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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. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Long Island, NY
    I can hear the electrons moving around, but I can't tell whether they're swimming upstream or downstream. :winkgrin:
  2. phallumontis

    phallumontis Active Member

    Chicago, IL
    Why would anyone manufacture a one-way wire with the same connectors on both ends? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Audio professionals don't bother with this sort of "audiophile" nonsense. Electrons like to conduct, and they don't care what the arrow on the sleeve says.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Obviously that's not true, hence this thread.
  4. tootull

    tootull talisman

    The wind of the wire.
  5. testikoff

    testikoff Seasoned n00b

    Aren't electrons moving in the direction opposite to the current? ;)
    krisbee likes this.
  6. ElizabethH

    ElizabethH Forum Resident

    SE Wisconsin,USA
    The one point I do conceed to is having both wires of a stereo pair going in the same direction. Same with my speaker cable.

    I use a bunch of old self made interconnects made with some 25+ year old Mark Levinson wire. The writing on the sheath I do try to keep going in the same direction. Just 'cuz. I made these way back when. And recently have been replacing the cheap gold plated Radio Shack RCA i originally installed with Vampire 'Tiffany' style RCA to good effect.

    I use a few sets with arrows, and stick the arrows the way they are marked.
    I have never bothered to see if there was any difference..
    (I am too lazy to be bothered I would say.)
  7. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    Electrons are basically like me. We both follow the path of least resistance. :D

    But seriously, I think electronics behave differently depending on the situation. There are minority currents in conductors, and semi conductors, where they essentialy go against the stream, sort of like eddy currents in water.
  8. tootull

    tootull talisman

  9. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    These guys have made their testing so , that no one can 'win' it and if he did they would find a 'reason' why the outcome was bogus.

    Same story with many of those - show us beyond any doubt that voodoo or magic works and you get 5 million dollars.

    Don't waste your time on
    trying to bring the gospel to hardcore athesist - easier get a camel throu the needle's ear..

    Whatever, cables are like hairs, combed in one direction, so I can guess that trying to send a signal against the electrical flow has an effect.

    I don't own cables with arrows, so I don't know, but phasing with power cords is obvious. My old DUAL only runs when the cord is in phase, if wrong the motor does not work.

    To say what you can't measure does not exist is stupid. It depends only on the tools and method. As long as nobody has an idea how to measure electrons directional flow we will never get ANY results.
    There are many amps that happen to have the exact same measurements and STILL sound very different. How do you explain that ?

    Unless you measure harmonic distortions you have no idea how an amp may sound by looking at the measurements - Once you've seen such a chart it is much easier-are the harmonic distortions in a harmonic relation with each other = in tune - or do they cross lines , what kind of distortions k1, k2, k3 or k4 dominate and how large are they etc.
  10. tyinkc

    tyinkc Forum Resident

    I voted never bothered to find out, but I use Audioquest cables with the directional arrows on them and I always make sure they are all pointed the correct way.
  11. phallumontis

    phallumontis Active Member

    Chicago, IL
    If an actual difference in conductivity, signal loss, noise floor, etc. can be measured by changing the direction of cables, I'll eat crow. Someone simply saying "I hear a difference" can not be used as definitive proof.
  12. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Berkeley, CA
    A long while ago Martin Colloms did a weird test on speaker cable. He connected it up to an analyser and hit it with a rubber mallet. Asymmetric signals were produced. There seemed to be a correlation between 'good' sounding speaker cables and least output on the mallet test. Never saw any follow-up.

    This was done in a comparative speaker test for Hi Fi Choice: loudspeakers.

    I didn't see much here but 'I hear this'.
  13. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    I'll bet it tastes like chicken. :winkgrin:

    The bottom line is it's pretty hard to prove many things that we hear. I'm not here to say whether there is any difference or not, but I've heard lots of things that I can't prove.

    For me the test is repeatability. If I keep thinking I'm hearing the same thing over and over again, on different days, and while in different moods, I eventually get to the point where I accept it as real.
  14. ROLO46

    ROLO46 Forum Resident

    I could hear difference in cables but never direction
    Anyhow these are very minor eq tweaks in the same order as opening and closing doors and windows in the listening room to vary pressure
    Nothing in comparison with being sober and listening with great acuity at 10 o clock in the morning.
    The brain is our processor, not grain or diodes (!) in a cable.
    Ask Alan Blumlein.
  15. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    It would be definitive proof that that person can hear the difference (assuming they did pass a double blind test 20 times in a row).
    I'm so skeptical I'd have to see this to believe it...
  16. triple

    triple Forum Resident

    Zagreb, Croatia
    Cardas claim that their cables are not directional, or at least they weren't before the Clear came out. I just found that out checking their web site for directionality of Golden Reference that I currently have at home.
  17. sgb

    sgb Senior Member

    Baton Rouge
    And so the fable continues.
  18. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    Until you can hear it too. ;)

    In your opinion, yes.
  19. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Fresno, California
    Black is Black

    It's funny—I made a little joke on the "Unanswerable Questions" thread and this thread gets revived.

    Can I hear differences in speaker cable directionality? Usually not, though it seems that it's easy for me to hear differences in speaker cable. I pay attention to the arrows anyway. The only absolutely definitive/anyone who doesn't have damaged hearing can hear this effect on speaker wire's contribution to the total sound is—the fewer the breaks of continuity of wire, the better. And yes, I'm talking about the breaks of wire continuity within both speaker and amp. This is a case where the background really does get "blacker." Other than that, speaker cable interaction with the weird loads that speakers have can be pretty variable—what works for one speaker/amp pairing won't necessarly work the same for other speaker/amp pairings.

    As regards interconnect, experience in recording indicates that directionality for most interconnects has to do with shielding being attached to only one of the RCA phono plug's ground. This audibly affects hum in some circumstances. I also have made interconnects without shielding for the relatively hot signal that CD players have. In some cases the lack of shielding and absence of additional dielectric material makes the wire too bright, in others it seems to perfectly lock in to the signal, making for slightly better resolution without tweaking the the treble. It all depends on what I plug that foot long pair of interconnect to.

    In any case, people who do recording/mastering are more likely to hear some of these effects than your typical music collector. I'm sure there's plenty of audiophiles who would hear these effects and plenty who wouldn't. We are in the realm of perceptual differences between people that scientists are still researching. I suspect the ability [or desire] to hear these sorts of differences varies widely and that ear training has a great deal to do with these differences in perceptual ability.
  20. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I agree with this 100%. Maybe I'm just totally OCD, but I absolutely hate the idea of having to go through an adapter or a splice in a cable when I can avoid it. This is something you can clearly measure, especially at certain frequencies (especially with interconnects). You can also make a good case not to coil up long lengths of cable, because of the possibility of creating interference within the coil.

    This is also argued in pro audio circles as well, in regards to various methods for connecting grounds. Canare has an interesting white paper report, Evaluating Microphone Cable Performance and Specifications, and some of it applies to audiophile situations as well.

    But I think some of hearing these differences has to do with whether you want to hear the differences. I'm like Agent Mulder -- "I want to believe" -- but a lot of this stuff gets very ephemeral and specious at some point.

    But then, I'm also the guy who is absolutely convinced that my car drives better after it's washed. I could take a lie detector and pass it on that point... because I believe it.
  21. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    My car drives better when it's dirty. Helps fill up the rust holes. :laugh:

    This thread reminds that I should reverse my interconnects sometime just to see what happens. They're not directional though (Grovers) and I doubt I can hear the difference.

    Still, it'll be a really cheap experiment!!
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    My Grovers are totally directional, marked with giant arrows. Better ask him..
  23. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Senior Member

    My cheap cables don't have arrows. My expensive one's do. What's wrong with this picture?
  24. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA

  25. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Philadelphia, PA
    "Never bothered to check" was how I voted, but I always plug the cables in according to the arrows, source to receiver, etc. I wonder though how many times QC gets screwed up and the arrows (which I think are just little paper circles) get put on wrong.

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