The science of cable elevators?

Dear Galen, I don’t doubt what you say, but you lost me at “STACKED variables”. What is a stacked variable? Is it something stacked against you?

I’m a strong believer that a little knowledge is very dangerous, and I’ve learned that people with a lot of knowledge in a specific field need to be able to explain it to those with no knowledge to put it to practical use. So I’ve decided to acquire little to no knowledge about electronics and stick to what people pay me to advise them on.

So all I really wanted to know is if there is any valid scientific reason why my Townshend Isolda speaker cables, which people have been using happily for some 40 years, should not rest gracefully on my wooden floor.


No noise. Put your cables anywhere you want to. Noise means some mitigating based on cable routing can help. Technically more EM field distance means less noise so design in as much as you want or need.

Be nice. The old saying you catch more of what you want with sugar than vinager comes to mind. No one here is, or should be, trying to give you grief. The lack of grief doesn’t mean we need to add it. I’m good without that stacked variable.

I have no good reason to try to bring understanding to anyone, especially if fly swatter is after me for doing it. all this can be verified the world over for technical accuracy. It WORKS. I only bring that side of the argument into focus with ICONOCLAST. The products are DESIGNED on purpose to support, or refute what better cables can do; lower R, L and C and tertiary material properties of the copper. I have no basis to market what we “feel” is happening that, “only our ears can hear”. True or not it isn’t, to me, a legitamate variable I can define and capture so I know what I’m making. We tell you what those items are. EVERYONE will measure the ame R, L and C and calulate the same current cogherence. But, we ALL will experience the copper’s properties vastly different and yet every individual’s experience is the right one…the rest of use need to bring their BRAIN and EARS and hear it like THEY do or…?

I don’t discount tertiary elements, but I won’t sell what isn’t identical for all of us. The tertiary poperties depend on the underlying physics being correct and then we can each hear the “magic” stuff as much as we each will, or won’t.

Stacked variables are any set of conditions that CHANGE based on what’s happening concurrent, at the same time, to them. If I move two wires closer together, the ENTIRE set of electricals for reactance CHANGES and EVERYTHING that L and C effect.

You can not isolate “just” capacitance or inductance as the B and E fields are tightly connected electrically. They are STACKED relative one another. What happens to one can alter the other.

SOME variables are Independant. Capacitance can be changed with a shift in the dielectric’s value (change the plastic) and while holding the wire spacing the SAME. The inductance, which ignores the dielectric constant won’t change. But…the reactive properties of the two variables will ALTER the SIGNAL applied to this new wire and thus the CHANGE is still STACKED for a signal that is changed by L and C.

A second example is our musical signal, or any time and amplitude based signal, is a SUPERPOSITION of time and amplitude based signals that ADD in time to be a single voltage at any point in time as a voltage and phase.The signals STACK and add.

An even better one is the weather. Temperature, where the moon is and such stack and cause all sorts of variables to CHANGE and clump together to be our weather system.

Just like an addition problem with on value STACKED on top of another…the very LAST set of number is the superpositon of all those above it.

So that’s what stacked variables are. An electronic device is a totally stacked set of variables and our beloved “can’t measure that” stuff is indeed going to be “better” if ALL the underlying KNOWNS are properly established (or stacked).

You can understand CONCEPTS, but to use them, you need to understand the SUBJECT and all it’s intricacies. Gravity makes stuff with low mass
attracted to stuff with higher mass. Planets pull at one another based on their mass, the concept. WHY does this happen? That’s the SUBJECT and it gets real tough real fast and…no one knows why gravity works, just what it is doing. We relate to the CONCEPT.

Galen Gareis

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Does your wife know?


Does anyone have access to this archive to access this study? It may help shed light on how and to what magnitude vibrations can induce currents in a wire that’s part of a closed circuit.

From the synopsis, it sounds like removing the wire from nearby magnetic fields (i.e. other current carrying wires) and removing the wire from vibrations is the best way to prevent vibration induced currents in the wire.

I think I’m going to need a cable skyscraper…

I don’t use cable elevators personally, but I always wanted to just go to LEGO store
and buy a bucket of the LEGO bricks and make my own. Black colour to match the
cables of course.


My cable elevators are simply used to keep my speaker cables and interconnects up and away from my power cables…

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My goal was precisely the same as @BDH, to keep my line-level signal cables well clear of the power cables running to my active monitors and subwoofers.


The main purpose of cable elevators are for “audiophile” tweak companies to make an easy buck, period.

The only real advantage of using them is being able to clean better around the cables as they are off the floor, or as MTB_Vince stated above, keeping signal cables (not speaker cables) clear from power cables.

The only ones that serve a real purpose are the ones found on top of power poles, from the power plant to your home.

I ran some for a while myself (the actual vintage porcelain ones found on power poles) just for looks. They did absolutely squat for sound.


How were they arranged?

I ran an experiment on a carpeted floor using drinking glasses under Naim NACA5 speaker cable. The difference in sound was night & day as if a veil had been lifted off the speakers. Ordered cable lifts immediately.

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Outcomes from one test of any given “tweak” do not necessarily mean that the results are applicable to all scenarios and brands of equipment. I and most who’ve been in this hobby for very long have had quite varying results with cables, vibration control footers, etc. FWIW, I had an opportunity to purchase a set of 9 Polycrystal cable elevators for next to nothing. See review link below. My experience was nothing like the reviewers, nothing about my soundstage (or much of anything) changed. Does that mean I think the reviewer is delusional? No, every system is different. I still use them though because it does help keep power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables separated when routed along the same path.

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I recently picked up a $30 EMF meter to see if it could tell me more about the invisible fields that are around my components. We all knew this – but I’ve since found varying levels/distances of magnetic and electric fields emanating from different components and cables. There are also “hot spots” where it looks like the EM fields converged to create a much stronger field.

Given the article I shared earlier, I’m certain that physical sound vibrations, the audible frequencies traveling through the signal cables, and ground/noise current loops are causing these fields to interact and induce currents in each other.

I hypothesize that these EM induced currents will enhance certain frequencies and others will cancel in time with the signal, creating micro peaks and nulls in random ways across the audible frequency spectrum – not unlike how a room creates peaks and nulls from wave reflections. EM fields will undoubtedly be in or out of phase with each other depending on component and cable positioning – and distance is the only characteristic that can help reduce these EM induced currents.

I’m thinking through what a suitable experiment setup could look like to test this hypothesis, but in the meantime – some logical next steps would look like this:

  1. Use an EM meter to measure the peak EM field of your device at volume – higher currents produce stronger fields, so strength of field will go up as you move from signal wires, to speaker wires, to power cables. The fields are three-dimensional, so they may be stronger/weaker depending on the underlying cable structure and will always weaken as you move further away – the distance to record is when the meter measures 0.
  2. This is the distance you want to separate your cables and components from each other. Stacking components is just not a good idea – even on a shelf – especially if it has a massive transformer in it.
  3. I don’t know what to do about power strips, conditioners, regenerators just yet, but keeping power cables parallel and never crossed is likely a good thing. As they all say, if you must cross, do it at 90 degrees as fields are perpendicular to the direction of current travel – and minimize curves within the EM field distance.
  4. Anything with a transformer needs distance (those of you fiddling with phono preamps knew this already) – and in some cases, a lot of distance. There isn’t any known true shield to magnetic fields – though electrified meshes and solid copper plates will help redirect magnetic field lines away from anything on the other side – just keep in mind this potentially redirects the field line straight to another component or unto itself in the case of solid conducting pipes.
  5. Reduce vibrations to an absolute minimum. Vibrations cause the magnetic waves to vibrate (just as moving a magnet moves its field) – this is immediate, and that slight shift back and forth will induce a current in all nearby conductors.

Separating high EM fields from low EM fields would yield the highest impact since low level signals (phono cartridge wires, for instance) are much more susceptible to minor current fluctuations. These fields, coupled with movement (i.e. vibrations) induce currents, so vibration isolation is just as important – all phones have gyroscopes sensitive enough to detect minor vibrations and can be exposed via a vibration measurement app; these will be tough to use on cables, but assume a cable resting on the floor will vibrate – so long as that cable’s EM field is not contacting another EM field, it’s OK to rest on the floor.

And that’s why I posit cable elevators can be helpful in creating the separation and enabling vibration isolation.



static electricity?

I like your willingness to learn and exploratory approach to seeking answers and appreciate your sharing your thoughts.

Please do continue when inspired to do so.

One thought for you (and others) to ponder since you asked: I have zero experience in these matters, technically; but it strikes me that a key factor impacting whether converging EM fields are a material issue would be whether or not the subject cables were sensitive to an “induced current” and whether said current was sufficient to impact the electrical properties of the cables serving the system.



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A few years back I read a similar observation regarding risers
to keep cables off a carpeted floor to insulate or isolate from static electricity…

Having been jolted myself touching my gear…I got some yoga
solid cork blocks and modified these to suspend my speaker cables.

My power cable are suspended using cheap 2" cube blocks of wood
from the local crafts shop…

Whether these have improved the sq of my system…can’t really say.
I just got them to raise cables off the the carpet to avoid static charges.

My cables are as far apart as possible from each other to avoid
potential emf…my power cable are very well shielded as a voltage
detector is silent when non contact probing my power cables…

Based on my reading, all conductors are impacted by moving magnetic fields. AC magnetic fields modulate just like their electrical counterparts (i.e. the induced current is actually the sound of the original current!) and if they end up vibrating, nearby conductors will be impacted.

To your second question, is that impact enough to matter? It depends on how large a current is at play. For example, we know power cables can cause hum in ICs and speaker cables. That hum is caused by the magnetic field of the power cable inducing a like current in the other cable. Many cables use shielding to guard against this, which works, but the hum doesn’t go away! It’s simply moves into a different circuit–in this case, earth ground–which now impacts all components connected to ground in different ways.

Some notable issues we care about on the sound side:

  1. Sound arriving at our ears at slightly different moments reduces clarity of the image. That’s why speaker distance alignment and subwoofer time alignment are done.
  2. Galen’s paper on per-frequency propagation time differences also suggests even more minute timing issues can impact our perception of the sound.
  3. Jitter and digital filters impact pre and post echoing of a signal causes us to hear sound differently / less precisely.

Now imagine micro currents creating barely audible signals induced by a magnetic field line from a line further down the signal path coming back to interact with your earlier signal path… It’s akin to a echo. Logically, keeping IC and speaker cables’ EM fields apart is important to reducing this.

Also, looping your extra cable lengths in a circle is no good under this hypothesis. Field lines from currents further down the line are impacting currents earlier in the line and vice versa.

Again, all based on the hypothesis re: interaction of fields and vibrations.

I haven’t read much about this, but we know a static magnetic field induces no current in a cable… Until it moves. It stands to reason a static electric field may also become an interaction point (I don’t know how) when the cable vibrates on the floor.

Edit: I read a little more about this. A static charge won’t produce a magnetic field until it discharges – which the vibrations could be causing.

You are right Vee…I don’t think there is any credited research
into this…If someone knows of a layman’s article on the effect
of static electricity on speaker cables…please chime in…

OOOOps …there is an article you linked to by Galen…
and the article by the Physics forum discussion
I just didnt see this before posting my reply …my booboo

One thing however That I forgot to say was that while Nordost states
that my Red Dawn LS speaker cable can be placed under carpets;
to me the notion of my stepping on them by accident was not very appealing. So basically my cork yoga blocks serve as an inexpensive
tool to elevate the cables to avoid steeping on them if they were flat on
my carpeted floor and covered up.

My system is quite sensitive to changes…and as far as raising the
my speaker cable off the floor …I’m not aware of any improvements
in sound quality as of yet.

Thanks Vee