1) What are the factors that made you a music lover?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what brought me into music. I can’t remember any time when I wasn’t a music lover and I think it is inherent in every human being from birth to be moved by music. I remember listening to music together with both my father and mother and that it strengthened the bonds between us. Both listening intently and dancing with joy.
2) What motivated you to become a musician and how important do you think it is for an audio cable designer to be a musician?
I started making music at about the age of 4. I called it “Adventure Music” and it was basically painting stories with sound on my piano. I took piano lessons for about 8 years but I was very stubborn about doing things “my way”. So instead of going to the classical music scene I continued making my Adventure Music as well as writing more standard jazz/rock/pop/folk tunes. I ended up assembling a wide range of bands to realize my various music concepts. I stayed active writing and performing in Norway and internationally until I settled down up in these mountain hills. I was exhausted from the musician’s life and wanted to explore what life could offer in other areas.
I wouldn’t say it’s important for an audio cable designer in general to be a musician. But in the process of creating Skogrand Cables it has been not only helpful but part of what elevates the performance of our products and sets them apart from the competition.
3) What got you into the cable manufacturing business?
As a child I was constantly curious to find out what made things work. My electric toys all ended up being opened and examined. I built my own radio at the age of 10. Before long I was unscrewing the lid of an amplifier much to the dismay of my parents whose amplifier it was.
As a musician and recording engineer I have had my fair share of cable use. The cables always had their signature sound that colored or degraded the music and very often needed repairs. I therefore started looking inside cables at their materials and geometry and reading up on the subject. Slowly but steadily I gained some experience on what made a cable work and how to make it sound the way I wanted it to. It also helped me eliminate things that did not work well. I sought and received good advice from manufacturers and DIY’ers and gained knowledge by studying components made by a vast array of manufacturers. The Skogrand Cables signature traits gradually become less of a dream and more of a reality. Finally in January 2011 the first Skogrand cable was released for purchase and started to sell rapidly. Obviously I had not been alone in my search for cables that did not add, remove or change anything to the sound signal that passes through them.
4) What modus operandi do you utilize to price your cables? What rationale can you give prospective customers to assure them that your cables offer good value at each price point?
We sell performance. Our customers are well aware of this fact by now and realize that our pricing reflects the performance that our cables deliver. We are the only manufacturer in the market that makes this level of performance obtainable at all. Our customers know the value of this and are as such, appreciative for what our products have to offer.
5) What is the recommended period for your cables to be broken in completely?
We recommend 120 hours for the cables to settle in after connecting them. To get the best performance from them they should not be disconnected or moved around during this period.
6) Given that you offer a satisfaction guarantee, to date, what percentage of customers have returned your cables after trying them out?
To date we have had two customers returning their audition samples. In both cases they were looking for cables that would ‘equalize’ their systems and rectify the lack in performance and the coloured sound that their systems delivered. I only wish they would have stated this earlier in our conversation, as the very philosophy behind our cables is to create a blank canvass for the components to paint the music. Our intention is to eliminate the restraints of the setup and give each component the freedom to optimize their true potential. The signature sound in each component is what makes the “collection” of components/the system perform as an ensemble. Great performers in an orchestra or band always know how to relate to the other performers in ways that makes the collaboration work seamlessly. They have discovered how to deliver their individual voices/instrument sound in a way that synergizes with the rest of the orchestra so as to result in the best possible overall performance. Like a great conductor liberating the full potential of an orchestra we strive to let our products be the perfect conductors, letting every component in your setup play to its full potential and also synergize with every other component to deliver the best possible overall performance. Our cables do not have a signature sound of their own. This allows neutral sounding components to perform at their optimum performance level.
7) What are the advantages you perceive in manufacturing your cables in a remote location in the mountains?
We are located in a very tranquil spot, 2km up a dirt road, on a hillside overlooking the river in the valley below. The benefit is that these serene surroundings give us a perspective on the whole production process that strives for excellence without cutting corners and trying to get away with cheap shortcuts. Up here we take the time necessary for attaining perfection. Distractions are few so our focus is always clear. The environment for listening to music/audio is unimpeded by surrounding noise and we have ideal conditions electrically as we generate our own clean power using our own transformers. This is in sharp contrast to the polluted power that is so typical of what you get from a grid that also supplies a city.
8) You claim that your cables have an air dielectric of 1.00086, which deliver industry-leading VOP (Velocity of Propagation). What is the next best air dielectric that has been achieved by a major cable brand?
A leading cable company used to claim that their top-of-the-line cable model had a VOP of 88%. However, a couple of weeks after we published our research numbers they changed their numbers for the same product, claiming that its VOP is 98%. There are a lot of claims being made in the cable business which makes it hard to judge which claims can be trusted. We stand behind the stated specs and performance of our own cables.