cryogenics?

Discussion in 'General Music' started by DisclaimeR, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. DisclaimeR

    DisclaimeR Member

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    does anyone believe in it? or have tried parts with this treatment? (pickups and stuff)

    Bill at callaham guitars does it to pretty much every part that a current will flow through. I'm not sure i believe it would make a difference, but some people have some strong opinions about it. and i want to know yours.

    here is Bill callahams explanation of the whole deal regarding pickups. http://www.callahamguitars.com/ use the menu on the left to go to "cryo & pickups"
     
  2. guitarweasel

    guitarweasel Well-Known Member

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    Well if it doesn't work, you can use the pups as chillers. :roll:
     
  3. vkgphil

    vkgphil Active Member

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    in my own little world... apparently
    he can measure an 18% gain in output but he's prob more excited in the 30% gain in profit margin :roll:



    i kid i kid... ;)
     
  4. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    They claim the same w/ tubes so I got 3 of each but haven't done the tests yet and also there's no one here with any ears I can even use for the tests on em to bounce questions off of! :dontknow:
     
  5. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    As part of my day job, I have thought about cryogenic treatments and how they can alter materials. There are legitimate reasons why immersion in liquid nitrogen can change the properties of iron-based materials like steels. Perhaps not everyone is aware that metals are actually made of tiny crystals, sometimes called "grains". A cryogenic temperature can cause a change of iron crystals from one geometry to another, but not all steels contain these "austenite" crystals that can transform at low temperature. Nevertheless, many industrial cryo-treatments involve steels.

    Some of us tried to measure the sustain of guitar strings, which are steel, after liquid nitrogen immersion. Most of the results were nil, but Ernie Ball strings actually changed a bit. (At least I think so, but this measurement should be repeated.) Was the effect good or bad? Beats me, that would be an opinion.

    I am not sure about changes to pickups. I doubt there would be changes in the copper wire. The magnets might be affected, but this would depend on the particular magnet material used. Sadly, the web site:
    http://www.callahamguitars.com/ (cryogenics and pickups)
    is deeply confused. They talk about "modifies the molecular structure of metal". Metals do not contain molecules. They contain atoms in a crystal structure. Nobody who knows metals ever talks about "metal molecules". I am suspicious about their claims, but I cannot say they are impossible in special cases. I would worry about exposing the plastics in the pickups to low temperatures, and I would like to know more about how the insulation on the copper wires tolerates low temperatures before giving this a try.
     
  6. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    [quote author=Dorian link=topic=14524.msg187835#msg187835 date=1186204629]
    As part of my day job, I have thought about cryogenic treatments and how they can alter materials. There are legitimate reasons why immersion in liquid nitrogen can change the properties of iron-based materials like steels. Perhaps not everyone is aware that metals are actually made of tiny crystals, sometimes called "grains". A cryogenic temperature can cause a change of iron crystals from one geometry to another, but not all steels contain these "austenite" crystals that can transform at low temperature. Nevertheless, many industrial cryo-treatments involve steels.
    [/quote]

    Dude... I don't know what the HELL you just said!!!

    But it touched me, man :cry:


    Sorry, nothing to add to this thread, but it does sound interesting
     
  7. marty1776

    marty1776 Active Member

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    Dorian,
    Thank you very much for that explanation. I am not convinced by "the low temperatures make it sound better" and trusting that from the seller. Most of my exposure(online anyway) has been in the form of tubes, they're freezing all sorts of them now. I had also wondered how that would effect the "bakelite" or whatever the tube was using. I guess noval tubes would be exempt from this.
    I'm also waiting to hear what Vox's lab analysis will tell.
     
  8. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    madguitarsolo -- Sorry, but I am trying to clarify rather than confuse. I often don't know where to start when explaining something complicated.

    A quicktime movie may explain things better. It shows the atoms in a little crystal that is transforming to another shape at low temperatures. Some steels contain a few percent of these crystals that can undergo this transformation when cooled.
    http://www.thp.uni-duisburg.de/~kai/nuc_l.mpg
    You can imagine that the transformation might affect the stresses inside the steel, and its strength and elasticity, but details here are also complicated.

    Brass and copper crystals do not undergo this transformation, so I doubt that immersing a trumpet in liquid nitrogen would make much of a difference. There are services that will cryotreat brass instruments for you, and they make claims for sonic improvements. I'm not sure what to expect from such a treatment, beyond the transfer of money.

    Guitar pickups contain a number of different materials. There could indeed be some changes in their magetic pole pieces, but this would differ from pickup to pickup because of differences in the steels. The magnets themselves might undergo some changes, too. I worry about some of the other materials like plastics, which sometimes crack when immersed in liquid nitrogen.

    Incidentally, this movie is part of a collection by a computational scientist, Kai Kadau, at Los Alamos. He regularly runs computations on machines with more than 100,000 CPUs, and he has a good eye and mind for computer graphics
    http://www.thp.uni-duisburg.de/~kai/index.html
     
  9. DisclaimeR

    DisclaimeR Member

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    i didnt really believe mr callaham. i mean he makes excellent reaplacement parts, but i dont think he knows what he is talking about with the cryo.

    thanks for the explanation Dorian!
     
  10. aisuru

    aisuru Member

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    when i saw the topic title, i assumed this thread would be something to do with nut-cases, having their heads frozen after death in order to wake up in a glass jar like in Futurama.

    i then read a wee bit and realised it was not nut-cases after all.

    i then read Dorian's post, and changed my mind - it is a nut-case. it seems to me to be one of those ideas that people who read something, but don't really understand what they're reading about have. the kind of ideas that Stan Lee had about radiation turning people into superheroes with amazing powers and spandex tights. the kind of ideas that are not based on scientific fact, but if they're repeated enough on the internet then some mug will believe them.

    oh, and i'm also skeptical that NASCAR teams freezing engine components gives them more power, per se. cooling an intake charge will give you more power, but treating a component in that fashion would most likely only allow it a slight improvement in strength and if anything.
     
  11. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Dorian .. that explains much except Tubes ... of course! ... are the metals in a vacumme tube affected as these tube companies say, in your opinion? and the componets are in a vacuume .... :coolsmiley:
     
  12. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan New Member

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    Good job Dorian!

    You said it better than I could.
    I've worked around a little cryo equipment in the petrochemicals industry, where it was a REQUIRED part of a chemical process.
    Treating metals for aerospace and such where everything is scrutinized and documented is one thing.
    Snake oil claims for a unique marketing angle are another matter.

    Don't like the way your strings sound? Change 'em.
     
  13. vkgphil

    vkgphil Active Member

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    who makes those blue steel strings... dean markley? i think i actually have a set of those on one of my guitars... not sure. never noticed any diff... somebody gave me a couple two or three sets of em once. i need to go look if i still have an unused set.
     
  14. DisclaimeR

    DisclaimeR Member

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    ive tried the blue steels, and i didnt notice any difference. but there not really any more expensive than ernie balls, so there not bad. not like an investment like the nanowebs by elixir, those things are a rip off IMHO.
     
  15. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan New Member

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    The ONLY time I ever put strings on a guitar and thought I heard a difference, was when I scored several sets of Gibson Vintage handwound strings.
    Same as you buy off the shelf, as long as they are labeled as Gibson Vintage, or whatever....

    I guess they're all still handwound by little old ladies in Tennessee, according to the Gibson Custom Shop guru I was hanging out with.
    (The Gibson Custom Shop traveling show was at my dealer in Phoenix.)

    So, I strung my Les Pauls and 335 with them, and I really think they sounded different.
    Kinda hard to put my finger on it, no pun intended.

    After a few hours of playing time on them, I wasn't so sure there really was a difference.
    Was it just me, or was there initially an audible difference?
    I understand fresh strings are really fresh only for a short time.
    About the time they stop stretching, the really cool slinky sound is gone from all my acoustics I've had over the years.

    I dunno.
    I always put fresh strings on a guitar if I am playing an occasional gig, or I want to show it off to somebody.

    Same goes for every guitar I ever sold.
    When it left, it had fresh strings on it and a killer spit shine to make it as good as possible for the money.

    I always thought I would want fresh strings on anything I recorded with.
    Seems the tape would tell the truth, using the same strings for several hours of playing over a few weeks and comparing tracks.

    Anybody with lotsa recording experience notice the decay in tone or quality in sound?
    Maybe if you start recording with dead strings to begin with, the tone would remain consistent....

    I've used strings from all the big name brands, currently have a big box of D'Addario 10's.
    All the same to me.

    Neo
     
  16. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    I hear differences among different string manufacturers but not enough to make me spend more $$$$ Except for solid nickel ... there does seem to be a "feel" thing going on too but perhaps I'm reading too much into the small print :roll: but again pure nickel has me right now over any other consideration, to my ears
     
  17. Dorian

    Dorian Active Member

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    [quote author=Voxman link=topic=14524.msg188005#msg188005 date=1186285060]
    Thanks Dorian .. that explains much except Tubes ... of course! ... are the metals in a vacumme tube affected as these tube companies say, in your opinion? and the componets are in a vacuume .... :coolsmiley:
    [/quote]

    Voxman -- Hmmm... what would happen to a vacuum tube at cryogenic temperatures? I have a two or three ideas, but they may or may not affect the electrical performance in a detectable way.

    Heat doesn't conduct well through a good vacuum. The first part of the tube to get cold will be the outer glass and the pins. The glass will shrink a bit, stressing the inner electrical components. They might change their shape. Maybe they will move a little bit under the stress from the shrinking glass. Later, as heat flows out of the pins, the inner components will get cold, too. Shrinkage will likely occur first at the electrical components attached to the pins, and there might be large thermal stresses across some of the narrow spot welds to the wires. If everything reversed upon warming, there would be no effect, but perhaps there are some mechanical slippages during the cooling that do not reverse? By the way, I would expect similar effects from violently shaking the tube, or dropping it on the floor. Have you ever noticed if mechanical shock alters electrical performance (beyond the obvious one if the housing shatters)?

    Just for you, I dug up four 12AX7 tubes (new ElectroHarmonix, old GE, RCA, and Aperex), and put them against a magnet today. All were attracted to the magnet, although some more than others. I had always assumed that tubes contained some iron or steel, and it seems that they do. So the second idea is that upon cooling, some crystals in the steel in the tube might undergo the "martensitic transformation" that I mentioned above. This would vary with the metal used in the tube, and I expect the Russians use different metal than the French used years ago. I doubt the effects would be common to all tubes.

    How do you go from slight changes in dimension, or changes materials, to a change in sonic performance? Beats me, but at least there are a couple of reasons way there might be changes, and maybe the changes could do something. (Not very definitive, I know.)

    I did think of a third possibility. The poor tube is trying to hold off a full atmosphere of pressure outside it. Maybe the different shrinkages of the glass and the electrical feedthroughs would occasionally damage the seal, so occasionally there could be a small leakage of gas. Not so pleasant, but perhaps possible.

    By the way, I know what will happen to many, although not all, semiconductor devices if they are cooled to liquid nitrogen temperature. They will break internal connections and never work again. The same is true of your fingers, and you can get frostbite at much higher temperatures than liquid nitrogen. Finally, as a friendly reminder, services to preserve your body at liquid nitrogen temperature (or perhaps for better value, your severed head) are called "cryonics", not "cryogenics". If you are interested, I don't see why these organizations wouldn't freeze your SG with you, too. Perhaps the SG would make your casket more valuable in the future, encouraging cryonics specialists in the future to rethaw you first?
     
  18. vkgphil

    vkgphil Active Member

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    i dont know about this cryogenics and metal, but if you bring down the temperature of your favorite beer beverage to oh say 35 degrees F and then serve, it becomes 18% more refreshing that serving it at 50 degrees and 75% more refreshing than room temp
     
  19. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: cryogenics? From: May 2006 GUITARIST MAGAZINE

    [size=20pt]It's a bit much for the average person but if ya can try and stay with it[/size]

    Harma cryogenically
    treated valves £14.10-£19.99
    Watford’s new cryogenic valve range steals a march on the competition –
    they’re almost too cool for words by Nick Guppy



    If you’re into the more esoteric end of hi-fi sound reproduction, you won’t have failed to notice that
    cryogenic treatment is one of the current crazes, with many companies offering components that have been
    through this process and one or two that will even dip your own kit for you. Cryogenic treatment involves putting
    components into a container that is slowly fi lled with liquefi ed gas (usually nitrogen), reducing the temperature to
    a very frosty minus 195 degrees Centigrade over a period of approximately 12 hours. Having
    reached this temperature, treated items are then held for what’s called the ‘soak phase’, which is about
    another 12 hours at minus 195C, before being slowly returned to room temperature over yet another 12 hour
    period. Part of what cryogenic treatment apparently does is re-align a material’s crystalline structure to a
    more uniform state, removing the stresses introduced during the manufacturing process. Although hi-fi
    extremists are susceptible to a lot of nutcase ideas, cryogenic treatment is something to be taken more seriously
    as it does make a physical difference and is used on many mission-critical items in the aerospace industry – space
    shuttle windows are one notable example, and there are many others. Where audio is concerned, hi-fi
    interconnecting cables are the most commonly treated items, though it’s being applied to almost everything
    from circuit boards to capacitors to integrated circuit chips, and it can be used on valves. Watford Valves’ Derek
    Rokoszewski has recently introduced his own range of cryo-treated valves under the well-respected Harma
    Diamond label, and for the past few weeks we’ve been trying them out to see if a guitarist’s ears are as keen as
    a hi-fi enthusiast’s when it comes to spotting the difference. Unlike a transistor, an electron valve
    is an electromechanical device – inside the glass envelope you have a lot of small wire components that are spotwelded together and have to be placed with a high degree of precision. Valves are susceptible to vibration, which is plentiful in guitar amps, and this leads to unwanted resonances which resultin noise: either low-frequency rattles or high-pitched squeals that don’t do any favours to your tone. Varying tolerances also affect electron
    flow and that changes the valve’s electrical performance, altering gain, frequency response and noise levels. There was a time when valves were made to higher standards and quality was more uniform, but these days manufacturing and quality control is far more varied, which has a direct effect on the quality of sound you can expect to get from any valve amp in any price bracket. Put simply, even the best guitar amp is only as good as the valves you plug into it, and for the past two decades or more many businesses have grown up
    matching and quality controlling valves for guitar amplifi cation use in order to maximise their performance. This is
    something that’s been applied mostly to newly made valves – New Old Stock (NOS for short) is where old un-used
    valves from higher quality and now defunct sources (like Mullard, Tung- Sol, Sylvania or Telefunken) are resold,
    either in their original packaging or re-branded. With NOS valves, quality control is less of an issue as
    they were made better to start with, however, NOS supplies are depleting and it was partly with this in mind that
    Watford Valves decided to take the plunge into minus 195 degree nitrogen. “One of the key things for me was
    price – it took a while to persuade the cryo people that guitarists need good valves just as much as hi-fi buffs but
    they weren’t going to pay hi-fi prices,” Derek explains. “So it wasn’t something that happened on a whim. I was
    interested whether the cryogenic treatment would make a noticeable difference but it took quite a while
    before we found someone who agreed to treat a large quantity of valves and charge a reasonable rate for doing it.”

    SOUNDS:

    Watford supplied us with two new sets of its Harma ECC83 preamp valves along with EL84, EL34
    and 6L6 power valves, all in both cryo and non-cryo treated versions. It’s worth pointing out that replacing any
    old valve with a new one will make some kind of difference, so this way we were able to evaluate the cryogenic
    treatment effect with more certainty. For testing, we used a Mesa/Boogie Mark 1 reissue, which can take EL34s
    or 6L6s, as well as an old Marshall ‘Plexi’ 50 head and a Vox AC30. The first thing we noticed was that
    all of the cryo-treated ECC83s performed exceptionally well in the Boogie’s critical V1 position. Most
    valves used here squeal or ring at higher gain settings – it’s not unusual to go through a dozen or more before
    finding one that doesn’t – so it was something of a surprise to put in fi ve, one after the other, and hear consistent low-noise performance with a total lack of microphonic feedback, especially as the gain on tap was, if anything, slightly higher when compared to Watford’s non-cryo valves. Compared to the NOS
    Telefunkens this amp is normally run with, the Harma cryo ECC83s offered an improvement in gain and high
    frequency response that noticeably enhanced this amp’s singing lead voice and lush clean sounds.
    Changing the power valves from standard to cryo on all amps added more defi nition and punch. Notes that
    were hit hard seemed to jump out of the speaker with a faster yet more controlled attack, while clean chords
    had a more spacious quality. This was particularly true for the Marshall. “That’s something everyone who’s
    tried them agrees on,” Derek comments. “When we put them on a test rig, the numbers are more or less
    the same for cryo and non-cryo types, but there’s a definite audible difference
    – the cryo valves somehow sound bigger and wider.”

    Verdict

    There’s no doubt in our minds that Watford’s cryogenically treated valves are an improvement on its standard
    Harma brand equivalent, which is already held in high regard. Watford’s extensive testing and matching
    process guarantees reliability and performance – Brian May, Eric Clapton and Oasis are just some of the many
    top names who rely on Watford’s Harma brand valves for their sound. We think that with the NOS and JAN wells
    about to run dry, Watford has found a way of providing similar quality to New Old Stock valves at a realistic price –
    and that has to be a good thing for guitar players. It’s very likely that, as more suppliers latch on to the cryogenic treatment concept, you’ll see cryo valves becoming the standard in years to come for musical instrument
    amplification. Longevity is another reason why those in the know go for NOS or JAN valves, and it will be
    interesting to see if cryogenic treatment adds substantially to a valve’s useful life as well as improving
    its sonic performance. If it does – and we think it probably will – then the added expense of fi tting a set of cryo
    valves to your favourite amp will be more than justified. Despite costing more than the regular Harma equivalent, Watford’s cryo range valves actually prove to be very competitive when you compare them against similarly treated valves from other specialist hi-fi suppliers, or premium matched sets for guitar amp use from the most
    well-known competition. So, if your amp needs a re-valve, check these out with our recommendation – if this reviewer’s ears can hear the difference they make, so will yours.
     
  20. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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