HOW It Works
As a result of its innovative construction as described in the first paragraph of the “WHAT Is It?” section, at the heart of the Smith Cell’s operation a Vortex EM Field
[Citation #1], [Citation #2] is generated.
Specifically, within the inertial frame of the device an extremely powerful Vortex Field Generator induces a type of angular momentum in the the local dielectric medium.
By nature of its extreme energy of rotation… not unlike that of a powerful cyclone… the vortex field dominates the local space-time EM Torsional Parameter [Citation #3 ], [Citation #4]and thereby induces the combined effect of Intrinsic Spin-Polarization and a pronounced separation of Charge Carriers (electrons vs. “holes” or simply a depletion of electrons) into a type of “quadrature” relationship as they flow within the matrix of the associated electrically conductive medium.
Further augmenting the charge separation effect is a proprietary conductor geometry that relaxes the local dielectric field acting upon the different charge regions within the conductor matrix.
Unique in the operation of the Smith Cell is a type of “asymmetry of action” in what would at first appear to be a violation of Newton’s Third Law of Motion .
Specifically, the rotating vortex field acts upon the charge carriers at the particle-level to spin-align and separate them, but the reverse action at the macro-level does not occur. Therefore, the macro-level motion of the charge carriers that conveys signal information does not act upon the active components within the device. This is critical as otherwise said macro-level energy would be transferred to and perform “work” against the internal components of the Smith Cell, which could then lead to various forms of induced resonance within the device and/or a specific type of reverse-modulation effect, and thereby generate unintended distortion of the audio (or other) signal.
The above, among other factors, is what separates all Aether Audio products from other audio devices, as our implementation of Vortex Technology as embodied in the Smith Cell involves no such use or arrangement of materials in its construction that are subject to or affected by the macro-level motion of charge carriers. Therefore, no associated mechanism (such as “Hysteresis”) exists that could give rise to any forms of distortion or other signal contaminating artifacts.
The “Other Guys”
No names - please. The fact is though that there are other manufacturers of various devices such as audio & AC power cables, AC power conditioners and what-not that subject audio signals to one or more types of electromagnetic forces, such as the magnetic fields generated by permanent magnets, etc. In fact, one company even has a patent for “wiring” (soldering) permanent magnets directly into the signal path of the audio signal, with products thereof being those of common Interconnect/RCA and Loudspeaker cables, etc.
Doing the above is equivalent to placing any electronic component (such as a resistor or fuse) in series with the AC current flow that passes from the source component (i.e., preamp outputs) of a system to the following component (i.e., power amp inputs). Basically, in its simplest form it is a series-type construction and is essentially the same as putting a fuse in series with a light bulb. If the fuse blows open, the current will stop flowing and the light will go out. That is a Series Circuit. Simple.
OK… doing that with a permanent magnet in place of a fuse doesn’t seem very wise to us. We suspect that the engineering personnel in charge of product design in this company is lacking a good bit of basic knowledge regarding Electronics Theory, or else they probably wouldn’t have followed through with the idea. Why? Because of the previously outlined magnetostriction effect and a secondary related effect, a nasty little process called “Hysteresis,” which is an attribute of all “Ferromagnetic” materials that manifests whenever they are subjected to changing magnetic fields.
To cut to the chase here, magnetostriction and hysteresis artifacts are almost universally BAD if you are trying to achieve accurate audio reproduction. You see, hysteresis acts like a type of “magnetic memory” and in practice it produces Harmonic Distortion.
Specifically, ANY material that is of a ferrous nature (as in Iron or other ferromagnetic materials such as Nickel, Cobalt, Steel, etc.) exhibits hysteresis when exposed to a changing magnetic field (which is produced by AC current flow). Therefore, ferrous materials are usually “shunned” for use in audio applications and are avoided whenever possible.
Sometimes designers can’t totally avoid using them though, such as in the case of an Inductor (coil)that might be used in a loudspeaker crossover (filter) network. Large values of Inductance are often needed to sufficiently attenuate high frequencies (such as in the signal going to a woofer), but high values are difficult and/or expensive to achieve unless iron or other ferrous “cores” are used to fabricate the inductor. Without such a core, the amount of wire needed to achieve the desired inductance value would greatly increase, making the resulting inductor quite large and expensive due to the amount of copper wire that would be required.
That said, using a ferrous core or any ferrous material in an AC circuit is typically a compromise solution dictated by practicality. Nevertheless, good engineering practices will assure that any hysteresis artifacts resulting from the use of ferrous materials are minimized by selecting the right types and/or sufficient amounts thereof.
OK… so what do you suppose a PERMANENT MAGNET IS MADE FROM? - DUH. And here we have, in the case of the aforementioned manufacturer, a situation where a company is PURPOSEFULLY inserting a PM into the path of an audio signal and thereby forcing AC current to flow through it - all in the name of improving audio performance. One would suppose that if current levels are kept to a minimum, then any resulting hysteresis artifacts would (hopefully) be minimized. Nevertheless, common sense suggests that “maybe” such a construction method would best be avoided in the first place. You know… just to be safe?
As if that’s not bad enough, the same company “espouses” the use of steel and other ferrous metals as the primary electrical conductor materials of choice for use in the audio cables that they manufacture as well. The idea being that ostensibly, the “effect” of the Permanent Magnets upon the electrons flowing through the wire will be accentuated and/or transmitted on through and down the length of said wire/cable.
So as if running AC current through a ferrous material (i.e., a Permanent Magnet) isn’t bad enough already, now we also need to run our beloved audio signal through a ferrous wire as well in order to “maximize” some very loosely defined and generally unexplained “magnetic” effect? Even the US Patent granted to this company does not explain “how” the claimed magnetic effect works or the underlying physics that it’s based upon. Yet, we are expected to trade known and established physics practices that tell us to avoid the use of ferrous materials in the signal path of an AC signal so as to prevent the well documented effects of hysteresis - for those of a “mystery” physics that “promises” superior sound quality but offers no fundamental explanation for how it works and simply demands blind faith?
TRUE faith is NEVER “blind.” In the end, maybe the claims of this company are true and their “stuff” does sound better. Or just m-a-y-b-e it sounds DIFFERENT, and listeners interpret different as “better.”
You see, hysteresis generates HARMONIC DISTORTION. So does a lot of other audio components that many claim delivers very good sound too, such as certain tube circuits/amplifiers, transformer-coupled output stages, loudspeaker drivers, etc. It’s a known scientific FACT though that small amounts of “Even-ordered” (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) Harmonic Distortion can be deceiving by perceptibly “sweetening” the sound of an audio signal.
The resulting performance of such a device is actually less accurate, but the psycho-acoustic effects of Even-ordered Harmonic distortion can be pleasing to the ear. Just ask any electric guitar player… and don’t you dare touch his distortion pedal either. Better yet, ask the guy that designed the very popular “Aphex Aural Exciter” because he’ll gladly tell you all about it - AFTER he gets back from his most recent trip to the bank to make a deposit, that is.
While there is no “right or wrong” when it comes to the sound of an audio product, devices that rely on the sweetening effect of harmonic distortion to produce their desirable “sonic signature” suffer from a subjective view of their performance, because such sweetening is similar to the use of sugar, salt and/or spices’ on one’s food. One person may like a lot of sugar and another none at all. Therefore, the process of building a system around such components can be extremely time consuming and even frustrating, because the total system sound can change dramatically when only a single component is substituted or exchanged.
Regardless, even assuming that this “mystery company’s” products actually work based on the “mystery science” as claimed and are not generating any additional Harmonic Distortion artifacts, how can you trust a company that doesn’t even make an honest attempt to identify the true, underlying physics that their products are based upon? Heck, they didn’t even bother to tell the US Patent Office!!! In light of that fact we are a bit perplexed as to why and/or how they were even able to secure a patent in the first place.
Nevertheless, they have received a patent and are therefore protected, so not revealing the science behind their products can’t be for fear of disclosure to the competition, as that would subject any company that copied their methods to patent infringement and potential lawsuit. That being the case, then why can’t they “ante up” and tell us what’s going on so we can all feel a little better about paying the rather exorbitant prices they are charging for their gear?
Oh, and we don’t want any lame “Jacob’s Ladders” or “Tesla Coils” sparking & buzzing away in the background when they explain it either. True: Physics can be pretty darn freaky at times, but that doesn’t give anybody a license to use the fact to turn high-end audio into a frick’n freak show for the sake of their own profit. Just the simple truth will do - Thank You.
What? Sure, you can trust your ears… and in the end you should always do that anyway. Nevertheless, if one is expected to “dish out” as much as $50,000.00 for a “stupid” AC power conditioner based on this so-called “technology,” then you’d think for your 50 G’s the least you could expect in return is an honest effort to “fake it” a little and get a decent “kiss on the lips” for your money. But “oh, no,” they’re not about to give you that much respect, let alone, uh… never mind (this is a family-values website). NEXT!
BTW - We don’t run AC current through Permanent Magnets in ANY of the products that we offer. Never have and never will either. If we did we would be STUPID.
First, because we would be violating the “other guy’s” patent. That would alone would be stupid. Then second, because “stupid is as stupid does,” running AC current through a Permanent Magnet seems a pretty STUPID thing to do in the first place - at least to us!
The “Little” Nuances
So back to “obeying the laws:” In truth and contrary to what one might be tempted to think, during the operation of the Smith Cell there is no actual violation with respect to Conservation of Momentum within the device. Rather, it’s just an “apparent violation” resulting from the extreme differences between the strength of the vortex field, which is orders of magnitude greater, verses the dielectric field of the individual charge carriers.
Therefore, the action of the charge carriers to individually resist realignment of their intrinsic spins to that of the vortex field and/or their resistance to its translational force resulting from their inertial mass, does, in fact, represent a combined reflected force, but the effect is extremely small.
An analogy might be the inertial resistance exhibited by a small leaf floating along in a large river. Such a leaf would exhibit very low inertial mass relative to that of the water in which it is floating, and as a result, it could not resist the forces acting upon it by the various eddies and changes in the river’s current.
Rather, it would be tossed about, spun around and carried along, totally at the mercy of the water flow. Furthermore, the leaf’s presence would be so insignificant that any reverse-action upon the water due to its relatively trivial mass-inertia would not alter the direction of the current flow and/or the natural course of the river in any substantial way whatsoever.
In any case, the crux of the matter simply comes down to how the above actions of the Smith Cell cannot generate any additional distortion, but instead work to help ameliorate the issue of Phase Noise and other low-level distortion artifacts as discussed in the previous “WHY You Need It” section. To explain, a certain level of understanding is required regarding the subject of “Source” or Output Impedance (term usage is interchangeable and is referenced as being opposed to that of the “Load” or Input Impedance).
We Don’t Need No Stinking Impedance!
In light of the above, one needs to understand that ALL signal sources act as voltage sources (like batteries, for example), including those that generate distortion or noise, and likewise, all have an intrinsic “Source Impedance” that governs their ability to output and deliver power to an external load. All things being equal with output voltage of the source being fixed, as its output impedance decreases, its current delivery and output power abilities increase. Therefore, high-impedance sources cannot produce much power and are considered as being “weak,” while low-impedance sources are able to produce substantial power and are correspondingly considered as being “strong” or “powerful.”
OK. So when we consider an electronic device such as an audio or video component, if the device is intended to amplify and/or transmit a signal (voltage) on to some other device (such as an audio power amplifier driving a loudspeaker), then we can assume that the source impedance (amplifier output) is low and therefore strong in relation to that of lesser-powered sources such as an audio preamplifier.
Now, “peeling the onion” back another layer in the example above, internal to our power amplifier are the individual components and circuit stages that make up the totality of the amplifier assembly, with each and every part and stage exhibiting some value of internal resistance. Therefore, each also exhibits some value of intrinsic source impedance… from the Input and Output connectors all the way down to the copper foil traces that connect together all of the electrical components comprising the amplifier circuit boards.
In the above scenario we can then see that every material and component used to manufacture the power amplifier represents a small voltage source with some finite value of source impedance. Progressing forward, we can then infer that if a given material or circuit component were to generate some finite voltage signal apart from the program signal presented at the Input terminal of the amplifier, that signal would be considered a form of distortion.
Well then, that distortion signal can only be passed on to the load impedance as represented by the following stage or stages depending on whether or not the source impedance thereof is sufficiently low enough to transfer an appreciable amount of power to it/them. Just as at common device voltage levels that are typically orders of magnitude higher, if the source impedance is too high then the output voltage will “collapse” (drop) and no appreciable power will be delivered to the load.
So moving up to the “macro-world” level we find that all electronic devices generate (hopefully) low levels of distortion and noise at their output terminals. As we all know, it is possible using various forms of test equipment to measure the levels of these unwanted artifacts, so we can scientifically prove that they do exist. Knowing this, then if we take a deeper look it is not difficult to realize that as a result of sincere attempts to develop products of good design, many efforts are undertaken by the designers thereof to reduce distortion artifacts and noise to the lowest levels that are reasonably and/or practically possible.
The implications associated with those design efforts are more profound than many might guess, because as a logical consequence of selecting components, construction methods and circuit topologies that produce the lowest levels of distortion and noise, by default the totality of all pieces and parts must exhibit a relatively high source impedance with respect to whatever levels of distortion and noise that they do generate. Otherwise their levels would be greater at the output of our amplifier than they are. In other words, if the designer selects cheap carbon resistors which are known to be “noisy” for use in the critical high-gain circuits of his preamplifier design, then he should expect that there will be a significant amount of undesirable noise present at its output. Simple.
As another example, based on the above argument one would expect the level of distortion artifacts associated with severe amplifier clipping to be much greater in magnitude - and they ARE, such that they are very easily detected by both test equipment and human hearing. In that case the source impedance of said distortion products will be relatively low such that they are easily able to drive the transducers in our loudspeakers to levels that can be plainly heard.
Conversely, if the extreme opposite were true such that the source impedance of the distortion generating mechanism in our amplifier clipping scenario was extremely high, then we could easily drive the amplifier into extreme levels of gross clipping distortion and we would never audibly detect a hint of it because the voltage thereof would collapse in an attempt to drive our low-impedance speaker transducers. Simple common sense tells us that while that might be nice because we could then use small, inexpensive amplifiers to power our speakers, that is not and would never be the case. Working backwards then we can safely assume that the unwanted low-level distortion and noise sources hidden within our electronic devices MUST be of a high source impedance nature.
Now there is certain to be those electrical engineers out there that will begin to cry “foul” because they would point out that whatever signals happen to be present on the output of our amplifier - distortion & noise or otherwise - will be driven by the same source impedance as that of our amplifier’s output impedance. Generally speaking, that is true… but with one very important exception: In virtually all cases the output impedance of a device’s driving stage is non-linear.
Do Not Be Alarmed
This Is Only a Test
Rather than go into extreme detail explaining this phenomenon though we would simply suggest a simple test. Take say… any amplifier that you would prefer to use for this test and measure its Output Impedance/Damping Factor at 5 KHz while driving it with an Input Signal that produces a -3 dB output level below its rated output power into its rated Load Impedance. OK, record that value and repeat the test, but this time drop the Input Signal level so as to produce an output level that is another say… -70 dB down.
OK, you know better than to even bother with it all, because you now realize what we are talking about. Down in those “nether-regions” things start behaving strangely. Control Systems start to fall apart because you just can’t generate enough negative feedback to retain tight control over the output down into those regions. With less than a milliwatt of output power being called for, there’s not enough loop gain left to keep a lid on things. So… you live with it and accept the fact that there are limits to technology. Therefore, the low-level performance of your amplifier design is just one of those areas where you are only going to get it so good - and that’s it. You already know that in the end you really don’t have to worry too much because none of your competitors can do much about it either.
The pertinent fact here is that there will be distortion and noise artifacts generated INTERNAL to the amplifier that cannot be squelched by the action of the amplifier’s negative feedback-loop. Therefore they will NOT be driven with the same output impedance as those signals that remain under the control of the loop. As a result, a “gradient” of signals will co-exist at the output of the amplifier that are differentiated by their “effective” Source Impedances. OK, now we can go on.
This above is key, because as such the situation “may” well represent a “golden opportunity” for us to find a way to “suppress” these high impedance types of distortion and noise. All that is needed is to find a way to “load down” the distortion and noise voltage sources in our audio and video equipment such that they cannot deliver sufficient power to drive said load, and therefore the associated voltage they would otherwise produce collapses and no power is delivered to the following system stage. Easy - right? Not so fast, because we also have to make sure that our special “load” does NOT simultaneously load-down and thereby suppress the actual low-level information that is part of our original signal source (i.e., music or video picture data, etc.). What we NEED is some type of “smart-device” that is able to differentiate between the low-level signals that we want to retain and those of genuine distortion and noise. Hmm… maybe there IS a way :-)
The fact is that being distributed among a near-infinite number of random, micro-level and near molecular-level sources, the total effective source-impedance of said Phase Noise is orders of magnitude higher than the effective source impedance of the induced dielectric vortex of the Smith Cell. So too is likely to be some amount of “traditional” non-linear amplification byproducts (distortion artifacts, noise, etc.) as outlined above that originate from the electronic circuit components and other pieces & parts that comprise the construction of our source device. So we find that we have all of those distortion artifact sources to consider, not to mention whatever complex distortion and noise producing processes that may be taking place in the electrical conductors (wires, cables & such) that are connected to the output of our source device.
(Yes, we know. Those are exceedingly small. Nevertheless, the problem is systemic and cumulative, so it all matters because it all adds up as you go down the signal chain.)
Therefore, “in practice,” the complex (and seemingly) random motion (i.e., momentum) of the charge carriers, constituting the bulk of the Phase Noise and other forms of low-level noise and distortion, cannot resist the applied force of the vortex field and as a result they are forced to align their intrinsic spins with it while also being separated and crowded together into opposing charge groups.
Contrary to the view of any detractors, this effect is not “pseudo-science” or “snake oil technology” in the least. Rather, related techniques comprising the field of signal processing known as “Phase Noise Squeezing” are being used in the development of precision sensors for the detection of exotic phenomenon such as “Gravitational Waves” and in “Spin-transport Electronics” for such devices as extreme high-precision “Spin Torque Nano-Oscillators.”
In any case, the voltage & current phases of these error artifacts are slightly shifted by the vortex field such that their energy is forced to sum with that of the nearest signals (time-wise) that exhibit lower source impedances, which, for the most part, comprise the desired music signals. In fact, in practice the effect of this summing action is often observed as a very slight increase in Sound Pressure Level (volume).
In summary, the Smith Cell works to rigidly control and reduce the “Motional Degrees of Freedom” of the charge carriers so as to “strip away” the unwanted motions induced by the multitude of high-impedance Phase Noise and other related artifact sources, while at the same time the electric field of the lower source-impedance signals associated with the source/driving component (i.e., the active source of the desired signal such as in our power amplifier example) is not affected.
Therefore, the charge carriers continue on from the source device (power amplifier), through the Smith Cell as originally “programmed,” and onward -unimpeded to the load device (speaker). The entire process therefore completes the external electrical circuit, just as would be the case if the Smith Cell had not been inserted into the signal path to begin with.
Although, now the Auditory Masking Effect caused by the energy of the charge carrier momentum comprising the combined multitude of Phase Noise and other high source-impedance noise/distortion sources has been filtered-out (in a sense) and removed, thereby allowing the original low-level/low-impedance signal information that we desire to be retained so as to distinctly stand out and be clearly reproduced at the output of the component or system in question.
Thanks for Your Interest
At this point we must end our discussion as we cannot divulge any further operational information at this time as we need to protect of our intellectual property prior to any future patent approval. You can rest assured though that Vortex Technology is anything but “pseudo-science” or “snake-oil technology” in the least, and even if the above technical descriptions seem confusing or maybe even a bit purposefully “vague,” regardless… one listen to your audio system with an Aether Audio Vortex-based product installed will be all that it takes to convince you that it’s REAL.