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Interconnects & speaker cable - which direction?

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Anonymous
July 10, 2005 1:07:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly marked
arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that I must observe
the direction for the cables, but I do not know which direction to
"point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing away from the Amp going
towards the CD player, or the other way around?

Also, I have similar question regarding my speaker cable. There are no
obvious arrow markings this time, but there is text on the cable that
says "Aero space technology AST200 loudspeaker cable"

Thank you, regards, dnw.
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 2:06:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

dotnw wrote ...
> My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly
> marked arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that
> I must observe the direction for the cables, but I do not know
> which direction to "point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing
> away from the Amp going towards the CD player, or the other
> way around?

It says something that the cable is marked with directional arrows
but isn't documented about which direction it should be connected.

One would assume that the arrows indicate the direction of the
signal, i.e. they should be pointing towards the destination (from
the CD player towards your amplifier).

Note that it really makes no difference. The arrows are there to
justify the premium price as there is no scientific, technical, nor
discernable audible benefit to these "magic cables".

> Also, I have similar question regarding my speaker cable.
> There are no obvious arrow markings this time, but there is
> text on the cable that says "Aero space technology AST200
> loudspeaker cable"

The text is only there to justify the premium price they ask for it
(4GBP = 6.95USD per metre). Again, this is snake oil, and
"premium" cable serves no purpose but to enrich the instigators
of the scam.

If you don't appreciate this perspective, you might want to ask in
one of the more fanciful (and less technical) audio forums. I don't
hang out there, but I'd suspect that something like rec.audio.opinion
may be more amenable to discussion of "magic cable".

But the nice thing about usenet newsgroups is that you will
likely get a variety of responses besides this one.
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 9:18:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

In article <1121011621.306614.165050@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
<dotnw@hotmail.com> wrote:

>My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly marked
>arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that I must observe
>the direction for the cables, but I do not know which direction to
>"point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing away from the Amp going
>towards the CD player, or the other way around?

There are some interconnect cables which use two conductors (often a
twisted pair) to carry the signal and the ground return, and have a
separate braid or foil shield. In these cables, the shield is often
connected to the RCA plug shell (and thus to ground) at only one of
the two ends - at the other end it's insulated/isolated from the RCA
plug.

It is believed that in situations where there's strong RF interference
noise present, this separation of the "ground return" and "shield"
function will help reduce the amount of RF interference which can
bleed into the system via the shield. This technique is sometimes
used in laboratory electronics, when taking very-low-level signal
measurements.

So - what do the arrows mean and which end should be plugged in where?
That depends on the manufacturer, on the details of your installation,
and in most cases it makes no difference whatsoever.

The arrows may point in the direction of the signal-path flow (e.g.
from CD player to preamp) with the arrows pointing in the direction of
the component receiving the signal.

[Note that this isn't the same thing as "pointing in the direction of
the electrical flow", because the electrical flow is AC and has no
preferred direction. As far as the flow of current on the two
conductors inside the cable is concerned, there is *no* preferred
direction - either orientation is equivalent to the other.]

Or, the arrows may point towards the end of the cable which has the
shield connected to ground. Some people prefer to ground centrally
(e.g. all shields grounded at the preamp), some prefer to ground each
shield to the "downstream" component. It's likely to be very
installation-specific, as it'll depend on the electrical configuration
of your CD player, preamp / AV receiver, other components, house
wiring, and so forth.

In the great majority of installations (probably including yours) you
can connect the cable either way, and the results will be
indistinguishable. There won't be enough RF noise present to be
getting into your signal path and creating audible problems, and thus
the cable will work equally well in either orientation. In cases
where high levels of RF noise is present, and interference or noise is
getting into the audio, use whichever cable orientation results in lower
levels of audible noise.

I'm sorry to say this, but I believe that it's fair to say that as far
as consumer audio is involved, "directional" interconnect cables are
99% snake oil. The "directionality" is simply a marketing gimmick
used to persuade the consumer that the cables are worth paying a
premium price. [Mind you, the cables may be just fine electrically
and physically - there's nothing wrong with 'em - they're just being
marketed with what I feel is a deceptive tactic in order to separate
the buyer from his/her money.]

>Also, I have similar question regarding my speaker cable. There are no
>obvious arrow markings this time, but there is text on the cable that
>says "Aero space technology AST200 loudspeaker cable"

Direction doesn't matter a fig with these, as there's no shield.

--
Dave Platt <dplatt@radagast.org> AE6EO
Hosting the Jade Warrior home page: http://www.radagast.org/jade-warrior
I do _not_ wish to receive unsolicited commercial email, and I will
boycott any company which has the gall to send me such ads!
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Anonymous
July 10, 2005 9:18:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Dave Platt" wrote...
> There are some interconnect cables which use two conductors (often a
> twisted pair) to carry the signal and the ground return, and have a
> separate braid or foil shield. In these cables, the shield is often
> connected to the RCA plug shell (and thus to ground) at only one of
> the two ends - at the other end it's insulated/isolated from the RCA
> plug.

Apologies. I wasn't even thinking of the case where we had
special shielding/grounding techniques. In that case, yes the
outer shield/screen is traditionally connected at the destination
end and it is logical to mark the cable appropriately.
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 9:18:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

dplatt@radagast.org (Dave Platt) writes:

> I'm sorry to say this, but I believe that it's fair to say that as far
> as consumer audio is involved, "directional" interconnect cables are
> 99% snake oil. The "directionality" is simply a marketing gimmick
> used to persuade the consumer that the cables are worth paying a
> premium price. [Mind you, the cables may be just fine electrically
> and physically - there's nothing wrong with 'em - they're just being
> marketed with what I feel is a deceptive tactic in order to separate
> the buyer from his/her money.]

Well said.

The only place I've seen a "directional" cable that made any sense at
all was in the case of musical instrument interconnects with arrows
indicating instrument and amp ends of the cable.

In that case, the instrument end has a nulling sleeve on it to
eliminate the usual "pop" when the plug is removed from the guitar,
whilst the amp end does not. But that's not applicable to your
situation.

Best Regards,
--
/"\ ASCII Ribbon Campaign | Todd H
\ / | http://www.toddh.net/
X Promoting good netiquette | http://triplethreatband.com/
/ \ http://www.toddh.net/netiquette/ | "4 lines suffice."
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 10:14:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Richard Crowley wrote:
> dotnw wrote ...
>
>> My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly marked
>> arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that
>> I must observe the direction for the cables, but I do not know which
>> direction to "point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing away from
>> the Amp going towards the CD player, or the other way around?
>
>
> It says something that the cable is marked with directional arrows
> but isn't documented about which direction it should be connected.
>
> One would assume that the arrows indicate the direction of the
> signal, i.e. they should be pointing towards the destination (from
> the CD player towards your amplifier).
>
> Note that it really makes no difference. The arrows are there to
> justify the premium price as there is no scientific, technical, nor
> discernable audible benefit to these "magic cables".

Maybe they are attenuated interconnects. The arrow points from cd to amp
and the direction makes a big difference.

--
Eiron
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 5:16:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Very cool info, thank you everyone.
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 1:36:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 10:06:19 -0700, "Richard Crowley"
<rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote:

>dotnw wrote ...
>> My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly
>> marked arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that
>> I must observe the direction for the cables, but I do not know
>> which direction to "point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing
>> away from the Amp going towards the CD player, or the other
>> way around?
>
>It says something that the cable is marked with directional arrows
>but isn't documented about which direction it should be connected.
>
>One would assume that the arrows indicate the direction of the
>signal, i.e. they should be pointing towards the destination (from
>the CD player towards your amplifier).
>
>Note that it really makes no difference. The arrows are there to
>justify the premium price as there is no scientific, technical, nor
>discernable audible benefit to these "magic cables".

Not necessarily, Richard. It *could* indicate that the the shield is
connected in only one end to avoid ground loops . If that is the case,
I would presume, like you, that the arrows should point to the amp.

However, the snake oil theory is just as plausible...

Per
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 1:39:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Mon, 11 Jul 2005 09:36:50 +0200, Per Stromgren
<per.stromgren@telia.com> wrote:

>Not necessarily, Richard. It *could* indicate that the the shield is
>connected in only one end to avoid ground loops . If that is the case,
>I would presume, like you, that the arrows should point to the amp.

I should have read the whole thread before answering. Dave Platt
already had given an excellent answer like this, and given a lot
better explanation to boot. Forget my post.

Per.
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 3:09:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Dave Platt" <dplatt@radagast.org> wrote in message
news:11d2m37btib9930@corp.supernews.com...

(snip)

..... use whichever cable orientation results in lower
> levels of audible noise.

I think this pretty well sums up the proper advice, and is as far as one
needs to go.

Norm Strong
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 5:05:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

<dotnw@hotmail.com> wrote:

> My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly marked
> arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that I must observe
> the direction for the cables, but I do not know which direction to
> "point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing away from the Amp going
> towards the CD player, or the other way around?
>
> Also, I have similar question regarding my speaker cable. There are no
> obvious arrow markings this time, but there is text on the cable that
> says "Aero space technology AST200 loudspeaker cable"
>
> Thank you, regards, dnw.

The arrow needs to point in the direction of electron flow. If you're
listening to a 1kHz tone, you will need to reverse the direction of the
cables once every millisecond. If you're listening to music played on
a Fender guitar, you only need to do it 3600 times per minute (3000
times if you're in Europe).

ulysses
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 5:05:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Justin Ulysses Morse" wrote ...
> The arrow needs to point in the direction of electron flow. If you're
> listening to a 1kHz tone, you will need to reverse the direction of the
> cables once every millisecond. If you're listening to music played on
> a Fender guitar, you only need to do it 3600 times per minute (3000
> times if you're in Europe).

Rather subtle, but LOL! :-))
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 11:59:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

<dotnw@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1121011621.306614.165050@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> My interconnects cabling for my Amp to CD player have clearly marked
> arrows on them. The arrows direction is telling me that I must observe
> the direction for the cables, but I do not know which direction to
> "point" the arrows. Do I have them pointing away from the Amp going
> towards the CD player, or the other way around?

Point the arrows away from the output, towards the input. Nothing else
makes sense.

It may make no difference electrically, but when you have a lot of cables in
a small space, it can be handly to have them marked consistently.

Tim
Anonymous
July 12, 2005 12:09:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Tim Martin" wrote ...
> Point the arrows away from the output, towards the input.
> Nothing else makes sense.

Huh? Do you drive backwards too? Whatever.

> It may make no difference electrically, but when you have
> a lot of cables in a small space, it can be handly to have
> them marked consistently.

Yes, consistency is desirable.
Being intuitive (arrow pointing in the direction
of signal flow) is more important, at least IMHO.
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 2:09:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote in message
news:11d7n9e21bd5a44@corp.supernews.com...
< Yes, consistency is desirable.
> Being intuitive (arrow pointing in the direction
> of signal flow) is more important, at least IMHO.

That's what I said: "Point the arrows away from the output, towards the
input"

Tim
!