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. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Interesting.

    Pre-amp to power amp and power amp to speakers follow the often-mentioned idea of "signal flow" (somewhat misleading) being in the same direction as the writing. Power cords can't be changed (natch), although they appear to be oriented the other way, but this does not mean much if that's the way the wire was drawn.

    The CD player to DAC, and DAC to pre-amp are oriented with the writing going the other way. I've not seen this sort of inconsistency before, but I would be inclined to follow the manufacturer's recommendation. Maybe I'd try reversing the interconnects between CD-DAC and DAC-preamp to see if I could hear a difference.
     
  2. Tubeman

    Tubeman New Member In Memoriam

    Location:
    Texas
    same here.
     
  3. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    One more thing I should point out. The same engineer I did my above mentioned grounding listening test with and I also noted something odd. We both did a lot of work on studio consoles, and discovered that when putting a component into a pc board, the direction and method of soldering the component leads to the board seemed to make a slight difference in sound. Most components used to be inserted straight into the holes. soldered, and then clipped. What we found is that if we bent the leads down on the foil side of the board in the direction of signal flow before soldering, things seemed to sound a bit better. Of course this was highly subjective, but we did have two sets of trained ears.

    Of course this was in the seventies when components still had leads and were hand soldered.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Interesting.
     
  5. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I didn't read this entire thread, but does copper color have to be right, and the silver colored wire has the be left?

    Can you hear the different in the color of the wire too?
     
  6. pcain

    pcain Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm curious about checking my speaker wiring and interconnects, because I know that I've never paid any attention to directionality on anything other than guitar cords.

    I have one question: before I go tearing up my living room and swapping cables, which phenomenon takes precedence in creating theoretically better audio reproduction? 1) Manufacturer directionality OR 2) 'burn in' on my wires which have been plugged in the same way for nearly four years?

    Any opinions or advice?
     
  7. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    So happens I can give an opinion re: interconnects. Best go the manufacturer directions. A pair I got used had the bands on the ends indicating direction on the wrong ends according to the printing on the shielding. Only found that after brief use (on my second system). When put into my main sys., I corrected it to match the ones I'd bought new, but tried it both ways. The "correct" way sounded best. However this assumes: a) the "correct" way agrees with your gear and b) it actually matters with that cable at all. I don't think it matters with every kind. In addition, I don't believe "burn in" has much if any affect on cables, which my experience with this instance seemed to confirm. So I advise going manufacturer's suggested method unless during actual use your ears distinctly disagree. If it makes any difference in your case you may hear a subtle sharpening of focus. If not forget about it :p In either case, play some good music and enjoy :D
     
  8. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    My "pos" speakers sound as good as they'r gonna sound I am pretty sure. No need to mess with the wiring.

    But I have a feeling that the wiring of my cartridges in the head shells is off on some of them. You know the red, blue, white and green wired coming from the connector end, and where they go to the four prongs on the cart itself is diff on each cart. Green being north/east might be southwest on another cart. The actual carts are marked differently where each color is painted on.

    This is why when Steve suggested we listen to the Kinks Waterloo Sunset and hear some very impressive out of phase overdubs that result in surround sound backing vocals, I may not have heard it right on vinyl and could only hear it on CD. Either my super hot cut 12" has the phase issue resolved, or my wiring colors are crossed.

    Tell me where the red.blue,green and white wires are supposed to go, and I don't care if the direction is right or not, just the colors need to be mapped out correctly at the base end of the head shell.

    Oh, never mind, I was just thinking out loud.
     
  9. Muddy Holly

    Muddy Holly Forum Resident

    Never bothered to find out. My left ear is the weak link in my hearing chain and I'm (almost!) sure it's limitations are greater than the potential difference in directionality of wire.
    Dave
     
  10. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    My components have hand soldering. ;)
     
  11. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    I've always wondered why things like wire directionality only ever applied to audio signals and not video signals. Seems to me that it should apply to either if there truly is a difference in the way the signal is carried.
     
  12. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage

    Location:
    Vancouver, CANADA
    I emailed Groneberg in Germany about this and here is his response:

    The way shown on our website is the correct way.
    Sorry, that the Manufacturing manuals are unavailable until now, but I did
    not find time to translate. There you can read that we follow a concept of
    central grounding, so that all shields are connected to the pre-, amplifier
    or receiver. All distortions caught by the shielding will be deflected
    there. If you follow the sender/receiver theory those distortion-voltages
    run from device to device and this with the signal. So this will have a bad
    influence on the signal.

    Best Regards

    Andreas C. Groneberg
     
  13. soundQman

    soundQman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA, USA
    Care to share with us the name of this bizarre company?
     
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

  15. soundQman

    soundQman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA, USA
    :eek:
     
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

  17. you could figure it by searching past posts of mine.

    Regards
    Robert
     
  18. nelamvr6

    nelamvr6 High End Headphoniac

    Location:
    New London, CT USA

    I posted a thread on this subject a few days back, and someone pointed out the possibility of the grounds being connected to the shield at only one end.

    As skeptical as I was about that, I had to admit that there was a possibility that this may be detectable.

    But characteristics of the wire itself? I don't see how this could be a factor since current must travel in both directions no matter which way the cable is connected. If impurities make the cable a better current carrier in one way it must certainly make it a poor carrier the other way, and both directions will be used in any event since audio is an AC signal in essence.
     
  19. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
    As per this indication I have just found out that my right channel cables were all connected the other way around. I have found this to be the case not only because of the direction of the text, but because right after the text there is a small '>' sign. It seems not a day goes by without finding out something new. Thanks for the input, Steve.
     
  20. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
  21. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
    I had just changed my right interconnects following Steve's example and was thinking that sound seemed to be 'clearer' as in staging. I guess this can also be construed to mean more 'presence'. When I read your post I suddenly thought, 'well, I guess he is experiencing the same thing I am.'

    BTW, I have not read the full thread and the only thing that I had read before concerning the results of this was Steve's comment about the transients having more attack.
     
  22. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
    Here's what Van den Hul says about this: http://www.vandenhul.com/artpap/cable_faq.htm#5-1
     
  23. Here is another thing that bothers my logic about all of this. What about the parts inside the chassis? you usually have a PCB, so what about the copper clad that make up the traces. what about the actual pins of the connectors and the transistors/tubes/op-amps. What about the solder joints? can anyone hear a reverse polarity solder joint?

    See how absurd this appears on the face of it. It's metal that is being used as a conductor. There are better materials to use as conductors such as silver and ways to form the conductor to push the signal toward the outer edges for skin effect. But that's about it.

    But still I have not seen any way, other than special hearing ability/dousing/channeling, to hold a piece of wire and perform a test to indicate source to sink "polarity"

    IMO this will have to be relegated to the mass of pseudo science/strange phenomena that the Art Bell is famous for. I especially like the "aliens kidnapped me and gang raped me" calls.

    Regards
    Robert
     
  24. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    See post #103.

    The trick is not so much to hear a difference but to know which is the right way. In my work on the circuit boards in consoles we definitely heard differences. What we'll not know is if it was because I folded the leads the way of signal flow, had less resistance because of better lead to trace contact, had a better solder flow, or whatever. I all can say is that there was a slight difference that we both heard.

    Another thing I used to do is suck out solder in joints and replace it with a higher silver content solder. That seemed to make a difference as well. I don't claim to understand much of this. One would think the amount of resistance in a solder joint would be insignificant, but I believe there is much more going on that most of us understand.

    Btw, one more thing I used to do is beef up circuit board traces. For example, on the old MCI boards, I'd go under the console and solder 12g solid wire on the voltage busses and ground traces. This also made a difference. I did a lot of things in the consoles and did them one step at a time. It was always a kick to tell my clients what I was trying to accomplish and then listening after the mods were done. In most all cases I got what I was going for.

    While we're at it, another thing I'd do was to examine and sometimes change the ground schemes on the individual channel boards. In fact, one look at a new console channel board usually had evidence of ground plane changes done at the factory after the circuit board was designed. The tool of choice for this work was a small dremel tool. The differences were slight but when they are all added up it usually made a major difference. Lowering noise was an odd process. Every time you lowered the noise a bit, a new source of noise previously masked was discovered. Obviously it was always there, but by lowering the noise the next offender would generally make it's presence known.
     
  25. Other than the first sentence you are preaching to the choir. So tell me how do I " know which is the right way" when I am holding a length of wire that I just cut off of a spool? Please tell, me something I can see on a scope or measure on an Audio Precision. Or maybe a 1GHZ sine wave may show some non-symmetry. :help:

    I know test and measurement can't solve everything but it usually points to some direction.

    Regards
    Robert
     

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