The first Aerogel dielectric cable. Ever
It’s rare that something truly new is introduced to the world of high end audio. Improved? Certainly, but rarely is anything actually factually new. In the world of cabling one of the most bragged about features is what dielectric is used in a cable. Among the field are materials as new age as teflon and various polymers and on the other end of the spectrum are solutions as old school as cotton and wax. Some companies have gone as far as suspending wire within a network of ultra thin teflon thread, a process that takes multiple weeks of manufacture and thus carry a price that reflects the amount of labor such an undertaking requires. These methods are used because they were the cutting edge, until now.
Aero is the first and only cable in the industry to utilize Aerogel as a dielectric. All in order to achieve the highest possible fidelity that can be derived from a cable.
What is Aerogel?
Aerogel is a manmade silica compound that has the unique feature of being the lightest solid material known to mankind. Boasting an air to solid material percentage of 99.8%, aerogel is an incredibly effective thermal insulator used by companies like Boeing Aerospace and NASA when cutting edge engineering solutions are necessary. Because of its lightweight and incredible thermal properties it is generally reserved for exotic purposes such as serving as a collection grid material on space probes for cosmic dust capture and insulation for the Mars Rovers. For more information on Aerogel check out some of the top hits on YouTube when you search ‘aerogel’
What isn’t as well known about Aerogel is that it is also among the very best dielectric materials available. Silica (non-Aerogel variety) has very similar dielectric properties as Teflon, it would seem logical that it would be used as a dielectric material. However, Aerogel is incredibly brittle. It is unthinkable to attempt to use it in such an application due to its low tensile strength, it would just crumble and fail to hold its form. In fact, Aerogel had not been used as a dielectric in any application we could find anywhere. Therefore no obvious solutions around these problems existed. We realized if we were going to use Aerogel as a dielectric, we would have to invent a process to do so from the ground up. After 2 years of research and development (and a patent pending), we are proud to bring you our technological tour-de-force in Aero.
What are the benefits of Aerogel as a dielectric?
The simple answer- Sonic superiority. The Aerogel compound we use in all of our Aero products have a multitude of benefits. Aerogel has a dielectric constant similar and even better than that of Teflon. However, unlike teflon or foamed teflon, Aerogel does not over-dampen the signal wire. Over dampening occurs when heavy materials are in constant contact with the bare wire. Over dampening has the side effect of stripping nuance and detail out of music when conveyed through such cabling schemes. Because aerogel is virtually not there, it gently dampens the wire from vibration. Simultaneously it does not allow the wire to vibrate within the dielectric like air/teflon tube designs do. All this is to allow the signal to propagate naturally in an environment that reduces solid material contact with the signal wires. Aerogel gives Aero an effective air dielectric percentage of 99.8% an industry first.
Shielding beyond reproach
As advanced and difficult to engineer as the Aerogel layer of Aero is, it is merely the kernel of a much more sophisticated design. Aero is substantially protected by the most incredible shielding solution Hapa Audio has created. Inside, Aero is protected by an impressive spectrum of shielding materials. First, a layer of pure carbon fiber serves as both shield and separator for signal wires to stand away from the metal based outer layers, next we add 4 layers of high quality foil copper, followed by 1 layer of silver plated copper braid, and one layer of braided mylar. That’s right 7 separate layers of shielding guard Aero from electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference both local and long distance.
This shield offers an electro-magnetically silent environment for the signal to propagate without aberration. With all of these layers one might think the cable would be rendered stiff. Nothing could be further from the truth. A hallmark of Hapa Audio design is flexible cabling. Retaining a 1” bend radius Aero is exceptionally flexible in the world of digital cables.
The finest engineering, including signal conductors
For the data portion of the cable, we are utilizing top quality Ultra pure continuous cast OHNO solid core copper wire which resides inside the aerogel dielectric. We take finest wire made and hand polish the surface to a mirror finish, reducing skin effect and eliminating surface impurities prior to building the Aerogel matrix that houses the data wires. The result is sultry smooth, highly detailed, and dare we say, next level performance. The data leg of the cable is completely segregated from the common/ground and 5 volt portion of the cable. The 5 volt and common are handled by the gorgeous braided silver plated copper wrap that adorns Aero’s exterior.
Hapa utilizes the only USB connector on the market that properly shields the USB terminations to a high enough degree to be included with Aero, the venerable Viborg USB A and B connectors. The solid cast alloy barrels allow the sensitive wire/connector interface to be both mechanically and electrically secure. 24 karat gold plated connectors offer a secure and stable interface with your gear.
We finally completed what we set out to do
Over 2 years ago, we set out on a mission, one that was started by a single question; Could we create the ultimate audiophile grade USB cable? A question that sparked a plethora of new questions and problems that required new solutions.
The only question left is, do you want to hear it?