Hardcopy Books & magazines
Duncan, Ben & Harrison, Andrew; The Great Cable Test (part 1), Hi-Fi News and Record Review, July 1999, p.30-33, Vol. 44, #7
Duncan, Ben & Harrison, Andrew; The Great Cable Test (part 2), Hi-Fi News and Record Review, August 1999, p.32-41, Vol. 44, #8
Duncan, Ben & Harrison, Andrew; The Great Cable Test (part 2), Hi-Fi News and Record Review, September 1999, p.40-53, Vol. 44, #9
The above three part article is a landmark series, as Duncan and Harrison show that Speaker Cables have a dynamic phase shift with a change in signal level. Phase shift is nothing new, and many have supposed that phase shifts might be a portion of the reason cables sound different from one another. However, the measurement results given in these articles is noteworthy because it shows that speaker cables are definitely non-linear components. A given loudspeaker cable's total amount of phase shift changes as the signal level changes.
This means that FM is present, and an effect sonically akin to digital jitter is occuring within speaker cables.
The fact that this is occuring in speaker cables means that it also must occur, albeit at a reduced level, in interconnects as well.
The article also contains listening test of all the cables tested using the new measurements, which also include a high resolution transient test measurement, using the leading edge of a square wave.
Morrison, Ralph: Grounding and Shielding Techniques for Instrumentation,
3rd ed. John Wiley & Sons
Comments: The definitive tome on grounding and shielding.
Heyser, Richard C.; "A View Through Different Windows", Audio magazine
Comments: A great example of how measurements are limited to a one dimension aspect.
Lloyd, Jim and Overhauser, David; "Electromigration wreaks havoc on
IC design.", EDN magazine (Electroninc Design News), march 25, 1998, p.
Comment: Electromigration is the mass transportation of a metal resulting from the momentum transfer between conducting electrons and diffusing metal atoms, and exists where ever current flows through metal wires. This provides another scientific and physical basis for cable conductor break-in effects.
Wangsness, Ronald K.; "Electromagnetic Fields", 2nd ed. LC 85 - 24642 (0-471-81186-6), John Wiley & Sons Publisher
Duncan, Ben; "Loudspeaker cables, Case Proven", Proc. The Institute
of Acoustics, UK, Nov '95.
Also published in Studio Sound & Broadcast Engineering (UK); and Stereophile (USA) - both Dec 95.
Skoff, Roger; "Wires, Insulators, Conductors,& Audio Signals", Stereophile Sept. 1995, p.96
Duncan, Ben; "Modelling cable", Electronics World (UK), Feb 96.
Duncan, Ben; "Measuring speaker cable differences", Electronics World (UK), June/July '96.
Hawksford, Malcolm Omar; "The Essex Echo", Hi-Fi News, Aug '85; Aug & Oct '86 & Feb '87. reprinted in revised form in Stereophile, Vol.18 No.10, October 1995
Duncan, Ben; Black Box (column), Hi-Fi News & Record Review (UK), June & July '96.
McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Physics, often available at local Libraries.
Comment: This is an excellent physics reference and contains information on many of the more esoteric parameters related to cables, as well as the basics.
Deletraz, Herve: "Reflections, Echos & Music", Stereophile magazine,
Nov. 2001, p. 59
Comments: While there is much to criticize with this piece, I feel that it has two bits of information that should not go unnoticed, they are: at HF's, impedance matching is very much a requirement, and that the 'echos" of unterminated cable reflections may go on for a lot longer than we ever thought.
Given the unterminated example in his article, we can only see what is occuring for about 40 dB down from nominal level, everything below this is lost in the trace display. If we look at how long the unterminated reflections may continue on down to a -90 dB level, then it become apparent that the window for signal disturbance is much wider than the 5-6uS we can see in the display window he provides in the published article.
C&M Corporation Wire & Cable Enginering Design Guide, c1988
Belden Cable Company Master Catalog
"Cable Design: Theory vs. Empirical Reality, 1998" AudioQuest
Hayward, James H.; "Making The Connection: A Closer Look At The Role Of Interconnect Cables", Audio Ideas Guide, Summer/Fall 1994
Hayward, James H.; "Making The Connection, Part Deux: A Closer Look At The Role Of Loudspeaker Cables", Audio Ideas Guide, Winter 1995
Marsh, Richard N.; "Dielectric Absorption In Capacitors", Audio Amatuer,
Comment: Since audio cables have capacitance, signal distortions due to that capacitance can afect the signal in the cable. This article shows how typical series signal caps can distort due to DA, the shunt capacitance of a cable will have related distortions too.
Otala, Matti & Huttenen, P.; "Peak Current Requirements Of Commercial
Comment: Shows how an 8 ohm nominal loudspeaker load can draw current as if it were a 1.6 ohm load, and in general, that loudspeakers are more difficult loads than a resistor the same as their rated nominal impedance.
Lipshitz, Stanley P. & Vanderkooey, J.; "Computing Peak Currents Into Loudspeakers", AES preprint #2411, 81st Convention, 1986
Jung, Walt & Marsh, Richard N.; "Picking Capacitors", Audio, Feb./Mar.
Comment: More good info on capacitor related distortions.
Johnson, Howard W., PhD. & Martin, Graham, PhD.;"High-Speed Digital Design: A Handbook of Black Magic", Prentice Hall
Davis, Fred E.; "Effects of cable, Loudspeaker and Amplifier Interactions", JAES, Vol39, #6 Jun 91
Meyer, E. Brad.; "The Amp/Speaker Interface", Stereo Review, vol. 56,
pp. 53-56 (1991, June)
Comment: Shows how the speaker cable impedance interacting with the loudspeaker impedance can cause frequency response variations.
"Fundamentals of energy transfer" by Ivor Catt, Electronics World, Oct 1984, etc.
Greiner, R.A.,"Amplifier-Loudspeaker Interfacing", JAES vol. 28, no. 5 May 80
Davis, Fred E., "Effects of cable, Loudspeaker and Amplifier Interactions", JAES, vol. 39, no. 6 Jun 91
Olsher, D.,"Cable Bound", Stereophile, Jul 88
Pass, Nelson "Speaker Cables: Science or Snake Oil", Speaker Builder, Feb 80
Greenhill, Larry "Speaker Cables: Can you Hear the Difference?" Stereo Review, Aug 83, pg. 46-51.
Lampen, Stephen "Does Wire Directionality Exist?" Speaker Builder, 3/98, pg 30, 31.
Butterworth, Brent & Griffin, Al "String 'em Up!" Home Theater, Oct 98
Butterworth, Brent "Walking the High Wire", Home Theater, Nov 98, pg 94-102.
"A Real-Time Signal Test for Capacitor Quality", by John Curl and Walt
Jung, The Audio Amatuer, 4/85 pp 22-24
Pertains to DA measurements of caps.
Pease, Richard A.; "Understand capacitor soakage to optimize analog systems." http://www.nsc.com/rap/Application/0,1570,28,00.html
Jung, Walt & Marsh, Richard N.; "Picking Capacitors",
Note on Cap D-E curves, by Steve:
Karl A. Weber, "On Capacitor Dielectric Materials - A Chemist's View"
The previous four URL's relate to the capacitance of an audio cable.
Goudreau, Pete; "JPS Labs Superconductor Interconnects: A Technical
Discussion", SoundStage, http://www.soundstage.com/articles/pete01.htm
Comment: A very interesting article on how chassis potentials affect interconnects.
Hawksford, Malcolm Omar; "The Essex Echo 1995"
Cardas, George; "Cable Resonance is Easy to Measure",
Bond, Matthew; "The Science of Cable Design",
(Parts 1-3 of this series appear in Stereophile Vol. 19, Numbers 1, 3 & 5.)
Magnan, Jim; Whitepaper on skin effect and time smear:
On Skin Effects in cable:
Conductor technology and info ala Van Den Hull:
Whitepapers from Tara labs:
Vandersteen on biwiring:
Q&A on cables from Straightwire:
AudioQuest Cable Theory pages:
MIT measurements on cables:
must click onto the proper links to papers and tech info.
Nelson Pass on speakercables:
Sullivan, Charles R.; "Optimal Choice for Number of Strands
in a Litz-Wire Transformer Winding", Paper presented at the PESC '97, Technical Program, Plenary Session 1, Monday, June 23, 1997, St. Louis MO
Comments: Has sections on skin effect, proximity effect, etc.
More on Litz wire
On cable resonances.
Tag McLaren on cables:
(It's a huge 4 Meg+ file)
Empirical Audio website:
(has some interesting FAQ's and White Papers)
Copper Crystal Structure microphotos
Details on the processing of ETP copper:
More copper info at:
Visualizing electromagnetic fields:
Computing basic cable parameters, while varying geometry and dielectric
and conductor sizes:
Info from Ragnar Holm Conferences on Connector aspects:
*Belden Cable Company*
Cable Part Finder & Number Search
Tech article about Cable Impedance
Belden Cable College:
Recommendations for Home Theater and High-End Audio by Belden/Steve
Lampen (note: these recommendations are more casual than my own, and do
not take materials issues as seriously. They may not coincide with
my own recommendations, and are based more on the old school of cables
as mere plumbing and RF carriers.)
Belden Distributor Locator
The Belden distibutor locator is now buried in their web site, see:
then click on Contact Information, and then on Distributor Locator
Audio/Video Specialists Distributors (NOTE: May not carry 89259,
or other coax or CAT5 cables, as these are not considered AV cables.)
Cable Permitivity, Conductivity, and Permeability, from Gore web site:
Good article for cable parameter basics.
Blind tests of Speaker Cables, Home Theater mag.
Web site with lots of info on capacitors.
E-book on Electrolytic capacitors, includes basics of capacitors.
Risch, Jon M.; Assorted Posts and Web Pages, 1997-2003
All the DIY cable links on one page:
The DIY note that started it all:
Pictures of soldering RCA plugs:
The companion note to the interconnect note, the one on DIY speaker
Diagrams and pictures of speaker cable:
How to connect a quad CC 89259 speaker cable:
About different CAT-5 recipes:
DIY Digital Cables:
and for comments on how the three sound:
DIY AC power cord post/thread:
simulations of various cables, depicting the EMF's associated with them.
Cable inductance, and how it is controlled
Long Speaker Cables vs. Long Interconnects:
Everyone Should Get Good Cables:
A discussion of ABX/DBT issues:
Covers some of the relevant EMF aspects of audio cables
Advanced shielding concepts:
All about bi-wiring, the hows and whys
Latest Flash on bi-wiring tweaks:
How to listen, excerpt from my AES paper:
My AES paper is preprint #3178, "A User Friendly Methodology for
Subjective Listening Tests", presented at the 91st AES convention,
Consisting of 33 pages of text, and 19 references, it is too long to try
and present here, and I urge anyone interested in the details to get
a copy from the AES, it is available for $5, and can be ordered from:
The skinny on RG-6 coaxial cables:
Easy coaxial based speaker cables:
The hows and whys of shorting plugs in unused inputs/outputs:
On 75 Ohm Loading plugs:
On RCA plugs/Jacks being a "true 75 ohms":
How AC cords can affect the sound:
Tests of a power cord on a digital recording system:
AC Power artifacts getting past a DVD power supply:
Minimizing AC Power Leakage Currents, OR How to Orient Your
Two-prong Non-polarized AC Plugs:
How digital audio interconnects can affect the sound:
some more advanced discussion about jitter at:
Using Up the Error Budget in the Studio:
Zobel for high capacitance speaker cables that tend to cause amp oscillation.
Balanced to RCA and vice versa.
Why elevating cables off the floor may have an effect.
Balanced IC's vs. Unbalanced (single-ended) IC's:
About cable "ground":
The Cost of High End Audio Cables:
Casual Vs. Analytical Listening:
Eliminating Cable TV Ground Loop Hum:
(the involved version, with SS and grounding info)
(An archived Stereophile review, that shows measured jitter levels.)
(Talks about optical based jitter problems toward the end)
(This site has many links to good references, as well as decent explanations of what jitter is, etc.)
Replication News Article on Jitter:
Roger Nichols Article on CD mastering jitter:
(Impedance variations of a short cable, note may contain technical errors, graph labeling is not consistent)
(One of the more popular TOSLINK optical components)
Digital Logic chip output waveforms and ground bounce info:
page29-32, waveform views of various devices, shows great shots of non-square square waves
Pages 10-16, digital logic waveforms, showing less than perfect logic signal transmission, ringing, ground bounce, etc. Esp p. 15-16
Shows good waveforms on page 4, also t-line effects for 3 foot cables.
Shows RF output of logic chips.
Shows mis-termination results, and (best case) real world waveforms.
Clearly shows waveform abberations due to the real world.
info on voltage regulator transients, re digital audio and jitter.
http://www.linear-tech.com/pdf/lt0117.pdf, page 5
http://www.national.com/ads-cgi/viewer.pl/ds/LM/LM117.pdf, page 4
Fig. 12 and Fig. 13
Ground Bounce Info:
Good basic tutorial.
Shows actual measurements, scope pics, etc.
Chris Van Haus's DIY Speaker Cable recipe:
StarQuad-CAT5 Recipe by Jon B. (lower L than usual braiding, similar
C per pair basis)
On braiding and how to, for cables:
Thorsten Loesch's Cable Recipes at:
Note: the TNT Cat5 speaker cable design uses CAT5 part
numbers NOT readily available in the US, and thus,
it will not be a good option for US DIYers.
The Enjoy The Music DIY digital IC recipe:
(hint: use 1506A instead of 1505A for better results)
Greg Weaver's Signal Tape IC's:
Greg Smith's column on the above, and on stock 89259 coax as an IC:
Polypropylene rope IC's:
http://18.104.22.168/pages/Insulation.cfm (new alphawire URL)
Other Cable Information, including some of the above:
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