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Audio/Video Hardware => Audiophool drivel / Cable talk => Topic started by: Stanp on May 04, 2019, 10:51:16 AM

Title: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Stanp on May 04, 2019, 10:51:16 AM
I thought this a very plausible reason for cables sounding different; something I could believe.
 https://youtu.be/c3AJJrKNBRQ
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: chrisc on May 04, 2019, 01:58:09 PM
So cables sound different with different material?  I never thought of this

The overall opinion is "no", but he is careful not to put his foot in it

Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Louisek on May 08, 2019, 09:28:08 AM
I'm currently on "loan" to the École Polytechnique in Paris and being keen on audio I have been experimenting with metal coatings and surface effects on copper and other materials.  As long as the cross-section of the cable is adequate for the maximum expected current (plus 20%) then more effect on transmission speed is discernable by varying the dipped, plated or pressed surface treatment with an alternative metal (to the copper substrate).  This does not have to be silver or aluminium, but can be zinc, tin and even gold

Naturally, these transmission speeds are measurable using a non-contact laser displacement as the HLDC-CMOS range of devices, but each material has it own characteristics

Knowing this, there can be a difference in the sound signature for frequencies above 1,9KHz which can materialise into audible effect
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Tzs503gp on May 16, 2019, 07:45:06 PM
There. How do you like them apples.
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Den123 on May 16, 2019, 09:19:05 PM
Very interesting study, Louisek. 1.9kHz seems very low. What sort of difference is there, percentage wise?
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: DACMan1 on May 17, 2019, 07:50:31 AM
I'm currently on "loan" to the École Polytechnique in Paris and being keen on audio I have been experimenting with metal coatings and surface effects on copper and other materials.  As long as the cross-section of the cable is adequate for the maximum expected current (plus 20%) then more effect on transmission speed is discernable by varying the dipped, plated or pressed surface treatment with an alternative metal (to the copper substrate).  This does not have to be silver or aluminium, but can be zinc, tin and even gold

Naturally, these transmission speeds are measurable using a non-contact laser displacement as the HLDC-CMOS range of devices, but each material has it own characteristics

Knowing this, there can be a difference in the sound signature for frequencies above 1,9KHz which can materialise into audible effect

Very interesting. Is there a paper I can read on this? Or any detail that is more than superficial?

Also, how did you manage to use a laser displacement measuring device to measure transmission speed in cables.

Also, how does transmission speed translate to anything audible?

Also, if any of this were true, then we would be able to measure the effect easily by means of normal audio spectrum equipment - like a sound card.
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: chrisc on May 17, 2019, 08:10:25 AM
I regularly (well, 4 or 5 times a year) exchange emails with Louise as she also develops software for Audirvana and Devialet and showed her around Cape Town when she visited here a few years back

Apparently the transmission speed was measured by calculating the difference between a known length of metal material and one with an added layer in terms of an electrical signal.   I did not really under the science and her English and spelling is sometimes a bit strange.  I also have no idea what a laser displacement device is, and asking Mr Google was also unhelpful
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: DACMan1 on May 17, 2019, 08:35:16 AM
I regularly (well, 4 or 5 times a year) exchange emails with Louise as she also develops software for Audirvana and Devialet and showed her around Cape Town when she visited here a few years back

Apparently the transmission speed was measured by calculating the difference between a known length of metal material and one with an added layer in terms of an electrical signal.   I did not really under the science and her English and spelling is sometimes a bit strange.  I also have no idea what a laser displacement device is, and asking Mr Google was also unhelpful

Well, I am truly interested - show me the science.
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: d0dja on May 17, 2019, 08:43:51 AM
And yet in repeated double-blind tests, no-one has ever been able to reliably tell cables apart.

Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: AlleyCat on May 17, 2019, 09:06:52 AM
The double blind testers have gone into hiding?

They in a conference discussing this heresy.
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: chrisc on July 21, 2019, 03:08:59 PM
"They" (she will not tell me who) tested various cables and a solid silver USB cable with PFTE insulation sounded different.  Better or worse?  Neither, just different
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: scrarfussi on July 22, 2019, 02:07:24 PM
And yet in repeated double-blind tests, no-one has ever been able to reliably tell cables apart.
I wonder which ones

Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: chrisc on July 22, 2019, 02:30:32 PM
It was a Nimak Audio (A) silver USB cable, 1 metre long.   Apparently these are made in Croatia and they sent a batch of various cables for testing.  Its about 90€ retail
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Carnajo on July 22, 2019, 02:34:26 PM
And yet in repeated double-blind tests, no-one has ever been able to reliably tell cables apart.

I can conclusively prove that some cables sound different. I have a lovely 3m RCA cable used for my subwoofer that I recently replaced. Even in a double blind test I can pick the one cable from the other under the right conditions. The right conditions being that the old cable, when getting near to my AVR's power cable, would cause the sub to hum very badly. The new cable does not. The new cable probably cost less than the original one that hums  :tongue:.
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Ampdog on July 24, 2019, 06:57:58 AM
Carnajo,

Just so that I understand you correctly (and with due respect, your emoticon at the end leaves me in some doubt): When folks say that certain cables sound differently, they mean the program (music or whatever) sounds differently from one cable to another. What I gather from your post is that you found interference with the 'old cable' (the RCA?) and not with the new one?

One must differentiate between music sounding different, and interference being picked up or not. It may be something simple as in that the old cable was not screened properly whereas the new one is. This is not the same as in a cable changing the character/sound of the music.

Can you kindly elucidate, please?
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Ampdog on July 24, 2019, 07:28:00 AM
The double blind testers have gone into hiding? 

Saying this with due respect . . . . 
   let me phrase it this way: I find just enough contradictions here to make me uncomfortable.  I would be interested to know exactly how the mentioned  1,9 KHz was arrived at . . . .

Until then . . .   :)  :)  :)
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: chrisc on July 24, 2019, 08:35:38 AM
I can conclusively prove that some cables sound different. I have a lovely 3m RCA cable used for my subwoofer that I recently replaced. Even in a double blind test I can pick the one cable from the other under the right conditions. The right conditions being that the old cable, when getting near to my AVR's power cable, would cause the sub to hum very badly. The new cable does not. The new cable probably cost less than the original one that hums  :tongue:.

I would suggest that the old cable may be damaged.  Also, one or more of the plugs may not be making intimate contact with the socket

Many cables brought to me can successfully be fixed by unsoldering the plug, cutting off a few mm of the end of the cable, cleaning the plug and resoldering.  Is also possible that the original soldering job was dodgy on account of the metal being dirty or corroded.  To achieve a 100% soldered joint, both surfaces must be pristine

Then you get mechanical wear.  This is often apparent with mobile phone charger leads, as people are a bit rough with it or else detach it from the phone using the cable and not the plug.   The copper strands inside are usually extremely thin and copper is not a strong material

To explain cable damage a bit more, the shield is usually wrapped in a braid fashion, as can be seen from this image

If the cable is bent over a sharp corner, the braid can separate and allow in the hum through induction and exhibit the symptom described

(An induced current (the hum) can be created in a cable lying adjacent to another carrying current with the collapsing magnetic field due to the 50Hz AC travelling through - this is how transformers operate)

(https://i.imgur.com/madTKYo.jpg)
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Carnajo on July 24, 2019, 10:07:27 AM
Carnajo,

Just so that I understand you correctly (and with due respect, your emoticon at the end leaves me in some doubt): When folks say that certain cables sound differently, they mean the program (music or whatever) sounds differently from one cable to another. What I gather from your post is that you found interference with the 'old cable' (the RCA?) and not with the new one?

One must differentiate between music sounding different, and interference being picked up or not. It may be something simple as in that the old cable was not screened properly whereas the new one is. This is not the same as in a cable changing the character/sound of the music.

Can you kindly elucidate, please?

Hi there, I was just being facetious and indeed the problem was of course interference. If one RCA cable sounds different to another (interference or just a very very bad cable not withstanding) I have never heard any.


...

(An induced current (the hum) can be created in a cable lying adjacent to another carrying current with the collapsing magnetic field due to the 50Hz AC travelling through - this is how transformers operate)

(https://i.imgur.com/madTKYo.jpg)

Didn't expect my flippant comment to get such serious responses. Thanks for insight. I have never soldered anything in my life so the prospect of trying to repair it is beyond my means but that said I think the issue was indeed the latter (i.e. current hum) because the RCA cable would cross the AVRs power cable and the hum got worse if the cable was too close. Wasn't an easy way to move them apart and I did my best to ensure they crossed at 90 degrees. That said the new cable has no hum so I suspect that it has better shielding (or possibly the previous cable had no shielding at all). Mechanical damage is possible but the cable was never bent sharply (but then again who knows, may have been inadvertent).
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Prich_Legend84 on August 13, 2019, 05:37:52 PM
How much of a real difference can be heard to the blind man?
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: BobsYourUncle on August 13, 2019, 06:39:05 PM
How much of a real difference can be heard to the blind man?
What are you planning on selling?
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Gerlach on August 15, 2019, 08:09:52 AM
What are you planning on selling?

Hahahaha!! maybe a go-cart  :tongue:
Title: Re: Plausible reason for cables sounding different
Post by: Prich_Legend84 on August 18, 2019, 07:05:10 PM
Following this with great interest