FAQ

FAQ

Zaolla Silverline

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The difference between Zaolla Silverline and other cable brands is manifest by virtue of our utilization of pure-silver conductors. In general, silver affords Zaolla Silverline superior high-frequency conductivity and the perception of superior low-frequency conductivity by virtue of the extra headroom for overtones. Players will also feel it in their fingers as extra touch sensitivity.

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All cable attenuates over a length of cable due to the effects of capacitance on the conductor. Capacitance affects a silver conductor noticeably less than it does a copper conductor, so you can run analog audio over long lengths of cable if your cable is Zaolla Silverline.

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High-end mixing consoles are equipped with balanced inserts, which have separate send and return jacks. Inserts requiring a Y cable are more common on entry- and intermediate-level mixing consoles. For this reason, and given the expense of developing connectors to accommodate two 8 mm OD cables, we do not offer Y cables in alternate configurations.

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On-stage or in-studio, professionals demand cables that perform physically as well as sonically. Thus we design our cables to lie flat and coil without twisting or kinking.

 

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The general rule is to use the same brand of cable from source to destination. If you must prioritize, we recommend you do so as follows:

 

  1. Source to first processor
  2. Last processor to amplifier
  3. Between processors
  4. Amplifier to speaker

 

The two factors behind this prioritization are (1) signal level and (2) cable length. Low-level signals, like electric guitar or hi-fi signals, benefit most from improved conductivity, so if you have to replace only one, begin with the source and upgrade from there.

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It depends upon your combination of instrument and amplifier. Many classic guitar rigs require a particular type of cable for attenuation. If your guitar has strong high-frequency output and your amplifier accentuates that output, you may need to decrease the tone on one or the other to curb the “ice pick” effect. Conversely, if your instrument and amplifier are well matched, then you may want to adjust the tone on your guitar to illicit the myriad musical nuances afforded to you by Zaolla Silverline.

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While it is true that silver is superior to copper as a pure conductor of electricity, this is not to say that silver alone is suitable for every application. If it was that easy, we could simply replace copper with silver and be done with it! Low-level analog audio signals benefit from the MF boost, or "warmth," associated with copper. Thus all Zaolla Silverline instrument and microphone cables feature a solid-silver center conductor and an enamel-coated, stranded-copper ancillary conductor in a unique hybrid configuration for the best of both worlds.

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Silver actually benefits digital more than analog. Consider that silver is able to carry higher frequencies than copper. This advantage is manifest clearly in an analog signal—one can hear it! The frequencies of digital signals are much higher than those of analog signals, but one can neither see nor hear digital. So how does one experience the benefits of a silver data cable?

Bits are transmitted as a square wave. Attenuation (from capacitance), reflection (from impedance mismatch), and other phenomena can cause a square wave to become rounded. When this happens, the receiving device will fail to recognize the bit, resulting in an error. Errors are manifest as missing data—silence in an audio feed, a blank screen in a video feed, etc.

Consumers may tolerate data interruption of this nature—it happens all the time with satellite TV—but errors of this nature can be critical in pro applications. Less errors means less time—and money—lost to retakes. It is for this reason that our 75-ohm coax is the cable of choice for pro video (SDI), pro audio (word clock), and similar applications.

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Zaolla Silverline affords myriad tonal benefits over copper cable. Many of these benefits are lost as soon as your signal transfers from Zaolla Silverline to copper in your signal chain. While you will certainly benefit from upgrading the first cable in your signal chain, upgrading the cables on your pedal board will be like lifting a veil from your tone.

Attenuation is directly proportional to the length of a signal chain, whether the signal chain consists of a single cable or many cables. This means that the length of the cables on your pedal board contribute directly to the attenuation of your signal. If you have already upgraded the cables from to and from your pedal board, your pedal board should be next.

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The longer your cable, the more your signal will be attenuated. This is as true for silver as it is for any other conductor. Ideally, your cable should be as short as possible. Ideally, your cable should be board-straight and hard-wired to your input jack! This is clearly untenable, so it is necessary to strike a balance between length and functionality. You should give yourself enough length to move freely in your environment. If in doubt, err on the side of longer, because you can always coil a long cable, but you can’t lengthen a short cable.

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The Artist combines the legendary performance of Zaolla Silverline's hybrid conductor with Clear Connect Technology™ by G&H Industries. The brass tip of the plug is crimped directly to the conductor of the cable. This eliminates the solder joint, the weakest link in the signal chain as well as the cable assembly. The conductor of the cable replaces the core of the plug, preserving as much of the player’s tone and technique as physics will allow. Clear Connect Technology is the finishing touch to a truly world-class design.

 

Second only to the Artist in absolute transparency, The Standard is second to none when durability is of paramount importance. It features the legendary Show Saver™ plug by G&H Industries, which features a copper core in place of a traditional brass core. Copper is more conductive and more flexible than brass. This allows the plug to be bent to a ninety degree angle and straightened again without breaking, making it the best-sounding, most-durable soldered plug in the industry.

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Zaolla Silverline is a subsidiary or Hosa Technology and specializes in the manufacturer of audio interconnects and video cables featuring solid, pure-silver conductors.

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The most important link in your signal chain is that from the source to the first processor. Be it an electric bass or a turntable, the signal from the source and to the first processor should be your priority. The signal from the last processor to your amplifier should be second. Between processors, the signal carried by the longest length of cable should be third.

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We offer a single instrument cable with two different terminations. In designing The Artist, our goal was to make the best-sounding instrument cable. While we achieved our goal, we did so at the expense of structural rigidity. The plugs on The Artist are by no means fragile, but they are not as roadie-proof as the Show Saver.

 

The Artist is the ideal cable in a studio setting in which sonics are paramount and gig-threatening damage is less of a concern. To those who subject their cables to the rigors of touring, we offer The Standard. The sonic advantage of The Artist is less likely to be discernable in a live setting, especially for bands at the mercy of the house PA.

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Balanced audio signals are not impedance dependent, so the only reason to offer a separate balanced audio snake is cost. Given the decreasing demand for analog audio snakes, the cost of a balanced audio snake would actually be higher than that of a digital audio snake in spite of its lower specification.

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Electrons flow most freely between like metals. Most pro audio gear is equipped with nickel-plated jacks, so we terminate our pro audio cables with nickel-plated plugs. Most consumer audio components are equipped with gold-plated jacks, so we terminate consumer audio cables with gold-plated connectors.

Most plugs are made of brass, which corrodes rapidly. Brass plugs are commonly plated with nickel, which resists corrosion. Gold resists corrosion better than nickel, but it plates to brass only at great expense, so it is typically plated to nickel. Eliminating gold-plating eliminates a needless metal transition.

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Teflon combines a low dielectric constant (2.0) with high rigidity, making it ideal for applications in which vibration is a concern, like guitar amplifiers. Polyethylene (PE) has a nominally higher dielectric constant (2.2), but it is much more flexible than Teflon, making it the superior dielectric for cables. Injecting gas into PE causes air bubbles in the material resulting in Foamed PE (FPE), which has a still lower dielectric constant (air has a dielectric constant of 1).

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Silver (Ag) is the most conductive metal on Earth. It is 7% less resistant than copper (Cu), the second most conductive metal on Earth. This may seem slight, but the conductive properties of silver are manifest in every measure of electrical current.

 

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American Wire Gauge (AWG) is an approximate system. We specify our cables using the metric system and present it accordingly. If you want to convert metric measurements to AWG approximates, please click here.

 

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Silver is expensive! Solid, pure silver is still more expensive! We pay close attention to detail in an effort to eliminate needless expense. In fact, copper cables featuring hyper-advanced technologies cost as much—if not more—than Zaolla Silverline, so we believe our cables to be an unrivaled value.

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All else being equal, a cable with a silver conductor will sound brighter than a cable with a copper conductor. Whether this is heard as “sparkling highs” or excessive brightness is a matter of myriad factors, including personal taste. For applications in which this is a proven issue, Zaolla Silverline utilizes stranded-copper ancillary conductors to boost the midrange and flatten frequency response.

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