Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,712
Re: Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Don_Campbell wrote:

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.

Well, audio frequencies of interest extend up over 2 orders of magnitude beyond 60Hz, so you don't need as much current density to get skin effect problems compared with power transmission.  In my house, because of the layout, I need 20 foot speaker cables, and switching from single strand 12 gauge to 4 strand (x2) braided 16 gauge made a very noticeable difference.

However, it could be subjected to simple measurement under common listening situations with reasonable choices of amps, speakers and wires.

It's not so simple if you don't own a spectrum analyzer.

(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.

Well, with 4 ohm speakers, instantaneous currents can exceed 10 amps, which is pretty significant in the small wires.

I couldn't find a reference to "ribbon window inductors."

Sorry, they are a subset of foil inductors using a wide, narrow window in the core.  We use them in power electronics even with 3kHz switching.

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.

But the point is, all that twisted pair was installed because, even at audio frequencies with 4kHz attenuation, twisted pairs were a huge benefit over single strait strands and common grounds.

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.

I've seen it used for 3kHz in power electronics.

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."

But, since that cable is cheap (about a buck a foot), there's no real reason not to use something that's essentially perfect for analog.  It's not a big difference to strait conductors in the cheap interconnects that come with equipment, but it's cheap, easy to build and reliable.  I built all my interconnects (which is a lot) for under $80.

The audio performance of HDMI-2 cables supports up to 8 channels of 24-bit/192kHz audio.

Okay, but I still have and use analog components with standard RCA jacks.  That's what I'm talking about.  HDMI has decent signalling already so no need to worry.

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