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What makes a speaker cable/interconnect directional?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Markie Boy, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy
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    As the title says, what makes a cable directional and therefore makeing it sound better in one particular direction over the other?
     
  2. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    If an RCA IC is soldered at one end only, ie the braid “ground” shield this is called semi balanced and the unsoldered ground end is meant to be placed at source end. This is to draw EMI/RFI away from the source. Now if a IC has its ground shield soldered at each end as 99.9% of them are, then it is not and cannot be directional. Thus normally soldered and connected RCA ICs cannot be directional. Neither can any other cable connection method I know ie BNC-XLR-DIN et al.

    Exact same goes with speaker cable, only if there is an capacitator inline (transparent and some other hiend snake oil merchants) in speaker can it be classified as directional due to current input of the capacitor (forgive my electrical intelligence) if its normal copper, connected at the ends in the same fashion ie with bananas, crimps or even bare wire onto binding posts it cannot be directional.

    Any advice/opinion to the contrary is usually audiophile sales techniques to deprice foolhardy “believe what they want to hear” punters of their readies, good thread to read :

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177452

    Do a search above on this forum for directional plenty of reading
     
  3. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I've got a moderate collection of cables,some of which are supposedly "directional"(!),and despite some of them being used the wrong way round so to speak,I can't determine any difference,for instance using a set of Kimber 4TC cables via a set of 300B amps and Quad ESLs,so a fairly transparent system.

    I think that ensuring the connections at both ends are clean and tight makes a much larger contribution,as well as using decent quality cables(home-made or otherwise).
     
  4. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy
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    Good replies guys. I was gonna say as alexs2 mentioned that some cable maufacturers claim their speaker cable is directional, but without soldering/termination how could this be so? Obviously a manufacturer who claims their product is directional will say it offers improved performance the right way round, but what does it achieve that a "regular" cable does not? i.e. reeduce RFI etc?
     
  5. Reiner

    Reiner
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    The engineer in me has only one answer to that question: nothing (it does not make it sound better).

    CJROSS makes some good points but it doesn't matter at which end you ground the shield (assuming it's connected at one end only inside the connector).

    In a telecommunication environment coaxial connections are always grounded at one end only to prevent a ground loop, but assuming all the equipment itself is correctly grounded then no difference is made as to which side to choose. Well, a difference is usually made but more of a practical matter or to maintain a common standard, not because of anything technical - ground is ground.
    In an AV environment we usually don't even have a real ground, only equipment with a 3-pin plug has. However the shield may not even be connected to that, so I wouldn't worry too much about directional cables.
     

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