Finley Audio Philosophy and Cable Design


If you came here in search of the Holy Grail, read no further.
That is not what Finley Audio is about.

Our Philosophy

Our mission is to provide real value to music lovers.  We make our products for you and you only and not to fulfill some personal ego fix, maximize profit, or shout out about having the best cable ever made.  We are creating a range of products to fit your needs and budget while delivering first-class quality and value we truly believe exceeds what any other company is offering.  And we are committed to producing products at a price that honestly reflect the time, material, research, and rigorous testing that goes into creating and manufacturing a superior quality cable at a fair price.  The fact is, our current pricing is totally based on a ‘break even’ strategy for sustaining the company.

We refuse to run with the rest of the pack.  Finley Audio will never be a company who indifferently tacks on tens, hundreds, or thousands of dollars to a product only to boost profit margin.  For example, we do not add unnecessary bling and fancy looking wood or metal blocks on our cables and then tell you there was some kind of magic fairy dust inside that is somehow responsible for how well our cables work.  That is not the way it works here.  We are regular audiophiles, just like you.  We live on a budget, just like you.  We have regular jobs, families, and all the other responsibilities that go along with living in the real world, just…like…you.  This is why our products are designed to eliminate any unnecessary frills and window dressing.  Why would you pay for exotic materials, tacked-on eye candy, or unnecessary complexity if they do not make your system sound better?  Instead, we produce a product that is robust, durable, and most importantly, functions at a very high level of performance with an understated appearance.  The result is a look that that reflects the handmade craftsmanship created with modern materials and technology applied in a practical and efficient manner.

Cable design

What is the first and most important function of any cable in an audio environment?  I think we can all agree: Transparency.  Without transparency, the cable will alter the sound of the source.  Without transparency, you will never hear the music as it was created or intended to be heard.

So then, just what is it that affects transparency in an audio cable?  Well, it is never just one thing.  However, noise is the single largest culprit, and it comes from all kinds of places.  This requires that each solution be tailored to the specific source of noise and explains why the method of reducing noise from radio waves will be different than the solution for the noise generated by a nearby low-level magnetic field.  Plus, the manner in which any cable is constructed (e.g. twisting or weaving, conductor orientation, number of strands) will work to limit noise when arranged in certain configurations.  Our cable design confronts and mitigates noise from multiple sources across the frequency band by using multiple shielding strategies.  For instance, our Cirrus line uses two unique materials as just part of the internal shielding for RFI and EMI interference.  We then concentrate on minimizing the problems that those solutions themselves can cause.  Too much or little of capacitance or inductance will influence how well a cable performs.  When reaching this stage in the design process it becomes a balancing act.  So, when we make a compromise, we do so in a manner that maximizes effectiveness and sound quality with a minimum of complexity and cost.  We apply this type of design methodology throughout the entire design process.  This is only one of the methods we implement in order to keep pricing realistic and deliver value to you.  Look, we could build an end-game, no-holds-barred cable.  But who would want to pay the price for that?  Not us.  And we are betting not you, either.  Especially when it would result in only the slightest increase of performance compared to our current top tier.  We prefer to keep focused on the issues of diminishing gains vs performance, quality, and cost.   We like to call that ‘The Triad of Design Requirements”.

Another major factor in cable performance is termination.  Each connection or termination within the cable itself is a potential point for signal degradation and the ingress of noise.  Each and every termination acts as a resistor creating nodes for distortion and noise.  At Finley Audio, every termination is designed and/or made to mitigate potential sources of distortion or noise.  Our process also prevents oxidation from becoming a problem over the long term.

Every one of our cables uses Teflon® insulation on its conductors for effective noise rejection.  And we chose high-grade silicone for the jacket material, instead of the more common PVC.  Additionally, the grades of silicone we specify have electrical properties to provide better shielding while at the same time providing an extremely flexible jacket.

Once the noise is under control, the result becomes a silent background that accentuates the music as it flows out from the quiet passages.  At this point we must ensure that the signal itself is not disturbed.  This is where the type of wire plays a major factor.  For our Cirrus line, multi-diameter, Litz-wound, stranded conductors help to preserve the minutiae of detail in ambience, depth, width, focus, and all those other ‘audiophile’ terms folks like to use to describe how music sounds to them.  This is done by maintaining the time alignment over the full frequency bandwidth.  It also addresses the issues that “Skin Effect” can produce by maintaining high current capacity (e.g. transient response) through the use of many individually insulated strands of varying diameter wire.  All of our cables take advantage of these design characteristics to the extent their retail pricing will allow.  Regardless of which line of cables you purchase from, the same engineering principles are being applied across the board.

Then we have the connectors.  That $1.00 OEM cable is a high-volume, machine-made product with tolerances that allows for significant variability.  The wire terminations make a poor and inconsistent electrical connection by any real measure of quality.  Add to that list uncertain durability. Yes, they work.  But the resistance, efficiency and consistency of the connection is no match for a handmade assembly using quality materials and an assembly process that is tightly controlled, tested and verified for each connector.

Finally, our connectors, whether sourced through our suppliers or manufactured to our predetermined design requirements, are chosen for maximum integrity, reliability, and durability of electrical contact both at the component and wire termination points.  It is by this process of making sure every last detail is addressed in the same manner using the best techniques possible at a realistic cost that sets the entire range of our cables apart from the rest of the pack.

About power from the grid

Everyone gets different power.  Some get relatively clean power from the wall.  Others are not so lucky, often like those who are in apartment buildings or near heavy industrial locations.  And some have dedicated lines run from the fuse box to their systems. Consider that the power coming from the grid is AC.  It is cycling positive and negative, and it does not just stop inside your equipment.  It returns back to the power grid.  This is the reason we have spent significant time and effort on the design and material selection of each conductor in all of our power cables.  We have achieved surprising but welcomed success at reducing noise by addressing this specific aspect of cable performance.  Additionally, all audio equipment is not the same.  For instance, toroidal transformers are different in their characteristics than IE plate transformers. Things like saturation and noise vary between transformers types, as do the basic electrical design typography and quality of individual components.  Like most things in nature, there are pros and cons to each.

It will always be up to you

Let us be realistic in our expectations.  There is no “Silver Bullet.”

Any cable, no matter how good the design, will always be a compromise.  And it will not behave exactly the same in every system because every system is unique.  Some of us are blessed with clean power right out of the wall, while others are not so lucky.  Some equipment have well-shielded transformers of a design that make them relatively silent, while others use the lowest common denominator in parts and implementation.  Finally, there are times when certain cables just do not play well with others in the schoolyard.  This is when we step in and work one-on-one with you to insure you receive the best value and performance possible from our products.  We personally work with you, applying our over 100 years of shared experience in audio to resolve any issue to your complete satisfaction.

The performance contrast between our entry level and top tier products may be less extreme than some would expect.  This is true with all cables.  As with many things in life, one might consider high-end cables as being at the extreme of the “diminishing returns” curve.  The price differential between our entry level and top tier product is solely determined by the cost of the raw materials and the labor required to construct them.   For example, when you pay for a Cirrus power cord, you are paying for the man-hours required to assemble an intricate hand-made product with certified materials obtained to our specific requirements.  And when you purchase a Stratus power cord, you are buying a product built by the same hands with the same care and expertise as our Cirrus, but containing less expensive materials and a more fundamental design which is less demanding to construct.  Some may feel the difference in performance between the two is not justified.  We get it.  Thousand-dollar power cords are not for everyone.  That is why we developed a range of products, one of which we hope meets the needs of the most import person in this entire process.  You, the customer, to whom we are beholden.  And who we must account to and deliver upon our promise.  That promise is to give back to the audio community in the form of offering our cables which deliver performance, quality, and value (e.g. The Triad) with no B.S. or ridiculous claims that they will instantly transform your system with a “transcendent soundstage” or “rapture-like imaging”.  Our goal is to offer a range of cables which deliver a level of improved sound quality to virtually any system that will clearly justify their cost.

And if you buy one and do not agree, then please, send it back for a full refund.