Is something missing?
 
Does this sound familiar?: you've spent an awful lot of time and money putting together a carefully chosen system and, although it's pretty good, there's still something missing. Maybe it's incredibly detailed but rather hard to listen to for any length of time without feeling fatigued? Perhaps the bass seems to be lost in the floor? Or 
maybe it's just not engaging you as much as you'd like? One thing's for certain; you're not enjoying it as much as you'd like considering the effort you've put in... So what's the secret?

There's a high probability that you're actually only experiencing a small part of what your Hi-Fi or Home Cinema is truly capable of. But don't worry because we're here to help. We've identified four key areas where a little attention to the cabling and your system's support will reap you huge rewards - by helping to release better sound and picture quality from your investment. It really doesn't matter whether your Hi-Fi or Home Cinema is brand new or 30 years old; whether it cost £100s or £1,000s. If you improve these four key areas below, you'll discover the hidden potential of your equipment.


Step 1: Your power

Like petrol in a car, electricity is the 'juice' that makes your system work. And, like petrol, if that 'juice' is dirty or polluted, things don't work as well as they should... no matter how good the system. This is why it's vitally important to get your power supply sorted first, before you improve anything else. If you start with your interconnects and speaker cables you could be making things worse because higher quality cables will be able to reveal any problems 'downstream'. Get the power right, though, and better cables 'upstream' will only bring benefits.
 
PowerWe recommend you start with the power cable that supplies your main source component – such as your CD player, streamer or turntable – and then work outwards from there. So, in a typical system you would upgrade your power cables in the following series; CD player, preamp, power amp. See our power cables here.
 
Once you've addressed your power cables the next step is to replace any mains extensions with one of our dedicated units. Ordinary extension blocks available in shops can degrade the sound to a surprising extent so it makes sense to upgrade this essential step in your mains supply. Getting sockets nearer to your system is much more convenient, and there’s a very good electrical reason for using a mains extension. It means your equipment is 'star powered' back to the wall socket your extension is plugged into. It sounds better and looks neater, too. You have three ranges to choose from – see them here.
 
The final step is to supplement your cables and extensions with filters. Computers and domestic equipment such as fridges – and even your Hi-Fi or Home Cinema – can put tremendous amounts of noise onto your mains supply. Russ’s filters have been developed to lift off degrading mains noise and harmonics and, because they work passively, you get all of the benefits of a clearer cleaner sound without the increased impedance that in-line filters can bring. View our range of filters here.

Step 2: InterconnectsInterconnects

Now you've addressed the quality of your mains supply it's time to look at the interconnects between your Hi-Fi or Home Cinema components. This is the point at which the raw electricity coming into your system has been transformed into an audio or video signal so you want to be sure that it's transferred as accurately as possible.

We exclusively offer Kimber Kable because its combination of high quality components and unique woven design ensure a highly detailed but natural and engaging performance. Using the same principle as for mains cables, start by upgrading the interconnect from your primary source component (CD player, etc). If you have separate pre and power amps, replace the interconnect here next and then more back to any additional but less used sources such as a tuner or recording device. Find out more about Kimber interconnects here.


A note about that 'harsh' CD sound.
Many enthusiasts complain that the sound from their CD player is far harder than from their turntable. This maybe partly to do with what is often a warmer, easier acoustic that's characteristic of vinyl but is often more the result of the output signal from the CD player overloading the preamp and introducing distortion as a result. If you find you are using only a small proportion of your volume control, this is likely to be an indication of this overload. Our attenuated interconnects or in-line attenuators will solve this problem.


Step 3: Speaker cablesKimber Speaker Cables

The final link in the chain is to upgrade your speaker cables. Like their interconnects, Kimber speaker cables cancel interference in a unique way so that the sound you hear is rich, detailed and free of harshness.

To ensure that the signal travels accurately and you get the best sound from your speakers, a cable must be properly designed and be able to carry higher voltages than those carried by the interconnect cables. Kimber speaker cables use a combination of very high purity copper, copper/silver and pure silver wire together with the best insulation materials to ensure you extract the very best from your Hi-Fi or Home Cinema system. Find out more about Kimber speaker cables here.

What about bi-wiring?

Our tests have shown that using a higher quality single run of speaker cable can often sound better than using two runs of cable in a biwire combination. But that’s only if you replace the cheap and nasty jumper links that fit between the two sets of binding posts on your speakers. We have several types of jumper leads that let you do this – See them here.


Step 4: System Support



Never underestimate the importance of the materials you use to support your system – this can have a huge impact on the sound of your system! Like many things in Hi-Fi, we often go against the conventional view and with supports there's no exception.
 
Conventional 'wisdom' says that supports should be heavy, solid and isolated; we say they should be light, rigid and coupled. Why? Traditional rack materials, Torlyteespecially metal and glass, are very high mass. Initially, this can sound 'exciting' because it tends to push the sound forward and 'grabs' you by the throat. But the effect is also to reduce dynamic range and add fatigue to the listening experience. Racks and shelves made of Torlyte give a more natural, relaxed 'easy to listen to' sound - so if you suffer from listening fatigue this could well be the answer!"

Made from specially selected wood, the unique construction of Torlyte offers a clean, extended, tuneful bass, a more realistic mid-range especially on voices, less 'splash' and more information in the treble, and improvements in the three-dimensional stereo image. The front-to-back depth snaps into focus, the recording acoustic becomes much easier to discern and those subtle, mysterious sounds made by the musicians can be identified with ease.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a simple piece of wood; each piece is handmade by a skilled craftsman. More air than wood, Torlyte is constructed from individually fabricated grids and skins, requiring numerous complex machine and manual operations. All this naturally comes at a price, but we believe that the sonic payoff makes it an extremely worthwhile investment. Find out more about Torlyte.

The ultimate goal: Russ on musicality

What should we be listening for in a Hi-Fi system? Not just the sound quality, Russ suggests, but the musical quality... 

In this article, Russ Andrews talks about the most effective solutions to ensure your system presents a truly enjoyable musical experience and how the way we listen can have a profound effect on acheiving this goal. Click here to read the article now.