AudioQuest, NightHawk: Why Two Headphone Cables?

Those of you who have purchased a pair of NightHawk headphones may be wondering why two headphone cables are supplied within the box. William Low, CEO of AudioQuest has provided an explanation.

“Why Two Headphone Cables?”

If you are new to AudioQuest, you might not know that starting in 1980, AudioQuest has been on the forefront of making the world’s best audio cables. The AudioQuest definition of “best” is higher performance and higher value. At the top of the range, this might also mean very expensive, however, AudioQuest has always had its feet on the ground. As the cable designer, I am most proud of our under US$100 cables, because they are possibly even more superior relative to their peers, and a thousand times more people can enjoy the benefit.

Unfortunately, try as we might, we were not able to successfully manipulate conventional headphone-type construction to meet our audio quality standards. So, I gave up trying to make a cable that could pass a 5,000+ bend test, and instead focused on sound quality. Of the two cables included, the thicker cable with “aq” on it in various places, with the thickly plated silver connectors, is the proper NightHawk cable. It’s the cable whose sound quality is appropriate for a great set of headphones.

Many aspects of NightHawk’s advanced design are borrowed from some of the world’s most advanced loudspeakers: techniques and materials not previously used in headphones. I’ve done something similar in creating the NightHawk cable. I’ve miniaturized the AudioQuest Castle Rock speaker cable. As with Castle Rock, the NightHawk cable uses Solid Perfect-Surface Copper+ (PSC+) in a Double Star-Quad configuration, one for each channel of this truly balanced cable. The NightHawk cable also includes Castle Rock’s Noise-Dissipation System. However, Castle Rock’s Dielectric-Bias System (DBS) was a little more than could be included. For DBS, or for the miniaturized version of all-PSS Silver K2 speaker cable, your friendly AQ dealer will be pleased to sell you another cable. Also please see your dealer for NightHawk cable or other models terminated for balanced amplifier outputs (such as two 3.5mm plugs or a 4-pin XLR).

The above description makes it sound like NightHawk found its perfect companion, so why a second cable, why is an unmarked cable with gold-plated connectors also included? It’s because of that part about bend testing, and real-world hard-use applications. NightHawk cable passes rigorous bend testing about 2,000 times, but not the 12,000+ times of this more conventional cable. This means that those of us who unplug and attentively coil our cable before putting it in the carrying case, who don’t wrap the cable around the headphones (causing a sharp bend where the cable exits the headphone cups) will have a NightHawk cable that lasts pretty much forever. For us, the lesser cable is just an unnecessary backup, or the cable to use at parties and such.

For anyone thinking we’re being sneaky and inviting a cable comparison, there’s a bit of truth in that. We’re only including a second cable because we think we need to guarantee your uninterrupted pleasure, but, yes, we very much hope that you will compare the cables and learn why we take cable so seriously.

Sincerely, Bill


William E. Low

CEO of AudioQuest

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One thought on “AudioQuest, NightHawk: Why Two Headphone Cables?

  1. Pingback: Review: AudioQuest NightHawk | HiFi Gear Blog

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