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Cables need settling time?, was: "why abx testing does" (TOS #6)
kraut
post Jun 14 2011, 04:40
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not work on all sorts of audio cables.

I found those explanations on a forum that shall rename nameless, but as I found the posts hilarious I think they are worthy to be shared.

QUOTE
OK, so how many of you think this is true?You have to let a cable settle for 24hrs after you've just plugged it in before critical listening.


I don't know about 24 hours, but I think that a cable needs to settle in to its connection before it sounds like it should. That is why I find A-B cable swapping to be useless.

Yes, I found this to be so, power cords being the most sensitive for me.

Some folks take it to the extreme -- if you even MOVE a cable, it's not right for 24 hours. My gut says that is going way too far.


This post has been edited by kraut: Jun 14 2011, 04:43
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tropicalfish
post Jun 14 2011, 05:03
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I call BS. There's no way moving a cable can alter the quality, unless the cable was broken. Think headphones.

Silly audiophools. laugh.gif

This post has been edited by tropicalfish: Jun 14 2011, 05:04
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kraut
post Jun 14 2011, 06:13
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QUOTE
there are many factors(fields,rays) in the air surrounding us....the room has several energy field which interact with the wire and the temperature alo plays its role....the cables needs to settle, that is a fact. Sorry to put it that way, but it is very long way before we understand the mechanics and what all is going on around us from macro to micro energy perspective!


It is getting more interesting. Energy fields - I guess electromagnetic fields would be more precise - and micro energy, whatever this means. Sounds so knowledgeable, I am just missing the quantum perspective on the cable settlement debate. Quantum is always good. Or nano, the best explanation is to combine both.
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tropicalfish
post Jun 14 2011, 06:19
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I find these people to be unbelievable...

But then again, I can't tell the difference between CAT5 and Monoprice premium (analog stereo) on 10~ft runs.
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andy o
post Jun 14 2011, 08:08
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"I don't know therefore magic."
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Sunhillow
post Jun 14 2011, 08:23
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Wow blink.gif
One of them even suggests to listen in pressure controlled rooms. If there were more of this bunch a lot of money might be made out of their theories cool.gif
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Rotareneg
post Jun 14 2011, 16:32
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I've always thought someone was missing the boat by not selling audiophile air. biggrin.gif
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dsimcha
post Jun 14 2011, 17:13
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QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 14 2011, 00:03) *
I call BS. There's no way moving a cable can alter the quality, unless the cable was broken. Think headphones.

Silly audiophools. laugh.gif


In theory yes, it can. For example, Ethernet wires are twisted around each other to cancel out things like crosstalk. That said, in practice anything that's a decent conductor should carry baseband audio a few feet with negligible, i.e. inaudible, distortion.
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DonP
post Jun 14 2011, 17:41
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QUOTE (Rotareneg @ Jun 14 2011, 10:32) *
I've always thought someone was missing the boat by not selling audiophile air. biggrin.gif


You will certainly have a different experience if you get oxygen-free air to match your wires. ohmy.gif
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tropicalfish
post Jun 14 2011, 18:17
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QUOTE (dsimcha @ Jun 14 2011, 11:13) *
QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 14 2011, 00:03) *
I call BS. There's no way moving a cable can alter the quality, unless the cable was broken. Think headphones.

Silly audiophools. laugh.gif


In theory yes, it can. For example, Ethernet wires are twisted around each other to cancel out things like crosstalk. That said, in practice anything that's a decent conductor should carry baseband audio a few feet with negligible, i.e. inaudible, distortion.

They're twisted around each other WITHIN the cable. If movement involved me untwisting the little strands within the cable, then that breaks the cable.
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smok3
post Jun 14 2011, 20:15
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QUOTE
The action of moving and/or twisting the cable causes electrical noise that is visible on an oscilloscope. Once left to return to a relaxed state of equillibrium, i.e. left alone, the cables sound better. This sometimes takes a day or two. When using cable elevators the point of contact creates large stress points and never completely goes away as it is continuously under tension and compression (top vs bottom) due to force exerted by gravity. So it all depends on how you lay your cable. That's my simple view.


This post has been edited by smok3: Jun 14 2011, 20:15


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pdq
post Jun 14 2011, 21:20
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QUOTE (smok3 @ Jun 14 2011, 15:15) *
QUOTE
The action of moving and/or twisting the cable causes electrical noise that is visible on an oscilloscope. Once left to return to a relaxed state of equillibrium, i.e. left alone, the cables sound better. This sometimes takes a day or two. When using cable elevators the point of contact creates large stress points and never completely goes away as it is continuously under tension and compression (top vs bottom) due to force exerted by gravity. So it all depends on how you lay your cable. That's my simple view.


This is known as the triboelectric effect and is the result of the insulation rubbing against the conductor. I have dealt with this in the past, and had to determine which insulators were best suited for this kind of application.

The magnitude of the effect is on the order of femptoamps, which into a 1K load translates to picovolts, i.e. much too small to matter to audio.
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Gecko
post Jun 14 2011, 21:22
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QUOTE (smok3 @ Jun 14 2011, 21:15) *
QUOTE
[...] When using cable elevators the point of contact creates large stress points and never completely goes away as it is continuously under tension and compression (top vs bottom) due to force exerted by gravity. So it all depends on how you lay your cable. That's my simple view.



So, is this good or bad?
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Zarggg
post Jun 14 2011, 21:53
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My money is on "irrelevant."
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smok3
post Jun 15 2011, 08:32
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just to make sure: I have quoted that part, seems it was the most funny (for me), due to oscilloscope measurement maybe.


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dhromed
post Jun 15 2011, 08:44
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QUOTE (kraut @ Jun 14 2011, 05:40) *
QUOTE

Some folks take it to the extreme -- if you even MOVE a cable, it's not right for 24 hours. My gut says that is going way too far.



I'm amused that this person is a skeptic even within his range of phoolery. Perhaps there is hope for him when offered a proper explanation.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 16 2011, 13:25
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QUOTE (dsimcha @ Jun 14 2011, 12:13) *
QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 14 2011, 00:03) *
I call BS. There's no way moving a cable can alter the quality, unless the cable was broken. Think headphones.

Silly audiophools. laugh.gif



As usual, it is all about quantification.

Hndling noise can be an issue in certain applications, such as microphone cables where the signals are small, the lengths are long, and there is a possiblity of high impedances.

Note that in professional audio, we typically avoid all of these conditions by using reasonable-length cables, using microphones that put out relatively strong signals, and use microphones that provide low source impdances. In consumer audio, those conditions are minimized by the application. One possible excepetion is cables related to moving magnet phono cartridges.

One possible source of spurious noises from cables is called triboelectricity. This happens when plastic cable inulation is improperly made, and tends to act a little like an electret microphone. I've actually measured this in consumer interconnects, but it was like 100 dB or more down. This occasionally happened in cables that were made maybe 20 years ago, but now it is judiciously avoided.


QUOTE
In theory yes, it can. For example, Ethernet wires are twisted around each other to cancel out things like crosstalk. That said, in practice anything that's a decent conductor should carry baseband audio a few feet with negligible, i.e. inaudible, distortion.


That's about changes in characteristic impedance and signal skewing when multiple independent signals at very high frequencies travel down a more complex cable together. HDMI cables are about the only case in consumer audio where that would be signficiant. Since HDMI is generally a purely digital medium, such things either cause data errors which are pretty obvious, or have no perceptible effect at all.

Trust me, you play by different rules when your signal is at 185 MHz (HDMI) , or 9 MHz (SP/DIF) or 18 KHz. (analog audio). Stuff like that only matters up in the 100s of MHz, and it is under control even there.

The above comment about Ethernet cables is incomplete and thus potentially misleading. There are many flavors of Ethernet. There is legacy Ethernet where signals topped out at 10 MHz, 100BTx where signals top out at 100 MHz, and Gigabit ethernet where singals top out at a few 100 MHz. Cables with controlled twist relate to only the latter system.

Furthermore, if cable relaxation mattered for even Gigiabit Ethernet, it would never work. Think about what happens to an ethernet wire above a drop ceiling, where the temparature changes by dozens of degrees over the course of a 4 hour day.

If even gigabit ethernet were that squirelly, nothing would ever work!
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dsimcha
post Jun 16 2011, 16:37
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 16 2011, 08:25) *
QUOTE
In theory yes, it can. For example, Ethernet wires are twisted around each other to cancel out things like crosstalk. That said, in practice anything that's a decent conductor should carry baseband audio a few feet with negligible, i.e. inaudible, distortion.


That's about changes in characteristic impedance and signal skewing when multiple independent signals at very high frequencies travel down a more complex cable together. HDMI cables are about the only case in consumer audio where that would be signficiant. Since HDMI is generally a purely digital medium, such things either cause data errors which are pretty obvious, or have no perceptible effect at all.

Trust me, you play by different rules when your signal is at 185 MHz (HDMI) , or 9 MHz (SP/DIF) or 18 KHz. (analog audio). Stuff like that only matters up in the 100s of MHz, and it is under control even there.

The above comment about Ethernet cables is incomplete and thus potentially misleading. There are many flavors of Ethernet. There is legacy Ethernet where signals topped out at 10 MHz, 100BTx where signals top out at 100 MHz, and Gigabit ethernet where singals top out at a few 100 MHz. Cables with controlled twist relate to only the latter system.

Furthermore, if cable relaxation mattered for even Gigiabit Ethernet, it would never work. Think about what happens to an ethernet wire above a drop ceiling, where the temparature changes by dozens of degrees over the course of a 4 hour day.

If even gigabit ethernet were that squirelly, nothing would ever work!


I completely agree with everything you said. All I was trying to say in my post is that there are theoretical reasons why the position of the cable could matter. I was basically playing Devil's Advocate for the fun of it, not trying to imply that any of this stuff matters in practice. Given the orders of magnitude lower frequency of analog baseband audio, these effects are irrelevant and probably immeasurable, but in theory they're still there to some infinitesimal degree. If you move a cable, you could theoretically get crosstalk between different parts of the cable and affect the audio coming out of the speakers by an imperceptible amount. Depending on how loud you listen and how good your ears are, if it's more than 60-100 dB below the signal (which I'm almost sure it would be) then for all practical purposes it's not there.
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DonP
post Jun 16 2011, 18:06
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One could better argue that the listener needs 24 hours settling time in position before serious testing can happen.
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tropicalfish
post Jun 16 2011, 18:17
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 16 2011, 12:06) *
One could better argue that the listener needs 24 hours settling time in position before serious testing can happen.

You'd forget the difference you heard the day before, and you'd be better off saving yourself big bucks by not spending ridiculous amounts on cable.
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Gecko
post Jun 17 2011, 18:58
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QUOTE (smok3 @ Jun 15 2011, 09:32) *
just to make sure: I have quoted that part, seems it was the most funny (for me), due to oscilloscope measurement maybe.

I was trying to make a joke, but failed miserably. I found that particular quote funny because using audio voodoo pseudo science one could argue either pro or contra cable elevation. Perhaps the continued stress placed on the cables prevents microscopic movement because the internal friction is increased. The guy actually seemed to oppose cable elevation though. I call heresy! wink.gif

More on topic: This must be very bad news for audiophiles using wired headphones.
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DVDdoug
post Jun 17 2011, 19:13
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 14 2011, 09:41) *
You will certainly have a different experience if you get oxygen-free air to match your wires. ohmy.gif


QUOTE (DonP @ Jun 16 2011, 10:06) *
One could better argue that the listener needs 24 hours settling time in position before serious testing can happen.
Yes, preferably in the oxygen-free environment.
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