What generates the typical mechanical defects in a metal conductor
like e.g. a copper cable?
During the production of the conductor there is a lot of mechanical
processing like stretching and bending.
Any bending causes minute surface cracks to appear at the outer
side- and displacements on the inner side of the curvature. Each
break or displacement exposes metal crystal boundaries to reaction
with gases from the air (e.g. Oxygen). So there is an outer layer
full with impurities (like metal-oxides), non-continuous structures
and dislocations. Afterwards it is a miracle that there is still
are the sonic effects of these defects?
As soon as a conductor is not a uniform material, each zone or layer
has its own electrical influence on the sound. Especially at lower
signal levels, there is a growing influence (the aging effect) on
the transmission of the electrical signals (music).
The result is that especially the spatial information drops out
and gets replaced by harshness.
causes this so called 'harshness'?
The harshness is the result of the abrupt raise in the electrical
impedance caused by the growing lack of conductivity at lower signal
levels. Very low level sinewaves (tones in the audio signal) e.g.
will experience zero crossing nonlinearities and due to this will
be supplemented with a rich quantity of (unnatural) harmonics. The
zero crossing parts of the sinewave perish since there the signal
does not have enough energy to take the (polluted) crystal barriers.
there any difference between e.g. copper and silver conductors besides
their color and price?
In principle the answer is NO. But despite this NO there are some
differences in the processing. Silver costs a lot more than copper,
so the general production attitude is more careful and the production
speed is lower: less meters per second, resulting in a reduced mechanical
and chemical aging. Sonically this works towards a better signal
quality transmitted along the product. The influence of air and
bending on the product after its manufacture is about the same as
copper, so the aging in a listening room is not different.
Only when the owner is very careful with the product (no bending
and a clean atmosphere) the cable will sonically 'live' longer.
The crystal structure of e.g. copper and silver is equal and their
number of free electrons per volume are about the same. So their
typical resistance is equivalent, should this property be important
there a difference between various conductors on an atomic scale?
Yes indeed. The differences on atomic and crystal scale among various
metals give rise to their distinct physical properties like hardness,
ductility and electrical conductivity. The conductivity being determined
by the amount of free electrons available per volume and their freedom
to move along the atomic grid.
Especially the electrical current?s freedom of movement is impeded
by all kinds of structural disturbances like crystal (grain) boundaries
which give rise to increased and signal dependent electrical resistivity.
Regarding audio applications it is therefore important to work with
conductor materials which exhibit and maintain an as little disturbed
structure as possible.
a higher resistance influence the sound quality?
It is not so much the value of the resistance but rather its quality
that is important. A stable resistance of the conductor is much
more welcome than a resistance depending on the level of the passing
signal. In the first situation the sound quality is ok. In the last
situation again we get a strong CCD effect, and the sonic result
is a signal dependent harshness and a lack of detail, the latter
replaced by non coherent harmonic distortion. The non coherent character
is related to the harmonic structure of the music.
different metals be combined to produce a good sound?
As long as each metal more or less has the same defects, the result
will not be better compared to a single metal construction.
Conductors made of copper, brass and silver to reproduce the sound
of a brass band is a nice idea but nothing more than that.
is the influence of coating copper conductors with a silver layer?
This depends on the way the coating is achieved. When the coating
is done by e.g. electro plating in a liquid containing silver ions
(a bath containing a dissolved salt of silver and other chemicals),
residual components of the carrier liquid will remain between the
growing silver crystals.
This unpredictable ?soup? will immediately start chemical activity
in any wet or humid environment. So instead of the noble silver
forming a protective layer, the copper is surrounded by a chemical
unfriendly environment; the result is that the copper conductor
will age much faster. The sonic result is extra attention on high
frequencies with an unnatural character caused by extra CCD.
So cables coated with silver by an electroplating process will never
sound better than their plain copper.
there any good solutions?
Yes there are. Coating metal by means of mechanical processing like
cladding is a solution when we think about pure metal cables. So
mechanically silver or gold plating a copper conductor is the best
solution, besides of course a very good electrical (non PVC) isolating
jacket applied immediately after the last die.
Another very good solution is vacuum sputtering a silver or gold
layer on a very pure copper conductor. But this is a costly operation.
Our company has products in its program which are manufactured after
these principles. Both by the industry and hi-fi lovers they are
evaluated as sonically very superior.
Especially our SCS series of multistrand single leads (like e.g.
SCS - 2, SCS - 4, SCS - 6, SCS - 12, SCS - 16, SCS
- 18 and SCS - 28 M) are typical products made according to this
The regular ?wet? electroplating can still be improved by adding
extra process steps like ultrasonic cleaning in distilled water
after each production run. The distilled water must be replenished
frequently, otherwise the ion contamination effect will remain.
In our program we have products like the CS - 10, CS - 12, CS -
16 and CS - 18 which are manufactured with this production idea
It is very important that during the electroplating process the
copper is not bent or stretched; this highly reduces the absorption
of ion residues in gaps on the outer surface. In this manner the
extra fast aging due to this absorption is prevented. In our production
procedure a lot of attention is paid to this typical manufacturing
there other practical solutions?
Yes, just forget metals. As long as metals are selected for the
practical reason that they are cheap and easy to work with, all
problems involved are induced over and over again, despite all extra
other materials can be used as conductor?
After a lot of research our solution is non-metallic: very pure
strings of carbon-saturated fibers.
With this material there are many advantages compared to any metal.
The mechanical aging is finished because the type of carbon structure
used by van den Hul is, by its size already (each fiber is 6 micron
thick), insensitive to bending.
Metal conductors used in audio have a minimum diameter of 25 micron
and often are much thicker.
The mechanical strength is such that e.g. pulling the fibers will
not cause any internal displacements or boundaries.
The carbon structure we use is also thermally completely stable.
Even at temperatures of 2000 degree Centigrade there is no chemical
activity like the production of CO or CO2.
Also there is no interaction with any chemical known so far. Under
standard conditions of audio use this means that the lifespan is
unlimited without the material changing its structure or properties.
is this carbon material called?
We call it Linear Structured Carbon®
Linear, because the electrical output signal is exactly
the same as the original input signal.
Structured, because the carbon's atomic grid structure is
defined by the processing of the basic material. This is a special
property because the carbon normally used in the audio industry
is based on random orientated carbon powder.
is this material made of?
We start with very pure carbon, and thanks to a special processing
we are able to line-up all carbon atoms in one big molecule without
any boundaries or barriers.
does this LSC behave electrical?
Very superior compared to metals: Each of the 6 micron thick fibers
has its own electrical insulation. The common effect with multistrand
metal conductors is that electrons can also go from strand to strand
and with that cross many more boundaries. Our individually insulated
fibers do not exhibit that effect; electrical signals entering a
fiber come out of the same fiber.
Thanks to the stable structure of the LSC, mechanical aging and
chemical pollution/deterioration are finished for ever. The carbon
atoms are very tightly (and therefore stable) positioned in the
LSC's atomic grid.
The electrical impedance is independent of signal level. So the
typical addition of harmonics due to CCD is past history. This directly
implies a much higher acoustical resolution on very low signal levels.
there any patents involved with LSC?
Yes, in many countries we own patents to protect our unique position
does LSC 'sound'?
When applied as an audio product, the 'sound' is more natural and
detailed compared to any metal cable.
The transfer of spatial information is strongly improved and the
(with metals) typical distortion on the high frequencies makes way
for a very natural and mild character, equivalent to live sound.
The often required hi-fi qualities in a soundsystem with extra pitch
are out. Back is fatigue-free listening!
This fatigue-free listening originates from the fact that with LSC
all frequencies stay in phase and maintain their harmonic structure.
The brain does not need to filter-out or rework the (with metals)
extra unnatural harmonics.
there any problem with so called 'Time Delay'?
There is no problem at all. The random woven individually electrically
insulated fibers all have the same length. The typical 'Skin Effect',
commercially often used as an argument by cable manufacturers, does
not exist with this material (LSC). Also, signal reflections caused
by eventual impedance mismatch at a LSC cable's terminals are effectively
dealt with: the individual LSC fibre?s resistive properties bring
about an excellent reflection damping.
All our products made from LSC are essentially free from timesmear
and/or time delay.
exhibits a higher electrical resistance compared to e.g. copper.
Are there any disadvantages?
The higher resistance of LSC is its only minor disadvantage. From
all materials we know, LSC exhibits the best balance in mechanical,
chemical and electrical stability. So we have accepted its somewhat
higher resistance as the only minor property we have to live with.
LSC's higher resistance produces only a minor disadvantage in low
impedance circuits where it causes a small signal attenuation. When
the source impedance of a preamplifier e.g. is 100 Ohms and the
input impedance of the power amplifier e.g. is 50 kOhms, a 3 meter
length of our cable The SECOND® in
balanced configuration will cause a mere attenuation of 0.037 dB
Compared to the much bigger unbalance of volume-controls we can
ignore this figure.
does one make an electrical connection to LSC fibers?
At the moment we do this mechanically. First all individual fibers
are de-insulated using a solution of acetone and an other agent.
After this process we clamp the group of fibers in special made
small connectors which subsequently are soldered into the final
this extra electrical connection affect the sound quality?
We use very high quality copper with a pure 24 carat gold plating,
the best there is out of the traditional world. The total length
of the fibers crimped into these small connectors is 1mm. for both
ends together. A standard cable is around 1 meter or longer, so
only 1 per mill of the total length is in direct contact with the
The small end-connectors are pressed rather flat, so many fibers
of the total 12.000 are in direct contact with the clip?s soft gold
layer. This involves hardly any "take-over" impedance and therefore
also no transmission losses.
products in your audio cable range make use of pure LSC at the moment?
In our current program we have four cables carrying the names:
The FIRST®, The FIRST®
Ultimate, The SECOND® and The THIRD®.
The FIRST® is a coaxial (single ended)
construction with 12.000 fibers in its core and 38.000 fibers as
its screen. It was, as the name already indicates, our first product
with LSC, originating from August 1993. Because of the resistive
character of the product it also works well as a digital cable.
The reason of this is that the natural damping of the center group
prevents standing waves (signal reflections), so the decoder (in
the Digital to Analog Converter DAC) has no problems with the clock
recovery. The characteristic impedance of The FIRST®
is 110 Ohms at 10 MHz and 90 Ohms at 40 MHz, so the transmission
of higher frequencies is somewhat easier, compensating for initial
losses and meanwhile sharpening the digital interface signal?s edges.
Thanks to the pure LSC construction of The FIRST®
it is the best example of quality transmission available in interlinks.
A small hint: don't use The FIRST®
in combination with valve power amplifiers with power transformers
that radiate strong magnetic fields; this will cause minor hum problems.
The FIRST?s shield resistance is 14 Ohm/m instead of the (with metal
cables) usual 0.01 Ohm.
The FIRST?s outer jacket is made of HULLIFLEX®,
a superior halogen free insulation material without any electrical
The FIRST® Ultimate is a threefold
heavier shielded version of The FIRST®.
The FIRST® Ultimate?s outer braiding,
functioning as screen and signal return, is made of 6 (instead of
2) layers of braided LSC fibres. Exhibiting all excellent qualities
as found in The FIRST® at a much reduced
shield resistance, its susceptibility to hum is very low. The FIRST®
Ultimate therefore is applicable in the most demanding analog and
digital audio applications.
The SECOND® is a balanced cable with
two separate center groups, each made of 12.000 LSC fibers. Its
shield is made of 4 layers: two layers of high quality silver coated
copper and two extra layers with LSC saturated foil in direct contact
with the two metal layers. The outer jacket again is made of HULLIFLEX®;
a chemically completely inert and impenetrable material without
Especially as a microphone (or even electrical instrument) cable,
The SECOND® performs outstandingly due to the lack of CCD. The very
low signal levels cannot be deformed by any mechanical or chemical
defects (as being possible with metals) since LSC doesn't contain
any of these.
The THIRD® is our latest pure LSC product.
It is a 3.5 million LSC fiber constructed single lead made for loudspeaker
connections. The typical resistance 0.07 Ohm/m. Sonically its qualities
are simply unsurpassed.
there other applications for LSC in e.g. audio cables?
Yes there are. At the moment the major part of our regular metal
cable products have been upgraded with extra conductive layers containing
We name them Hybrids since they combine both metal
Here, each of the original metal conductors has an extra black coat
of LSC saturated material. The saturation is such that the coat
exhibits a relative good electrical conductivity. The LSC saturated
layer surrounding the metal groups of e.g. a loudspeaker cable is
responsible for electrically bridging the minor defects that to
a certain amount always remain in metal conductors. The origins
of these defects have already been discussed earlier in this paper.
The hybrid layer acts as an outer surface impedance controller,
so CCD effects are smoothened and the result is a sound quality
close to that of our pure LSC cables.
A second complex effect is that radiated magnetic fields in a way
are transformed to an electrical current again within the higher
impedant conductive layer.
The third positive effect is that the metal conductors are completely
sealed from exposure to air. Normally each multistrand metal cable
is open to air penetration; with a hybrid jacket there is no further
aging by polluted air.
All these aspects together result into a spectacular sonic improvement.
LSC have any other advantages?
Yes. LSC can be recycled for 100%, so cables like The FIRST®
can be cut, milled and thermally treated to obtain e.g. the coat
used in our hybrid products.
there any other technical applications for LSC?
Yes, there are many. One of the most interesting applications is
supported by the facts that LSC can hardly be destroyed by high
temperatures and shows no bending fatigue, so e.g. the coil and
the lead-in wires of a tweeter can be made from LSC.
Also electromagnetic shields used in digital equipment can be made
from LSC to absorb radiated HF energy. Regarding jitter induced
distortion, the timing in digital audio circuitry is very important;
any absorption of (radiated) signals without reflections is very
Regarding LSC's lack of bending fatigue, another great application
(e.g. with our CC - 18 LSC wire) is the use as conductor in robots
and medical applications where many movements must be made without
failure of the electrical conductors; again LSC is the answer.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in any of these
a LSC cable require a burn-in period?
From the theoretical point of view the answer is No. But despite
this answer, the settlement of the conductive structure needs some
time. I many cases (according to the practical experience of many
users) one hour is enough to bring out the full sonic potential.
further improvements can be expected with LSC?
At the moment we are coating individual metal strands with LSC to
further improve the sound quality. Our first cable with this special
technology will be named the D - 202 HYBRID.
LSC have any environmental advantages?
Yes there are many. To mention a few:The material maintains very
stable properties during a much longer lifespan compared to metal
conductors, therefore regular replacement is past history. This
means lower energy consumption and metal sources are relieved from
producing high volumes of copper cable.
So the total quantity of material to be recycled can be reduced,
especially when LSC finds more applications in the industry. From
now on we can save our resources and leave the metal in the mines
for next generations. The demand for metal as a conductor can be
reduced and as a reward the signal transmission quality is improved.
Also LSC is a completely inert non-toxic material. Copper in contrast
is toxic in many of its chemical compounds.
So some investment in LSC applications even helps to bring us a
Oene, Jan. 17-th, 1997
Signed: A.J. van den Hul