What do the best audio cables and interconnects sound like? Part 3 - Improving Image focus and dynamics through depth perception
30th May 2020
A guide to improving Image focus and dynamics through depth perception using hifi audio cables
Whether or not your hifi system can project images that have a living, breathing depth to them may depend on your audio cables.
Our two previous articles on what the best hifi audio cables are capable of, have looked at image focus, how it can be ‘snapped’ into focus (or left a little softer according to taste) and how the overall size of that image and the surrounding soundstage can be altered.
In our second article we added a spacer to loop number 7 in our tunable Experience880 audio interconnect and as a result created a larger soundstage that enabled us to get closer to the musicians.
Listening to this presentation we are reminded as with photography, that if you enlarge an image it can start to lose some sharpness of definition. There is no loss of information from our hifi audio components as we enlarge but it is spread over a greater area revealing previously hidden detail.
This is essentially what we have created by enlarging the musical images from Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ track we were listening to; the images feel ‘looser’ and less defined but it is easier to pick out detail within each image.
We now have our enlarged images and may be happy with their ‘looser’ enlarged presentation, but could we make them a little less ‘loose’, give them a greater sense of solidity. Is the hifi system capable of delivering this?
The cable is now tuned with spacers at 5 and 7 and to these we add another one at 9 and put on the ‘Moondance’ track to see what the difference is.
There is an immediate improvement in the sense of focus from the audio system, whilst leaving images and soundstage dimensions the same.
What has changed?
Images above appear to the ear as more transparent whereas below the images have become more solid.
If we listen to the drums and Van Morrison’s voice before the spacers went in they were clear but rather on top of each other, a feeling that the percussion was pushing up against the singer, and there was a softness to their image outlines. But with the spacer inserted, the rim shots on the snare suddenly stand out away from the singer and are more dynamic. Van Morrison now seems not just to have a voice but a head to go with it, a real sense of a musician in his own space distinct from the drums.
The piano from the right loudspeaker similarly now has a sense of depth, the keyboard has a physical perspective, whereas before its presentation was soft in outline. The brass on the right stakes its claim with better dynamic expression and detail. Bass is still articulate, but detail delivered by the audio system just seems easier to follow. When the guitar comes in it feels comfortably in its own space again with a sense of depth and realistic timbre.
So, to improve focus the cable has created a sense of three-dimensional solidity or perspective depth allowing images to occupy their own spaces more comfortably and with this has come an improved dynamic expression.
In our next article we look again at how an audio cable can alter the sense of air and space in a recording and make some observations on how different musical presentations might fit with your musical preferences.
© C J Bell