The NRG Approach
It All Starts With The Conductors
The heart and soul of every cable is its conductors.
I keep things relatively simple and cost effective, while still aiming for the best performance possible.
All the elements of quality conductors are here - pure copper, quality dielectrics, and ample insulation.
High-priced exotic materials? None.
High-tech manufacturing processes? Nope.
Welcome To My Mind
(Hang on, the ride may get a little bumpy)
Okay, first things first. Full disclosure – I’m relatively new to this.
All told, I've spent over 2 decades designing and building cables, but NRG Custom Cables wasn't born until 2017, hence the "relatively new" statement. I started building cables for myself and a few close friends back in 2003, but I stopped after reaching the point where I had tried pretty much every plug and wire combination available to the DIY crowd (early 2010's - more on that further down the page). However, when I became a stay-at-home dad back in 2014, I re-discovered my passion for designing and building cables, which eventually resulted in the products I now offer. I say eventually, because my process is to continually experiment with various designs and materials, and not stop until I feel the performance cannot be improved upon without significant cost increases. It took me 3 years reach that place, but I never really stop "tweaking", so I continue to make further improvements to my products. Here are a few other things you should know about me, what I do, and how and why I do it:
I take building cables very seriously. I am proud of what I build, and I stand behind my work 100%. You can read about why I make cables a little further down the page
I try not to get bogged down with overly-technical terminology and/or industry jargon about the materials I use. However, I am upfront about my materials and why I use them, and you can read about that here
I have a simple cable design and construction philosophy:
I believe in Math and Science not marketing
Yes, I'm a bit of a hypocrite (sorry), as I do have a marketing slogan:
Hear More. Spend Less.
My goal is to make products with a very high build quality, which I believe directly corresponds to sound quality, and to ensure they are attainable/affordable for everyone and fit seamlessly in any system
I respect all of my competitors, as I know first-hand how tough it is to build high-quality cables. That said, I still want to eat their lunch/drink their milkshake. You can read a little more about that in the next section
As seriously as I take this, I like to have a little bit of fun with it (and my clients). While I don’t do this solely for fun, it is a major factor; if you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong
Speaking of having a little fun, I invite you to continue poking around my site and enjoy my musings about TV, movies, music, and… uh… hang on, I’m know I’m forgetting something...
And not just any cables, mind you - these are hand-crafted high performance cables, and they are proudly offered to you without markup-ups that are, as my attorney would say,
NRG Custom Cables
This is about a 2-minute read, and I promise you it's worth it.
A power cord has two jobs – get electrical current from your outlet to your gear (using conductors and plugs), and keep the signal as clean as possible (using shielding). You could distill it further and simply say, despite what some companies may tell you in their marketing, a power cord conducts electricity. And when it comes to conducting electricity, there are a few guidelines to help keep you grounded (see what I did there?):
1. Increased Conductivity = Decreased Resistance
(more/better current flow – the garden hose vs. fire hose analogy)
2. Greater Insulation & Shielding = Less Interference & Lower Capacitance and Inductance
(cleaner and more efficient current/signal transfer)
Before I go any further, I want to address something perpetuated by various marketing departments, and even some publications and/or their reviewers about how cables in and of themselves sound. I believe that a well designed cable simply maintains more of the original signal, allowing the sound of your gear to come through better. While I certainly agree that cables affect what you hear, I believe they only reveal more of what is already there - or less if they are poorly designed and/or constructed. I can spend all day on this, but moving on...
I have been making cables for about 20 years now, and in that time I've experimented with countless combinations of wire AWG's and configurations, assembly/build processes, and pretty much every off-the-shelf option there is for build materials. This included using materials nearly identical to the DIY power cables that seem to be everywhere these days (US/Canuck Audio Mart, Audiogon, various forums, etc.), and I used to think these types of cables were the best thing I could make for myself (and/or others). As such, I made my last 10 AWG cable back in the early 2010's, and didn't upgrade anything for quite a while.
That all changed a little while back when I had the opportunity to make some new contacts who work on the manufacturing side of electrical wiring. After picking their brains about various products and manufacturing processes, our conversations eventually landed on power cables, and I finally had an opportunity to do a deep dive. Despite the fact there are benefits to using larger wire, power cables usually top out at 9 AWG (brand-name, bulk wire, you name it), and I wanted to understand why. As the research piled up, I asked myself if I could finally upgrade my 10 AWG power cables (without re-mortgaging my house), and I’m about to answer that question.
In part, the AWG barrier exists because as conductor size increases, the insulation around said conductor must also increase. The significantly greater overall size of the cable and conductors also make termination difficult, and that is perhaps the biggest issue, and it's two-fold. The first problem is every (well almost every, but more on that in a moment) plug on the market is/was only designed to accommodate up to 9 AWG wire. As such, if company "X" wanted to make cable with larger wire, then said company would have to create their own own plugs to accommodate the wire. Even if/when you solve that problem, another one comes along in the form trying to automate the termination process with these new parts, which is a massive headache because now you have to re-calibrate all of your machinery. The "easy" solution to that of course, is to hand-build the cable, but that brings its own set of headaches, not to mention pretty significant costs. With all that said, it becomes clear why this AWG barrier exists.
I mean, who's crazy enough to go out and design their own custom wire, then custom plugs to accommodate the wire, then custom chassis for the plugs, then hand-build everything himself, then top it off by offering his creations for head-scratchingly low prices... and make up terms like "head-scratchingly low"?
Why I Make Cables
I am what some would refer to as an Audiophile.
In my view, that term simply describes someone who not only enjoys listening to music, but who also appreciates the (sometimes not so subtle) differences in recording/mastering of music, and the material/build quality of the gear used to faithfully reproduce it.
That term has lost some meaning over the years though, as I feel that it's now used by some (too many) companies simply to justify their marketing and pricing.
I don’t know about you, but when I read phrases like "for the true Audiophile", and they are inevitably coupled with outrageous prices, it makes me want to scream (or pull my hair out... if I had any).
I find the gimmick-laden marketing and the over-pricing that goes with cables a little insulting.
I believe in Math and Science
I also believe that no endeavor should be entered in to without exhaustive R&D, and before you start making products and/or comparing them to anything else, you need to know what you’re up against.
As such, when I decided to offer cables to the general public, my first purchase wasn’t building materials, it was other cables.
Then came the fun part – cutting them up to see what was under the hood.
The cables that I cut up during R&D, were, in a word - disappointing. I can think of a few other words too, but I digress.
Furthermore, after deconstructing a well-respected $1500 power cable (see collage here) and looking at the materials and craftsmanship of it, I was also left with equal parts frustration and fierce determination.
This is where I am.
Frustrated with the build and material quality of reasonably priced cables, and determined to offer something better. And not only better for the money, just plain better - PERIOD. You can decide if I'm currently doing that.
So, back to the big question - why do I make cables?
I do this because I don't like feeling that I'm being priced out of my hobby,
and/or that audio bliss is beyond my means.
I do this because I don't think you should have to re-mortgage your house to get
well-built, high-performance cables.
I don't want to end on a negative note though, so I'll end with the #1 reason why I make cables -
I do this because I love it.