Monday, February 24, 2014

Atlas Asimi Ultra Interconnects


































Hand-built at its factory in Kilmarnock, Scotland, the Atlas Asimi Ultra interconnect cable is available now with a UK SRP of £2750.00 for a meter pair. Other lengths are available upon request.

The Challenge

The aim of the new Atlas Asimi project was to take a completely fresh look at cable design and to develop new techniques to create a cable that would satisfy the most demanding audiophiles for years to come. The ‘money no object’ brief looked at all areas of the design, from the materials used to create the cable and connectors through to the manufacturing processes. Specifically, Atlas looked at whether an improved neutral high fidelity sound could be achieved using standard metal connectors, whether the capacitance load could be improved for a solid silver OCC analogue interconnect cable and whether RF (Radio Frequency) rejection performance could be improved. Throughout the development process, Atlas conducted iterative design and testing to achieve its aims, with the resultant cable being the Asimi Ultra

The Conductor

The Asimi Ultra uses solid silver conductors, manufactured using the highest-quality technique for drawing pure silver. “Ohno Continuous Cast” or OCC, used in the manufacture of high quality Atlas copper cables, minimises the impurity boundaries in the material, in this case pure silver, by ensuring that there is less than one grain or signal-deleting crystal boundary in up to 125m of conductor! OCC solid silver allows the signal to travel through a continuous conductor instead of traversing repeated grain boundaries – in other words, the signal has a faster, cleaner and more direct path to follow.

The Dielectric

Through previous research, Atlas was already aware that the best realisable dielectric is air and that in an ideal world, by suspending the conductor in free air would be the best method to transfer maximum fidelity. However, this is not practical so a dielectric is necessary to ‘protect’ the conductor. To achieve the necessary amount of protection without increasing inefficiency, Atlas has developed a new technique, which uses a microporous PTFE (Teflon) tape, which is wound around the OCC solid silver conductors, then covered again and stabilised using a protective FPE (Flexible PolyEthylene) dielectric. This process allows the required geometry of the conductor to be maintained and offers greater manufacturing consistency.

The ‘Ultra’ Connector Plug

Designed in-house at Atlas, the modular design of the new Ultra plug is a clear example of the continuous development program into materials and technology embedded into the Atlas ethos. This new plug employs a novel approach to the problems of mass reduction, residual conductivity (eddy currents) and dielectric discontinuities, all of which can affect the mechanical and electrical properties of a cable. The all new Atlas Ultra has a 57% reduction in mass over its predecessor, employs an internal non-conductive sleeve matched to the dielectric properties of the cable (Teflon) as well as maintaining the renowned Atlas plug attributes of solder free construction, self-cleaning insertion and material consistency. As a result, the Atlas Asimi Ultra cable maintains its electrical integrity from socket to socket.

RFI

RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) is a major factor in cable design, especially now with the amount of ambient electrical wireless signals present in the majority of homes. To combat RFI, traditionally a metallic barrier (or braid) is encased around the insulated conductors and terminated at one or both ends. However, through research, Atlas discovered that to make the best termination possible, the braid needed to be partially removed and twisted, therefore reducing the integrity of the screen, introducing mechanical screen distortion thereby delivering an inconsistent RF performance. For the new Asimi Ultra, Atlas has developed a new system that uses two symmetrical drain wires (each attached to 180 degree segments of the plug) inserted between a 100% copper Mylar foil and SPC screen. This unique system connects the screen effectively to the cable return plug interface and provides total 360° screening, whilst not distorting the integrity of the screen in any way.

Commenting on the launch of the Asimi Ultra, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director at Atlas, said, “We are constantly researching new methods and materials based on scientific fact to increase the performance of our products. At the high end, where the Asimi Ultra sits, we feel that we have made real innovations that in time may well feature in other Atlas products.” Kelly continues, “With the launch of the Asimi Ultra, we truly believe that we have developed a cable that is a real step-up in performance and is absolutely the finest audio interconnect money can buy.”

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