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I have reported that power cable construction affects sound. Thick solid core conductors sound weightier, thicker, fuller, with less aggression than thin, many stranded versions. And yesterday we explained the differences between thick and thin conductors, called skin effect; thinner cables have more of it and pass higher frequencies easier. But why should that matter? There is much speculation as to why less restriction of higher frequencies on the power line should matter, and even greater speculation why it should not. Let us start with the not, then move on to the should. Passing high frequencies on power cables should not matter because our home's AC power hasn't any to pass. Our wall sockets are fed either 50Hz or 60Hz AC, which qualifies only as low frequency. Higher frequencies that might care about skin effect are in the hundreds of thousand to many millions of Hertz. Yet, we know increasing skin effect has impacts on the sound of our equipment, despite the fact low frequencies are not impacted by greater amounts of skin on the wire. And so there is much speculation of why we hear what we hear in power cables. The most prevalent theory I am familiar with concerns diodes and their charging. Our equipment needs to convert incoming AC to DC before the power has any value to us. Diodes are one-way gates used to separate the plus and minus from the AC and make DC. And diodes are electronic switches that respond to changes, often referred to as transients (we transition between one state to another). The speed at which these transitions happen can have downstream impacts that many speculate is the cause of differences in power cables. This theory sounds good - it is wonderfully technical in nature - until you look closely. A pure sine wave, like that produced by a Power Plant AC regenerator, and what we pray comes out of the wall, has no transient information other than slow moving 50Hz or 60Hz previously mentioned. Thus, improving the path for high frequencies to travel when there are none to take the journey makes little sense. So if there are no higher frequencies of importance to pass down the power cable, why should skin effect matter? I hate to make this a real cliff hanger, but you'll have to bite your nails till tomorrow when I tell you my guess.
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Paul McGowan

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