In-akustik Micro AIR Loudspeaker Cables are high on tech but easier on the wallet
Much has changed since we first wrote about German designed and manufactured in-akustik cables, back in 2017. In just a few short years, in-akustik has gone from strength to strength and most certainly become the cable brand choice of many discerning music lovers.
We reviewed the Micro AIR loudspeaker cables and interconnects in 2020, awarding the high-end but realistically priced range one of the first, and now coveted StereoNET Applause Awards.
Mark Gusew concluded:
Audiophile interconnects and speaker cables remain a contentious subject, with some hi-fi fans regarding them as poor value for money compared to electronics upgrades, for example. Yet in-akustik's Micro Air range does not fit into such a category; it's old fashioned high quality, high-value fare that offers easily discerned improvements to people with mid-priced systems, or above. I couldn't help but be impressed by the whole range.
That's why the announcement of the new LS-404 Reference Micro AIR speaker cables (available in banana plug and spade termination) is bigger news than many would expect.
Featuring trickle-down technology from the Reference AIR line, the Reference Micro AIR is based on the company's same approach to physics. As the name suggests, the company says, “insulating air also plays a central role in the new REFERENCE MICRO AIR series due to its excellent dielectric properties.”
Cables as such produce no sound, but have a filter effect and interact with the components. In our opinion, audio connections should be as inconspicuous as possible and should not produce any sound colouration. Because these may be astonishing when heard for the first time, but in the end they distort the original sound and over the course of time they become highly irritating. The trick is therefore to adapt the unavoidable physical filter effect of the cables by means of the architecture and choice of materials in such a way that losses and interactions are reduced to a minimum. We have also pursued this goal in the development of the REFERENCE MICRO AIR series and – in our opinion – we have achieved it again.
The company says that the laws of nature “cannot be switched off”. One such law is capacitance, in simple terms, means that a cable, like a battery, can store energy and release it again with a delay. In-akustik says that this effect strongly influences the transmission of audio signals and is undesirable.
Cable capacitance is a physical phenomenon, and its size depends on various factors. One essential factor is the insulation material, the so-called dielectric, which can increase the capacity many times over. On the other hand, 'air' does not do this and is, therefore, the ideal insulator.
In-akustik's Micro AIR technology is said to be a complex, diamond-shaped structure. The chambers created by this design are said to increase the distance between the conductors and increase the air content in the insulation. In this way, capacitance is said to be reduced, and the transmission characteristics for the sensitive audio signals are optimised.
The Reference Micro AIR LS-404 features a total of 8 concentric copper conductors, in addition to the air dielectric. The company says that due to the multicore architecture, “the magnetic fields of the positive and negative conductors overlap and neutralise each other.” Other benefits include reduced inductance of the cable, “thereby guaranteeing unadulterated transmission of the audio signal over a broad frequency range.”
The surfaces of the BFA Bananas and the cable lugs are finished with a Rhodium coating, while the contact surfaces and the screw connection of the cable lugs are manufactured from a single piece, avoiding contact resistance. Further, the contact surface which has slits on the side changes to a concave shape when the device terminal connections are tightened, said to help prevent the cable lugs from sliding out.
Available now, in-akustik Reference Micro AIR LS-404 is available in 3m lengths, and a pair will sell for $1,600 RRP (Banana) or $1,700 RRP (Spade). They are also available in bi-wire configuration, and custom lengths are available as special orders.
StereoNET’s Founder and Publisher, born in UK and raised on British Hi-Fi before moving to Australia where he worked as an Engineer in both the audio and mechanical fields.