How fast does electricity travel?

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#21
Frantz,

We tried our hardest, but IMO failed to unlock the secrets based on RLC through simulations and calculations and graphs. That is why I developed a follow-up thread where we can empirically explore the cable differences through actually building examples with identical material but different LC characteristics here:

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?2963-The-Cable-Dialectic

Unfortunately, I don't think that anyone tried building these two extremes of cables and really listen and reported.
 
Jul 1, 2010
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#22
Just one detail. Fancy dielectric materials and metals in cables are not an audiophile mania.
Of course not. They are fancy dielectric materials and metals in cables.

They are used in many applications, such as aeronautics, space research, radiation detectors and many others, because of reliability, consistency of manufacture, long term stability and capability of foreseeing any changes in electrical properties during its lifetime.
Of course, but many audiophile cable manufacturers claim that these premium materials and their proprietary designs move more data/current faster, resulting in higher resolution/better sound. Their claims are in direct opposition to this statement:

Surely there are no intrinsic faster/slower sound properties of electric materials.
Regardless, I didn't say anything about audiophile mania, I only asked if it is not the dialectic materials or the metals, then what is it? A reasonable question, I think. But even if there is no difference (unprovable negative, as has been noted often here) or if a difference was undetectable even in carefully controlled listening tests repeated often enough to drive the margin for error into the deep, I would not call it audiophile mania. I would call it expectation bias, a very common, well-documented phenomenon. The only "audiophile mania" is the belief in immunity to that phenomenon.

Tim
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#23
John Siau of Benchmark Media tested frequency response of various cables

Indeed there is a high roll off
But he needed 100 ft to demontstrate the effect
http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/KB/AudioCables.htm
Thanks, Vincent.

John Siau's test does show frequency response anomalousness. However, he had to go to extremes to show it. The biggest difference is in the cyan curve - which is a single 24awg twisted pair used as a speaker cable. That's like using a tonearm cable as a speaker cable.

With the cable that *might* possibly be a decently correlated model for a speaker cable (25 pairs of 24awg twisted pair) even over 100ft, showed 0.76deg of phase shift and 0.4dB FR variation.

This is why I suggested using CAT5 cables to construct speaker cables. Using different configuration of the internal 24awg strands will result in different capacitance and inductance characteristics and sound different - even at 6ft where FR and phase difference are so low as to be immaterial.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#24
Regardless, I didn't say anything about audiophile mania, I only asked if it is not the dialectic materials or the metals, then what is it? A reasonable question, I think.
It's a reasonable question. I do not think that it is not the dielectric materials or the metals - they are both contributing factors, but in themselves do not answer the question - is there an audible difference.

But even if there is no difference (unprovable negative, as has been noted often here) or if a difference was undetectable even in carefully controlled listening tests repeated often enough to drive the margin for error into the deep, I would not call it audiophile mania. I would call it expectation bias, a very common, well-documented phenomenon. The only "audiophile mania" is the belief in immunity to that phenomenon.

Tim
It's a long weekend coming up. I'm sure that there's a Radio Shack nearby - how about let's all have a weekend of fun building speaker cables? Whee!! I'm sure our families will be thrilled with that idea :D
 
Jul 1, 2010
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#25
It's a reasonable question. I do not think that it is not the dielectric materials or the metals - they are both contributing factors, but in themselves do not answer the question - is there an audible difference.



It's a long weekend coming up. I'm sure that there's a Radio Shack nearby - how about let's all have a weekend of fun building speaker cables? Whee!! I'm sure our families will be thrilled with that idea :D
Alas, I have no speaker cables in my system except for the very short ones inside my speaker cabinets. I can't join in the fun.

Tim
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#26
Alas, I have no speaker cables in my system except for the very short ones inside my speaker cabinets. I can't join in the fun.

Tim
It's a pity that active loudspeakers/powered passives aren't more and better accepted by audiophiles. The best cable surely is no cable!
 
Jul 1, 2010
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#27
It's a pity that active loudspeakers/powered passives aren't more and better accepted by audiophiles. The best cable surely is no cable!
Well, it's in there, as are the interconnects between preamp and amps. They're all just very, very short.

Tim
 
May 30, 2010
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#28
(...) Of course, but many audiophile cable manufacturers claim that these premium materials and their proprietary designs move more data/current faster, resulting in higher resolution/better sound. (...)
Tim
We have agreed before that most manufacturer claims are excessive and scientifically incorrect. Why coming over their poor and foolish selling arguments in a technical discussion?

BTW, can you write down the names of ten manufacturers that use only scientifically proved arguments in their marketing? :rolleyes:
 
Jul 1, 2010
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#29
We have agreed before that most manufacturer claims are excessive and scientifically incorrect. Why coming over their poor and foolish selling arguments in a technical discussion?

BTW, can you write down the names of ten manufacturers that use only scientifically proved arguments in their marketing? :rolleyes:
You're right, Micro, there wasn't much point in throwing that into this thread. And yes, I'd have a lot of trouble finding audiophile manufacturers who market their products based on nothing but scientific facts. And I'd not have a moment's trouble finding several quite respected ones who lie through their teeth. That bothers me. But I'll get over it. :)

Tim
 
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#30
This whole cable thing is not that complicated! (...)

It depends on the amplitude of your signals. The following lines are taken from an old Keithley book on the use of low current meters. Please remember that 1microVolt (-120dB relative to 1 V) divided by 100000 ohms gives .01nA.



Errors in Low Current Measurements (1)

One of the most common causes of error when measuring low currents (<1nA) is offset current, which can come from the test setup or the measuring instrument.

Potential Cause: Insulating Material
Current can leak through an insulating material or over its surface. The insulating material may itself store or generate charge.

Remedies
A. Choose a good insulator
Several properties are important when evaluating an insulator material:

Volume Resistivity—Leakage of current directly through the material.
Surface Resistivity—Leakage across the surface, a function primarily of surface contaminants.
Water Absorption—Leakage dependent on the amount of water that has been absorbed by the insulator.
Piezoelectric or stored charge effects— The creation of charge unbalances (and thus current flow) or voltage shift due to mechanical stress.
Triboelectric effects—The creation of charge unbalance due to frictional effects when materials rub against each other.
Dielectric Absorption—The tendency of an insulator to store/release charge over long periods of time. For a listing of common insulating materials and their characteristics, see the Keithley Low Level Measurements handbook, Section 2.2.2.
 
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FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#32
Hi

That cables can measure differently is not the subject of the debate .. They can be widely different in characteristics ... Measured with sufficient accuracy they will exhibit change in the signals passing through them.. No one can dispute that ... The crux of the mater is the audibility of these differences. We can't hear 0.1 dB of difference, we simply can't. Moreover in 99.999999999999999% [ I was asked to redo my math, the new percentage is 96% :) ]of the cases audiophiles haven't shown to be able differentiate between their dear cables and much. much more pedestrian cables once knowledge is removed. Those are facts. As for opinions we have several and when the usual parameters don't seem to help we plunge into arcane science or parameters that in most cases are too faint to matter in the big scheme of things (Skin effect is one favorite but so is insulation bleeding these days ) to fish for explanations for our too often unrepeatable perceptions of the "sound" of these cables ..
 
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MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#33
Hi

That cables can measure differently is not the subject of the debate .. They can be widely different in characteristics ... Measured with sufficient accuracy they will exhibit change in the signals passing through them.. No one can dispute that ... The crux of the mater is the audibility of these differences. We can't hear 0.1 dB of difference, we simply can't. Morover in 99.999999999999999% of the cases audiophiles haven't shown to be able differentiate between their dear cables and much. much more pedestrian cables once knowledge is removed. Those are facts. As for opinions we have several and when the usual paramaters don't seem to help we plunge into arcane science or parameters that in most cases are too faint to matter in the bi schme of things (Skin effect is one favorite but so is insulation bleeding these days ) to fish for explanations for our too often unrepeatable perceptions of the "sound" of these cables ..
Suggest you redo your math Frantz since it's about as implausable as the number of women Wilt Chamberlain slept with. For your pct to be accurate there would have had to be what 10^15 number of tests to assure that level of certainty (eg. If I expose 10^7 cells to a carcinogen and I don't see any neoplastic transformation, then the rate of transformation can only be quoted at being less than 10^-7, not 0. Seeing as there's what, 10 (or less??) peer reviewed, published studies, then your numbers are off several orders of magnitude. You can't even say 99.9% because if one study was positive out of 100, then that would be 99%.
 
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#34
1 uV is 120 dB below 1 V... Voltage, not power. ;)
Thanks Don. Next time I should not drink before writing posts using dBs. :eek:
 
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#35
The crux of the mater is the audibility of these differences. We can't hear 0.1 dB of difference, we simply can't.(...) .
How can you be sure that the only thing that affects sound in cables is just the frequency responses?

BTW, to be able to quote "99.999999999999999% of the cases" you must know of 100000000000000000 tests (Don , could you please check my math :) )
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#36
How can you be sure that the only thing that affects sound in cables is just the frequency responses?

BTW, to be able to quote "99.999999999999999% of the cases" you must know of 100000000000000000 tests (Don , could you please check my math :) )
Now can you establish what else besides our good old standby of Frequency, phase response could affect what we allegedly hear (with knowledge) of cables and what we don't (still with knowledge)? I don't mind that you go into arcana and have me get back to my College Textbooks when we were delving into S-Parameters which can of course be applied to any frequency but have been shown empirically to only matter at RF... I would even accept speculation for a while... It still boils down to these old standby (FR, Phase which at the end affect what we hear ... if the FR changes in a way we can perceive .. We hear it , if not ...

One has to wonder, even try to see the logical conclusion, about a "Night and Day" difference with knowledge, devolving into "the test is tiring, that's why I could not perceive differences" incertitude, once the knowledge of what specific cable is in the system, is removed... Don't you think?
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#37
Suggest you redo your math Frantz since it's about as implausable as the number of women Wilt Chamberlain slept with. For your pct to be accurate there would have had to be what 10^15 number of tests to assure that level of certainty (eg. If I expose 10^7 cells to a carcinogen and I don't see any neoplastic transformation, then the rate of transformation can only be quoted at being less than 10^-7, not 0. Seeing as there's what, 10 (or less??) peer reviewed, published studies, then your numbers are off several orders of magnitude. You can't even say 99.9% because if one study was positive out of 100, then that would be 99%.
Oh!! I will go even further, I will edit the post and reduce the percentage to 96% :) of the cases which for 99% of earth population, in layman terms, most people on earth would translate into "most often , if not ALL the time" :)
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#38
Hi

That cables can measure differently is not the subject of the debate .. They can be widely different in characteristics ... Measured with sufficient accuracy they will exhibit change in the signals passing through them.. No one can dispute that ... The crux of the mater is the audibility of these differences. We can't hear 0.1 dB of difference, we simply can't.
I agree. Nor can we hear 0.5 deg of phase shift. We are all convinced (me included) that FR and phase measurements cannot account for what we hear.

Frantz, I used to be as big a cable skeptic as you are. I thought that all competently designed cables sound the same - to the extent that I would demonstrate and set up with whatever pieces of wire was conveniently laying around or supplied by the dealer/customer. Until one day we set up a system for a demo, and it sounded like crap. The only thing that was unfamiliar was the "wonderful" expensive loudspeaker cables that the dealer supplied. I built a pair of cables with some Cat3 that the dealer happened to have lying around, and the music returned. That was 7 years ago, and I've been experimenting ever since.

The two cables I suggested building in the Cable Dialectic can be shown through simulations and measurement (we did that in the Cable Theory thread) to be within 0.1dB FR difference in the audible range, and less than 1 deg phase shift. If you build them, and if you don't hear a difference between them, and if you don't hear a difference between them and your 6awg wires, then I'll happily let the matter drop.

I have not done a double blind (because I had to have someone switch out the cables) but I have done blind tests, and I can definitely hear a difference and correctly identified the two cables. I don't know what I'm hearing - it's not FR and phase - but I'm hearing something.
 
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#40
Now can you establish what else besides our good old standby of Frequency, phase response could affect what we allegedly hear (with knowledge) of cables and what we don't (still with knowledge)?
I also do not have an explanation, but I would expect something as a - delayed - non linear - distortion - of very low amplitude, due to micro-mechanical characteristics of the cables and caused by effects such as piezoelectric and triboelectrics. Surface effects at the impurities level between the conductors and the dielectrics would also be an issue. Speakers by an Harman company (JBL) use reverse polarization in back-to-back film capacitors to minimize long term action of these effects. Unhappily they will not lend us a pair of JBLs 66000 to make DBTs with and without battery .

The key issue is what kind of electrical signals are audible as a difference. Unless we have a firm and accurately defined threshold for it is impossible to have an answer to what affects sound..