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Physical/scientific aspects behind cable sound. Discuss.

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
I thought I'd start a new thread on this since nobody seems to want to post opinions on anything other than what they think they hear.

What are YOUR explanations for the differences in sound between cables(be it interconnect or power cable)? Ideally, post what you've observed from listening and a plausible explanation as to why that might be the case due to cable design/characteristics.

I'm not going to start off with any comments. I'd like the topic to start off as neutral as possible.

The only rule is you should refrain from posting 'It sounds the way it does just because and I don't care about the math/science/physics.' That's not what the topic is about. Post anything like that and you lose in this thread, game over.

Discuss.
post #2 of 87
You're asking people to make up plausible scientific explanations? This sounds like a creative writing assignment.

See ya
Steve
post #3 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
You're asking people to make up plausible scientific explanations? This sounds like a creative writing assignment.

See ya
Steve
Well it's something to work off of. Once we have something to start with, we can try to support or refute it.
post #4 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxr3m View Post
I'd like the topic to start off as neutral as possible.
That lasted until post # 2.

Well, maybe the rest of the responders will comply. It's a legitimate inquiry, and conceivably might be useful to some(notwithstanding that it is discussed or referenced to varying degrees in many previous threads) if we avoid the usual flamethrowing, insults, sarcasm, categorical/absolutist statements, etc. (although I predict this will not happen).
post #5 of 87
There was a M. Sc. thesis on "A New Methodology for Audio Frequency Power Amplifier Testing Based on Psychoacoustic Data That Better Correlates with Sound Quality" by D.H. Cheever in 2001 which is quite interesting.

It can be downloaded here :-

w3.mit.edu/cheever/www/cheever_thesis.pdf

Although it is not directly about cables, it points to new ideas of looking a sound quality from an innovative angle. The list of references on page 76 - 78 also points to a number of useful references on more recent researches on audio measurement.

While many may say enough research was done on audio, I still think in this universe, we just don't know what we don't know (yet).

Peace to all.
F. Lo
post #6 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by fkclo View Post
There was a M. Sc. thesis on "A New Methodology for Audio Frequency Power Amplifier Testing Based on Psychoacoustic Data That Better Correlates with Sound Quality" by D.H. Cheever in 2001 which is quite interesting.

It can be downloaded here :-

w3.mit.edu/cheever/www/cheever_thesis.pdf

Although it is not directly about cables, it points to new ideas of looking a sound quality from an innovative angle. The list of references on page 76 - 78 also points to a number of useful references on more recent researches on audio measurement.

While many may say enough research was done on audio, I still think in this universe, we just don't know what we don't know (yet).

Peace to all.
F. Lo
That paper really is fascinating.

I am really hesitant to apply it to cables though. The paper starts with a premise -- that amps that measure better do not necessarily sound better. I don't think anyone here really disagrees with that. Then it explores why, and how to measure given the answer.

With cables though, people are essentially arguing that cables that measure the same do not necessarily sound the same. This is a completely different premise, and the same methodologies really do not follow.
post #7 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu View Post
With cables though, people are essentially arguing that cables that measure the same do not necessarily sound the same. This is a completely different premise, and the same methodologies really do not follow.
I agree the methodologies will not apply to cable. But the spirit here is one can also take a fresh look at the subject from a different angle, and may come up with a whole new world of ideas and ways to explain something. If we only stick to what "science" delivered 50 or 100 years ago, we could not have accomplishe what we have today.

Only my humble opinion.

F. Lo
post #8 of 87
Thread Starter 
http://www.virtualdynamics.ca/content.php?id=17

That's a link to some of the technology VD puts into their cables. Thoughts?
post #9 of 87
I hope people don't trash this topic, because this is a promising start.

Good job with the links.
post #10 of 87
Don't all manufacturers have technical papers?


http://www.nordost.com/Technical%20Papers/index.htm

http://tara-labs-info.com/zero-inter...ite-paper.html
http://www.taralabs.com/Technology.asp

Tara Labs has a lot of white papers.



I have been experimenting a lot myself and modified my Nordost Valhalla cables, I have found the same things are true as in Tara Labs white papers. The conductors need to be separated from each other to get less muddiness and more detail, Nordost has their conductors too close to each other. The shield needs to be separated 1+cm from the conductors as well. The shield also needs to have dedicated grounding so the noise doesn't enter the components.

There's an EM field around the shield which interferes with the signal carrying conductors. It makes it sound muddy and dull. After I suspended the cable inside toilet paper rolls and wrapped the rolls in ERS Paper it didn't sound muddy or dull at all, it gave improved dynamics and low-level detail, no weaknesses!
post #11 of 87
Outside of measurable things like inductance and capcitance and resistance, there ain't much to discuss. I think some people labor under the mis-conception that there has been conducted multi-billion dollar Manhattan projects to discover the secret of the diffreences between cables.

Maybe with all the waste in the Defense Dept. budget ($400 hammers) this has in fact been done, but the results must be so shocking, they're still classified.

Quote:
You're asking people to make up plausible scientific explanations? This sounds like a creative writing assignment.
For once I agree with this dude. All we can do is speculate.

Potential factors:

1. Type of metal used

2. Gauge of metal used

3. Purity of metal used

4. Stranded vs. solid core condutors

5. Round vs. oval vs. flat conductors

6. Mixture of metals used

7. Geometry of conductor windings

8. Type of metal used in connectors

9. Quality of metals used in connectors

10. Design of connectors

11. Type of shielding used (or no shielding)

12. Amount of shielding used

13. Dielectric type (including air)


I'm sure there are more factors, but each cable is mixture of these different elements. No way to control for each variable to find out which factor makes what kind of difference.
post #12 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick82 View Post
I can see that this section of Nordost's website is entitled "Technical Papers," but the actual contents appear to be nothing more than advertising copy.
post #13 of 87
there is of course R, L, and C. but also perhaps the dielectric material also matters. if i had the test equipment the first thing i would try to measure is the TIMD. if the dielectric type makes a difference beyond R, L, and C by affecting the time domain, then the best dielectric would be air or vacuum.

in theory whether copper or silver used would not matter, except in the case if they were braided, then silver's L and C would respond differently from copper, but this is easily measurable.
post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by fkclo View Post
There was a M. Sc. thesis on "A New Methodology for Audio Frequency Power Amplifier Testing Based on Psychoacoustic Data That Better Correlates with Sound Quality" by D.H. Cheever in 2001 which is quite interesting.

It can be downloaded here :-

w3.mit.edu/cheever/www/cheever_thesis.pdf

Although it is not directly about cables, it points to new ideas of looking a sound quality from an innovative angle. The list of references on page 76 - 78 also points to a number of useful references on more recent researches on audio measurement.

While many may say enough research was done on audio, I still think in this universe, we just don't know what we don't know (yet).

Peace to all.
F. Lo
This Masters thesis has an interesting discussion of the problems of measuring audible distortion. His TAD technique seems to be based on an analysis of the distortion characteristics of the ear. Unfortunately he provided almost no information about his psychophysical study as to how listeners related to this TAD measurement.

Generally, I think he is on the right track, that in order to give scientific guidance to audio designers we need more sophisticated measures of performance than are currently employed. These measurements will have to be correlated with an understanding of auditory process and validated by psychophysical testing.

I doubt that many of the crowd who regularly call "placebo" or cry about the need for double blind testing have any idea of how complicated this area is.
post #15 of 87
All the technical paper all claimed lower distortion, lower noise, lower capacitance etc. All these are measurable. They are actually backing up the argument the difference is measurable.

Even Patrick's EM argument is still measurable.

The only interesting new data point is the ear's harmonic canal and its ability to filter harmonics in the UNH paper.

I don't think one camp is going to convince the other camp of their belief. But I'll be interested in seeing new data, new theory and new ideas.
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