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Cryogenic cable treatment.
RockFan
post Sep 6 2005, 23:05
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From;

http://www.frozensolidaudio.com/Freezing%20Issue.htm


"The speaker cables arrived first. Max [Townshend] delivered them in person (together with a car-full of Seismic Sink products, of which more on another occasion) so that we could listen to the differences together. Townshend cables already use annealed copper because Max had found that it sounds better: DCT is, in effect, a super annealing process, and it was quickly apparent that the cable with the cryo-copper sounded better still. I've now done the comparison many times, and the difference continues to astound me. The DCT cable has greater resolution and a notably airier, more natural sound - to such an extent that, having heard it for himself, Max returned home and immediately arranged for a first batch of copper to go to Frozen Solid for treatment. Cryo versions of his cables will be available by the time you read this.

Because DCT has the effect of reducing copper's resistance somewhat, it was important to check that the audible differences could not be explained away by small changes in frequency response at the loudspeaker terminals. To test for this I used MLSSA to measure the difference when using the two cables. You can see the outcome in Fig 1. MLSSA gives a rather noisy plot at this resolution (I could have used smoothing to disguise it) but even so it is clear that the disparity in frequency response is comfortably within +/ - 0.01dB across the entire audible frequency range - much too small a difference to account for the significant change in sound quality.

If anything the interconnect cables, when they arrived a little later proved even greater a revelation than the speaker cables. Max had identified them as A, B and C, and only when I told him that I vastly preferred pair C over the other two did he confirm that this was indeed the cryogenically treated set. Once again, the sound of the treated cables was characterized by manifestly superior transparency. Music was dynamic in a way that simply eluded the other two cables (one annealed, the other not) - more finely etched and yet more weighty and punchy too.

Delighted as I am with the outcome of this experiment (although I don't imagine for one moment it will change the minds of those who regard cables sonics as a figment of others' imaginations) I have now to concede, rather like Scott trudging forlornly up to the South Pole that someone got there before me. While the copper was with Frozen Solid being treated, I stumbled across a Pearl advert in a 1993 issue of Glass Audio that mentioned cryogenic treatment of vacuum tubes.

Some web searching soon revealed that Ed Meitner was the man behind this; that he had performed similar experiments to mine with cables, and a great deal else besides, a decade and more ago; and that he'd actually sold cryogenically treated cables for a while under the Museatex brand. For some obscure reason this all passed me by at the time, despite a fair few column inches being devoted to the subject in magazines like. Stereophile
[GET THEE HENCE!].


I tracked Ed down to his company EMM Labs in Calgary Canada and spoke to him on the telephone about his many experiments with DCT and why his pioneering work has slowly slipped from view. You can read what he told me in the accompanying panel. I must say even after that conversation, I remain puzzled. Having heard for myself the astonishing effect of cryogenically treating the copper in speaker and interconnect cables, I can't imagine how this process and its benefits could fade into obscurity. As Ed Meitner himself says, it can't be due to cost because - in the context of high-end gear, at any rate - it is swamped by all those digits in the price tag. Although Meitner still uses cryogenic treatment himself, for everyone else in the audio industry it appears to have been a case of NIH (not invented here) or maybe IDU (I don't understand). Perhaps things will be different this second time around. And before you ask, yes - I will be striving to find some way of quantifying the sonic difference DCT so obviously makes.
Ed Meitner of EMM Labs

INTERVIEW

Here Ed Meitner of EMM Labs talks about his pioneering work with cryogenic treatment.

'We know what copper looks like under heavy magnification - it has a very erratic lattice structure, and we know that this comes from the way it is made. Most materials come from a liquid and are shocked, more or less, into a solid. So the lattice structure of the material isn't in its natural state. What this does is produce stress, residual stress.

'If you treat the material at low temperatures, where the strength of the atomic bonds starts to diminish it reverts to the natural crystal structure. So this process relieves the residual stress. It is a function of temperature and time. The absolute temperature doesn't matter very much, but if you only go down to, say, -200F it may take several weeks. If we take it down to liquid nitrogen temperatures then it happens much faster. Our treatment time for copper was 12 hours on the way down, 12 hours soak, and 12 hours back. You don't want to go too fast: then you put thermal stresses into the material and break it."


WHy have I posted this?

Firstly, Mr. Howard claims to have easily discerned the 'frozen' interconnects - to have blind-tested them.

Secondly, I think de-stressed or 'relaxed' conductors sound like a good idea. I've always treated cables (especially headphone cords, which obviously get handled a lot)) carefully, for this reason

bring it on.

R.

edit; Moved to 'hardware'? I guess that's reasonable.

This post has been edited by RockFan: Sep 7 2005, 00:34
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boojum
post Sep 6 2005, 23:55
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What amazes me is that these breakthroughs in physics only happen in the audio world and are only reported in the popular or trade press. Could it be a conspiracy in the scientific world? Has to be. It is the only logical explanation. Move over Einstein. cool.gif


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Defsac
post Sep 7 2005, 00:14
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QUOTE (RockFan @ Sep 7 2005, 08:05 AM)
Most materials come from a liquid and are shocked, more or less, into a solid. So the lattice structure of the material isn't in its natural state. What this does is produce stress, residual stress.
Not copper. The disorganized lattice structure of copper comes from it's production, yes, but not a "shock". The most energy efficient way to refine pure (99.97%) copper from blister copper is to place a thin sheet of pure copper into a chamber with copper sulphate and sulphuric acid, then connect it to the positive side of a power source to form a positive terminal (anode) and use electrolysis to cause the copper from the anode to enter the solution (become aqueous) and then stick to the cathode (negative terminal) in the form of copper cations (positively charged ions).

Since the copper cations have been "stuck" to the cathode individually the lattice structure is indeed rather disorganised. I'm very sceptical that this would significantly (audibly) effect AC frequencies in the audible range. I don't think you'd see differences in electron transfer outside of physics labs.

Edit: I found a good Wikipedia article offering a more in depth explanation here. The stage I'm referring to is electrorefining.

This post has been edited by Defsac: Sep 7 2005, 07:12
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RockFan
post Sep 7 2005, 00:33
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QUOTE (boojum @ Sep 6 2005, 02:55 PM)
What amazes me is that these breakthroughs in physics only happen in the audio world and are only reported in the popular or trade press.  Could it be a conspiracy in the scientific world?  Has to be.  It is the only logical explanation.  Move over Einstein.    cool.gif
*


What else might it be applicable to?

R.

edit> PS, I'm not that impressed by Einstein. Theoreticans are crap, get all the glory, do none of the work. I prefer empirical science and engineering - Faraday, Tesla, Birkeland et al, real contributors.

This post has been edited by RockFan: Sep 7 2005, 00:44
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Defsac
post Sep 7 2005, 01:00
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QUOTE (RockFan @ Sep 7 2005, 09:33 AM)
What else might it be applicable to?
Using residual stress to explain differences in audio cables is pretty novel. In fact, it's exceedingly rare to hear of residual stress outside of concrete and welding applications.
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RockFan
post Sep 7 2005, 01:10
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QUOTE (Defsac @ Sep 6 2005, 04:00 PM)
QUOTE (RockFan @ Sep 7 2005, 09:33 AM)
What else might it be applicable to?
Using residual stress to explain differences in audio cables is pretty novel. In fact, it's exceedingly rare to hear of residual stress outside of concrete and welding applications.
*



Well, as far as some are concerned; what differences?

To put my question to Boojum another way;- in what other application might the molecular structure of a a conductor (copper, in this case) make any measurable or perceptable differerence?

R.
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CSMR
post Sep 7 2005, 01:30
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QUOTE (RockFan @ Sep 6 2005, 02:05 PM)
WHy have I posted this?

Firstly, Mr. Howard claims to have easily discerned the 'frozen' interconnects - to have blind-tested them.

Secondly, I think de-stressed or 'relaxed' conductors sound like a good idea. I've always treated cables (especially headphone cords, which obviously get handled a lot)) carefully, for this reason

bring it on.

R.

edit; Moved to 'hardware'? I guess that's reasonable.
*

Almost everyone here has relatively low-end audio gear, so even if what this guy is saying is correct it won't help the users of this forum. This sort of thing just incites zealotry.

This post has been edited by CSMR: Sep 7 2005, 01:30
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RockFan
post Sep 7 2005, 01:39
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QUOTE (CSMR @ Sep 6 2005, 04:30 PM)
Almost everyone here has relatively low-end audio gear, so even if what this guy is saying is correct it won't help the users of this forum. This sort of thing just incites zealotry.
*


Maybe you're right. At least you didn't flat-out call me a troll, thanks.

But my gear is 'low end' in the sense that it's all old-ish, bought 2nd hand and cheap.

Perhaps one thing people might take from this is:- don't brutalise yer cables.

As I said, it's something I do, and always have - intuitive kind of thing.

R.

edit; I mean, it's something I don't do. Sheeit, I'm such a pedant.

This post has been edited by RockFan: Sep 7 2005, 01:40
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Axon
post Sep 7 2005, 01:55
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If the change described is really that audible, it would show up on a large number of HA users' systems.
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boojum
post Sep 7 2005, 04:53
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@ RockFan. OK, no more tongue-in-cheek. I think the guy is a BS'er, pure and simple. That is why these "amazing breakthroughs" in audio never appear in scientific journals. Hello? Unless, of course, you believe there is some sort of organised conspiracy in the scientific world to discredit these geniuses who can discover this stuff with their ears and liquid nitrogen. Yeah, right. cool.gif


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Cyaneyes
post Sep 7 2005, 05:31
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QUOTE (RockFan @ Sep 6 2005, 06:05 PM)
From;

http://www.frozensolidaudio.com/Freezing%20Issue.htm

Max had identified them as A, B and C, and only when I told him that I vastly preferred pair C over the other two did he confirm that this was indeed the cryogenically treated set.
*


Oh my god! How amazing that the pair of cables the guy said he preferred was revealed by the guy selling the freezing service as the treated pair!

I wish I could put my conscience aside long enough to steal money through audiophile treatments like this.
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Defsac
post Sep 7 2005, 07:16
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QUOTE (RockFan @ Sep 7 2005, 10:10 AM)
Well, as far as some are concerned; what differences?
Impossible to say, the article did not explain how freezing the cable made it sound better in terms of electron transfer, merely that it had a positive effect on the sound.

Their blind test proceedure is also highly dubious, partly because it isn't a double blind test (the examiner knows which is which), but mainly because the examiner is trying to sell the cables they are testing.
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antz
post Sep 7 2005, 16:33
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QUOTE (boojum @ Sep 7 2005, 04:53 AM)
@ RockFan.  OK, no more tongue-in-cheek.  I think the guy is a BS'er, pure and simple.  That is why these "amazing breakthroughs" in audio never appear in scientific journals.  Hello?  Unless, of course, you believe there is some sort of organised conspiracy in the scientific world to discredit these geniuses who can discover this stuff with their ears and liquid nitrogen.  Yeah, right.    cool.gif
*

Seconded - they don't appear because they aren't breakthroughs at at. They'd be the laughing stock of any scientific journal.

Firstly, I fail to see how cooling copper relieves stresses, every other metal and technique invloves heat not cold. Secondly, even if it does somehow do so, surely any working of it (mechanically) will cause stress to be re-introduced? Even the application of the rather neccessary insulation will undo the process. Thirdly, it's interesting to see that the frequency responses were the same to wihin 0.01dB (strange that, isn't it!) yet the differences were clearly audible?

The usual cable-voodoo and tosh...IMO
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JeanLuc
post Sep 7 2005, 17:19
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I'm not that much into electric science but I do understand that a near-supraconductor (as produced by freezing cables with e.g. liguid nitrogen) won't show a noticeable DC resistance (or a significantly reduced one) which could be audible ... if cable lengths would exceed some 1000 metres.

I seriously doubt that freezing cables to some 100K (producing a near-supraconductor) will make any difference on the standard 3-5m speaker cable with 'normal' speaker voltages and currents.

What I do not know is whether deep-frozen cables show the same inductive or capacitive resistance as room-temeperature cables (I doubt that impedance is influenced by low temperatures the same way as DC resistance is audible) ... if not, audible differences would be much more probable ...

I have some doubt in the way that specific blind test has been carried out, though ...

This post has been edited by JeanLuc: Sep 7 2005, 17:19


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Klyith
post Sep 7 2005, 21:24
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JeanLuc - These aren't cables that are at low temperatures while they're being used for audio. That would be believable. These are cables that have been exposed to some very low temperature and held there for a period of time, but now are room temperature again. Supposedly the low temperatures have caused internal changes to the copper.

Which is BS by the way. "The strength of atomic bonds starts to diminish" at low temperatures? Bull. Low temperatures means less atomic movement, there's not going to be any changes to the crystal structure.
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Defsac
post Sep 8 2005, 02:56
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QUOTE (JeanLuc @ Sep 8 2005, 02:19 AM)
I'm not that much into electric science but I do understand that a near-supraconductor (as produced by freezing cables with e.g. liguid nitrogen) won't show a noticeable DC resistance (or a significantly reduced one) which could be audible ... if cable lengths would exceed some 1000 metres.
Superconductivity certainly has some interesting properties, but it only occours while the material is at extremely low temperatures. For simple metals, their temperature has to be maintained at around 5K, which is -268 degrees Celcius (-450 degrees Fahrenheit). You won't find a critical temperature for copper listed anywhere because nobody has ever achieved superconductivity using pure copper. Considering they've tested Titanium to superconduct at 0.39K, it's unlikely pure copper superconducts at any temperature (remembering that 0K is absolute zero).

These cables were tested at room temperature after being frozen, not during the freezing.

Freezing to 100K won't cause any known material to superconduct. The highest known critical temperature is 39K for magnesium diboride. Freezing pure copper to 100K may reduce DC resistance but whether it will audiably change AC properties at below radio frequencies is unknown.

This post has been edited by Defsac: Sep 8 2005, 03:07
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Klyith
post Sep 8 2005, 17:45
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QUOTE (Defsac @ Sep 7 2005, 09:56 PM)
Freezing to 100K won't cause any known material to superconduct. The highest known critical temperature is 39K for magnesium diboride. Freezing pure copper to 100K may reduce DC resistance but whether it will audiably change AC properties at below radio frequencies is unknown.

!!! useless pendantic information !!!

The highest temperature superconductor known are the exotic ceramics. The current record holder is HgTlBaCaCuO, with a critical temperature of 138K. MgB2 is the highest temperature type-1 superconductor; that is it obeys the BCS thoery of supermagnatism. The high temperature superconductors based on various ceramic oxides are called type-2, and we still don't know why or how they superconduct. That makes it hard to say what the highest possible temperature is, and reduces the whole thing to a lot of trial and error experimentation.

The superconductor that is most used today is YBCO, yttrium barium copper oxide. It superconducts at 94K, which is important because it can be cooled with liquid nitrogen. I believe it is used in prefrence to some others with higher allowed temperatures because of easier manufacturing and less brittle mechanics.
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Shade[ST]
post Sep 8 2005, 18:19
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QUOTE (Klyith @ Sep 8 2005, 10:45 AM)
The superconductor that is most used today is YBCO, yttrium barium copper oxide. It superconducts at 94K, which is important because it can be cooled with liquid nitrogen. I believe it is used in prefrence to some others with higher allowed temperatures because of easier manufacturing and less brittle mechanics.

That would mean YBaCuO
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spoon
post Sep 8 2005, 19:29
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Of course it is bullshit, hmmm lets see - freeze the cable it will low its resistance and when it is returned to normal temperature it will return to the old resistance, scientifically you could prove that, just funny how science cannot prove a warmer, more natural sound...

Until the next snake oil remedy...


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Defsac
post Sep 8 2005, 22:52
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QUOTE (Klyith @ Sep 9 2005, 02:45 AM)
!!! useless pendantic information !!!

The highest temperature superconductor known are the exotic ceramics. The current record holder is HgTlBaCaCuO, with a critical temperature of 138K.
I was referring to conventional superconductors, that is ones that are explainable with BCS theory as you said.
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Klyith
post Sep 8 2005, 23:36
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QUOTE (Shade[ST] @ Sep 8 2005, 01:19 PM)
QUOTE (Klyith @ Sep 8 2005, 10:45 AM)
The superconductor that is most used today is YBCO, yttrium barium copper oxide. It superconducts at 94K, which is important because it can be cooled with liquid nitrogen. I believe it is used in prefrence to some others with higher allowed temperatures because of easier manufacturing and less brittle mechanics.

That would mean YBaCuO
Yes, the chemical formula is YBa2Cu3O7. But it is abbreviated YBCO in normal usage as the common name. There are in fact at least three different superconductors that use variant amounts of those four elements. I think "YBCO" may be sort a name for it as a product, to distinguish it from the others... But I'm just an interested layman.

QUOTE (Defsac @ Sep 8 2005, 05:52 PM)
I was referring to conventional superconductors, that is ones that are explainable with BCS theory as you said.
Ah. Actually, according to superconductors.org, MgB is a type 2 so it doesn't use standard BCS theory either. But they have seem to have explained how MgB works, the "two energy gap" theory. It seems that it is different than all the high temp perovskite / ceramic superconductors. MgB isn't in wide use yet, but it is slated to replace most of the standard superconductors used in medical and scientific devices, like MRI. It still required liquid helium, but that's no different than the current ones.

---
Here's a different interesting bit of materials science: A while back I read an article about nanocrystaline copper. An engineer was experimenting with flash-freezing molten copper, and found that the micro crystal structure produced had very different physical properties, like strength, ductility, hardness. There wasn't anything about electrical changes, so I assumed that was the same. Any bets on how long it will be before someone tries to sell nanocrystal wire with amazing new audio claims?
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boojum
post Sep 9 2005, 00:44
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" Any bets on how long it will be before someone tries to sell nanocrystal wire with amazing"


Actually, I just bought some of those as speaker cables. They sound so much warmer than the others I used. ROTFLMAO tongue.gif


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Defsac
post Sep 9 2005, 06:35
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QUOTE (Klyith @ Sep 9 2005, 08:36 AM)
Ah. Actually, according to superconductors.org, MgB is a type 2 so it doesn't use standard BCS theory either.
Some type 2 superconductors are regarded as conventional, even though they may not strictly follow BCS theory, provided they can be explained with extensions. I should have said in my post "that is ones that are explainable with BCS theory and extensions".

The criteria for type 2 superconductors is an extremely small amount of resistance which appears if a strong current is applied in tandem with a strong magnetic field. The niobium-titanium alloy used in MRI devices is a type 2 but is considered conventional.

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krabapple
post Sep 20 2005, 19:40
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The sad thing is that Meitner is highly respected for some of his other work (DSD converter development) -- although I'd note that few if any of the claims for his (or any other high-end products) are ever properly tested. It's a very echo-chamber culture, high-end.
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MikeFord
post Sep 22 2005, 08:57
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Whats puzzling to me is that every few months for the last 30 years a new wire has shown up that is far superior to the existing products, say 50 generations of great improvements, but I don't think even the most diehard of subjectivist would claim those "great improvements" have stacked any sense. If B is better than A, and C is better than B, by the time you get to Z it should be orgasmic compared to A, a difference that would make a double blind test so easy to pass.

Is it any wonder that I listen the most these days to 192k MP3 in my car through factory speakers?
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