Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,871
Re: Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Lee Jay wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

In signalling terms, the signals in audio systems are "low frequency" at their highest frequencies. Low frequency signals are pretty undemanding for transmission through reasonable lengths of electrical cables. The exceptions come with cables with conductors that are too small to be low enough in resistance to drive inefficient speakers from a long distance of cable. For normal speaker systems in a normal livingroom or den, even modest two-conductor "speaker cable" is sufficient.

That's not true. We deal with the skin effect even on 60Hz power lines, and the effect is pretty large

I have no problem thinking that skin effect is significant on 60Hz power lines considering the current carrying capacities required and the distances involved. I have my doubts about the issue in multistranded speaker wire over the the several foot distances in most listening environments. However, it could be subjected to simple measurement under common listening situations with reasonable choices of amps, speakers and wires.

(see the ACSR cable design for example). Skin effect can be a major driver in power handling component design

Again, high power transmission lines are a different story than the modest signals carried in speaker wire over short distances. I'm a willing student even at my age, but for this discussion it would be nice to have actual measurements of signal loss of various connection wires at audio frequencies over modest distances of several feet when driving 4-8 ohm speaker impedances from a 100 watt per channel amplifier at reasonable audio volumes.

(i.e. ribbon window inductors wouldn't exist if not for the importance of skin effect even at just a few kHz).

I couldn't find a reference to "ribbon window inductors." Without knowing the actual comparisons being claimed it's impossible to judge.

As I said, I'd be more persuaded with a simple set of measurements with audio signals in real world connections between amps and speakers. That would be possible if I still had access to my lab equipment. but unfortunately, I don't. Oh, and I would probably be mostly interested in how the measurement went with my equipment. It's easy enough to do the measurements but I trust myself with such grounded reality and I can already see that there would be a lot of folks not trusting my measurements or anyone else's. So it is with stuff that has such strong opinions and subjective "listening" as the end result in spite of the measurements.

My signals in the lab were infinitesimal and required amplification at the point of measurement, a Faraday cage, and so on. All in an environment that also included microscope power suppies/lamps, D/A generated stimulus voltages and A/D recording to minicomputers. Keeping out digital noise and 120 Hz pickup meant constant attention to stamping out ground loops and stray pickup.

Audio seems so straightforward to me but the discussion would still benefit from direct measurement. BTW, I read something about an issue with early Monster Cables suffering from corrosion caused by outgassing from the insulation. That might have affected your dorm room listening "experiment."

Even on signal wires there can be a big difference between 2 conductor wires that are parallel, twisted pair or coax which is why those types exist. As you might know, analog telephone cable is twisted pair.

Telephone cable travels in large bundles over long distances and individual wires are quite fine in size. That's one reason that audio in telephone copper is generally so deliberately attenuated in frequency. If one is carrying the signal from the source to the speaker over long distances, there are often cost effective and better solutions than wire carrying the audio signal these days.

Given the billions of miles of that stuff installed, they wouldn't have gone to the trouble had it not been necessary. If you still don't believe it, ask yourself why Litz wire exists.

If I understand correctly, Litz wire exists primarily for transmission of much higher than audio frequencies.

That said, I use Kimber Kable 4pr

which is reasonably priced and takes care of both noise and the skin effect on speaker cable adequately. I use Teflon low capacitance coax on analog signal cable and that handles low current signals under 20kHz essentially perfectly since it's fully capable of acceptably handling signals into the hundreds of MHz range.

My system doesn't need wire that is "fully capable of acceptably handling signals to the hundreds of MHz range." The audio performance of HDMI-2 cables supports up to 8 channels of 24-bit/192kHz audio. I don't use 8 channels and only rarely use 5. My HDMI cables have paths that are less than 6 feet. I have 6 ft cables and 3 ft cables that work swell. Of course, the audio that comes as flac from my DLNA server via 5 GHz wifi directly to my AVReceiver requires no interconnect cables.

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