What is Low Impendance for an interconnect?


I have been reading some of Roger Sanders views on interconnects and he would have his listeners utilize braided interconnects that are low impedance.

Any thoughts on this subject?

What would be considered low impedence for a preamp/amp interconnect?

I am a newbie just trying to learn
dsper
Can you provide a link to what you are referring to? The section of this page on interconnects seems relevant, but there is no mention of low impedance (just low resistance, which IMO is not as critical for an analog interconnect as Mr. Sanders seems to be indicating), and the only mention of braiding is in reference to the shield.

Also, interestingly, I see no mention of capacitance in the section on interconnects. Depending on the length of the cable, and on the output impedance of the component driving it, in some cases that can certainly be an audibly significant parameter for an interconnect cable, much more so than resistance or inductance.

Finally, while I completely agree with the first of the following two statements he makes, I (and I believe a majority of other A'goners) would not agree with the second:
There is a great deal of misinformation, hype, and marketing nonsense surrounding interconnects. This makes it very confusing to know what is important in the design of interconnects.

... The fact is that all well-designed interconnects sound identical. Only poorly designed interconnects will reveal differences in sound.
Regards,
-- Al
Well said Al!

According to that second statement, most expensive interconnects are poorly designed since they will reveal differences in sound. Maybe there are also poorly designed amps and speakers out there too that will reveal differences in sound. ;)

In that link you provided Al, he does address capacitance in the section titled Capacitance under speaker cables towards the top of the page, where he says:

Capacitance should be low. This is not as critical as inductance, but it is important.

Cheers,
John
Thanks, John.

As you probably realize, my reference to the non-mention of capacitance pertained to the section on interconnects, not speaker cables.

For the OP's info, generally speaking:

1)In the case of analog interconnect cables, capacitance may be significant, especially if cable length is long and/or the output impedance of the component driving the cable is high. Resistance and inductance are unlikely to be significant, unless they are unusually extreme. (With the exception that the resistance of the shield or other return conductor, not the signal conductor, can sometimes become significant if ground loop issues are present).

2)In the case of speaker cables, the situation is the opposite. Inductance and resistance may be significant, especially if cable length is long and speaker impedance is low. Capacitance is unlikely to have much significance, except in the case of a few cables that have ultra-high capacitance (such as Goertz, as mentioned in the paper).

Regards,
-- Al
The second quote from Mr. Sanders (all well-designed interconnects sound identical) is so bizarre that I personally wouldn't believe another word he said. I realize that "well designed" are the weasel words.
Wow thats a hard one!!
A further point concerning his emphasis on low resistance in interconnects. Referring to some "poorly designed" interconnects, he states:
Some of these interconnects with tiny wires have several thousand ohms of resistance and can adversely effect the frequency response of your system.
It is unimaginable to me that any half-way competent designer would create an interconnect cable having a resistance that remotely approached several thousand ohms. In fact very few designs (poor or not) approach even a few ohms, for typical lengths. And most would be less than 1 ohm for typical lengths.

As I indicated earlier, the resistance of analog interconnect cables is usually not a significant parameter.

Regards,
-- Al
01-16-14: Almarg
It is unimaginable to me that any half-way competent designer would create an interconnect cable having a resistance that remotely approached several thousand ohms.

The only one that I can think of is David Magnan and his Magnan Signature interconnect, which has a resistance of 30,000 ohms for a 4 foot length using Teflon ribbon conductors (non-metallic). I can attest that this cable makes a terrible phono cable, though sounded surprisingly good in the line stage.

Cheers,
John
Hey John -- re the reference to 30,000 ohm/4' length phono I/Cs gives me an idea. Don't you think it would be cheaper to simply use string to connect the phono and linestage together? Or one could just have an open circuit.

:)
Far out, John :-)

Well, I guess if one wants to design an interconnect that sounds different than just about everyone else's, that's one way to do it. IMO, though, both the design and the rationale for it that are stated in the review are completely ridiculous.

Which is not to rule out the possibility that in some systems, and for some listeners, that interconnect might produce results that are subjectively appealing.

In any event, Mr. Sanders gets credit for being right about at least one thing in his paper. IMO, of course.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al, do you think it would make more sense to forgo using any I/C to connect components instead of paying for a 4 foot long I/C with 30K ohms of resistance?? It's practically an open circuit.
Bruce, no, but I wouldn't be surprised if in some systems your other suggestion might be found by some listeners to work just as well as that interconnect. Provided, of course, that the string has good pedigree and is well vetted by the cable manufacturer, is specially treated with some esoteric compound, and is marked up to audiophile price standards.

:-)

Best,
-- Al
01-16-14: Almarg
Bruce, no, but I wouldn't be surprised if in some systems your other suggestion might be found by some listeners to work just as well as that interconnect. Provided, of course, that the string has good pedigree and is well vetted by the cable manufacturer, is specially treated with some esoteric compound, and is marked up to audiophile price standards.

:-)

Best,
-- Al

LMFAO...Al, you're a funny guy! Thanks for the chuckle.

Cheers,
John
The dental floss that is grown in Montana would be the way to go:)
01-16-14: Jtcf
The dental floss that is grown in Montana would be the way to go:)
Montana??!! there are no manuf in Montana so this dental floss cable does not meet the standards of
Provided, of course, that the string has good pedigree and is well vetted by the cable manufacturer, is specially treated with some esoteric compound, and is marked up to audiophile price standards.

;-o
01-16-14: Dopogue
The second quote from Mr. Sanders (all well-designed interconnects sound identical) is so bizarre that I personally wouldn't believe another word he said.
Dopogue, I believe you jumped the gun all too quickly to damn Roger Sanders. I'd wager that you did not bother to read the ENTIRE material at the link Al provided....

Roger Sanders does say:
But please carefully note that I said all WELL-DESIGNED interconnects sound identical. Some interconnects are badly designed and do indeed sound different.

So just what is a "well-designed" interconnect?.....
The article goes on for quite a while to give his definition of "well-designed". He's not talking about hi-end or mid-end or low-end priced cables; only well-designed cables. I suggest that you read all the material there before you shut your mind.
Just to let all know: I do not own any Sanders equipment, have no stake in his company.
I did hear his equipment at RMAF2013 & it sounded really very good.
Okay, I read the whole thing. Sanders obviously gets to determine what is "well designed" or not, and since his cables sound exactly the same as other "well designed" cables, I certainly see no compelling reason to buy his.
Hi Almarg,

You had the right link and I think that it has been discussed in this thread.

My read is that Roger is saying that his interconnects do not impart any coloration to the signal, which is his definition of a well designed interconnect.

It would seem that is the right place to start. Then if you want it to make a warmer sound, accenuate the bass, etc., etc. then you go from there.

So if I am trying to buy a pair of interconnects that do not color the sound, what does one look for in terms of construction and measurements?
So if I am trying to buy a pair of interconnects that do not color the sound, what does one look for in terms of construction and measurements?
That's a difficult question, in part because the sonic effects of an interconnect are dependent on the impedance and other technical characteristics of the components it is connecting. Generally, a lower output impedance of the component driving the cable will mean lessened cable effects, although of course that benefit may be far outweighed by differences in the performance of the components themselves. Susceptibility of the particular components to ground loop effects (not just hum, but also effects that can occur at high frequencies) can also be a significant variable, especially for unbalanced interfaces. And the performance of a given cable in a line-level application will likely be completely different than in a phono cable application, as the technical factors that are involved are very different.

Cable length is also a major variable, of course, most cable effects being proportional to length. Also, if the components provide balanced connections, and their balanced interface circuits are of good quality (which is certainly not always the case), it can generally be expected that using balanced cables will result in lessened cable effects relative to unbalanced cables.

Beyond that, when looking for neutral (uncolored) behavior I think it would make sense to be skeptical of a cable having any parameters that are extreme (either unusually high or unusually low), or for which the rationale for the design seems to focus excessively on minimizing one particular claimed effect.

And beyond that, it probably comes down to researching the experiences of others (while trying to calibrate the credibility of the person providing each report; for example I would consider the many cable-related comments Jmcgrogan2 has provided over the years to be especially credible), and if possible trying a variety of cables, such as via The Cable Company.

Regards,
-- Al
01-19-14: Dsper
So if I am trying to buy a pair of interconnects that do not color the sound, what does one look for in terms of construction and measurements?

Unfortunately, this is not so easy to do for the many reasons that Al has already mentioned. Also, not only for the reasons that Al mentions, variations in electrical parameters between components and cable lengths, but also because individuals have different personal hearing variations on what "color the sound" actually sounds like. I've witness quite a few disagreements over which cable was actually the most "transparent", even in the same system, at the same time. Different people just hear what they perceive as colorations differently, even if all of the electrical interactions are consistent.

Obviously there are some cable brands everyone pretty much agree that color sound, but even these brands can work well with the right ancillary equipment. For instance, a cable with a emphasized treble region can sound fairly neutral with warmer sounding electronics or speakers, just as warmer cables can sound neutral with brighter sounding equipment. This hobby is all about system synergy and personal musical taste, therefore many experiences are not agreed upon. Just like choosing a favorite flavor of ice cream, or wine, many may make recommendations of their favorite flavors, but that may have no bearing on what flavor would suit you best.

01-19-14: Almarg
And beyond that, it probably comes down to researching the experiences of others (while trying to calibrate the credibility of the person providing each report; for example I would consider the many cable-related comments Jmcgrogan2 has provided over the years to be especially credible), and if possible trying a variety of cables, such as via The Cable Company.

Thank you kindly Al, I am truly humbled. I had no idea anybody even read my musings, let alone gave any credence to my incessant rambling. ;)

Cheers,
John