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Audio Blast: The Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement

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Introduction

Recently I stumbled upon a method of connecting audio components I had never encountered, and it centers on the use of interconnects. I’ll not spend time discussing the efficacy of cabling; the reader will either be convinced of the merits of aftermarket cables, or will not. I do not intend to debate what I am about to discuss. It is up to the reader to draw conclusions about its efficacy. Likely responses to what I am about to share will parallel the hobbyist’s opinion about aftermarket audio cabling.

As with anything associated with electronics and alternative connections, what I am sharing is strictly in the “do at your own risk” category. If you decide to try this, then you are responsible for the outcome. It’s your equipment and your decision. I attempted to get insight from the manufacturers/designers on whose equipment I did initial informal experiments, and none of them had definitive answers as to what the potential risk might be, or why the Schroeder Method, as I have named it, works.

The method I am about to share involves doubling of interconnects. The inspiration for this was the experience of consistently obtaining superior performance from an audio system by doubling speaker cables. By “doubling” I do not mean shotgun speaker cables, but a literal parallel arrangement, wherein two pair are laid atop of each other, as it were, with all connections parallel. That also is a “do at your own risk” activity; one mistake in crossing over a connection and you can blow up an amp. I always check connections three times before turning on a new system, and I suggest this caution for anyone, especially those who are trying something new, have a tendency to be hasty, and/or have limited experience.

I discussed this method extensively with some industry insiders, including the two cable companies referenced below. In all my discussions there were two potential hazards, concerns that were shared First, that the output of the source component needs to be sufficient to drive the doubled interconnects and, second, that the doubling of interconnects should be avoided between active preamps and amplifiers. Regarding the first concern about the output being sufficient to drive the doubled interconnects, there are some designs in DACs that do not use opamps and do not have nearly as high voltage output as other DACs. The doubling of interconnects is seen by the source component as though driving interconnects twice the length and some esoteric designs, such as some NOS (Non-Oversampling) DACs, may not handle it well. Though I have no experience with the Schroeder Method and portable DACs, I would think investigation as to compatibility would be the order of the day.

The chief concern regarding a preamp and amp combination was that the doubling of interconnects might cause certain amps to oscillate, making them unstable and potentially damaging them. Consequently, I did not try this experiment with an active preamp and amplifier. The conditions under which I did my alternative connections were limited, so I do not know the full extent of the method and its application to all audio components. I suggest you contact your equipment manufacturer if you have concerns about the interaction of components and the potential for damage. I also have nothing to say in regard to use of the Schroeder Method involving video-related components, except that it is outside the scope of this article and you are on your own should you decide to explore it.

At this point the Schroeder Method of interconnect doubling is limited in use to particular components and system setups using sources such as passive preamplifiers, integrated DACs with enough voltage output, dedicated DACs, and integrated amplifiers. I share some of these system setups below.

 

The Schroeder Method, with a twist 

The Schroeder Method involves doubling interconnects in appropriate locations where they normally would be used singly. To accomplish this I use 2 pairs of Audioquest RCA Splitters to conjoin four interconnects into two. Where one normally would use a splitter to branch out the signal from one output post on the source to two inputs on the receiving component, I rejoin the leads to become one again, and in doing so double the conductor material of the interconnect! That is why two pairs of splitters and four cables is required.

Building hundreds of systems, over 30 years of being a hobbyist, and 12 years of reviewing has taught me that total gauge is perhaps the most important aspect of a cable’s performance, whether power cord or signal cable, and the heavier the gauge, the better. This is not to imply that conductor material is not important. Based on those results, as well as my experiments with doubling of speaker cables, I wondered what the potential benefit to the sound might be for doubling of interconnects. Most manufacturers of cables do not seem terribly interested, or convinced, of the efficacy of heavier gauge interconnects. Frankly, this strikes me as a neglected area of system design and implementation by industry insiders and hobbyists.

I did not spend time mixing and matching interconnects, and I make no assurances that doing so would be either efficacious or safe. The most sensible implementation seems to be consistency in every parameter of the four interconnects chosen to do the Schroeder Method of placing interconnects.

One electrical engineer who considered the Schroeder Method wondered if there might be temporal smearing due to the additional length the signal must travel in the outermost set of paired cables. I did not find any audible smearing or distortion to be evident. Rather, I found all aspects of performance related to a sense coherence and focus to be enhanced. Nevertheless, I chose to put a half twist in the set, such that on each end the outermost cable shifted to become the innermost cable at the opposite end, i.e., each cable was connected to one outer and one inner jack of the output of the splitter. Directionality in placement of the cables as indicated on their jackets was observed at all times. There was no audible difference as a result, but it looks cool. Theoretically, if the interconnects are flexible enough one can “braid” them so that they are even more visually impressive.

 

The cables used

The two cable brands I used with the Schroeder Method were TEO Audio and Clarity Cable, both of which I have had on extended loan following reviews. Over time I have set up some complex systems with active crossovers/processors using multiple channels of amplification and in some cases additional subwoofers. I have multiple sets of identical interconnects for such purposes. I doubt the idea of the Schroeder Method would have come to me had I only one set of interconnects on hand or merely enough to build a simple system.The availability of multiple sets allowed me to brainstorm and arrive at a new method.

While this article focuses on the utilization of analog interconnect cables, I direct the reader to the websites of the manufacturers whose cables I reviewed as a complete set. The TEO Audio Liquid Cables feature a liquid metal conductor, while the Clarity Cables have a solid metal conductor. Both of these types of conductors responded readily to the doubling of interconnects. If you have an interest in learning more about these cables that I have reviewed, click on the links.

One caveat involves alternative technologies that could conceivably be used in interconnects, such as passive electronics or avant-garde cable designs. Again, if you have doubts or questions, seek input from the manufacturers of the cables and components.

 

Limited at this point to single-ended (RCA) implementation

My experimentation involved single ended (RCA) splitters and cables only. The implementation and conclusions in this article specifically pertain to RCA cables. However, I now have the means to explore the Schroeder Method with balanced (XLR) cables. XLR cable splitters can be found easily enough, but an XLR 2 to 1 reducing cable was quite difficult to source. I only found it online, and the quality is questionable. I would expect a degree of degradation of the sound will be unavoidable due to lack of quality, however I also anticipate that the overall result will still be far better than single XLR interconnects as the Schroeder Method calls forth profound changes to the system’s performance.

While I am at it, I did comparisons between XLR cable splitters (machined devices) and XLR “Y” cables, actual cables that are twinned on one end. I found in all instances that the Y cables were superior to the XLR splitters. Would an RCA “Y” cable be superior to splitters? I do not know, and am unsure whether I will ever have the time to run down that detail. Some enterprising enthusiast may conduct the comparisons and report on it in audiophile forums.

There is a real danger in this, I believe, surrounding the orientation of the positive, negative and ground pins in the XLR connector. I do not know with certainty that the differing brands of cables, and XLR Y cables to conjoin them, all utilize the same pin configuration. If not, I suspect an amp could go KA-BOOM! I will be need to do some more investigation myself, likely with an Ohm meter in hand, before I hook up XLR cables with the Schroeder Method.

 

System permutations

Here are some examples of systems I built using the Schroeder Method:

TEO Audio Liquid Pre (this is a passive preamp) and Belles ARIA Mono Block Amplifiers (under review)
Benchmark DAC3 DX and Belles ARIA Mono Block Amplifiers
TEO Audio Liquid Pre and First Watt J2 Amplifier
Benchmark DAC3 DX and Redgum Audio Articulata Integrated Amplifier
Eastern Electric Minimax Tube DAC Supreme and Redgum Audio Articulata Integrated Amplifier

Eastern Electric Minimax Tube DAC Supreme and Belles ARIA Mono Amplifiers  (NOTE: The astute observer will notice that neither of these components have a volume control, which would typically result in music played back at full volume with no attenuation, and this is a perfect scenario for damage to a system. Potential damage can occur when a dedicated DAC without preamp functionality is paired directly to amplifiers! In this setup I used a software volume control, the one provided in Roon, to control the listening level.)

Speakers in use during experimentation were the PureAudioProject Trio15 Horn 1, Legacy Audio Whisper DSW Clarity Edition, and Vapor Audio Joule White.

From this variety of setups an absolutely consistent result was seen; in every instance the Schroeder Method of doubling interconnects handily outperformed single interconnects by a wide margin in every parameter of sound quality. This was so regardless of the brand being compared singly, i.e., the doubled interconnects were always better regardless of the single pair being compared. The Schroeder Method was also superior regardless of of the type of speaker used; I compared using the PureAudioProject Trio 15 Horn 1, Kingsound King III electrostatic, and Legacy Audio Whisper DSW Clarity Edition.

 

Performance outcome and conclusion

I could go on at length in flowery descriptions of the upgraded sound I heard by implementing the Schroeder Method, however I ask the reader to consider times when a component brought a considerable positive change to the rig, and a big smile to the face. The change afforded by the Schroeder Method was equivalent to a component change. Some might suggest a difference more in line with a change of multiple components.

It’s a wacky world in many ways when a tiny fuse is purported to alter an entire system’s sound. We have a wide spectrum of options to tune audio systems, from the arcane to the extravagant. The Schroeder Method falls toward the economical end of the spectrum as it seems universally applicable with inexpensive and cost-no-object wires. Typically, those who have the highest performance systems will get the most benefit out of the Schroeder Method. However, users of Mid-Fi audio systems should not overlook it. It comes close to being a universally applicable method, raising the tide that lifts all boats.

Though the thought process behind this article has been brewing for months, I sat down and wrote this in one evening. Taras Kowalczyszyn and Ken Hotte of TEO Audio have a couple of very fired up customers, whom, if my memory serves me correctly, I met at AXPONA and, requesting confidentiality, told them about this method. They tried it and they said they would also go public to discuss it on the forums.

As with any new system setup, I hold conclusions to be tentative pending more experience. Recently, I did my second aftermarket fuse change, and that is proving to be a powerful, inexpensive method of upgrading performance. I suspect that with time the Schroeder Method of interconnect placement will be ubiquitous with superior performance over single interconnects. I will be interested to see if manufacturers incorporate it, stealthily or overtly, in their interconnects. Perhaps it will begin appearing in systems at shows.

I cannot possibly have covered all the variables and potentialities of the Schroeder Method. There may be more caveats and warnings to be issued. But, I suspect that if properly implemented it will be an easily obtained and profoundly beneficial upgrade for adventurous system builders!

 

Copy editor: Dan Rubin

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10 Responses to Audio Blast: The Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement


  1. Bob Stark says:

    Hey Doug,

    Scott and I ran into you at Axpona outside the Teo room. You told us about the Schroeder method of shotgunning ICs and it’s amazing results. Scott brought over a second 1 mtr. pair of Teo GC originals.
    After listening to the single GC for several cuts and getting a gist of the sound, we changed to the shotgunned GCs with the 4 sets of Audioquest splitters. All my contacts had been pasted with the Perfect Path Total Contact enhancer over 8 weeks ago and the difference was significant in now having better sound with just the single GCs. We were both somewhat blown away at the difference the 2 sets of ICs made in the sound. The system was now much fuller, with more organic sound and all other parameters sounded better. It was one of my best changes to the system, including changing to a much better preamp or mono amps. I’ve now bought his GC to go with mine. I will buy another 0.6 mar. GC to shotgun my analog setup. The one we listened to was run from the MW 5400 fully upgraded and tweaked out CD/SACD player to the TRL DUDE preamp. It is a VERY significant improvement in the sound that cost me $252 to do–buy a used set of GCs and the 4 splitters.

    The rest of my system is VMPS RM40 BCSE w/MLS cabinets and all the upgrades except the outboard crossover, Nuforce Ref 9V3 SE mono amps with TDSS Level 3 upgrades. All the fuses are now SR Blue. The analog part is the Lenco highly modded TT with most of Jean Nantais’ upgrades or mods, Pete Riggle Woody arm, Benz Micro Ruby 3, and Whest 3.0 RDT SE phono. PCs are WyWires, Dynamic Design, and Core Power Technologies 150’s, and Mojo. The other IC is a JW Reference. SCs are Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme along with jumpers too.

    Thank you so much for the info regarding this setup.
    Bob

  2. Dear Doug,

    This is Bob from TDSS, the guy that upgraded Bob Starks NuForce Ref-9 amplifiers. I wanted to write to let you know that I found this article to be quite interesting, and maybe offer a technical explanation as to why the Schroeder Method seems to work as you have described. Besides loudspeakers and amplifiers, along the way I’ve done a fair amount of research into audio cable design and construction in an attempt to understand for my own good purposes as to why they DO exhibit the sonic differences that we all (or most of us) are able to observe.

    In fact, not to be “schilling,” but folks may be interested in reading the “not strictly scientific” white paper that I wrote on the subject some years ago. It can be found in the following link https://www.mytdss.com/engineering/ under the title “Sub-Debye Phase Distortion – A New Source of Audio Band Distortion?

    Now before you start receiving attack messages claiming the above paper is not based on scientific methods and constitutes nothing more than conjecture and opinion, the reader will note that I state pretty much the same myself in the Preface of the paper. It was never intended to be a definitive answer with scientific proofs to the cable sound “mystery” – just a means to stimulate thought and (possibly) further research on the subject. Interesting and somewhat ironic, one of the “predictions’ that the hypothesis makes is that cables constructed like the TEO Audio type that you and Bob are using “should” exhibit one of the highest possible levels of performance. In fact, I had made reference to the paper on the DIY Audio forum those same years ago and one of the owners of TEO contacted me to thank me for writing the paper because it tended to validate the theory behind their designs. That wasn’t my intention, but at least I didn’t piss him off! ;-))

    In any case, I digress because I do not believe the main principles outlined in that paper are what is at work in the Schroeder Method with respect to the improved performance that you have observed. In fact, if you step back and analyze the technique, it is clearly obvious (at least to me) that the effects are a direct result in the change in cable geometry alone. Why? Because that is the only fundamental parameter that you are changing.

    The Source (DAC or preamp) and the Load (preamp or power amp) remain constants, and it is highly unlikely that adding the cable “Y” splitters are helping to improve the sound. If anything, one would tend to think that they might actually do more harm than good and should be avoided if possible. The only parameter that SEEMS to be left is the electrical parameter of RESISTANCE, which, as you have correctly point out, would be reduced by 50 percent over that of a standard single cable setup.

    I believe that you are on the right track though in your hypothesis because resistance is a genuine parameter to consider, but due to the relatively high load impedances involved and hence the extremely low levels of current flowing in the cables, conductor resistance should not manifest as a primary parameter governing performance. After all, a simple DC measurement of a typical 1-meter IC may easily read as low as 1-ohm or less, and that value is in series with the load impedance, which in audio applications is commonly at least 10,000 ohms and usually higher. Therefore, basic electrical theory would suggest that the resistance exhibited by audio cables would have negligible sonic effect, and furthermore would be nigh unto immeasurable (not that measurements are the final arbiter, but…).

    So while it is always possible that the parameter of cable resistance might be at work here to some degree, my first guess is that it would not be the main cause of said observations. In fact, the idea flies in the face of what many claim to be is the opposite: That MORE metal in electrical conductors such as cables and connectors is inferior to LESS metal. This concept is actually based on the “Least Metals” hypothesis that even some manufacturers of connectors (such as speaker binding posts like Eichman, et. al) base the design of their products on.

    That being said, what other parameters could there be at work here that are there based on cable geometry? Inductance and Capacitance… that’s what. ALL current-carrying conductors exhibit these two “parasitic” parameters along with resistance, be they cables or connectors along with every single electrical component in a circuit board and even the circuit board traces that connect those components together. This is a fundamental fact of physics at work at the basic level all electrical current conduction and transmission.

    In the case of cables, the parameters of Inductance & Capacitance (and typically NOT Resistance) work together to form what is commonly referred to as the cable’s “Characteristic Impedance,” and at extreme high frequencies it often plays a vital role in system engineering and design. Specifically, in HF & UHF transmission systems, the goal is to match the CI of a given cable to the Source and Load Impedances of the system components so as to avoid any Impedance Reflections (or even standing waves) that might otherwise manifest and work to corrupt accurate signal transfer.

    Right about now there is surely an EE out there ready to “pipe up” and state that such are only concerns when dealing with frequencies in the Megahertz region and above, and are of no ill effect at audio-band frequencies below say… 100Khz. While we would argue that this view is (thankfully) mostly true, a deeper analysis just might be called for here.

    You see, upon a deeper view of the total “model” there are other variables to consider, none the least of which are the non-linearities associated the Source’s driving (Output) stage and the Load’s receiving (Input) stage. Said non-linearities must, by default, exist in ALL audio circuits due to the nature of their design and specifically, due to the fact that they are “band limited’ to some maximum high frequency. All active circuits and specifically gain stages (i.e., amplifiers) are subject to the rule of Gain-Bandwidth Product (GBP), which basically states that the higher the gain value of a given circuit, the narrower its bandwidth will be. Primarily, the reduction of bandwidth manifests as a lowered upper limit of its linear operation up to some maximum high frequency. Above that frequency the circuit’s output will begin to drop in magnitude (i.e., roll off).

    Now, ALL audio circuits exhibit some level of gain (x2, x10, x100, etc.). This holds true even if it is a Unity Gain stage wherein the Gain = x1, which is commonly encountered in the Input Buffer stages of preamps & power amps, etc. Taking this fact into consideration, then the question becomes, “What happens when a high-speed audio signal (or “Impulse”) excites what would be the equivalent of a signal reflection in the cable/component system?”

    You see, in the typical case of audio components, the Output Impedance of the Source is almost universally designed to be a mismatch to the Input Impedance of the Load at the other end of the cable. This is done to ensure that there will be no loading effects acting upon the Source’s driving stage that would result in signal loss/attenuation or high frequency attenuation, etc. In fact, good system design suggest that the Load-to-Source Impedance ratio should be at least 10:1, with the Load’s Input Impedance being at least 10 times higher than that of the Source’s Output impedance. While this technique works very well for audio-band frequencies, IF there are any HF or UHF frequencies involved, then the above practice actually represents a “worst case scenario” that could give rise to sever Impedance reflections at HF & UHF frequencies.

    We find that in practice then, at least when it comes to Input & Output Impedances, good audio design principles are in direct opposition to those of good radio frequency design, and vise-verse. Yet as we shall see, in the REAL world of high-end audio components, the two worlds may very well (and often do) intersect.

    So we come back to our question; “What happens when a high-speed audio signal (or “Impulse”) excites what would be the equivalent of a signal reflection in the cable/component system?” The fact is that a high frequency audio signal (say one at 15KHz) being passed through the cable represents a sub-harmonic at some HF frequency. Multiply by say… 1,000 and we have the equivalent of a “stimulus” impulse that will excite the generation of a harmonic at 15MHz. Such an impulse is not unlike the “whack” of a drumstick striking the skin of a drumhead. Yes… the 15MHz signal will be very weak in magnitude relative to the 15KHz sub-harmonic that it is exciting it,” but then we are talking a potential dynamic range of 120dB in today’s modern digital audio systems too. Therefore, such events may very well exist and reside at the lower levels of the system’s dynamic range and therefore affect it’s final sound quality.

    Now assuming a signal reflection (however weak it may be) does happen to arise in our cable at the 15MHz harmonic, then how will it interact and/or be affected by the adjoining Source and Load circuits? Well, the audio output of the Source can be both Amplitude Modulated (AM) & Frequency Modulated (FM) by the aforementioned circuit non-linearities being subjected to the “out of band” 15MHz signal, and likewise, related circuit non-linearities at the Load end of the cable can also work to demodulate that same, previously modulated audio. In simplest term, a complex form of Inter-Modulation Distortion could theoretically result.

    In particular, it would seem that the most offensive byproduct of such behavior would be the FM artifacts, as they would tend to impart a slight “phase-shifting” action upon the desired audio signal. Sonically this would manifest as a “blurring” effect as the tones of the music signal would shift first higher, then lower, at a constantly varying rate based on the changing frequency of the reflected signal and the spectrum of the musical content. To be sure, any such behavior would be both very complex in nature and extremely subtle. Comparable examples might be the “jitter” shown to exist in digital systems or even the “Phase Distortion” that we have suggested in our previously mentioned white paper.

    For the sake simple argument then, let us assume such subtle artifacts are being generated to some (most likely very small) degree in all audio systems. That said, then how might the Schroeder Method work to help ameliorate the problem?

    At this point we need to understand the underlying geometry of audio cables a bit better and how it affects their Characteristic Impedance. First we have Inductance, which is a property of nothing more than a simple length of wire when electrical current flows through it. Then there is Capacitance, which is manifest whenever two charged conductors of opposite polarity are spaced near together, with either a vacuum or some insulating material placed between them.

    OK, so every audio cable has at least two conductors. In a common, unbalanced RCA cable the one conductor that carries the signal can be thought of as one polarity, while the other “GROUND” conductor becomes the other polarity. Hence, we have the equivalent of a capacitor of some (very small) value. This is a simple analogy, but the fact is that the voltage on one is the opposite that of the other, therefore cables do exhibit the property of capacitance. Then both conductors of the cable carry current down their length, so that’s where their small amount of Inductance comes from as well.

    Now, it’s a law of Physics that when two identical Inductors are placed in parallel with each other (as are the cables in the Schroeder Method), then the resulting Inductance is cut exactly in half. Likewise but conversely, when two identical Capacitors are placed in parallel (i.e., two cables) the resulting Capacitance is doubled. The total end effect when paralleling cables as in the Schroeder Method is as follows (all formulas are approximations):

    Characteristic Impedance = Divide by 2
    Cutoff Frequency = Multiply by 1.66 to 2 (depending on cable spacing)
    Capacitance = Multiply by 2
    Inductance = Divide by 1.66 to 2 (depending on cable spacing)
    Velocity of Signal Propagation = Unchanged

    Noteworthy in the above is the fact that the Capacitance doubles and the upper Cutoff Frequency (where above which the signal begins to be attenuated) almost doubles. So in the event that we “double-up” our audio cables, we actually extend their bandwidth – albeit we are talking in the region of radio frequencies so there is no real benefit there with respect to extending the fundamental audio bandwidth.

    What IS significant though is the fact that all of the above leads to a potential reduction in reflected energy and/or standing waves within the cable, and that is because of two primary factors. By lowering the Character Impedance and consequently, raising the Cutoff Frequency, we “push” or force any potential reflections up to twice the frequency at which they would otherwise occur. That then leads to two other outcomes. First, higher frequencies find it more difficult to propagate down the length of any conductor due to the “skin effect,” and are therefore usually attenuated more with respect to those that occur at lower frequencies. As a result, lower magnitude levels of reflected energy translates into less interaction with the Source and Load circuits. That means less potential for the formation of any associated Phase Distortion artifacts as outlined above.

    Second, any modulation effects that do arise will be shifted up to higher frequencies right along with their higher “carrier” (the frequency of the reflected signal), thereby making them less detectable to human hearing.

    In all the above, the only potential negative concern might be the increased Capacitance, as theoretically that “could” cause a roll off of the highest frequencies in the region around 20KHz. In most cases though where there is reasonable output capability of the Source’s output stage, this should seldom – if ever – be a problem.

    In summery, doubling cables as in the Schroeder Method seems to be a viable technique in an effort to create a “composite” cable the exhibits higher bandwidth, and hence less and/or potentially fewer forms of Inter-modulation Distortion. Thus, it only makes sense that listeners would observe an improvement in the resulting sound of their systems by implementing it.

    Personally, for myself I know this to be true because I have built IC cables based on the underlying principles outlined above (along with a few other proprietary techniques), and to my ears they were superior to MANY others that I have tried or heard. Unfortunately I was in a position at the time where I had to sell them, but the silver lining there was that the customer quickly made the same observations that I did, and agreed that they were truly superior to all others that he had tried as well. Maybe I’ll build some more if I find there is a demand, but in the mean time it appears users can benefit from the Schroeder Method at a very reasonable price… and maybe now not fear so much that the whole effect is nothing more than a figment of their imaginationl… as their “engineering buddies” might try to suggest J

    I hope this lengthy dissertation has been of some value to y’all, and I wish everyone much happy listening!!!

    Take care,
    Bob Smith
    President
    TDSS & Aether Audio

  3. Daniel Celander says:

    Interesting method. Have you tried running 4 sets of cables in parallel with 3 splitters per end?

  4. Bob,
    God’s Joy,

    Your thoughtful, very thorough reply underscores that such changes to systems are far more complex than simply putting another wire alongside. I wish that all persons with so much theory could have an open mind to try novel approaches rather than dismiss them. We would have a lot more extreme audio systems!

    Daniel,
    God’s Joy to you,

    Didn’t you post this same thought on another forum? It was removed, I suspect because it was thought to be a troll, or perceived to be a risky proposition. But, it seems you are sincere in your question?

    No, I did not try 4 sets of cables and 3 splitters per end because I believe that would present too low of an impedance for the output of most preamps and DACs. Also, I think the danger of sending a corrupted, oscillating signal to an amp, making the amp unstable and potentially blowing it and/or speakers, would increase. I am most definitely not recommending it. I would absolutely want to hear from some designers and/or EE’s on the potential dangers of it. I don’t simply think, “Hey, if two are good, then four must be even better,” without some very keen analysis by people much smarter than me. I did a lot of talking with people steeped in knowledge of circuits and systems before I explored much with the Schroeder Method. So, I’m definitely not open to the suggestion of it being doubled again, unless a whole lot of knowledgeable people say it’s no problem. I suspect they would not say that.

    There are some pieces of electronics which would not do well with the original doubling of the interconnects, which I discuss in the article. I suspect the potential for damage would escalate rapidly by continued doubling of the interconnects.

    Blessings to you both,
    Douglas Schroeder

    • Dan Celander says:

      Hi, Douglas!
      Nice awareness and pick-up on another forum thread! I made that post, not knowing whether this discussion was still open. Having decided that my comment was still in the waiting stage of approval, I elected to remove the post on the other forum discussion thread. No troll…just me being passionate about getting a reply, as you had posted about this topic to the other thread, too. Lol
      Best,
      Dan Celander

  5. (F0r the benefit of the community I am posting something that I wrote on another forum that pertains to the Schroeder Method of interconnect placement:

    I am gratified by the people who are willing to give an ear and try this, albeit watching out for the cautionary comments about the experimental nature of the Schroeder Method at this stage. 

    I summoned the nerve to put up a few thousand dollars worth of gear to test it out with XLR. It works, and works stunningly! I was concerned about the potential of signals being crossed by the pin configuration of a Y adapter/cable being opposite of the norm. I used a multimeter to test for continuity to ensure the signal was not crossing when going from Y splitter to two XLR interconnects, then back together via a reverse Y cable. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to flip the on switches of gear on an experimental rig that you worry could cause one or more components to fail. 

    The results were as good, perhaps even more astounding with XLR. But, that cannot be said in any way definitively, as this was a different set of electronics and cables. At this point it shows that it’s not only good for RCA; it may be a universal improvement. IMHO, this is no small event, but a watershed moment in system configuration. Unless I encounter some failure of a component due to the use of the Schroeder Method, I can’t go back to single interconnects. It’s just too paltry, too impoverished sounding. 

    I would like to clarify; I do not consider this a tweak. This is way too powerful, repeatable and in the signal path to be considered a tweak, imo. I see most tweaks as insipid methods, almost inversely insignificant in comparison to the Schroeder Method. I don’t believe I am exaggerating – Having put up hundreds of rigs at MSRP up to $100K – to say that this easily has the sonic value of a $25K  improvement of components in a rig, and some cases more. I have made dozens of discrete rigs with the Kingsound King III electrostatic speakers and never, ever have they performed as they are today. 

    The power structure of the system using the Schroeder Method is astonishing. The low end is dramatically improved. I do not see a downside to this in terms of sound. I’m guessing that a small contingent of people who want mushier, more recessed, less distinct sound will object. So be it; have the music your way by using a single IC. Not me; I don’t think I’m ever going back. 

    I hope this sparks a new wave of sound quality in the industry and community. I think this has potential to open a lot of minds that have been closed, and to advance the average guy’s rig several levels without decimating the sales of the upper echelon equipment. This has been one of the most amazing months for me as an audiophile. The level of change possible now has brought me closer to realization of my conceptualization of how an audio system should sound than ever before. I am elated that it seems to work with both RCA and XLR; I had no strong reason to doubt that it wouldn’t. 

    Again, please exercise whatever caution and care you need, and if you are in doubt, please discuss with your manufacturer! This is a do at YOUR own risk activity, as I have said several times. My guess is there are people looking at this and scratching their heads, and word will get around. I don’t think this is a small deal. Example; the rig I put together to test this is under $10K MSRP and it trashed every other rig regardless of cost that I’ve used with the King III. (Of course, what might have been the case had those rigs used the Schroeder Method?) 

    Naysayers, mockers… please, don’t even bother. I have zero desire to argue with you about this. I have learned to pay little attention to you over the years, thank God! I never would have done such interesting and efficacious work if I had listened to the hecklers. 

  6. Steve Ericson says:

    I have tried your method with 2 pair of Dueland DCA16A 1m RCA interconnects and AudioQuest hard splitters and I like the results. I am curious about eliminating the splitters by connecting both conductors in the RCA plug. I don’t think my 16ga would fit but 2 20ga might. Do you think the reduction in wire diameter would be offset by the elimination of the splitters?

  7. Steve,
    God’s Joy to you,
    I’m happy that another individual has heard the benefits of the Schroeder Method. This furthers the body of experience in regard to the interconnects that have worked with the method. It also shows that it does not take sky-is-the-limit products to benefit. In order to remain safe in regards to my recommendations, I will not officially recommend the technique you are considering; the Schroeder Method and all iterations are still a “do at your own risk” proposition.

    Specifically, as to your question, I don’t know that anyone could tell you the answer. Some people prefer thinner conductors, however I typically prefer thicker conductors. Imo there would likely be a noticeable difference toward a worse result by moving to a 20ga conductor. However, only constructing it would demonstrate which was better. In such cases where the cost has not been extreme I have done such comparisons myself on matters where there was a question as to the best method. I enjoy the exploration and discovery of a new method. If I had to guess which was the most lossy, I would say that the splitters likely are harming the sound more and if removed would yield better sound, even with a change in gauge to a thinner conductor. I would consider it a potential loss leader in heading toward better sound and discovery, and if it works well enough you have a nice improvement.

    But, be forewarned, swapping out any given cable with the splitters could easily outperform. There is no guarantee that elimination of the splitters will assure an absolute best performance, and comparison will likely bear that out. Some cabling is so poor that even if optimized on the terminations it still could be bested by a setup using the splitters. In essence, nothing can be taken for granted, but has to be compared.

    Blessings,
    Douglas Schroeder

  8. I wish to add to the body of knowledge about the Schroeder Method, as well as clarify some misinformation that is forming around it. I have found also in experimentation that it is efficacious in additional applications including a digital connection, an XLR connection, and connection between dedicated preamplifier and amplifier(s). The balanced (XLR) connection was the first to be tried, as a natural extension of the original RCA assembly. Next was a twin XLR assembly acting as AES/EBU output from a transport to DAC.

    The final iteration relating to preamplifiers and amplifiers must be prefaced with the necessary warnings that caution should be exercised in regard to some amplifiers which are not suitable for using the Schroeder Method (double interconnects) as it may cause them to oscillate, making them unstable and damaging them, and or speakers. Again, as always has been said, this is a DO AT YOUR OWN RISK activity. Please consult your equipment manufacturer if you have questions or concerns about the suitability of this activity.

    The final iteration was a dedicated preamp to amp setup which worked as splendidly as all the others. I discussed this further in the soon to be published review of the Belles ARIA Preamplifier and Mono Block Amplifiers.

  9. Further addition to the body of knowledge with the Schroeder Method and a particular setup of recently reviewed components (I am posting this a few times in different locations):

    Every time I use a class D, then switch back to class A/B I think, nope, class D is not quite there yet. Case in point, the superb Belles ARIA Mono Block Amplifiers I reviewed for Dagogo.com outshine the class D amps I have used (several). The ARIA amps are still here, the others are gone. That’s not to say you cannot build a wonderful sounding rig with class D, as I have done so many times. But, you get even a more affordable classic design such as the ARIA set up well and imo there is still a significant gap in performance. I suspect you would have to spend at least double the amount of the ARIA amps to get close. 

    I have been through this cycle several times, perhaps five or six times, and while class D keeps getting better, so do the class A and A/B amps. They are not sitting on their laurels, but making nice improvements, refinements as well. FYI, the COS D1 DAC + Preamplifier being reviewed is an impressive unit, and with the ARIA Monos the sound quality is most impressive. I have used some very pricey amps, and this combo is the best of class with the Vapor Audio Joule White. Of course, I am using the Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement with it (see other threads under Cable forum if interested). This gives a very unfair advantage over a standard setup. At this point it is not recommended to use the Schroeder Method with class D amps, as it could cause problems operationally. (NOTIFICATION; ANYONE CONSIDERING THE SCHROEDER METHOD OF INTERCONNECT PLACEMENT PLEASE HEED WARNINGS/RECOMMENDATIONS IN REGARD TO USE OF THAT METHOD; it is entirely a “do at your own risk” activity).

    Consequently it’s no contest between class D and class A or A/B. The Schroeder Method causes the traditional setup with a class D amp to sound significantly lacking in comparison to a class A or A/B with the Schroeder Method. It is so superior that I have reservations that any class D set up with a single IC would outperform it regardless of cost. That suspicion may be proven wrong over time, and I will keep trying various class D amps (So far, the Pascal based Red Dragon has been a standout; I would never try the Schroeder Method of interconnect placement with such an amp), but I suspect the deficit of a single IC is too great to overcome. Make no mistake, the Schroeder Method is no gimmick, nor a “tweak”. It’s quite powerful in its effect, with an impact similar to upgrading one or two components to the tune of several thousand dollars. I am not exaggerating. Read the comments from those who have tried. But again, check with your manufacturer of gear and it’s entirely do at your own risk. If you think cables can’t do such things, then you are a bit behind the curve on cables.  And, no, I have zero interest in arguing that point. 🙂 

    So, at this point, merely doubling interconnects as per the Schroeder Method has now handily bested any class D amp set up with single IC that I have ever used, and in the foreseeable future. 

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