Audible Differences in Copper vs. Silver Cables?
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Jul 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM Post #106 of 373

JohnSantana

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............

And to date (and that covers a span of over 30 years), no one has ever demonstrated actual audible differences among cables save for cables which have pathologically high resistance, inductance and/or capacitance. So I'm curious as to just what you base your claim on.

se


Many thanks for the clarification Mr. Ed, I now understand by reading this forum that cable materials cannot hugely improve sound quality, apart from aesthetics, ergonomical, microphonics effects and cosmetic, there is no other benefits scientifically.
 
Jul 14, 2013 at 9:20 PM Post #107 of 373

Steve Eddy

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Many thanks for the clarification Mr. Ed, I now understand by reading this forum that cable materials cannot hugely improve sound quality, apart from aesthetics, ergonomical, microphonics effects and cosmetic, there is no other benefits scientifically.


Well, no one has yet demonstrated there to be. So until someone does, I can't in good conscience make any claims, or support the unsubstantiated claims of others to the contrary.

se
 
Jul 14, 2013 at 9:37 PM Post #108 of 373

Frihed89

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Thanks Steve.  It's in the nature of interpreting the impact of the distortion on what we hear.  I don't think that's the paranormal.  I think cables have the potential to do more harm than good and the best they can do is to bring out the best in your system...that is already there.  Different systems sound better, but only up to a point, or worse with different cables. For example: Audio Note makes cables that fit together sonically with with their components.  Using non-Audio Note cables in an all Audio Note system usually doesn't work as well.  I have gone from all Audio Note to just an Audio Note digital front end.  I have a fairly lush 26 preamp and pretty neutral (for SET) 2 stage 45 amp coupled to a pair of single driver + tweeter speaker with high freq. cross over.  The silver Audio Note cables I have do not suit it at all (speakers become shouty) and the their copper cable is too "round".  I found another brand of copper cable that pulls things together much better to my ears and stopped.  Its design is actually pretty crude from what I can tell.  
 
I don't think this is an exact science: too many other variables, of which the ear and brain's roles are hard to quantify. If you add up all the partial fixed effects and interactions and then throw in some randomness, the experimental design required to isolate the effect of different cables in a system from a subjective perspective is daunting, as you can only hear the system through the whole system.  I doubt very much if the ability to measure various electrical characteristics of the signal at each junction in the system would be very helpful, because it wouldn't show too much difference unless you were using aluminum coat hangers!
 
Jul 14, 2013 at 9:59 PM Post #109 of 373

Steve Eddy

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Thanks Steve.  It's in the nature of interpreting the impact of the distortion on what we hear.

 
I didn't see any interpretations. I saw a flat out objective claim that there are audible characteristics of signals that cannot be inferred from an oscilloscope or DVM. And while I don't have a problem agreeing with that as you stated it, but as I said, oscilloscopes and DVM's aren't the only measurement tools available.
 
So are you saying that there are audible characteristics of signals that cannot be inferred even from the other measurement tools we have at our disposal? If so, I'm curious what exactly you base that claim on.
 
se
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 4:48 AM Post #110 of 373

Frihed89

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It isn't that you can't see it/measure it; it's whether or not you can hear differences and, if you can, how you hear it.  
 
I've lost track of where this started, probably with me mis-interpreting something you wrote. 
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 5:37 AM Post #111 of 373

nigeljames

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Only one measuring tool is relevent to me... my ears 
wink_face.gif

 
Jul 16, 2013 at 6:15 AM Post #112 of 373

siles1991

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Like it or not cables do make a difference...changing my stock cables to some l4e6s has always given me slightly more punch to my bass and slightly more extension to my treble. It's not a huge improvement but its still there behind the curtains, very minor.
 
This is my logic, this is in no way stating its true in any way but its my logic, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm no cable engineer, nor an audio engineer in any way I just DIY stuff. 
 
First thing that hit me was that power cables require cables that is able to hold currents, like how there are industrial grade cables used for making power cables for high current tools. You don't see hospitals using stuff you can buy from Walmart and such they have their own grade of equipment to go with their equally sensitive equipment.
 
From here onwards I will be using slang or certain words because I don't have the right words for them xD
 
Ok imagine you have a thin wire, it's like a pipe? Limited amounts of water can go through it in such the larger the AWG of the wire/pipe the more "power"/water can go through. So your getting a signal from a DAP(low end ones i guess) or maybe your phone? The signal is weak doesnt have much power so maybe even if you have power going through that cable it's little so it can flow through nicely and there won't be a difference because the cable isnt being "overloaded". But imagine "power" coming from a dedicated amp? It's a lot stronger and bigger volume, so naturally a smaller pipe/wire would hold back that huge volumes of water/power. So imagine a small amount of power flowing to your headphone drivers. If only a little of that power can reach into your driver before being released as sound waves you'd get a weak signal/sound waves.
 
But, if you have more amounts of power going through a larger "pipe" the amount of power being released into the driver and converted into sound waves would be larger, which would in turn give a boost to the dynamics of the sound. Deeper and higher extension of bass and treble are an example. Thats my explanation when I switched my alessandro cable which was like thin and flimsy lol into a L4E6S by canare which was thicker. Than in my opinion it's useless to get a bigger cable like those power cables for headphones because headphone drivers have limitations so even if you put a nitro into a weaker car it aint going to be as fast as a better car with the same nitro. So one of the limitations of cables is the drivers ability to receive that "power" which is why speakers require large wires haha to receive more "power".
 
Than next is silver vs copper. Would paint look smoother on a sanded piece of wood or a wood fresh from being chopped down? It's like grime in your pipe slowing down your water flow. Silver better conductivity therefore less grime in your pipe and smoother flow of "power" :D 
 
Next is my opinion on cablemakers and such. Of course if everything was as simple as I stated above than anyone can just get some silver cable and throw it together to make and sell for a lot of money. Which most people believe thats what 3rd party cable makers are doing. But this is my though on it, So we know larger wire = more flow and silver = smoother flow. WHAT IF we use that knowledge to control the flow? A mix of silver and copper cables??? A mixture of larger and smaller wires??? More "power" there to make lows less rolled off, a little less "power" here to reduce the too sparkly treble. This would take a crud load of experimentation.
 
Yeah so this is my view on how cables work hahaha, this is just my honest opinion with no scientific support at all just some random theory I cooked up.
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM Post #113 of 373

ev13wt

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Ok imagine you have a thin wire, it's like a pipe? Limited amounts of water can go through it in such the larger the AWG of the wire/pipe the more "power"/water can go through.

Than next is silver vs copper. Would paint look smoother on a sanded piece of wood or a wood fresh from being chopped down? It's like grime in your pipe slowing down your water flow. Silver better conductivity therefore less grime in your pipe and smoother flow of "power" :D 

Yeah so this is my view on how cables work hahaha, this is just my honest opinion with no scientific support at all just some random theory I cooked up.


While you are correct, there is such a thing as "good enough for the job" and "total overkill". So, lets say a 0.01mm cable, the one in your headphones going to the driver is "good enough" for those 1-2 inches - how can a cable that is 1 or 2mm from amp to headphones be too small for the job?

Like a garden hose: If the faucet only produces a fixed amount of flow/pressure, then there is an optimal size of garden hose. Go bigger and the same amount of water will come out, albeit slower.

Electricity is not water, so take it with a grain of salt.

Copper vs. silver, same "good enough" logic applies here. Our cables are what - max 6 feet long and that is the longest I've seen. With the current that must "flow" to our headphones, 1mm is already total overkill.


I do wonder why nobody replaces those reeeeaaally thin wires inside the headphones. That must bring a DRAMATIC improvement!

(And easy to test too, just recable one side of the driver, reeinstall and listen to a mono signal. Should be quite obvious if there is a difference.)


Another test in 4 wire headphones would be to substitute one side with premium "high end" cables and the other 2 with standard crap cables and drive one driver with it. The signal must be mono with one side reversed (I think, maybe someone can help me out here?)

Any difference in cable would be audible! You would only hear highs with silver cable et cetera... ?
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM Post #114 of 373

siles1991

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Quote:
While you are correct, there is such a thing as "good enough for the job" and "total overkill". So, lets say a 0.01mm cable, the one in your headphones going to the driver is "good enough" for those 1-2 inches - how can a cable that is 1 or 2mm from amp to headphones be too small for the job?

Like a garden hose: If the faucet only produces a fixed amount of flow/pressure, then there is an optimal size of garden hose. Go bigger and the same amount of water will come out, albeit slower.

Electricity is not water, so take it with a grain of salt.

Copper vs. silver, same "good enough" logic applies here. Our cables are what - max 6 feet long and that is the longest I've seen. With the current that must "flow" to our headphones, 1mm is already total overkill.


I do wonder why nobody replaces those reeeeaaally thin wires inside the headphones. That must bring a DRAMATIC improvement!

(And easy to test too, just recable one side of the driver, reeinstall and listen to a mono signal. Should be quite obvious if there is a difference.)


Another test in 4 wire headphones would be to substitute one side with premium "high end" cables and the other 2 with standard crap cables and drive one driver with it. The signal must be mono with one side reversed (I think, maybe someone can help me out here?)

Any difference in cable would be audible! You would only hear highs with silver cable et cetera... ?

actually I did replace the cables inside of my Fostex T50RP all with L4E6S because I had spare cables. I also noticed that when I used the stock cable it was less sensitive, when I switched to my DIY cable which was done nicely I could hear a teeny weeny bit of hiss therefore I assumed it made it a tad more sensitive(could be solder issue but im quite confident with me soldering). The soundstage was ever so slightly different from stock to the custom one I made. The problem is soldering those "wires" directly to the drivers are a bit risky so I'm not sure if anyone would take the risk of damaging the driver to do the 4 wires 2 in one driver 2 in another. 
 
I agree electricity is not like water but I had no idea how else to explain my theory haha but it's nice to see other people's opinion other than just saying look at frequency graphs and what not. In the end those are graphs not human ears and also graphs aren't always 100% accurate. It will always fluctuate.
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM Post #115 of 373

ab initio

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I also noticed that when I used the stock cable it was less sensitive, when I switched to my DIY cable which was done nicely I could hear a teeny weeny bit of hiss therefore I assumed it made it a tad more sensitive(could be solder issue but im quite confident with me soldering).


Let's recap,
You had normal, functional headphones
You soldered new connections
You heard noise that wasn't there before
You concluse that your headphones improved

Yep, sounds legit to me :wink:


Cheers
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 8:24 PM Post #117 of 373

siles1991

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Let's recap,
You had normal, functional headphones
You soldered new connections
You heard noise that wasn't there before
You concluse that your headphones improved

Yep, sounds legit to me
wink.gif



Cheers

so something new always has to be negative?
 
and let me clarify I heard improvement of my sound on top of that ever so slight hiss. Weird thing is it only happens when I move my mouse or scroll my mouse wheel.
 
do note the t50rp comes with removable cable so yeah it only happens when i switch cables, and ive checked the solder connections countless of times.
 
Jul 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM Post #120 of 373

yblad

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actually I did replace the cables inside of my Fostex T50RP all with L4E6S because I had spare cables. I also noticed that when I used the stock cable it was less sensitive, when I switched to my DIY cable which was done nicely I could hear a teeny weeny bit of hiss therefore I assumed it made it a tad more sensitive(could be solder issue but im quite confident with me soldering). The soundstage was ever so slightly different from stock to the custom one I made. The problem is soldering those "wires" directly to the drivers are a bit risky so I'm not sure if anyone would take the risk of damaging the driver to do the 4 wires 2 in one driver 2 in another. 

I agree electricity is not like water but I had no idea how else to explain my theory haha but it's nice to see other people's opinion other than just saying look at frequency graphs and what not. In the end those are graphs not human ears and also graphs aren't always 100% accurate. It will always fluctuate.


Electricity is so completely not like water that beyond explaining the basic concept of what a current is to a schoolchild it really is totally unsuitable. It provides a nice visualisation for people without any training in electrodynamics but you can't look at anything water does and say that works for electricity.

In your analogy you mention that a "smaller pipe" has more "resistance" which isn't actually true for water. I assume what you're thinking about is back pressure. While it is true that this back pressure is exerted in such a situation the velocity of the water actually increases to compensate. And this is all actually for a pipe changing in size from large to small in an open circuit, not a small pipe in a closed circuit. The increase in back pressure is caused by the horizontal component of the pair of the force applied to the water in forcing it into a narrower gap (by Newton's 1st law). It is not something inherent to the smaller pipe which causes this, it is the act of moving the water outside of the small pipe diameter into the small pipe. The only reason in this situation the flow volume drops is because the water coming into the pump is at a certain pressure and you're increasing the pressure of that which is coming out of it, giving a pressure differential which tries to make the water flow the wrong way. If you have a small pipe in a closed circuit you can easily get the same flow volume by increasing the pressure of the water you put into it. The pressure is equal either side of the pump and apart from the risk of explosion everything acts pretty much the same. Assuming you don't pressurise it enough to cause it to phase change or considerably alter its viscosity. So in the water analogy the size of the pipe doesn't matter apart from explosion risk unless you increase the pressure to a degree at which it creates ice or something approaching ice.

Most importantly, not a single thing I just said occurs with electricity. So the entire analogy is faulty and you cannot derive the behaviour of electricity from that of water, even if you had understood the behaviour of water correctly. Water also doesn't have capacitance or inductance to worry about. And electricity doesn't have viscosity, pressure etc.

Yes it is true that thicker wires have a lower resistance, but the resistance changes are only a small part of what happens. When you increase the wire size you also reduce the inductance and increase the capacitance. This has a whole host of potential effects.

The effect on the resistance as has already been discussed is really very tiny. I myself made the mistake earlier in this thread of thinking it may be significant when I messed up some mental arithmetic, but sadly it is far too small to explain any possible differences. The relationship between the inductance and capacitance is where things might be explained if indeed they do actually exist at all.

Your final statement bemuses me greatly. To seek to give a physical explanation and then end with denying the premise of physical measurement is something I struggle to comprehend. Everything you think you know about your explanation is based on scientific measurements and/or fundamental mathematics. The human ear is a horrifically inaccurate measuring device. If you want to know the accuracy of human measuring place one hand in ice and the other in hot water. Now place them both in tepid water. You're brain will tell you it is both cold and hot at the same time. A digital thermometer may have an error of +-0.1% giving equal degrees of "fluctuation" but your brain can't even tell you if it's warm or not. Compare the thermometer graph to your perception graph and you'll see clear data next to a dartboard. We can measure the signals in wires down to less than +-0.01%, the human ear can't. Yes there may be something happening we haven't decided to measure yet (that's a huge maybe at best), but you can't possibly say that the human ear can compare to a modern graph. You can argue we might have the wrong graph, but that's about it.
 
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