose vs. fire hose analogy)
2. More Insulation/Shielding = Less Interference
(a cleaner signal)
Before I go any further, I want to address something perpetuated by various marketing departments, and even some publications/reviewers about how cables in and of themselves "sound". I believe that a well designed cable simply maintains more of the original signal, allowing the sound of your gear to come through better. While I certainly agree that cables affect what you hear, I believe they are only revealing more of what is already there - or less if they are poorly designed and/or constructed. I can spend all day on this, but moving on...
I have been making cables for about 20 years now, and most of my knowledge and contacts were gained before the age of social media. That all changed a little while back when I had the opportunity to make some new contacts who work on the manufacturing side of electrical wiring. After picking their brains about various products and manufacturing processes, eventually our conversations landed on the topic of power cables. All I really knew at the time was the two rules mentioned above, so I decided to do a deep dive. I came to realize that with the exception of a few ridiculously over-priced options, power cables usually top out at 10 AWG, and I wanted to understand why. As the research piled up, I asked myself if I could offer a viable alternative, and I’m about to answer that question.
In part, the 10 AWG barrier exists because there is a dramatic difference in conductor and insulation properties when you make the jump to anything larger, which significantly increases manufacturing costs. The increased conductor size also makes termination difficult, because if you don’t have the option of creating your own housings from scratch like a large-scale manufacturer does, you need to make due with aftermarket/DIY housings. The problem is most plug housings were only intended to be used with up to 10 AWG wire, so if you want to use anything larger, you need to be willing and able to modify the housings (and make a few swear jar contributions). As a result, whether you’re a manufacturer or DIY’er, it is very difficult to control your costs if you attempt to push past the 10 AWG barrier. Therefor, it makes the process of designing and/or building a power cable larger than 10 AWG… well… challenging to say the least.
Well… I accepted the challenge.
The result was ‘The .1’.
Why I Make Cables
I am what some would refer to as an "Audiophile".
In my view, that term simply describes someone who enjoys listening to music, and appreciates both sound and build quality, which I believe are directly linked.
That term has lost some meaning over the years though, as I feel that it's now used by some (too many) companies simply to justify their marketing and pricing.
I don’t know about you, but when I read phrases like "for the true Audiophile", and they are inevitably coupled with outrageous prices, it makes me want to scream (or pull my hair out... if I had any).
I find the gimmick-laden marketing and the over-pricing that goes with cables a little insulting.
I believe in Math and Science
I also believe that no endeavor should be entered in to without exhaustive R&D, and before you start making products and/or comparing them to anything else, you need to know what you’re up against.
As such, when I started this my first purchase wasn’t building materials, it was other cables.
Then came the fun part – cutting them up to see what was “under the hood”.
The cables that I cut up during R&D, were, in a word - disappointing. I can think of a few other words, too - but I digress.
Furthermore, after deconstructing a well-reviewed $1500 power cable (see collage here) and looking at the materials and craftsmanship of it, I was also left with equal parts frustration and fierce determination.
This is where I am.
Frustrated with the build and material quality of reasonably priced cables, and determined to offer something better. And not only "better for the money", just plain better - PERIOD. I'll leave it up to you to decide if I'm currently doing that.
So, back to the million-dollar question - why do I make cables?
I do this because I don't like feeling that I'm being priced out of my hobby,
and/or that "audio bliss" is beyond my means.
I do this because I don't think you should have to re-mortgage your house to get
well-built, high-performance cables.
I don't want to end on a negative note though, so I'll end with the #1 reason why I make cables -
I do this because I love it.
Q. Where do I start when upgrading cables?
A. Start at the beginning of the chain, IE. The wall. The power cord for your line conditioner (if applicable), then source(s), and work your way down the chain ending at your speaker cables. If the budget is a little tight, start with one cable at the beginning of chain, which allows the upgrade to "touch" everything else downstream.
*Note: In my opinion, the most important factor in determining where to put your "best" power cable is where the given component sits in the chain, IE. As far upstream as possible, regardless of current draw. Some say to put it on your amp given its high current draw, but if you're not feeding your amp the best signal possible, then you are literally amplifying potential issues/shortcomings.
Q. What cables are best for my gear?
A. In terms of power cables and what is best for a particular piece of gear, contrary to how some manufacturers present their respective product line(s), I don't believe in "high-current" or "digital" cables. Power is power - a cable doesn't know what it's feeding, nor does the current know what it's flowing to. While I do have different levels of performance and subsequent pricing within my product line, that's about your budget, not your gear. All that is to say your budget will dictate what you can/should get, not a particular piece of gear.
Q. Do cables make a difference?
A. Oh boy, the proverbial can of worms, but here we go...
My obvious bias aside, the short answer is yes, they do.
Whether it’s transferring current (power cables), or a signal (interconnects and speaker cables), the concept is relatively simple - the less you lose, the more you hear.
A well made cable simply transfers more "information", and helps keep it clean by rejecting noise. You lose less, and hear more.
To put another way, a great set of tires will help ensure you get more "power to the pavement" and improve your handling, but a sub-par set... well, I think we've all been there.
Q. If all the electrical wiring in my house is 14 AWG & 12 AWG (most common), why is a larger AWG power cord necessary?
A. The long and short of it is this - whether we're talking about power cords, or their terminations, the name of the game is minimizing loss. Whatever the voltage (signal) is at your outlet, the goal is to lose as little of it as possible en route to your gear. In addition, I look at power delivery from the power plant, all the way through the line, and right up to the receptacles in your home as being "pushed". There is a near constant push of voltage/current right up to the receptacle, but when you plug something in to that receptacle, now it's time to pull, and that's where loss occurs. Don't get me started on the "last few feet of wire can't make a difference" crowd, as they drive me a little bonkers. However, I will say this - cables are actually the first few feet of wire from your gear's perspective. As "The story of 'The .1'" section explains, larger gauge equals lower resistance and voltage drop, and that's why I make [and think you should own] larger AWG power cables.
If you don't like that answer, here's the tongue-in-cheek, Science schmience, full-on wise-a_s answer:
A. V12 engine may not be “necessary”, but if I could get one for the price of a V6, it would be a pretty easy buying decision.
Q. Why do you cover the plug housings with heat shrink tube on your speaker cables?
A. A few reasons, none of which were motivated by wanting to hide the materials I use. First, they are poly-carbonate (hard plastic) housings which don't offer much in the way of insulation/shielding, and the shrink tube I use provides a little of both. Second, I use heavy gauges, so I want abundant strain relief. Last but not least, all of the heat shrink tube I use is adhesive-lined, so not only is it STRONG, it provides an air-tight seal, which is ideal for terminations.
Q. What makes you qualified to make/sell cables?
A. Formally? Nothing, unless you count my years in home A/V sales and installations. (what a great sales pitch, eh? - yep, I'm definitely Canadian)
However, most of the cables in my system are DIY jobs, and I’ve been making cables for friends and colleagues for nearly 20 years. Additionally, all my builds are thoroughly tested against various “high-end” cables to compare sound and build quality – I’ll be modest and simply say that they hold their own. I also recently checked on the oldest builds of mine I could track down (from 2002) to ensure that the build and material quality are standing the test of time – they are. Finally, and most importantly, I truly believe that I am providing a viable alternative to the current offerings, pricing, and total B.S. marketing out there for cables. I think my feedback and testimonials bear this out.
Just so everyone is clear on the buying/selling process, here's how I like to do business, or "bid-ness" according to my son:
1 a. Send me an email with any questions or comments you have.
1 b. Let me know exactly what you want (length, plugs, quantity) and your postal code/zip code, and I'll respond with a detailed answer to your question(s) and the total "no surprises" price.
2. If you are satisfied with my response, confirm your intent to buy and give me your complete shipping information, and I'll send you an invoice and make the cable(s) for you.
3. When your order is ready (please allow up to 5 days for Power, and/or 7 days for Speaker), then I'll ask for payment - eTransfer (EMT) is preferred, but PayPal is also accepted. That probably seems a_s backwards, but I don't like having people wait around for up to 7 days for their order to be shipped out after they've paid. That said, if you want to pay right away, I certainly won't refuse :). The exception is DIY Supplies, which I'll ask immediate payment for, as they will be shipped the same or next day.
4. Once payment is received, I'll generate the shipment via Canada Post, and get it to the post office right away. Once Canada Post has it, they will send you the shipping confirmation along with the tracking info.
5. Receive your cable(s) and ENJOY!
6. Leave feedback on canuckaudiomart.com or on my Google listing, and/or let me know your thoughts directly/privately (I will not post or share them without your permission). This of course is optional, but it is very much appreciated.
All Cables Include:
1. Disappointment in your current/soon to be former cables - cheeky little bugger, aren’t I?
2. 60-Day 100% Money-Back Guarantee:
If you're not happy with the performance of your cable(s), I'll take them back and refund every penny - including any shipping charges.
NO STRINGS. NO B.S.*
(*okay, one tiny bit - I'll pay the return shipping for Canadian clients, but International clients are responsible for their own)
3. #2 is probably a moot point - see #1
Last, but not least, if you live or work in or around Winnipeg, let me know and we’ll work out a hand-delivery or pick-up.