Cable/Fuse Direction Matters?


I've been following several threads and there are several references to this "Phenomenon".

I've just finished some interconnect upgrades and got me wondering whether it happens in cables regardless of connector type

E.g. does it occur more frequently in cables with RCA connectors or equally spread across cables with DIN or XLR?

A similar effect also appears to be true for fuses

So here's my question - is there some dark force out there that seems to alter the laws of physics as we understand them?

OR - is it simply a case that both fuses and interconnects are actually seating better when connected one way as opposed to the other way?

if someone has a logical explanation for this please post it

Thanks
williewonka
You can't switch XLR cables end for end as they are different.
For RCA i have never bothered to test for which way RCA cables should go.
Also Powercables cannot be reversed..
So it boils down to some guru claiming RCA cables have a direction.
Try them See if they do for yourself if it matters to you.
Not to me so I never did bother.
(though I DO make certain both are the same way, if it matters..)
The crystaline structure of any metal, forms into a chevron shape when drawn(as into a wire or strand). ie: >>>>>> It is inferred that the boundaries of these crystals(and their inherent potential copper oxide) will create a sort of diode effect(direction and probably freq dependent) or internal connection impedance/capacitance, to signals passed though the wire. OCC(Ohno Continuous Casting) wire is used in the construction of many high-end cables, in an attempt to(successfully to my ears) mollify this phenomenon. (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/mst/2010/00000026/00000008/art00020) (http://audiosensibility.com/blog/technology/ohno-continuous-casting-occ/)
Rodman99999 - ok, so if there is diode effect - it would effect one half of the signal when connected one way and the other half of the signal when connected the other way.

So would the impact be...

When the cables are connected - if the left cable is altering the top half and the right cable alters the bottom half the overall image would be distorted and the phase of the entire audible output would be shot to hell - resulting in distortion and unfocused sound

Whereas when reversing one of the cables so that only the bottom half (or top half) of both left and right channels would be effected - the resulting audio signal would have
- a near perfect top half
- a slightly distorted bottom half
- but much better phase alignment
- resulting in a significant improvement in sound

Does that sound reasonable?

Personally, I have never experienced this phenom, perhaps because I have always used occ copper in my cables, but I do appreciate that a discernible difference can be detected since so many people have reported it - it's just nice to finally understand a possible reason and what to look for.

However, I cannot see how that same reasoning can be applied to fuses

Do you have any input on that?

Thanks so much for the feedback
However, I cannot see how that same reasoning can be applied to fuses
On my VAC Sig MKIIa pre, I can easily hear the Hifi Tuning Supreme fuse directions. In the wrong direction, it sounds like out of phase. Image is fat, round, no weight ... I confirmed results with several VAC pre owners.

I asked Kevin Hayes and he said in theory, due to the design of the pre, fuse should not make a difference. I try not to think too hard and just trust my ears.
I've never bothered to reverse the many Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, scattered about my system, BUT- I don't doubt that some have discerned a difference. The element/burn wire that most of our 250V miniature(AGC/MDL/etc) fuses contain, must be drawn, like any other electrical wire. If the supposed effects of the afore mentioned internal connection impedance/capacitance should cause what some are hearing, I would not be surprised. I learned long ago; even slight improvements to a component's power supply, can yield large sonic benefits. When you get down to the basics of most gain circuits(especially- the output of a power amp); that's what you are listening to(the power supply). Happy listening!
I've said it before and I'll say it again. All wire is directional and if interconnects and fuse directionality are audible one supposes that somebody somewhere ought to get on the ball and ensure directionality for ALL wire and cable, including transformers, internal wiring of electronics and speakers, etc.
I agree with Knghifi in regards to the Hifi tuning brand fuses...no doubt there is a correct direction for them in all components I have tried. I have not heard those differences when changing direction of standard fuses.
Ok - after giving this some thought here's what I believe might be happening...

Since all wire is directional and as such, has a slight rectification effect...

- In one direction that effect is operating on the bottom side of the AC that is being inverted - this might add to waveform inversion distortions

- in the other direction that effect will be operating on the top side of the AC - so now both the top side and the bottom side will be distorted

It's clear that changing direction effects the waveform of the rectified signal differently which results in degraded sound in one direction and better sound in the other - as to which way is best - all you can do is try it and see what sounds best

I agree with geoffkait - manufacturers should be taking this into account.

Since this effect is not witnessed by everyone might suggest that some designs negate the effect and others do not

I think it is clear that it is probably related to components/cables/fuses and most certainly individuals ears

At least I now have an understanding based on reasoning - that alone takes the guesswork out of problem solving

Thanks to all who participated.

I do trust my ears, but it's nice to understand why :-)
Question WRT directionality in silver cables...

Has anyone witnessed the same directional issues in silver cables?

Does it pertain to copper cables only?

Is the effect more, or less obvious with silver cables?

Thanks
Williwonka wrote,

"08-24-13: Elizabeth
You can't switch XLR cables end for end as they are different.
For RCA i have never bothered to test for which way RCA cables should go.
Also Powercables cannot be reversed..
So it boils down to some guru claiming RCA cables have a direction.
Try them See if they do for yourself if it matters to you.
Not to me so I never did bother.
(though I DO make certain both are the same way, if it matters..)
Elizabeth (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-25-13: Rodman99999
The crystaline structure of any metal, forms into a chevron shape when drawn(as into a wire or strand). ie: >>>>>> It is inferred that the boundaries of these crystals(and their inherent potential copper oxide) will create a sort of diode effect(direction and probably freq dependent) or internal connection impedance/capacitance, to signals passed though the wire. OCC(Ohno Continuous Casting) wire is used in the construction of many high-end cables, in an attempt to(successfully to my ears) mollify this phenomenon. (www.ingentaconnect) (audiosensibility.com)
Rodman99999 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-25-13: Williewonka
Rodman99999 - ok, so if there is diode effect - it would effect one half of the signal when connected one way and the other half of the signal when connected the other way.

So would the impact be...

When the cables are connected - if the left cable is altering the top half and the right cable alters the bottom half the overall image would be distorted and the phase of the entire audible output would be shot to hell - resulting in distortion and unfocused sound

Whereas when reversing one of the cables so that only the bottom half (or top half) of both left and right channels would be effected - the resulting audio signal would have
- a near perfect top half
- a slightly distorted bottom half
- but much better phase alignment
- resulting in a significant improvement in sound

Does that sound reasonable?

Personally, I have never experienced this phenom, perhaps because I have always used occ copper in my cables, but I do appreciate that a discernible difference can be detected since so many people have reported it - it's just nice to finally understand a possible reason and what to look for.

However, I cannot see how that same reasoning can be applied to fuses

Do you have any input on that?

Thanks so much for the feedback
Williewonka (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-25-13: Rodman99999
I've never bothered to reverse the many Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, scattered about my system, BUT- I don't doubt that some have discerned a difference. The element/burn wire that most of our 250V miniature(AGC/MDL/etc) fuses contain, must be drawn, like any other electrical wire. If the supposed effects of the afore mentioned internal connection impedance/capacitance should cause what some are hearing, I would not be surprised. I learned long ago; even slight improvements to a component's power supply, can yield large sonic benefits. When you get down to the basics of most gain circuits(especially- the output of a power amp); that's what you are listening to(the power supply). Happy listening!
Rodman99999 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-25-13: Knghifi
However, I cannot see how that same reasoning can be applied to fuses
On my VAC Sig MKIIa pre, I can easily hear the Hifi Tuning Supreme fuse directions. In the wrong direction, it sounds like out of phase. Image is fat, round, no weight ... I confirmed results with several VAC pre owners.

I asked Kevin Hayes and he said in theory, due to the design of the pre, fuse should not make a difference. I try not to think too hard and just trust my ears.
Knghifi (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-25-13: Geoffkait
I've said it before and I'll say it again. All wire is directional and if interconnects and fuse directionality are audible one supposes that somebody somewhere ought to get on the ball and ensure directionality for ALL wire and cable, including transformers, internal wiring of electronics and speakers, etc.
Geoffkait (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-26-13: Bigshutterbug
I agree with Knghifi in regards to the Hifi tuning brand fuses...no doubt there is a correct direction for them in all components I have tried. I have not heard those differences when changing direction of standard fuses.
Bigshutterbug (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-26-13: Williewonka
Ok - after giving this some thought here's what I believe might be happening...

Since all wire is directional and as such, has a slight rectification effect...

- In one direction that effect is operating on the bottom side of the AC that is being inverted - this might add to waveform inversion distortions

- in the other direction that effect will be operating on the top side of the AC - so now both the top side and the bottom side will be distorted

It's clear that changing direction effects the waveform of the rectified signal differently which results in degraded sound in one direction and better sound in the other - as to which way is best - all you can do is try it and see what sounds best

I agree with geoffkait - manufacturers should be taking this into account.

Since this effect is not witnessed by everyone might suggest that some designs negate the effect and others do not

I think it is clear that it is probably related to components/cables/fuses and most certainly individuals ears

At least I now have an understanding based on reasoning - that alone takes the guesswork out of problem solving

Thanks to all who participated.

I do trust my ears, but it's nice to understand why :-)
Williewonka (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-26-13: Williewonka
Question WRT directionality in silver cables...

Has anyone witnessed the same directional issues in silver cables?

Does it pertain to copper cables only?

Is the effect more, or less obvious with silver cables?"

I suspect a solid clue to the answer is that those cable manufacturers who track the direction of the conductor as it comes off the spool and who label the direction of the cables with arrows label the direction for both copper and silver cables. Silver and copper are both crystal structures. As to whether anyone is aware of silver directionality moreso than copper I suspect it depends on what one is listening for, the resolution of the system involved, and whether the cable has been burned in fully.
Thanks Geoff - I guess I'm wondering if the better conductivity of silver reduces the effect of this phenomenon to a point where it's undetectable.

Regards...
Very good job, Geoff!! Thanks :)
Williwonka - Wouldn't silver's (slightly higher) conductivity actually increase the detectability of directionality rather than reduce it? Answer at 11.

Sidebar: Isochronism: thanks :-)
Geoff - My thinking is - higher conductivity is a result of lower resistance - which I think would result in a lower rectification effect - but that's just my thinking - I might be wrong.

I can see where you are coming from though - you might be right

Thanks
Williwonka, kinda gets a little complicated and difficult to say what's going on, you know, what with burning in cables, cryoing cables, isolating cables, burning in components, cryoing components, directionality of wires and fuses. I like to sort of lob one up there and hope for the best. What else can you do?

"Big things start with small beginnings." - Lawrence of Arabia
Silver cable is also directional - A friend just told me his left channel cable got reversed in a recent move and he noticed something didn't sound quite right - restoring it to the correct direction restored the sound to it's previous quality

And his sanity :-)
Williewonka,

Food for thought.

How does music "move" down a wire?
Kencalgary
01-17-11
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?htech&1295324474&

01-18-11: Elizabeth
Think of it like a wave.
If you threw a rock into a pond, the splash makes waves. The water is only moving up and down as the wave passes bye, only a little water is moved horizontally when the stone hits, the 'wave' is the motion transmitted without the water going anywhere.
Similar thing with electrical waves in a wire. The current in a music signal is a form of alternating current(a wave movement, where Direct Current is like a straight line movement), so the electrons pretty much stay in the same place in alternating current. Just the waveform moves down the wire.
The waveforms can be extremely complex. So if the music of an orchestra is being transmitted, the wave form of the sound of each instrument is added together and all of them, together, are travelling in a very complex wave through the wires to where they are going.
Electrical current in a wire is a complex phenomonon. The frequency of the waveform determines how the wave travels. The higher the frquency, the more the wave stays on the top surfaces of the wire. (each strand if multi-stranded) So the wave passes down the wire mostly on the surface, with varying degrees of penetration into the wire depending on the frequency. So wire can make a difference in how well the signal (the waveform) travels without getting messed up. The electrical energy also generates a field around the wire, and that field can affect, or be affected by it's surroundings. So good insulation on the wire also helps the waveform to reman intact.
Badly made wires can distort the waveform by slowing down some frequencies of the waveform slightly, and insulation can also affect the waveform. because as the waveform passes, it is affected by the insulation, and also the surface of the wire. (if the wire is dirty, or corroded, or is not pure, it interferes with the signal too)
All of those 'errors' in the transfer of the signal down the wire as a waveform are extremely tiny, so some folks say wire is wire, and other sayy different wires change the way the music sounds, because the wires affect the wavefoms a tiny (but significant bit)
Hope this helps.
Elizabeth (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-18-11: Elizabeth
Added: the wave of different frequencies moves down the wire at the same speed. just the waveform of each frequency is a different shape, added together and constantly changing shape of waves as the multiple parts have different fequencies in the waveform. But the signal all gets to the end of the wire at basically the same time.
(only the tiny effect of the depth of the frequency of the wave into the wire affects the parts a very very tiny bit)
I tried to both explain what is happening in simple terms, and satisfy the demands of the others who will read this and protest various shortcomings in my explaination.
The science of waves/wires/electrons/music.. is very simple AND complicated at the same time. But the simple fact that we can enjoy the music is really great.
Elizabeth (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?htech&1295324474&
.
Jea48 - thanks for this post - it's a very nice simplification of a very complex topic.

Wires - who wudda thunk they could be sooooo complicated :-)