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Gear / Technical Help => Cables => Topic started by: ts on April 12, 2021, 12:11:41 PM

Title: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: ts on April 12, 2021, 12:11:41 PM
Would this fall in snake oil? I have a number of cables of various types that have directional arrows. I’m calling BS and more snake oil. :smash:
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cable types
Post by: Scooter123 on April 12, 2021, 02:30:39 PM
Most cables are bullshit.  I have a close friend, and audiophile, who of course knows everything and is smarter about audio than any of us living persons.  After he gives his opinion on bit rate and htz settings and cables, I ask him to take the Scooter Challenge and tell me if he can identify the different files made with different cables and settings, and of course, he won't take the test.  Because I know there is no audio difference to most human ears
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cable types
Post by: Gutbucket on April 12, 2021, 03:33:14 PM
There is a practical reason for directional markings, but it's nothing to do with the cable itself considered in isolation.

An analog audio signal has alternating polarity, so in regards to the behavior of the cable itself, directional signal markers printed on the cable jacket are meaningless.  That is unless the cable was somehow designed to act as a rectifier, which is not what one would want nor how standard audio transmission operates. 

However, in a completed cable assembly such directional markings on the cable jacket can be helpful in indicating the orientation of the terminations, and thus the correct orientation of the cable with regards to the two pieces iof equipment it is connecting.  Consider a microphone cable.  Because microphones generally feature a male XLR output connector while preamplifier/recorder inputs feature a mating female XLR input connection, the directional markings can indicate the practical "directionality" of the cable from microphone to input.  This can be useful in setting things up under pressure.  Such as reducing the likelihood of making a mistake when laying out a long cable run only to discover it when proceeding to hook things up.
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cable types
Post by: ts on April 12, 2021, 04:48:46 PM
Thanks GB. The cables I’m using as an example for this post are speaker cables. The directional marker is therefore meaningless.  :shrug: my thread topic should have been clearer.
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cable types
Post by: Gutbucket on April 12, 2021, 06:27:49 PM
The same could apply with regards to different terminations at either end of the speaker cable (amp >>> speaker).  So directional markings in and of themselves on the cable jacket are not necessarily indicative of the tweaky audiophile BS some folks attribute to them.  But in regards to the signal passing through the cable itself, yeah, orientation if the cable itself won't matter.
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cable types
Post by: heathen on April 12, 2021, 10:05:21 PM
https://www.soundguys.com/cable-myths-reviving-the-coathanger-test-23553/
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Scooter123 on April 13, 2021, 11:09:13 PM
I doubt anyone could hear the difference if these cables were installed backwards.  In theory perhaps it makes a difference, but not an audible difference. 
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: ts on April 14, 2021, 08:36:31 AM
I doubt anyone could hear the difference if these cables were installed backwards.  In theory perhaps it makes a difference, but not an audible difference.

I have a few digital cables that have direction arrows, but never had analog cables that had them. Especially speaker cables.  ::)
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Gutbucket on April 14, 2021, 09:16:29 AM
I doubt anyone could hear the difference if these cables were installed backwards.  In theory perhaps it makes a difference, but not an audible difference. 

Actually, "in theory" the direction of signal flow makes no difference - which is the basis for derision against the claims that it does.
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: lsd2525 on April 14, 2021, 09:19:11 AM
If you install them the wrong way, will it play the white album backwards?
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Gutbucket on April 14, 2021, 09:58:18 AM
^ Don't let the demon speak out!   Like the magic smoke captured within the electrical system of old British sports cars, you'll never get it back in again.

"Turn me on deadman"
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Scooter123 on April 14, 2021, 02:19:21 PM
^ captured within the electrical system of old British sports cars

Q:  Do you know why Lucas Electrical did not make refrigerators? 
A:  They wanted them to work. 
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Gutbucket on April 14, 2021, 02:58:36 PM
While helping friends in high school struggling to keep the magic smoke unreleased from their old beater MGs, Triumphs and Austin Healeys, I was mostly tinkering with aircooled WVs.  But I later bought a cool little Volvo 1800S - a model who's bodywork was built in Sweden of high-grade Swedish iron superior to that used in all my VW rustbuckets, yet outfitted in England using the same British Leyland component as the Brit sports cars: Lucas electrical stuff, SU carbs, etc..  So there was no escaping it. 

I think you are on to something there, as none of them featured AC.

If you install them the wrong way, will it play the white album backwards?

The license plate on the white '73 convertible super beetle I drove for years read:

28IF LMW

^ An inverted version of the plate on the Abby Road album cover beetle. The non-inverse version being unavailable.  Over the years I was driving that car, racking up many miles making the trip between FL and upstate NY twice annually, just two people ever recognized and commented on it.
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: capnhook on April 14, 2021, 04:34:53 PM
Back on subject....


Why would somebody pay so much for this digi cable??  It has NO arrows.  ::) :smash: :crying:

(https://i.postimg.cc/JhPMxfJY/piicey-cable.jpg)

Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Gutbucket on April 14, 2021, 05:30:16 PM
Related- https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=196657.msg2355988#msg2355988 (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=196657.msg2355988#msg2355988)
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Scooter123 on April 14, 2021, 09:10:27 PM
I think it is the elimination of crystal boundaries which makes this so desirable. 
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: Sebastian on April 15, 2021, 07:30:05 AM
That "very special cable cooker" sounds very interesting. I'm currently using a rice cooker for all my interconnects, but I'm always looking for ways to improve my process.
Title: Re: Directional arrow on cables
Post by: rocksuitcase on April 15, 2021, 01:24:43 PM
So as some of you know, I used to own a company which manufactured cable for the underwater industry. We also made hydrophones with the extruded cables.
So, cable ITSELF, typically does not require directionality unless one CONFIGURES it that way. Speaker cable especially, but any two wire cable is germane to this topic. 
NOW, it has been brought to my attention by a non-TS user that:
When we get into specialty uses of cable. Like audio/video. In a consumer based audio system, the RCA cable rules. Mixing consumer gear (RCA) with pro gear (XLR/bnc,SPDIF etc) can get sticky with regard to shielding configuration and in some cases the shield may be configured to require a specific "directionality". Similar to what GB has put in this thread.

Quote
The directional arrows on cables,.... are not snake oil [ed: MIGHT not]. They are completely legitimate, and indicate the direction of the shielding of the cable.
There are so many types of cables that it becomes a bit, well, esoteric, I suppose. But, in unbalanced cables, your basic RCA/RCA level of stereo user interconnect (read: not balanced, professional/recordist level), you connect the shield to the upstream piece of gear, only, and leave it open, not connected, at the downstream end, if you want to shunt off EMF/RF signal. Otherwise it just passes that crap downstream towards the end user [ed: device]. The arrow indicates directionality of shielding for shunting back to the upstream devices earth/negative post grounding.
This makes the unbalanced cables completely directional, as a shunting device.

This cutting off the shield at the 3 wire end has been A PITA for me all of my soldering life, which is why I mostly choose not to solder my own stuff any longer and rely on folks like Ted G!

Thoughts? discuss amongst ourselves?