Cryogenics are cool solution for hifi performance

A Cryogenic Treatment Services product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Dec 13, 2004

Cryogenic Treatment Services provides a specialist cryogenic process for improving the performance of cables, circuit boards and other electronic equipment.

With the never-ending search for a purer quality of sound within the music and hifi industry, the technological boundaries are being pushed as never before.

Rising to the challenge for crystal clear sound, Cryogenic Treatment Services, based in Mansfield, is providing a specialist cryogenic process for improving the performance of cables, circuit boards and other electronic equipment.

Cryogenics was first discovered by a Scotsman, Sir James Dewar, the physicist who first liquefied hydrogen and invented the Dewar Flask for the storage of liquid nitrogen, at the end of the 1800s.

From these early beginnings, the cryogenic treatment of metals and plastics has been developed, with much being owed to NASA who used the process to achieve performance enhancements in materials for the space race.

Although relatively new to the music and hifi industry, the cryogenic treatment of cables and circuit boards is gradually being considered by many as an important factor in assisting with the reproduction of a pure and transparent sound signal.

Many suggest that notable increases in the quality of sound reproduction can be achieved when using cryogenically treated high quality cables specifically designed for use at audio frequency.

Cryogenic Treatment Services is currently working with The Missing Link, a Nottingham based company, specialising in the design and manufacture of high-end audio cables, to develop a number of special cryogenic treatments.

Commenting on the use of cryogenically treated cables, Mark Sears, designer and partner of The Missing Link, said: "There are substantial sonic improvements to be gained from the cryogenic treatment of the conductors of analogue, digital, loudspeaker and power cables".

Sears went on to explain some of the theoretical science: "The most commonly used conductor materials for high performance audio cables are annealed copper with a conductivity rating of 100% IACS - the base standard, gold with a conductivity rating of 73.4% IACS, rhodium with a conductivity rating of 36.4% IACS and high-purity four-nines silver with a conductivity rating of 106% IACS".

"When high purity silver is examined under an electron microscope the most intrusive object to the electrons that must travel down the conductor are the oxygen boundaries that form at the edge of the crystal lattice structure".

"Oxygen is a very effective insulator".

"It is, therefore, a reasonable supposition that cryogenic treatment will improve the conductor by reducing the crystal boundaries - thereby offering fewer obstacles to the delicate electrical signal".

"This also provides the added benefit of reducing stress fractures caused by cable flexure that can severely degrade cable performance over time".

"We have carried out numerous listening and physical tests over the last two years and this appears to hold true".

"To reinforce our findings with further empirical evidence we are working with Nottingham University to perfect the cryogenic processes appropriate for the treatment of high purity silver cables, circuit boards, valves, plugs and other components that will assist in increasing the quality of the reproduction of sound".

Andy Priscott, Director of Cryogenic Treatment Services, commented on some of the problems and what happens during the cryogenic cooling process: "Copper, when looked at under high magnifications, has a very erratic lattice structure".

"This is a result of the way it is made".

"Most materials are thermally shocked solidifying into a solid and are then mechanically processed inducing further stresses".

"As a result, the lattice structure of the material is not in its natural state".

"Molecules are trapped in a haphazard pattern and this is where the problem lies".

"This random placement causes obstacles to the flow of electrons".

"This interference can theoretically cause noise, slow down electron flow and negatively affect the quality of the sound".

"If you take the cables and circuit boards down to -195C, near absolute zero temperature, where the strength of the atomic bonds starts to diminish, the materials will revert to their natural crystalline structure".

"By using the cryogenic stress relieving process, it is possible to significantly reduce the stresses that cause reduced quality of sound".

"This will work for all conductor materials although the better the IACS rating the better the sound improvement".

"It is believed that when higher quality conductor cables are cryogenically treated the process moves from simply reducing stresses to a far greater manipulation of the crystal boundaries that are interfering with the electron flow".

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