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Old 12-24-2006   #76
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Default Re: the science of cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVI
MANY of these insisted my experiences with my in-depth blind testing was pure BS
They may very well be. You didn't describe your testing paradigm in detail. "Blind testing" is not exactly trivial...

Quote:
and that under NO circumstances can ANY human EVER hear a difference with different cables ...... This was basically like calling me a fool and a liar .... THAT will tend to make a person defensive , especially when he only has his personal experience to draw from , and not a 170 IQ
No one is calling anyone a fool or a liar. I think everyone is being completely forthcoming in this discussion.
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Old 12-24-2006   #77
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Default Re: the science of cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVI
MANY of these insisted my experiences with my in-depth blind testing was pure BS , and that under NO circumstances can ANY human EVER hear a difference with different cables ...... This was basically like calling me a fool and a liar
I think the only time people would consider a person a fool or a liar is if they based the differences in SQ of cables based on the fact that they have Teflon coated Egyptian cotton dielectric wrapped around buckyball carbon nanotubes filled with ferofluid that has been cryogenicly frozen in a anechoic chamber, twice. And they believe the cables sound better from this even though they measure the same as a $1 radio shack cable.

The way I pretty much sum this all up is if the cables measure the same in respect to RCL, they will sound the same. Price not a factor
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Old 12-25-2006   #78
 
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Default Re: the science of cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVI
Thank you for the tasteful and helpful post.
Please understand , that if i seem defensive , it is due to previous discussions over the years with scientists I have had. MANY of these insisted my experiences with my in-depth blind testing was pure BS , and that under NO circumstances can ANY human EVER hear a difference with different cables ...... This was basically like calling me a fool and a liar .... THAT will tend to make a person defensive , especially when he only has his personal experience to draw from , and not a 170 IQ
No problem, it happens. Anyway, most manufactures claim other things matter to help boost sales. If the average consumer was a engineer, they'd know that cable geometry doesn't matter. And that no 100 page tech paper was going to change the VERY simple laws that govern electicity flowing through a wire. They'd know that honestly, musical singals aren't that complex, and don't require any hyper special cable treatments to be sent across a cable accuractely. The average consumer, however, isn't an engineer. If they are paying 20x the price of a el cheapo cable, they need justification. If that means the cable company pays actual engineers lots of money to use "pseudo science" to create a "superior" cable, then so be it. If they can minimize lower the "skin effect" from 1000x below the threshold of human hearing to 1000000x below the threshold, then so be it. They have to justify the price of the cable to an audiophile, and if that means making stuff up, then so be it. Using actual electrical theory makes cables too simple, just by measuring 3 specs of a wire, any decently designed wire can be compared vs one another easily, it's too hard to raise the price that much when only 3 little numbers change each time.
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Old 12-25-2006   #79
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Default Re: the science of cables

A quick summary of my views on audio cables, for what it's worth ...

If someone says, "I can hear a difference in cables." I find that statement very un-interesting.

HOWEVER, if someone states the following :

"After a well-controlled test where all other possible variables were eliminated, a statistically significant result demonstrated, logically and conclusively, that differences in cables were audible. Furthermore, the RLC properties (as well as contact metallurgy and noise shielding) were measured, and the differences were found to be below the threshold of human hearing."

Now THAT would be very interesting indeed!

But I have yet to hear that statement ...
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Old 12-25-2006   #80
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Default Re: the science of cables

werewolf,
I feel kind of cheated that you didn't mention what you are using in your own system.

-Evan
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Old 12-25-2006   #81
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Default Re: the science of cables

Thanks for the enlightening post Werewolf. Highly appreciated!
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Old 12-28-2006   #82
 
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Default Re: the science of cables

Sure yall just don't wanna rub some snake oil on your wires, then go ahead and dump some on your towers as well, i'm sure that would make them look better as well as sound better.

Just don't leave it on the surface, you need to buff the hell out of it and get it deep deep down into the grain, mabey then it'll make a difference.

I can honestly see why someone would say that there $50/ft sounds better than our $.25-$1/ft wires..........but does it really have precedient without measuremnts/etc.....nope. Until then i'll stick with my cheap wiring.
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Old 12-29-2006   #83
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Default Re: the science of cables

Since "skin effect' is one of those items people bring up while talking about cables would someone mind explaining how this can actually play a role? I understand the idea that due to internal impedance the current is "pushed" to the outer areas of the cable, but this is only found in AC applications correct? I've heard people apply this to power cable, speaker cable, RCA's etc..and would like to know does it actually play a role, and if so on what cables is it most likely to crop up.
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Old 12-29-2006   #84
 
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Default Re: the science of cables

1st. Skin effect doesn't have an audible affect at audio frequencies.

2nd. Skin effect works over uninsulated multistrand wires the same way it works over solid core. The only combat for this is Litz or Hyper-Litz wire, where every single strand is insulated.... but again, not an issue at audio frequencies.
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Old 12-29-2006   #85
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Default Re: the science of cables

Thanks, that's what I figured. At what range does it play a role? above 20khz?
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Old 12-29-2006   #86
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Default Re: the science of cables

Here's a good link on skin effect. It's a little math-intensive, but pages 2-5 give some good examples for audio (loudspeaker) cables :

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/...ect/page1.html

Figures 3 & 4 on page 2 are particularly "interesting."

And after a very thorough analysis of skin effect over the audio band, the conclusions (end of page 5) for loudspeaker cables are :

- use reasonably thick conductors to minimize resistance (R)
- use reasonably close spacing to minimize inductance (L)

how about that

Last edited by werewolf; 12-29-2006 at 09:25 AM..
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Old 12-29-2006   #87
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Default Re: the science of cables

Thanks werewolf. I'll give that page a read and see if I remember any of my calculus ha.
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Old 12-30-2006   #88
 
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Default Re: the science of cables

Going to read this in full when I get a chance. I have balanced and unbalanced at home and in the car.

Hands down and simple for car audio: unshilded and unbalanced silver with minimal jacket.

I have LiveWire Solutions Direct Box black boxes which convert RCA to balanced and see absolutely no reason for this in the car with careful cable routing. If there is noise there converting to a balanced signal like some amps do then converting back takes away from the sound and adds way too many cables.

Shielding adds capacatince to the line and slows and dulls the sound.

Halfway careful routing of unshilded RCA gives awesome clean sound.
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Old 01-17-2007   #89
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Default Re: the science of cables

well it seems like good arguments were given for the neglegible effects of resistance and capacitance in cables, so long as the values are not extreme. but i'm convinced that inductance is what is causing different cables to sound different.

"It has been demonstrated that low inductance is a desirable quality to have in a speaker cable due to the strong relationship between inductance and signal risetime. My source for this information was an article in the Winter of 1995 Audio Ideas Guide by a retired Bell Labs engineer named James H. Hayward. His conclusions were, simply put, the lower the inductance, the faster the risetime when using a cable in the amplifier/speaker interface. By using twisted pairs (with each wire within the pair used as opposite polarity), we keep the inductance to a minimum."

from http://www.venhaus1.com/diycatfivecables.html

Some trusted opinions say they hear a difference using CAT6 cables. I will try this out for myself and see. Maybe do a blind test on myself as well.
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Old 01-17-2007   #90
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Default Re: the science of cables

Rise time is pretty much just another way to say high frequency response, so the fact that inductance limits high frequency response is pretty basic. Just keep in mind that the things that might (and might is the key word) affect speaker cables aren't usually applicable to interconnects. As werewolf demonstrated, the impedance in the circuit before amplification is so high that you would need huge amounts of capacitance and inductance to get anywhere. Cables would be more likely to have an effect in very low impedance circuits (1 ohm, anybody?). And even then inductance is really only going to play a part with high frequency drivers, particularly tweeters.
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Old 01-18-2007   #91
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Default Re: the science of cables

Another way to say what Mark just said ...

"Rise time" is absolutely NOT independent of frequency response. In fact, the two are completely correlated ... give me a first-order low-pass filter, tell me the cutoff frequency, and I'll tell you the rise time through that filter. No if's, and's or but's

If the bandwidth of the cable (including source and load) is significantly higher than 20kHz ... there will be no audible consequence of finite "rise time."

Alternatively, the ear's upper frequency limit of about 20kHz also places a limit on audible rise time.

"Rise time" and "frequency response" are two sides of the exact same coin. In fact, it's perfectly fine to consider them to be ... one and the same
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Old 01-19-2007   #92
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Default Re: the science of cables

at the risk of beating this to death ...

You can't have two cables, each with a bandwidth of (or frequency response that extends to) 40kHz, for example, with different rise times. It's physically impossible.

Bottom line : if the inductance is low enough to cause the bandwidth (of the cable, source, load network) to extend well beyond 20kHz, then the rise time is absolutely fine by definition. No need to look for lower inductance to make rise time faster ... any more than you need to look for lower inductance to make the bandwidth wider.
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Old 01-19-2007   #93
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Default Re: the science of cables

Senor Lobo... ygpm

"Drugs won't change you. Religion won't change you. What's the matter with you?"
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Old 01-23-2007   #94
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Default Re: the science of cables

I found something interesting:
"Different frequencies propagate at different velocities inside conductors since we're dealing with an electromagnetic signal. In air, sound waves travel at a constant regardless of frequency (this constant is affected by humidity, temperature and air pressure as a function of altitude and weather). Light too is an EM wave that travels through air and vacuum – as are radio waves. The different propagation speeds of different light are nicely displayed with a prism, showing that red light for example travels slower than blue light.

Audio signal propagation velocities are thus dependant on frequency. Naturally, different arrival times at the ear are counterproductive. Phase differences, transient delays and harmonic shifts undermine signal fidelity. And while there is an address to force coincident time arrival for all frequencies in a cable, it's not a given that all cable manufacturers incorporate it. Their products can then sound dull or slow, soft or harsh."

from an unlikely site, but this particular article is actually informative:
http://6moons.com/audioreviews/inter...rconnects.html
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Old 01-23-2007   #95
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Default Re: the science of cables

The problem with that article is that it makes no mention of the varying orders of magnitude involved, and what's significant versus so tiny as to be impossible to perceive.

For example, it's easy to say that different frequencies propagate with different velocities, but it's completely meaningless without quantifying it. What if the different velocities mean a different arrival time between your subs and tweeters of ... 1 nanosecond? How might that be different than 1 microsecond? Or 1 millisecond?

The reality is, for standard cable lengths ... the effect is completely insignificant.

And without mention of orders of magnitude, or quantifying the effect, erroneous comparisons and conclusions are involved. The article goes on to say that this very effect was dealt with in telephone lines with the addition or management of inductance (which is an oversimplification of the effect of telephone line loading coils, by the way).

What's wrong with comparing an audio cable with a cross-country telephone line?
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Old 01-23-2007   #96
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Default Re: the science of cables

... by the way, I've stated earlier that for audio cables less than a few miles long, a so-called "lumped analysis" is extremely accurate. This is, sadly for many, an undeniable fact.

And in that lumped analysis, I've stated that the RLC parameters are ALL that matters ... or, more accurately, all that COULD POSSIBLY matter.

And any RLC analysis that might possibly demonstrate any effect over the audio band will show a possible phase shift over that audio band. In fact, we demonstrated one, in an artifically exaggerated example in this very thread And it just so happens that the first derivative of phase wrt frequency is something we call "group delay" ... and the group delay analysis will indicate any delay or arrival time differences for different frequencies

So the bottom line is this : if there are ANY significant "arrival time" differences at different frequencies, our friendly old RLC analysis will demonstrate them completely!!

Once again ... RLC is all there is to cables (not counting contact metallurgy and noise rejection). There is simply no other valid conclusion.
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Old 01-23-2007   #97
 
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Default Re: the science of cables

I have an older Orion 2150SX amp that I bought new and only used for a year back in 1996. Its been sitting in my closet for 10 years. I looked at the power cables the other day and found a sticky gunk residue threw out the entire lenght of both the + and - built in power wires, I've also seen this happen in my monster cable speaker cables that are around the same age, (the clear cased ones with the single conducter in the middle endcased in white plastic running threw them, ones from the 90s from sound advice, they were decently priced). On the other hand the speaker wires from the plug on the same amp were shinny and clean when I checked them. Is there a way of knowing which type of copper cable are more likely to have this happen to them and possbly affect the contact strenght.

I know alot of people say cable are ok as long as the connectors, soldering, and shielding are ok. But these cables I have are more then what bargain cable would be and they uuummm sucked. Are we doomed to paying more for cable then we have to just to avoid something that will affect performance like this problem I found.

Last edited by t3sn4f2; 01-23-2007 at 09:06 PM..
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Old 01-23-2007   #98
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Default Re: the science of cables

Please allow me to do, what I accused that most recent article of not doing ... namely, to quantify the effect of different delays at different frequencies

In our exaggerated cable example, we found that 50 feet of a highly capacitive cable (40pf per foot), driven by a high source impedance of 1kohm, gave us a low-pass cutoff of 80kHz.

And we calculated the phase of the first-order filter to be :

Phase = -arctan(wRC)

where w=radian frequency=2pi*f, R=1kohm, C=(40pf/ft)*50ft=2000pf

I've recently stated that group delay is :

Group Delay = - d/dw [Phase(w)] = RC/[1+(wRC)^2]

So we can caluclate the various group delays at different frequencies resulting from the analysis of our exaggerated cable:

10 Hz : 2.0000 microseconds
100Hz : 2.0000 microseconds
1kHz : 1.9997 microseconds
10kHz : 1.9689 microseconds
20kHz : 1.8812 microseconds

How can we judge the significance of a 120 nanosecond group delay difference between sub-bass and upper treble frequencies in our exaggerated cable example? One option would be to compare 120 nanoseconds to the time delay resolution in the most sophisticated audio processors available (like the new Alpine F#1). Alternatively, one could equate this time delay to a physical separation, based on the speed of sound (about 1100 feet per second). Or perhaps we could compare 120 nanoseconds to the hearing thresholds of group delay, presented here :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_delay

In any case, you'll find the different delays at different audio frequencies to be utterly insignificant, even in our highly exaggerated cable example
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Old 01-26-2007   #99
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Default Re: the science of cables

Yes, I can agree that it is too little an effect to be significant. All in all, you guys seem to be saying that

1. R,L,C and shielding are the only factors that make a difference in cables.
2. Except for very extreme values, RLC doesn't effect the frequency response enough to matter.

So therefore one can still conclude that all cables sound the same, unless the connection contact is really poor, as noted by werewolf. But I don't understand why werewolf said that cables can sound different, if he also says that the resistance, capacitance, and inductance in typical cables are too low to matter. So, please clarify guys. Do all cables sound the same or not?
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Old 01-26-2007   #100
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Default Re: the science of cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt
Yes, I can agree that it is too little an effect to be significant. All in all, you guys seem to be saying that

1. R,L,C and shielding are the only factors that make a difference in cables.
2. Except for very extreme values, RLC doesn't effect the frequency response enough to matter.

So therefore one can still conclude that all cables sound the same, unless the connection contact is really poor, as noted by werewolf. But I don't understand why werewolf said that cables can sound different, if he also says that the resistance, capacitance, and inductance in typical cables are too low to matter. So, please clarify guys. Do all cables sound the same or not?
He said it's not "impossible" for cables to sound different. The potential is there for cables to "sound" different. We can determine this potential by examining the RLC properties (aswell as noise rejection capabilities and contact metallurgy) to completely determine the ability, or lack thereof, for two cables to "sound different". And he later elluded that the RLC properties of a cable would have to be staggeringly out-of-the-ordinary to have any audible affect. So it's possible; Yes. But very highly unlikely to be from anything related to RLC.

Last edited by squeak9798; 01-26-2007 at 10:02 PM..
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