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Friday, July 23, 2010

Die Monster Cable die

Ace of Spades links to a Make: Online video about audio myths. The subject of copper wire supposedly introducing distortions is a bit of a sore spot with me.

I hate Monster Cable and all their ilk, and yes, it's personal.

I did my PhD work on the high resolution Fourier Transform Spectrometer at Ohio State. This instrument took the infrared radiation off a gas-dryer lighter, bouncing it back and forth off mirrors a hundred times or so, causing the light to pass through the equivalent of a kilometer of absorbing gas, then focusing the picowatts that were left on a liquid nitrogen cooled detector. The signal from the detector went first to a liquid nitrogen cooled FET pre-preamp, then over copper cable to a preamp, then was amplified and digitized.

My professor read some of the Monster Cable propaganda and freaked. If copper wire could reduce Aerosmith to unlistenable distortion -- well, to noticeably more unlistenable distortion -- what was it doing to our delicate picowatt signals? And our method of analysis was particularly susceptible to distortion. His whole career flashed before his eyes.

SO I had to stop work, stop making progress toward a degree and gainful employment, tear down the experiment, and spend a week building a new setup to determine what grotesque nameless horrors the PLAIN OLD COPPER WIRES had wreaked on our helplessly whimpering signal, played by Lillian Gish.

And the answer was nothing. Zero, zip, nada, 0.00E00, 1/(infinity squared), the set of all sets containing no members, bupkis, the Schneid, the integrity of John Edwards multiplied by the simple human decency of Drew Rosenhaus.

AUDIOPHILES ARE HIPPIES. Plain copper wire is great. I just got a new receiver and I wired it completely with plain copper wire and banana plugs AND I LIKE IT and I'm going to turn it on and listen to Andresjz Panufnik and I won't hear any distortion. I hope your Monster Cable strangles you.

I mean that metaphorically of course. If it happened literally, well, you never know how you will react in a tragic situation like that. I feel like I would laugh, though.
 Except for the reference to Lillian Gish, the above is all true. As God is my witness, if an audiophile got tangled in his Monster Cable and inadvertently strangled himself to death, I think I would laugh.

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