Ahh, the forbidden and much-maligned arguments regarding wires.
Ok let's start here: wires do make a difference. In a system of high enough resolution, you can hear the differences in wires of all types, from interconnects to speaker wires.
In order of hearing the differences in their "sound signatures:"
1. Digital cables of all types - not much to hear here except for the data gaps from restricted bandwidth/speed.

2. Optical cables ( Toslink) - Ok I'll admit some differences between them but pale in comparison to the flawed concept of taking a perfectly good digital signal, converting it into an optical format then re-converting it back to digital. By the way, that's my beef with the CD format, but that is for another blog post.

3. RCA etc. interconnects (low voltage) - There are clear differences to be heard here. The wire diameter, shielding, and especially the dielectric (insulation) make large differences at even these low voltages of say on average 4 volts maximum. Why do these aforementioned construction factors affect sound? Firstly wire thickness affects resistance that may or may not impede electrical signal transmission. Combined with wire capacitance and inductance of the wire it can form a type of filter which as we know alters frequency response. Thinner wire is better however to a degree. Keep in mind that long runs of interconnects need thicker wire. I'll address dielectric and wire strands in a moment.

4. Speaker wires - the large gorilla in the room. Yes, big differences here. Here is where the rubber meets the road. The last wires in the chain are the most relevant (or are they?). Actually, the speaker crossover coils are the last meaningful wires (excluding the driver's voice coil) between the amplifier and speakers. Larger gorilla-sized wires (here we go again) are not needed at sub-100 volt voltages. It's simply overkill and at worst destructive to your speaker's sound. Large wires require large amounts of dielectric and it's quite difficult for very small signals to bully through all that copper. Fat tires on racing bikes don't cut it for speed, right? When the diameter of the conducting wire increases the skin effect will increase drastically. Skin effect: promotes changes in a cable's electrical characteristics such as resistance and inductance. These change continuously depending on the distance from the surface of the wire. If the conductor cable is too large, the skin effect will also affect the reproduced audio frequencies. Important high-frequency audio will be flattened with treble loss and obscured detail retrieval.

Dielectric of wires - all wires - here is the largest influence on wire audio: the insulation. I say wire audio here as this mostly applies to the ow signals that travel through audio wires. Insulation as we all know needs to be there or wires touch, they short out and no audio at best, and blown components occur in the worst scenarios. The dialectic effect is the phenomenon of materials that absorb electrical signals especially those of alternating current such as audio. In short, we do not want our audio signals absorbed and then released back into the audio stream. That creates timing issues and smears the sound.

The best dielectrics for wire are air 1. o, Kynar®6.4, Nylon4.0, enamel 3.2, Polyester 2.80, Polyethylene 2.30, Polypropylene 2.24, Silicone Rubber 2.6, Polyvinyl Chloride 2.7, Teflon® 2.15.

Lower is better.

Keep in mind here that the dielectric thickness is a factor as well. We prefer enamel insulation. Why? It's the thinness that matters. Enameled magnet wire has a very thin insulation and thusly a low net dielectric constant.

Oh and lastly, that crossover coil in your speaker - a 1 mH / 16 gauge crossover coil has over 75 feet of magnet wire in it....






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Vinyl lives. New users of turntables are out there searching for budget-friendly and exotic "tables." Two basic types are available to choose from Belt drive and direct drive. In the recent past, there was an additional turntable type "The rim drive". That's another type we can discuss later.
In short, belt drive turntables are just that: a narrow belt couples the drive motor to the platter. it is stepped down in speed from the motor to the requires 33 1/3 or 45 RPM needed to play records accurately.
Direct drive turntables have the motor underneath the platter coupled to the platter directly. There is no step-down in speed to match the record, as the motor rotates at the exact speed needed.
Now we will discuss the controversial and often debated features and pros and cons of both types.
belt drive turntable shinjitsu audio
Belt Drive platter

Belt Drive

Pros:
1) Generally, less expensive, and simpler to design with fewer electronic elements than a direct drive.
2) Arguably better decoupling of the motor from the platter due to the rubber belt.
3) Claimed decreased micro flutter as the motor is not turning at the exact platter speed and is once again decoupled by the belt. It's said this absorbs and smooths out the micro flutter elements and provides a more organic sound quality.
4) Belt drives have been in use far longer and have an esteemed reputation for their sound quality.

Cons:
1) Belts stretch over time producing increased wow and flutter.
2) Belts can slip and produce less torque than direct drives.
3) Belts wear out and will need to be replaced eventually depending on your environment.
4) Belt drives produce more wow and flutter than direct drives as they are not usually microprocessor controlled.

Direct drive motor shinjitsu audio
Direct Drive motor

Direct Drive

Pros:
1) The design used when records are made. Mastering facility's that cut and press vinyl records use direct-drive turntables. The high torque needed along with the low wow and flutter produces a better-sounding record.
2) Better speed control. Most direct-drive turntables use a quartz-locked circuit that is like your watch or CD player. This results in better wow and flutter measurements.
3) Micro flutter, although postulated as an issue with direct drive, simply does not exist. If it did there would be measurements that show this, and they do not. The exact platter speed is locked in by the quartz clock in the drive circuit.
4) Direct drive turntables have been around since the 60s and were and still are considered the audio standard for speed control and neutral sound.

Cons:
1) Claims of micro-flutter or ratcheting/cogwheeling due to hunting and pecking about the rotational frequency.
2) Direct drives transmit any motor noise right through the spindle to the record.
3) Direct drives are not cool or audiophile quality.
4) Direct-drive turntables are used only by DJs.
My take is that I prefer Direct Drive turntables due to their low wow and flutter, high torque that fosters brush cleaning of the vinyl on the fly, and long service life.

The bottom line for me is that the motor is simply used to turn the platter and vinyl disc at an accurate speed despite the drag of the stylus. It should not impart a sound of its own. Organic or liquid does not imply accuracy - its colors the sound. Just as many motorcycles are moving to shaft-driven and away from chain drive, turntables are best driven direct coupled.

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Updated: Oct 30



What we usually consider as impossible are simply engineering problems... there's no law of physics preventing them. - Michio Kaku



Conventional wisdom states that in order for a speaker to efficiently produce music, especially bass, the speaker driver must be in some sort of baffle. The sound coming from its rear wave should not cancel out the sound from the front wave.

This generally takes the form of a speaker cabinet, often a rectangular box made of wood, sometimes chided as a "monkey coffin".





Cabinet types are have an important acoustic role determining the resulting sound quality and bass response. There are several cabinet types available and one that eliminates the cabinet entirely!


1. Sealed cabinet or acoustic suspension.
PROS: easiest and least expensive to build, slow roll off of bass below tuning frequency of cabinet.

CONS: Usually larger cabinets are needed to produce deeper bass.


2. Vented, bass reflex or ported cabinet.

PROS: deeper bass that sealed cabinets, relatively easy to build, nice compromise between considering size of cabinet and cost/complexity.

CONS: faster roll off below tuning frequency, requires careful measurement of port length.

Used in our Hiro 6.5



3. Horn loaded speaker cabinet.


Comes basically in two types: front loaded and back loaded.


A Front loaded horn was and still is the design used by Klipsch speakers and many others. It places a horn shaped bell in front of the driver to amplify sound. It can be used on any sized driver.
PROS: electronic free amplification, low powered amplifiers may apply here. Dynamics are presented in a more natural way.

CONS: the horn shape, and size must be near perfect to minimize distortion and coloring of the sound such as a shouty sound in vocals. A large or very large cabinet required. Costly to build.

A Back loaded horn is used to catch the rear wave of the driver and funnel it to the rear or front of the speaker. It is tuned to provide the normally 180 degrees out of phase rear wave, reversing its phase due to its 1/4 wavelength and reinforcing the front wave. This produces a 3 decibel boost in bass frequencies.

Used in our Super Hiro and Hiro speakers


PROS: Free bass. The rear wave that is usually wasted is captured by the rear horn and directed into your room. This provides a nice 3 decibel bass boost and increases bass dynamics.

CONS: Very costly to build due to the complexity of the cabinet. Can be large if not folded into a compact design. Critical design constraints require careful tuning of horn length, taper ratio, and horn mouth.

5. A Transmission line cabinet
Is kind of a hybrid between a ported design and a horn design. It provides rear wavs reinforcement, damping and moderately large cabinet size. PROS: Some say it’s the perfect compromise and provides deep tuneful bass. CONS: relatively complex to build with larger sized cabinet. Must be constructed carefully to insure performance gains. Disagreement as to its implementation regarding stuffing type, density, and implementation.

I'm sure I missed some exotic cabinet types and may have omitted some exotic details of each so please feel free to weigh in.
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