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

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    Mmmark likes this.
  2. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    I can, but only with certain cables. I was auditioning a pair of Cardas once that I had accidentally put in backwards and wondered why everything sounded ''shut-in''. When I inverted them to the proper direction, the sound opened up, but with a huge boomy bass, so I didn't like these interconnects either way, but yes, there was a big difference in this case.
  3. tootull

    tootull talisman

    Difference between Directional & Non Directional Speaker cable? | What Hi-Fi? » ...it could be said that "Cables that are not particularly directional from new will become so when used, and cables that are very directional will not sound right if installed in the wrong direction".

    Todd W. likes this.
  4. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Given that audio is an AC signal which changes direction from 20 to 20,000 times per second it is difficult to imagine how there could be a directional preference. With a DC signal this could be fathomable if a wire were behaving in a manner reminiscent of a diode.

    Also, a test in which the tester knows the answer is not double blind and could just indicate that the testee has a knack for reading the tester.

    But perhaps I should know better that to introduce scientific fact into an audiophile debate.
    rnranimal, NaturalD and lukpac like this.
  5. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    There's nothing wrong with introducing scientific knowledge, but Steve merely asked if we can hear a difference, so this isn't about a debate at all.
  6. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I voted Never Bothered to Find Out. I similarly have never tried to circle the globe to verify that it is round.

    But it did seem worth pointing out that electrons travel both ways to precisely equal degrees (equal in number, velocity, and frequency of direction shift) on an audio cable no matter which end is connected to the amp.
    L5730 and lukpac like this.
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

  8. wgb113

    wgb113 Forum Resident

    Chester County, PA
    Why do you do this to us Mr. Hoffman???

    I've worked in the glamorous world of wire & cable for the past 18 years (don't be jealous). One of the "perks" of said industry are the plant visits/tours/training you get to go on. The majority of the cables sold in the audio trade are manufactured by 3rd parties, not the brands we all know and love. On several occasions I've caught a glimpse of those brands on packaging as I'd be touring the plants and I thought it was kind of cool to see where they were actually being made. Most of them are "off the shelf" constructions with custom color jackets/sleeving and print legends. Some specify conductor, shielding or insulation tweaks to standard products as well. Any change to a standard construction comes with a hefty minimum run (think 5000' or more) as well as a higher price.

    During one multi-day training session at one of the biggest wire and cable manufacturers in the world I was shocked to hear the Broadcast/AV Product Manager call out audiophile brands, a very well-known one whose cables I actually have in mys system, as wanting to have arrows in the print legend. He mentioned how the engineers chuckled but agreed to give the customer what they asked for.

    Seeing how the cables are made and function I believe there ARE differences in a well-made cable and a cheap cable. But in terms of directionality I'm with the engineers in that it does not make an audible difference.
  9. KevinM93

    KevinM93 New Member

    Sorry to be late to the party. Yes, I can, and Kevin himself taught me. He sold me my SOTA Sapphire turntable and my McIntosh MA230 tube amp, which, if I recall, actually has a phase switch. When the amp is out of phase, it sounds like the sound is coming from everywhere at once. When the sound is in phase, it sounds like it is coming from the center of the speakers, radiating outwards. It's very distinct, especially if you have a switch that you can throw back and forth to help you learn the difference. Hope this helps!

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