Can you hear the "directionality" of interconnects and speaker wire? Kevin LaTour can.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. L5730

    L5730 Forum Resident

    Not tried with interconnects, and we have Monster brand which are labelled directional because at the finish end there is a little wrap of white paper with an arrow on it, that pretty much falls off after about a week, so I have taped it on. Hmm, is it important? Why put a bit of not very sticky label on then? Oh wait, it's Monster, and everyone loves them :p

    I have some Planet Waves guitar leads, which have a direction, and the Amp end has "shielded end" written on it. I have hooked them up the wrong way a few times and something just didn't sound right. Dunno how to explain what was wrong, it was something in the feel. Maybe I was having a funny five minutes and just couldn't play properly - it happens.
  2. wgb113

    wgb113 Forum Resident

    Chester County, PA
    You guys should visit a wire and cable factory some day.;)
  3. Spek

    Spek Well-Known Member

    DFW, TX
    I suppose until all other variables are isolated, it's possible that was it. It's impossible to play exactly the same way before and after the switch really.

    The same goes with listening, going up to the stereo and changing the wire(s), then sitting back down to listen. If your head is a centimeter to the left or right of where it was before, it quite possibly could sound different. It's a variable that has to be isolated.

    As far as it being measurable, I've always been of the opinion that any changes in sound that are so noticeable to some humans could be picked up with a simple microphone and the spectral content analyzed. I don't think it's a "science doesn't know how to measure it" thing. Science can't tell you what will sound good to your ears, but at the very least, it can certainly confirm whether the output actually changed due to the cable/directionality.
  4. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    This guy has a very sensitive hearing, and he has a lot of listening experience.

    For me, this belongs in the same department as if I turn the power plug that is connected to my HiFI- components, 180 degrees around in the wall (European standard). The sound changes in the same way as if the interconnects are connected the wrong way: it sounds a bit wrong in my ears. It's something about the way dynamic flows in the music and how transients flows. It sounds more "right" when it's right. It's the only way I can describe it.
    But I'm not sure a blind test will prove me right, this is not easy to detect.
  5. ca1ore

    ca1ore Forum Resident

    Stamford, CT, USA
    with all due respect to our host - this is all horsefeathers IMO
    Dan C likes this.
  6. mando_dan

    mando_dan Forum Resident

    Beverly, MA
    Couldn't agree more. Physicists would laugh themselves silly over this thread.

    I'm willing to be quite a lot that any differences Kevin was hearing were due to the mechanical coupling of the wire to the speaker or receiver, i.e. one direction had better contract.
  7. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    What arrows?
  8. SoporJoe

    SoporJoe Forum Resident

    British Columbia
    Where is the "No, of course" option?
  9. BIG ED

    BIG ED Forum Resident

    Good timing for 1st time seeing this thread... just pickED up a "directional" [printED arrows] power cord from the P.O. via China at 11:20am PST.
    Seeing this poll, I'll make sure too hook it up correctly!

    Oh wait, it only goes one way!!! :winkgrin:
  10. parkmebike

    parkmebike I'm in love with a girl...

    wow, that's pretty amazing. I didn't even know there were arrows on wire...that's what's great about using cheap lamp cable, no arrows to deal with and my system sounds great!
    Duke Fame likes this.
  11. Rodney Toady

    Rodney Toady Waste of cyberspace

    I very much doubt my ability of hearing anything of the sort, especially considering that my relationship with anything even remotely music-related would be best characterized as "directionless".
  12. Danglerb

    Danglerb Well-Known Member

    Orange, CA, USA
    Anything is possible given the miserable standard of single ended RCA connections, but a couple caveats ...

    If someone could hear a change due to the direction of the interconnect, without "any" visual cues, it would be worth investigation to see what is happening.

    If changing the direction changes the sound, chances are very high both directions alter the sound.
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Bump for more thread craps!
  14. bullygoat

    bullygoat Forum Resident

    I have audiophile cables throughout and I always ensure that they are hooked up correctly. I've actually never tried to hear a difference. I just go with what they say. I also don't argue with people who can't hear the difference between cables. I couldn't believe the difference a new power cord made. Of course you won't hear as much (or any) difference if you have an inexpensive system.
  15. erniebert

    erniebert Shoe-string audiophile

    Toronto area
    My equipment isn't sensitive enough to reproduce something like that. For speaker wire, I went to the Home Depot and bought 30 feet of the thickest wire that I could cram into my rear ports!

    So, maybe I can hear it. I've never had the chance to try.
  16. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Forever

    Newport Hills, WA
    I can't hear it, myself; but being superstitious, I try and have it going the right way. The fact that somebody else hears it, and reliably...well, that's enough for me!

    Maybe if I had it wrong, I wouldn't "hear" it as such but experience a sense of dissatisfaction with my system.
  17. rockledge

    rockledge Forum Resident

    right here
    I can hear if one side of the stereo pair is out of phase with the other, as in hooked up backwards. I can hear the distant out of phase sound in the bass....
  18. L5730

    L5730 Forum Resident

    Somehow just found a link to "Speaker Cable direction" closed thread. Man that was some awful bickering going on in there.

    I'm sure I read about a test where some sounds were played to an audience. I think they did something weird like to take out all of the audible spectrum sound and leave any residual (not sure how that would fair with digital, well not a CD topping out at 22.05 KHz) but anyway. The result was something like a lot of people noticed 'something' in the room, but couldn't hear anything. Was like a 'presence' was being felt...which reminds us of Darth Vader's line "I sense something, a presence I have not felt since".

    As far as directional wire goes, I'm sticking to it the same way I stick with dithering. A large percentage of the time I don't hear it (with the equipment I have), but I gather it's important, and so do it. I don't hear anything detrimental at least, if I did I would ignore all advice and do it my way - rightly or wrongly.
    I wonder how often manufacturers label incorrectly? What are they using to test the cables direction? A Kevin of their own?
  19. mando_dan

    mando_dan Forum Resident

    Beverly, MA
    Will someone please explain *how* this phenomenon takes place? (How = something better than I saw it on the 'net.)
    There's a Nobel Prize riding on it.
    lukpac and L5730 like this.
  20. Dave Decadent

    Dave Decadent Forum Resident

    Birmingham UK
    It's just for those people with 'golden hearing' surely?
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I ran into Kevin at the stereo show last weekend. He's a living legend, thanks to this thread!
    dobyblue likes this.
  22. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    He didn't hear you coming to get out of the way? :laugh:
  23. Duke Fame

    Duke Fame Sold out the Enormodome

    Tampa, FL
    Nah, but I can easily hear a difference in speaker cable when going from thin wire to even the most base level Monster Cable.

    Interconnects I just buy based on build quality and price. If there's a sound difference with those I either don't have the hearing to pick up on it or the quality of equipment to be able to tell.

    Direction of signal flow never made sense to me, but I'm not an electrical engineer either :)
  24. Egg Crisis

    Egg Crisis Forum Resident

    Yorkshire, England
    I've never heard of this before. Surely a piece of wire is just a piece of wire, how could it have a direction?
  25. Todd W.

    Todd W. It's a Puggle

    My Morrow Audio interconnects and speaker wire have arrows. I had never heard of it before I upgraded my old standard RCA's and Monster Cable. Or, is there such a thing as upgrading......:evil::hide::crazy:

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