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Enclosure material and its effects on sound

Malus

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I have come across some discussions about the enclosure material of electronic devices like DACs affecting the sound quality. I am not talking about loudspeakers, which are obviously affected by the enclosure material, but electronic components like DACs, amps, etc. Some companies even offer DACs in ceramic enclosure.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.

Extract from an answer I got from a gentlemen correcting me on the issue:

The enclosures of audio devices, even such as an amplifier or DAC, also affect the character of the sound. For example, a case made of thin metal gives a ringing metallic overtone. But it is noticeable in high-level systems. You can see an example in HI-End systems when aluminum, wooden or hybrid cases are used.
 

Katji

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That quote: ...to say nonsense would be an understatement. ...If I were king, he would be on his way to a re-education centre already.
 
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Malus

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That quote: ...to say nonsense would be an understatement. ...If I were king, he would be on his way to a re-education centre already.
That's what I think too, but I wondered if I missed something :)
 

iMickey503

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IF you have a Tube DAC. Yes. But that's the nature of Tubes. But that's just an isolation problem. any kind of resonance in the material will/might/can be transferred. And different materials have their different resonance frequencies.

Steel , aluminum, titanium, Glass, Gold, Wood, etc. As long as the parts even in solid state are isolated from vibration not much of an issue.

I was really lucky to talk to a car stereo engineer for Pioneer and asked why the higher-end head units had copper on the inside of them versus all the other ones that are just steel. there are real benefits for materials used in audio gear but as far as making the case sound different due to the material used to build it is a bunch of hogwash for saying it will have a different sound signature if place in the exact same conditions that one would use in a home.

Yamaha has some fantastic articles about materials research affecting sound of their products ranging from instruments to engines.
As well as NavSea (concerning the construction of the amplifiers used for the sonar arrays)

the bottom line is as long as you take care of NV(H) & EMI, Its not really a consideration by any engineer that I have spoke to that will effect sound in any measurable way unless the circuits used are somehow coupling with the chassis.

a good example of this is vibration of a transformer inside of a amplifier as they do hum at 50/60 Hz mains power, but become quite audible if you give it a modified sine wave.

I read this a while ago.

1642087593963.png


And.
1642087707543.png




Other threads on the topic discussing a preamp build:


These are about construction of the axle parts inside the amplifier but again no actual reference to the actual case as far as I can tell


different metals and their shielding properties


Theory of why some people think that the case matters, and probably where that person got the notion of the outside case material being significant to the device's performance



Sony for example used copper in one of their Home units on the inside of the chassis. But the outside of it is still steel or TIN.
I can't find any specifics on this.
TA-ER11.jpg



I've been looking around for the last 40 minutes and I haven't found any articles which even point to the case material actually affecting the Sonic signature to the point of being audible as long as it meets the primary factor of not interacting with the case Electronics.
 
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Malus

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Thanks for the thorough response.

I thought as much for tubes. They can be microphonic and I would imagine that ambient sound could make it's way back in the signal. I have experienced this more than one with guitar tube amplifiers and I don't see why it would not be possible with DACs or preamps. Maybe that's where this comes from, a generalization of that phenomenon to everything audio.

Other than that, it would be a case of bad shielding and even then, it would not cause such unpredictable influences on such subtle things as tone or character of the sound. It would just introduce noise.
 

Katji

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I was really lucky to talk to a car stereo engineer for Pioneer and asked why the higher-end head units had copper on the inside of them versus all the other ones that are just steel. there are real benefits for materials used in audio gear but as far as making the case sound different due to the material used to build it is a bunch of hogwash for saying it will have a different sound signature if place in the exact same conditions that one would use in a home.
Pioneer did it with some high-end/special edition amplifiers, but [yes] inside, plating, not the actual case/housing. AFAIK to do with elec. shielding. ...I wouldn't relate it to what [that nutcase] said. It's not what he's saying.
 
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Malus

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In case you are interested in a ceramic enclosure Bluetooth receiver. It's esthetically nice, but that it...

 

Katji

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Virus Audio Designs? Virus? Are they taking the piss? ...Who in their right mind would buy something from them? ...Oh wait, audiophiles......? - Maybe. Even so.
 
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Malus

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It gets wierd:

The sound of audio devices is influenced by many factors, to a greater or lesser extent. The main ones are the choice of the circuit, the correct layout of the printed circuit board, the selection of parts. After fulfilling these basic conditions, you can proceed to the following: choosing the material of the printed circuit board, its coating, the material and coating of the tracks, choosing the type of internal wiring and working with internal resonances of materials, etc.
It is not difficult for a manufacturer to check the influence of different factors, since several identical devices are made at the same time, and in one of them the factors are gradually changing, and then all this is listened to. It is difficult for the average consumer to do this. It can change external factors such as audio wires, vibration decoupling, stands, etc.
In my devices I do this:
-- When soldering, only Cardas solder is used. In other words, the entire device is soldered with such solder. There were a lot of experiments with solders, I settled on this one, but not because it is the best in the world, but it most of all approached my concept in terms of sound.
- The PCB is handmade from vintage getinaks, not industrially made from fiberglass. I did numerous experiments and settled on this material. It would be easier and cheaper for me to order boards in China, but if I set the bar to maximize the sound quality, then, in my opinion, it should be done that way. The material of the printed circuit board, oddly enough, also brings its influence to the final sound.
- The printed circuit board is not covered with a protective mask and other inorganic dyes.
- PCB tracks are polished with special inactive polishes (3 grain sizes), manually.
- The printed circuit board has minimal dimensions and combined mounting is used for the shortest possible signal passage: output, surface, hinged, point to point. Such installation is not technologically advanced, and requires a lot of time and a special sequence of actions.
- High-quality, branded, matched by ear details. Here, too, a large number of experiments were carried out. In my opinion, there are no better parts, and they need to be selected for each device separately. They, so to speak, set the "character of the sound".
- The choice of connectors is determined, again, by the concept - high-quality material, the minimum amount of metal in them, the shortest possible signal path.
- Programming the bluetooth microcircuit according to the given technical specification - unnecessary functions are turned off, etc.
It is not profitable to do all this in mass-produced products, but with manual production, for sound quality, this can and should be done.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Sounds like there could be a market for some enterprising individual to sell quantum rectifiers to counteract the way strings vibrate in 11 dimensions and dramatically affect sound.
 

audio2design

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It gets wierd:

The sound of audio devices is influenced by many factors, to a greater or lesser extent. The main ones are the choice of the circuit, the correct layout of the printed circuit board, the selection of parts. After fulfilling these basic conditions, you can proceed to the following: choosing the material of the printed circuit board, its coating, the material and coating of the tracks, choosing the type of internal wiring and working with internal resonances of materials, etc.
It is not difficult for a manufacturer to check the influence of different factors, since several identical devices are made at the same time, and in one of them the factors are gradually changing, and then all this is listened to. It is difficult for the average consumer to do this. It can change external factors such as audio wires, vibration decoupling, stands, etc.
In my devices I do this:
-- When soldering, only Cardas solder is used. In other words, the entire device is soldered with such solder. There were a lot of experiments with solders, I settled on this one, but not because it is the best in the world, but it most of all approached my concept in terms of sound.
- The PCB is handmade from vintage getinaks, not industrially made from fiberglass. I did numerous experiments and settled on this material. It would be easier and cheaper for me to order boards in China, but if I set the bar to maximize the sound quality, then, in my opinion, it should be done that way. The material of the printed circuit board, oddly enough, also brings its influence to the final sound.
- The printed circuit board is not covered with a protective mask and other inorganic dyes.
- PCB tracks are polished with special inactive polishes (3 grain sizes), manually.
- The printed circuit board has minimal dimensions and combined mounting is used for the shortest possible signal passage: output, surface, hinged, point to point. Such installation is not technologically advanced, and requires a lot of time and a special sequence of actions.
- High-quality, branded, matched by ear details. Here, too, a large number of experiments were carried out. In my opinion, there are no better parts, and they need to be selected for each device separately. They, so to speak, set the "character of the sound".
- The choice of connectors is determined, again, by the concept - high-quality material, the minimum amount of metal in them, the shortest possible signal path.
- Programming the bluetooth microcircuit according to the given technical specification - unnecessary functions are turned off, etc.
It is not profitable to do all this in mass-produced products, but with manual production, for sound quality, this can and should be done.

Parody? Right?
 

audio2design

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I have come across some discussions about the enclosure material of electronic devices like DACs affecting the sound quality. I am not talking about loudspeakers, which are obviously affected by the enclosure material, but electronic components like DACs, amps, etc. Some companies even offer DACs in ceramic enclosure.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.

Extract from an answer I got from a gentlemen correcting me on the issue:

I have seen inexperienced engineers not consider the inductive coupling from magnetics to steel cases, which of course varies based on how closed the path is of the magnetics. Ditto I have seen a magnetic field couple into an overly sensitive circuit node (bad design) in an aluminum cased products.

w.r.t. a thin metallic case giving a tinny overtone, with the exception of tube microphonics, which is still dicey, this is just crazy talk, sort of like copper warm, silver bright. If someone comes up with a green conductive metal, I wonder how that would sound? I can almost hear the sounds of audiophile heads exploding.
 
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