We, the team at HB Cable Design, are the producers of innovative interconnect cables which satisfy the
sophisticated demands and expectations which our customers place on high-end products. The goal of our cable
production is to achieve the highest possible quality standards with regard to the sound and styling of high-end
All cables are crafted with top-of-the-line stereo components in mind. They are designed to enable
these components to develop their optimal sound qualities and with an eye to the ambiance surrounding the use
of high-end equipment, as reflected in the visual effect and workmanship of our cables.
We regard connector cables as an integral link in the high-end chain, a component which must reflect the sound
quality and design of the surrounding system as well as the environment in which the application's musicality is
allowed to unfold.
High-End Interconnects - Pros and Cons
Anyone claiming in the 1970s that the type of connection between high-end components could influence the quality of the sound produced by the
components and speakers was met with laughter - in the more harmless cases - or ridicule and even derision. Sound quality was thought to be solely
dependent upon the devices themselves in conjunction, of course, with properly matched and suitable speakers. The sound properties are determined and
varied by the interplay between a device's material, construction and internal connections - that was the opinion shared by most experts.
And it is absolutely true: material(s), construction and internal connections are indeed of decisive importance for the generation and
transmission of the music signals made up of electrical impulses. What's more: this fact applies not only to the high-end components themselves but in
equal measure to all connections between the components - the cables.
At this juncture we would like to share with interested audiophiles some of our experience regarding the pros (and cons) of high-end
interconnects. We have purposely refrained from including colorful pictures of cable cross sections and/or graphics, endless tables of test results
and the (pseudo) scientific researched often used to "document" the supposed quality and properties of cables.
In any case, test results say little about the actual effects of cables. And the popular claim in the 1990s that what can't be measured can't
be heard has been refuted. Sound technicians have tried in vain to objectively confirm on the basis of test results the variations in sound quality
subjectively perceived by the human ear. A measurement which is "good" from the standpoint of physics cannot by far be equated with an excellent listening
experience. An LF cable, for example, with very low parallel capacity is probably better than a cable with high, or merely higher, parallel capacity,
yet this is not always the case, as comparisons have often shown. The quality provided by a measurable physical property can be counterbalanced or even
negated by an unknown - and thus immeasurable - quantity.
In the late 1980s/early 1990s, a few developers began to seriously explore the subject of cables. The basic materials supplied by industry for
processing and assembly had various applications which had little or nothing to do with signal conveyance for the purpose of sound production in high-end
The high-end connectors produced today by (a very few) manufacturers have achieved the status of components in their own right within a balanced
constellation of devices. A change of cables, whether speaker cables, interconnects or power cables, can have a strong impact on sound quality. On the
whole, however, this market segment continues to be dominated by a wide variety of dabblers making cables based on pseudoscience.
Thus every moderately talented laborer can create ludicrous constructions whose performance is "documented" by equally ludicrous theories, label
their products as the ultimate in high-end connectors, and put them on the already flooded market. Unfortunately, their misinformation continues to be
gobbled up and published without verification by the so-called trade journals. Stereo dealers often lack the qualifications and willingness to recommend
the best cable for their customer, perhaps based on an extended search, rather than the product currently favored by the press and suppliers.
Over the years this practice has confused and, ultimately, alienated those buyers truly interested in high-end components. One cable sensation followed
another, the promised sound quality soared to immeasurable heights, as did the prices. Dealers charged $23,000 for a pair of speaker cables one meter
long without batting an eye; the sound improvements could no longer be measured by earthly standards - Elysian fields beckoned. Or did they?
What, exactly, does a dedicated music lover expect of stereo components, which have undergone constant change and continuous improvement over
A common answer to this question is: to experience "live" music at home; to transport the authenticity of a concert into one's own four walls.
Anyone who has experience a live rock, pop or classical music concert quickly abandons, or at least qualifies, such hopes.
To enable an authentic and emotional experience of music within one's own four walls, completely different criteria must be applied than are
applied to live events. Can the acoustics of your home studio really be compared to those of a concert hall, which have been optimized through
sophisticated architectural design? Or those of a renovated factory building offering 2,000 m2 of floor space for rock concerts attended by up to 5,000
The atmosphere of a live musical event, which cannot be adequately described in words and certainly cannot be "artificially" created, contributes
at least as much to the subjective enjoyment of the performance as, say, the quality and (objective) technical properties of the instruments and other
equipment used by the orchestra or band and the room in which the live act takes place. Minor technical deficiencies have as little impact on the quality
of the overall experience as the (acoustically) optimized orchestral equipment. A concert evening with Josť Carreras is not less exhilarating because
the first violin in the accompanying orchestra possibly sounds slightly more subdued than during the previous, or next, concert in a different auditorium.
The musical experience within one's own four walls is different. In a limited space which lacks the atmospheric expanse of an auditorium or
concert hall, the musical experience often shifts from the rapture of a live concert to the more nuanced sensation of individual aspects which influence
the total listening experience. The quality of the recording medium produced in the studio is of decisive importance, regardless of the format selected.
And that is precisely what characterizes an audiophile: the search for perfect sound within his own four walls. This is where a restrained first
violin is clearly noticeable. This is where a booming bass that drowns out the other sound components is perceived as overpowering and dominant, where
the listener misses the voice of the singer lost in the chords of the lead guitar, where a saxophone playing in the foreground crowds out the other
instruments, etc. Music that is experienced live as contoured sound, i.e. sound which is simultaneously layered and blended in space and envelops the
listener from all sides, can quickly become an unstructured mush with no spatial separation of individual instruments in the reproduction.
What are the generally recognized criteria for the (nearly) perfect experience of a recorded musical event that is electronically reproduced in
a limited space?
There are really just two criteria: brilliance and imaging. "Imaging" denotes the - acoustically perceptible
- spatial separation ofindividual instruments and/or artists. Irrespective of the actual size of the room he is sitting in, the listener enjoys the -
acoustical - impression of a stage and the placement of instruments across its height, width and depth, an impression which has little or nothing to do
with the dimensions of his actual surroundings.
The often sought and seldom attained perfection of "absolute tranquillity" in a musical reproduction is achieved if the sound spreads after being
separated without abruptness or transition from the instruments "placed" in the acoustically perceived room. Sound flows smoothly into the room, fills
every space and even seems to come from behind the listener. Sound that is powerful yet light - without in the least appearing to emanate from the
loudspeaker as its actual source.
Brilliance without harshness, clarity without edginess - this is the second demand placed on perfect sound reproduction from the "lab".
Emotionality and free-flying thought - that is what music should convey.
Practical cable constructions - what is doable?
A few component manufacturers recognized back in the 1980s that enormous sound improvements could be achieved through short signal paths and
simplified, direct connections (which entailed the radical elimination of various parts in some cases). Connectors were even moved to front panels with
utter disregard for appearance if this enabled a reduction of the signal path in the device architecture. Components like equalizers that were previously
claimed to improve sound reproduction were declared useless and banished from high-end products.
Tests and research clearly confirm the adverse effects of even a single solder joint and the soldering material on sound quality. As we know today,
the measurable levels of stray interference voltage in devices caused by numerous redundant parts and solder joints impair the sound reproduction. The
knowledge gained from decades of research can be translated directly from the design features of the devices to their connectors, i.e. to cables and
Oddly, despite the fact that this principle is widely known today, manufacturers still exist who attach "boxes" of various size and construction
to their products, which are then praised as the ultimate in high-end connector cables. And some members of the hi-fi press and various distributors add
their voices to the chorus of these cable constructors, whose ineffective and overpriced products are still recommended by stereo dealers who have
gathered the "latest" information from magazines and marketing pamphlets. Unknowing customers accept their advice - until one day, perhaps by chance,
they happen to hear a new generation interconnect.
The three principles that guide modern cable design are: suitable materials, meaning materials that are mutually enhancing; the straightforward
and optimally shielded configuration of the cable's inner conductor; and a through connection without impediments of the signal path - the same
principles that have been followed by the top component manufacturers for years now.
Our years of research with various materials and refined materials have shown that different sound results can be achieved through the use of
different metal surfaces. Pure silver cables, for example, give midband and high frequencies an extremely pronounced presence which initially creates
the audible impression of optimum resolution, an effect that quickly reveals its rather grating and harsh character during extended and more intense
listening sessions. The sound produced by pure gold conductors, on the other hand, lacks dynamic and speed, the instrumental imaging is somewhat fuzzy.
A cable is nothing more than a medium. The combination of various material - and thus transmission - properties, in other words the configuration
of the cable's inner conductor, is the "secret" that turns a cable into a perfect medium which, in addition to allowing electrical energy to flow
between devices without interference or degradation, builds up and effortlessly releases a high level of energy potential in its inner conductors.
A certain ratio of copper and silver surfaces, for example, on a cable of a certain diameter featuring connectors that seamlessly convey the signal
without impairing or reducing the conductivity of the cable core can alter the sound quality of a system so radically that the user feels he must be
listening to new and definitely improved components.
No cable can be elevated to the high-end level by simply adding high-quality conductors or gold-plated contacts unless the cable's inner design
has high-end qualities from the start. Surface refinements to both the inner conductor and the connectors only make sense as part of a sound overall
concept. The effectiveness and quality of a cable can only be determined by its overall design, meaning the type and quality of the materials used, the
configuration of the cable interior with regard to the composition, bedding and shielding of the signal conductor and, finally, the manner in which the
components are joined to each other and to the connectors.
The basic principle here, as with most good things, is relatively simple, yet the practical construction of an optimum connection is anything
but simple. For, as stated above: test results mean little. Why does the human ear perceive the audio rendition of an electrical signal flowing through
a pure copper surface as more full-bodied, warmer and yet more contoured than a signal transmitted by, say, a silver surface? Physical properties are
responsible here too, of course, but which ones and how can they be determined and measured? These questions will be answered some day and the
relationships between the various material properties and their effects on sound perception will be researched and documented by physical science.
Until then, however, we will just have to experiment, test and compare again and again.
Music is our passion. Our passion is creating components and interconnects for audiophiles which not only help turn musical reproduction into
a "live" event in the sense of the immediate, emotional experience of music provided by a concert, but enable sound that has been perfectly preserved
technically to be recalled and re-experienced at the same level of perfection.
The interconnects in our cable series are components in their own right. They are uncompromising in design as well as in the use of
the most exquisite conductor materials of gold, silver and rhodium together with low-oxygen copper and selected shielding materials. Our extensive
experience in the construction of standard-setting high-end components and speakers has been channeled into the realization of our concept of perfect
Music enthusiasts in search of perfection are welcome. Welcome to plunge into a form of musical reproduction that redefines itself on a plane
far removed from all previous experience. Take us at our word - and listen.
Our technical innovations have forged new paths to sound optimization. After years of preparation we have
succeeded in developing interconnections which produce unique sound results. Yet the "responsibility" for finding
the optimal form was ultimately borne by the trained (and spoiled) ears of high-end enthusiasts and audiophiles.
The finest details of the interconnections and the technology of distortion-free signal conveyance were perfected
in endless listening sessions using a wide variety of components by renowned producers of tube and transistor amplifiers.
Handcrafted cables, the use of specially produced materials and stringent quality control make each of our cables a
unique piece of equipment in its own right.
The following page contains an overview of our current range of products:
Product overview .