AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - March 11, 2011

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The PNW section gathered to discuss wire and cable at its March 2011 meeting, held at Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, WA. The featured participants were Steve Lampen, Multimedia Technology Manager for wire and cable manufacturer Belden, and Kurt Denke, founder of Blue Jeans Cable, a Seattle-based AV cable assembly vendor. 14 AES members and 19 others were drawn to the meeting, and gauging from reactions, the topic was well received.

An open format of slides, anecdotes, questions, answers, comments and discussions filled the evening. Steve Lampen amazed everyone with his encyclopedic knowledge of wire and cable, while Kurt Denke, whose Blue Jeans Cable is a good customer of Belden's, related much about the business of selling AV cables without relying on anything other than engineering facts.

Much discussed was the "audiophile" cable and accessories market. Belden makes no claims about unscientific or pseudoscientific characteristics, but rather sticks to the engineering facts about its products. Resellers are free to make their own claims about their sometimes odd use of cable in their products, such as configurations that drastically increase capacitance or resistance. Also discussed were inventive claims and steep prices by some vendors. As Steve said, "Wire and cable are pretty simple and boring." A little inventive marketing is often used, as in selling anything. Beware of clever terms that are trademarked, he said, as usually only the word is trademarked and that has nothing to do with actual engineering achievement.

Topics also included USA and offshore manufacturing, oxygen content of copper, characteristics of good audio cables, shielding and capacitance, electrical codes, terminations, wire gauge, signal speed, and the business model of Blue Jeans Cable.

More details should be available at the PNW website archives.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society