Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that most of your questions can be answered here or elsewhere on the web site, but we encourage you to call your Transparent Authorized Dealer or call us us for help with any question or concerns.

Q: What happens when I move up to the next level of Transparent cable?
  • A higher level Transparent interconnect and speaker cable will lower the noise floor of your system. This will allow you to hear a whole new level of sound staging and ambience from your favorite recordings, along with better resolution of rhythmic, dynamic and harmonic nuances. You will also notice a significant improvement in midrange and bass response.
Q: What is the MM2 Technology?
  • MM2 Technology was introduced in 2008 following 6 years of research and product testing. Although MM Technology was a major advance in cable design, Transparent feels that MM2 Technology goes even closer to the heart of the music: noise-free, with effortless and seemingly infinite dynamics and low-level information. With reduced electromagnetic interference, the restrictions of the listening room walls vanish and a whole new sense of space transports the listener to the venue. With superior component matching and a far more precise model for custom calibrating the network to match the impedance characteristics of associated components, pace and rhythm flow so freely that the last vestiges of electronic haze disappear.

    MM2 Technology provides the following qualities:
    • Noise disappears
    • Listening space expands
    • Dynamics bloom
    • Pace and rhythm flow
    • Microdetails unfold
    Music envelops

    and achieves them through these physical features:
    • Network design advances
    • Network assembly improvements
    • More precise network component matching
    • Connector technology advances with non-electromagnetic connector covers
    • More precise custom calibration of the networks to match the impedance characteristics of associated components

    For more information, read our PDF about MM2 Technology.
Q: What is MM Technology?
  • MM Technology was introduced in 2000 with the launch of OPUS MM, and subsequently was applied to every product in Transparent's extensive range of audio cables. Built on, but greatly extending the scope of XL Technology, MM Technology featured completely new approaches to cable technology, network components, and damping and suspension technology, and also ushered in a major feature available from Transparent: custom optimization to suit the specific requirements of a customer's system, whether it is a world-famous mastering facility or a private home theater.

    MM Technology introduced
    • New strand size, developed for its low noise and low resonance properties, to provide a powerful and quiet foundation on which to build Transparent's groundbreaking OPUS MM network technology
    • New tighter-spec components, designed by Transparent to work ideally with the specific stranding and geometry of MM Technology. Each length of MM speaker cable or interconnect required its own component values to achieve the level of precision required for MM Technology's standards of performance. The precision, hand-made components in the MM networks brought forth a previously unheard of level of precision and customization.
    • Improvements to circuit layout, discovered through the extremely quiet and neutral listening environment provided by Transparent's music and film studio. MM Technology required considerably more precision and measurement in the assembly process than Transparent's award-winning XL series. MM's performance was so quiet and resolving that, in the OPUS level of cable, final adjustments to the network required tolerances to .025 ohms and 1 picofarad.
    • Damping and suspension advances, to prevent mechanical resonance from obscuring the nuances of the music. These properties were first developed in the OPUS MM products, whose network modules were encased in carbon fiber and mounted upon a massive chassis designed to reduce airborne resonances. The extremely stiff, light carbon fiber skin deadened any residual resonance without adding significant additional mass to the network pods. Inside, a large mass of electrically-neutral epoxy damping material encapsulated the OPUS MM network components to reduce resonance in the audible range.

    Damping and suspension control is an absolute requirement to transfer the fullest possible range of high-level signals from the most powerful amplifiers. We first discovered just how key these technologies are when we compared an early OPUS MM prototype (which was encapsulated like Reference XL) with the first production model of OPUS MM with the large, carbon fiber network pod and resonance-reducing plinth. The differences in low-level information retrieval and dynamics were so astonishing MM Technology was soon applied to the rest of Transparent's audio range, making Transparent the first manufacturer to seriously address the damage to the audio signal caused by resonance.

    • New connector designs. For many years, connectors were simply accepted as they were, and no one considered how much changes in their design could positively impact audio performance. (This became of equal significance in MM2 Technology a few years later.) MM Technology connectors featured superior signal transfer qualities and fit their respective cables precisely. The precise fit of the connectors and exacting termination techniques resulted in highly reliable terminations that deliver every nuance of the music to components. This is one of the reasons that so many audio recording and mastering professionals specify Transparent for daily use in their studios.
Q: What is the XL Technology?
  • XL Technology was a computer model developed in 1996 by Jack Sumner and Transparent's design team. For the first time in, XL Technology was able to specify the exact electrical parameters needed for an audio cable to achieve ideal musical performance, given its geometry, length and application. This technology was the culmination of many years of research, testing and critical listening. Reference XL was also the first product to incorporate our advances in the use of non-metallic materials to reduce electromagnetic interference and resonance.

    The first products to benefit from XL Technology were Reference XL Interconnects and Reference XL Speaker Cables. Later, in 1997, Transparent applied XL Technology to their entire line of networked audio cables. Because of the high standards imposed by XL Technology, Transparent cables of any length were able to perform with uniform sonic characteristics.
Q: How long will it take for my cables to break in?
  • You don't need to spend time getting used to Transparent Cables because your system will instantly have more of the foundation and rich tonal balance of live music. After a day or 2, your cables will "relax" in their new setting and start to sound their best. You'll start to forget you're only listening to a hifi system as dynamics bloom more naturally with all the subtlety of live music and your system achieves a whole new level of musical ease and resolution.
Q: I want to buy Transparent cables for my system, but I can't afford to upgrade all of my cables at once. Which cables should I upgrade first?
  • When upgrading with Transparent cables it is usually best to start at the source. Upgrade your interconnects first, starting with a Transparent line-level, digital or phono interconnect, and then upgrade your speaker cables. The link between preamplifier and amplifier should be the last step in completing your Transparent signal path.

    Consult with your dealer to determine the best upgrade path for your system. We recommend that you borrow a complete set of cables from your dealer, even if you plan to upgrade your cables in stages. This will allow you to hear what a fully "Transparent" system sounds like, and eliminate any interactions with other cables in your system.

    Read more about cable upgrades.
Q: Will it degrade the sound if I use a long speaker cable or interconnect in my system?
  • Not at all! We compensate for cable length with our networks so a long cable will sound the same as a short cable and vice versa. We design a different network for every length of Transparent cable so you can set up your components where you want them and not have to worry about a loss in performance.

    If you have a passive volume control for a preamplifier, or an extremely high output impedance preamplifier or amplifier, you should consult with Transparent for advice regarding cable length and type.
Q: : What is the difference between a "balanced" interconnect and a "single-ended" (RCA) interconnect?
  • Transparent balanced interconnects, like balanced amplifiers and source components, use common-mode noise rejection to transfer the musical signal with less noise interference. In a single-ended circuit there is a positive and a negative, and the negative also acts as the ground. In a balanced circuit there is a positive signal, an inverted signal, and a separate system ground. There are several advantages to a balanced design: ground noise is kept separate from the audio signal, and the symmetrical design naturally cancels EMI and RFI noise.

    Our balanced interconnects are completely different from our single-ended (RCA) interconnects. Each Transparent balanced interconnect has three conductors (positive, inverted, and system ground), a separate shield, and two matched networks: one for each signal carrying conductor. Our single-ended (RCA) interconnects have two identical conductors, a shield, and one network.

    Note: Many of the "balanced" interconnects on the market are really single-ended cables terminated with the XLR connectors. Transparent's balanced cables are true balanced designs that will reveal all the subtleties of your balanced components and take advantage of their inherently lower noise floor.
Q: My system has both balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) connections. Should I use a single-ended interconnect or a balanced interconnect?
  • Use Transparent balanced interconnects between your balanced components to take full advantage of their expensive balanced circuits. The balanced connections will lower the noise floor of your system, and you will hear significant improvements in dynamics, sound stage and low-level resolution. Buying balanced components and connecting them with single-ended cables is like buying a 5-speed car and only using the first 3 gears!

    For connections between balanced and single-ended components use a Transparent single-ended interconnect. There is no benefit to be gained from using a balanced interconnect with a single-ended component. Instead, you should use a higher level Transparent single-ended interconnect.
Q: Should I use the Transparent biwire speaker cables with my biwire speakers?
  • Transparent Biwire speaker cables are the same as our single-wire speaker cables except they have four connection leads on the speaker end for biwire speakers. This configuration gives each section of the speaker system a direct connection to the network.

    Ask your dealer for the best Transparent speaker cable to use with your biwire speakers. Many biwire speakers will benefit more from a higher-level Transparent cable of single design, in conjunction with Transparent jumpers, than from a lower-level Transparent biwire. The higher-level single cable has a more advanced network that will provide better resolution and a more natural tonal balance. Some speakers, however, are specifically designed for biwiring and will work better with a Transparent biwire cable.

    Because of the way the Transparent network operates, we do not recommend using 2 pair of Transparent speaker cables from a single amplifier to hook up to a speaker with biwire terminations.

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