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XLO’s updated Signature 3™ “quasirandom” Field-Balanced™ surface/diving “exoskeleton” winding technique minimizes frequency-related phase-shift as no conductor has a “normal” position within the grouping allowing XLO cables to work better with a greater number of components. But no one buys cable for the technical specifications, they just want their system to sound better! And XLO Signature 3 allows you to hear more deeply and feel more connected to music than ever before.
- Field-Balanced Surface/Diving Winding Geometry™
XLO’s “field balanced” technology is still considered revolutionary and is at the heart of every cable XLO. Cable designs were developed to improve signal transmission by optimizing and balancing the relationship between the current-controlled electromagnetic field formed around a cable’s conductors and the electrostatic field formed around its insulation when passing an audio or digital/video signal.
When current is passed through a wire, an electromagnetic field is formed around the conductor. When the current-carrying wire is insulated, an electrostatic field is also formed around the insulation. Both of these fields – the current-controlled
electromagnetic field and the voltage-controlled electrostatic field, affect the passage of signal information, and can have a significant effect on the sound of an audio cable. Many cable designers have tried to deal with one or the other of these field phenomena (usually the electromagnetic field), but until XLO, no one had ever recognized the importance of both fields and of their interrelationship. The fact of it is that there is only one optimum relationship for the two fields, and where that relationship is present, signal transmission is materially improved.
The field-balanced geometry imposes a strict approach to a cable’s construction and explains why XLO cables look distinct from other brands and even from each other based on the intended use.
Different applications have different current- to-voltage ratios, and voltage and current control the intensity of the different fields. Phono cables pass very tiny currents at equally tiny voltages; line-level cables pass relatively very large voltages with very little current flow; and speaker cables need to be able to pass very large currents at relatively small voltages. With different current/voltage ratios creating different relative field intensities, but only a single optimum field relationship, different constructions are necessary to achieve the same point of balance.
- Exclusive WaveLink™ technology
The wavelengths of electrical signals at audio frequencies are never less than 15 thousand meters long, and may be as long as 15 million meters. On the other hand, digital and video wavelength signals are never more than 100 meters. With the signals they carry having minimum wavelength differences of multiple orders of magnitude, it was obvious to XLO that the design parameters that optimize performance in audio cables cannot possibly be the same as those that will optimize performance in digital and video cables.
Today’s video and digital technology is truly remarkable. XLO’s insistence on cable neutrality is just as relevant in the digital/video realms as it is in the analog. XLO cables allow your audio/video system(s) to take full advantage of today’s cutting-edge signal processing.
- Treated UP-OCC (Ultra-pure, Ohno Continuous Cast) lab-grade copper conductors
Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Casting” PC-OCC is manufactured by a process invented in the United States in the 1920’s. This was called “zone refining” and was used in metallurgical and physics laboratories to produce very small quantities of ultra-pure copper for experimentation. As originally practiced, “zone-refining” utilized a special crucible heated only at one point, into which ordinary copper was introduced for melting and purification. As the copper melted, the impurities in it flowed to, and stayed at the hottest point, and pure copper flowed out through a controlled off-side opening in a process of continuous casting. Because the hot purified copper was cooled only very slowly, it annealed to contain only very few extremely long crystals (as much as 700 feet). This is important because crystal junctures are where remaining impurities, including ferrous metals and sulfur, gather and interfere with signal flow: the fewer the crystal junctures, the better the copper’s performance as a conductor.
- Ultra-low capacitance PTFE dielectric insulation
In a cable, the dielectric is the insulating material surrounding and separating the conductors, and just like the dielectric in a capacitor* will store signal energy that is passed through it. This energy is stored in the dielectric during each phase of the signal’s polarity (positive or negative) and released when that polarity changes. Because the dielectric stores positive energy during the positive signal phase and negative energy during the negative, the energy that is released when the phase changes is always out-of-phase with the new signal energy coming in and will thus create cancellations and/or out-of-phase artifacts that change the original signal, and therefore the sound.
Poor quality or poorly chosen cable dielectrics are often the reason why cables have a distinct "sonic signature”. For minimum sonic effect, the dielectric in a cable must store as little energy as possible, (what is called a low dielectric constant), and it must return the stored energy in the smallest possible increment of time (what is called a high "dump rate."
DuPont Teflon has the lowest dielectric constant and the quickest dump rate of any wire insulation material now available, and Teflon or Teflon variants are the only dielectric materials that XLO uses. The ethylene polymers and co-polymers used in XLO/VDO (including proprietary products such as Elvax, Surlyn and Alathon) are much less expensive than Teflon, and come very close to matching Teflon’s performance.
The lowest performance dielectric materials are PVC compounds, thermoplastic rubbers and nylon. These are inexpensive, easy to use, and tend to have a nice texture or "feel". While many manufacturers make extensive use of these materials, XLO only use PVC for outer jacketing on its lowest cost cables.
*An energy storage device that's formed when any two electrical conductors (the "plates") are separated by any non-conductor-the dielectric.
- Low-capacitance low selfinductance hand-terminated 24K mil-spec direct gold-plated RCA connectors
The third component of any cable is the termination- and the choice of materials for the connectors and quality of the actual termination and connectors will affect sound quality. For this reason, XLO cables are hand terminated with XLO’s own low self-inductance, Teflon® dielectric, 24 K direct gold-plated RCA connectors or Bush-Wellman alloy conductors for balanced cables.