How to improve the sound of your hi-fi or high-end system

Want to take the sound of your hi-fi or high-end system to the next level? Do you own high-quality hi-fi or high-end components and want to further improve the performance of your sound system? In this article, we explain how capacitance affects sound and how Referenz AIR cables from in-akustik transmit audio signals with virtually no loss between source, amplifier and speaker.

The underestimated role of cables in hi-fi systems

Speakers, amplifiers, signal processing, room acoustics, positioning of the speakers, cables – they are all “adjusting screws” for maximum sound enjoyment. Scientists and practitioners are looking closely at how sound can be improved. Cables, however, do not receive the attention they deserve. They are a component in the audio chain that should not be underestimated and help to take sound enjoyment to the next level. They help to exploit the full potential of a hi-fi/high-end system.

But hi-fi cables alone cannot conjure up a sound miracle from a low-budget system, just as a single high-quality audio component can hardly reproduce perfect sound enjoyment. The cabling should be selected according to the system’s potential.

Myth and reality

Many hi-fi enthusiasts spend a lot of time reading specialist articles, test reports and watching product videos to get that little bit more sound enjoyment out of their hi-fi system. The price often plays a less important role here, as proven by speaker prices in the high 5-digit range (and more). They are often disappointed when, despite all their efforts and the best hi-fi components, the system doesn’t perform as they would like it to. Cables are hardly ever considered when putting an audio system together. They often have a bad reputation to contend with. Statements such as “It's all voodoo!”, “A slightly thicker copper cable is enough”, “Cables are just about money-making” or, “I can't hear any difference in the sound compared to a EUR 30 cable”, can be found in countless forums. We hear comments like this almost every day. It is therefore understandable that interested people become uncertain and skeptical.

  • "Without the right hi-fi cable, a sound system with high-quality components gives away valuable potential. We are convinced of this."

    You'll find out why below:

  • "Without the right hi-fi cable, a sound system with high-quality components gives away valuable potential. We are convinced of this."

    You'll find out why below:

The science behind the cable: How the cable structure and capacitance influence the sound. [Experimental setup]

The audio signal is influenced by the resistance, inductance and capacitance in the cable, among other things. This is scientifically proven. Cables therefore influence the sound. Capacitance is a big enemy of sound, when it comes to the most loss-free signal transmission possible. Each cable has an electrical capacitance, which acts like a battery that has to be constantly charged and discharged by the components. This strains the audio signal, leads to phase shifts and degrades the sound of the system. It obeys the laws of physics. The capacitance is influenced by the material the conductors are insulated with (or the

“dielectric”, which is often PVC) and by the distance between the conductors. The cable has a different capacitance, depending on whether and which insulating material surrounds the conductors and the distance between the conductors. The following experiment, in three different configurations, illustrates this.

 Components of the experiment:

  • Plastic tube, which simulates a cable 
  • 2 copper pipes with the same diameter as the conductors in the sheath 
  • Filler, which serves as an insulator (dielectric) 
  • Measuring device, to measure the capacitance for each experimental setup

Good

Structure as in a standard cable. The conductors are positioned close to each other. A plastic granulate serves as an insulator. The measured capacitance is 100.2 picofarads.

Better

Same structure as 1). Air serves as an insulator here. The capacitance is reduced to 43.4 picofarads.

Best

Increased distance between the conductors and air as an insulator. The measured capacitance is only 17.1 picofarads.

Result

The experiment shows that using air as an insulator reduces the capacitance by around 83 percent in this example.

This proves that cables with a traditional structure have a significantly higher capacitance than cables with air as an insulator and with a large distance between the conductors. Audio signals are impaired. The sound deteriorates.

We also recorded the experiment in a detailed video. In it product developer Holger Wachsmann explains the correlations in more detail, but in a way that is also understandable for laypeople.

How does AIR technology provide a new listening experience?

The AIR technology we have developed allows an almost loss-free and thus unadulterated transmission of audio signals, a transmission that makes it possible to reproduce sound experiences, exactly as the musicians on stage or in the studio would have wished. This is achieved in particular when high-quality hi-fi components are used in the audio chain. In the above experiment we demonstrated that air is the best “insulating material” to avoid high capacitance.

The air helix structure of our AIR cables uses air as the insulating material (dielectric). The special AIR helix design keeps the conductors at an exactly constant distance from each other over the entire length of the cable. Specially developed clips form the supporting structure. Inside the cable, a large number of these clips keep the helically-arranged conductors apart in the air. Two struts provide a high degree of flexibility, ensuring the clips remain together but also at a precise distance from one another.

This special cable architecture significantly reduces capacitance. The audio signal is transported almost unaltered from the source to the speakers and amplifier. The sound of your system improves. The music sounds more harmonious and natural all round. Find out more about AIR technology..

Would you like some audio samples?

Below you will find two examples of “song snippets” from our Reference Sound Edition. The recordings were reproduced using the RESO mastering process. Please use the descriptions of the music tracks as a suggestion to compare the changes to your system with an AIR cable and other cables.

Tok Tok Tok – 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
 Album: RESO Great Cover Vol.2

Tok Tok Tok transform Paul Simon's song into first-class soul jazz. Superb craftsmanship meets so much feeling and soul. The voice and mouth beatbox gain in timbre. The recording seems more spatial and also has more atmosphere.





Go to the Album

Thom Rotella Band – Friends
 Album: RESO Soundcheck

The recording of the Thom Rotella Band challenges the hi-fi chain with the powerful bass of the electric bass guitars and the almost mystically floating tones, which become even more concise and the riffs of the bass guitars get significantly more bite.



LS-4005 AIR
High-end speaker cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point | Multicore
The LS-4005 AIR high-end speaker cable offers audiophile enthusiasts a unique sound experience. In the new Referenz LS-4005 AIR loudspeaker cable, we have taken the outstanding properties of its predecessor, the LS-4004 AIR, and developed them even further. The point-to-point Air Helix design now enables the AIR Helix architecture to be used from plug to plug and not just between the sleeves. The 360° BFA bananas and spade lugs are a further innovation, developed in-house for easy and convenient connection to the terminals. These and other technical refinements turn the already exceptional AIR cables into true masterpieces. Below you can learn more about the outstanding technical features of this cable, the innovations in the 5th generation and the physical principles used in the AIR technology. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €7,799.00*
LS-2405 AIR
High-end speaker cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point | Multicore
The LS-2405 AIR high-end speaker cable offers audiophile enthusiasts a unique sound experience. In the new Referenz LS-2405 AIR loudspeaker cable, we have taken the outstanding properties of its predecessor, the LS-2404 AIR, and developed them even further. The point-to-point Air Helix design now enables the AIR Helix architecture to be used from plug to plug and not just between the sleeves. The 360° BFA bananas and spade lugs are a further innovation, developed in-house for easy and convenient connection to the terminals. These and other technical refinements turn the already exceptional AIR cables into true masterpieces. Below you can learn more about the outstanding technical features of this cable, the innovations in the 5th generation and the physical principles used in the AIR technology Click here and discover the exciting details

From €4,799.00*
LS-1205 AIR
High-end speaker cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point | Multicore
Because the speaker cable carries the largest current in the entire device chain, a suitable conductor cross-section is required to transport it with as little loss as possible. This current generates correspondingly strong magnetic fields and, since it is alternating current, there is a frequency-dependent resistance in the inductance of the cable. Low inductance is therefore particularly important for speaker cables - and this is precisely what has been achieved with the LS-1205 Air: The cable's inductance value has been reduced by a particularly ingenious arrangement of the conductors, the 4-fold "multicore" structure, enabling it to behave in a completely sound-neutral way over a wide frequency range. In addition, the magnetic fields generated around the individual conductors overlap and neutralize each other. This means that all frequencies are transported unhindered and without any time delay, enabling a fabulously open and detailed musical presentation. At the end of the air helix, the LS-1205 Air’s four conductors are separated into so-called aluminum splitters for the receiving connector. In the area between the splitters and plug, in-akustik uses highly flexible molded parts made of a special elastomer. These parts are fixed inside the splitter using a specifically designed plastic plug. This means that the cable remains reliably flexible in the connection area as well. The molded parts run right to the front of the connectors and enclose their inner workings - which underscores the sleek yet attractive design of the LS-1205 Air. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €2,399.00*
NF-2405 AIR | XLR
High-end audio cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point
Breathtaking sound thanks to air insulation - we have already created many innovative designs on the way to perfect insulation, such as DUO-PE insulation or PETS (PE Tube Support). The Referenz NF-2405 cable is another true milestone and an absolute world first in the cable sector. Normally, the conductors are kept at a distance from each other by more or less high-quality filling and insulation materials. With the NF-2405, however, the conductors run through a series of clips connected in series, which form the inner framework and give the NF-2405 exceptional flexibility for high-end cables. The NF-2405 is manufactured entirely in Germany, like all speaker and audio cables in the Referenz series. The clips are assembled by hand with meticulous care in the company's own factory and then the Cross Link super-speed waveguide is threaded in. The resulting Air Helix is then also shielded by hand and fitted with a PE network jacket before the finished cable is assembled with the XLR 180° connectors developed in-house. New XLR 180° plug: It is only possible to insert XLR connectors in one direction. This can be annoying as the position of the XLR sockets in devices varies. In order for the cable to fit, it must sometimes be twisted by force. This puts a strain on cables, plugs and device sockets and sometimes simply looks a mess. The new XLR 180° plugs developed in-house can be rotated by +/- 45 degrees, i.e., up to a total of +/- 90 degrees from connector to connector. The finishing touch for perfect cabling. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €1,849.00*
NF-1205 AIR | RCA
High-end audio cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point
Cable capacitance plays a decisive role, especially for audio cable connections between individual devices. As the signal sources are very weak and react sensitively to high cable capacitance, audio cables are virtually predestined for air insulation using air helix technology. In addition to this, we have also developed a completely new and entirely solder-free RCA connector for the Referenz NF-1205 Air. It consists of several component parts that are only joined together during the course of the assembly process. As with the loudspeaker cable, the thin layer of enamel is first removed from the high-purity copper wires of the "Cross Link Super Speed" waveguide by machine. Then, the contact pin of the connector, which is made of tellurium copper, is pressure-grouted with the conductor using a force of 1.5 tonnes. The connection of the shielding is also completely new: It is now hermetically sealed with screws. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €979.00*
Phono-2405 AIR | SME - XLR
High-end phono cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point
Length: 1 m | Connector: SME > 2 x XLR
The good old record sounds more vibrant than ever. The demand is astonishing, even for experts. The figures for records sold are increasing just as surprisingly as the number of record players. It’s a real boom. But how to improve the sound? One way is to use a new, better cable between the tonearm and the phono amplifier. The Phono-2405 AIR is a cable created to deliver top sound. What sets it apart is an absolutely unique air insulation, called the Air Helix. We have developed a special clip for this technology. It separates the two cable bundles, keeps them apart, and virtually embeds them in air. Using a large number of these clips, it is possible to route earth and signal extremely stably over longer distances. Why the effort? With this approach it is possible to pass on the sensitive signals without slowing them down - the result is fast and high-resolution sound. The Super Speed waveguides are threaded by hand and the clips are fitted with great care in the company's own factory. After this, the resulting Air Helix is also shielded and fitted with the PE network jacket by hand. Finally, the rhodium-plated connectors are fitted and cable functionality is tested. Because it's all about the most important, smallest signals: There is nowhere in the audio world where smaller currents flow that need to be passed on perfectly. The signal level of an MM or MC system is extremely sensitive, at just a few thousandths of a volt. In addition to this, the systems have an inductive character. In combination with the cable capacitance, they form what is known as an oscillating circuit, which favors specific frequencies. If these frequencies are unfavorable due to excessively high capacitance, this has a major effect on the harmony of the sound. Extremely low capacitance and dielectric losses are just two advantages of the Referenz Phono -2405 AIR. They form the basis for unadulterated enjoyment of your vinyl jewels. The sound of good records can hardly be resolved in a finer way than this. Click here and discover the exciting details

€1,299.00*
Phono-1205 AIR | SME - RCA
High-end phono cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point
The good old record sounds more vibrant than ever. The demand is astonishing, even for experts. The figures for records sold are increasing just as surprisingly as the number of record players. It’s a real boom. But how to improve the sound? One way is to use a new, better cable between the tonearm and the phono amplifier. The Phono-1205 AIR is a cable created to deliver top sound. What sets it apart is an absolutely unique air insulation, called the Air Helix. We have developed a special clip for this technology. It separates the two cable bundles, keeps them apart, and virtually embeds them in air. Using a large number of these clips, it is possible to route earth and signal extremely stably over longer distances. Why the effort? With this approach it is possible to pass on the sensitive signals without slowing them down - the result is fast and high-resolution sound. The Super Speed waveguides are threaded by hand and the clips are fitted with great care in the company's own factory. After this, the resulting Air Helix is also shielded and fitted with the PE network jacket by hand. Finally, the rhodium-plated connectors are fitted and cable functionality is tested. Because it's all about the most important, smallest signals: There is nowhere in the audio world where smaller currents flow that need to be passed on perfectly. The signal level of an MM or MC system is extremely sensitive, at just a few thousandths of a volt. In addition to this, the systems have an inductive character. In combination with the cable capacitance, they form what is known as an oscillating circuit, which favors specific frequencies. If these frequencies are unfavorable due to excessively high capacitance, this has a major effect on the harmony of the sound. Extremely low capacitance and dielectric losses are just two advantages of the Referenz Phono -1205 AIR. They form the basis for unadulterated enjoyment of your vinyl jewels. The sound of good records can hardly be resolved in a finer way than this. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €999.01*
AC-4005 AIR | Schuko - C19 | UHQ
High-end mains power cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point | Multicore
Dynamic music places an impulsive load on the output stages of an audiophile hi-fi chain. That's why we developed the Referenz AC-4005 AIR mains cable. Specially developed clips are used to keep the individual wires at a defined distance apart. The resulting "air dielectric" reduces power losses to a minimum and significantly improves the electrical parameters. The multicore structure leads to an overlap, so compensating for the magnetic fields around the individual cores. The line inductance is greatly minimized, depending on the number of cores, and the skin effect caused by steep current flanks at high frequencies is clearly and audibly reduced. In addition, the usable conductor cross-section is effectively extended, and without the negative effects of thicker cables. A dense shielding braid of tinned copper protects neighboring cables and components against external interference and also prevents oxidation. Each of our Referenz AIR mains cables is tested and inspected with the utmost care. The results are documented, and each cable is given an individual serial number. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €2,799.00*
AC-2405 AIR | Nema - C15 | UHQ
High-end mains power cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point | Multicore
A hi-fi system basically reproduces nothing other than modulated household electricity. This means this should arrive at the device as constantly as possible. Here the mains cable (power cable) plays a significant role. The big challenge for power supply cables is extreme current peaks. They are caused by the connected devices themselves converting alternating current into direct current. These extreme current peaks cause a whole range of undesirable effects. Specially designed for connecting up top-notch high-end audio systems, the Referenz AC-2405 AIR mains cable is based on the already legendary AIR technology. In conjunction with this technology, i.e. the "omission" of insulation material, which would "soak up" part of the energy like a sponge, the Referenz AC-2405 AIR is able to transport very large amounts of energy in a very short time. Many design details of the Referenz AC-2405 AIR counteract the undesirable effects and make it an outstanding energy pipeline for the highest audiophile requirements. However much we focus on high-end sound, safety plays a particularly important role in this cable category. For this reason, every Referenz AC-2405 AIR cable is tested extremely carefully. In addition to an exhaustive functional test, each cable is also subjected to an insulation and high-voltage test. The results are documented, and each cable is given an individual serial number. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €1,749.00*
AC-1205 AIR | Schuko - C19 | Basic
High-end mains power cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point | Multicore
Soundscapes are created by the dynamics in the music. To exploit the full potential of your high-end audio components, you need a reliable power pipeline that provides your components with the power peaks with as little delay and loss as possible. This is where the AC-1205 AIR mains connection cable comes into play. Our innovative AIR technology has already caused a sensation in the high-end scene and now also forms the architectural basis for the AC-1205 AIR mains cable. Using specially developed clips, the individual conductors are held at fixed distances and insulated from each other by an "air dielectric". This reduces both capacitive and inductive interference and ensures a smooth flow of energy. The multicore design of the AC-1205 AIR neutralizes the magnetic interference and magnetic fields generated by current peaks and minimizes the line inductance. In addition, the large number of individual wires reduces the skin effect that occurs at high frequencies. Splitting the current across many cores not only increases the usable conductor cross-section, but also increases the overall cross-section of the cable. The result is a reliable power supply, even in the most demanding passages, which allows your sound system to develop its full potential. To minimize electromagnetic interference fields, the AIR cables are shielded with a dense braid of tinned copper. This not only protects your audio components, but also neighboring cables from unwanted interference caused by the high current peaks in the power cable. The in-akustik High End AC-1205 AIR mains cable is an outstanding energy pipeline for perfect audiophile sounds. It eliminates unwanted effects and makes a not insignificant contribution to the most authentic music reproduction possible. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €989.00*
Digital-2405 AIR | XLR
High-end digital cable Quality: Referenz AIR Helix Point-to-Point
The Air Helix architecture of the Referenz Digital-2405 AIR is absolutely unique. We have developed a special clip that enables us to come as close as possible to perfect air insulation. Inside the cable, a large number of these clips form the supporting structure that keeps the helically-arranged conductors apart in the air and guides them through the shielding at a defined distance from each other. Cable flexibility is assured by means of two struts that ensure the clips remain together but also at a precise distance from one another. With coaxial cables, the shielding is generally also used as a ground wire. The Referenz Digital 2405, on the other hand, has a double-symmetric design with two positive and two negative conductors. This means that the shielding is completely separate and the signal remains free of interference. Even if it sounds paradoxical, thanks to the innovative air insulation in this cable, hi-fi becomes a simply breathtaking sound experience. Click here and discover the exciting details

From €1,099.00*
Company Portrait: "Even More Air Inside" - in-akustik in Audio Swiss

Company Portrait: "Even More Air Inside" - in-akustik in Audio Swiss

"Cable specialist in-akustik celebrates the fifth generation in its famous "AIR" family. A distinctive feature of the 05 series as well: the special geometry with air as the dielectric." Audio Swiss 01-2024
Blogbeitrag - 5. Generation AIR-Technologie

Fifth generation AIR technology: What’s new?

The fifth generation of our Referenz AIR cable is now available! Point-to-point AIR helix design and special connector types with sophisticated technical finesse.

Blogbeitrag - Internationaler Award für das AC-4004 AIR

International award for the AC-4004 AIR

Our AC-4004 AIR power cable receives the Super AV (China) Award 2023 in the "Highly Recommended Product 2023" category

How to improve the sound of your hi-fi or high-end system

How to improve the sound of your hi-fi or high-end system

In this article, we explain how capacitance affects sound and describe how AIR cables transmit audio signals with almost no loss.

"in-akustik Cable Factory Tour: Top Audiophile Cables"

"in-akustik Cable Factory Tour: Top Audiophile Cables"

Behind the scenes: Audiophile Junkie is filming a multi-part documentary about our passion for sound quality.

HiFi and power supply – safety first!

HiFi and power supply – safety first!

Insights into the development of a power cable: Interview with our product developer Marius Ingold.

Review International: The "Soundrebels" featuring the AIR Pure Silver cables

Review International: The "Soundrebels" featuring the AIR Pure Silver cables

The online magazine "Soundrebels.com" (Poland) has extensively tested the LS-4004 AIR & LS-2404 AIR, both in the Pure Silver version.

Readers' choice 1st place | AC-4004 AIR

Readers' choice 1st place | AC-4004 AIR

WoW. Once again this year, one of our AIR cables has made it to the top of the readers' poll. We are simply overwhelmed.