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The Ill-Tempered Audiophool

Quantum-mechanical tunneling and cables

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I was poking around the USB cable thread and saw reference to this, so I went a hunting, and found the following claim:

By applying a two million volt signal to a cable at a specific pulse modulation, and ultra high frequency for an exact duration of time, we transform the entire cable at a molecular level through a phenomenon called Quantum Tunneling. This process is performed on all TESLA Series cables, from Galileo Basik Strings and Au 79 and Magnetic Tricon to Apex, and can be applied to models not Quantum Tunneled for an additional charge. The before and after is startling, with a lower noise floor and improvements in inner detail, air, low frequency extension, and overall transparency and signal speed.

http://www.synergisticresearch.com/tesla-series/tesla-series-technologies/

So, you might ask yourself, what is quantum-mechanical tunneling?

When I teach this (as I do, every year), I sometimes make reference to a more familiar phenomenon. If you take a laser beam, and point it at a glass prism, what you will find is that part of the beam is transmitted in the original direction, and part is split off, and reflected. If you change the angle of the prism relative to the incoming laser, there comes an angle, called the critical angle, beyond which all the light is reflected, and none is transmitted. It looks like this:



Now take a second prism, and place it next to the first one. If the two glass surfaces touch, suddenly you get the laser beam propagating out in the un-bent, transmission angle again.





That's the optical version of tunneling.

You can treat this classically, using something called an evanescent wave. You can also treat it quantum-mechanically, and it is again the same sort of wave phenomenon, except the wave now describes the probability of finding the particle in what we call a classically forbidden region. So it works exactly the same way for photons and electrons. The electron "tunnels" through a barrier despite not having enough energy to hop over it.

It doesn't change the molecular structure of anything. Not the glass. Not the wire. Nada.

These guys might be doing something else to "change the molecular structure" of the wire (which, by the way, isn't made of "molecules" in the first place, but rather an array of metal atoms). But it ain't quantum tunneling.
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  1. 1audio's Avatar
    You mean that Zeus doesn't throw thunderbolts at the cable really really fast and bore a tunnel through the middle of the cable for the electrons to sneak through?



    I'm really really disappointed.



    I get it, they apply 2 million electron volts to the center conductor and it tunnels through the insulator (leaving a magical conversion of polymer to carbon) to the return conductor, forever changing the nature of the insulator.



    Or maybe they use the cable as a target for a cyclotron. Usually that would be considered nuclear waste but they found a new use that will cover the cost of advanced particle research and get a home for nuclear waste at the same time! Audiophiles contributing to advanced research.



    I should not be so harsh. I once proposed making a real superconductor speaker cable. At $500K the numbers worked and we could have built it for anyone so inclined, but no takers. I guess they didn't think Monster Cable was serious. . .
  2. wgscott's Avatar
    Yeah, why not just use liquid nitrogen-cooled conventional wires?
  3. 1audio's Avatar
    But liquid Helium is so much more . . .(fill in synonym for audiophile crazy).
  4. wgscott's Avatar
    expensive?



    cold?



    Bosonic? (Not in the speaker sense.)
  5. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
    Bill - You lost me. Can you start over? Just kidding (about starting over).



    Interesting stuff.
  6. Mark Powell's Avatar
    That's just a laugh. But has resulted in some interesting information from some here.



    The 5000 dollars for a one meter interconnect is an even bigger laugh.



    But my favorite remains Shunyata's "We tested our power cable at 300 amps, have a look at our graph, and you will see that the volt drop is lower than that of a chain store cable". Taking the p**s. They even name the damn things after snakes to give people a clue, and they still don't get it.
  7. DigiPete's Avatar
    But the superconductor speaker cable had been with us for a long time!



    No need for $500K of even $5K.



    Move the DAC and amplifier to/into the speaker and use AES/EBU speaker cable (industrial S/PDIF).



    Maybe $25 a pop and something that can be proven to work every single time is simply not exotic enough?
  8. Audio_ELF's Avatar
    Don't superconductors need to be kept at close to absolute zero?
  9. Julf's Avatar
    Some high-temperature copper-oxide superconductors work at above 100K. It is still pretty darn cold.
  10. Jud's Avatar
    Don't superconductors need to be kept at close to absolute zero?



    Higher-temperature superconducting materials have been developed, though not the "holy grail" of "room temperature" superconductors.
  11. jjavan's Avatar
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's nothing that exciting.



    Though your post had me LOL!
  12. Mike Gillespie's Avatar
    Has anyone had great results with the Synergistic Research cables? Bigger soundstage or whatever they're supposed to be known for?
  13. Mark Powell's Avatar
    For a one metre interconnect and I will report back :)
  14. Mike Gillespie's Avatar
    Has anyone had great results with the Synergistic Research cables? Bigger soundstage or whatever they're supposed to be known for?
  15. ssgp2's Avatar
    I'm waiting for the dark matter cables powered by dark energy.

    ;)
  16. Mark Powell's Avatar
    'quantum entanglement' cables. Much better than quantum tunnelling. They don't transmit anything, so they are not in fact cables, just a USB type A and a USB type B connector in a box. Nearest I can get to in plain English is 'cause to appear' rather than transmit. Instantaneous at any distance too. None of this 'speed of light' stuff.



    Try Wal Mart.
  17. Paul R's Avatar
    I'm waiting for the dark matter cables powered by dark energy.



    Wouldn't those just be the Voodo cables? Or perhaps the Black Cat ones?



    -Paul
  18. jjavan's Avatar
    Dear WGSCOTT:



    Thank you so much for creating this second blog. I wish I had you as a professor when I was in school learning this stuff.



    You actually inspired me to pull out my old Chemistry books last night, and do some reading.



    I have a question for you: I've heard a lot of audio equipment over the years, so when Scott Walker of Scott Walker Audio, brought over the Synergistic Research power cleaner, (which comes with a Tesla series power cable)I was extremely skeptical that it was going to sound better than my Shunyata V-Ray and Python Alpha power cord.



    He hooked everything up, and my jaw dropped. The soundstage increased dramatically,low level cues became more prominent, transient signals were also more prominent without sounding etched, I could go on and on about different areas where there was improvement, but most importantly the improvement of my systems musicality was dramatic.



    After a few minutes of analytical listening I found myself so involved in the music that I abandoned the analytical portion of the listening session, and found myself just listening to the music (which is the whole point of being an audiophile).



    Of course I came to my senses and did my due diligence: A/B/A testing, new recording B/A/B testing. The results were always the same. Their gear sounded better than mine.



    After boring you with all of that exposition here is my question: Can you explain what effect, if any (excluding QT):), applying two million volts through a wire would produce? Granted your moving electrons, but is their something I'm missing? (by the way, they use three different metals in their cables: Copper, Silver, and Tungsten)
  19. Mark Powell's Avatar
    Never seen a 'scientific' equation with price in it yet. Never will.
  20. 4est's Avatar
    is to the right of the equal sign.
  21. Paul R's Avatar
    The very simple formula used to calculate the percentage change in price is:



    [Price(NEW) - Price(OLD)] / Price(OLD)



    Quite scientific I think. :)



    -Paul
  22. Mike Gillespie's Avatar
    jjavan,

    what is the Synergistic "Power cleaner". I don't see that on their web site?
  23. 4est's Avatar
    Does have hollow conductors IIRC! ;)
  24. jjavan's Avatar
    Mike,



    It's under Tesla Power>Tesla Power Cell MkII SE



    I know it's confusing. Their site isn't setup, so you can find things easily.



    The MkII has been replaced with the MkIII, so if you can find a dealer with a demo model of this unit you can get them for $2,500 rather than $5,000.



    The MkII is perfect for people like me who are much more into analog.



    Here is the link directly to it:http://www.synergisticresearch.com/tesla-power-products/tesla-powercell-10-se-mkii/
  25. jjavan's Avatar
    Mike,



    I was a big skeptic when it came to their gear, but they're equipment has completely transformed my system.



    I'm even trading in my beloved Lector Digicode 2.24 MkII for their Music Cable D.A.C. I never thought I would get rid of my Lector because it was the most analog sounding DAC I had ever heard (I'm much more into analog than digital.)



    I could use all of the audiophile terms to describe the sound, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter one wit whether I tell you about an increased soundstage in width and depth, greater low level detail without sounding etched etc. But, at the end of the day,you really have to hear it.



    If your near Irvine CA your more than welcome to come listen.



    Justin
  26. Mike Gillespie's Avatar
    Thanks, Justin, for the info. Mike.
  27. elcorso's Avatar
    Too much voltage and amperes for my Sing Sing prison electric (listening) chair.



    Needed only 2,000 to 2,200 volts at 7 to 12 amperes.



    But I'm almost sure that the 614 prisoners executed on it saw the 'tunnel'...



    Roch
  28. dreko's Avatar
    I'll just add some random thoughts to this... and would love to keep these ideas/thoughts going....





    http://www.superconductors.org/ultra.htm

    These guys have won contracts from the Pentagon for their claims of a room temperature 'superconductor' they name Ultraconductor. I've been looking into this for a while, they haven't contacted me back... The link also has the patent number. (A extremely thin polymer material?)



    For an ideal speaker wire... would we want almost zero resistance? We'd have infinite conductance, all of our amps' power would reach the speaker voice coil... no cable 'filter' to change the sound in our audio.. that many people hear... yes????



    Sidebar: Graphene coated cables will be coming at some point

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-10-graphene-copper-crystals.html
  29. Jud's Avatar
    ...but the Ultraconductor thing is bogus. No superconductivity in polymers at 90-odd C, sorry (which is what the 14 year old patent claims). In fact the most cited Journal of Superconductivity article about polymer superconductivity (at just over 2 Kelvin!) was retracted a couple of years later.
  30. dreko's Avatar
    Hey Jud,



    For sure, the Ultraconductor saga seems to warrant disbelief... yet part of me believes there must be advances going on in materials sciences...



    Did you read that link on Graphene? A atom thick layer that exhibits all kinds of amazing potential.



    Could Ultraconductors have been exploring a similar area, but with polymers instead of carbon?



    Meh, this is all way above my background, and I struggle between the belief in progress, men in black suits, and the men wearing tinfoil hats...
  31. Jud's Avatar
    ...and materials science is also beyond our Synergistic friends, let alone quantum physics.



    From the Synergistic web site:



    By applying a two million volt extreme high frequency signal to a cable at a specific pulse modulation and frequency, for an exact duration of time, we alter the entire cable at molecular level....



    From the Wikipedia article on Tesla coils:



    ...skin effect limits Tesla currents to the outer fraction of an inch in metal conductors....



    Sorry to keep raining on the parade, and maybe the cables do sound good (though the descriptions seem to indicate they impart their sonic "qualities" to all material played through them, and are designed for system matching, both IMO wrongheaded and big no-nos), but this sort of ludicrous pseudo-scientific crap from Synergistic and others, and the deserved ridicule it brings, makes gaining mindshare far more difficult for serious designers trying to do good work.
  32. Julf's Avatar
    "[i]These guys have won contracts from the Pentagon for their claims of a room temperature 'superconductor' they name Ultraconductor.[/i]"



    I just have to ask myself "If these guys really have come up with a room temperature superconductor, would they really be wasting their time making hifi cables, instead of going for the Nobel Price?"
  33. Mark Powell's Avatar
    Invented (discovered if you like) by two UK university professors a year or so ago.



    But it is not superconductive and they never made any claims that it was.
  34. Mark Powell's Avatar
    I would love to hear these things. I emailed them and they offered me a factory visit. But I'm on the other side of the Atlantic. There is UK dealer only a few miles away, they don't do demos but they will let you take them home and try them, which is better still.



    I can ignore their psuedo scientific mumbo jumbo. But I think the prices are totally insane, so there is no point in wasting the dealers time or mine.
  35. Julf's Avatar
    "[i]this sort of ludicrous pseudo-scientific crap from Synergistic and others, and the deserved ridicule it brings, makes gaining mindshare far more difficult for serious designers trying to do good work[/i]"



    Now you are just being negative! Remember, every time one of us does not believe in this stuff anymore, a magic cable dies somewhere.
  36. rwwjr44's Avatar
    I started with one used power cord and now my entire system is Synergistic cabling with two power cells. I bought the closeout models at a decent discount but still shiver when I think of the price. BUT the sound is the best I've ever had with this particular set of equipment. Actually, it is the best ever.
  37. Mark Powell's Avatar
    Their treatment might be good.



    But it has nothing at all to do with quantum tunneling, which their process cannot induce. Shame really, their marketing BS might put some customers off what actually might be fine cables.
  38. Daudio's Avatar
    "By applying a two million volt signal to a cable at a specific pulse modulation, and ultra high frequency for an exact duration of time"

    Leaving aside all the other issues, just how does one switch 2 million volts at a very high frequency ?? I don't know of any tube or solid state devices that are capable of achieving such a feat. I suppose some specialized equipment may exist in the scientific community, but I haven't heard of it.

    Does anyone know if this is even possible ?