Direction specific cable?...

Paul.

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Nov 26, 2010
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Does anyone know why or even how a speaker cable can be direction specific?

I wanted to use my Onkyo 805 Bi-amped for stereo listening, but didn't fancy going out and buying more speaker cable. Luckilly I had far too much Chord Rumour2, so chopped it in half and hooked it up. The highs sounded great, but the base was kind of muddied and slightly flat. I switched the direction of the LF cable (originally I wanted all the banana plugs at the amp end, bare cable where it was cut in the middle at the speaker end, so both LF cables were the wrong way round) and now it sounds fantastic.

Anyone know why?

(I know its an AV amp, but thought you Hifi guys would be better to ask )
 

whiskywheels

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Nov 1, 2009
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I'd like to know the answer to this as well. I've some speaker cable and interconnects which are directional and have ofte wondered if it's just more hype.
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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It is not directional. Firstly, it is AC, so the current runs both ways. Secondly, Belden the cable maker have run blind tests of their cables and could not determine an audible difference, no matter which way round the cable was. But, their spokesman announced, they were happy to sell cable as if it was directional. That will be to satisfy audiophile myths.

Get someone to do an ABX test on you. Without seeing which way round the cable is, listen to it one way (A), then the other (B) and then have your friend at the toss of a coin switch or not switch the direction of the cable (X) and you have to identify with is A and which is B. Do this 20 times and get 90% plus correct and there may be something in the claim of directionality of the cable. Otherwise, it is all in the mind.
 

hammill

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Mar 20, 2008
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So did you change which end was bare and which end had a connector? Have you tried reversing it again? Such a huge difference in sound would suggest that initially there was not a good connection.
 

Paul.

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Nov 26, 2010
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I did say 'kind of' and 'slightly', the difference wasn't night and day. Im not really interested in ripping my system apart now that I am happy with it, I was just curious what Chord or any other companies explanation was. No offence, I wasn't trying to start another cable debate, I was just curious what the 'claimed' technical explanation was from the manufacturers, regardless of weather its true or not. That way I can make my own informed opinion :)

***, just as I wrote this my amp when pop and wont switch on... eep..
 

Paul.

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Nov 26, 2010
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hmm, Its protection circuit has kicked in. But its been playing for a couple of hours sounding fantastic? Somewhat Ironically I was listening to 'Drums of death' by Unkle, but relatively quietly (-40 db)
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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I have yet to read an explanation beyond, 'it sounds different' through to 'crystal allignment' with any real science behind it.
 

Sizzers

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Are there directional electrical cables where the current flows easier in one direction to save you money on your energy bills?
 
A

Anonymous

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jiggyjoe:Current from your amp to your speakers is dc not ac. No, it's AC.
 

jiggyjoe

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Aug 21, 2010
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No dc that is why you have a power supply ( transformer, Bridge rectifier,smoothing capacitors) to supply DC! current to transistors (the output stage) to drive the loudspeakers.
 

hammill

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Mar 20, 2008
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jiggyjoe:No dc that is why you have a power supply ( transformer, Bridge rectifier,smoothing capacitors) to supply DC! current to transistors (the output stage) to drive the loudspeakers.

"Essentially, the amplifier is constantly switching the electrical signal, fluctuating between a positive charge and a negative charge on the red wire. Since electrons always flow in the same direction between positively charged particles and negatively charged particles, the current going through the speaker moves one way and then reverses and flows the other way. This alternating current causes the polar orientation of the electromagnet to reverse itself many times a second. "

Sorry mate, you are just wrong about this.
 

whiskywheels

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Nov 1, 2009
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So that's a yes, no, or maybe. Or probably not. Depending on whether it's AC or DC. And to think Merlin have gone to all that trouble painting little direction arrows on their cables for me.............
 

hammill

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Mar 20, 2008
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Paul Hobbs:

My amp seems ok now thanks for asking


I've learned my lesson, shan't mention the 'C' word ever again...
Well if you ever feel like reversing the cable again, let us know what happens.
 

smuggs

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Feb 19, 2009
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it can make a differance in ac but very small amounts if it would have bearings on hifi are in question but in RF tech they make one end silghty thinier or they can wind the cores in a way that it almost becomes downhill so when a quick surge of current is called it can work quicker and you can swap it round to have to 2signals the same values etc arrive a slightly different times.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Connect according to the arrows. If the direction makes no difference then you are fine, and if direction really does make a difference then you are still happy.

If you are totally disbelieving of the whole idea then you could rebel and connect the speaker cables in different directions to each other to spite the theory.

Better still, get cables with no arrows (and don't watch them cutting the lengths from the drum), that way you will never know and it can't worry you.

Either way it costs 0p and a few seconds to flip them around and listen for any differences yourself.

A more nonsensical idea than 'directional' speaker cable is discussing it.
 

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