Cryo your cables?

I was talking with a buddy of mine that builds racing engines for karts and the subject of cryogenic freezing came up. For the past couple of years this has been THE hot thing to have done to your engine parts to reduce wear and friction. I checked out a place on the web called that does this work. Now for the interseting part relating to cables. They say that one of the frequently treated alloys is copper, espescially welding electrodes. Quote- "The increased durability of Copper from cryogenic treatments is increased homogeneity of the crystal structure. The material becomes more compact, dissolving gaps and discolorations or, for example, chrome carbides found in class II copper. Because of structural compactness there is less electron obstruction which improves electrical conductivity. It has also been learned that as a result of increased conductivity, welding amperage can be reduced thereby further prolonging the service life of electrodes." This got me thinking, what would such a difference in crystal structure do to interconnects and speaker cables? It would seem that what they claim of reduced electron obstruction and increased conductivity would be a positive thing in an audio environment. Has anyone ever thought about this before or actually had their cables treated? I would like some other opinions on this. I'm definitely having my drag-bike engine shipped out this winter to be treated, but I never thought before about how it might make cables sound different.
How much does this cost. I'd try it and see. Maybe I'll start with a ac cord.
There has been a lot of discussion on this. Search on the Audio Asylum website for this. Also this was discuss in several issues of "Bound for Sound."
I think that Jim Aud at Purest Audio Deesign has done this for years. Maybe Albert Porter will step in, he'll know. Have you heard the difference between treated and un-treated cables Albert?
Yes, Cryo definately works! I discovered this process in the last year, and have been shocked at how much difference a deep freeze can make. Apparently, this is no snake oil, but a proven way to enhance the micro crystaline structure of any metal alloy. A aerospace buddy informed me about the structural benefits with the cryo process, and I wondered if these enhancements might improve the performance of my cables. Sonically, they become more "laid back" sounding, and have a slightly more open soundstage. Now, for the kicker: You don't have to spend a ton of money at a cryo place in order to cryofreeze your cables. All you have to do is buy a block of dry ice, put it in a styrofoam container, place your cables in the container, seal the container, and put it in your freezer overnight. The sonic improvements are similiar to the expensive deep freeze cryo places, except it only costs you 10 bucks in dry ice!
What exactly does the dry ice do? I'm not sceptical, just inquisitive. Does it do something to do with the absolute temperature of the dry ice? And what is the temperature of a cyro treatment.
I'd be careful. Cryo freezing can potentially damage the non metal part of your cables sucha s teflon and PE shileds, spcers, etc. As for the effect on metals, it will depend highly on the specific metal and metal alloy used. Unless you (or whoever does the treatment for you) has access to the phase diagram for the specific alloz your cables are made of, this can be a totally random process which could even hurt. While it is true that treating metals at very low temperatures can lead to a more crystalline structure, the temperature does not necessarily have to be in the "cryo" range, and the biggest factor is time. What you are trying to do is ensure that as much of the metal is present in its crystalline (vs. amorphous) state at its temperature of use (the usual "room temperature"). With pure metals, this is pretty straight forward, since you can look up published pahse diagrams, look up the transition temperature from the amprphous to the crystalline state and "anneal" you metal at that temperature for a sufficiently long period of time, then bring it to room temperature with a warming (or cooling) regime that avoid destruction of the crystalline state.Evne with a pure metal, this is not strightforwad (just look at the many possible structures of any pure metal in a phase diagram depdning on its temperature treatment history!). With an allow, this is even tougher, since if you get the temperature treatment "wrong" you can even end up with phase separations (where the minor components of the alloy spearate into pure micordomains and break up the continuity of the alloy). This is basic materials science/metallurgy. I do not claim to know what the effect would be on the SOUND, but before you pay major ucks to have this done to your cbales, best be aware that it is NOT strightforward. If you want to know more, drop me a private e-mail. Though this is not my field of secialization, I know a little bit more about it than I can cover in this post.
I don't know a lot about cryo. What I do know is from racing cars, not stereo equipment. Theoretically it should work. The realignment allows for freer (more organized)flow of electrons. I had never considered it for audio applications. But I think that you are spending an awful lot of money on an experiment. It should effect the sound. The question is whether or not it is worth the cost. I think most upper end silver cables are outrageously overpriced and not worth the money, but if money is burning a whole in your pocket, go for it and let us know how it works out.
An interesting thread. Does anyone know if the changes due to "cryo" treatment are permanent, short lived, wear off gradually, or what. Alexc above presents some questions and cautions not everyone would think of. It'd be interesting to know more about this. Thanks. Craig.
Purist Audio has been using Cryo process on his cables for years. There is a specific temperature that the material must be taken down to, and at a specific rate of speed, and for a specific amount of time. After the time limit has been met, the return to normal temperature must be done at a specific temperature rate and time span as well. The way Purist gets this correct, is through a contract with NASA. My understanding is that the tanks they use for submersion use liquid Nitrogen, and are huge! These tanks are temperature and time controlled to a fraction of a degree by super computers. The is normal treatment for many of the goods entering outer space. Jim Aud's computer expertise had him involved in the nuclear project for clean energy and with NASA. That, and living in Texas, near the facility, has allowed him access. I have made a direct comparison on the power supply of my Soundlab Ultimate speakers. I first broke them in with the standard (toroidal) transformer, then had Soundlab ship an identical pair of transformers to Purist. After Cryo treatment, Purist shipped them to me, and I exchanged them for the stock units. The downside was that the Cryo treated version took nearly three times as long to break in. However, after break in, all the things that make sound better WERE better. This includes improved tonal balance, increased bandwidth, MUCH lover distortion, and even greater intelligibility on vocals and instruments. Overall there was a sense of greater ease and a more natural and less congested presentation. I also participated in a (non public disclosed) test with Benz, where we Cryo treated the Ruby cartridge. The results were similar, but there were concerns for the life of the bonding agents that held the wood body to the motor, and the long term affect on the suspension. Too complicated to get into. My advise is to just be sure if you experiment with this, get a profession to help like I did. Cryo treatment has different effects on every material (depending on its structure), and many products are made of several different materials. Taking one material to the correct temperature may adversely affect the others.
I had a cable cryogneically frozen and could not tell any difference. However, a friend of mine had cables and CDs frozen and there was a vast improvement (much more open and easier sound). I have heard of freezing car engines and after doing some research I discovered that members of the Chicago Symphony brass section have had instruments frozen at at an instrument repair shop called The Brass Bow in Arlington Heights, IL. The results have been very positive with the players feeling that the instruments retain the same tone throughout the entire range of the horn. If top notch players feel there is a positive difference on there instruments, I've got to believe this is a lot more than just another tweak. Rayd
I know some professional musicans that have mouth pieces cryogenically frozen and they say it improves the sound. They also say it is a temporary fix, and must be repeated over a length of time (I forget what the time interval is).
Sounds like Purist Audio know what they are doing and do it right. If done by the manufacturer (who should know the alloy composition), then this should work. As to whether the effect lasts, again it depends on temperature "history". If, after cryo tratment, the cbales are esposed to a temperature where phase transitions can occur, therer will be reversals in the structure. If the intent is to obtain long, ordered crystals, the "system" (the alloy) will want to return to a more favorable (higer) entropy state and will do so if allowed to (heated to a point where mobility and rearrangement are again possible). But..under normal use conditions, this should not happen to audio cables (unles you are running them right in front of a fireplace :-))
Mike Vansevers' reference level power conditioners and cables uses Cyro treatments.
Answer to question, What does dry ice do? In a nutshell, it has the same sonic benefits as the cryo deep freeze process. Some history: In the past one of my buddies and his audiophile friends would rent out a deep freeze cryo container in which they could cryo all of their equipment and wires at the same time, to save on the cost (If I recall it was $800 per cryo session). Everyone throughout the country would have to ship it to one of the audiophiles in the Chicago area (where the cryo service was). This saved everyone money, but overall, it was a logistical nightmare for everyone involved. One guy started to wonder if the same sonic benefits could be obtained from a lesser "deep freeze", invoving the use of something like dry ice. He made a styrofoam contatiner in which he could put dry ice and cables, sealed it, and put it in his freezer over night. After this process was done, he compared the sound of the dry iced cables, to his cables that had been cryo treated (Note: The cryo and dry iced cables were the same exact design) It turned out to be better than he had hoped. Both cables were indistiguishable from one another! I am sure that the cryo treatment is the best way freeze alloys, but...when you compare costs (and more importantly, the identical sonic improvements) the dry ice choice is a no brainer. Who cares if this process does not last forever? For $15 bucks in dry ice, you can refreeze your entire system! If the true cryo process is temporary, you'll be out of some serious money.