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Cables

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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Again, prompted by the 'quotations' thread....

Let me start by saying that that of course cables make a difference. Try using bell wire to jump start your car, or mains cable to run your ethernet link.

The specification of cable can be a key part of the design process, depending on the importance of the cable to the system. If you were an engineer at Morphy Richards (do they still exist?) specifying the cable for a kettle, then the extreme temperature or extreme cold cabilities of the cable are unlikely to matter, current carrying capability would be key however. On the other hand, if you are at Boeing (the example on the quotations thread), then is it likely thay your cable will have physical requirements not found in any other application, except perhaps at Airbus. Is it any wonder Boeing has specific cable produced for it.

HiFi cables are no different. Speaker cables need to be of a low resistance, low level links need adequate shielding, digital links need the correct characteristic impedance.

Where the nonsense starts is when two perfectly adequate cables are compared with 'veil lifting' results. The writers of 'whiter whites, and blacker blacks' reports on HDMI cables have rightly been ridiculed into silence, but I am afraid that this sort of thing continues with interconnects, most notably speaker cables.

Absent dodgy copper, or wierdo basket weave construction, two speaker cable of the same cross sectional area of conductors will sound the same, regardless of the name of the cable, or the marketing budget of the distributor. Different length cables may sound different, as may different thickness cables, but keep the length and the cross sectional area the same, then they will sound the same - how could they be any different?

One final point, coating the outside of a cable with a microscopic layer of silver makes the cable look bright and shiny, it does not make the sound bright. Why would it?
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
63
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18,540
andyjm said:
Again, prompted by the 'quotations' thread....

Let me start by saying that that of course cables make a difference. Try using bell wire to jump start your car, or mains cable to run your ethernet link.

The specification of cable can be a key part of the design process, depending on the importance of the cable to the system. If you were an engineer at Morphy Richards (do they still exist?) specifying the cable for a kettle, then the extreme temperature or extreme cold cabilities of the cable are unlikely to matter, current carrying capability would be key however. On the other hand, if you are at Boeing (the example on the quotations thread), then is it likely thay your cable will have physical requirements not found in any other application, except perhaps at Airbus. Is it any wonder Boeing has specific cable produced for it.

HiFi cables are no different. Speaker cables need to be of a low resistance, low level links need adequate shielding, digital links need the correct characteristic impedance.

Where the nonsense starts is when two perfectly adequate cables are compared with 'veil lifting' results. The writers of 'whiter whites, and blacker blacks' reports on HDMI cables have rightly been ridiculed into silence, but I am afraid that this sort of thing continues with interconnects, most notably speaker cables.

Absent dodgy copper, or wierdo basket weave construction, two speaker cable of the same cross sectional area of conductors will sound the same, regardless of the name of the cable, or the marketing budget of the distributor. Different length cables may sound different, as may different thickness cables, but keep the length and the cross sectional area the same, then they will sound the same - how could they be any different?

One final point, coating the outside of a cable with a microscopic layer of silver makes the cable look bright and shiny, it does not make the sound bright. Why would it?
I think the electrons in silver are shinier than the ones in copper.


Chris
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
Thank you andyjm. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Such a revelatory and refreshing new thread topic.

How do you keep coming up with them?
 

MakkaPakka

New member
May 25, 2013
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An HDMI capture card costs about £100 - why hasn't anyone claiming 'deeper blacks' or anything like that not done a simple cable A vs cable B screen grab at 1920x1080 and killed the debate once and for all?

How come billions of gb of data can flow all instatly over the place via cables all over the world that cost pennies per metre but I need to spend £100 a metre just to get sound from my CD player to the amplifier less than a foot away?

How can one metre is super duper mains cable affect from the wall improve the 50ft of cheap twin and earth under my floorboards which run, amongst other places, directly under my kit?

Too many questions.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
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andyjm said:
The specification of cable can be a key part of the design process, depending on the importance of the cable to the system. If you were an engineer at Morphy Richards (do they still exist?) specifying the cable for a kettle, then the extreme temperature or extreme cold cabilities of the cable are unlikely to matter
Tell that to the tit that designed the last kettle my missus bought ("It's pink!"), melty melty!
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
steve_1979 said:
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
Good article.

A little more detail on the way phase shifts can affect the sound would be nice, particularly how the amplifier might behave in such circumstances.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
chebby said:
Thank goodness for wireless.

Less bl###y cables to talk about!
Absolutely.

Instead we can discuss how your lovingly made FLAC files are being converted to ALAC files and discuss the way that the audio data is 'packetised' for transmission over airplay.

Much simpler than a bit of wire.
 

cheeseboy

New member
Jul 17, 2012
246
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0
chebby said:
Thank goodness for wireless.

Less bl###y cables to talk about!
but don't forget wireless sounds much worse than wired.... :? :rofl: (according to some people...)
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
davedotco said:
chebby said:
Thank goodness for wireless.

Less bl###y cables to talk about!
Absolutely.

Instead we can discuss how your lovingly made FLAC files are being converted to ALAC files and discuss the way that the audio data is 'packetised' for transmission over airplay.

Much simpler than a bit of wire.
At least that has relevance to the 2010s rather than the 1970s.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
341
149
19,070
steve_1979 said:
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
Balderdash. LOL.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
TrevC said:
steve_1979 said:
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
Balderdash. LOL.
Balderdash. Why do you think that?

The sound will change if there's an excessive amount of either capacitance or inductance. This is because capacitance resists bass signals (low frequencies) from passing through . Where inductance resists treble signals (high frequencies) from passing through.

This a well established scientific fact. It is also the way in which passive crossovers work. Click on the link below for a detailed explanation of how and why this happens.

Clicky
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
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TrevC said:
steve_1979 said:
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
Balderdash. LOL.
Capacitance and inductance in cables can have very significant effects on the sound produced, but for loudspeaker cables, these effects are usually dwarfed by cable resistance. Generally, cables of similar construction have similar capacitance and inductance, so as I posted in my opening post, absent some wierdo basket weave construction, cables of the same length and same cross sectional area will sound the same.

As to the 'phase' argument, it seems that human hearing is remarkably insensitive to phase changes:

Dr Floyd Toole (of Harmon Kardon): "It turns out that, within very generous tolerances, humans are insensitive to phase shifts. Under carefully contrived circumstances, special signals auditioned in anechoic conditions, or through headphones, people have heard slight differences. However, even these limited results have failed to provide clear evidence of a 'preference' for a lack of phase shift. When auditioned in real rooms, these differences disappear.."
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
63
0
18,540
steve_1979 said:
TrevC said:
steve_1979 said:
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
Balderdash. LOL.
Balderdash. Why do you think that?

The sound will change if there's an excessive amount of either capacitance or inductance. This is because capacitance resists bass signals (low frequencies) from passing through . Where inductance resists treble signals (high frequencies) from passing through.

This a well established scientific fact. It is also the way in which passive crossovers work. Click on the link below for a detailed explanation of how and why this happens.

Clicky
I think you are confusing "could" with "does". I'm sure it is possible to construct cables with such huge capacitive and inductive properties that they would effect the signal. However this won't be the case with standard cables. The properties will be there but they won't be large enough to have a discernable effect.

Making people worry about these things is a typical snake-oil technique.

Chris
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
andyjm said:
Capacitance and inductance in cables can have very significant effects on the sound produced, but for loudspeaker cables, these effects are usually dwarfed by cable resistance. Generally, cables of similar construction have similar capacitance and inductance, so as I posted in my opening post, absent some wierdo basket weave construction, cables of the same length and same cross sectional area will sound the same.
Good point.

While it is possible for badly designed cables to degrade the sound quality in extreme circumstances it's also worth remembering that a standard and cheap OFC speaker cable will work perfectly without adding any audible distortion.

Don't waste money on expensive audiophile cables - they cannot be any better than standard copper speaker cables.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
341
149
19,070
steve_1979 said:
TrevC said:
steve_1979 said:
Here's a very good and simple to understand explanation of why it's possible for an analogue cable with the right capacitance and inductance characteristics can change the tone of the sound by altering the phase.

Clicky :read:
Balderdash. LOL.
Balderdash. Why do you think that?

The sound will change if there's an excessive amount of either capacitance or inductance. This is because capacitance resists bass signals (low frequencies) from passing through . Where inductance resists treble signals (high frequencies) from passing through.

This a well established scientific fact. It is also the way in which passive crossovers work. Click on the link below for a detailed explanation of how and why this happens.

Clicky
There was nothing remotely scientific about your link. It was written to sound scientific to a layman, and that's why i said balderdash. The capacitance and inductance values tthat could possibly change the sound of a loudspeaker are so high they are not possible in a cable.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
John Duncan said:
CnoEvil said:
"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it." André Gide
Believe those who understand the science involved and are not trying to sell you anything.

Doubt those who want to make money be selling you unnecessarily overpriced cables.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
Covenanter said:
I think you are confusing "could" with "does". I'm sure it is possible to construct cables with such huge capacitive and inductive properties that they would effect the signal. However this won't be the case with standard cables. The properties will be there but they won't be large enough to have a discernable effect.

Making people worry about these things is a typical snake-oil technique.

Chris
Yes this is a good point and I fully agree with you. :)

I hope my posts haven't worried people unnecessarily about their speaker cables.

Almost all speaker cables will sound identical to each other because they will have a low enough capacitance and inductance for it not to have an audible effect on the sound. For speaker cables to have a high enough capacitance or inductance to make an audible effect to the sound they would need to be very badly designed. This is why all you need is cheap standard OFC speaker cables which are of a suitably thick gauge.

Expensive audiophile cables are an unnecessary waste of money and they will not offer any audiable improvement over standard OFC speaker cables.
 

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