Kimber Kable 4PR & 8PR Overview
Kimber doesn’t employ a lot of voodoo that so many of their competitors seem to do in droves. You won’t find any batteries slapped on their cables, nor will you receive notification that your cables were soaked in kosher chicken fat blessed by a Rabbi when you purchase their cables. Instead, they utilize real proven braiding techniques to interweave their speaker cables in such a way as to reduce inductance which if left unchecked can act as a low pass filter, thus creating excessive signal loss at high frequencies when connected to your loudspeakers.
There are a few methods of producing low inductance speaker cables including:
- Sandwiching two flat conductors on top of each other with a thin dielectric between them
- Cross connecting coax cables
- Braiding multiple conductors
Kimber employs the braided technique on most of their speaker cable products, including the 4PR and 8PR reviewed here. This is the preferred method to the others listed above in my opinion. Sandwiching flat conductors, although the best way of reducing cable inductance, also produces the highest cable capacitance which can lead to amplifier stability problems for long runs of cables and not so well designed amplifiers. Cross connecting coax cables generally results in too much cable resistance (ie. using two 18AWG coax yields an equivalent cable AWG of 15AWG) which has appreciably higher losses than simple 12AWG zip cord. It’s also rather inflexible making it difficult to route into A/V racks or through tight spaces.
Kimber 4PR utilizes 4 pairs of conductors to yield an effective gauge of 14AWG while the 8PR utilizes 8 pairs of conductors to yield an effective gauge of 11AWG. If you’ve read any of my technical articles about cables, you would know that the dominant metric governing performance of speaker cables is resistance. It’s because of this fact that I would really recommend serious audiophiles consider the 8PR over the 4PR cables especially if you are using longer runs of cable (> 20ft) and can afford the price difference.
Cable metrics aside, in my opinion, Kimber has the edge over virtually all of their competitors in terms of quality of terminations. Their standard banana plug fit perfectly snug on all of my amplifiers and loudspeakers in my reference system. I typically find non compression bananas either come off the attached equipment too easily or don’t bite all the way down into the connector. The pictures below reveal this was NOT the case with the standard Kimber banana connector.
For an additional premium you can step up to their wonderful compression WBT banana connector which unlike the generic spin offs used by many vendors (ie. Bluejeans Cable, Impact Acoustics, RAM Electronics, etc) these actually lock down by simply turning a screw on the back of the connector. Kimber was the first manufacturer to my knowledge that offered compression RCA and banana plug connectors. When I was first introduced to them I was in awe at how cool they were. I later tested the previously mentioned spin offs with good initial success but lately have found them to be a mixed bag since they often lock up or don’t really tighten down well unless you hold the barrel of the connector down with an adjustable wrench while tightening. Years later, now being re-introduced to Kimbers solution, I am once again in awe. It’s my opinion that Kimber has some of the best quality terminations in the cable business. They alone virtually justify the premium price tag of Kimber products!
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