Several well respected companies promote cryogenically treated guitar parts and tubes with claims that they benefit the sound. Callaham for example treat pickups, pots and baseplates. This topic came up again when I was talking tubes with Watford Valves (re a replacement set for my Ghia) and Derek reccomended trying cryo reated EL84's.
I am a bit baffled by all this - I have done a bit of physics and chemistry in my time and know that as you approach absolute zero, chemistry stops. Period. Cooling something to within 70° of absolute zero (the temperature of liquid nitrogen, the refrigerant used in this process) diffusion and recrystallisation slows down to nothing so any change resulting from cryo treatment seems unlikely. Also, any change cannot be locked in as claimed - warming to room temperature HAS to reverse the process. For example anything that runs very hot such as tubes will negate any cryo effect right away - tempering and stress relief has to be done at high temperatures to have any effect at all. I am sure you will tell me if I am wrong!
Checking out some of the companies that do this, their stories are big in what can be done to improve everything - saxaophones, gun barrels, cutting tools, engine parts, complete hi-fi systems (!) - but very short on the science behind it "improves electron flow" "relieves stress" "lowering noise", all with "dramatic effect".
I'd be very interested to hear Myles' view on treating tubes. Has anyone had any experience of the Callaham treated components?
Hi Dave, I have Callahams tele bridge assembly and his prewired control plate assembly installed on my 69 tele. All I know is how much better the sound is than the stock parts that were in there. I do have Lollar Vintage tele pickups which are to my ears the best tele pickups I have ever heard. The lollars are not cryogentically treated like Callaham's pickups but the pots and switchcraft switch, the vintage cloth wire and the wiring heck maybe the whole tele assembly is possibly treated. All I know is that it sounds great. I originally was interested in his parts because he makes them out of the same kind of steel old fenders have., which are mostly heavier and have better sustain and muicality. I learnt about the cryo treatment after the fact. I am not sure if the cryo treatment had any affect on the tone, but it sure sounds great to me. ;D
Post by rcrecelius on Mar 22, 2006 14:36:35 GMT -7
I don't know never heard any of 'em ...but... looking at the prices, I probably never will:^0
Zane, How much do those Lentz guitars cost? FWIW...I believe Bluzsteel has a Callaham bridge on one of his teles.
When I built my parts tele last year, I bought Callahams tele hardware kit (minus the pickups). I dont really buy into the Cyro treatment mumbo jumbo, I just know I like the hardware...particularly the bridgeplate and knobs.
One has to think to ask folks that make these "sub-zero" parts if the same alloy was used. Usually not when it comes to things like saddles and bridges.
I have found no benefit at all personally to subjecting plates of tubes to these low temps as the alloy grain alignment seems to mean nothing. Now in a transformer it may do something if one is looking for some new fast way to try their hand at interleaving the laminations in some random fashion.
I did find from my structural engineering days that subjecting metals to extreme temperature ranges can do some nasty things such as work harden the metal and make it very brittle. The random nature of the structure in plate material and things like micas are what help them expand and contract many times before they work harden and no longer stay in contact with the tube bottle (in the case of the mica) and that is when the tube becomes physically microphonic. I used to find the same thing with those guitar strings that went through this .... they were more brittle and broke easier.
That is my take on things. I could be totally off base and wrong as a skunk as a pet in an outhouse but that is my view.
What have folks found with those cyro strings themselves as an example?
Post by billyguitar on Mar 23, 2006 6:23:35 GMT -7
The cryogenic claims have been coming and going for the last 10 years or so. I tried the strings once and couldn't tell a thing different. Until someone actually does some double blind a/b tests it can't be quantified. As mentioned above, are the same metals being used? If they are installed on two guitars to a/b, can the guitars really be equal in all other ways?
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