Directionality Explained

I have read it argued against by those who think they know
Here is proof
Paul Speltz Founder of ANTICABLES shares his thoughts about wire directionality. Dear Fellow Audiophiles, As an electronic engineer, I struggled years ago with the idea of wire being directional because it did not fit into any of the electrical models I had learned. It simply did not make sense to me that an alternating music signal should favor a direction in a conductor. One of the great things about our audio hobby is that we are able to hear things well before we can explain them; and just because we can’t explain something, doesn't mean that it is not real.

Showing 34 responses by heaudio123

Most degreed engineers I know that work in electronics, are electrical engineers, and refer to themselves as electrical engineers or electrical and electronics engineers. Degreed electrical/electronics engineers would also be well aware of transmission line effects in cables, and most with any experience would be quite aware of bulk circuit effects which would occur in anything that is not symmetrical in nature. They could probably even come up with a few more reasons for directionality. I can’t help but question your "engineering" qualifications based on your statement.

A degreed and working engineer, work not consider the article you link to be an explanation or proof at all. They would just view it as marketing blurb.

Of course, a degreed electrical/electronics engineer with any experience would be able to quantify, at least to an order or two in magnitude, the effects of these directional properties of cables at audio frequencies, at which point they would conclude directional effects, which are a given in virtual anything not perfectly symmetrical that carries current, would not be remotely audible, and hence are not truly "directional" in an audio sense.

As an electronic engineer, I struggled years ago with the idea of wire being directional because it did not fit into any of the electrical models I had learned. It simply did not make sense to me that an alternating music signal should favor a direction in a conductor.

geoffkait, when someone is blinded by a dogmatic need to behave in a certain way, then will often read into a situation what they want to read or and unfortunately that interferes with their comprehension and objectivity. 

I didn't use a call to authority. I pointed out the skill set that would be expected of a degreed working electrical engineer. Pointing out a skill set is not a call to authority. Next I pointed out that a person with those qualifications would a) not make certain statements, b) have the skills to analyze a certain situation and c) not consider marketing fluff proof or evidence.  Someone who is not being dogmatic would understand that is not a call to authority.
This is you queue geoffkait. Make a pithy, but ultimately idiotic comment. Have at it ... we are all waiting.
I am quite certainly that anyone with 21,901 posts cannot call anyone else a stalker, though you appear to be attracted to my posts like a fly to flypaper. Buzz buzz buzz.

p.s. the HE does not stand for High End, but the E may stand for Electroacoustic. I don’t think you will ever guess what the H stands for.

geoffkait21,901 posts05-19-2020 6:24amheaudio, I’m oft struck by how full of pith you are. I like your moniker though, it’s so uh, authoritative sounding. Begone, stalker!

Or a never ending loop for someone with the initials GK.
nonoise5,947 posts05-19-2020 1:23pm
I don’t think you will ever guess what the H stands for.
That’s an open ended request for abuse.

Yes, you appear to have been discussing it the last 20 years. Over 3000 posts by geoffkait on directionality. People are listening, but then they listen to comedy shows.
Was there a question? I thought this was an advertisement :-)
I think Geoff only herds audiophiles he agrees with.

If someone believes cables are directional for audio, are they directionally challenged or challenged by direction?
Well said Schubert. The teacher had little impact on how I did, but I watched struggling students fail with bad teachers, and excel with good ones.
What value of capacitor and how are you using it?  10,000 hour, 105C capacitors are quite common up to a certain size and reasonably priced with lots of different vendors.
Since we are talking engineering, my experience is, the ultimately better engineers, at least if you are trying to accomplish difficult work, are the ones whose marks were 80-90%, definitely not the ones near the bottom of the class. If they achieved high grades and had a social life, then they are usually the exceptional ones. There are some book smart ones, who are usually good at pure research, but not practical work, but there is a place for everyone.
tweak1 OP1,541 posts05-21-2020 7:57am
Grades are based on how well the student memorizes whatever is in the book, right, or wrong

I assume at 50-63V. You won't get 105C/10K hours in those values unless you build it from a bunch of smaller ones. You may find one, but very expensive. There are 8,000 hours at 105C and that is likely close enough.  Nichicon, UCC (United Chemicon), Kemet, TDK, Cornell all have stuff up in that size area and all reputable.  The high temp, long life are typically high ripple/low ESR as well. Most caps in audio I have found are 85C/2000 hours.  Keep in mind even though they are 105C/10K hours, pretty much all bets are off once you get to about 15-20 years.

I would even trust many of the Asian brands if I knew I was getting the real thing, but unless you are buying from an authorized distributor (Arrow, Mouser, Digikey, Future, Avnet, Mouser ... etc.) you are taking your chances.
I have forgotten the details of what I learned, but not that the knowledge exists, and where/how it is used, and many of the other things I learned and forgot the details on provided the framework for understanding other pieces of knowledge. When presented with a problem, I can draw on the tools I know exist, and brush up on fundamentals as needed.

It all comes down to the nature of you job, and people please don't take offence. In many trades, and many "professional" jobs, a large portion of the knowledge set is expected to be readily available, whether it is the mechanic at the dealership, your electrician, construction carpenter, your accountant, your dentist, your GP, a lot of civil engineering, they are almost always working from knowledge readily at hand. Contrast that to R&D engineers, medical researchers, many software developers, custom carpentry, etc.   In one instance we expect an instant result. I bring my car in, you change the brakes. My tooth aches, you stop it. Do my taxes. Contrast that to where the outcome is less defined, and the path to get there is also less defined, not to mention the deliverable is not immediate.
geoffkait21,956 posts05-21-2020 8:43amMost people forget rather quickly whatever they were taught in school, just my observation. l mean, come on, most people don’t even use what they learned after they get out.

Do some price comparison shopping. Mouser is often cheaper, as are the others. Digikey has been a bit high on low quantities lately.
If you cant' reverse the physical deformation once it's occurred then why do you go on incessantly about cryogenic treatment?  .... you can't say something can't be changed, then say you can make a change. Which is it?

Your ignorance w.r.t. annealing does not make it untrue either, but it is not like we are keeping a running count of foot in the mouth disease.
You can teach a man to fish, but if he doesn't own a fishing rod, he may still talk about the directionality of audio cables 16 hours a day.
Not content to hammer on a square peg all day, someone is now channelling their inner Bart Simpson. Could a cow be far behind?
Just a little child who thinks he is king of the wading pool, while everyone laughs at him from the deep end.
Here I sit broken hearted, 22000 posts and no one's smarter.
Well I will make 11,000 posts, and I will make 11,000 more, just to be the man that makes 22,000 post that most people will ignore.

Da da da (da da da)

Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da
But only if you are told about this in advance. In all other circumstances, you wouldn't notice a difference.

When the directionality is “backwards” there is a loss of resolution, cymbals sound like a spray-can and are truncated, voices are grainy and lack presences, the sound stage is flattened, and bass is less defined.

Interesting. So you think there is an invisible chevron pattern below the surface, but you don't think annealing does anything. You been sharing one too many with Miller I think.

The “chevron pattern“ below the surface of the wire - the deformation of the copper atomic structure - would be damn hard to see unless you had Superman’s X-Ray vision. 👀 Furthermore the chevron pattern on the surface of the wire, if that’s even there, which I’m not sure it is, doesn’t necessarily mean anything. So, far we’re not anywhere closer to an explanation than when we started.

You claimed annealing could not change the crystal structure. Try to keep things straight.

22,154 posts
05-25-2020 10:28am
You’re putting words in my mouth again. I never said annealing doesn’t do anything. What I said was annealing cannot correct the physical deformation caused by the wire manufacturing process. It’s

If made out of gold and given to your spouse then definitely herringbone. The peace that results will definitely increase music enjoyment.

twoleftears2,438 posts05-25-2020 1:34pmDo herringbone wires sound better than chevron wires or vice versa?

Not specifically me, but it would be people who have a clue what an experiment that involves subjective human response looks like, and any time you have to measure subjective human perceptive response, you have to isolate what is being tested, which means using only your ears, and not your eyes. Test as long as you want, test with whatever music you care to test with, get 20 of your audiophile buddies together, ... you just don't get any visual clues about what is happening. This is not rocket science.
millercarbon4,500 posts05-26-2020 1:03am

Oh and while you're at it, just who gets to decide "what would pass for" scientific evidence?

Would it by any chance be you?

This has to be the baseline to start from. Not just for cable directionality, but why cables sound different. Why the type of dielectric used to cover the wire makes a cable sound different.

I put a 1000 gram weight in your left hand. I put a 1000.1 gram weight in your right hand. Absolutely those weights are different. There is no way one could dispute this and claim they are the same. However, if I was to ask you which one was heavier, you wouldn't have a clue and if 1000 people did the same test, the results would be 500/500 approximately or purely random. No knowledgeable engineer or physicist would dispute inherent directional effects in a cable or any other multi-element series/parallel circuit for that matter. Similar to the 1000 and the 1000.1 grams weights, there is a big difference between a "technical" effect and one that is detectable by a human being.

This "directionality" at least as it applies to audio, would be easy to measure and/or quantify .... sort of like dielectrics, and once quantified, could be evaluated if within the realm of audibility. Transmission line effects are well understood and would be orders of magnitude below audibility. Most bulk circuit effects, i.e. resistance, inductance, capacitance are not even at the level to be audible (unless poorly designed/specified). The direction differences in those values, unless intentional, will be orders of magnitude below that .. or inaudible.

Our audible ability is poor for certain types of differences. Except where large resistance, capacitance or inductance are brought into play significantly impacting frequency response, and/or volume balance, there is little (almost none), what would pass for scientific evidence, that humans can detect changes brought about by cabling. Lots of anecdotal evidence, with some evidence w.r.t. speaker cables where cable bulk parameters are such, either on their own, or by generating amplifier instability, that changes are large enough in the frequency response to be audible.   If cable direction (or cables at all), made such significant impacts, then their vendors would be clamouring over each other show that is actually the case. It is not a matter of they rarely demonstrate, it is a case of they absolutely never demonstrate it. Like literally never.

"Our hearing has been shown to be highly acute". How so? Can you quantify what that means?  Most people completely misinterpret the scientific evidence that actually exists. Our ability to tell apart two sounds of similar volume is somewhat low. Introducing fairly significant phase-shifts across the frequency response is not readily detected, if at all, and the differential ear/ear timing ability of microseconds, does not confer a frequency response beyond 20Khz, or any other properties beyond differential timing.

And no, that last statement is not an opinion, that is simply a fact of basic manufacturing control. A cable that is 50 ohms characteristic impedance in once direction doesn't become 40 in the other. The difference in direction will be small, or you wouldn't be able to have 50 in the first place.

andy21,116 posts05-25-2020 11:29pm
This "directionality" at least as it applies to audio, would be easy to measure and/or quantify .... sort of like dielectrics, and once quantified, could be evaluated if within the realm of audibility
Using this logic, then all cables should sound similar since human hearing can hear any difference.

Most bulk circuit effects, i.e. resistance, inductance, capacitance are not even at the level to be audible (unless poorly designed/specified).
Again, this logic suggests that our audible ability is so poor we couldn't tell the difference. But it's been shown our hearing is highly acute.

The direction differences in those values, unless intentional, will be orders of magnitude below that .. or inaudible.
Certain an opinion and not a factual statement.  

That's because the resistance would not be different from one direction compared to the other. The impedance at a given frequency will be different though, but practically, at audio frequencies, with any reasonably manufactured cable, the difference in impedance from one direction compared to the other would be again orders of magnitude less than other dominant impedances.

andy21,116 posts05-26-2020 12:20amAlso I don't buy the fact that the "resistance" is lower in one direction vs. the other as said here by Mr. Kaitt.

For example, each spool of wire consists of many many meters of wire. If the wire always measure less resistance in one direction, then by the time you measure from the beginning to the end of the spool, the resistance may go smaller and smaller into "negative". So this can't explain it either.  

If the wire only behaved as resistance and inductance in series, then there would be no difference in direction. However, the wire also has capacitance, and the capacitance acts as another conductive path at non-DC frequencies between the + and - wires. If you draw wire as a bunch of resistors and inductors in series, with capacitors between +/-, and you recognize all those resistors, inductors, and capacitors are different, then it becomes obvious the wire must have directional effects. The debate is not about whether those effects exist or not, it is whether they are truly audible. That directional change would be measurable.

djones512,046 posts05-25-2020 9:51pmIf the direction of the wire caused a change in current it’s measurable.

geoffkait 22,183 posts Who likes running their mouth? 22,183 posts. Sorry, though, my fault, when I write number like 0.1db, I am communicating numbers that are well known by those "skilled in the art". geoffkait 22,183 posts. This is a very well known number for volume matching when doing human perception testing in audio as it is known to eliminate volume biasing in testing. geoffkait 22,183 posts. Some researchers would prefer to use 0.05db to ensure more tolerance between identified just noticeable differences and what is used in the test. geoffkait 22,183 posts

That 0.1db is with noise spectra where we have much higher sensitivity to differences. With actual music, it is much harder to detect volume differences. Those numbers are for rapid switching too. With longer differences in switching time, small differences in volume are harder to detect.
If the impact on frequency response is <0.1db there is little(no) evidence we can detect a difference and even more variance at the upper end of the spectrum to detect a difference. Now try to find a cable not inherently directional, i.e. with circuitry that has 0.1db difference in the audio spectrum by changing direction. Feel free to use square waves for tests with bandwidth limiting and real speakers for transmission line effects.

The next question to ask is what constitute a "good cable"? Who gets to decide? There is a flaw in this logic.

And once again the town fool makes an insult, gets proven wrong, then as opposed to being an adult and admitting his mistake, doubles down and throws out more insults. Physical age advanced, mental age about 8 ... prove me wrong.

Hey mods, if you are going to delete this posts, please delete well pretty much all of geoffkaits posts as about 50% of them (or more) are nothing but personal insults of other people here.