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Author Topic: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?  (Read 15324 times)

Bob Olhsson

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2009, 05:11:15 PM »

Unfortunately lots of common audio gear exhibits very faulty design! Wire can be a less expensive Band Aid than rebuilding the gear. The touring sound folks DO rebuild it and will bend your ear for hours about the subject.

The thing is that you don't need to spend a fortune and just adding some caps across the AC connector can often help a lot.

Dan Kennedy

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2009, 10:22:07 PM »

That and tie the incoming grounds down hard to the chassis, undoing the supply ground loops, some ferrite beads and small caps and the unit will ignore almost everything, not care about power, and be safe.

Oh yeah, this is assuming somebody's already put an IEC connector or similar wiring scheme on the incomming line with or without filtering.

As much as I don't like extra circuitry in the way, I've become a firm believer in balanced in's, and the Pin 1 problem.
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chrisdoremus

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2009, 03:26:41 AM »

This seemed insanely crazy to me when I first heard this possibility of a AC cable making a difference. I read in an interview with Greg Calbi that he has a $1200 AC cable. I can't actually have an opinion about this because I've never heard an expensive AC cable. What are you guys hearing????
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bruno putzeys

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2009, 09:56:14 AM »

"Audio grade" mains cable is pretty much bunkum imo. The systems in which I heard them make a difference used flawed signal connections. One company that I actually worked for (an esoteric speaker manufacturer from the south of the Netherlands) makes good money selling frightfully expensive twisted-pair mains cables to complement their range of horrifically expensive signal cables which are not twisted. It is not hard to see how the mains cable could make a difference in such a setting.
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dcollins

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2009, 03:11:07 PM »

Jim Williams wrote on Fri, 29 May 2009 07:59


On another note, replacing 2 inches of copper/teflon wire inside of a quality condenser mic with pure solid core silver/teflon wire, the tops do open up nicely.


Obviously the mic can't be of any quality, or the manufacturer could afford that 2" of Silver wire in the first place.

I guess they just don't care, or can't hear the difference.


DC

chrisdoremus

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2009, 05:28:54 PM »

Can anybody explain the difference that might be heard? Not trying to be snotty just really curious.  Very Happy
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dcollins

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2009, 06:37:54 PM »

chrisdoremus wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 14:28

Can anybody explain the difference that might be heard? Not trying to be snotty just really curious.  Very Happy


An authoritative bottom, scintillating top, and midrange so liquid you need an oar.

And that's just with Copper.


DC

Andy Peters

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2009, 12:14:44 AM »

chrisdoremus wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 00:26

What are you guys hearing????


"The sound of people chasing money,
and money
getting away."

(Uncle Tupelo, "Whiskey Bottle")

-a
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JGreenslade

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2009, 09:11:25 AM »

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Jim Williams

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2009, 10:52:02 AM »

dcollins wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 12:11

Jim Williams wrote on Fri, 29 May 2009 07:59


On another note, replacing 2 inches of copper/teflon wire inside of a quality condenser mic with pure solid core silver/teflon wire, the tops do open up nicely.


Obviously the mic can't be of any quality, or the manufacturer could afford that 2" of Silver wire in the first place.
I guess they just don't care, or can't hear the difference.
DC


Neumann, AKG, Beyer, etc. all use copper/teflon wire. They can afford the silver, but they don't think you care enough to demand it. So copper it is. The bean counters like copper.

For doubting Tom's, just drop $12 for a foot of Kimber Black Pearls, put it in and report back, I have.
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Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades

EP

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2009, 11:24:09 AM »

Agreed on the general consensus that its "bunkum". Unfortunately I am making a few dollars working part-time in a hifi shop these days. I grit my teeth and go with the flow for the most part; steering people away from the worst of follies when I can.

Regarding the mic cable mod (mentioned earlier in this thread- and yes it is not referring to power cables...) it would be nice if this improvement could be correlated to the change in the circuit in a tangible way. I'm inclined to be more concerned with wire in the case of mics and phono cartridges due to their natures but still it should be a matter of measurements, no? So what opens up the top end with silver wire? (and I'm not baiting, this is a serious question).

Cheers,

Erik

PS: one of the brands my store sells was notorious for supplying only modest (by hifi standards) cables for all their gear. Now they have changed their tune and are selling a $700 powercord Smile Its become the favorite tweak at the shop. I took one apart. hmm.
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dcollins

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2009, 05:48:38 PM »

JGreenslade wrote on Mon, 01 June 2009 06:11

The World's Best USB Cable, Made Specifically for Audio!

I kid not...



Don't ridicule just because you can't hear the difference.

Where is the audiophile USB receiver chip set?


DC

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2009, 09:45:30 PM »

chrisdoremus wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 16:28

Can anybody explain the difference that might be heard? Not trying to be snotty just really curious.  Very Happy


I think the example Bruno was trying to give of an interconnect company who twisted their power cable but not their audio lines, was that twisting the power cable would reduce the magnetic field generated that could interfere with the audio lines.

A faulty signal interface like poorly shielded cables could likewise be more susceptible to noise coming from a power cord.

I am inclined to suggest that the entire class of two circuit audio interfaces used by typical hifi gear is compromised since at least one conductor can be corrupted by shield and or ground noise current.

In that environment a shielded line cord might help a susceptible design, but adding a shield to a line cord doesn't cost $1000, or $100. Anyone charging that much is capitalizing on consumer's ignorance,

JR
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volki

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2009, 08:45:26 AM »

Should I try to sum this all up, including some small additions? Wink Here we go...


POWER CABLE:
Here, the problem is power noise making it's way through to the audio lines. Can either be the rubbish superimposed on our 50Hz/60Hz power sine, leaking through a device's PSU into the audio circuit - or both noise and the sine itself (the latter labelled as "hum" in this case) coupling from the mains into audio cables.

-- Special power cables simply inserted between mains outlet and gear will not make a difference in a balanced environment with a good wiring scheme, since the major noise contribution is coming from outside the studio, and a piece of passive cable will do nothing to remove it before it enters your gear's PSU.
-- In an environment with unbalanced lines and/or poor wiring scheme, you may get coupling of AC hum & noise into your audio lines, thus a special power cord migh help if it is twisted-pair, wich reduces the electromagnetic field.  
-- If you have a central power conditioning device in your studio (reducing incoming noise), a special power cable between that device and your gear might prevent noise from within your studio from contaminating your (now relatively clean) mains power - and thus from entering your gear's PSU. Depending on the functional scheme of the power conditioner, you may however not notice an improvement by fancy cable if the conditioner filters both incoming mains AND the output to your studio.

Bottom line: Special power cabling may have an effect in audio systems containing compromised (or at least non-optimal) wiring or gear's PSU's, but it's rather unlikely to improve systems containing properly designed gear and wiring schemes in the first place.


AUDIO CABLE:
Here, the main problem is a possible degradation in sound quality due to interaction of devices' output- and input impedance (Z) with the cable's parasitic impedances (= ohmic resistance, inductance, capacitance).

-- High impedance sources, especially those with inductive components as found in pickups (e.g. guitars, basses, rhodes pianos etc.) will interact heavily with the cable capacitance, with effects already explained in this thread. The less cable capacitance, the shorter the cable, and the higher the i/p Z of the following device, the more of the original HF content will be transmitted.
-- The lower Z.in & Z.out, the disproportionally longer a cable would have to be for the cable capacitance to sum up to an amount as to produce an audible HF roll-off. For a roll-off at 20KHz in a low impedance line (Z.out < 50 R, Z.in < 1K), this would have to be around 100m for a good quality cable.
-- With cable runs as long as described above, transformer-coupled gear (= a good deal of the Z being inductive), even though low-impedance, may exhibit HF peaks, due to the mechanism described for high Z lines. Depends on the individual transformer construction, though.
-- The resistive part of a cable's impedance is negligible for mic/line/instrument applications, since Z.in/out of the connected devices form the dominant parts in this respect.

A side-note to noise rejection of audio cables regarding construction of twisted pair and shielding:
--The level of CMRR is mainly provided by the i/p & o/p devices, but may be affected by the cable to some degree. The higher the ratio of twists (of the hot&cold leads) per length unit, the less the degrading of CMRR by the cable. Beyond a certain point, though, this becomes economically unjustifiable Wink
--In areas with high RFI, noise might enter through the cable into devices with high impedance internal circuits (e.g. tube mic's) although their Z.out itself is medium (around 200 R). Therefore, even around the 1950/60ies, e.g. manufacturers like Neumann came up with a double shielded cable, with the two shield layers being woven differently.


PS.
Jim, regarding your 2 inch wire replacement in condenser mic's -- that would have to be between capsule and fet/tube input? So you're talking about the dielectric properties of the cable's insulation, with the capacitive parts formed by the wire and the metal surroundings that the cable runs through?


Regards
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Volker Meitz

volki

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Re: Wire , Can you really hear the difference?
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2009, 08:48:55 AM »

PPS.
A good read in this regard is: Giddings, "Audio Systems Design & Installation", together with white papers on grounding & shielding by guys like Bill Whitlock (Jensen) et al.
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Volker Meitz
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