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What is the performance difference between the different series?

Kubala•Sosna has made every attempt to offer cables at every price point that offers the same overall tonal balance, that is, neutral. As you move up the lines, the cables will offer “more” of everything – increased dynamics, quieter backgrounds, increased control of deeper bass, more delicacy of more extended highs, larger and more focused soundstage, more rejection of RFI and EMF, and increased liquidity of the mid-range. Bottom line is that all series offer the same general feel to music, with increasing amounts of power, nuance, focus and extension from the upper series.

Why don’t you talk more about how you build the cables?

Every cable manufacturer, in fact every manufacturer of any product at all, makes hundreds of decisions about how to build their products. Sometimes these decisions are driven by cost of manufacturing concerns, and at other times by maximum performance regardless of cost. There is almost always more than one way to achieve the desired results, and there are limitless combinations of different aspects that come together in a unique “recipe” whether we are talking about cables, meals, automobiles or anything else you can name.

 

In our research, there is not one single characteristic that is always the way it should be done. Rather, it is dependent on the entire recipe and how it fits. So knowing the material, or the gauge, or the strand count, or the dielectric etc is like asking if the steering design on your car is rack and pinion or recirculating ball and assuming that will tell you how the steering feels when you drive the car – it cannot – you must drive the car to find out.  Similarly, you cannot know how you will like the sound of a cable until you hear it.

 

Also, from a manufacturer’s perspective, it is incorrect for us to try to convince you that we found the “one true way” to build cables.  Rather you will note that we have talked a little about how we made different decisions regarding some performance characteristics (L,C,R) that seem to be different than the average cable. There was more than one way that we could have achieved that goal. We chose one recipe, and we are simply trying to say we are worth listening to, not that we discovered the one true way to audio truth. That being said, please understand we do feel we took a major step towards audio truth, and we invite you to listen and see if you feel the same way too.

If I buy used cables, do I qualify for the warranty and upgrade programs?

If the original owner registered the cables, and if you are located in the same country they were originally sold in, you can go to a qualified dealer in your country and purchase a warranty transfer for the remainder of the original warranty and will also allow you to participate in the upgrade program. (Please note that the original purchaser will be helping to protect the future value of the cables by immediately registering them).

What happens to cables that are traded-in towards an upgrade?

All of these cables are returned to Kubala•Sosna and are used as demonstration or show cables, or will be destroyed if not of current manufacture. At times, they may be offered for sale through dealers as “Demo” inventory at a slight discount  as factory-authorized cables that have full warranty and upgrade privileges.

Can I buy direct from Kubala•Sosna?

We do not sell direct to end-users as we made a decision when we started the company to go to market through qualified dealers that can increase the value of our products by offering demonstrations and providing the level of customer service we feel is consistent with our goal of creating a strong brand.  To locate a dealer near you, click HERE and select your region or email us at info@kubala-sosna.com and we will put you in touch with a dealer that can serve your needs.

Can I get different connectors on my cables?

We usually get this question before the person asking has ever heard our cables. Somehow they are of the opinion that all cables should use the connector that they are asking for. We would ask you to read another FAQ topic titled “Why don’t you talk more about how you build the cables?” for a more detailed answer, but our position is there is no one item that is always the right answer for every cable. So the answer, both in terms of making sure subsequent owners of the cable know what to expect from our cables, and from the perspective that we have worked hard to get our “recipe” right and are comfortable with the sound/ performance we offer, is generally no.

Should I opt for Spade or Banana connectors?

There are times that bananas are the right answer, especially if one needs to switch components on a regular basis (as in the case of an audio dealer or reviewer).  However, for end-users, our listening tests tell us that spades are preferable in terms of sound quality.

Should I choose RCA or XLR connectors?

The answer here is most likely dependent on your equipment.  Quite often a manufacturer will tell you that their equipment performs better with single-ended (RCA) cables or balanced (XLR) cables.  The good news is that both our RCA and XLR cables, given their extremely well-performing noise rejection, can be utilized in long runs interchangeably.

Which cable should I change first?

When upgrading cables, assuming there is no glaring problem with a particular cable currently in the system, we would recommend starting at the source first.  The next step would likely be the speaker cables, followed by the pre-amp to amp cables.  Power cables would follow the same pattern.

 

Is this hard and fast?  As you are aware, nothing in our hobby is always true.  But the above suggestion is generally true.

Fast Cables?

When we talk about a cable being “fast” what do we mean?  While we can talk about propagation speeds etc, the real answer is more likely how a cable performs on a square wave test.  If a cable (or any piece of electronics etc) can properly pass a square wave it is as fast as it should be, or can be.  How so?

 

A square wave is created by instantaneously switching between two different voltages …. Something like 1.0v which is then switched to 2.0v, which is switched to 1.0v, then 2.0v etc.  Each switching of voltage creates a vertical line between the two voltages.  The output of the cable should create the same vertical traces between the two voltages.

 

Sometimes a cable takes some time to “get to” the new voltage.  In this case the vertical line would not be vertical, it would have a tilt (the more tilt the “slower” the cable).   Sometimes a cable will be able to properly trace the vertical line, but then does not stop and “turn right” onto the new voltage, but rather overshoots the desired voltage, losing control and ringing until it settles in on the new voltage.  This cable might be heard as “fast” but in fact is creating a distortion which can be heard if you learn what to listen for.

 

Kubala•Sosna cables are often described as having a clean, pure sound.  One of the reasons that is true is our excellent square wave performance which not only follows the square wave input very closely, but does so at various impedance combinations, meaning that you can change components without your cables changing character.  See our performance graphs.

Should I Bi-Wire my speakers?

Many speakers offer the ability to Bi-Wire (or Bi-Amp) the drivers.  These speakers would have two pairs of binding posts (or three pairs in the case of Tri-Wiring) to allow for independent connections to different internal drivers – usually labeled something like “Bass” and “Mid-Hi” and provided with some type of jumper/ buss bar shorting the positive terminals together and negative terminals together so that a single speaker cable can be used.   Is there any advantage to wiring this in some other fashion?

 

The answer to that is almost assuredly, yes.  The first thing that can be done is to replace the factory-provided buss bar with a speaker cable based jumper.  Our suggestion would be that this should be the same make/model as the main speaker cables.  In this application the most common way to wire would be to land the speaker cables to the “MID/HI” terminals and then use the jumpers to the “BASS” terminals.

 

The next logical step would be to purchase an internal bi-wire speaker cable instead of a normal single-wire cable.  In this case, the bi-wire cable would have the internal conductors split in some fashion to two pairs at the speaker end (in the case of Kubala•Sosna this is 50/50).  The result is that the total gauge of cable is split between the two binding posts.  In our experience this is best applied to relatively efficient speakers, with an efficiency above something like 92 SPL.

 

The highest level of performance would be to maintain the original gauge of the speaker cable, thereby utilizing their full potential.  This would be called bi-cabling.  In this case, there would actually be two pairs of speaker cables – with two spades under the amplifier binding post, and four full gauge spades at the speaker end to each binding post.  In some cases, the amplifier may have multiple binding posts per channel which could be utilized so that there is one spade under each terminal.

Long speaker cables or long interconnects?

When locating your equipment to the side of the room, with the speakers up front, should you run long interconnects to the amps near the speakers, or, long speaker cables with your amps in your equipment rack?  In our experience, modern pre-amps have no problems driving long lengths of interconnect cables.  On the other hand, long speaker cables can result in less control to bass drivers (damping) resulting in a somewhat looser sounding bass.  We think most would find the shorter speaker cables, with slightly better bass resolution/ definition preferable, so our suggestion is to put the amps near the speakers when that is possible.

Does cable length matter?

For Power Cords we would generally suggest 1.5m to 2.5m lengths.  For Speaker Cables, we generally would suggest something in the 2.0m to 3.0m range.  For interconnects from the source to pre-amp (and we generally recommend using a pre-amp) 1.0m to 2.0m would be optimal.  For Interconnects from pre-amp to amps we have used cables up to 15m successfully.  Interconnects from Turntable to Phono Stages should be kept at 1.0m-1.5m if at all possible.

 

Are these hard and fast suggestions?  Of course not.  Your equipment may allow for different lengths because of performance specifications (input/output impedance as an example).

 

Generally, the use of cables much shorter than the range shown would result in sound that is “drier” than optimal; and cables much longer might result in sound that is “looser” than optimal.  Some systems may benefit from either.

Should I use a pre-amp or volume control on the DAC?

This is a tough question as so much of the answer is subjective, if not economic!  To our ears, there is something gained with a pre-amp that cannot be ignored … dynamics.   There is a “swell” to the music during crescendos that seems to be depressed/ missing to us when using the volume control on the DAC.

Do Kubala•Sosna products ever go on sale?

We often get asked if our products ever go on sale or if there are special deals at certain times of the year.  The answer is No.  Why you ask?  Deals make everyone wait until the product goes on sale, it makes customers that bought before the sale upset that they paid full price, and it makes everything cost more.  Our sales model is one where everything has a fixed cost.  We have one price list with no discounts of any kind at any time.  This allows the savings to be passed along to everyone as we feel the quality of product  for the money is the among the best in the industry.

11 Melanie Lane, Unit 24A

 

East Hanover, NJ 07936

TEL:  (973) 993-1952

 

FAX:  (973) 538-5615

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