Despite the wide availability and low cost of petroleum sourced synthetic materials, are natural materials provides better sound quality when used in speaker cables and interconnects?
By: Ringo Bones
Maybe there’s something to this using natural materials in hi-fi speaker cables and interconnects that could result in sound quality despite the alleged hype surrounding the practice. Believe it or not, around the middle of the 1920s when the first commercially produced electrical music recordings became widely available, audio power amplifiers that use the PX-25 vacuum tube has wiring that’s more likely than not insulated using cloth or gutta-percha – as in a tough plastic substance from the latex of several Malaysian trees of the sapodilla family resembling rubber but containing more resin and used during the early days of electrification as a electrical wiring insulation in household electrical wiring and in dentistry. But does using natural materials often sourced from plants instead of crude oil / petroleum – truly result in better sound quality in audiophile applications? Or is it just a marketing ploy for a period-correct zero feedback single-ended triode vacuum tube hi-fi audio amplifiers that were originally designed around the middle of the 1920s?
Millennium cables and accessories and the Yamamura / Churchill hi-fi products, designed by Be Yamamura in Italy and manufactured in Japan has been admired for their exceptional sound quality in comparison to comparable mainstream hi-fi products that use crude oil / petroleum sourced synthetics in their insulation. The Millennium line is distinguished by its use – when possible – of such natural materials as lacquer, linen, paper, silk and cloth for insulation and shielding instead of the more commonly used petroleum / crude oil sourced synthetic materials.
One of Mr. Yamamura’s design goals is to eliminate the effects of stray capacitance from his cables. For that he uses a proprietary material called Trigard – a paper impregnated with the purest form of carbon Yamamura could find, which turned out to be charcoal manufactured from coconut shells. The wire itself is made of ultrapure copper. During the second half of the 19th Century, coconut shell charcoal produced in the Philippines was admired by artisans in the region as a matt-black pigment used in paining. Even Dr. Jose Rizal at the time was searching for other more useful applications of coconut shell sourced charcoal.
Yamamura’s Millennium line also includes Ciabatta (which means “slipper” in Italian) mains boxes; passive line conditioners that make extensive use of Trigard to shield the plug / jack interface from RFI (radio frequency interference) and to absorb stray capacitance. Each Ciabatta mains box contains four AC jacks which can be configured for analog or digital sources. Does it also come with gutta-percha insulated audiophile AC chords that block mains-born RFI?