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Research on Audio Cables: Characteristics and Impact on Sound Quality

January 08, 2020 10:02 source: HC Audio Lighting Font [ Big Middle Small ]

[Digital Audiovisual Network News] Some people say that the audio cable has a huge impact on the audio system. Some people say that it is only a psychological function. Many players will call the audio cable a metaphysics ... Many different statements, but is it really difficult to value the cable Estimate? Let's talk about the characteristics of the audio cable today, and see what effect the cable has on the entire audio system.

Material of wire: TPC electrolytic copper, OFC oxygen-free copper, OCC single crystal copper. OCC has many benefits, but in many audio cables, only a few high-priced products are willing to use OCC, most of them are still mainly OFC materials. A good audio cable should have physical properties such as low capacitance, low inductance, low resistance, and low skin effect.


Wire diameter thickness or winding method

The structure of the acoustic wire has a great impact on the sound. Because the electrical characteristics of the audio wire are nothing more than capacitors, resistors, and inductors; the same dish depends on how you use conditioning. Generally, there are three ways to wind the wire: one or three bare wires are used as the center, and the remaining bare wires are wound in the same direction with this center as the concentric winding method; there are also all the bare wires as a whole , The collective winding method wound in the same direction; the other is to adopt a compromised compound winding method, most of the European and American-made threads seem to use the concentric winding method mostly. Earlier signal lines were basically coaxial wires with a single core structure, which was developed in the 1930s for long-distance transmission of telephones. Due to the low signal loss, most of the information can be transmitted on one wire, and it is not easily affected by external noise. Therefore, the coaxial wire can be used for all signal transmission. However, it was later found that the center conductor of a common coaxial wire is a single wire. If the single wire is too thin, the electrical resistance of the appliance will increase; if it is too thick, the high-frequency signal will not pass easily. Therefore, some people bundle a bundle of wires that are thinner than hair to reduce the transmission loss from low frequency to high frequency. However, some people find that the cross-sectional area of the thin wire is small and the signal in the low and medium frequency band has a higher frequency difference. Conductors of different thicknesses and individual insulations are responsible for the transmission of signals in different frequency bands, so that skin effects can be avoided, and at the same time comprehensive requirements can be achieved. The same material and the same shield, but as long as the diameter of the wire is thick, thin or the winding method is different, the result will be a difference of ten thousand miles.

Encapsulation isolation cannot be ignored. In a line, in addition to the outermost insulation net or soft PVC covering, there can be up to ten layers of various filling and isolation designs inside. Common filling materials are cotton, PE rope, or PVC strip. Since most of the conductor cross-sections are round, they must be filled with the filling material to form a tight and solid support to avoid stress on the wire when it is bent. Flat phenomenon. There are different ways of insulation treatment of conductors, such as insulated enamel, PVC and Teflon. The electrical characteristics of various insulation materials are different, and designers can choose according to their needs. Generally speaking, the most expensive Teflon is effective. As for the isolation layer, it is mainly to prevent electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere from entering, so that the wires become antennas. Common wires are aluminum foil, tinned copper mesh, etc., and even OFC oxygen-free copper is used for the isolation mesh.


Wires can generally be divided into single-core wires, multi-core wires and composite wires. Single-core wires are commonly used in the United States; multi-core wires are commonly used in American monsters; composite wires are commonly used in the Netherlands. The wire is also divided into ordinary oxygen-free copper single crystal copper, alloy material and inorganic material according to the material. Ordinary oxygen-free copper also needs to distinguish several N, most of them are 4 N, better is 6 N, advanced is 8 N or more (what are several N? Is the purity of copper, A few N is a few 9, for example 6 N is 99.9999%), what is single crystal copper? Everyone knows that general metal substances are composed of numerous crystals, and single crystal copper is a crystal with a long line, so Signal transmission is relatively smooth. The alloy is easy to understand, that is, the fusion of many metals. Inorganic materials: either organic or inorganic, such as carbon fiber. A composite wire is a composite of two different metal materials. For example, a silver-clad wire is a layer of silver that is not plated on the outside of the copper wire. Another type of wire is a combination of single-core wire and multi-core wire, that is, the structure of the wire is multi-core wire, but each wire is insulated enameled wire, and it is made of different thickness wires, so it has a single wire. Core and multi-core characteristics. Commonly used is Swiss SYMO.

Generally speaking, the sound of a single-core cable is faster and refreshing, and the sound of a multi-core cable is more mellow, but it is necessary to experiment on whether your equipment is suitable. This is true of almost all audio-related equipment. This is also the confusion and Charm. The same set of equipment will produce completely different effects in different environments and conditions. Therefore, you must have a solution for matching and positioning the equipment in your own working environment. This solution is only suitable for you.

If your signal cable is determined, the next step is the power cable. Generally, people don't pay much attention to power cables. You should know that power cables are also very important. Someone wants to ask if your home ’s power supply comes from outside. Do you care? It ’s a normal line when you enter the house. It does n’t matter if you use a few meters long, but the fact is very useful, no matter how your electricity comes in. Yes, as long as you replace the power cord with a better one, you will immediately feel the difference in sound and there will be a great improvement immediately.

If you have the money, you can buy a line with a certain popularity and come back for a while, but many beginners have no money, so there are many good performance substitutes. For example, some of the signal cables on the sound source are very good, and some of the domestic Chengfeng brand of Shanghai are quite good, and the price is very cheap. The power cord can find some imported power amplifier power cords, and some perform very well. If there is no cable, it is better to use a general speaker cable as the power cable than some original cables. If possible, your equipment can be grounded from the outside, so your music works will have A very clean background.

Three common audio cables

Signal, speaker, and power cables. Among them, the function of the signal line and the speaker line is: ⑴ transmission signal; ⑵ impedance transformation; ⑶ tone color modification.

The difference between a signal line and a speaker line is that the signal line transmits a weak electrical signal. The amplitude measurement unit is usually a voltage with an average amplitude of a few hundred millivolts to a few volts. The speaker line transmits the power signal from the amplifier to the speaker. The power signal is usually expressed by voltage and current.

If the signal line and the speaker line transmit ordinary electrical signals, then ordinary wires will meet the requirements, and the voltage and current for measuring the indicators will be sufficient.

However, the signal line speaker line transmits a frequency band signal with a frequency width of 20Hz-20kHz, which requires higher requirements. "20Hz-20kHz band signal" has two meanings: (A) Wide frequency range, requiring the wire to treat all frequencies with the same treatment. Do n’t push down some signals and raise some signals, let alone make the original signal New signal-that is, a new redundant signal due to the modulation of two or more different frequencies; (B) Even if the music from a musical instrument (such as a piano) is a single note, because it contains harmonics, it is not a single frequency signal, but a The frequency band, the signal “group” of an actual music ensemble (such as a symphony orchestra), is a wider frequency band, that is, the music spectrum, which cannot produce phase shifts and frequency distortions. The so-called phase shift means that due to the inductive and capacitive reactances of the wire, after the music signals of different frequencies are transmitted through the wire, some frequencies or frequency bands have a phase lead or lag. It appears in the time axis and the sense of hearing is the lead or lag of certain frequency components or music components, such as the phase lag of the treble component (relative to the middle and low). The sense of hearing is that the bass is received too quickly and different instruments are difficult to distinguish. The amplitude of the component or some of the original frequency components produces a transmission line that faithfully transmits the original music signal.

The second function of the signal line speaker line is the impedance conversion effect. Those who know electronic technology know that any audio equipment has its input / output impedance index. In order to facilitate the connection between audio equipment, it is more important to avoid the mutual influence of individual devices. Generally, sound sources such as CD players and power amplifiers are always designed with high input impedance (several thousand ohms to several megaohms). CD players with low output impedance are easily connected to any amplifier with high input impedance, without having to consider impedance matching. In other words, there is no impedance matching problem between the connection between audio sources such as CD players and amplifiers, and between the front-stage amplifier and the rear-stage amplifier. Only the impedance conversion is the connection between the two units and the conversion of impedance from low to high must be completed by connecting cables-audio wires. Because each device has different output and input impedances, its output and input reactances (inductive and capacitive reactances) are also different. The connection cables between them are different, the transmission effect of the music signal is also different, and the sound effects that people hear from the speakers are also different. It should also be noted that there is also a problem of impedance conversion for speaker wires. This is because, although the output impedance indicated by the amplifier is the same (such as 4 ohms, 6 ohms, and 8 ohms), in fact, such "impedance matching" refers only to the impedance at a certain frequency (such as 1KHz), and it is also due to the speaker operation With the different frequency of the power output by the power amplifier, the reactance resistance value of the speaker is also different. In actual operation, there is no impedance matching between the power amplifier and the audio at different frequencies. The connection of the two still needs to be performed by the speaker cable. Impedance transformation. And this impedance "transition" is carried out every minute with the music playing. It can be further seen that the impedance conversion performance and effect of different cable wires are different, so the sound effects are also different.

The third function of the wire is to modify the music. That is, the correct use of different wire materials can modify the same music software (such as a CD disc) with different tone colors, such as "bright", "dim", "metallic", "woody", "medium gas foot" "," Broad sound field "," sharp ears "," bland "and so on.

The role and characteristics of acoustic wire

Many disclosures have been made from the following aspects: (1) the materials and shapes of wire metal conductors, and their determining characteristics; (2) the method of weaving wires, and the effects brought about by them; (3) the insulator materials used for wires, and their characteristics; Characteristics of the plug used; ⑸ The values of resistance, capacitance, inductance, frequency characteristics, and other indicators measured by instruments produced from the materials and braided methods described above, and their corresponding actual acoustic effects. The "impedance transformation effect" of the wire in the audio system is my point of view. Of course, it doesn't really perform impedance conversion automatically, but the connection between the impedance transition of the wire between the two units and the role of "connecting up and down" directly affect the sound quality of the sound.

The general meaning of the word "sound quality" is the quality of sound. However, in audio technology, it contains three aspects: ⑴ the pitch of the sound, which is the intensity and amplitude of the audio; ⑵ the pitch of the sound, which is the frequency of the audio or the number of changes per second; ⑶ the tone of the sound, which is the audio Overtone or harmonic components. Talking about the sound quality of a certain sound is mainly to measure whether the above three aspects of the sound have reached a certain level: that is, whether the pitch has a certain intensity relative to a certain frequency or frequency band, and is within the required frequency range and at the same volume , Whether the amplitude of each frequency point is uniform, balanced, full, and whether the frequency response curve is straight: whether the pitch of the sound is accurate, both the original appearance of the frequency or component of the sound source is faithfully projected, and the frequency distortion and phase shift meet the requirements; The overtones are moderate and the harmonics are rich. The sound sounds beautiful and beautiful.

The combination of a certain quality wire and audio equipment can accurately transmit audio signals without causing loss of sound quality, phase shift and frequency distortion, and can modify the sound color to make the music more pleasant and pleasant. So it can be said with certainty that the wire can indeed change the sound quality of the sound.

To what extent can the wire change the sound quality? What are the foundations and prerequisites for the full use of the wire? Why do some people feel that the role of the wire is not great?

Many audio enthusiasts and enthusiasts have used a variety of cables, and some have also changed a lot of signal cables, speaker cables, and power cables. Why do some people think the effect is not great? What exactly is the problem? The problem is very simple, it is because the system's power supply is not well. Specifically, it is caused by the internal AC and DC power supply of each audio equipment and the external power supply used by the equipment.

The so-called internal power supply of the device is not well done, and it appears on low-priced machines. For example, due to the low price of a single machine, in order to save materials or improper design, the internal power supply is designed rudely, and multiple circuits in the device are used to supply power to multiple circuits in the device, which causes useful and unwanted signals between the circuits to crosstalk with each other through the power supply, resulting in signal degradation and increased noise Even the useful signals are masked, and the effective frequency band of the music is narrowed. At this time, you just put in any expensive wire, the effect is not obvious. In addition, the use of ordinary or inferior capacitors, insufficient power transformer capacity or magnetic leakage, and the small diameter of random power cords are of poor material quality, which are all bad internal power supplies, which directly affect the sound quality and the effect of changing wires. The quality of the internal power supply is not high. For those with electronic knowledge and hands-on ability, you can change the quality of the power supply and other aspects by using a motor. For those who can't use the machine, they can only choose audio equipment with good quality and reasonable price. If the so-called external power supply is not done well, it will affect low- and medium-priced equipment, especially high-end audio. Doing a good job of external power supply includes laying special power cables for audio equipment. The material, wire diameter, weaving method, length, how to install, and where to install the power cables are very knowledgeable, and have different effects on different equipment. Also, there are different requirements for power sockets, switches, and connectors. Especially for the ground wire, it has a great impact on the effect of the sound. Especially when using power filtering equipment such as isolated power and filtered power, the ground wire has higher requirements. It is also important to emphasize that both internal and external power are important, and every link must be taken seriously, such as whether the fuse and its contact plug are in good contact. In practice, it is often seen that some non-expensive audio equipment is not bought, and non-expensive cables are not bought, but the power supply and environment can not keep up, the sound from the expensive equipment is not good, and the audio can only become a show price. , Net worth of furnishings.

There is also a misunderstanding when using audio cables: only trust a certain foreign wire and use it no matter what the occasion. In fact, even with the same audio equipment, different cables should be used in different spaces and power environments. For example, if the listener is close to the speaker, the speaker should use a relatively wide sound field and a "scattering" of the sense of hearing, in order to resolve the sound directly reflected by the listener's back wall and then reflect, resulting in "straight" and standing waves too Bad effect. If the environmental space is wide and the sound-absorbing design is appropriate, various positioning methods can be used. It is better to use a wire with good focus, good positioning performance and mid-air footing. I also want to warn enthusiasts that after you listen to a wire, some people will be deeply attracted by a certain tone and immediately buy it. After listening for a while, I felt that there was something wrong, which is a lesson. Therefore, after first contact with a class of wire and preliminary audition, do not easily draw conclusions, use software of different styles and different themes to repeatedly audition, and evaluate the conclusion after many days. In short, the use of wires in different environments should be tested more than once. If you can succeed once, it will be too easy to play audio, and it will not be possible for so many people to tirelessly and continue to "fever" to explore and research.

It can be considered that the role of the audio cable in the audio system is very large, and it does not play only one-tenth. The higher the quality of a particular device (not necessarily the higher the price) and the higher the potential, the greater its role. It can be said that the wire matches your audio system. Its function is not just a icing on the cake, but it makes you feel a lot of fun and has a feeling of sound quality. The key is whether your method is right , Do you have the "fever" spirit of continuous practice and research? As for how much your wire investment accounts for the total price of the system, it depends on the equipment, environment, and sound quality preferences, which accounts for about 1/10 to 1/5.

When it comes to sound quality, it is not entirely caused by the quality of the equipment, because many external factors can also directly affect the effect of equipment playback. For example; environmental proportion, environmental absorption and expansion, power quality, wire quality, tripod material, record level. But the environment can be adjusted, the incoming power can be adjusted, the special audio cables can be selected, and the stand can be selected. Only the record is not selected, and the sound can only be restored as much as possible when bought back. We adjusted through several factors can also play a positive role in equipment replay! This time I said the importance of audio cables, cables are also a topic often discussed by enthusiasts. Some people say that cables can only be used for transmission. Is n’t it particular? It is said that the wire is very important to the sound. Changing the wire is like changing the machine? Is this so? The credibility of this result can only be experienced by the fans!

In both cases, there is the quality of the equipment and the material of the wire. It is said that the wire can only transmit. He bought a pair of wires and it does not reflect the quality. It can only hear some style changes (the sound is brighter or darker). Maybe it doesn't understand the cable? Or the quality of the equipment replay does not reach a certain standard? Or is there a problem with the equipment matching and positioning?

It is said that the wire change is like changing the machine. The sound after the wire change is significantly changed compared to the previous one. It is as refreshing as the wire change. It feels like a change of the machine! But his equipment is in a good condition, so he can analyze the wire. Style and quality.

In fact, the wire can play a transmitting role (the icing on the cake), but good equipment does need to be matched with the good wire to play it out! Because good wire reduces the impedance of chromatin in the crystal when the signal is transmitted, so that it is also compared to the end Pure. As for what is good? It depends on what style you like.

(Edit: bingjiling)

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