About Cardas Audio
A brief history of Cardas Audio is below. However this video, "American Made: Cardas Clear Beyond", produced by Jana Dagdagan in 2021, tells the story of current-day Cardas Audio beautifully.
A Brief History of Cardas Audio
Cardas Audio is located in Bandon, a small town (population 3,321) on the Southern Oregon Coast, about 1.5 hours north of the California border. We specialize in premium audio cables, consisting of multi-stranded Litz conductors, featuring our own ultra-pure copper. We also produce high quality connectors, chassis wire, bulk cable, and accessories for home & pro audio systems.
Our company was founded in Ontario, California, in 1987, by George Cardas.
George’s previous career was as a line engineer with the telephone company. He had a strong background in challenges of transmitting audio over cable. He was also an avid, and quite successful, semi-pro racing driver. He and his machinist, Mike Colver, came to realize that Golden Ratio proportions could be applied to various aspects of engine and exhaust design. And the results were often so successful that their designs would be banned in their racing league for giving them an unfair advantage.
A music lover and HiFi enthusiast, George came to realize that cables were a limiting factor in his audio system. He began experimenting with cable design, applying what he knew from his career with the telephone company, and using Golden Ratio scaling of conductors to reduce resonance, and came up with some very effective designs.
His cable consisted of multi-stranded Litz conductors. In a Litz conductor, every strand of wire has an enamel coating to eliminate cross talk, and to prevent oxidation of the copper. George's conductors featured Golden Ratio scaled strands, in which the smallest strands were at the center, with each layer of wire being a Golden Ratio step (1:1.618) larger than the layer beneath it. This stranding is a micro-resonance control technique, and George was awarded two US patents (4,980,517 & 4,628,151) for his cable & conductor designs.
He also found the last copper producer in the US who could make ultra-pure, fine copper wire to his specifications. They were on the verge of closing their doors, but George made a deal with them - keep going, and I'll keep ordering copper. The copper they produced with George's method is the purest, highest quality copper wire available.
His next challenge was getting a cable factory to take him seriously and produce his designs for him. Most of them dealt exclusively with military contracts, and were accustomed to making many thousands of feet of cable at a time. George just wanted a few hundred feet to see if it would sell. Through persistence, he finally persuaded a vendor in Southern California to produce his designs.
He made cables for friends, and got enthusiastic positive feedback. But to make it a business, he had to get his cable into stores. He once again faced resistance. But he finally got his local stereo shop to give his cables a try. The owner was reluctant, but agreed to audition the cables. George came back a few days later, and the guy was blown away. He became George’s first dealer, and sales slowly but steadily grew.
At first, George and some friends would terminate cables in the family garage, and George continued to work at the phone company. But soon, the cable business showed signs of becoming self sustaining. He and his wife, Darcy, decided it made sense for him to take early retirement, and focus on Cardas Audio.
Before long, the Cardas “factory” moved out of the garage, and into a space in an industrial park. And business continued to grow, with new dealers in the US, and distributors in other countries, signing on to represent the cables. George and Darcy’s oldest daughter, Mary, ran the business side of the company, while George focused on product design.
A few years later, in 1992, when the lease came up on the manufacturing space, George and Darcy thought it made sense to consider other options. They could renew the lease and stay put, or… maybe move somewhere else. They decided to drive up the west coast, eventually stopping in Bandon, Oregon. They fell in love with the small town, and decided to move the ocmpany north, bringing with them their staff. Expect Mary. She decided to stay in Southern California. So they brought their middle daughter, Colleen, to take over as manager.
Over the years, both Bandon and Cardas grew. Once primary a cranberry farming town, a new golf resort just north of the city, Bandon Dunes, really put Bandon on the map.
And George continued to work on new cable ideas. Whereas his early cables, such as Hexlink and Golden Cross, helped tame the edge of early digital recordings, he started to work on more revealing and sonically accurate cables such as Neutral Reference and Golden Reference. And these new cables sold really well.
George continued to work on cable designs, most recently receiving US Patent US7674973B2 for what we call the Matched Propagation Conductor. This conductor matches the propagation rate of the signal in the conductor, which is essentially light speed, to that of the dielectric materials, which are generally 30% slower than the speed of light.
This mismatch has plagued audio cables since the beginning of the telephone age, causing smeared, unintelligible audio over long distances. Telephone companies attempted to solve the issue using loading coils, developed by Mihajlo Pupin in the early 20th century. George’s solution is much more graceful - and effective - utilizing specific wire-winding pitches and carefully selected dielectric materials, eliminating the issue within the cable, and continuously throughout the cable.
Our Matched Propagation Conductors are used in all of our cables within the Clear range, which includes Clear Sky, Clear Cygnus, Clear SE9 MP, Clear Reflection, Clear, and Clear Beyond.
Today, Cardas Audio is managed by George & Darcy’s youngest daughter, Angela. George continues to be the head designer of Cardas products, and he and Darcy split their time between Bandon, and Chapala, Mexico. And our capable staff holds down the fort while they’re away