What makes Aural Thrills Different?
The unique feature of Aural Thrills Audio is the fact that ALL EQUIPMENT (except sending components) in my reference audio system has been developed by me! From the phono stage, pre amp, mono blocks and cables, to the final sound of the speakers. Each product has been developed and tested by one person. This gives me a unique understanding of the reproduction of sound. With four years of college ear training, ten years as a professional musician in NYC, and unmatched passion, I feel that I have the tools necessary to create the finest reproduction equipment in the world. I have spent the last ten years learning the intricacies of tube amplifiers. Every part. Every wire. Every component. They all matter. Connecting all of this equipment with compatible cables has become a daily obsession. As one of my customers said, "I live audio."
In these days of endless loops of frustration, you can count on getting a real person when you deal with Aural Thrills. No press 1, press 5, etc. You get a real person from the beginning. Someone who can answer all of your questions. Emails are answered many times a day. Leave your number and I will call back, really! With a 60 day, no questions asked policy on all of my cables, you can be sure that your purchase will work with your total system sound.
Lastly, it is my commitment to make sure that every product is made to my standards. Every product guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Every order processed with the passion that only hand made goods can deliver. I put my reputation on the line with every product I make. I try my best to do all that is needed. I also try my best to keep prices reasonable. Please consider that you are buying more than a constructed product. You are buying my mind, my craftsmanship and my ears which have worked on each component obsessively for countless hours.
Cable Design Theory
Aural Thrills Audio only sells very special cables! Designed to provide your system with the ultimate sound. They will not degrade the signal as many other cables tend to do. Why? Our cables have been specially designed to provide a clear, deep sound by utilizing solid core technology. Stranded wire has many points where the wires touch each other. This creates a smearing effect as the signal jumps from one wire to the other. The larger the wire, the more this effect becomes evident. Research also shows that stranded cables creates time distortions due to the uneven manner in which the signal travels.
Next we must look at the wire size. I am always amazed by the "oh wow" reaction of audiophiles upon seeing a very fat cable. In true American fashion, the belief that if a little is good, more is always better comes to mind. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! The major portion of an audio signal actually travels as a wave on top of the wire, much like a train travels on top of the tracks. A very small part of this wave travels inside the wire. Since the wire actually slows the signal down a time distortion is created between the signal on top of the wire and the part of the signal in the wire. The best way to minimize this effect is to use a small diameter wire so that very little signal is traveling through the wire itself.
The third item in cable construction to consider is the material surrounding the wire. Some companies use many layers of coverings to convey the image of huge size. Again, this is not a good thing. These layers act as huge capacitors for the signal. Capacitors store and then release their energy. The result is a smearing and time warp creating a cloudy sound. The cleanest sound is achieved by using Teflon. Teflon will not absorb any of the signal. This means the total signal arrives at the same time. None is released later causing distortions.
To shield or not to shield? In most cases adding a shield to a cable takes away a little bit of the spaciousness from the sound stage. Unshielded cables are great for Solid State equipment using lengths of under nine feet. They deliver a spaciousness and clarity of sound that most people find very appealing. When using Tube equipment or cables over ten feet shielding is needed. The transformers of tube amplifiers are gigantic EMI producing machines. Using an unshielded cable with tube equipment will result in an induced hum. Always use a shielded cable with tube equipment. Cable runs of over ten feet tend to act as huge antennas picking up local radio stations. (RFI) To avoid this you MUST use a shielded cable. Lastly, phono cables must be shielded. Cartridges produce very small amounts of voltage. some moving coil cartridges produce only .2mv. This low voltage is very fragile and must be protected from your local radio stations which will overpower this miniscule signal.
Cable Break In
All cables take a certain amount of time to burn in. This may sound crazy but it is true. I have heard many theories for this, but the one I tend to go with is the alignment of atoms within the wire. It changes as the wire is subjected to electrical charges and ends up aligning in the direction of electron flow. Most cable will sound good for the first hour or so. Then they start to degrade. They become bright, edgy, distorted, and closed in. The worst sound is at about 50 hours of play. Slowly the sound will began to improve and at about 100 hours things will start to really improve. The one exception to this scenario is Silver wire which breaks in much more slowly. We do offer a burn in service using the Hagerman professional model. It takes 48 hours to complete the process. The cable is subjected to a frequency sweep which contains signals above and below the frequencies of Human hearing. Although additional break in is still required, this really speeds things up.
Amplifier Design Theory
I am committed to simple designs which do not feature a lot of additional circuits. I love the early designs. They tended to stick to the basics and did not add a bunch of "correction" circuits. I have constructed and listened to most types of tube audio designs. The more circuits that you add, the more they start to sound like solid state. If that is what you want, why not just buy a Solid State unit? My amps use the old designs but with an important twist, high end parts. Modern capacitors and resistors are faster sounding, but still retain the tube qualities we all love. The best of old and new.
Due to the length of break in I offer a 60 day return policy on all cables, no questions asked. Just pay for shipping. I can offer this warranty because I am so sure you will not want to part with this cable. All cables carry an unconditional lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. Just return to Aural Thrills Audio and we will take care of any problems. Cables that have been abused or mistreated will be repaired for a slight cost to be determined upon inspection. All amplifiers carry a 1 year warranty.
This is my pride and joy, no, my obsession. As you can see, all components (except sending units) have been constructed by me. This gives me a unique perspective on sound reproduction. I am an avid record collector of 50's Jazz as well. I have a good collection of the regular labels, Blue Note, Verve, Pacific Jazz, etc. and also a bunch of not so well known labels and artist. You would not believe how good some of these 50's recordings sound. Most were recorded with tubes so they just seem to sound right in my all tube system. My system generally looks terrible. I am always trying new combinations of circuits and design ideas. It's all about sound.
As you probably noticed, I watch movies with this system as well. I really believe that the sound is superior to five channel home theater systems. The soundstage is more real, not manipulated and much closer to reality. A good Stereo VCR is close to a record for sound quality. Rich, warm, just awesome Analogue. I hate to admit it but I have become a fan of the musical.
The mono blocks are Aural Thrills Audio 300B, push pull units. Each puts out a big 25 Watts but still retains the beauty of the 300B. As you might expect, the filaments are AC powered. PP configuration cancels out noise and the sound is big and rich. These amps sound like the reason you wanted a tube amp to begin with.
The speakers are a very efficient 96db. Max continuous power is 45 Watts. 25 Watts will blow you out of the room. My love of early design, low powered tube amps led me to these back end loaded horn design. The drivers are full range which eliminates the need for a crossover. My theory for audio is always "less is better."
The bass that comes out of these speakers is unbelievable. The transmission line design is tuned for 50Hz. The sound coming out of the lower outlet is also delayed a little bit. This creates a wonderful ambience for Jazz and Classical. These cabinets have been constructed of 1" Baltic Birch Plywood. A very dense, slow growing species imported from Russia. Unlike normal plywood, any voids in EACH layer are cut and filled with a plug. You can see that there are no areas without wood, on each layer! The speakers weigh about 175 pounds each. As is the case with a single driver, imaging is spooky. Final finish will be done soon
A VPI TNT with speed controller mounted on a Lead filled VPI stand is the basis for all of this great sound. A Graham tone arm is used. I love this arm. It is very easy to mount a cartridge and alignment is accomplished to an amazing accuracy. I usually use Low Output MC cartridges. Mounted now is a Benz Gold. A very nice cartridge for the money. The table is connected to an Aural Thrills Phono Stage by an all Silver Aural Thrills tone arm cable with five pin Cardas connector. Next the Phono stage is connected to a Two Stage Cathode Follower pre amp of my design by a pair of Aural Thrills Bass Boss cables. Output to the 300B mono Blocks is handled by an Aural Thrills, Tube Powered Active cable. All amps are connected directly to a dedicated line by Aural Thrills 10awg Power Cords.