Is Wire Directional?

This question has floated around the web since it began.

The short answer is YES!

The extrusion process of wire causes it to have a very slight resistance in one direction, like a rectifier, which has an impact on the signal.

NET RESULT: A wire conducting an AC signal, like audio, when connected in one direction will distort the positive side of the AC signal and when connected in the other direction will distort the negative side of the AC signal

So the impact for interconnects would be...

If the left channel cable is connected such that it is altering the positive half of the signal and the right channel cable alters the negative half the overall image would be distorted and the phase of the entire audible output would be misaligned - resulting in distortion and unfocused sound

Reversing one of the cables so that only the positive half (or negative half) of both Left and Right channels would be effected - the resulting audio signal would have …
- a near perfect top half
- a slightly distorted bottom half
- but much better phase alignment
- resulting in a significant improvement in sound and image

NOTE: The effect is significantly reduced in cables that use OCC copper.

What about the direction of fuses?

Again, since all wire is directional and as such, has a slight rectification effect...

- Lets assume the fuse placed in one direction is operating on the negative side of the AC supply that is being inverted - this might add to waveform inversion distortions present in the inverted negative cycle

- in the other direction that effect will be operating on the positive side of the AC supply - so now both positive and negative sides will be distorted

It's clear that changing direction effects the waveform of the rectified signal differently which results in degraded sound in one direction and better sound in the other - as to which way is best - all you can do is try it and see what sounds best.

Many power supply designs reduce this problem to inaudible levels, so fuse direction is not normally an issue

What about Speaker Cables?

The effect is far less noticeable on speaker cables because the distortions in the signal goes to the speaker and not through another amplification stage like interconnects, where the distortion is amplified and more noticeable

Component and cable design play a huge role in minimizing this effect, but attempting to discern whether a component/cable design will minimize this in a speaker cable is next to impossible.


I think it is clear that this type of effect is probably related to components/cables/power supplies/fuses and most certainly individuals ears

Since this effect is not witnessed by everyone, might suggest that some designs minimize the effect below audible levels and others do not

So try it! - and see if you can tell the difference Happy

Personally, I believe there are many other factors that has a far greater affect on my system’s performance, so disconnecting components and removing covers just to try this, is not really on the cards Happy