Marvey's Cable Rolling Adventures

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Marvey, May 7, 2016.

  1. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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  2. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Here is a series of 'tweaks' that can be applied to any (well nearly any) cable to enhance and improve its beneficial impact on the SQ of your system.
    From speaker cables, to ac power cables, SE and Balanced IC's, USB, coax cables, and more and all of those that I have cooked have been improved.
    Yeah big words and a 'mighty' boast of sorts.
    But these 2 tweaks have never failed to make a significant improvement.

    Get your cables cryo treated.
    At least once, although I have heard that 2 or 3 treatments back to back are even better with 2 being the most for the least.

    It'll cost ≈ $150 (or less, including shipping) for 9lbs of cables to be cryo treated once.

    2nd is to cook the cables on a suitable cable cooker.
    This is a more involved and expensive treatment.
    There are even CD's you can buy to simulate this cooking process, but I kinda doubt they would do as good of a job as the specialty built cookers.
    Which are expensive (hundreds to a 1K$±).

    And they are kinda of a PIA in that about once every year you do have to re-cook the cables to bring them back into their 'sweet spot'.

    But it is so worth it.

    And I have repeatedly found that both of these treatments are eyeopeners in any and every sense of the term.
    Especially when used together.

    These are the pixie dust applicators, the magic behind the curtain of why my $40 ac power cables are still one of my reference cables,
    even to today.

    I'll stop here, but know there is more to it than this brief description.

    JJ
     
  3. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    @johnjen

    I don't think I will cryogen my $17.75 xlr cables anytime soon and the thought of having to visit cryogenic clinic once a year for $150.

    But it's a interesting idea, maybe I should try to freeze my old XLR cable in my freezer set to lowest temperature and see if it helps? hehe just joking. ;)

    I think johnjen is referring to those guys with end game mega bucks systems to try out cyrogen. $150 should saved on dac upgrade for most regular folks.
     
  4. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    I know there is the famous line - "don't knock it till you try it", but this is wacky fringe stuff. I know a lot of tweaks and cables don't have science behind it, but what physical properties could possible change, and need maintence treatments yearly? "So worth it" is certainly a frame of reference, I hope people here arent saving up to send their cables out, save up for better amp / dac / headphones / speakers.
     
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  5. Serious

    Serious Friend

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    FWIW the Cat. 5 cable I tried was very bright and sharp sounding when I did some cable comparos two weeks ago. Maybe I have to try a different one. That's using it as an RCA cable, but I thought it was similar as a speaker cable. I ended up going for a 4 conductor solid core cable (also copper). Much thicker wires than the Cat 5. Think it was Teflon insulation. It still has some treble issues, but I felt it otherwise exceeded an AQ Tower cable that I liked.

    BTW: Everyone should spend some time comparing cables. I found it really makes a much bigger difference than I expected.
     
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  6. Xecuter

    Xecuter Friend

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    To me this is the sort of stuff that crosses the line. It is actually damaging to our community in several ways.
    Cryogenic treatment and burning cables will stay in my audiophoolery book.
    Don't get me wrong I am willing to discuss the pros and cons of anything but this is really snake oil at its finest.
     
  7. AMW1011

    AMW1011 Friend

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  8. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Well, even if it is, at least you will be getting rid of at least three feet of that crap.
     
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  9. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    Speaking of "tweaks", I just fell off my chair reading this:
    http://www.stereophile.com/content/quantum-temple-bell

    This bell makes Lessloss blackbody conditioner looks sane.

    Quick someone need to sacrifice the o2amp to the nwavgod. the objective peeps are very pissed.
     
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  10. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Speaking as a metallurgist. I want to strangle these people... with their cables. But hey, let's decipher some of the crapola:

    >>Mono Crystal Silver sounds like a made up word.

    All metals have a grain structure. Imagine a squished ball of rice. When you look at metals under a microscope, that's actually what you will see (provided you prepare the metal surface with polishes and acid etchants beforehand). Sometimes these grains are called crystals, because that sounds fancier. Also, "crystallization" is the a term used when the metal solidifies out of liquid state (or sometimes from a gaseous one).

    Mono crystal is just one crystal. A metal piece will have a bajillion mono crystals all smooshed up like the aforementioned rice ball. In theory you could actually get very long crystals several magnitudes larger than normal ones. You might hear words like "long grain" or "directionally solidified" here. An "actual" mono crystal would be a single grain that through very careful manufacturing they've managed to grow (from the liquid state) so that your entire wire or whatever is actually just one giant single grain of rice rather than a ball of small grains smooshed together.

    >>I mean what the hell is "SAOF-8N 99.999999% inline polished conductors that use Liquid-film™ dielectric"?

    I think SAOF is just an internal naming scheme

    8N refers to how many digits of "purity" the metal has (ie: it has eight 9's in the purity), although coming from over a decade of chemical/metallurgical analysis, it's really a croc. An academic croc.

    "inline polished conductors" means they polished the surface, probably an electro-chemical bath after the wire formation, although I could see there being a potential mechanical/vibrational polishing bath step.

    "liquid film dielectric" means there's a coating on it. Your cheapo enameled magnet wire from the hobby shop is coated in a dielectric. If this dielectric was applied as a liquid and dried into a solid, hey now you can call it a liquid-film yadda yadda.

    >>Kapton and PEEK as dielectiric

    That's just the name of two kinds of plastic/polymer/etc

    >>98 Articulation Poles

    Ugh, I don't even want to touch this one
     
  11. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    So if I wanted to cryotreat say... 900ft of cable, how much would that cost me?
     
  12. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Sorry I wasn't clear enough on the differences between the Cryo and the Cooking.
    The Cryo treatment is a do it once sorta thing while the cooking is a yearly task.


    As far as I can tell no one knows why this process makes any audible difference.
    They do sorta know what it does though.

    In the process of slowly (over 8hrs or so) lowering the temperature down to that of liguid nitrogen (or somewhere in that vicinity) and then holding it there for several hours, then slowly raising it back up, the theory goes that all materials tend to fall into their densist state, and stay there after warming back up, especially metals.

    During this process the effects that impurities have are minimized and the lattice structure of the material is aligned to a greater degree.
    And the surface(s) can become 'smoother'.
    It is primarily used as an industrial process to gain more life and performance out of the treated parts.
    Cryo treating any metal makes it stronger and harder and will maintain a cutting edge far longer etc.

    The trick we have is figuring out how this equates to 'Better' SQ.

    This "wacky fringe stuff" has been around for many years now and those who have tried it, don't knock it.
    http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/products/audiodharma-cable-cooker-cable-conditioner/#tabs-12-0-5
    If you'd like to send me a cable or several of your own to try, I'd be more than happy to accommodate cooking your cables for you.

    So why does cooking cables makes any difference…?
    The process involves sending relatively high current down the cables for a prolonged period (days), using swept frequencies of square waves.

    As for my theory as to why this makes any difference, I figure it has to do with 'conditioning' both the conductor and the dielectric materials at the same time.
    And I figure this conditioning 'scrambles' or resets the dielectric properties so that there is no fixed response to the signals being sent down the cables as well as helping to break-in the conductors with signals that mimic the musical signals (sort of) but with stronger amounts of current being fed thru them than they would normally handle.

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
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  13. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    The places I have used charge by the pound, and they have some size limitations as well, since the cryo treatment machine is kinda like a deep freezer of various sizes.

    Some of them can cryo entire engine blocks, or musical instruments etc.

    JJ
     
  14. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    This is my true account:

    About a year ago or less, I bought a pretty fancy 6N copper Japanese audiophile digital AES XLR cable from my local hifi shop. Cost USD$300. The store guy told me that the cable has been sitting in his store for months, he specifically warned me that the cable will sound "bad" when first plugged in and it will require weeks or more to sound right, he said he will offer me 1 month free no question asked refund if I didn't like the cable.

    And yes, when I first plug in the cable to digitally link my Mutec MC3+USB to Yggdrasil, the cable sounded absolutely horrible. Think of the warmest fag shit you can think of, with zero high frequency and a dull bass. I thought I was sold a dud or something.

    So I left my audio system running with music playback 24/7 while I went to work and back. The cable got progressively better as time goes by. It settle down to optimal state after about a few hundred hours(think 200hours). Now it's neck and neck between this AES cable and lifatec optical cable for top sound quality, defeating both BNC and COAX/RCA. Just to note, the lifatec toslink cable sounded excellent when new out of the box without any burn-in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
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  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    When you lower to cryo temperatures, a few things may happen. The main ones being:

    1) phase change - not a solid/liquid change, we're talking purely solid phase changes (meaning changes in crystal structure aka atomic arrangement). You can somewhat lump density changes in here too, though one does not necessarily indicate the other.

    2) precipitation - stuff that's "in" the alloy may come out. Think of it like dissolved sugar in water; "hot" water can hold a greater amount of sugar. When the water cools, it might be able to hold the sugar in suspension but likely you'll also get some precipitating out. Regarding the metal, you might get some alloying elements or impurities coming out, or forming their own micro structures suspended within the bulk matrix. Also note that precipitating stuff out of the matrix is not always a desirable thing; maybe it was supposed to be in there in the first place, or it was "less bad" when held within the bulk.

    2b) If we dive into more abstract metallurgical stuff, it is also possible to precipitate out residual stresses in the metal. The actual mechanisms for this is deeper than I want to get into at this moment and there are a couple different ways it could go, but the general result is a slight change and relaxation of the grain structure and grain boundaries. That does not however necessarily mean an "improvement" in electrical properties. Reducing residual stresses might also potentially create *more* grains than before, which goes opposite to the current trendy buzzwords.


    Can cryo treatments improve wear/fatigue/life/performance of mechanical parts? Yes. Does it always? No.

    Can cryo treatments make metals stronger? No
    Can cryo treatments make metals harder? Yes. Does it always? No.
     
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  16. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Good to know! :)

    Edit:
    So Cryo can make some metals harder but not stronger.
    That explains why there is such widespread usage for treating cutting bits and drills etc.

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  17. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

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    Here's a good sized collection of links to ABX testing for those that want to have tea with The Mad Hatter.

    https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,82777.0.html

    I myself am cable-agnostic, I believe in slightly oversized copper cables of good quality. Anything else than that might, or might not, improve synergy but "better" is a dangerous word.

    I would also say that these are things which might have an effect on sound:

    1) Make sure all your power cables are well shielded and route them away from signal cables, speaker cables and electronic equipment.
    2) Make sure your wall outlet has a good ground, bad ground is a common source for ground hum. You can get an electrician to improve it.
    3) Make sure all your audio gear has a dedicated outlet, even better is a dedicated circuit straight from the main breaker panel.
    4) Don't have any switching power supplies near your audio gear, that includes light dimmers, power saving light bulbs, fluorescent lights, 5v phone chargers, laptop chargers and monitor psu's.
    5) Don't have your wifi-router in the same room as your hifi-gear. Saturating your hi-fi electronics in high-power 2.4 or 5 GHz radiation may do weird things to it.
    6) If you're using USB one of those Wyrd things actually isn't a bad idea. Should hopefully keep computer psu ripple out of your DAC.
    7) Clean your connectors and speaker terminals. Many times "improvements" that come after "upgrading" cables was just dirty terminals to start with.

    Now - the things above may or may not yield audible improvements, I promise nothing.

    I also liked this reporters take on cables: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolo...es-are-expensive-cables-a-waste-of-money.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  18. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    There are theoretical mechanisms by which cryoing could improve the performance of cables, as I've been explained on an occasion:

    "Cryo-treating metals has a definite effect on their internal structure. You can actually SEE the changes in crystal/boundary structure under an electron microscope [...]. Every boundary in the internal make up of a cable has similar properties to the connections in an electrical cable [...] in that they can result in signal reflections in the cable. Now those boundaries are very very small, so the reflections are similarly tiny (compared to the huge boundary you find with an RCA connector) and the effects are going to be small. But ... making the crystals LARGER reduces the number of boundaries and reduces this effect so, in theory, you should get a cleaner signal.

    Whether that is audible at all [is unclear]. It's not possible to directly A/B a cryo-treated cable with itself since the process takes hours. There's certainly a reasonable theory as to HOW it could make a difference. And such treatment very definitely, and measurably, affects the strength of metals."

    My understanding of all this is that cryoing may help insofar it reduces the analogue noise caused by the voltages going through the cables (this affects both analogue cables as well as digital ones, for the simple reason that electrical digital transmissions are themselves analogue processes which might ultimately affect the analogue stage of the DAC). Cleaning up connectors of cables (e.g. with Deoxit) reduces analogue frictions, in turn generating less noise when the signal is passing; by reducing the analogue frictions at a microscopic level, conceptually similar gains can be made. In other words, such treatments maximize the surface of contact in cables, thus minimizing the points of (broken) contact and hence the myriad reflections on the cable, thus theoretically yielding an improved cable performance.

    Whether these theoretical benefits have an impact on perceived sonic performance, in practice, is a question that can only be answered by direct experience and comparison... But if one has interest in potential mechanisms---however unlikely, depending on your philosophical bend---they're there.
     
  19. uncola

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  20. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    I used solid-core silver, unshielded RCA interconnects from my old source to my integrated for a few days and it was one of the most miserable audio experiences I've ever had. It made acoustic guitar music literally cringe-worthy and not just at loud volumes either. Gunshots in movies made me turn the volume down out of self-preservation.

    Switching the RCAs to a pair of copper, shielded Blue Jeans LC-1 was a relief in all possible ways at all possible volumes. I don't care whether the problem was with the silver or the lack of shield, but I'll never use an interconnect with either of those properties again on my system. Differences between LC-1 and the couple Cardas interconnects I tried (Golden Cross and Golden Reference) were more subtle, but I kept the latter for my main system.

    To a lesser extent, I had a similar experience using solid-core silver speaker cables and jumpers with my Maggies on the same system. I've since switched to Cardas GR there as well. Crazily enough, I did hear a difference in the treble switching from silver to copper jumpers after using the Cardas speaker cables with my silver jumpers together for over six months. Similar effect in the treble as switching out my Valhalla 2 for my Torpedo III (seemingly less airy, but more refined and less fatiguing at the same time). Thus completed my quest to remove all silver cable within my control from my system.

    I encourage people to check out local dealers for old stock or returns to demo. Most dealers have cables lying around from customer trade-ins and/or prior office moves. If you use the lending library from Cable Company, I think you have to pay a percentage of the cable's price, but a dealer will likely just require a card number in case you don't return them. If you like the cables more than what you're using, you can usually get great deals too (e.g., around 25-33% of retail, especially if you're buying an older line/revision). My dealer also gave me over a month to demo, so I didn't feel the pressure of a two-minute A/B in the shop with someone telling me what I was/not hearing and could compare after using a set for days/weeks on my own system in my own space.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
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