ASK DR. SCHUND
(C)1998 Alan M. Schwartz
Dr. Schund, how can I procure mellow New Age sound from my
insanely expensive stereo system?
High fidelity buffs believe that only the most expensive,
massive, physically large, expensive, eccentric, power-sucking,
expensive, heat-liberating, expensive equipment will render their
scratched 78 rpm vinyl platters with relentless aural excellence.
To this end they are magnificent prey for any charlatan who can
run a phone boiler room hawking Hummingbird Oil for lubrication.
Past entrepreneurs concentrated on moving parts or active
electronic components. New Age scam artists seek simplicity.
They hustle inert, passive elements like cables (otherwise known
as speaker wires).
An ordinary extension cord will connect speakers to amplifier
with excellent results. One might spring for shielded coaxial
cable and microwave connectors to wring out an adventitious 0.1%
extraneous noise. A real hi-fi zealot does not wince purchasing
$200/foot Alloy 101 deoxygenated copper cable (that being the
standard for house wiring and extension cords).
A vast opportunity is being missed by rapacious fellows with
holes in their thin soles. Why sell mere sizzle when you can
spew New Age pathological science and boost the price? An
elegant scam does require some algebra. Watch Dr. Schund flex!
The Golden Ratio or Golden Mean, phi, is an irrational number
equaling 1.618033988749894848204586834365638117720309180... It
is a curious number popping up everywhere from Greek temples and
Mondrian's abstract paintings to limiting ratios of Fibonacci
numbers. It and one less are the solutions to the equation
x^2-x-1=0. To be exact, (1+[sqrt(5)])/2 and (1-[sqrt(5)])/2.
There is something about a rectangle with that ratio of side
lengths that embodies comely aesthetics. (Cats may have a
disparate opinion, or not.)
Golden Ratio co-extruded bimetallic high fidelity stereo cable
has a cylindrical core of silver and an annulus of copper, like
two circles of a bullseye. To minimize costs, a cross section of
the cable perpendicular to its length will show the copper
annulus to have the Golden Ratio times the surface area of the
silver core. With the area of the copper annulus being
distributed on all sides of the silver center, it will look like
there is 19% more silver than copper width vs width, when quite
the opposite is true (162% more copper). Dr. Schund never misses
a trick.
What are the dimensions of the core and the annulus which will
give the Golden Ratio of perpendicular surface areas?
The inner circle has radius "r" and area (pi)r^2. The outer
circle has radius "R" and area (pi)R^2. The net area of the
annulus is the area of the big circle less that of the small, or
[(pi)R^2] - [(pi)r^2]
We want the area of the annulus to be set to 1.6 (plus a bunch of
decimal places following) times the area of the core. What shall
be the relative values for "R" and "r"?
[(pi)R^2] - [(pi)r^2] = 1.6[(pi)r^2] Annulus area phi times core
(R^2) - (r^2) = 1.6(r^2) Divide by pi
(R^2)/(r^2) - 1 = 1.6 Divide by r^2
(R^2)/(r^2) = 2.6 Add 1
R/r = sqrt(2.618034...) Take square root
R/r= the Golden Ratio Hot damn!
When the ratio of the radii is the Golden Ratio, the ratio of the
area of the annulus to that of the core is also the Golden Ratio.
Kewl. Can you feel the universe bestowing its love?
Making coextruded cable is no big deal. A long, thick, cold
solid cylinder of silver is inserted into a long, thick, hollow,
hot cylinder of copper as a tight fit. When they reach the same
temperature thermal expansion (silver core) and contraction
(copper sleeve) grabs them fast. The ratios of their radii are,
of course, the Golden Ratio. You now extrude or swage the
bimetallic preform, pulling it through successively narrower
apertures. The metal gets longer and thinner in kind, preserving
the original ratio of thicknesses as progressive deformation
welds the metals' interface. Pull a few thousand feet, add
insulation, chop to size, add fancy custom terminators only
purchasable with the cable (Dr. Schund never misses a trick).
Now comes the hard part: Determine the selling price of the most
expensive custom stereo cable on planet Earth. Multiply said
exorbitant admission charge by the Golden Ratio (1+[sqrt(5)])/2!
You knew that was coming, didn't you? Dr. Schund never misses a
trick.
A future of hedonistic surround sound ecstasy awaits you for a
mere few thousand dollars' worth of Golden Ratio speaker cabling.
Dr. Schund is already wired for sound! Excuse us. We must now
suspend deliberations for Monica Lewinsky, still angry at her
President, is coming to visit (verb order may be reversed). Dr.
Schund never misses a trick.