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Pear Cable Designs Revealed, Well, Sort Of

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As something of an engineer myself, I decided to visit Pear’s site and peer review the technical literature that they publish:

Interestingly, Pear’s documents do not offer any scientific proof that their cables can achieve any significant sonic improvement to justify the cost. There is a lot of general scientific explanation about inductance, capacitance, and impedance, as well as quasi-scientific marketing drivel claiming significance that often defends itself with we can’t tell you more because it’s a secret:

While most of the design is proprietary, we can tell you that each cable (not pair) has 25 separate parts not including the connectors!

Cable Design, Pear Cable Inc.

While it is unfortunate that more details about ANJOU cable geometry and construction cannot be disclosed for confidentiality reasons, we hope that some light has been shed on the rationale behind the overall design philosophies.

Cable Design, Pear Cable Inc.

The referenced documents contain a wealth of unsupported statements, various claims about what constitutes good and bad cable design, and numerous unqualified statements that Pear Cables are better than some unnamed competition.

The purity of the sound transferred by Pear Cables is unrivaled.

Cable Design, Pear Cable Inc.

The result is sonic beauty without compare.

Pear Cable: Anjou Speaker Cable

Oh the hyperbole. I would have again thought this as an aspect of the music, not of cables, my mistake.

At no point do the Pear documents provide any test data, any analytical proof with supporting calculations, or reference any published scientific literature that supports the audible significance of any claims made by Pear.

This is not to say that Pear Cables do not offer a sonic change. We now turn back to the anonymous frequencycomice fr plot response plot that compares two unnamed cables, one a Pear, and the other some competitor.

It is clear from the plot that neither cable can make a 20 kHz bandwidth with a flat frequency response. The Pear shows roll off somewhere between 8 kHz and 9 kHz, and while the other cable is indeed worse, neither is very good. Nevertheless, Pear applies bold hatching to highlight the difference in area under the curves to emphasize the superior Pear design.

Yes! It really does not matter what equipment you have. Because Pear Cables are designed to be sonically neutral, they will work well with any brand of equipment. Matching cables with certain brands of equipment is only important when buying cables that have a known tendency to “color” the sound. Pear Cable does not design any of its products to produce “coloration”.

Pear FAQ 7: Will the cables sound good with my specific brand of equipment?

While there is nothing wrong with listening to music through what is effectively a filter, it is our firm belief that it is difficult to compete with the sonic neutrality that Pear Cables strive to achieve.

Cable Design, Pear Cable Inc.

Sonic neutrality is a flat frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz; any deviation from flat response is quite simply coloration. The measurements are presented as voltage loss, but this is a technical slight of hand. Not presenting the plot in the more customary decibel is perhaps just enough to throw off the non technical buyer from the fact that expensive Pear Cables do not pass signal over the full audio band and is clearly is acting as a low pass filter for high frequencies. Based on the shape of the curve, I would conjecture that the cable is appealing to Audiophiles with solid state amplifiers who crave the rolled off sound of a valve amplifier, which is, of course, coloration.

As to the competitor, we have no idea who this is, for all we know, it may just be a straightened coat hanger jammed into the speaker terminals. While the competitor clearly performs worse than the unnamed Pear Cable does, the Pear still is not good. This is simply a tactic to deflect attention away from the shortcomings in the Pear cable: see, look, these guys are worse.

If Pear has spent as much time and money engineering the impedance of the Anjou speaker cables to provide a sonically neutral response as they claim, the cable response should be flat and only produce a uniform loss resulting in a slight decrease in overall volume.

What happens when the resistance gets too high? First, there is power lost in the wire and the speaker will not play as loud. More important, as the resistance in series with the speaker increases, it makes the amplifier look more like a current source. This means the speaker frequency response will tend to follow the rise and fall of its impedance curve. The greater the impedance variation, the more noticeable the response changes will be. If the speaker has constant impedance versus frequency, the only change will be reduced output.

Roger Russell, Speaker Wire

Contradictions Abound

The cable companies that utilize faulty scientific conclusions can be spotted by the factual errors presented in their design philosophy, or misuse of otherwise sound engineering principles.

Pear Cables: FAQ number 2

While Pear provides no scientific support as to significance of any claims to audible improvement due to cables, they do provide many internal contradictions that when cross-referenced between various documents. The design documents themselves haphazardly jump between talking about interconnects, then speaker cables, and then interconnects.

While reading I noticed certain statements that are much more interesting when juxtaposed directly rather than when obfuscated by separation over five intervening pages:

One of the most common questions asked by consumers faced with purchasing cables for their audio or home theater system is, “What is so important about cables anyway?” They can cost as much or more than some of the hardware in the system and to many it is difficult to understand why wire isn’t just wire.

Opening paragraph from:

A Technical Introduction to Audio Cables by Pear Cable

It is fairly safe to say that no matter what cable you use, the modifications to the sound will be small.

Penultimate paragraph from:

A Technical Introduction to Audio Cables by Pear Cable

Pear believes it is reasonable to spend more on cables than other hardware in the system for what will admittedly be of small benefit.

Next up is capacitance, which Pear at first says is not important for speaker cables, and then suggests otherwise:

Loudspeaker cables, on the other hand, are far more sensitive to inductance rather than capacitance due to the relatively high current nature of the signal.

Pear Cable: Anjou Speaker Cable

As stated previously, interconnect cables carry a very small amount of current. Relative to the current the voltage is large. Because of that fact, capacitance is important, but inductance is relatively unimportant.

The signal in loudspeaker cables is essentially the opposite of the signal in interconnects. Both cables have the same information, but in loudspeaker cables, the voltage is small and the current is large, relatively speaking. Because of the high current, both resistance and inductance are important in loudspeaker cables.

A Technical Introduction to Audio Cables by Pear Cable

This is one of the lowest, if not the lowest capacitance speaker cables that is able to achieve such low inductance. While some cables can achieve lower inductance, these cables typically suffer from capacitance 50% to 10 times higher. Cables that achieve lower capacitance cannot match the low inductance of the ANJOU Speaker Cable. The ultra low reactance allows for extremely accurate energy transfer.

Pear Cable: Anjou Speaker Cable

This is an interesting contradiction of both the Pear design papers as well as the cited Audio DesignLine source. The product description goes on about how the various other speaker cable geometries have higher capacitance than Pear, Pear Cables are designed for low capacitance, and that the speaker cables from other manufacturers just can’t match Pear.

Litz designs minimize skin effect, can offer low inductance, and braided litz designs have good rejection to Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). However, these cables can suffer from excessive capacitance, poor mechanical integrity, or poor RFI rejection for non-braided designs.

Pear Cable: Anjou Speaker Cable

Capacitance does not have a significant impact on speaker cable, so it does not matter that Pear is lower in a property that is not significant to the design and performance.

Then there is this foamed Teflon business:

There are many ways to create a Teflon/air insulation structure, and Foamed Teflon is one of the more common methods. Foamed Teflon is exactly what it sounds like; namely Teflon that has air bubbles injected into it. These air bubbles lower the overall dielectric constant of the insulation. It is commonly used because the mixture of air and Teflon can essentially be treated as one material, making fabrication processes simpler. One of the biggest problems with this insulation technique is that the overall dielectric constant is reduced, but the randomness of the bubbles creates a myriad of local anomalies. Large air bubbles on the surface of conductors are unpredictable and the associated dielectric constant variation causes a variety of transmission problems.

Foamed Teflon is never used in Pear Cable products and should not be used in any high fidelity audio cables.

Various, Cable Design, Pear Cable Inc.

Solid Teflon, foamed Teflon, Teflon air tubes, air, and cotton combine to minimize dielectric absorption while still providing superb mechanical integrity.

Pear Cable utilizes a dual layer primary insulation technique to avoid all of the above issues. An extremely fine layer of Teflon, 0.002” thick, is applied to conductors in a first step that protects the underlying copper. In a second step, foamed Teflon is applied on top of the first layer in order to provide superior dielectric properties and complete mechanical support. The final insulated conductor does not suffer from local anomalies in the electrical or mechanical properties, and minimizes conductor corrosion.

Various, Pear Cable: Anjou Speaker Cable

On one hand, Pear blathers on that foamed Teflon should never be used in any audio cable because it provides non-uniform dielectric properties due to the bubbles, but then states elsewhere that it is used. Ironically, the twisted geometry used in Pear interconnects will also be a source for the same issue of inconsistency in dielectric uniformity.

Pear Cable considers the proprietary cable geometry that it has developed for ANJOU interconnects, including “Perfect Twist” conductor arrangement, to be one of the most innovative and effective designs available.

Cable Design, Pear Cable Inc.

“Perfect-Twist” noise rejecting geometry prevents the need for a shield around the two core conductors.

Pear Cable: Anjou Analog Interconnect

If local variations in the ratio of air to dielectric material are a problem for foamed Teflon, the same variability in the material surrounding the conductor will happen with twisted wire inside an insulating jacket. Pear states that they use an unshielded twisted pair interconnect cable design, which is hardly anything new as Perfect Twist is nothing but a variation on a standard low cost cable design that has been used for many years in telecommunications that Pear somehow has made expensive through proprietary techniques.

Twisted pair cabling is often used in data networks for short and medium length connections because of its relatively lower costs compared to fiber and coaxial cabling.

Wikipedia: Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable

Unshielded twisted pair cabling is used for its lower cost when compared to other cable types. Does this mean that if Pear used properly shield cable that they would have to charge even more than they presently do for their already very expensive cables?

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

Clint DeBoer posts on May 13, 2008 15:52
Never let is be said that our reviewers can't take a hit. lol
AdrianMills posts on May 13, 2008 13:23
David Waratuke, post: 411992
Nope, just clearing up some misinformation suggested in one of the posts.

Appearantly I was unaware of how touchy a subject ham radio is for the operators. There were a lot more unhappy feelings in some of the posts than I would have expected for such a minor mention of the topic for a percieved slighting that was certainly not intentional.

David

Welcome to the WWW.
DavidW posts on May 13, 2008 13:19
Clint DeBoer, post: 411867
Oh my gosh, David - give it a rest will you. Last time I checked, the point of the article wasn't to insult Ham Radio operators.

Please send me some recommended changes and go find something else to defend your honor on.

Nope, just clearing up some misinformation suggested in one of the posts.

Appearantly I was unaware of how touchy a subject ham radio is for the operators. There were a lot more unhappy feelings in some of the posts than I would have expected for such a minor mention of the topic for a percieved slighting that was certainly not intentional.

David
Clint DeBoer posts on May 13, 2008 12:54
Article updated with submission from David… Red chicklets given to David, lol
gene posts on May 13, 2008 10:48
Oh my gosh, David - give it a rest will you. Last time I checked, the point of the article wasn't to insult Ham Radio operators.

Please send me some recommended changes and go find something else to defend your honor on.

Agreed this is simply ridiculous. Make the necessary corrections ASAP. thanks.
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