FAQs Section 1 : The Basics
Is it really worth investing in better cables?
All cables ‘lose’ some of the signal they’re carrying. Even over short distances, cable losses accumulate. Partly this is because of the method of construction – every join and connection is discarding signal and partly because of the materials used – not only the signal conductor but the insulation conspire to degrade the performance. Additionally, our homes are subject to previously unknown levels of interference and electrical noise in numerous forms.
All of which means cables should be an integral part of your system-building, not an afterthought. In recent years it’s become apparent that cables are typically the weakest link in a system. Which is why it makes sense to use cables & accessories designed to minimise signal loss and susceptibility to interference.
What makes the difference between cables?
Basically, everything counts, the conductor material, the insulating dielectric, the connectors & plugs and the assembly methods.
Keeping these elements in balance. Our understanding of the role each has to play, as well as recognising the inherent strengths (and weaknesses) of different materials and methods, is based on our research & development programme and extensive testing, via both measurement and listening.
Please refer to our Technical Section if you’d like to know more.
Will I really hear the difference?
How much should I spend?
The good news is you don’t need to spend a fortune. We expend just as much effort on our entry-level cables as our more expensive products. There’s frequently a ‘trickle-down’ effect, where design ideas and production methods introduced for our ‘high-end’ cables bring benefits across the entire range.
Our multi-award winning Element series are widely considered as offering exceptional value, while our ‘flagship’ Asimi products are considered among the finest at any price, competing with and out-performing far more expensive alternatives.
We don’t believe in a fixed formula for allocating your budget, preferring to rely on your common sense and our dealers’ demonstrations and advice.
FAQs Section 2 : Getting The Best From Your Equipment
Are Atlas cables ‘directional?’
Generally our cables are not directional by manufacture. However, we believe that all audio application cables effectively become directional in use, as the cable’s dielectric (the material insulating the actual signal conductor) becomes charged,
A few Atlas audio cables are directional by manufacture, typically ‘active’ HDMI cables and audio cables constructed in a ‘pseudo-balanced ’fashion. On these cables the correct direction (following the signal from the source component to destination device) is indicated by arrows on the connector plug or sleeve.
Do cables need a ‘burn-in’ period for maximum performance?
We believe that all audio application cables require a period of sustained ‘burn-in,’ to reach maximum performance, during which the cable’s dielectric (the material insulating the actual signal conductor) becomes charged. Ideally, serious listening and evaluation should be undertaken only after this burn-in period is complete, typically after 72 hours of use at room temperature.
To help shorten this process, a collection of test signals are available for free download on completion of your product registration. Digital as well as analogue cables benefit from this process. Read more.
Is there an optimum length for interconnects?
For normal usage, keep interconnects to a practical minimum length. Excess cable, particularly in proximity to power cables, may be susceptible to noise and interference. We recommend interconnects normally be a maximum of 3 metres in length (balanced cables are suitable for use over greater distances). Please contact us for advice if you require longer cables .
Atlas interconnect cables are normally available in lengths from 0.5m, with custom lengths and/or terminations available.
Is there a maximum length for digital and computer audio cables?
There is, but the figure depends on the type of connection/cable used. For USB audio, for example, we recommend a 5m maximum legth, whereas TosLink optical cables may be used up to a maximum of 10m. For S/PDIF cables, we recommend a maximum of 3m in normal use.
Atlas digital interconnects are normally available in lengths from 0.5m, with custom lengths and/or terminations available.
Is there a maximum length for speaker cables?
Generally avoid over-long cable, gather excess length in large loose loops, not tight coils, and avoid close proximity to power cables over cable lengths.
Atlas speaker cables are normally available in lengths from 2m, with custom lengths and/or terminations available.
Is there any benefit to ‘biwiring’ speakers?
Many loudspeakers have two sets of terminals on their rear panel suitable for biwiring. The advantage of bi-wiring lies primarily in reduced ‘modulation’ (in effect a kind of signal feedback) between the separate drive units of the speaker and the ampliﬁer, which can offer improved bass control and smoother treble.
If you do have speakers with terminals suitable for bi-wiring but don’t wish to bi-wire, it’s well worthwhile replacing the manufacturer-supplied links (normally metal plates) with high quality ‘jumper’ leads, ideally of the same type as your speaker cable. Read more.
What are the benefits of specialist power cables?
Clean power is the ‘foundation’ of your system’s performance.
We live in an extremely polluted environment in electrical terms, with high levels of electrical ‘noise’ and interference which adversely affects performance. A clean power supply is one of the fundamental steps in removing noise and optimising performance.
Atlas manufactures an integrated solution, combining modular power management mains blocks with specialist cables, each optimised for different types of equipment.
FAQs Section 3 : Support Information
What’s the guarantee on Atlas products?
Normally 5 years. To activate your warranty, register your product.
Can my Atlas product be factory repaired or modified?
Because we’re manufacture rather than merely ‘assemblers’ we have the ability to configure our products to meet virtually any requirement (subject to certain technical limitations). So if you’d like an interconnect supplied with RCA plugs converted to use XLR or BNC connectors, for example, we’re happy to advise and oblige.
Needless to say our control over the manufacturing process means we can repair virtually every product we’ve ever made.