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Unconnected Cable Shield

Unconnected Cable Shield
Undersized Battery Cable

Inferior Quality Audio Cables Exposed
Why You Should Care About Audio Cable Build Quality


Does it matter if an audio cable is made overseas? Should I really worry about the build quality of an audio cable? The short answer is “Yes!” The lack of quality in some competitors’ products, and blatant false advertising that currently exists is shocking. The photos presented here of products that claim to be high quality demonstrate the significant problems consumers may be faced with.

At Pear Cable, we spend a lot of time talking about the sound quality enabled by a cable design, but we also have a focus on producing cables with superb build quality. Although we don’t talk about it as much, the cable build quality is an extremely important factor that cannot be ignored.

Just because you hook up a pair of cables and sound comes through, doesn’t mean they are built well. Unfortunately, many cables on the market today have dramatic flaws that may not be easily detectable by the average consumer. In fact, you may be shocked at just how bad some cables can be. Although this article is by no means comprehensive, we have photographed a few of the more common problems that can exist with poorly made cables.

RCA Cables
We cut open shielded twisted pair interconnects from 3 major manufacturers of cable, to determine the true build quality of the products. Unbelievably, we found that NONE of the three different interconnects we examined had the shields connected to anything. These shields are supposed to be connected to ground in order for them to function properly. Shields that are allowed to simply “float” unconnected to the circuit will have almost no shielding ability whatsoever. Photos of two of the offending cables are provided.

The first interconnect pictured to the right is advertised to have “three different layers of shielding” and that it is “one of the best cables on the market.” After cutting back the plastic covers at the Y-junctions in the cable, it can be clearly seen that none of the three shields are connected to the connectors. Electrical tests confirm that these shields are all floating, rendering them virtually useless.

The second interconnect to the right is the highest level offering from one of the largest car audio cable manufacturers. It is claimed to have a “Mylar foil and OFC braided shield” with “directional noise-drain wires”. Cutting back the over-molding at the Y-junction reveals that the cable does in fact have all the components claimed. In addition, simple electrical tests confirm that the “directional noise-drain wires”, which can be seen bundled with the twisted pairs of wires, are connected to ground at the RCA plugs. Unfortunately, these noise drain wires are not connected to the shield! It is pretty hard for the wires to drain noise if they are not attached to anything. So, again on this cable, the shields are rendered virtually useless.

Undersized Battery Cables
The problem of manufacturers skimping on expensive copper by removing strands from battery cables has been well known for a long time. This false advertising is of course illegal, and leads to safety hazards due to high current wires being undersized for their circuits. If it hasn’t happened already, it is only a matter of time before a vehicle catches on fire due to overheating of battery cables that do not have the amount of copper they claim.

The photo of battery cables to the right shows 2 different 8 AWG power cables. The black cable on the left is a Pear Cable with a slim line jacket rated for 600 Volts at 105 degrees C. One of our competitors (another major manufacturer of car audio cables) makes the red cable on the right. While the outer diameter of the red cable is actually slightly larger than the outer diameter of the black Pear Cable, it can be clearly seen that the red cable does not have anywhere close to the correct amount of copper. In fact, less than half of the specified 8 AWG copper is present. So much for the manufacturer’s claim: “High-quality materials, construction techniques and the most current technologies go into each product”.

These examples are just a few of the most common problems found with inferior quality audio cables. In addition, it is common for speaker cables to be undersized, and for mini-spools of cable to come with less cable than advertised. It is not uncommon for a 30 foot spool of cable to actually contain just 28 feet of cable.

Due to the ubiquitous use of the term “quality”, for certain products it can seem like a differentiator without any real meaning. We hope these photos have shown that this is not the case with audio cables. With Pear Cable, you can always be assured that you are receiving high quality American made products that make a difference.


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