Basic information and helpful hints

On this page you will find basic information, procedures, experience-reports and helpful hints, which will help avoiding errors during set up of your equipment. Furthermore, you can read how to obtain maximum sound quality.

Important notice:
Following and performing of all hints and procedures on this page is done exclusively upon your own responsibility. For damages on material or injuries caused by unqualified work, AUDIO-TUNING-PITHAN does not take any liability!

How do I connect my components?

Why is there a shielding at the cord and how do I have to connect it?

What are the reasons for hum and hiss? How can I avoid it?

What do I have to consider concerning listening-room andspeaker set-up?

How do I find correct plug-position of powercord, multiple socket outlet and line-filter?

What is the correct order of components in my multiple socket-outlet?

Good contact is everything:

How do I connect my components?

It has to be distinguished between different cable-types. All cables can roughly be classified into three groups:

Let´s have a detailed look at the different types.


Group 1 cords have "only" the purpose to deliver the 230/115 Volts and a high current from mains plug to the connected component with minimum losses. The construction is relatively simple. In most of all cases you will encounter the classical three-wire cord with parallel running, insolated Copper-wires of 0,75 to 4 mm². The marking is: phase (black or brown), ground (blue) and protecting earth (green/yellow). Because the skin-effect (shift of effective wire-cross-section to the surface, depending on increasing frequency) can completely disregarded, one can say: "Much helps much". As a good compromise regarding sound, flexibility and posibillity of termination (connecting of plugs), a cross-section of 2,5mm² can be regarded as optimal. Indeed already at this point the decision for average or excellent sound is made. That means, a bad or good powercord causes the musical reproduction to be just satisfying or thrilling. Why that? Well, if you realize how high the resistance loss of a cheap and poor powercord of only 0,75mm² compared with a 2,5mm² cord is, you will see that the thicker one has faktor 3,3 smaller resistance-loss at same length. In other words: The voltage-drop is smaller and the ability to deliver fast and high current is better.

Why should a good powercord be shielded? The voltage and thus the current in a powercord is alternating its direction 50 or 60 times per second. Unfortunately this electromagnetic field does not only stay inside the cord, but also gets outside into its ambience. Yoe can prove this with a coil connected to a speaker: if you get close to an unshielded cord with the coil, you´ll hear a hum out of the speaker.

What does this mean for excellent music reproduction? As you now can imagine, especially the phono-input is endangered, since the signal voltages - which represents the musical information - are very low. For Moving Coil (MC) they are typically in the range of some microvolts
(1/1.000.000 Volt), and for Moving Magnet-systems (MM) at some hundred microvolts, resp. millivolts (1/1.000 Volt). The phono-cable between turntable and phono-preamplifier acts as an antenna and catches - similar to the coil in our thought experiment - the 50Hz-distortion and delivers it amplified as hum to the speakers. This unwanted influence is, at lower level, also present at all other HiFi-components. It decreases at larger distances from the cord, but crossing of audio-cable and powercord can be enough to cause hum. If whereas the powercord is shieded, the metal shielding avoids transferring the 50Hz-field into the ambience, because now it can flow to the ground via the protecting earth wire.

How should a good powercord be terminated? After taking off the insulation and shielding about 40 mm from one end of the cord, the insulation of each of the three single wires has to be removed at a length of 10mm. Then suitable core cable ends are pressed on with special plyers. On the other end, where the mains-plug will be connected later, alo 40mm of the insulation are taken off, but the shielding remains and must have the same length as the three wires. The insulation of the three wires are taken away and the shielding is thinned a litte and afterwards pressed into core cable ends together with the protecting earth wire. Also the two other wires are pressed into separate core cable ends. At this point it has to be mentioned, that only special suitable plyers should be used for this work. The blank Copper ends should not be soldered since a tinned contact will deteriorate under pressure.

Now mains plug and warm device plug has to be connected, make sure to connect all wires to the allocated pins! Tightly fasten bolts and strain relief!. Then close and fix covers and check correct assembly with an electrical measuring-instrument.


To keep the information clearly arranged, we restrict the description to asymmetrical audio-cables. This type can be recognized on its termination with cinchplugs and you will find them all-round. Group 2 cables can be separated into two subcategories: Coaxial- and parallelsymmetrical cables.

What is the difference between the two subtypes? A coaxial-cable consists of a - flexible, or better rigid - inside core conductor made from high purely Copper or Silver. This conductor itself is encirceled by an insolating layer of PVC, Teflon or another material. On the outer surface of this insulation is a - more or less flexible - layer of conducting material. This layer acts as a shielding as well. Then another insulating layer is brought onto the outside conductor.

A parallelsymmetrical cable consists of - as the name already indicates - two, or in rare cases more - parallel running inside conductors. These conductors are insulated and then encirceled by a shielding. Because the return wire is made from the same material as the other and also the cross section of both wires is identical, the music signal finds optimal conditions. Thus many experts think that this type is superior to the coaxial type.

The most important measuring value for audio-cables is the capacity, it is designatd in picofarad per meter (pF/m). Because the resistance is decreasing with higher capacity and cable-length, a low capacity per meter of the cable is important. Otherwise higher frequencies of the musical spectrum will be attenuated. At values of 100 pF/m you are on the safer side, even if longer distances have to be connected. The ohmic resistance does not play an important role, because the component which is connected at the receiving side has an input with high impedance.

What properties should a good audio cable have? In every case, a tight shielding is essential, especially if it is running close to other cables, in the worst case to powercords. The contact area should be coated with a noble metal, e.g. Gold or Iridium. Furthermore, a perfect and permanent contact to the socket is important and can for example achieved with a pressure mechanism, as AUDIO-TUNING-PITHAN offers.

How should a good audio-cable be terminated? The connection between cable and plugs is exclusively done by soldering. Because of its lower resistance, silver containing soldering material is preferrable.


Among cables of this group, you´ll find the widest range of different types. Even very exotic constructions are offerred. The simpliest and cheapest one is consisting of just two paralles copper wires insulated by transparent plastic. Available cross sections are 1,5mm², 2,5m², 4mm² and 6mm². These cables are offered for little money in almost every hardware store, but you should keep your hands away from this type! You can use this cables for checking proper function of your speakers, but it is useless to connect high quality speakers.

Much better are cross-connected cables with two or three wires for each, the forth- and return conductor. This type partially compensates the surrounding electromagnetical field. The forth- and return-wires are placed close to each other. Another type are coaxial speaker cables, this construction is described at "Audio cables" Because they are relatively rigid, this type is not often used.

The most important measure value for speaker cables is the ohmic resistance, designated in ohm per meter. It increases with smaller cross section and with higher conductor length. A cross section of 2 - 4 mm² is enough at a length up to 4m. Nevertheless there are special speaker cables which sound very good despite its cross section is less than 2 mm². Furthermore, the cable should have a low capacity and induktivity. The LS300 from AUDIO-TUNING-PITHAN has all the above mentioned positive properties.

How should a good speaker cable be terminated? A good contact between cable and plugs (babanas or lugs) is essential, because the amplifier must deliver a high current to the speaker. Any bad contact causes a higher resistant and thus avoidable losses. For proper termination two methods are possible: cable lugs or babanas. The blank metal wires should be inserted and pressed into core cable ends before they are terminated. The blank Copper ends should not be soldered since a tinned contact will deteriorate under pressure.

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No chance for hum and hiss:

Why is there a shielding at the cord and how do I have to connect it?

Only at one side!

A lot of people think, if they connect the shielding at both ends of the cable - receiving and transmitting side - they achieve the best effect. That´s wrong! A shielding must be connected to the plug only at this end of the cable where a signal delivering component is fixed. Two examples: at a powercord the shielding is only connected to the mains plug. At a cinch cable which interconnects CD-player and amplifier only at the end where the CD-player is connected.

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I always hear a hum out of my speakers!

What are the reasons for hum and hiss? How can I avoid it?

Annoying hum-problems belong to the most frequently occuring phenomenons together with music reproduction. It can really spoil all pleasure while listening music. Its removal is in many cases quite difficult and success is often attained only after a step-by-step examination of the complete HiFi equipment. Only in a few cases a single component is the reason for hum. The causes are unfortunately harder to find. What exactly is hum from technical side? Well, it is the transformation of the mains alternating current frequency of 50 Hertz or 60Hertz (50 or 60 cycles per second) into the audible range. The more or less loud tone is reproduced through the loudspeakers. If you turn the volume-adjust at your amp, usually the hum also becomes louder.

Hum can have many different reasons, but most of all it is caused by different potential of the supplying voltages at the components. Furthermore, components with cheap and bad designed power supplies and phono preamplifier produce hum, if the signal-to-noise ratio is too low. In some cases the housing of the component is vibrating due too badly decoupled transformers. Then it may be helpful to use one of our resonance absorber RA85 on top of the case.

First some important presumptions to avoid hum from the beginning.

1.) All HiFi-components have to be feed out of one multiple socket outlet with low electrical losses! If possible, the powercord should be shielded. Our socket outlets with filter FNL6, FNL6s, FNL8 or FNL10 are fulfilling these conditions. You can use, according to the number of components to be connected, 6, 8 or 10 sockets.

2.) Do not place a component on top or close to another! The transformers, especially those of amplifiers, can interfere with the sensitive inputs of source components. Place all components separatly on a high quality rack.

3.) Do not use dimmers for ilumination, energy saving lamps, microwave ovens or mobile phones while listening music!

4.) Check - if possible - all contact positions of each powecord (soldering or contacts with bolts). A better solution: Exchange all low quality powercords which were packed together to shielded ones with higher cross section, e.g. to our model L125!

If the problem persists, please perform the following steps:

1.) Do not place audio cables (cinch or XLR) close to powercords. If the hum only occurs while listening LP´s, please check whether the thin ground wire from the turntable has proper contact to the ground screw of the preamplifier. Use only good shielded phono cables, for example our PSK2, which even has two layers of shielding against interferences. This is very important since the musical signal from the pick up is very small and thus sensitive.

2.) Exchange all other audio cables to shieded types. Do not forget the digital cables, they also can transfer hum!

3.) If the hum still persists, you should connect a high-quality line filter between the multiple socket outlet and the mains-socket. At this point our NFL50 was successful several times and could eleminate the hum-problem!

4.) If you own a radio-receiver (tuner), the hum can also come from the antenna. Then you should try a special current-filter, which is available in radio and TV-stores for little money. This filter is simply placed between antenna wall-outlet and antenna-cable.

5.) After all these actions there should be no more hum, if it is still present, things become a little more difficult. Disconnect all cables from the components and connect one after another e.g. CD-player - amplifier - speakers. Continue as long with source components, until the hum appears and try to locate the disturbing component.

6.) Now move with this part of your equipment into another room, or better, into another house and check, whether the hum is still present. If yes, you should ask for professional service, if not, there is a problem in your electrical house-installation and this should be checked by an expert.

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A way to better sound:

How do I find correct plug-position of powercord, multiple socket outlet and line-filter?

Important: The following procedure does only work with devices, which have no connection to ground-earth, means only phase- and zero-wire, but no protection earth. If your component has such a wire, you will always find the same measuring-result. In this case, you have to insulate the contact in the socket or at the plug with tape, before finding the correct position. After checking, do not forget to remove the tape!

Necessary tools: Phase-tester, digital-voltmeter and marking-dots, approx. 8mm Ø.

Proceed as follows:

1.) Switch off all components and disconnect the multiple socket outlet from the wall outlet. Find the phase at the wall-outlet (power-socket), to which the multiple socket outlet should be connented, with the phase-tester and mark it with a dot. Now plug in the power plug of your multiple socket outlet and mark the phase here as well so that both dots match to each other. Notice: At all AUDIO-TUNING-PITHAN-products the phase is already marked!

2.) Disconnect all cables (cinch/XLR- and antenna- cable) from the component, which you are going to check for correct plug-position, leave only the powercord connected.

3.) Plug in the powercord of this component into the multiple socket outlet and switch on the device. Select a range of 100VAC at the voltmeter. Now measure the voltage between the protecting-earth contact of a free socket of the multiple socket outlet and the component-ground (e.g. ground of a cinch-socket). Turn voltage range down as long as you get a reasonable value on the display. Write down the voltage (e.g. 78 mV).

4.) Now turn the powerplug from the powercord and measure the voltage again (e.g. 264 mV). The plug-position which delivers the lover voltage value, is the correct one and results in better sound performance.

5.) Stick another marking dot on this side of the power-plug, where you find the point on the multiple socket outlet (Phase).

6.) Now you can implement - if present - the line-filter NFL50 between the multiple socket outlet and the powercord of the component which should be dejammed. Please connect the plugs in that way, that all marking dots face to each other (phase to phase).

7.) Repeat the points 3.) to 5.) with all other components of your equipment.

8.) Connect all other cables.

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Exploit the electrical energy in the best way:

What is the correct order of components in my multiple socket-outlet?

HiFi-Components have a totally different power consumption, a big poweramp for example needs 10 to 100 times more energy than a small phono-preamplifier. For this reason the "hungry" components don´t take away the voltage, you should follow a certain order while plugging in the powercords. The order is seen from the end with connention-cord on the multiple socket outlet, first device is plugged in there. If you own separate CD-drive and-converter, you should first connect the drive and then the D/A-converter.

  1. Most important signal-source (CD-player, turntable and so on.)
  2. Second most important signal-source (turntable, SACD-player and so on), if present
  3. Third most important signal-source (tuner, cassete-deck and so on), if present
  4. Phono-preamplifier, if present
  5. Preamplifier, if present
  6. Integrated amplifier, Power amplifier(s) or aktive speakers

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We wish you a lot of fun while listening music!

This page will be continued.

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