directional cables?

My IC cables are directional, with arrows pointing the way they should be hooked-up. Q: Should they run with the arrows pointing to my cd player, or to my integrated amp? Thanks.

Showing 13 responses by jea48

One of many posts of the late Bob Crump on the subject of wire directionality.

Bill Lowe of AudioQuest is another that says solid core wire is directional. Lowe was saying it back in the 1990s....

I assume you are still using the older Cardas ics.... The arrows point away from the source.


Cable Directionality
Q.) I just purchased a 1 meter pair of Neutral Reference interconnects. The instructions say to align the arrows away from the source. I don't see arrow markings on the jacket of this interconnect! Please explain. -Les

A.) The break in guide you have was produced before George designed the Reference line of cables. These cables are non directional, so it doesn't matter which way they are connected. Even though there is no audible difference, I usually recommend that customers hook up the cables so that the signal flows the same direction as the printing. - Brian

Even though there is no audible difference, I usually recommend that customers hook up the cables so that the signal flows the same direction as the printing. - Brian
Why do you suppose that is? Could it be the way the wire conductor came off the spool?

I suggest you try the ics both ways. just make sure the direction of both cables is the same, arrows or printing...
Deep and long....
I ran across this white paper about a year ago. It may be of interest to you EEs and such.
.... The arrows point in the direction the signal is flowing. If there are no arrows the writing on the cable follows the direction of the signal.
05-20-10: Rrog

You can't just throw out a blanket statement like that.

Older Nordost Blue Heaven ic cables, the arrows pointed to the source.

If memory serves me right an early ic cable of Ray Kimber's made for the CDP to preamp, the arrows pointed to the source.


Cable directionality.....

Here is what Audioquest was saying in the 90s.

Fact: All cables are directional, from hardware store electrical cable to the finest pure silver cables. Some cables should be used with the writing going in the same direction as the music (toward the speakers), some should be used in the opposite direction. If you are missing the instructions as to which way to orient your cables, check with your dealer (Audioquest puts instructions on every spool of cable). If necessary you can determine which direction is best yourself, simply listen to the cables in one direction and then the other. The difference will be clear, in the correct direction the music is more relaxed, pleasant and believable. While cable directionality is not fully understood, it is clear that the molecular structure of drawn metal is unsymmetrical, which does provide a physical explanation for the existence of directionality.


Here is the instruction from a box for the Lapis cables.

It is important to use Lapis cable in the direction that sounds best in your system. This will almost always be with the plug with a single printed band (plus the plastic band) at the sending end and the plug with the double printed band (plus the plastic band) at the receiving end. For example, the single printed (#1) end at the CD player and the double printed (#2) at the preamp.

With some equipment the cable will sound better with the ends reversed. This is unusual, but does happen mostly with the cable plugged into the power amp. If the performance is irritating or prone to noise pick-up you probably need to turn the cable around.

Please take the time to listen both ways for yourself so that you will be sure you are getting the most performance out of your system.
Ah. I didn't know users could edit or delete their posts.
05-21-10: Simply_q

You sure can.... You only need to log in..... Then at the bottom of your post you are given the option to edit or delete the post.

Just click on (edit my post)

Now you can only edit your post until someone else posts a response....

Or after so many posts have been posted to the thread.... I believe 50, can't remember for sure.

So for a typical AC current in a typical lamp cord, the electrons don't actually "flow," instead they vibrate back and forth by about a hundred-thousandth of an inch.

Does the charge alternate back and forth? Is the charge current?

If a scope is connected across a 120Vac 60Hz difference of potential we see a sine wave. Exactly what are we looking at? (I realize the scope is looking at the 120Vac 60Hz source but can we see the scope as a connected load by 2 wires for discussion purposes.)

For one cycle:
We see two halves of a cycle? Starting at zero swinging positive then back to zero then swinging negitive back to zero.
One positive wave form followed by one negitive wave form.
Or visa versa.
The ampere (symbol: A) is the SI unit of electric current[1] and is one of the seven[2] SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836), French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics. In practice, its name is often shortened to amp.

In practical terms, the ampere is a measure of the amount of electric charge passing a point per unit time. Around 6.241 × 1018 electrons passing a given point each second constitutes one ampere.[3]

If you want to describe this wiggling about, this vibration of electrons, this back and forth motion as flow then go right ahead. You are probably the only one doing so but why should it matter to me. The real flow that should be discussed is the flow of that wave.
05-23-10: Herman

No Simply_q is not the only one... More than likely all the Electricians and Linemen around the world call it current flow. ANSI, IEEE, NEC, UL, CSA, call it current flow.

Fuses are rated in amps.
Motor data plates give the FLA (Full Load Amps) of a motor.
Clamp an Amprobe around a current carrying conductor, it measures the flow of AC current in amps...

Whoever started using the term alternating current to describe what we are talking about was an idiot. The only thing that is really important here is the movement of the electromagnetic wave from source to load.
05-23-10: Herman
And from the load back to the source. A closed circuit, current flow...

Ohms Law... E = I x R.... If we know E and we know R then we can find I. I? How much current is flowing in a closed circuit.
The movement of the EM wave is not current. The energy in the wave is absorbed by the load and converted into some other form of energy such as heat or light or if the load is an antenna it is radiated off into space. It does not flow back to the source.
05-24-10: Herman


Have you heard the saying,.... current flow, amps, is the same in all parts of a series circuit.

If there is no current flow why does the flash light battery go dead if the switch is left on?
Current will flow through the filament of the bulb until all the power of the battery is exhausted.

Teaching for ten years.... Where?

Did you even take the time to read the Link I provided in my last post? It deals with AC generation and current flow. Basic yes....
But I believe it gets the point across. There is an alternating flow of current in an AC circuit.
Jea, yes, the charge is vibrating back and forth with the electrons.

Charge is not current. Electric current is the movement of charge......
05-26-10: Herman

Does the charge change state as it vibrates back and forth?
+ - + - and so forth?

I assume if the frequency is 60 Hz the charge changes state 120 times per second, one cycle.
Base line 0 + 0 - 0, one cycle.

If electric current is the movement of charge what is wrong with using the word current in place of the word charge?

With the load consuming power from the supplying alternating voltage source explain the process movement of current to the load.
So it isn't + 0 - 0 + 0 - as in the charges are changing polarity it is L 0 R 0 L 0 as in the negative charges are vibrating left and right around a zero point.
05-26-10: Herman
So if I understand you correctly even though the generator is putting out alternating voltage, where the voltage changes polarity, all a connected load sees is pulses.
L 0 R 0 L 0 as in the negative charges are vibrating left and right around a zero point.

Why does the scope show a sine wave with a positive amplitude and a negitive amplitude with a peak to peak voltage or RMS voltage?

I am apparently missing something here.....
With the load consuming power from the supplying alternating voltage source explain the process movement of current to the load.

It seems I misspoke and used the word "to" instead of "through". As we both know current is the same in all parts of a series circuit.

As for the use of the word "power" being consumed instead of "energy",... Well in my mind I guess they were the same.
In my defense on the back of a lot of equipment one sees power consumption of so many VA or watts. I have not seen energy consumption best that I can remember. On audio equipment anyway.


Here is some reading material for you to read:


Who is Herman?

Posted: « Reply #37 on: 31 Dec 2013, 08:53 pm »

Who am I? I received my first real electronics training in the army about 30 years ago. After that I taught electronics at the Associate degree level for about 10 years. I have an AAS degree in electronics and bachelors in Math and Science. I an not an EE.

If any of you care to read the posted links above with an open mind you will see what the truth is. And no; I will not be drug into another pointless debate by people who insist that current is the flow of electrons just like water flows. I will leave you with a few key ideas that commonly misunderstood. You can easily research this for yourself and see it is true.

In audio we are talking about the transfer of energy in the form of an electromagnetic wave.

Electrons and wires are not needed to transfer this energy. For example, the waves will radiate in free space or down a waveguide.

Current is the flow of charge, not electrons; however it is not needed to transfer the energy therefore the current (flow of charge) in the wire is an effect, not a cause.

At low frequencies like audio it is easier to construct a system where the energy follows a wire more easily than through space or a waveguide because the wavelength is so long and the waveguide or antenna would need to be humongous.

The water flow analogy is fatally flawed, it cannot explain everything that is happening with AC or DC.

Current flow is a misnomer with AC and causes great confusion since the charges are not really flowing. The periodic motion of the charge is not a flow in the conventional sense of the word. This is the only use of the word flow I have ever seen that describes periodic motion. For instance, pendulums do not flow. This basic misconception was the cause of much of the Audiogon debacle. Somebody was insisting that electrons vibrating about a fixed point could be described as current flow.

Take form it what you will. Hopefully you can think about it with an open mind and see the simplistic view offered in beginner classes is not adequate to explain many things.