Some further High-End Audio demands
The Zapperator and Mini Zapperator are RF attenuators and terminators, both static and dynamic. It sounds simple, but the designer faces the challenge of melding niche (specially discovered), good sounding parts (finding those is a job in itself), that won't upset audio quality, with components that will also be effective at radio frequencies, over multiple decades of frequency.
The components used also have to withstand the commonly high levels of bass vibration next to a speaker cabinet, usually many times higher than that at the listening position, again without audio-quality degrading effects taking place. For example, many fine RF parts may be microphonic, and not with linearity. Use is then akin to connecting a distortion injector into the audio path.This is a common problem with audio accessories.
Meanwhile, Electrical or Electronic Engineers who may be knowledgeable at RF have scant appreciation of effects in systems where the signal range needing to be free of error must be nearer 120dB than the 30 to 50dB needed or handled by and accepted for, most RF communications. Broadly speaking, this means that the high-end audio application could be said to make the component quality be at least ten thousand times more critical.
Accordingly, while a termination unit is a simple device in principle, a great deal of knowledge of audio, of real world electronic components, and of manufacturing techniques, is required - particularly to meet what's also required in today's RF field. Design and manufacture are far less trivial than they seem.
This is perhaps shown by the fact that audiograde RF terminations have not been hitherto made available, outside of possibly being necessary, integral parts of some high-end cables.
The Zapperator is the world's first flexibly deployable, audiograde RF terminator/absorber. It may be plugged-in at the speaker 'end' or across the amplifier 'end'. Or both.The optimum is only determinable by the individual user's environment, equipment, hearing, etc. But it is also easy enough to 'plug and listen'. One important point that should be clear: if you don't have an RF problem (at the time of testing), or your equipment isn't sensitive to RF (this can be a feature of simple valve/tube electronics), you might not hear any effect. But, as RF and the problems it can cause, can come and go, seemingly randomly to the listener, and as components other than transistors can detect RF, you'd need to check it daily for some months, to be sure the Zapperators weren't helping at some point.
The Mini Zapperator takes the benefits into higher, microwave realms, for more sensitive line and vinyl-level interconnects, in association with Russ Andrews Accessories and Kimber woven cable technology.
© November 2009 Ben Duncan Research - UK & Russ Andrews Accessories Ltd
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