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Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 3rd 20, 11:03 AM posted to rec.audio.high-end
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Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

I was mucking around with interconnects and built a cable with an increased sized return wire. And i thought that this sounded better not worse than a similar cable without such a return wire. What do i mean by better: the sound seemed fuller and had more weight. This affect could be just an increased noise dimension, a genuine improvement or technically no different but just sounds different. Not wishing to accept this on it’s own i searched to find what might be behind the effect and i came across the Eichmann Ratio™ this specifies that the return pin of an RCA plug should be of a larger cross section than the signal pin.

Eichmann states that "The Ratio forces the return conductor to respond rapidly to signals being transmitted through the signal conductor, at the same time providing a balance of reactance between signal and return. This ensures that all frequencies and their harmonics are transmitted in a more perfect state. The result is cleaner signal transfer. Which translates to better sound quality."

The Eichmann explanation might sound at first a bit doublespeak though this in itself does not invalidate the overall idea and of an impact. Eichmann limited their patent to just the interconnect plug connector. But the ideas’ effect on sound, if true, is likely to be so for the interconnect wire architecture as well. That is having a larger diameter return wire compared to the signal wire results in a so called better sound. one commentator on an interconnect cable that implemented a larger diameter return wire design also noted a better performance saying that “... the return signal is critical to the lower frequencies and he entrusts that to his special cable design” (http://6moons.com/audioreviews/johnblue6/jb4_4..html) - and if i’m reading this correctly the special feature design is a three wire return to a single wire signal.

Why? I suppose we need to consider the whole circuit. That is the signal starting from the source travels to the preamp then the power amp then the speakers then starts a return journey back to the source. any discontinuities to the electrical flow; like changes in wire, RCA termination and connections will have an impedance effect and create opportunities for reflections and noise. Reflections happen because of impedance mismatches and will result in noise and are an insertion loss. This is perhaps not so important in the case of the signal wire as the low output resistance dovetails to a higher input resistance on it’s journey between units. however this is not true of the return “back to the source” wire. and as anything that impedes the current loop, including the return, will impact on the whole circuit including the signal. So the return wire, i’m thinking, is more susceptible to reflections. How large these reflection are? i don’t know, but having a larger diameter return wire and larger contacts will lower impedance and hence result in a so called better sound..

Lots of people and manufacturers use coaxial cable as an interconnect cable wire and swear by the lower noise floor of these cables compared to similar grade/length twisted or untwisted versions. The coaxial cable return with it’s greater area compared to the signal wire will have less resistance. And maybe this has an impact on coaxial interconnect performance. The same argument is true for multi braided interconnects as these usually employ a greater number of strands for the return than for the signal.

this is only a hypothesis - or less: a drift in imagination... sandcastles - and i’m not so sure that the arguments stack up. there are other explanations. That is for the signal wire in an interconnect cable you might want to minimise capacitance while for the return wire you might want to minimise resistance or maximise a velocity factor hence a larger diameter of the return wire.

I suppose my real interest here is should having an interconnect return wire with a larger diameter than the signal wire have theoretically a “better” sound, i.e. less noise, than an interconnect cable with wires of equal diameter - all other things being equal? And why?

Further would there be a “theoretical” benefit in having a separate return wire from just one point on each unit fanning out to a central contact point?

Another thought should there be a continuity between interconnect cables and within units with regard to wire material and fabrication between the source, pre and power amps? Would that reduce reflections?
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  #2  
Old December 3rd 20, 02:30 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

First of all, let's make sure that we agree on terms:

With the mention of signal wires and RCA plugs, am I correct in assuming that you mean what are commonly known as "patch cords" - those typically coaxial cables between one component and another carrying low-level audio information - that is *not* speaker wires? If that is the case, then the condition of the "return" wire being some multiple of the "signal" wire is already accomplished. Typically, the "shield" (return) wire is multi-strand surrounding the signal wire with a significantly larger cross-sectional area in the aggregate. That is the point of departure.

Wire material: Things to consider:
Silver is a better conductor than copper, and its oxides and sulphates are also typically conductive.
Copper is a better conductor than gold, and its oxides and sulphates are also typically conductive.
Gold is a relatively poor conductor of electricity as compared to the above.. Its few virtues are heat resistance and resistance to oxidation.
At audio frequencies and at typical distances between components - say 4hz -40khz and 2 meters - the brute fact of the matter is that all other things being equal - connector quality, build quality, adequate gauge - mild steel and/or aluminum would behave indistinguishably from any of the above.

What really matters: Things to consider:
It is current that matters. The typical patch-cord from an active pre-amp of modern design may carry as much as twenty (20) Volts at some small fraction of an amp, and unless something is very wrong, always AC. So, not many electrons (amps), but those few are moving REALLY fast at higher frequencies.. BUT!! Consider water in a pipe. When one adds water at the one end, it is not the same water that comes out at the other end. And if that water is changing directions 20,000 times a second, those electrons involved are not really going anywhere, but they are doing it really quickly. So, the limiting factor *must* be the size of the conductor (pipe). So why "conductor" and "return"? Here is where the weasel enters to confuse the gullible. On a patch cord, it ain't nohow a "return". It is a SHIELD. Its purpose is to avoid/protect against/shield from extraneous rF & aF signals as may be floating around that may cause distortion if induced into the signal via the patch-cord. Remember - SHIELD. This is most often stray AC voltages from unshielded components and 'hash' on AC lines from such things as dimmer switches and so forth. And by convention, the shield becomes the common/ground within the entire system. Much as the NEUTRAL becomes the common/ground (eventually). But all of this is convention that flies in the face of physics. Because, if one thinks about it, current always flows from the Negative (more electrons) to the Positive (fewer electrons). We think of the Brits as backward as (some of) their vehicles were based on a + Ground. Which for DC current, is actually the true way of it in terms of current flow. There are peripheral considerations that are both real and important. Cable capacitance will affect very-low-voltage sources such as phono cartridges, tape-head leads and so forth.

Bottom Line:
The proper function of any interconnect will be based primarily on purpose, current requirements, length and materials used. Secondarily, on build-quality. Cutting to the chase, rather crudely, standard coat-hanger wire would be more than adequate for speaker wire over a short distance and if properly terminated. Silver plated Oxygen-free copper wire rolled on the thighs of virgins on Walpurgis Night might be nice, but there will be no improvements attached thereto other than a lightening of the wallet and the spirits of the vendor.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
  #3  
Old December 4th 20, 09:48 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
Trevor Wilson[_3_]
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Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter aFactor?

On 3/12/2020 10:03 pm, wrote:
> Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?


**Not in the slightest. Impedance levels at line levels are such that
resistance is not an issue.

>
> I was mucking around with interconnects and built a cable with an increased sized return wire. And i thought that this sounded better not worse than a similar cable without such a return wire.


**Humans are VERY easily fooled. You need to perform a proper double
blind test to verify. When you do, you will find that there is no
difference. Assuming, of course, that connectors are clean and tight.


What do i mean by better: the sound seemed fuller and had more weight.
This affect could be just an increased noise dimension, a genuine
improvement or technically no different but just sounds different. Not
wishing to accept this on it’s own i searched to find what might be
behind the effect and i came across the Eichmann Ratio™ this specifies
that the return pin of an RCA plug should be of a larger cross section
than the signal pin.
>
> Eichmann states that "The Ratio forces the return conductor to respond rapidly to signals being transmitted through the signal conductor, at the same time providing a balance of reactance between signal and return. This ensures that all frequencies and their harmonics are transmitted in a more perfect state. The result is cleaner signal transfer. Which translates to better sound quality."


**Yeah, that's complete gobbledegook. Ignore it.

>
> The Eichmann explanation might sound at first a bit doublespeak though this in itself does not invalidate the overall idea and of an impact. Eichmann limited their patent to just the interconnect plug connector. But the ideas’ effect on sound, if true, is likely to be so for the interconnect wire architecture as well. That is having a larger diameter return wire compared to the signal wire results in a so called better sound. one commentator on an interconnect cable that implemented a larger diameter return wire design also noted a better performance saying that “... the return signal is critical to the lower frequencies and he entrusts that to his special cable design” (http://6moons.com/audioreviews/johnblue6/jb4_4.html) - and if i’m reading this correctly the special feature design is a three wire return to a single wire signal.
>
> Why? I suppose we need to consider the whole circuit. That is the signal starting from the source travels to the preamp then the power amp then the speakers then starts a return journey back to the source.


**BZZZTTT! Nope. That is not how an ALTERNATING signal works. Plus, the
whole thing operates at close to c (the speed of light).


any discontinuities to the electrical flow; like changes in wire, RCA
termination and connections will have an impedance effect and create
opportunities for reflections and noise.

**Well, yes, noise can be a problem with poor quality terminations.

Reflections happen because of impedance mismatches and will result in
noise and are an insertion loss.

**No. For all practical length audio cables (say: <1km) reflections are
simply not an issue. Impedance mismatches are not an issue in practical
systems, where source output Z < 100 Ohms.


This is perhaps not so important in the case of the signal wire as the
low output resistance dovetails to a higher input resistance on it’s
journey between units.

**Which is the case with all sensibly designed systems. It is a trivial
exercise to design a source impedance of <10 Ohms.

however this is not true of the return “back to the source” wire. and
as anything that impedes the current loop, including the return, will
impact on the whole circuit including the signal. So the return wire,
i’m thinking, is more susceptible to reflections. How large these
reflection are? i don’t know, but having a larger diameter return wire
and larger contacts will lower impedance and hence result in a so called
better sound.

**There are no reflections. It is an AC signal.

>
> Lots of people and manufacturers use coaxial cable as an interconnect cable wire and swear by the lower noise floor of these cables compared to similar grade/length twisted or untwisted versions. The coaxial cable return with it’s greater area compared to the signal wire will have less resistance. And maybe this has an impact on coaxial interconnect performance. The same argument is true for multi braided interconnects as these usually employ a greater number of strands for the return than for the signal.
>
> this is only a hypothesis - or less: a drift in imagination... sandcastles - and i’m not so sure that the arguments stack up. there are other explanations. That is for the signal wire in an interconnect cable you might want to minimise capacitance while for the return wire you might want to minimise resistance or maximise a velocity factor hence a larger diameter of the return wire.


**Velocity factor is largely determined by the insulation material, not
the size of the conductors.

>
> I suppose my real interest here is should having an interconnect return wire with a larger diameter than the signal wire have theoretically a “better” sound, i.e. less noise, than an interconnect cable with wires of equal diameter - all other things being equal? And why?
>
> Further would there be a “theoretical” benefit in having a separate return wire from just one point on each unit fanning out to a central contact point?


**No.

>
> Another thought should there be a continuity between interconnect cables and within units with regard to wire material and fabrication between the source, pre and power amps? Would that reduce reflections?
>


**What reflections? There are none to start with. Most cables are less
than 3 Metres. Even with cables of 1,000 Metres or so, there will be no
reflections of significance.

Audio is really easy. You need to worry about these sorts of things at
very high radio frequencies.


--
Trevor Wilson
www.rageaudio.com.au

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  #4  
Old December 6th 20, 12:59 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Posts: 132
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

Electricity in a wire, AC or DC, moves much faster than the "speed of light" - which is defined by its speed in a vacuum. Pop an electron into the system at one end, and that instant, one pops out at the other. The water that one puts in a pipe is not the same water that comes out the other end (unless the pipe was empty initially - not possible with electrons in a wire). With AC current, it is entirely possible that no individual electron makes it down the entire length of the wire.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
  #5  
Old December 6th 20, 03:23 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
-dsr-
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Posts: 14
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diametera Factor?

On 2020-12-06, Peter Wieck > wrote:
> Electricity in a wire, AC or DC, moves much faster than the "speed of light" - which is defined by its speed in a vacuum. Pop an electron into the system at one end, and that instant, one pops out at the other. The water that one puts in a pipe is not the same water that comes out the other end (unless the pipe was empty initially - not possible with electrons in a wire). With AC current, it is entirely possible that no individual electron makes it down the entire length of the wire.
>


I'm sorry, the first two statements are not true.

'c', the speed of light in a vacuum, is the speed limit for this universe,
and is only reached by massless particles such as photons. No signalling
happens faster than that.

Electrons have mass.

The signal velocity of photons in vacuum is 1.0 (* c).

The signal velocity of photons in most fiber optic cables is around 0.67.

The signal velocity of electricity in cables varies by the composition of
the cable and how it is made, but is typically between 0.58 and 0.78.

Peter is correct that the electrons or water you get out of one end of a pipe
are not the same electrons or water you put in. In a conductive metal, the
electrons are freely shared between neighboring atoms, and applying a voltage
at one end of a wire causes the electrons to jostle each other right on down
the line.

Wikipedia's article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_electricity
is pretty well written.

-dsr-
  #6  
Old December 6th 20, 11:48 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
Trevor Wilson[_3_]
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Posts: 139
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

On 6/12/2020 11:59 pm, Peter Wieck wrote:
> Electricity in a wire, AC or DC, moves much faster than the "speed of light" - which is defined by its speed in a vacuum. Pop an electron into the system at one end, and that instant, one pops out at the other. The water that one puts in a pipe is not the same water that comes out the other end (unless the pipe was empty initially - not possible with electrons in a wire). With AC current, it is entirely possible that no individual electron makes it down the entire length of the wire.
>


**Nothing (in this universe) can move faster than 'c'. Not light, not
electrons, not gravity.

Here's a thought experiment for you:

If our Sun winked out of existence tomorrow, how long would it take for
our planet to cease circling where our Sun once was?


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  #7  
Old December 7th 20, 12:34 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Posts: 132
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

> If our Sun winked out of existence tomorrow, how long would it take for
> our planet to cease circling where our Sun once was?


That would be as soon as the gravity wave ceased - which would also be largely instantaneous. Objects in orbit are not truly "in orbit", but in Free Fall. The earth would travel in that direction on the arc that it was on when the sun went away - with minor perturbations from the other objects in the former solar system.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

  #8  
Old December 7th 20, 12:37 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Posts: 132
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diameter a Factor?

> **Nothing (in this universe) can move faster than 'c'. Not light, not
> electrons, not gravity.


Never stated nor implied that. What I stated is that as with water in a pipe, when water goes in at one end, water instantaneously comes out at the other end. But, IT IS NOT THE SAME WATER.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

p.s.: I would remind you of Clarke's Three Laws. But....
  #9  
Old December 7th 20, 12:55 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
-dsr-
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Posts: 14
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diametera Factor?

On 2020-12-07, Peter Wieck > wrote:
>> If our Sun winked out of existence tomorrow, how long would it take for
>> our planet to cease circling where our Sun once was?

>
> That would be as soon as the gravity wave ceased - which would also be largely instantaneous. Objects in orbit are not truly "in orbit", but in Free Fall. The earth would travel in that direction on the arc that it was on when the sun went away - with minor perturbations from the other objects in the former solar system.


Your first sentence is, again, wrong. All experiments in gravity propagation show that
it moves at 'c', which is to say, about 8 minutes between the Sun suddenly failing
to exist and the planet no longer falling towards it.

-dsr-
  #10  
Old December 7th 20, 01:07 PM posted to rec.audio.high-end
-dsr-
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Posts: 14
Default Audio Interconnect cable Performance - is Return Wire Diametera Factor?

On 2020-12-07, Peter Wieck > wrote:
>> **Nothing (in this universe) can move faster than 'c'. Not light, not
>> electrons, not gravity.

>
> Never stated nor implied that. What I stated is that as with water in a pipe, when water goes in at one end, water instantaneously comes out at the other end. But, IT IS NOT THE SAME WATER.
>


The first and second sentences here are wrong.

The speed of water signal propagation is the speed of sound in water, which is
around 1400-1600m/s depending on temperature, salinity, etc. That is literally
the speed at which water molecules can push each other around; it is not
"instantaneous".

Applicability of this argument to audio:

1. The speed of sound in water is about 4x the speed of sound in air. Therefore,
there is a major impedance mismatch at air/water boundaries, leading to
sound reflection.

2. The speed of an electrical signal is finite (but very fast), so we can measure
and discover that it doesn't matter whether your speaker wires are the same
length because you can't hear the timing difference for any reasonable
difference in length. (Say, 1 meter vs 1000 meters -- you'll get differences
in signal level before you get audible timing differences.)

-dsr-

 




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