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Nuforce A/V Cable Roundup  Print E-mail
Home Theater Accessories AV Cables
Written by Andre Marc   
Thursday, 08 October 2009
Article Index
Nuforce A/V Cable Roundup 
Page 2

Nuforce of Milpitas, CA is an established high end audio company now known for a wide variety of products. They make a music server, the MSR-1, a line of mobile audio products, preamplifiers, speakers and most well received, Class D “switching” amplifiers.  They also make a variety of cables. This includes analog interconnects, speaker cables, digital interconnects, Toslink optical cables, and last but not least, HDMI cables.

The new Nuforce cable line is the subject of this review.  That includes the Speaker Cable SC-700 ($324 8 foot pair), The IC-700 Interconnect ($199) 1M pair, RCA), Precision 75-Ohm Digital Coaxial Cable (1M, RCA, BNC $99), Toslink Cable ($69 1M), and HDMI Cable ($99, 2M). I must say that it is rather brave of Nuforce to throw their hat into the ring, as the audiophile cable market is quite saturated.  Based on the list prices of the Nuforce cables, I suspect they are going to try to appeal to audiophiles who find the very notion of interconnect, speaker, and digital cables that cost thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, absurd. I’m one of those audiophiles.  The fact that one can buy a pair of interconnect cables for as much as a compact car tells me something has gone terribly wrong.

After all, no matter how exotic, cables are all made of the same basic materials. A conductive metal, usually copper, or less often, silver, with a dielectric and an outer jacket, with RCA or XLR connectors. That’s the simple version of cable design. Of course, the grade of copper or silver can vary. Sometimes more exotic material like gold gets mixed in. In recent years, OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) has been a huge buzz word as oxygen can cause copper to oxidize, affecting its performance. Silver is not as affected by the oxidization.

Focused

The quality and origin of the connectors can make an enormous difference. Some companies make their own custom line of connectors, or use high quality OEM parts from companies like Neutrik or WBT. The outer jacket material, or shielding, usually has a variety of purposes. First off, it physically protects the conductors from the elements or trauma.  They also shield the conductors from RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) or EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference). Many cable manufacturers tout their cable geometry, the configuration in which the actual conductors are wound, as being superior. Some feel simpler is better, while others use very complicated helix variations.

Lastly, cable electrical properties vary, the most important aspects being resistance, capacitance, and inductance. These properties will determine, among other things, how any given set of cables will react and perform in your system. Auditioning said cables is vital to determine if there is synergy.

What makes cable shopping a nightmare for many audiophiles is the sheer number of cable manufactures who claim to have solved that ultimate riddle: “How do you pass the signal from component to component, or from amplifier to speaker, with the least amount of signal loss, degradation, or coloration?”.  Every high end cable company seems to have their own solution; some more outlandish than others.  A few companies attach network boxes to their cables in effort to reduce the antenna effect, limit bandwidth, and allow the cables to perform better with longer lengths. Some claim to “cryogenically” treat their cables, some use active voltage with either batteries or power supplies, or in the case of one high end designer, with tubes!

Set Up and Listening:

First up was the Nuforce RCA terminated Focused Field analog interconnect. It features OFC, double shielded, with, according to Nuforce, low loss dielectric for minimum signal loss and maximum signal integrity. The cable’s finish and overall appearance was impressive, not just for a $199 interconnect cable, but any price point. I connected the 1M length first in my secondary system, consisting of a vintage Revox power amplifier, Belles preamp, and Spendor speakers. Some might find this system slightly on the warm side.  When I plugged the Nuforce cable in between the preamp and power amp I immediately noted a vividness and an increased perception of leading edge transients.  Bass seemed alive, and there was a general excitement to the sound in comparison to my usual cables, the Transparent “The Link” interconnects ($85, 1M). This is generally a system I use for late night listening, at lower volumes, for relaxation. I must admit the added zip was welcomed.  By the way, the Nuforce interconnect and speaker cables are both directional cables. There are arrows on the outer jacket that act as a guide.

FF

I then connected the pair in my main system, first between my Audio Research preamplifier and my Audio Research tube amplifier.  I experienced the same type of zip, speed, and overall transient response that I found previously appealing.  I then connected the cable from my Naim CD player to the preamplifier and got the same results.  Images were solid, fast, and bass was tight.  These cables bring a definite, elevated level of quality to the table for the price and, without question, punches above its weight class.  It’s not just “good for the money”. It’s good.  But how does it compare with other, slightly more expensive cables?




 

 
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