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Electromagnetic Interference in Speaker Cables? (video)

redstang

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Or maybe there's no difference to be heard... Who says there is or must be some difference? What theory ? Seriously, what makes the system resolving ? price ? snake oil ?

No, see because THEY absolutely hear a difference, so if you don't then there's some problem with your ears/system/room/etc.

The really interesting aspect about this debate to me is the psychology. How some guys can formulate a theory that sounds very plausible to the layman, and then make up very creative and science-y sounding tidbits to back it up. And here's the thing - while some may be complete trolls, I believe that a lot of guys honestly DO perceive a difference and just can't accept it could just be in their head. What I absolutely cannot understand, however, is how they can then reject known principles of physics and electronics that don't line up with their experience. It's at that point where it becomes religious. And maybe that's just it. If you understand the engineering principles and therefore know it is impossible or extremely unlikely a super insulated speaker cable will sound different - then to you it won't. Whereas if you don't intimately understand those things, that leaves the possibility for anything on the table and therefore your perception can be influenced. The brain is a hell of a piece of gear.
 

GDK

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and just can't accept it could just be in their head
IME, a lot of the cable believers equate “it’s all in your head” with them being stupid, as if they were too ignorant to see through the trick. As they know (probably correctly) that they are not stupid people, the only way to make sense of the situation is to conclude that it can’t all be in their head and ergo the differences are real. :facepalm:
 

fmplayer

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No, see because THEY absolutely hear a difference, so if you don't then there's some problem with your ears/system/room/etc.

The really interesting aspect about this debate to me is the psychology. How some guys can formulate a theory that sounds very plausible to the layman, and then make up very creative and science-y sounding tidbits to back it up. And here's the thing - while some may be complete trolls, I believe that a lot of guys honestly DO perceive a difference and just can't accept it could just be in their head. What I absolutely cannot understand, however, is how they can then reject known principles of physics and electronics that don't line up with their experience. It's at that point where it becomes religious. And maybe that's just it. If you understand the engineering principles and therefore know it is impossible or extremely unlikely a super insulated speaker cable will sound different - then to you it won't. Whereas if you don't intimately understand those things, that leaves the possibility for anything on the table and therefore your perception can be influenced. The brain is a hell of a piece of gear.

You pointed 3 interesting concepts that are at the heart of the debate:
1- perception, which is by nature subjective and individual
2- religion, which is a matter of faith and belief, gurus, not facts, knowledge or reasoning
3- lack of (self-)criticism (I, or my guru, cannot be wrong, the others are)

When somebody expresses all of these characteristics, his psychological reasoning is sort of a triangle from which he can't get out, since he doesn't let you prove him wrong
For every point, combine 1 or 2 of these concepts
"I heard something and I cannot be cannot be wrong" (1+3) --> you are deaf or wrong
"I believe there's something to be heard, the guru can't be wrong"(2+3) --> Something prevents you from hearing it
"I heard something and there's an explanation made by the guru" (1+2)--> I don't believe your explanation that there's nothing to be heard
Add to this --> "you don't measure the right thing"
... and voilà !

Long story short: You're out of the game, no matter what. No possible debate whatsoever
 

redstang

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IME, a lot of the cable believers equate “it’s all in your head” with them being stupid, as if they were too ignorant to see through the trick. As they know (probably correctly) that they are not stupid people, the only way to make sense of the situation is to conclude that it can’t all be in their head and ergo the differences are real. :facepalm:

Totally agree. So it is frustrating when someone during a discussion will start name calling or take things off the rails.

If I was to do a bunch of cable testing and profess to hear a difference, my approach would not be to deny that FM signals on a speaker wire should be inaudible. I would simply say - here's the attributes of the cable I'm using and to me, it sounds better when I use those cables. I totally understand what you're saying about any FM interference being at levels that are probably impossible to hear, but for some reason when I a/b these cables, cable (X) sounds better, so regardless of what you can show about FM interference levels, it seems to me there is still something we don't understand that is going on.

Yet it seems like the discussion rarely goes that way. Instead they avoid or deny those known principles and measurements and it ends up going nowhere.
 

GGroch

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Danny's 4th Cable Video is up, he moves to the listening room.

......for some reason when I a/b these cables, cable (X) sounds better, so regardless of what you can show about FM interference levels, it seems to me there is still something we don't understand that is going on.....

Except that we do understand what is going on. Confirmation/Expectation Bias is established fact. All of us have it, none of us can avoid it. None of us can turn it off and on through concentration or will power. We can turn it off through a blind A/B test. If you could consistently hear the difference between cable X and cable Y in a blind A/B test, I would agree that something I do not understand is going on. Otherwise, I do understand.

Danny's video addresses this, he says you will not hear differences in cable unless your system is resolving enough, and that if in a sighted test you hear the differences then that is all the proof you need, because it is all about enjoyment. Most of the ASR tribe would like more proof, that is, proof that the differences are coming in through your ears, rather than through your eyes/brain because your think cable X looks nicer or has a more convincing technology story.
 
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redstang

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Except that we do understand what is going on. Confirmation/Expectation Bias is established fact.

Totally agree, I'm just approaching it from the viewpoint of someone that has done some testing, maybe some blind testing, and thinks they can hear a difference. To hand wave any discussion with the confirmation bias hammer doesn't win people over. I'll admit a lot of people will never be won over because they are irrational, but I'm interested in breaking thru to some of them - or maybe discovering something else specific about their set up that could be responsible for the difference. To further discussion you need to get into more specifics rather than argue over known EE principles using cable marketing flyers. Maybe the cable A actual takes care of a real issue cable B has. Lots of things seem possible - that's why this debate manages to continue to have life over and over.

I would not argue with someone that simply says "it's all confirmation bias and the discussion is a waste of time" either. That's fine - but I still find the esoteric nature of this debate entertaining for some reason.

...if in a sighted test you hear the differences then that is all the proof you need, because it is all about enjoyment.

And while that logic is obviously flawed, it is still interesting because enjoyment from listening to music is in your head, and because we can't hear what someone else is perceiving in their head, if the improvement is real to them does it matter? It reminds me of Cypher in the Matrix wanting to go back into the Matrix b/c even though he knows the steak he's going to eat isn't real, it still tastes damn good. Now, of course spending thousands of dollars to fool yourself into thinking your system sounds better is sort of crazy, but the parallel there regarding reality and perception is interesting.
 
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Toslink

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Amir, thank you for the excellent and revealing discussion. I come from a car audio background and learned a great deal about how source impedance affects a cable's ability, susceptibility to picking up interference, so I found Danny's video surprising, as it was effectively open on the source end of the circuit. When you connected the cable into the amplifier's terminals, then it had a source impedance laid across the cable and was therefore a real-world circuit.

Can you offer a few words about the magnitude of the 60Hz hum induced into the speaker cable at different current levels. I assume your test rig had no or minimal current in the power cord. How about if the average current was 5 amps, 10 amps, etc. Could we quantify the magnitude of the induced signal based on these steps (assuming the inter-cable distance was constant)?
 

dualazmak

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Interesting...

I actually experienced a lot of these interferences in my SP cabling/handling in my multichannel multi-amplifier project. In my post #4 there, I shared this photo including the issue;
WS000364.JPG

Later, I found/learnt that most of the "Multi-Terminal Electromagnetic Relays" and "Multi-terminal Snap-Toggle Switches" for AC or DC power levels contain small but strong magnets in the contact terminal block for the purpose of "escaping" the possible electric arcs when operating at rather high voltage and current. I blieve these tiny magnets would significantly deteriorate the speaker level sound signals which should be fully avoided/eliminated in our HiFi audio speaker cable handling.

I also touched on this issue in my post #250 there entitled "Elimination of Magnetic Susceptible Metals in Handling of Speaker Level Signal"; I DIY built the "wooden" outer LC-network boxes...

We know that many of the HiFi amp manufacturers are also eliminating magnetic susceptible metals and screws in their SP level handling.
 
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AndreaT

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Excellent debunking of widespread myth. I would suggest to do some measurements in relation to the ephemerides of the moons of Jupiter, as I can swear my speakers cable are happier when Ganymede and Callisto are visible from Massachusetts.
 
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amirm

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Can you offer a few words about the magnitude of the 60Hz hum induced into the speaker cable at different current levels. I assume your test rig had no or minimal current in the power cord. How about if the average current was 5 amps, 10 amps, etc. Could we quantify the magnitude of the induced signal based on these steps (assuming the inter-cable distance was constant)?
Thanks for the kind words regarding the video. On this question, I addressed it later in the thread with another test: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nce-in-speaker-cables-video.20647/post-683806

I did not go for high currents as that is not a realistic situation. An amplifier does not draw continuous amount of power. Its power consumption (in most cases) would be proportional to music level. As such, the masking effect of music would increase and do away with theory of audibility.

Maybe next time I am testing a speaker cable I try more scenarios. :)
 

dualazmak

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Just for your interests and reference...

I remember that I have accutually "heard" the coil to coil induction interference from squawkers+tweeters when I was burning-in the LC capacitors for woofers.

At that time (almost one year ago), I was burning-in only the 47 uF white capacitors in the woofer line by connecting my amplifier only to the woofer LC-network , and no SP cable from amplifier was connected to another terminal feeding Be-squawkers, Be-tweeters and super-tweeters;
WS000735.JPG


Instead of real woofers, I used my "dummy woofers" i.e. 8 Ohm 100W golden-color resistors installed on my SP cabling boards shown below, for "silent burn-in" of capacitors with fairly large sound volume for continuous 48 hours;
WS001412.JPG

(Please note the blue caps on the boards are protection caps for multichannel multi-amplifier system, and they are out of the scope of this post.)

During such silent burning-in of the white woofer capacitors in the LC-box using the silent "dummy woofers", Be-squawkers + Be-tweeters + super-tweeters remained connected in the LC-network (not connected to amplifier).

It was really interesting that I could actually hear very very faint music sound from Be-squawkers and Be-tweeters when I contacted my ear to these SP drivers; the faint sound was caused by coil-to-coil inductions in the LC-box, even though I have carefully aligned all of the coils in the LC-box in the orientation of minimum inter-induction.

I understand and agree that several high-end HiFi speaker manufacturers are designing their LC-network with rather far distance between coil(s) for woofers and coil(s) for high range drivers.
 
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dualazmak

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Wow you must be using terribly bad capacitors if they change there characteristics in any meaningful way after use?!

The big white capacitors in the woofer LC are MUNDORF MCAP250-47, quite nice alminised PP film capacitor;
https://www.mundorf.com/audio/en/shop/capacitors/audio_caps_classic/mcap_250v/MCap250/?card=2346

I did my burn-in just for sure before daily use, and fortunately, as you may assume, no change at all in the sound before and after the burn-in!

After recent completion of my multichannel multi-amplifier system, the whole LC-network was fully eliminated/bypassed now...
 

Lambda

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no change at all in the sound before and after the burn-in!
Would be a bad singe if the PP film or the Metallization show degradation after a view hours of low frequency and relatively low currents.

TDK/EPCOS, Wimma have 100,000h ratings for some PP capacitors at high temperatures, currents/frequency's.
i would not expect them to change in a speaker crossover.
 

Toslink

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Thanks for the kind words regarding the video. On this question, I addressed it later in the thread with another test: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nce-in-speaker-cables-video.20647/post-683806

I did not go for high currents as that is not a realistic situation. An amplifier does not draw continuous amount of power. Its power consumption (in most cases) would be proportional to music level. As such, the masking effect of music would increase and do away with theory of audibility.

Maybe next time I am testing a speaker cable I try more scenarios. :)

Thanks, Amir. I'm considering this topic also from the angle of a complex AV equipment rack with other components where there may be multiple power cords in close proximity to the signal cables, where some power cables are independent of the amplifier. I do get your point about how the magnitudes of the power amplifier and speaker cables would be proportional.
 

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Stress like being in darkness?
Want a true blind test with no additional stress to the listeners? Ask some blind people. They rely completely on their hearing which is exacerbated compared to ours. If there's something to be heard, they will.

Or maybe there's no difference to be heard... Who says there is or must be some difference? What theory ? Seriously, what makes the system resolving ? price ? snake oil ?

... and amps and cables started to take their hands and fell in love with each other ? ... and after some time there were little babies called idio(t)philes. Obviously, if you switch too fast, they don't have enough time to fall in love. QED lol
I don’t think you mean ‘exacerbated’. Regardless, there is no reliable evidence suggesting that blind people actually do have compensatory ‘super senses’. Although Ernest Bramah’s fictional blind detective could read newsprint using his fingertips...
 

welsh

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One that comes up is that the stress of having to make a decision in blind testing causes people to get confused and guess.

And that normal listening doesn't involve this particular type of stress on brain.

Don't shoot - you asked what are some arguments that come up and this is one :)
Audiophools do indeed suffer stress in the unlikely event of submitting to a double-blind test - they are terrified of any result which says that they can’t tell the difference between differently-priced components, cables etc.
 

Cbdb2

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What a waste of time. Find anything that draws a lot of power and run its power cord next to your speaker wire. Do you hear anything? Didnt think so. And what does your amp do when it sees a signal ( the induced one) on its output thats wrong? It corrects it, if it uses feedback anyway. The other waybto look at it: The amps output impedance becomes the load for the interferance and thats where all the power goes, not into your speaker.
 

Lambda

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what does your amp do when it sees a signal ( the induced one) on its output thats wrong? It corrects it, if it uses feedback anyway. The other waybto look at it: The amps output impedance becomes the load for the interferance and thats where all the power goes, not into your speaker.
That's wrong.
Your amp is generally a voltage source. so it makes sure its output = input * gain.
If you now induce a voltage or curren in the wire your speaker sees this voltage or current + what ever the amp is outputting.
 
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