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Hi End Cables

Audio Cables are quite an interesting topic.

Their performance is based on the following: 


1.) Physical build stress handling capability, ever wonder why cheap cables introduce noise when they are twisted and turned?


Mainly because the fibers inside them are constantly coming in and out of contact which changes the inductive reactantance in them to make the cable suddenly shift its characteristics and introduce noise due to the change. Good cables do not have this problem as they are more sturdy and have the outer coating to be more flexible and not allow fibers to connect or disconnect.


2.) Electrical Charicterisitcs

Every wire in the whole world, be it $2,000,000$ or $2.00, will generate standing waves around it, how the wire allows these waves to interact makes a cable good or bad.


Let's take a look at this:

standing waves.JPG


sorry for my poor artistic skills :) but hope you get the idea




The extra mesh (or shield) which carries ground doesn't allow the standing waves to interact with the signal and thus helps in removing noise induced OUTSIDE the cable.


3.) Twisting cables in a way that they cancel out each other's standing waves also removes any noise which the cable induces to itself. This is also use in active noise cancellation, the principle involved is the superposition principle.






if we add the two waves they cancel each other out thus similarly if we turn cables in such a way that we can cancel their standing waves.


4.) Connectors

MOST important, in the  cable all standing waves will try to induce themselves to remove the voltage difference between the cable and them thorough an open connector. In RCA cables this is prevented by the ground terminal to "guard" the inner signal terminal so that the waves don't interfere. 



Other than this, to my knowledge there are no "quantum voodoo" effects which make cable costs go upward due to their "supreme" capabilities.




P.S. the reason why cable manufactures don't measure their cables performance using an FFT or an O'scope is due the fact that the magnitude of these waves is so small they "almost" make no difference once all of the above points have been considered.

Other than this, we have snake oil :)

Comments (8)

These charts have nothing to do with the experience of listening to the cables and making a decision for yourself.
Hi there Rohan,
Can you expand a bit on the standing waves? Are referring to frequncy dependent standing waves?
Silver makes a big difference.
Not according to Roger Russell, formerly Director of Acoustic Research at McIntosh Laboratory, Inc.
"It all sounds the same provided the resistance is low enough."
Re: Roger Russell: There is more science than is contained in your science. Backward-looking mentalities using out-dated measurement tools and claiming that's all there is in the world. EVERY SINGLE COMPONENT changes the sound of the music - no one, not ever you, are dispute that - the goal is to tune them all to produce a sound you like. If you rely on others to do this for you, yes, you will get burned, especially if you only follow price. This does not mean there isn't a paradigm-breaker out there right now. Open your ears. Move away from the measurement tools...
What you say above may perhap be true, but my ear's tell me I hear differences between cables. It seem's to me if the materials used vary, and combinations of materials vary, and purity of metals vary, and cable geometry's vary,  the sonic signal that passes through one end to the other of the cables varaibles will differ in size, amount, degree, or nature from something else of the same general class.
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