Over the years I’ve probably installed or worked on literally thousands of car audio systems. One of my specialties when I was a professional installer, was the prevention of noise shi6312_optor more often the removal of noise from someone else’s install. During most of those years I often pondered, sometimes quite verbally (and with great disdain), the choice of our industry to use RCA cables as signal conductors. From a pure physics point of view, it simply doesn’t make sense. You take a very low level, complex AC signal (your music) and run it over a very electrically noisy vehicle chassis. In a coaxial cable in many cases, which by nature will make noise problems worse! Add to that, the fact that the connectors typically don’t lock together, and then we install them in a vehicle, subject to all kinds of vibration and changes in temperature. Quite amazing when you think about it. An RCA type cable is actually about the worst possible choice we could have made, but, here we are.

It’s always fairly astonishing to me that we are able to get things as quiet as we do. Suffice to say, your choice if interconnect cable can make a big difference in whether or not you end up with intermittent signal, signal degradation, or the dreaded “audible tachometer” alternator noise or not.

I suppose it’s pretty obvious by now that a properly constructed cable is fairly important, and so are the cable ends. A good tight fit, and consistency in sizing are important to make sure all the signal gets to its intended destination, the inputs of your amplifiers! This is where a good quality cable can really make a difference, and it just so happens the experts at Stinger Electronics recently sent over a few samples their latest and greatest HPM Level 3 interconnects.

The first kit is called an Stinger SHI2317, and it’s a 17 foot long pair of interconnects. What makes this special are the great features that have been incorporated into the product. First, the cable ends themselves are sturdy and made of CNC machined aluminum. Electrical contact areas are coated with what Stinger calls Shoc-Krome, to provide good SHI231_optelectrical conductivity and resist corrosion. The outer shell of the RCA ends are tapered and split, and can be locked into place my tightening the blue anodized barrel, which has thoughtfully been given a tightly fitting rubber grip so you can get a good hold on it. The center pin of the connector is also split, which helps to optimize the contact, and provide a good solid connection. The cable is double shielded, and of the twisted pair variety, which has been proven to reduce radiated noise transmission, providing the twists are tight enough. The cables are also directional, which refers to the fact that the “source” end of the cable has the RCA shell connected to the cable shielding, and it “floats” on the other end. This technique can be helpful in reducing noise caused by ground loops, or poor impedance matching of components. The pair of cables merge into a single larger diameter jacket, which is covered in a braided open mesh material. This mesh material not only provides some protection to the cable, but it also is easier to install, because it prevents the jacket material from getting hung up on things during the installation. The cables have a very nice fit and finish, and Stinger assures us that the entire cable has no internal solder connections, and is pure oxygen free copper.

The second kit ( Stinger SHI6312) is very similar, except there are 3 pairs (6 individual cables) all included in a single cable run. The CNC machined ends are silver this time, and slightly different in appearance, but still have all the same features as the aforementioned cable. Cable identification is made possible via small colored O-rings that are found just behind each RCA shell. The cable itself follows the double shielded, directional, twisted pair design as before, and also includes the protective and helpful mesh covering.

These Stinger HPM Level 3 kits are truly high quality cables that will do justice to even the most demanding applications. The stereo pair in the 17 foot length sells for under 50 bucks, and the full 6 conductor cable in a 12 foot length can be purchased for about $80.00. Pick some up, and you’ll know you’ve done your best in ensuring the integrity of your signal transfer.