Cabling of your acoustic speakers
Role of the cables
The cable connects the amplifier and the speakers. This is what makes it possible to connect your speakers to the power supply and provide them with the power necessary for sound reproduction. Therefore it is important to use quality cables to enable your acoustic speakers to express their full potential. For example, bad cables can limit signal dynamic or modify the volume and colour of certain frequencies.
Poor quality cabling risks diminishing the quality of the signal transmitted to the speakers and disturbing quality sound reproduction. For ultimate top of the range installations, it will be necessary to use cables with the same high specification as the range or risk disturbing end reproduction quality. For more classic installations, an adapted cable will be necessary with no need to use the best cable on the market. The closer one gets to a bespoke, demanding system (quality of the electronics, layout of the room, etc.), the more important the role of the cable.
The important parameters are the quality of the conductor metal, quality of the insulation and quality of the shielding. Manufacturers continue to improve their solutions and their research to optimise these different parameters. Feel free to ask your Focal dealers for advice.
A few words of advice
Certain types of Home Cinema installations can quickly become complex to cable. 5.1 Home Cinema uses 6 speakers (2 fronts, 1 centre, 2 surround and 1 bass speaker). Here are a few standard tips to optimise your installation:
- Cables as short as possible to prevent overlapping and loops which can disturb the electrical signal.
- Diameter is a determining factor. Loss of details on long cables can be compensated for by a larger cross-section. Upwards of ten metres loss can be important. We advise using a diameter of 1.5 mm2 or 2.5 mm2. For large speakers or long distances (> 10 metres), a cable with a large cross section is preferable (> 4 mm2).
- To the greatest extent possible, it is preferable to have the same length of cable between right and left channel speakers. The length between the front and back can be different. This is not THE determining factor; difference in length will only be sensitive on perfectly-installed top of the range configurations. The positioning of the speakers remains more important. It is important not to compromise on ideal speaker position simple to achieve identical cable lengths.
- Avoid running cables in the same ducts as the electrical network. This can cause inference on the signal.
At present, the concept of wireless speakers is in the realm of fantasy. Certain manufacturers are speaking about it in hushed tones, getting audiophiles somewhat overexcited. The signal which enables the speakers to function (movement of the membranes in the loud speaker, displacement of the air, creation of sound) is electric. It is necessary to have a power supply. Therefore the speaker will always be connected to an electrical supply in order to produce sound - either via a wiring connection to an amplifier, or to a mains power supply (with an amplifier incorporated into the speaker, where active speakers are concerned). The wireless technology currently on incorporated into products involves the connection between the source and the amplifier. Digital files are sent by a computer or a multimedia player (for example) and received wirelessly by the amplifier. The amplified signal is then transmitted to the speakers via the cables.
Bi-wiring stereo loudspeakers
Bi-wiring has now been phased out on all Focal speakers. Rather than investing in a function that has become unnecessary (our OPC filters have been designed to do away with bi-wiring), we opted to use our new top of the range cast-moulded, insulated, ribbed terminals to ensure a tight clamping torque.