Originally Posted by arnyk
Since you mentioned that thread, there was what I found to be an interesting post there about allected recent technological advances related to magic cables that didn't get a lot of play before the thread was locked:
So what about these things?
For example - there is a cable geometry that can provide a large measurable decrease in speaker cable inductance. It's called coaxial cable, it has been known about for decades and I know of no high end speaker cables that are made that way.
As far as dielectrics go, I know of nothing new in that area going back a decade or more. Speaker cables being parts of low impedance systems don't care much ab out cable capacitance within reason. There have been some squirrelly amps that objected to some cables with very high capacitance, but that was decades ago.
Filters wired in parallel. Are there any? The ones I know of are wired in series-parallel and they go back a decade or more. MIT cables proudly claims that they have been doing what they do for about three decades. Nothing new there!
High precision cable winders. In fact few if any high end cable manufacturers make their own cable. Some claims about esoteric stranding have been made, but in fact stranding is very robust technically. You can twist clockwise, counterclockwise, and even insulate every strand and it doesn't make a lot of difference.
Active shielding. This refers to biasing the shield, usually with a 9 volt battery. I can't even imagine what this is supposed to do technically, except scare the $#!! out of audiophiles when they find that the battery went dead and they've been listening to unbiased cables for the last year and never noticed. ;-)
Metallurgy. As has been pointed out by others, copper is wonderful stuff. Highly conductive, very linear, and only a little less conductive than silver. The silver situation can be compensated for with trivial amounts of additional copper as if it would matter.
Cryogenic treatment. Please see former comments about plain old well-annealed copper.
First off, there is no such thing as "magic" cables. Maybe the sound might produce something that's magical or maybe some people think that because they sound different it's magical, but there is no magic in audio cables. Any time someone refers to cables as "magical" I question their actual knowledge on cables. I think the problem is that the average person doesn't know much about cable designs and there is not much actual test measurements that all companies use to "prove" a different sound quality. The cable mfg have marketing people trying to attract attention since they aren't posting any or very little in the measurement area to show a difference in quality of sound. Looking at the impedance, capacitance, etc. aren't quality of sound measurements. Obviously, a perfect cable will have none in terms of LCR, so the best cable is none, but for most of us we need to use something. Also, cables do change if they are put under a load or not put under a load, so just measuring a cable not actually connected to other equipment may not be the preferred or most accurate way to measure. This is similar to speakers. if you measure a speaker under different loads, the impedance changes, which is why they only use a nominal impedance for use to use as a guide to buy an amplifier.
I was just simply answering to one's question of what's changed in cables? I guess it depends on your perspective. For some of us that have been looking at the high end cable market, some of this isn't new to us, but to others it is.
But this is just a quick list of what's different in the cable market for audio cables since the high end cable market began back in the late 70's/early 80's. And these companies are still finding new ways to make a cable.
Yeah, I know some of the tricks being used are a little outlandish, but I wasn't trying to comment on that, i was just pointing out what the difference is.
As far as cryogenic treatment, first off copper wired used in cables is annealed copper and cryogenically treating them does change the grain structure and tinsel strength, so you're comment isn't reality in terms of well-annealed copper. What and who decides what's "well annealed" and what isn't? I always thought Cryogenic treatment was a little on the Looney Tunes side until I saw magnifications of different metals before and after the process. It does work, but it's expensive to do and that's a mfg cost that gets passed on to the customer. Whether you can hear the differences or not, that's a completely other story.
Again, it boils down to what cables work best in your "system" and if you can or can't hear a difference in sound quality and what one prefers. What works for one person doesn't always work for someone else.
I've seen discussions on a lot of audio related forums over the years and those that are "anti cable' seem to cast off cables as just pieces of wire and there really isn't a difference. Well, to me and others the have spent time with higher end cables, we just don't see it that way. I understand both point of view since I didn't think cables would make that big of a difference and in some cases it doesn't. I also used to think that you have to have a high end system to hear the differences and I did a little experiment on a relatively cheap pair of power speakers and I was actually floored by the difference in interconnects, it was a VERY noticeable difference. So, thinking that you have to have a high end pair of speakers isn't the case either.
I personally do think that the cable mfg should derive some standard testing that gives the consumer a way to see a frequency response curve so we can compare using something that's more related to quality of sound. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening so the best we can do is test a variety of cables, see if there is a difference and then use whatever we like/afford.
As far as the 9 Volt battery, I would think that wiring an LED to indicate that the battery needs to be changed would be a simple fix. Obviously, if you aren't paying attention one might not hear when the battery dies because it's not a sudden on/off situation, the battery drains slowly and when the battery begins to not be effective, the change isn't as abrupt. People usually sense large changes in things first and listening to subtle differences must be purposely done.
If someone is going to be a little serious about their audio gear, they need to learn how to listen to different audio gear before one can make intelligent decisions about what to buy otherwise they are going to be more reliant on what others say. A lot of people buy more expensive audio gear without learning how to really listen to different components of a system and that's part of the problem. It's easy to buy a system but it takes time to get used to hearing the differences in components we use and I honestly don't think that the majority of consumers really understand how to listen to different pieces of equipment. That's why i'll suggest applications such as the Harmon How to Listen app, and a variety of CDs that are on the market that can help us understand how to listen to different aspects of an audio system