Cable Designer Roundtable

Equipment report
Loudspeaker cables,
Digital cables
Cable Designer Roundtable

The Pioneering Founders of The Cable Industry Discuss the History, Art, and Science of High-End Audio Cables.

It’s easy to forget that just 35 years ago cables were an afterthought in the pursuit of great sound.

Lamp cord and throw-away “patch cords” were the norm. And then, consistent with the high-end ethos of striving for improvement, a few intrepid souls ventured into uncharted territory to create the foundation of what would become an important contribution to realistic music reproduction as well as a major business segment. From humble beginnings in the late 1970s with relatively crude products, the high- end cable industry evolved dramatically, producing highly sophisticated designs unimaginable to someone in the 1970s. Today’s interconnects and cables reflect more than three decades of research into what had been the apparently simple task of moving an audio signal from one place to another. For this Designer Roundtable I asked five of the founding members of the high-end cable industry—who collectively have more than 150 years of cable-design experience—to share their perspectives on this important component category. —Robert Harley

Bruce Brisson - Music Interface Technologies (MIT)

Bruce Brisson engineered the first patented and purposefully built audio cable in 1981, the first of many patents and technologies he licensed to Monster Cable Inc. Many of Monster’s products are still using his technologies today and have become some of Monster’s most enduring and successful lines. In 1984, he founded Music Interface Technologies (MIT), which has been a leading force in the research, design, and manufacture of high-performance audio, video, and AC products.

Since forming MIT, Bruce has also designed or manufactured cables and components for many other well-known audio companies such as Spectral Audio, Jeff Rowland Design Group, Wilson Audio Specialties, Martin Logan Electrostatic Loudspeakers, Goldmund Audio, and most recently Constellation Audio. MIT products are used in many recording studios and have become crucial components in many Hollywood productions. If you have listened to a hit record or attended a hit movie within the past three decades, you have undoubtedly heard many of his products.

Each of you participating in this roundtable is a pioneer, designing cables long before cables and interconnects became recognized as important contributors to high-fidelity music reproduction. Why did you choose to work in the cable arena rather than in other fields of high-end audio?

It happened rather by chance. In the late 1970s I had a complex three-way speaker system with active crossovers. The system used three stereo amplifiers and therefore three pairs of speaker cable. I had purchased different types of cables as I added crossovers and amplifiers to the speakers while building out the system. So the system used three different variants of cables.

One of the crossovers broke and I repaired it. I then proceeded to hook the system back up. Because I had not paid attention before I tore it down to which cable had been used to hook up the amplifiers to the tweeters versus the midrange or woofers, I cabled the system back together differently. The sound of the system changed. I proceeded to move the cables back to where they had been before I had torn the system down, and everything sounded correct again. I decided to pursue the question of why.