- Nov 13, 2022
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- Washington DC Metro
You should probably have added that it's not the fiber optic HDMI cable itself that's directional, it's the unidirectional transmitter and receiver. Please let's not start talking about which direction a Toslink cable goes.As many of you already know, I'm a retired research engineer with leadership experience in electronic design from DC to light and university experience teaching the next generation how electronics works. Not bragging --Just fortifying what follows.
The only (A/V) cables I know of that are truly directional are optical HDMI cables with a transmitter embedded at one end and a receiver at the other.
All other claims of cable directionality are utter BS / snake oil / nonsense.
Just because some brain-frat (rhymes with train-start) is out there on the world wide web doesn't mean it's sound (meaning grounded) or wholesome.
Here's an example with a direct bearing on this topic:
Nordost, manufacturer of high technology cables including speaker / video cables and analog and digital interconnects. Brand names include the Supreme Reference Odin, Reference Valhalla and Tyr and others including Norse, Flatline and Sort Systemswww.nordost.com
NODOST - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are Nordost cables directional?
Yes, Nordost cables are directional. This is especially true for single ended (RCA) interconnects as the shield is connected at the source or output end only.
Which way do directional arrows point on Nordost cables?
The directional arrows always point away from the source. For example, from a CD player to an amplifier, the arrows should point towards the preamplifier or power amplifier. On a speaker cable the arrows would always point towards the loudspeaker
How can cables be directional?
When cables are manufactured they do not have any directionality. However, as they break in, they acquire directionality.
Although the cable signal is an alternating current, small impurities in the conductor act as diodes allowing signal flow to be better in one direction over time. This effect is also called quantum tunneling, which has been observed in experiments over 25 years ago. Regardless of the purity of the metal used, there are still diode effects in all conductors. In addition, the insulation material will change when it is subjected to an electrical field.
It's utter BS / snake oil / nonsense.
"A fool and his money are soon parted."
-- Dr. John Bridge, 1587
And quantum tunneling? I know a few things about quantum tunneling. Just because you can drop a real scientific term doesn't mean you have any idea what it means, or that the wares you are selling have anything whatsoever to do with it.
Rascal said:"Scientific" refers to a rigorous method of proving or disproving a hypothesis. It's OK to nit pick a proposed method. A good method should stand scrutiny. But, for certain, a void or missing method is totally unacceptable.
As I said in an earlier post - if (**IF**) the current were flowing one way better than the other way, it would be an eminently flawed product. It would be adding distortion!! You would not be getting a sinewave out.And even if there were diodes, they effect current direction, not signal direction
I don't know what is meant by "something sounds better," but you knew I'd say that, right?:
I'll even be more lenient than that. You don't even have to prove it with measurements - just FFS come up with a cogent reason why something sounds better. And FFS, try to do it without throwing in the parlance "quantum" (tunneling, dots, atoms, whatever).
I don't know what is meant by "something sounds better," but you knew I'd say that, right?
For me, a cogent reason would be one summarizing a scientific method or process, but you knew I'd say that as well.
It's not the "quantum" parlance that bothers me. What bothers me is that the claim isn't defended scientifically.
I hope I've been cogent.
Agreed, but I'd take it down a notch more and compare $20K cables to $1K cables to $100 el-cheapo (yet verifiable) OFC cables. I think the "law of diminishing returns" is somehow used to appeal to inherent snobbishness/one-upping the Joneses"... there's no logical reason to spend 10X - 200X on a cable that MAYBE results in a 0.001% improvement if it can be measured AT ALL at AUDIO FREQUENCIES.I'd like to see research demonstrate why $20,000 speaker wires sound better than $1000 ones. So for me I question even more than the directionality claims.
I don't agree. What I hear isn't all that simple.I don't disagree.
I hear a frequency, time / phase shift, amplitude change, or distortion. That's it.
With audio, it's really easy, because there is a single waveform going into the system. So you have a baseline. You know what should be coming out.
Thoughtful comments. Why do you think the Wireworld wires are directional?I wonder how many of us buy certain wires because they are directional, or that's a major determining factor? I buy the Wireworld brand because I was introduced to it by my local hi-fi store and they are affordable. I don't spend a lot of $$ on them. I buy their mid grade at best. They all seem to be directional but I didn't even know they where when I bought my first set, and dont really believe in it anyways. It just so happens my wires have it.
I have a BS in Biology and taught high school physics, Chemistry, and Biology. So I'm with you guys, I want some scientific evidence and a plausible hypothesis or theory to explain this. Since I'm not spending huge amounts of cash on my wires it doesn't really matter much to me if the wires are directional or not.
I'd like to see research demonstrate why $20,000 speaker wires sound better than $1000 ones. So for me I question even more than the directionality claims.
Right. So the question remains, who's "at fault"? The vendor or the customer?Agreed, but I'd take it down a notch more and compare $20K cables to $1K cables to $100 el-cheapo (yet verifiable) OFC cables. I think the "law of diminishing returns" is somehow used to appeal to inherent snobbishness/one-upping the Joneses"... there's no logical reason to spend 10X - 200X on a cable that MAYBE results in a 0.001% improvement if it can be measured AT ALL at AUDIO FREQUENCIES.
BUT KNOWING THAT YOU'VE SPENT MORE ON A SET OF CABLES THAN A CHEAP FAMILY CAR... priceless...???
I actually don't have a problem with someone saying something sounds better than something else--to that person. But it's not a scientific statement, it's not "falsifiable". And the only way to falsify a statement that something sounds different from something else, to some person, is, to the best of my knowledge, a double blind controlled experiment. A positive result of such an experiment would verify, to a level of statistical certainty, that one thing sounds different from the other, to that person. A negative result does not, by itself, verify anything. Many more experiments would be needed to verify, to a level of certainty, that the effect does not exist to any homo sapien ears and brains.I don't know what is meant by "something sounds better," but you knew I'd say that, right?
I decided a long time ago I was going to "go" with empirically provable science when it came to audio.... If a vendor claims his cable produces purer results than his competitor, or that his cable is directional and it matters, that vendor should be obliged to show that the competitor's cable is producing something different under identical test or evaluation conditions. If not test gear and measurements, then double-blind testing with a large numbers of audiophile listeners under controlled listening conditions. ...
I agree. I'm using an inexpensive monoprice speaker cable for my Focus center channel speaker. It sounds great. It's heavy gauge copper and built like some that cost 20x more. I have some other monoprice cables that are good too.Agreed, but I'd take it down a notch more and compare $20K cables to $1K cables to $100 el-cheapo (yet verifiable) OFC cables. I think the "law of diminishing returns" is somehow used to appeal to inherent snobbishness/one-upping the Joneses"... there's no logical reason to spend 10X - 200X on a cable that MAYBE results in a 0.001% improvement if it can be measured AT ALL at AUDIO FREQUENCIES.
BUT KNOWING THAT YOU'VE SPENT MORE ON A SET OF CABLES THAN A CHEAP FAMILY CAR... priceless...???
Yeah, I never even read that. I mainly bought them because my store recommended them and so far their recommendations have been good. The cables weren't real expensive, so I went ahead and spent more than usual. The store employees never even mentioned directionality.Thoughtful comments. Why do you think the Wireworld wires are directional?
WIreworld offers the following:
Learn about the benefits of using directional cables at Wireworld. Here's our blog with everything you need to know about high-quality directional cables.wireworldcable.com
But is this proof? In light of what I've already written, you should know my answer.
This is the wire I use for my subwoofer. The cost isn't crazy, and I could have bought several stages lower and save money. The $71 for 10 ft seemed reasonable. Its directional. I probably could have spent half that on monoprice and not know the difference, but since the price difference isn't great, I went ahead and got the more expensive option. I'd never spend more than that though unless someone could prove to me another wire is better.More on Wireworld (including claims of directionality).
Here's a web posting:
Science depends upon test results not being influenced by outside factors, so eliminating personal bias is a top priority. Double-blind tests accomplish that requirement by preventing everyone involved from knowing the identity of the test samples. Double-blind listening tests have proven to be...wireworldcable.com
It's plain Wireworld realizes there is a burden of responsibility to prove claims, but is this write-up alone an adequate proof? No. It's not enough to say, "We know what's needed and WE do it -- so YOU don't have to!" Where are the results, the documented evidence of their findings? A photo of cable test switches isn't enough.
In responsible science, test or evaluation results are presented in a way that can be duplicated and verified. I'd like to see those results.
Until then, at the risk of repeating myself, it's BS / snake oil / nonsense.
I'm not saying it's bad cable. My problem, rather, is with claims of superiority without evidence and examples of weird science (like directionality) that makes me want to clasp my wallet tightly.