Many sophisticated design techniques, superior materials, and an exceptional connection system combine to make Coral possible. Whether used single ended (RCA plugs) or balanced (XLR plugs), Coral's open and natural sound is obvious.
• Design Basics: Coral is Triple-Balanced. This means there are three identical insulated conductors, in addition to a separate conductor underneath the 100% coverage foil shield. When used with XLR connectors and balanced electronics, the two positive signals (inverting and non-inverting) and the negative, all get the same low distortion conducting path. The shield is attached to chassis ground through the case of the XLR, providing extremely effective shielding without contaminating the quality of the negative conducting path. When Coral is fitted with RCA plugs, two conductors are used together for the much higher potential across the negative connection, providing a substantial performance advantage. The shield is only attached at one end, providing total shield coverage without compromising the negative conducting path.
• Conductors: All of Coral's conductors are solid. Electrical and magnetic interaction between strands in a conventional cable is the greatest source of distortion, often causing a somewhat dirty harsh sound. Solid conductors are fundamental toward achieving Coral's very clean sound.
• Metal: PSC (Perfect Surface Copper) has an astonishingly smooth and pure surface. Proprietary metal processing technology protects the wire's surface at every stage of drawing and fabrication. When high-purity low-oxide copper is kept as soft, pure and smooth as possible, it becomes a wonderfully low distortion conductor. For fifteen years AudioQuest has pioneered the use of superior metals; yet even we were surprised by this huge leap in performance. PSC clearly outperforms previous AQ metals that cost over ten times as much.
• Insulation: Any solid material adjacent to a conductor is actually part of an imperfect circuit. Wire insulation, circuit board materials all absorb energy (loss). Some of this energy is stored and then released as distortion. All of Coral's conductors use air filled FPE (Foam Polyethylene) insulation because air absorbs next to no energy, and Polyethylene is low-loss and has a benign distortion profile. Thanks to all the air in FPE, it causes much less of the out-of-focus effect common to other materials.
• Terminations: Coral's plugs are Resistance Welded to the cable in a process which sends 8,000 amperes of current through the junction of conductor and plug for 33 millionths of a second. The heat resulting from the resistance of the metals locally liquefies the conductor and the plug, creating a single material alloy where the two meet. An ideal connection that puts any solder to shame.
• Coral's thickly silver-plated RCA plugs use a patented design that eliminates the distortion caused by the extra contact inside most plugs. Because the ground shells are stamped instead of machined, the metal can be chosen for low distortion instead of for its machinability. Coral's RCA and XLR connectors have silver thickly plated directly over the plug parts, without the intermediary nickel layer common to almost all other plugs. Silver plating provides the best possible connection, regardless of plating on the equipment jacks.
A combination of these major ingredients, and many more subtle details add up to explain how Coral can sound so wonderfully clean, clear and dynamic.