Not yet tested: Barbed wire, train tracks

A few people have e-mailed me to mention this Consumerist post, which links to an Audioholics forum post which I could have sworn I myself linked to a while ago, though I may be mistaken. All of the "audiophile" bulldust kind of merges together in my mind after a while.

Anyway, the gist of the post is that fancy Monster-brand speaker cables "sound" the same as wire coat hangers, as any electrophysicist would tell you they would, but as the entire fancy-audio-cable industry insists they would not.

(Wire hangers are not, of course, actually very practical for most speaker-cabling tasks. Numerous less dramatic tests have demonstrated that so-called audiophiles can't tell the difference between fancy cables and lamp cord.)

But wait, there's more.

Here is a test of wire hangers versus fancy cables for home theatre digital interconnect applications, which turned up similar results. Again, this is entirely unsurprising from a physics point of view, but is completely contrary to the heated claims from many magic-cable vendors.

I invite you to link to any other, similar tests in the comments.

(Actually, despite this post's headline, I'm pretty sure that someone actually has tested rusty old barbed wire against "audiophile" cables of one kind or another. I do know for a fact that sending hundred-megabit Ethernet over barbed wire was a pretty well-known demo back in the days when 100BaseT was super-technology.)

10 Responses to “Not yet tested: Barbed wire, train tracks”

  1. JsD Says:

    It's not actually a fair test, anyway. Extensive empirical research demonstrates that metal is enhanced considerably by the presence of barbed wire.

  2. brotherscrim Says:

    Well sure, but that effect has an inverse-cubed relationship to the barbed-wire's proximity to the guitarist's biceps.

    I mean, by the time you've got it all the way over to your home stereo setup, it's negligible at the very best.

  3. Stark Says:

    Hmmm... running signal over barbed wire reminds me... does anybody else around here have expereince with ARCnet? I can verify that you can run ARCnet on barbed wire (as well as speaker wire, coat hangers and welded together paperclips). See, we had a lab and weren't particularly busy much of the time...

  4. Anthony Hersey Says:

    See, you have to pay extra to violate Ohm's Law.

  5. jwaddell Says:

    Were the tests conducted after first freezing the wires for 24 hours and then enclosing them in a vacuum tube lying on a sand bed? If not, the tests are hardly valid - the manufacturer's recommendations have to be followed to the letter!

  6. Chazzozz Says:

    Hmmmm...razorwire Ethernet cables....I like that idea! Maybe that would convince users to keep their **%&$!! hands of of them.

  7. DBT Says:

    We have current products that still use ARCnet to communicate between various components in a bus topology.

    How would you terminate barbed wire?

    Could this be the answer to Australia's regional broadband development? A mesh network over existing fencing?

    Includes inherent warning system: Internet down = gate left open ... somewhere ... livestock escaping.

  8. Daryl Says:

    Wire coat hangers also make good HF car aerials, especially when bent into an Australia-shape (without Tasmania). It also fits neatly into the hole left by the broken aerial.

  9. dulridge Says:

    Where I lived in southern Africa in the early 80's the Army post near(ish)by had 140 miles of barbed wire to run its phones on. In the tropics lightning was a huge problem and all sorts of things got vapourised on a regular basis - hence the 140 miles of barbed wire from the exchange to the Army camp.

  10. Nico Says:

    @ Daryl: When the antenna on our car finally stopped extending, we replaced it with a coat hanger. Funny thing is, it was stolen off our car just a few days later (We live in NYC). I didn't know coat hangers were so rare in these parts.

    I'm going to have to try running phone or ethernet over random-crap-that-it shouldn't-be run-over. My school has two parallel rows of metal lockers...

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