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Preparing for Latest Tweaks, Part Deux: Ferrites

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Other tweaks I've been playing with are ferrites (again).

I figure my house electrical wiring (like any house) acts as an antenna for the now-abundant-everywhere RFI in the ether. I trust the Brick Wall to effectively filter out RFI between the mains and my component plugs, as well as between components plugged into it. However, from the component plugs to the components runs a couple of meters of cable each (none of it shielded in my case). Additionally, digital components are known for introducing noise through their power cords (which is why good power conditioners are very often designed with at least one or two isolated receptacles just for digital equipment).

As a radio scanning buff, I accept that my cables (interconnects and power cables) act as antennas to some degree. I also accept that RFI -- to whatever degree -- is going to be unavoidable. While there's little I can do to prevent whatever RFI is entering my components through their cases from entering, I figure I can take measure to deal with RFI that enters the system through the long runs of cable that are the interconnects and power cables. So....

Ferrites. I have a lot of these around, so I decided to try various configurations. First I put two of them back on my SCD-C333ES's power cord (two ferrite units, each with 88 ohms of resistance at 100 MHz). Since I now have the Brick Wall between components, I didnt' notice any difference, for better or worse -- so I kept them there. Then I put two big ferrite loops on the Max's Quail power cable, just behind the Max (I'm not sure about the attenuation values for these loops). Again, no noticeable differences anymore (there were before I put the Brick Wall in place), for better or worse, so I kept them there too.

I've read some recommendations for ferrites on interconnects. I'm read some recommendations against ferrites on interconnects. Given how easy it is to put split ferrites on and take them off, I decided to give them a go on the Taras. Because the Taras are quite thick, I had to run out to a local store (The Electronic Connection) to find some ferrites big enough to fit on them. I found some ferrites at $10.95 each that fit on them almost perfectly, and that each provide 117 ohms of resistance at 100 MHz. I bought two. I put them on the Taras just behind the Max, and, voila, I actually like them there! Some people have found that with some interconnects, ferrites can blunt the highs. I have very good high frequency hearing, and there was no blunting at all in several A-B (remove/replace) tests. But the noise floor seems to have improved a wee bit, as well as the micro details as a result. This is the only noticeable change I noticed, with no negative effects on soundstage or dyamics. I was surprised by this finding, as I never intended to place ferrites on my interconnects. They're staying.

The idea behind putting them just aft of the Max is to choke RFI that might be being introduced to the system via the Taras and/or the SCD-C333ES via the Taras. I haven't thought to place anything on my unshielded headphone cord, but I might if I find some nice small ferrites for the job.

I will admit that even the effects on the interconnects aren't major. And I'll be honest enough to say that I wouldn't bet on my ability to blind pick it consistently or with any statistical significance. But it's doing something, and when I do hear it, it's doing something good. So, again, they're staying.

I know there has been discussion of ferrites before and on HeadWize, but has anyone else here had luck with ferrites on their interconnects?
post #2 of 28
Thread Starter 

Re: Preparing for Latest Tweaks, Part Deux: Ferrites

Quote:
Originally posted by jude
I haven't thought to place anything on my unshielded headphone cord, but I might if I find some nice small ferrites for the job.

Guess what -- I found a ferrite that fits perfectly on my Sennheiser HD-600's cord, and so I placed it just at the part before it Y's off to the two earpieces. I don't actually have time to do listening tests right now, but I will definitely do so later.
post #3 of 28
Jude,

Just a question are you buying standard ferrite cores or are you buying those plastic/ferrite clip on cores?

Thanks in advance for answering...
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by evilcthul
Jude,

Just a question are you buying standard ferrite cores or are you buying those plastic/ferrite clip on cores?

Thanks in advance for answering...

I'm buying the split ones (and also stealing them off other unused, old computer-related cords in the house).

The one I found that fits on my Sennheiser cord came with one of my ethernet PC card dongles.
post #5 of 28
hmm, didn't think of using split cores on my 580's cord, I should try that. I tried using ferrite cores with both my digital and analogue ICs and thought that it did blunt the highs, which is not a good thing, given that Cardas ICs are usually anything but bright.
However, there WAS a slight lowering of the noise floor when I tried the ferrite cores with my CD player's captive power cord; the difference was more evident when playing certain CDs though (e.g. Diana Krall's "When I Look in your Eyes").
By the way, the cores I'm using were purchased from CS Cables and have a plastic outer shell that locks around the cable they're used with.
post #6 of 28
Can someone post pics of these things?
post #7 of 28
I use split ferrite cores by the dozens. I bought about 60 of them in various sizes from digikey about 4 months ago. I use them on power cords, speaker cables, power cords and headphone cables. They are so easy to clip on and off it is a very easy tweak. I have not really noticed significant degradation of high frequency information. Then again I'm not exactly a spring chicken.

I have also been doing a lot of component platforms and cover pieces using oak boards and sorbothane sheet material from McMaster-Carr. It has helped tame some resonance problems in my CDP case.

Once my new headphone amp arrives I will be posting pictures of the new setup in the den includng my new custom shelving unit built completely from materials purchased at the local Lowes home center. I think it looks pretty good, but more importantly I received the seal of approval from the boss. Her exact words were, "It actually looks like a piece of furniture!" (Make sure you say it with a good degree of incredulity).
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by wasifazim
hmm, didn't think of using split cores on my 580's cord, I should try that. I tried using ferrite cores with both my digital and analogue ICs and thought that it did blunt the highs, which is not a good thing, given that Cardas ICs are usually anything but bright.
However, there WAS a slight lowering of the noise floor when I tried the ferrite cores with my CD player's captive power cord; the difference was more evident when playing certain CDs though (e.g. Diana Krall's "When I Look in your Eyes").
By the way, the cores I'm using were purchased from CS Cables and have a plastic outer shell that locks around the cable they're used with.

wasifazim,

Regarding the blunting of the highs: Yes, I've read that it does do that for some people, and I'd be willing to bed it's system dependent (with the cable as the most important variable perhaps?). I have good high frequency hearing, and all these ferrites do not seem to be affecting the highs in my rig at all (using music and pink noise), which I'm glad for. I'll try them with other interconnects next week to see if I experience the treble roll-off with any of those.

Quote:
Originally posted by KR...
Can someone post pics of these things?

KR,

I'm sure you've seen them before. Here are some pics of Audioquest's RF Stoppers brand of ferrites:

Split ferrite opened up



Installed on cable


Quote:
Originally posted by morphsci
Once my new headphone amp arrives I will be posting pictures of the new setup in the den includng my new custom shelving unit built completely from materials purchased at the local Lowes home center. I think it looks pretty good, but more importantly I received the seal of approval from the boss. Her exact words were, "It actually looks like a piece of furniture!" (Make sure you say it with a good degree of incredulity).
Looking forward to seeing the pics, morphsci.

Regarding ferrites on the headphone cords: I have now tried this small ferrite on both the Sennheiser HD-600's cord, and now on my Sony MDR-7506's cord (listening to it right now), and there is no blunting of the treble at all that I can hear. Taking it off and putting it back on doesn't make for any discernable differences that I can tell so far, so I'll keep it on for now.

Today, RFI is the enemy!
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by morphsci
Once my new headphone amp arrives I will be posting pictures of the new setup in the den includng my new custom shelving unit built completely from materials purchased at the local Lowes home center. I think it looks pretty good, but more importantly I received the seal of approval from the boss. Her exact words were, "It actually looks like a piece of furniture!" (Make sure you say it with a good degree of incredulity).
morphsci,

Have you received your new headphone amp mentioned above? If you have an opportunity to take some pics, please do, as I'd love to see your setup -- make sure to take some pics of those many ferrites too!
post #10 of 28

How topical.....

Very funny coincidence. Have just discussing ferrite clamps at the other hifi forum I frequent, HiFiChoice www.futureforums.co.uk/hifichoice

The local surplus electronics shop in town (called "Suplustronics", duh!) has 2 sizes of ferrite clamps. The smaller ones nicely fit round your average IEC power cable, like the one on my SFCD-1, while the bigger ones sound about the size of the ones on Jude's Tara Labs IC. Wanna know the price? NZ$2.50 for the big ones, and NZ$2.00 for the little ones. That's about $1.00 and 80c respectively to you US folks! I don't know if the AQ SuperFerrites would wipe the floor with them (according to the stuff on their website they would, of course), but at that price I'm investing in a few. I'll tell you if I think there's been a decent difference later.

My main problem is that the wall-wart cord for my QED MB45 (which is my main "RF villain") is VERY thin and I can't find a ferrite small enough to fit it!

BTW, apparently you can also use these on household sources of RF hash (e.g. the fridge) to reduce the switching interference.

Jude, you said....
Quote:
...I put two of them back on my SCD-C333ES's power cord..... Then I put two big ferrite loops on the Max's Quail power cable...
Any particular reason for using two? Would more/less be better/worse? Where did you position them? (I've heard that you should put one as close to the component as possible.)

Cheers
Hamsta
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

Re: How topical.....

Quote:
Originally posted by Hamsta
My main problem is that the wall-wart cord for my QED MB45 (which is my main "RF villain") is VERY thin and I can't find a ferrite small enough to fit it!...

Jude....Any particular reason for using two? Would more/less be better/worse? Where did you position them? (I've heard that you should put one as close to the component as possible.)
Hamsta,

I actually use four now on the SCD-C333ES's power cord. The other two came from the Quail power cord (they won't fit on the huge BPT C-7 power cord I'm using with my Max now). Using two or more increases their effect (greater db reduction through higher impedance at the higher frequencies ferrites are generally designed to suppress), which can be good or bad I guess, depending on your rig, placement, etc. The four on my 333's power cord seem to work quite nicely.

I put them on the powercord as close to the 333 as I can, the idea being to reduce the powerline noise generated by the 333 as quickly as possible. When I could fit them on the Max's power cord, I put them as close to the Max as possible, the idea being to choke off the bad stuff that may be picked up on the power cord somewhere in its six-foot run.

As with any tweaks, the effectiveness will be based on many variables, varying from rig to rig. With ferrites, greater benefits will likely be experienced by those with rigs in RFI-prone areas.

If you're looking for ferrites for smaller cords, consider swiping the little ferrites off of any unused ethernet PC card dongles you may have around. If not, an alternative that would likely be more effective anyway would be looping your skinny cords through a larger ferrite clip, always keeping the cable flow in the same direction through the cetner part of the clip/loop. The more loops you make through it, the more you increase the effectiveness of the ferrite.
post #12 of 28
Cheers for the ridiculously rapid reply, Jude.

Can't say I have any unused Ethernet PC Card dongles lying around, whatever the heck they are ! I'm guessing the nice guys at Surplustronics may be able to help me out on that one too.

Thanks again
Hamsta
post #13 of 28
I have always been sceptical about tweaks like these, and after reading these post, I am even more sceptical. Almost everyone of you notice there is no difference between it on and off, only jude can say there is a little, and he can't even tell in a blind test.

I don't have any power conditioner, so I don't know how useful it is for me. May be Jude can take out his brickwall and test the ferrites clamp alone and give us the results.

Seriously, how the hell doess these thing work? I mean the electricity doesn't even touch the ferrites clamps, it's like wrapping a towel around a water pipe and saying the water taste better for it. It doesn't, it won't make it cooler, warmer or change any of it's physical properties. So how do these clamps work?

And over here, $40 for 4 small ones is too expensive to try something that does nothing.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by jude


morphsci,

Have you received your new headphone amp mentioned above? If you have an opportunity to take some pics, please do, as I'd love to see your setup -- make sure to take some pics of those many ferrites too!
Yes I have, but the digital camera is being repaired (DOH!). Anyway, I actually called on Friday and they promised to have it back this week. Actually, works out a little better this way since I have the second set of HT truthlinks attached now. I will get on it as soon as I can.

BTW, looks like I will be buying a custom BPT transformer also. It will be two BP Jrs in a bigger case. I am very impressed with BPT and their willingness to make sure you have the exact product you need.
post #15 of 28
Raymondlin, whenever there is current flowing through a wire, there must be a corresponding magnetic field created around the wire. The ferrites act as filter, presenting a resistance to the high frequency magnetic fields only.
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