Pragmatic 19: I'll Take The Gold-free Extra-Oxygen Cable Please

7 April, 2014


Tackling two types of common cable, Speaker cable and HDMI cables. HDMI some obsess over gold plating; Speaker cable some obsess over OFC. Which is worth the extra money or are neither? Hardcore audiophiles may be upset by the contents of this episode.

Transcript available
Welcome to pragmatic pragmatic is a weekly discussion shall contemplating the practical application of technology exploring the real-world trade-offs we would have agreed ideas are transformed into products and services the congenial loans and nothing is this episode is right you by Squarespace was based on one platform that meets advanced music rerun website portfolio and online store for a pre-trial attempts and office visits were calm and enter offer cold morals and ERS a checkup about a Webster at the website today shows sobriety by Liz's idle podcast outcome/pragmatic for your free audiobook download or talk a little bit more about as much as later on in the shell and then Alexander Michael hosted Judge Eddie Adrian John done very well Peter Ben Stiller fantastic well are couple thanks some this episodes are one are so special thanks to Dave Lagasse who were no mum previously in the show is he wrote a an excellent article about IPV six it was inspired by it said 16 which was one man's hopes and dreams of an RF bubble proper follow-up shown that are at some point the next week or two I get some time but I do some say thank you and if you registered is a link for that in the show notes are also our thank you for the iTunes views they keep coming and I just keep coming and Darwin appreciate everyone of them are this week though specifically I like to call out one in particular are which came in on the German iTunes Store from our someone by the name of flavoured dynamics I'm reasonably sure that's not their actual bar personal name but that's okay anyway technically the outright music is from 1991 are not the 1980s and I doubt was ever played an elevator at any stage are directly written article describing all its history on the tech distortion is a link for that are in the show notes and dates when my personal our favourite tunes are its core space debris and the in fact we might just get up right now okay whenever that's out the way today's episode then you know it's about danger I do know is about rubbing my daughter likes putting bars on the windows hopefully the file from from audiophiles will not be too bad they may hunt me down and kill me I hope not in any case are so today I would like to talk about the two of the biggest term as I call them our guests hotly debated topics in cabling and values are in consumer cabling anyway some degree trade magazine hotly debated topics in cabling as a senior arm someone to do that anyway so little about oxygen free copper cables animals a talk about gold plating of cable connectors plugs may sound like a little bit of a weird topic I see our only added to the list this week and there was one as ones that when someone suggested I talk about it I I was on his own it never occurred to me to talk about expert have actually done a lot of love research into this and industrially speaking of also had a bit of experience particularly are with the shielded cables and so on so honestly I'm unsurprised and think of talk about the sooner but in any case will kick off with oxygen free copper the only difference between oxygen free copper normal copper obviously it still does, but when it's melted down it's done are OFC copies melted down in stunning and inert gases environment that is to say oddly enough as the name would suggest it's oxygen free rights no oxygen in the air but technically is not 100% free from oxygen so there is still some oxygen in it in order to qualify to be called OFC has to be less than 10 ppm oxygen in the copper discrete money amount very very small amount but still technically not zero so they say oxygen free as long absolutist thing it's as good as anyway OFC is most common in the consumer space as being the year for great speaker wire and the they caught for great because if you chop the cable and you look at the cross-section the cable looks like number eight these particular cables are the ones that run from the amplifier out to your speakers now are OFC cable is usually got a nice fancy sheep and the cattle so you got the copper and conductor in the middle and you've got the plastic sheath wealth it's made of plastic or PVC or whatever it's made out of a deep specific kind of plastic is made out of it anyway but I see cables and want to make fancy and sometimes your gates are a nice clear our sheath on them so that you can see the pretty copper inside look at all is very nice and expensive I can see the wire are some of got I had the some of the cable once it had a blue tinge but it was still essentially transparent secret CV, but it was again so had a strange blue sort of hue to it but generally I see cables is either partially transparent or not all run or slide engineer Murray sure why do I think it is a show off the fact that it's got copper in it which is weird because you know of all the cables of the copper and so essentially OFC configurations idea to hold much digging on this on exact details for our CK also picked a couple and then there listed in the show notes I feel for feel free to look through the specs if you want to parts is a I guess before we we would jump into the configurations it's important to just quickly cover the way the cables are put together so solid copper solid copper core it would seem like that's what you would do you just give it a copper you you draw the wire out because the 01 are one of the year one of the properties of the metal is whether or not it is artless it is ductile can be drawn into a wire so you think I would draw your draw copper into a wire and that Y would be whatever diameter it is that you and it would have a cross-sectional area of once 1.5 mm and a nice solid strand of copies ago that it is simple thing to do right just some plastic over the outside of it you done the problem that is that's actually not very flexible and is the problem with cables are with metal is that most metals vital metals are crystalline structures and as you bend and then bend them phenomenon like your site may decrease the new flat decrease out we PI we bend back and forth back and forth what does it introduces dislocations into the structure of the crystal in the actual metal and those dislocations eventually build up and build up until a series dislocations travel all the way through the entire piece of metal and that kind of that's a whereat mechanism for the metal and that that where a mechanism is called fatigue stress that cracking caused by repeated movement back in for the bank for bank for one of the ways that that is made worse is if you have a for a supposedly flexible cable as is one solid strand of copper so essentially there is no given that all will simply just because of this that the figure it is the figure that cable is it's going to essentially suffer from fatigue stress far more readily than if you were to get say five or seven small cause much smaller because only then bundle them together in a group like you have a logo the right exit was seven year hexagon yet one the centre so the unimaginable cluster of wires and those of the individual course and I would call a seven letter seven strand that configuration is far more flexible because as you bend the cable the copper on the inside of the curve will actually are bend slightly and pushed apart the others all the others on the outside what surely are pulling them change their configuration ever so slightly but that prevents them from getting a solid dislocation through them the effect improves as you add more course so by the time you go up to several hundred because that's when the cables start to be called the ultra flexible each of the individual course themselves can't actually carry a heck of a lot of current but you've got 100 of them are so it all adds up so the idea is the more the more causal strands you have in the cable the more flexible the cable is but perhaps not surprisingly more expensive the cable is going to be so the thing I found interesting was that having a look at our see cables I didn't find any of them that had a small arm strand count so small strand count away seven 1521 that's a small strand count in relative terms the one I saw them nominees for the examples in this in this discussion is actually 189 because so that particular one each of the causes only 0.1 is diameter so when you quote that is a cable USAID SAR 189/.1 I then sought looks at an alternative which is like a cheaper speaker wire for great speaker wire and is it had a different core configurations wasn't icy and its configuration is 7/025 sometimes in the 0.25 and in the NEA for talking in the lingo than you usually leave the decimal point out as it is assumed so you live like 7025 and a sort of that she cable configuration 7020 whatever and what you get used to after a while Izzy serve you as the ideal cables long enough like I haven't was I702 AI cats 1.25 square cable so that's the cross-sectional area so I do is attack the cross-sectional area of each of the strands and they multiply that by the number of strands and gives your total is effective cross-sectional area for the cable one 8901 is also 1.5 square mil the same as 7025 is 1.5 square mil cross-sectional area so they both have the same essential cross-sectional area so that you might save yourself well that's great so what is a mean and you would think that was same cross-sectional area they would both carry the same amount of current assume that both not made out of that made our standard copper not made of out of OFC so which cable do you think would carry more current more AC current would be the hundred and 89 strand of the seven strand band what you guess hundred 89 strand guess correctly yes yes absolutely nice so and the reason for that is not only think it's exactly obvious but there is there is an effect that they call the skin effect when you're dealing with alternating current signals of which anything except DC power this is inconsiderate of my NAC signal and when that happens because of the varying of the current the electrons tended to be forced to well forced out they tend to go around the outside of the actual strand so the electrons themselves you'll find a majority electrons in the outer skin if you like of the strand and is hardly in the centre so in other words the more strands you add the more physical area around the outside there is for the electrons to essentially use all they prefer to use and has therefore they will have it will have less resistance is the same it's exactly the same idea as a CSR which actually arm that stands for run aluminium conductor steel reinforced and that's actually what they make powerlines out so the powerlines you see in streets the ones hanging from the overheads are typical a CSR and the idea is you have a steel conductor in the centre which is the main the main actual but takes the load of the cable but outside around the outside claim to the outside you'll have aluminium are conductors so they aluminium co-essentially has you have got dozens of little these much smaller diameter cables ran outside and they increase the amount of effective current of these things can carry so for the two cables I've chosen the 18901 and the 75 will talk about homes and homes for resistance and these are in distances and metrical apologies but anyhow 11.7 times per kilometre is the resistance of the RC cable remembering lower numbers are better for resistance and for our cheaper economy example it's 55.2 ohms per kilometre so if you look at the numbers it's roughly 5 times worse going that she cable but the numbers can be a little bit deceptive if you just think of them like that the bottom line 11.7 ohms per kilometre that's per thousand metres which is quite a ways overwork was as is 1.6 miles so it would be about us are probably about .6 of a mile someone that that's quite a lot of cable and on about you but it's not .6 of a mile from my amplifier to the speaker in the back of the room when less I took the cable and coiled up in the bottom of the room for some reason eyelash over a coil big enough you probably snow uses a cubby houses and that some young that is crazy right will let later on will look at the exact detail of how that shakes out but the thing is if you actually look at an individual strand in identical diameter strand from one I was from and seek copper cable to an OCR non-icy strand of copper the RC only gives you 1% better conductivity in other words it's resistance is 1% less than non-OFC, stand, so again there is minuscule the game you're getting that whole them .7 ohms was 50 to 55.2 ohms that's coming from the fact that it's got hundred 89 because not for the fact that it's OFC that's kinda deceptive to say the RC cable is better all year it's better but it's better because it's got a different core configurations not just because the RCM is 1% better yeah okay that's really not worth bothering with so I do wonder half the time if they would fudge the numbers and say your wobble will make the RC cables out of these really high strand counts because that's can give us a better overall resistance of his ACCC overseas so much better you know I often wonder if that's the the motivation but in any case those that those are some of the numbers bottom line adding because will give you flexibility but it costs more to produce forget the RC is still a cost more to make hundred 89 strand cable is seven strand cable and obviously got Paul your pool a hell of a lot more because your draw anymore because value, sky take long more timeless minimal togetherness can be more complex thing about a day nine threads versus seven sites can be more expensive to build this cable but it'll be a lot more flexible forget Douglas at the plus and it'll have a lower resistance is another plus there was also a claim oh I read somewhere are high tried hard to find this link but anyway years ago I read this thing claiming that using an RC cable improves the noise performance so if you stand for great cable it will perform worse with noise then and I've seen cable and I distinctly remember reading that and in case anyone out there is thinking that has anything to do with noise it has completely wanted percent nothing to do with noise RC will not affect noise performance at all so occasional out there that is a preconception take my word for it no difference so we were a very happy this week to well welcome a new sponsor and Czar Ben can you tell us a little bit about Squarespace Trevor Squarespace is the on one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website portfolio and online store now to someone was still up our gas and retrieve her Squarespace but the triangle back to the basics of white such a great solution by explaining why and how we've used it feel like to build a network website quickly and on a minimal budget so first it's simple and easy and this really counts for a light start by selecting one of the professionally designed templates there is a variety of styles but there is definite Squarespace lock clean plenty of lightweight space and emphasis on imagery the temperature differential you can't and the responsive design you don't need a different layout for different screens you can tell one assay has been designed with Mobil in mind when the designer was thinking only of a big-screen and subtle but it makes a difference having those terrible decisions being made for you had a time it's a huge plus it can save you hours and days of reworking designs can't at general site structure if you want to handle all that stuff yourself sure you can do that Squarespace in a few different ways into the layout engine which is the drag-and-drop content management system or want to get all the deeper you can edit the CSS mentally and if you want complete design freedom you can dig the templates entirely in use develop remote but really is that what you want to spend your time doing what you want to be working on your business from either choice was easy and look for the best template I could find to start with and tweak it as needed iteration nut invention so I got started again would need which is really clean and simple single con layout works great for a single podcast but I must immediately when I realised I was going to be doing more than one shall want to build a network and knew this was in a work so easy now with very minimal changes as our new Avenue has discrete grid index which is what we used to display the show the different part house on the network accomplice for the look of the site and so is really embarrassing as I haven't done much tweak the template I think most everything I have done has made it worse so all this time of an experiment with different backgrounds for hosting the media different stout services different ways of organising individual pages structurally the RSS feeds different players really tried everything and you can see a pretty good variety of deductions in play on the site ranging from hosting 100% to start using Squarespace is built on arty onerous assumptions to combinations of things like Simulcast and lives in on the back at an Squarespace upfront as well as bouncing some of the new shows but on right up to the existing sites that it would get everything right 100% upfront now still iterating were still learning and that's why Squarespace is simplicity ease-of-use and focus on solving the big problems and marketing sidetracked by educators actually makes it such a great tool we can experiment easily quickly and cheaply get fast feedback and go from there and I were learning we got a great sate in pain it bucks a month so what's not to like severe gun idea you got a vision for a blogger park after small business or big business whatever what are you waiting for calligraphy Westminster trial with no credit card required and start building a website today as you want to see little money and show support for pragmatic at the same time you get to Britain after visiting Squarespace duct arm and entering offer called admirers that's an ERS checkout about a web start with your website thank you very much for that Ben okay scenario talk little bit about gold plating gold plating is what's some companies push for their plugs and sockets although typically is the cables hence its typically plucks because you most cables are plugs and sockets are in the actual equipment they sell gold connectors for whole bunch of reasons they say that you know it's it's a much lower resistance to go with gold it's much more arm it is better because gold is like expensive and that means it must be good or something I don't know I remember exactly what the big attraction is merely looks nice lady at gold right so ours must be good the truth is that the contact resistance of gold is really gold as a conductor is really not that great a conductor he works sure it works but honestly compared to something like a minium through not a fantastic committee works as fine as I hurt you because too much specially oversaw the cables where talking about we talk about the cables that are carrying milliamps of current you monopoly are at most BO maybe 200 mA or something to these connectors for the because the signal connectors because these are data signals that were sending is not because the gold plating will do and I guess I'm picking our octagon HDMI cables because well let's face it HMI cables sort of about becoming a problem because everything is going HDMI now we got hasty mine on most computers these days are so most computers arm by Michael Geddes and have now are but the Mac mini does for example most laptops will have HDMI output now all TVs got HDMI and now so hasty demise become a bigger deal Lorraine in sizeable front what on earth is the point of putting gold plating on their hands I guess some of it comes back to perceived durability but the durability is actually quite complicated gold is a soft metal bites it's the softness is only relevant when you compare it to what its receptacle is so if you have two metals in fact any two minerals and use scratch one against the other the age-old question is which one is gonna get scratch on everyone knows the diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring are mineral in the world so views diamond any scratch diamond on glass it will scratch the glass the diamond I get a straight scratch so this guy in 1812 the German geologist and mineralogist a guy called Frederick Mose MOI Jess he created was become known as Moses scale of hardness and in fact was donating 12 and I have your Tchaikovsky's overture last present argue the cans made of metal and it was thought about Melbourne so most scale hardness right the idea is that each mineral is scratched against each other mineral to figure out which is harder and which is soft very rudimentary but that was the whole basis of an you can then come with a scale where where one is talc which is now what your talcum powder from and 10 is a diamond and everything else in between a course and a sprite were they all asked not relevant that gold is somewhere between 2 1/2 and three based on its level of purity and obviously if it's now I think the numbers change but in any case between two and a 2.5 and three most sockets use while Jennifer manufactured out of copper or nickel but there will be a layer of fire 10 lead solder over the top now over I guess I used to be the problem is a because now let's bad so the try move away from 10 lead so now that they're moving to different kinds of solace that are moving away to while at sea with got copper alloys including bismuth and you've got our silver and indium and in sync and all these different coatings are designed to essentially are protect to provide a good good contact point resistance but also such that when the medals scrape up against each other there is theirs as minimal erosion as possible these every time you insert and remove a plug you are essentially scraping one metal against another so putting gold on your plug but not having gold in the receptacle it creates a dilemma okay well which one is going to wear around because one of them one of the qualities can wear out some point and the problem is of course that 10 lead solder has a difference are hardness to let's say if we are using zinc or using silver or indium or whatever else the using of business whatever using what alloys they're using you to get away from the lead criminal history: gold is ideal however the truth is you don't really know but if you had to pick what one of them to wear around which one would you sacrifice and I put my hand up and say I sacrifice a plug is a mean IQ is one of the cable but replacing a socket in a stereo amplifier in a matter TV set that the bad bottom-line HDMI standard says that you have to have a plug that can support 10,000 are cycles essentially that that's insertion removal cycles now it's pretty common to go for a number of about I know 2010 in the industrial area that I plan and is yet that's finding consumer space at sea as it is more than expectation that said how many times you really insert and remove GHD HMI cable lately is something I do every day less than 10 yet exactly something you could argue that this whole discussion about gold being more durable or having or being is this really little bit ridiculous as I get help no ones can sit there and go plug and floodlight unplugged item plug five times a day theoretically five days a year to get to 10,000 after few years whatever help now let us document in any case so put that to one side and say you know what it probably really doesn't matter eventually is gonna wear out no matter what metal you use on their either plug or the socket but the one thing that gold does do or rather doesn't do that most of the medals do do is it doesn't tarnish so doesn't oxidise at any decent rate of knots so that is to say everything eventually will oxidise however gold takes a long time very long time competitor like a minium and competitive cogs when copper oxidiser cause ago that horrible green colour and the young NA and MA grooves out and they all look pretty green roof knives, look at our my comments, the thrusting nice but Yates it is a grey green looking inside that's because I will not present was encounter when I've had a look at some at the Qubec city and the more real and is they have a whole bunch of billings there with the cooperates rights of about nice Greens machine on the reasonable looks recall three different what was the point that IMS right because gold doesn't do that that means that well and in the anywhere and any decent rate of knots it means that essentially you will have beautiful pristine con contacts on your connector for a long time there is of course until the insertion removal cycles scrape off the gold layer and the new back to whatever's underneath which will corrode and now because you're gonna screw so the gold plating it's important to realise that it's not actually gold connectors is gold plating over the top is only a thin layer so I guess the next thing to do sort of get our heads around is just how thick is it well I have look into this and I found a really good article are and that is a link to it on the show notes I was a technical report by AMP connectors are not actually use AB connectors multiple times and my career in any case it's called Golden rules which is your conical plan was that guidelines for the use of gold on connector contacts it talks it is there is a table ever talks about are the thickness of the gold plate and how many insertion removal cycles you could expect from such a thickness which is cool right when looking at the 2000 set removal cycles it is what I would expect the most connectors you're looking at 1.3 m which is of micro metres but if you about and micro inches that's 50 micro inches that's not a hell of a lot gold that I thought to myself okay what we do some maths on this and figure out just how much you would have to put on HDMI cable because I publish this right you don't mind I looked and I can find is that somatic myself based on a few assumptions so you do is weigh going to assume that all you need to start is 1.3 m looking at a standard HDMI cable a type a cable which is the full-sized one and all its dimensions and HDMI are type A connector just if he was interested in are in millimetres is 21.3 wide by 4.55 mil high by 10.9 deep that's the outer shell but the most impressive part depends on the inside of course we estimate there also can be coded but the other area is negligible compared to the outside Serena consider the outside area will assume it's a perfectly rectangular shape I know it's not but if you're actually unwrapping your property find the area will be quite comparable to treating it like it's a perfect rectangle just close enough to the sort of estimate anyway so he do those if you cross those numbers you end up with about 563 mm he assume a thickness of 1.3 m that gives you a total volume of gold of 0.73 mm we take the density of gold that is 19,320 kg/m which is the divide by several thousand wavy up with them .019 g/mm that gives us a total per Per Per plug of 0.014 g that's not very much so we then look at the current exchange rate in US dollars that's about $41.34 a gram a lease that was yesterday when I checked it so that works out at $0.58 a connector or a dollars 17 if you consider that it never got to connectors I standard HDMI cable dollars 17 is worth gold on on those sale on the cable now we can assume that's the thickness is approximately linear-ish I say approximately linear-ish but I imagine that as you add layers that it would not be a linear relationship and you were a mechanism because we look at the table it tends to suggest that in the AMP technical report sewing is quadruple that number so is only 1.3 m now before times that so even if we do that to ensure we get to the 10,000 required but HDMI spec we still and we are at that the bottom line is each cable is just a bit about $4.68 Roundup Court five dollars for error so assume then that going from a HDMI cable out goal and to one with dollar cost you an extra five bucks in gold here's the thing is that less or more than you thought Ben is in line last because that's the thing you think about gold you think gold ingot gold bar gold wedding ring me I weighed my wedding ring just for the hell be a fish for the Halliburton and its it weighs 10 g but if you look at the weight of the HDMI cable it's 1/10 of a gram of gold at 1/10 of a gram which you know is 1/285 of an ounce it's nothing practically nothing and yet they charge how much more these things and if you look at any shopfront retail right like Yarm are in Australia maybe Officeworks in the US Best Buy if you encounter future shop doesn't matter pick one you go in there will be at least $10 more for the gold cables was usually a lot more than that and I saw price differences when I did the research for this of up to $60 more for the gold cable but it's five bucks worth of cult and people over that that they think it's more for distinct arts gold's gotta be expensive right these golden space right because gold is good and they used: to line the inside bay of the McLaren F1 apparently that it why I haven't actually looked physically subdirectory seen one person but you I saw a documentary on it once and I seem to recall they lined with tech with gold foil because gold was better at reflecting heat by Sydney was that when they lifted the bonnet while the engine cover which is the back of a company on when I lifted that are better look shiny and cool if you shown out $1.25 million for a car sure put it: why not write down exactly as it should have gold doorhandles assign surely that's not what people buying a haphazard ale what's that lining the houses with gold foil over one night I see I can think of a good reason one anyway but yet it's just it's cut it to me is crazy right the disconnect between what you're paying and what you're actually getting sister depositing the gold on there is not hard right you could deposit zinc on their attend on their doesn't matter you played it with whatever you know electroplating techniques are well and truly understood not to lose gold in the process so retailers know by saying you know it's got gold on other people will expect to pay more and they do pay more willingly since the gold plating thing and is how much gold is in it to now look at some reward applications they are so before we go on any further arm Ben was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about audible children so honourable is the Internet's leading provider of spoken Adia entertainment providing digital versions of tens of thousands of ideologues for download to your computer smartphone and MP3 player you can listen whenever and wherever you want just like the show listening to Ray now got over 150,000 tables to choose from across every possible genre and right now you can get a free audiobook download when you sign up today just go to art a ballpark our start calm/pragmatic gannets on a ballpark our start calm/pragmatic to get your free download and watch you download what could be good well over open using available for a number of years and when inside but would be appropriate for listeners to this show and as a couple couple that I suggest one is arm is Eric reason the lean start-up which if you're if you're interested in in how companies can our start-ups can function and make decisions in thin situations of extreme uncertainty dealing with just huge number of variables some of the things that we've talked about on pragmatic it's it's a really great book and and mineral media sometimes gets a little bit arm will be having on the jargon little bit happy with the marketing speak but I think ultimately this idea of account is validated glorying and and avoiding vanity metrics it's is generally helpful for me and thinking about running this business and in thinking about arm businesses and and and venturers in general the other one to the idea really are appropriate for it as did a search and audible for pragmatism which is a philosophy and there is a great book arm about John Dewey who is the father of pragmatism one of America's leading philosophers and here's the best thing is is narrated by Charlton Heston and O'Hagan go wrong with a spot and this is John Dewey the giants of philosophy anyways just a few of the hundreds of thousands of books you can download reliable and a couple that I think would be good to use as your free box so again I will park our start calm/pragmatic to get your free audiobook today and thank start-up offers monitoring the shop base that men are definitely check out our guys in the real world what I mean by that is what is a typical application for the stuff for both of these kinds of cables look at each of them independently start the speaker cables are unfortunately arm power at your amplifier does not equal power of the speakers because obviously you've got the signals go be carried on the cable out of the speaking are loose apparent that because no no conductor is a perfect conduct and a model mass superconductors here so in copper you have you have lost your resistance you lose power how does that work was that happened well it's ohms law rhymes law voltage equals current times resistance and that the addendum to that is you I calculate power you multiply your voltage and current togetherness appeared equals VI so those two little bits formula run some numbers voice assume that you're using a 25 what are bookshelf speaker it's 8 ohms looking at about 14 V output at the amplifier output works at about 1.75 A that gives you over attend meeting long cable run which is 30 feet which I think is a reasonable, number four are a normal living room right is from a little bit more than what you need even if you were up that went through the walls went through the roof and even if you took the long way round I think 10 m at 30 feeds probably a reasonable sought a number given all those numbers were looking at if he is I see you in a 1.5% voltage drop which is pretty minimal if you using the cheaper the great table that 6.8% so there is a difference there but it's less than 10% for both of them I looked long and hard for some conversion figures between wattage and dB for a given speaker so sound pressure level the drastically get out these things so will switch to an eight what speaker Edler says it's got a peak rating of 35 W that comes out well this particular speaker in this example has a sensitivity of 85 DB and that's at 2.83 V at 1 m distance from the actual speaker cone and I was at one what the speaker produces a 85 DB so that I work with that now so by applying a 76.8 percent drop to that power reaching the speaker well where does that leave me it leaves me with drumroll please a .3 dB loss at the speaker 0.3 DB that's how much you lose if you swapped out your OC cable for the cheap stuff for the standard copper .3 DB that's nothing practically nothing in most sound pressure level metres won't even detect a child is something that small now noting of course the DB is not linear is logarithmic scale and at three DB is you know the half power twice PowerPoint in other words are if you are three DB above or below a reference point it will be either fits above it'll be twice the amount power fits below behalf the amount of power than your reference point but .3 of the DB's out by a factor of 10 you your it's negligible okay so that's for an analog signal so the signal to the speaker is an analog signal and that signal is going to be are essentially affected by noise but the bottom line is the power is going to the powers can diminish based on yellow ohms law and therefore you again and up (the speakers however because analog you can't recover it can't recover lost information from noise or will perhaps the opening is you can't regenerate the data once you got noise you you gone white why that's important is that if we now talk about how HDMI cables the thing is at HDMI cables the claim is that the gold reduces the resistance overall the copy reduces the contact resistance in the connectors and is one of the claims that they make about these goldplated connectors now if you consider the fact we forget the fact that they don't they don't get fouled up with corrosion that's great that doesn't actually mean that EMF use if you start from a koala copper connector with the COI tin tin lead coated yellow it's not gonna be an issue really if it's clean so goblet let's compare them one and the primes of their life rather than that rather than the state where one is corroded and the other hasn't if you consider that to be a case you got to cable side-by-side once Kolkata one isn't a consider that a normal HDMI cables only 3 to 5 m which is the attend a 16 foot long you know that's really long HDMI cables mostly #cables I've gotta go over the odds about 10 feet or less the loss of voltage reminded the others can be minimal and if you buy a cable that is through that that is 10 feet long and HDMI cable is not goldplated it still has to work right if you meet your Minnesota voltages can get from one into the other it's gonna have a thorough loss of resistance you if putting gold plating on their actually improves that resistance it makes no difference its digital art HDMI has a whole bunch of different signals on but there is some 5 V logic and there is also a chi-squared see our which is now put on these five goals though there are the newest and a drop that two vaults I believe but are in any case we can assume our I don't have an overlooked imitation my standard I couldn't get enough information in the lead up to the show but if anyone knows the actual voltages please let me know but based information I have at hand let's assume editing is five a logical HDMI bus signal set a tolerance and save it drops any lower than 4.7 V 4.5 of the matter is not a logic one as long as a voltage doesn't drop below the critical threshold then it will recognise it as a one or a recognise it as a zero and is that's the end of that discussion in other words you could drop .1 .2 .3 V and you would not notice the damn difference because its digital because you can regenerate the data once you know what the data is received you then re-transmitter on its roof refresher the whole advantage of digital over analog so noise has nothing to do with the noise sorry noise can't affect it and the idea is that if gold is actually improving her like reducing the resistance who cares my 3 m long cable are without gold it works just fine was the gold giving me is not giving me any less that the contact resistance has made no difference to the thing that gets me about this is that all the gold really does is lots of insertion removal cycles it will probably perform better and I say probably because honestly it depends on the receptacle so the socket is made out of a heart of metal than the gold like anything higher than three and most them shouldn't be with you they may well be depending upon what allies their their views because it in the quest to get rid of tin lead solar they've they've goals of different allies to get rid of the lead and someone may have slightly higher harnesses than gold and the people manufacture the gold plating a sale that's fine because no one is concerned remove this more than 2000 times a lifetime is properly true are what was the point the point is honestly in less you're inserting and removing the dam connectors a lot it makes no difference it just doesn't doesn't yoga is not gonna corrode the other thing is exposure oxygen went when the connectors actually plugged in honestly unless there is moisture around the actual contacts well at where they actually touch the dissimilar metals touch honestly you can get much point corrosion and all and if you are a high salinity environment perhaps are you might get surface corrosion but where the to physically touch no oxygen can reach because of physically touching so if you have a cable plugged in your lever plugged in it will stay connected generally unless it gets wet is no way for the oxygen given is no path because it's it's physically touching so the exposed parts of art that would get surface corrosion alright so those are some real-world applications but this still more to say about what actually goes into a good cable so what does make a good cable and honestly the problem is of the dancers, I say what makes a good car are or what makes a good vehicle I should I should rephrase it obviously if you're moving house our once a week or your moving other people's you know are in North America you guys: pickup trucks and astray we call them use your shorter utility vehicles when the fire someone finds that you pick up what they say hey can you help me move my sofa accounts TV cabinet whatever PII had had some mates at uni that that you have that they got a you and it was they said it was just a change overnight suddenly as soon as your father had a unit was I'll can we borrow you for insert reason here that had nothing to do with them anyway so I guess it's like that question is what what makes a good vehicle it depends on what is being used for and the same ancestor of the cables so we sort of scenario is down with this I see in goldplated discussions to common situations both do with audiovisual one HDMI cable for gold plating and want to speak why for our four audio speakers so we leave it in those in those areas HDMI cable is the most interesting one to look at so let's look at that what makes a good HDMI cable and the first clue is it's not that the gold first of all you need to have really good shielding because the digital information obviously it will get corrupted so the best way to to stop noise getting to it is to have an electromagnetic shield around which is now most commonly used will be a braid or a foil our floors are considered more flimsy braids are considerable flexible sub rating is generally at the preferred approach shielding of that is bonded to the outside of the connectors in other words where the connector connects into the socket that braid is actually connected to the outer shield of that such that the shielding is therefore continuous and there is no exposed signal wire anywhere one of the other issues that you come across with shielding cables is the issue of shielding at both ends because the promise of your two pieces of equipment and they each have separate power supplies or even foci from same common source you have different the AC/DC converters of the cities are converters and they could have floating grounds whatever they may have you can end up with multiple earthing points is the more industrial problem but you are come from a consumer level is very unusual but something to be aware of just if anything was interested is that you will like you should really only ground on earth your shield at one end so when you plug into a socket and that socket is grounded within the TV set let's say while the other end the other device it shouldn't be grounded because if it is the cure should be connected because if it is and that other devices grounded and you can actually get a current flowing through the shield I called my other such things are common ground lives and our earth loops and that can actually cause a lot of problems with noise and actually air causes problems at a consumer level is pretty rare Fred to be an issue and when you get these connected these good-quality cables they will have a shield bonded on each end in any case it's also tricky to figure out if they are they aren't unless you get out a year a Stanley knife or a box colour I should say and then strip back the plastic to see if it's actually bonded or not your multimeter is easy way to find out is to steer 190 I use a character as a shield but you you can always sister bow out the year the other she outer shield of each of the earplugs to see if you've actually got our direct connection anyway shielding very very very important so on the issue of our flexible cables knife see them if you have ultra flexible cables if you have a requirement that your cables ultra flexible then sure I will seek style cables will be better for you not not because there are see but because of the fact that the high-strength count so for example if you're in if you are not you musician as well but then I'm not really a musician your musician right and all the audio cables that you can have up on stage yoga from a guitar from your Mike the amplifier they are all ultra flexible cables that usually bigger and heavier and they're very flexible and that's important because you move around the stage you go but the problem is when we looking at figure 8 OIC cable around the house I don't move my speakers three times a day and I wander around the room holding my speaker so if they're fixed in fixed locations and of course they going to be then why do you need an ultra flexible cable because nothing is moving so doesn't make sense you don't actually need ultra flexible cables when it comes to speaker audio you just don't flow for the average home stereo installation which is where most of it is being flogged off has all stuck up honestly the problem is that there is no real right or wrong it's only what is the right thing for the application in question people all want a simple yes goldplated connectors or IFC cables are always better or that always a waste of money but the truth is that there are some benefits it is important to recognise where the benefits come from no and honestly are it's not possible for me to give a definitive yes or no however on balance I will say that gold plating and I will see are not worth the money for I would say the vast majority of consumer applications most people don't insert remove their cables a thousand times corrosion resistance is less of an issue with either type of cable therefore also the goal doesn't help really that much I can see gold being helpful if you are in an environment that is highly corrosive so if you live right next to the ocean so the air is a very high salinity Arthur makes any sense are if your boss beside a swimming pool perhaps then gold may be an advantage sure absolutely but honestly arm that's gonna be an unusual situation although I will actually oh I will confess that in in one of my in-laws has a has recently built a pool and they got entertainment area out the back yard and the entertainment area is is walled on two sides and the other half is open source, like it's like a detached our awning if that makes any sense and they've they've mounted a HDTV out there so they can actually watch TV out there now that would be an application right next to a swimming pool where you gold K goldplated cables might actually be helpful because they would be welcome corrosion resistant but to me it is weird because as I get cable TV set at their office bolted to the wall but it's out in the yard is not locked up this not there is no locking of it seems strange to me that more people are doing a prominent glare I would have thought so too but I actually know it's funny maybe it's because a lot of trees around the money that they're blocking the sun at certain angles I suspect that certain holidays that would be a likely actually that you then again I could say the same for all the TV in my room in the sun comes into it in the morning and we end up drawing apply via the curtains in order to actually watch the TV because of the glam victim anyway so that's one application I can think of but most people aren't doing so most people wouldn't be able justify them only the other issue then with the that the resistance is unless speakers are hundred metres away a 300 feet away yet they still do me no real measurable difference to your ears using standard cable versus OIC cable is not gonna notice it unless you're moving cables all around all the time there is no need for you to pay extra money to get ultra flexible of the cables and forgetting a better result with ICS, the daughter factors I've seen have anything to do the factors got a lot of our strands and that's it so for the average home user in an average situation and that includes most audiophiles do not worth it and that's it wanted more about this you can find John a Twitter at John Geagea the seminar partner infrastructure can translate that distortion do come legs and email you consent to giant taxes? Come and that Alexander can reach me on Twitter at the Atlas Arthur file at pragmatic joint letter or at pragmatic on out that no decision announcements and other related materials 17 thank you to sponsor honourable and Squarespace typing is absent influencing everyone thanks gonna they spent and thanked everyone for listening to cheers�
Duration 56 minutes and 16 seconds Direct Download
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Show Notes

Articles about the show:

Oxygen-Free Copper:

Gold Plating:


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Ben Alexander

Ben Alexander

Ben created and runs and Fiat Lux

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.