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Cable Risers - Snake Oil or they do improve the SQ?


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Hello,

 

I want to ask all of you is you raise the cables to be above the floor and keep them from running along other cables?

 

Please tell me what you think about cable risers and if they work?

 

Liz Out

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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Thanks Chris.

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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Cable risers are snake oil, IMHO. However, you need to try for yourself in your own setting. If you then think they improve your system, go ahead and get some. It doesn't matter if they actually do anything form a scientific point of view, as long as you think you get better sound. That is not meant to be sarcastic, I am just pointing out that "Perception is Reality".

 

Optimizing cable runs is probably more generally accepted, but again, you need to try for yourself in a decent double-blind test.

 

In any case, by getting risers and optimizing cable runs, you probably won't make the sound worse. So, if you are OK with the expenditure and effort, there is not much to loose.

 

Best - MM

 

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I suggest you go buy some Popsicle's, hand them out to your family, friends... then collect the sticks... make pyramids with some cable ties or tape... instant cable risers!

 

You get to test the theory and everybody else got to enjoy your generous nature.

 

We call this good karma!

 

Enjoy! :)

 

 

Drew.[br]Totem Model 1 Signature\'s

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Hmmm,

 

Do you feel keeping the speakers cables, ICs , etc off the ground and away from power cords makes a difference?

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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Hi Lizard,

 

As an engineer, I have to say I think it is pure BS and snake oil. Don't waste your money.

 

Provided your interconnects are well screened (tightly woven braided screen), there should be absolutely no effect from nearby power cords or floor proximity.

 

Regards,

Chris.

 

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Do you feel keeping the speakers cables, ICs , etc off the ground and away from power cords makes a difference?

 

I feel that as odd as some thought's are, just try them and see if they make a difference in YOUR system. The quality of your inter-connects, speaker and power cable's differ from mine. Some manufacturers take extra care to reject noise.

 

What I do know as a good practice is to never run your power cables along side your inter-connects. Try to run them 90 degree's to each other.

 

Honestly, I would sooner spend the money on quality inter-connects, speaker and power cable's, then bother with make indoor tee pee's! :)

 

 

 

Drew.[br]Totem Model 1 Signature\'s

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Do you feel keeping the speakers cables, ICs , etc off the ground and away from power cords makes a difference?

 

Some people swear by it, others say there is no difference. People use all kinds of science, anti-science, para-science, meta-science and religion to support their claims, anti-claims, para-claims, meta-claims, and beliefs. I have personally given up participating in constructive discussions of these topics. Instead, I simply recommend you try for yourself and see if YOU feel these things make a difference. Psychoacoustics is a very personal thing, so only you yourself can answer your question.

 

Best - MM

 

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I do belive based on what cables you may use, this could be necessary. Both myself and a buddy bought used Omega Mikro Active planar power cords and love the improvemnt in our systems. He had an instance where the power cord was rubbing a speaker cable and he did notice a hum.

I do used shielded ICs. power cords, Digital Ics, etc. I know power lines can cause some type of shift if they bleed yet I am not an eletrical engineer.

 

I do see serios voltage swings in this suburban area. Last night at 1:00 am, the indicator on my PF60 dispalyed 126.9 volts and the other day it showed 105.

 

The usage of the Furutech Etp80 and the omega Micro cord keeps the noise of my audio system. I am hopeful to get normall volatge once the summer has passed.

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Over the past 18 years I have had my adventures with the so called audiophile tweaks. I must admit to being pleasantly surprised on occasion, but mostly being burned. What I really dislike to admit is taking ten years to learn what is voo-doo science and what is not.

 

I will try to explain. If there is an effect, there must be a cause. Determining that cause, and developing a method to measure it will directly lead to the solution of controlling the effect. A common scientific rule of thumb states, "If it can be measured, it can be controlled."

 

There is a whole scientific process for developing a method to measure a cause, then a process for developing a device to accurately calculate the degree of the cause which includes calibrating the device to a certain standard to ensure one is receiving an accurate measurement. Then the whole process should approved by an independent peer review.

 

So, let us apply this principle to elevating cables off the floor. First we need to ask what type of devices are being used to measure the cause and effect. What is the method of testing, and has that method faced and been confirmed by a peer review. I have not seen or heard of any such research, has anyone else?

 

Next, let us apply some common logic. If there is an effect, the cause must be coming from the floor. One would not lift their cables into the air, exposing the cables to more air, if the cause was airborne.

 

What is in the flooring? Something in the varnish applied to wood floors? Perhaps static electricity form the carpet? Electric cables under the flooring? And what if you have a concrete floor? Could it be the steel reinforcing bar in the concrete? Is it the vibration from the speakers? If so, would they not still be effected by by airborne vibrations? They all claim an effect, but where is there scientific proof of the cause?

 

However, if one has ultra expensive cables named after snakes, cats, mountains, or Norse gods, designed to protect the flow of current from all known effects, and hand braided by child labor, well... those cables will never live up to their potential unless elevated.

 

Now examine the materials used for these lifters. I have seen wood, glass, ceramics, secret metal alloys and compound polymers, and even little disks with embedded tuning forks! I once saw a system with special inert screw eyes for the ceiling, with a special monofilament that dropped to a wooden clip for holding the cables off the floor. The simple device even had a patent pending, someone actually applied for a patent for a piece of string attached to a clothes pin! Of course, all were designed from extensive research, and each will claim in aggressive, enterprising language that all their competitors are bogus, only they make the proper product.

 

More nonsense: How do the manufacturers know exactly what height to elevate the cords, should it be 3, 4, 8, or 12 inches? At what height will the perceived effect be neutralized?

 

I am waiting for the day when someone sitting on a large supply of gas tanks decides to market oxygen to audiophiles. We should all know that only in an oxygen enriched room will all the distortion effects be neutralized.

 

I recall reading a product brochure many years ago by the audio equipment manufacturer Threshold. They claimed their circuits corrected for distortion at 100kHz, because distortion there can trickle down and magnify distortion at 30kHz. All well and good, but I doubt any human alive could hear the results from prerecorded music.

 

So, when it comes to various audiophile tweaks, my best advice will always be: Buyer Beware. Save your money toward a nice vacation, the memories will last a lifetime.

 

daphne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have a run of two balanced IC cables to remote amps,

behind bi-amped speakers, along with power cords.

IC cables manufacturer warned me that the balanced ICs,

in near proximity to power cords running to said amps:

bad idea.

Eh. Tried it anyway.

Tied the two balanced ICs and a power cord in a bundle,

and listened. And listened. And listened again. Nada, niente,

nuttin', honey. No hum, no buzz, no hiss. Might be because the

ICs are shielded? Oh yeah, that! ;-)

Cable fantasies: shortening all our useful lifetimes. :-)

 

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I just spent the day wiring the TV wall of a major electronics retailer. It's a long story. At any rate, we wired the wall with well-shielded, unremarkable coax off a reel, ran it down steel channels RIGHT NEXT TO THE POWER LINES, then hung a variety of HD TVs of different quality levels, sizes and designs right off the front of those steel channels. Then we booted the system and started turning on TVs.

 

The signal was as clean and pure as baby's breath.

 

Take from that story what you will. What I believe is that cable is about basic quality: Enough copper, appropriate length, good shielding, quality insulation and strong, well-fitting plugs. Esoterica in cabling is, IMHO, full of voodoo. This much I know for sure; the mark-up in high-end cable is just stunning. I can't imagine what it must be in the esoteric stuff.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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First off I definitely believe that cable is a component in your system. I am the first to admit that I can't explain it beyond the obvious issues of RLC (resistance, inductance, and capacitance). I also agree that it is often very difficult, I'm being polite here, to correlate the cost of manufacturing to the retail price. And that is from someone who sells them. I also have to say that on a number of occasions I have preferred a less expensive cable, even from the same manufacturer. Having said that, I sell them and recommend them on a regular basis. We also loan them out to customers so that they can experience them on their own, without anyone telling them what they should be hearing and, just as importantly, so that they can hear them in the context of their own system, which I believe is absolutely critical.

 

With that out of the way, and the intention was to state my position, not to try to convince anyone of the credibility of higher performance cable, I do not consider myself a tweak. I buy good gear, use common sense, spend a lot of time on speaker placement, do the best I can do with room acoustics and try to enjoy music. Cable elevators were always a little outside of my comfort zone.

 

However I have had an experience that makes me wonder: I play electric guitar and have my rig set up in a spare bedroom. I decided to add to what passes as decor in the room and bought an interesting looking, inexpensive acrylic area rug. Ever since I added the rug, several of my guitars have developed hum problems. One of them is an Anderson, a very well made, well grounded guitar. Any time that one or both of my hands wasn't firmly clamped to the strings, there was a loud hum. On a couple of occasions my brother received a mild shock and this was in the summer with high humidity. Removing the rug solved the issue. It makes me wonder if the synthetic fibers in the rug acted as a dielectric of sorts. If that is the case, it could perhaps explain why cable elevators, in some environments, could have an effect. Unfortunately I am not sufficiently motivated to take it beyond speculation but I thought I would toss it out there.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Thanks for mentioning the interesting situation with the rug. I actually have some knowledge regarding your synthetic fiber rug problem and may be able to explain. My dad is a research scientist, as such he belongs to a number societies and after 35 years he has formed friendships with a number of other researchers. One man, who is a family friend and now retired, worked at DuPont for many years in the field of compound polymers. Here is the way he explained the subject of static charge in synthetic carpets.

 

It all boils down to the manufacturing process. I will use nylon fibers for my example. Chemicals are mixed and heated, then under pressure forced through a die and the hot fiber comes out the other end. When the fibers exit the die at a high speed, and proceed to cool, they develop a massive static charge (sorry, I forget whether the charge is negative or positive). In the cooling chamber, the opposite pole charge is introduced to neutralize the static. The neutralizing charge required massive generators and transformers thus being an expensive process.

 

DuPont does not manufacture carpet, just the fibers, which are delivered to the carpet mills on large spools. A neutral charge allows the fibers to be twisted into yarns that will stand up to extended wear over time.

 

Years later DuPont developed an additive to the nylon mix which allowed the the chemical to pass through the die more quickly and produce a smoother, higher quality fiber, and it reduced the static charge somewhat. Then a couple of DuPont's technical innovators came up with the brilliant idea of coating the fibers with Teflon. Hence the term "Stainmaster," because nothing sticks to the Teflon.

 

As the fibers exit the die they are blown into a large chamber and plasma coated with Teflon. The static charge actually attracts the Teflon thus binding it to the fibers and eliminating the static charge in the process. The major benefit was the elimination of the expensive electronic process used to neutralize the charge. These type of synthetic carpets rarely, if ever, develop a static charge.

 

Now we come to the era of acrylic fibers. Carpets and rugs using acrylic fibers mostly come from recycled plastic products. The plastic is reduced to small chips and refined into a liquid through a chemical process. The same basic process is used to make the fibers. However, this type of acrylic does not lend itself to be spun into complex yarns. So, there is no need to eliminate the static charge. The source and process is inexpensive thus producing lower cost carpets and rugs. The downside is, the acrylic fibers will hold that static charge for some time before it dissipates.

 

Wool carpets can develop a static charge, especially in a warm dry environment, generally from homes with forced hot air heating. But humidity will eliminate the charge.

 

I know, odd information for a woman to acquire, but for some strange reason I've always been fascinated with the history of technology.

 

I hope this explains the source of the cause for the effect you were experiencing. I have heard this same scenario from several musicians, from guitar players to horn players using microphones. Of course many musicians receive much of their information from their roadies. Some say the static charge runs up the cable to effect the pickups, which is the reason why your hands are actually grounding out the charge through your body. Others claim the static charge effects the amp input. There are a few cable companies who make microphone and guitar cables that deal with static charges, of course they are expensive. One person even suggested this effect can be eliminated by using isolation transformers with the amps. Personally, I don't see where incoming AC current is connected to a static charge generated in the guitar cable. Still another solution suggested was the use of a wireless connection.

 

By the way (no offense intended), dielectric is a general term which refers to insulators and nonconducting materials.

 

I can remember back 15 to 18 years ago when the most available quality audio cables were made by Monster. I purchased a set of interconnects and speaker cables and immediately noticed an improved difference in the quality of sound. Just using their surge protector and line conditioner (crude by today's standards) made a difference. I recall the theory for speaker cables was lots of copper, the heavier the gauge, the better. Wow, have times changed.

 

I believe in always using quality interconnect and speaker cables, however, I tend to question cables costing $2400 for a one meter pair that are 20mm or more thick. Put then on a scale and you will soon realize the manufacturers are charging more for copper and plastic than the current value of pure gold. I find it curious that generally the second meter is only a few hundred dollars extra. Add a third of fourth meter and it's even less per meter. I also noticed how some companies box their cables in expensive cases lined with foam, as if you are purchasing a sensitive instrument and should only handle the cables with white gloves. You have to admit, an excellent marketing illusion.

 

Exotic AC power supply cables have become bizarre lately. Just as soon as audio component manufacturers took a cue from computer companies, and started installing male AC plugs in their units, the cable companies saw a profitable aftermarket niche. Just about every audio component I can recall always had the power cord internally attached, many low end units still use this method.

 

I read the theories presented on how and why each type of AC supply cable is made. I'm surprised on how many are based on their interconnect cables. Good god, AC cables braided with monofilament which are 25mm to 35mm thick (thicker than a garden hose). Now I see the use of high purity copper where the wire and connectors have been cryogenically treated. Nothing new here, just a few engineers utilizing basic knowledge gained from early research into superconductors (like 40 years ago or more). So what is the advantage? Well it improves the impedance for one, allowing the AC current to pass through the wire more efficiently, or with less resistance. So what, any advantage these ultra expensive cables offer dead ends at the component. Go on, take the cover off that high end Amp or CD player. Just look at the methods used to isolate any AC interference starting with the connector. In 90% of the units it is nonexistent. In addition, these cables offer no protection from voltage fluctuations, direct line noise, or grounding issues. They do not clean up the current, just pass along the problems more efficiently. Why would anyone pay more for that? (Please consider my knowledge of impedance is basic. I'm sure there is an electrical engineer on this forum that can explain everything better than I am able.)

 

I have also had the opportunity to try out various cables on loan. I consider this excellent costumer service. From what I hear, it is rare for any audio retailer to offer this option. Then again, drop $40,000 to $80,000 or more and they will even offer a genuine smile when you enter through the door. Like you I have also opted for the less expensive line from a manufacturer, mainly because, trying to the best of my ability, I could not hear any difference from their top offering. However, I did not get the fancy case with those cables to store in my closet, just a cardboard box.

 

I have had the most success in improving the quality of sound with power conditioners. They have greatly improved over the years. My new Audience adept Response aR6 units are the best I have ever had so far. The two units perform remarkably well. I purchased them used from my favorite audio dealer for just $1200 and top of the line Audience power cables were included. Just three months old, the last owner expanded his home theater system and upgraded to the aR12 units (which has 12 outlets in lieu of 6). Retail price for these two power conditioners would be around $5000.

 

Now I see where some cables require a "burning in" period for 50 to 100 hours before they will perform properly. Other cable makers state their cables require no burning in time, and claim that idea is pure nonsense. I just saw a unit the size of a keyboard specifically designed to burn in interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords prior to connecting them to your system.

 

I apologize for being ignorant here, but I would sincerely appreciate if someone could explain the scientific principle behind this "burning in" process. I just have a ton of questions regarding this subject.

 

daphne

 

 

 

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See page 10 of 76 in this PDF, for a slightly more general

rant against audiophile foolishness, and some commentary

that mirrors some of Ashley's recently, if I've understood his

commentary correctly.

( And BTW, I learned these lessons the hard way: by having

been separated from plenty of my hard-earned dollars

for naught -- back when a dollar was worth something. )

 

"Paste This in Your Hat!

( What Every Audiophile Should Know and Never Forget ) "

 

http://www.theaudiocritic.com/back_issues/The_Audio_Critic_24_r.pdf

 

 

 

 

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Thanks mpmct. I had completely forgotten about The Audio Critic. Have not read a single issue in about a decade. I just assumed the magazine had gone under like so many others from the 1980s and 90s, or Peter Aczel had passed away. Peter had the best rants of any audiophile I've ever read, and he was always dead on correct. I recall now how he preached a one man battle against audio components with tubes. Again, thanks. I'll take time to read all the back issues I missed.

 

Daphne

 

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There's nothing in the world wrong with tubes if you like the way they sound. It's when liking them isn't enough and their users start insisting that they are better that the trouble begins. I love an old SS amp from the 70s I have here, driving a pair of Sennheiser HD580s. It's warm and smooth and detailed enough to peel the veneer off of a bad master. I'm not going to pretend it rivals the revealing transparency of good pro studio monitoring equipment, but I like the way it sounds.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Daphne wrote: "... I recall now how he preached a one man battle against audio components with tubes ..."

 

I understand Aczel's criticism of tubes to be in the spirit

of what Tim has pointed out: that those who insist they

are *better*, are misguided -- and not that there is anything

inherently wrong with tubes.

Having said that, it is sometimes challenging to separate Aczel's

arguably acerbic tone, from his content, and context. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

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I had decided to pass on a comment about Mr. Aczel; I didn't want to start a flame war and thought it best to pass. Thanks for being so diplomatic about it and I will simply add my support to your tactfully made statement.

 

Regarding Tim's comments about tubes, I like some tube stuff. I like some solid state stuff. Ultimately I prefer not to have an identifiable sound. They each have strengths and weaknesses and the very best of each don't particularly sound like either, at least in my opinion. The traditional, romantic tube sound is certainly colored and inaccurate. Much solid state has its own issues. Pick your poison. I can prefer either on a given day on a given system. Some days older sounding tube designs sound hopelessly colored, on either days solid state sounds sterile. On the other hand something like an ARC REF3 simply sounds like music and I really don't care what technology was used to achieve it.

 

 

 

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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