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The time-frequency uncertainty principle states that the product of the temporal and frequency extents of a signal cannot be smaller than 1/(4π). We study human ability to simultaneously judge the frequency and the timing of a sound. Our subjects often exceeded the uncertainty limit, sometimes by more than tenfold, mostly through remarkable timing acuity. Our results establish a lower bound for the nonlinearity and complexity of the algorithms employed by our brains in parsing transient sounds, rule out simple 'linear filter' models of early auditory processing and highlight timing acuity as a central feature in auditory object processing.

In quantum mechanics the Heisenberg uncertainty principle sets a limit on how accurately one can simultaneously measure the position and speed of any object. The above research started with the uncertainty relation for the Fourier decomposition of audio signals as it relates to our ability to distinguish signal pitch vs. duration. It makes sense that this would be the case. Our hearing's Fourier variables are frequency and time, not position and momentum. The surprising thing is how these researchers learnt that trained humans can beat the Fourier uncertainty limit. A panel of professional musicians was able to outwit the predicted Fourier accuracy limit for distinguishing both pitch and duration of a sound. Not only that, they were able to do it over and over again by a factor of 13.

In other words, humans decode sounds in nonlinear fashion. The Fourier accuracy limit is based on a differential equation. That is highly linear. If humans can outperform the equation’s predicted limit, the only possible explanation is that the process whereby we accomplish this is highly nonlinear. We personally think that this also explains why nonlinear music processing like analog replay and tube amplification is often favored above more linear signal processing. We can sense the smallest timing differences within an audio signal to many digits behind the decimal point. Now back to cables which in essence are passive and thus prone to linear distortion. Nonlinear distortion is mostly introduced by the speaker driver’s varying impedance of voice coil inductance relative to magnetic gap and heat. As a result the cable's impedance causes a non-linear voltage drop that's reflected as the voltage across the speaker terminals. Yet at the amplifier end things were linear. This is a given. So it is that when both loudspeakers are perfectly matched, these nonlinearities should be balanced and occur simultaneously to reach our ears at the same time.

We already know that humans are highly sensitive to micro timing differences. In our experience the effects of swapping speaker cables focuses on the perception of spatial clues, i.e. the width, depth and height or
cubic illusion of the audio image. This illusion is formed entirely in our brain and based on the time arrival of the aural parts. Hence the nonlinear analysis in our cerebral computer. When all clues arrive in the correct sequence as perfectly timed, the aural illusion is perfect. Yet even a tiny offset creates tilt or wobble, in short things we call distortion.

During a live concert when a symphony orchestra plays it pianissimo, the listener experiences the auditory events as being spatially limited to the visual outlines of the orchestra. When the music increases in volume, the listener experiences these auditory events as increasing in cubic volume. All three dimensions scale up in size. This can be repeated in the replay of recorded music. For that the speakers must be set up to perfection to balance direct and reflected sounds such that they do not interfere negatively when being superimposed at the listener’s ear. Reflected sound should arrive at both ears at the same time to balance the comb filter effect of our head. This de-correlation is perceived as false spatial clues and discarded. With a well-aligned speaker setup—which isn't rocket science but still takes time to get right—cables become an audio system's second time-sensitive passive element. Just as it is with setting up loudspeakers in a room, attention to the smallest detail leads to perfection.

After this lengthy intro we now arrive at Element47 cables. Of Swiss origins, South African-born Patrick Rindisbacher was attracted not only to music early on but had an audio fascination that focused itself on cables and their influences on the music playback. This fascination was not a mere whim but would lead to serious research spanning more than a decade. Rindisbacher compared, dissected and above all listened to all imaginable brands and types of audio cables. His goal was the holy grail and he thinks he eventually found it. Since 2010 he builds cables with what he calls
suspended conductor technology or S.C.T. for which a patent is globally pending. As of 2012 José Antonio Toribio has rejoined Patrick after a sabbatical and the Element47 company became ready to market their S.C.T.-based cables.