Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality

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Pez

Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« on: 23 Aug 2022, 07:53 pm »


As I’ve discussed previously, Polishing makes a huge difference to the sound quality of Hapa Audio’s Aerogel cables. The main focus of polishing is to improve the interface of the conductor with the Aerogel dielectric layer. To put it in the simplest terms, the more refined the polish on the conductor the better the sound quality. As stated with my hand polishing thread, the level of polish on the conductor matters dramatically and my research has shown that no polish or improper polishing can be very damaging to the sound quality. Most other cable manufacturers are doing nothing to mitigate these issues and rely on the companies drawing the wire to polish their wire. This is a mistake and results in a less than ideal final product. Please click here to read about the hazards of UPOCC.

One of the obstacles that I ran into with my new hand polishing technique used on UPOCC copper is that it is rather aggressive to the conductor. For copper this is no problem, the material doesn’t stretch much and is at very little risk of damage. But for silver, using the same hand polishing technique proved impossible, silver is just too malleable and very easy to destroy (don’t ask how I know). As such I had to come up with an entirely new polishing technique designed to bring out the absolute best from silver, without the risk of destroying it. In the process I managed to devise a technique that not only meets the level of hand polish I am doing on copper, it exceeds it.

What is Nano-polish?
Nano-polish is a 24 step polishing process that results in a final polishing that puts a final polish of 120 nanometer scale. Utilizing high RPM polishing tools modified to be used on delicate high quality silver UPOCC a 25 step process (1 sanding step, 12 polishing steps and 12 cleaning steps) this process is time consuming. 1 meter length takes 1 and a half days to complete just the nano-polish! Nano-polish uses very high quality (and expensive) inert polishing compounds that specifically have zero chemical reaction with silver. As with my hand polishing technique, Nano-polish involves very close inspection under microscope to verify the highest level of surface quality.

Inspired by Japanese Knife/Sword polishing techniques, this stepwise process starts with a rough polish and gets progressively more and more refined with finer and finer compounds until the end result of 120 nanometer polish is achieved.

Here are photos that show the progression.

Fresh off of the spool:
As with UPOCC copper, Silver UPOCC arrives highly oxidized and far from ideal surface quality. Note the flashy silvery look, that is what oxidized silver looks like. It takes on an almost supernatural flashiness after the annealing process. Also present, severe lengthwise striations from the drawing process and marring over the entire surface.


First step, the oxidized layer is removed with a very aggressive (but gently applied) sanding process, followed by 3 heavy grit processes including 3 cleanings to completely remove compounds.


10 steps - 5 polishing and 5 cleaning brings the surface to a 1.5 micron (1500 nanometer) scale refinement.

Final Nano-scale polish:
Final polish involves a 6 step process, 3 polishing 2 standard cleaning and a final cleaning in an industrial sonic cleaner to achieve Hapa Audio’s proprietary 120 nanometer (.12 micron) Nano-polish. Upon final cleaning and drying the Aerogel layer is immediately installed using clean room techniques (surgical gloves, and absolutely no contact with any surface prior to or during the installation process) The level of polish at this point is so refined, any physical contact with hard surfaces will damage the surface, it would not survive long if exposed to elements and any sort of contact with even moderately hard objects. Thus, the best way to protect a polish this fine is to install it in Hapa Audio’s proprietary Aerogel dielectric immediately. This protects the surface from damage and oxidation for the life of the cable while also creating the most ideal dielectric layer available only in Hapa Audio Aerogel products.

I will be releasing several products, two in the next few weeks that utilize this ground breaking technology created in the name of next tier sound quality, previously not achievable. I also plan on addressing the inevitable question of silver vs copper (spoiler, silver is just plain better period) and why I don’t use Nano-polish on copper in a future article.

And yes, a tour is incoming! In fact, I just shipped something special to a member here already.

Stay tuned! More to come.

artur9

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Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #1 on: 23 Aug 2022, 09:16 pm »
Interesting!

Any hypotheses as to why a polished conductor sounds superior?

Aside:  I would have thought an unpolished surface would make the aerogel adhere better.

Pez

Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #2 on: 23 Aug 2022, 09:49 pm »
Interesting!

Any hypotheses as to why a polished conductor sounds superior?

Aside:  I would have thought an unpolished surface would make the aerogel adhere better.

There’s several things that play. I suggest reading through my other article on the topic of hand polishing. https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=182776.msg1919910#msg1919910

I try not to spend a lot of time discussing the sonic benefit because I prefer folks draw their own conclusion. for how it helps overall, In a nutshell, because the signal tends to propagate on the surface of a wire due to skin effect, removing the oxide layer creates a much better environment for signal propagation. on top of that having a smoother surface gives less opportunity for aberrations to occur in the signal.  This process yields positive attributes in both digital and analog. oddly enough the similarities in improvement are the same regardless of whether it’s digital or analog.

Letitroll98

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Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #3 on: 24 Aug 2022, 08:20 am »
How do you maintain the polish when attaching connectors?

Pez

Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #4 on: 24 Aug 2022, 04:23 pm »
How do you maintain the polish when attaching connectors?

Basic soldering does very little to the surface of the wire at the connection point, though flux might etch the wire a bit. That said, the important thing about the polish is that it is a cumulative effect. Meaning since the entire surface of the wire is polished the benefit is global. There will always be slight imperfections even with this level of attention to detail. It’s just not possible to create a ‘perfect’ surface. However any minor imperfections have very little global effect and the same goes for the connection point and the connectors themselves.

On the subject of the soldered joints, once the solder is done, I use isopropyl alcohol and thick bristle nylon brush (looks like a toothbrush from hell.) to remove any flux or debris left over from the solder.

Letitroll98

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Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #5 on: 24 Aug 2022, 05:03 pm »
Thanks Jason.  So there's no crimping before soldering then.

Pez

Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #6 on: 24 Aug 2022, 05:07 pm »
Thanks Jason.  So there's no crimping before soldering then.

No, the soldering technique I use and the type of connectors I use are not crimped. That is by design and preference. I spend an inordinate amount of time straightening and polishing these delicate materials, crimping stresses materials and I choose not to when it can be avoided.

Pez

Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #7 on: 19 Sep 2022, 08:08 pm »
Gents,
While I can’t discuss the actual polishing process too much, I did want to show just how nerded out a portion of the process is. This is just prior to fine polishing. Because the wire is now polished to a high enough grade that I can easily see flaws, I use this opportunity to verify the polish across the entire wire. Using my ultra stylish LED lit magnifying glass binocs I use a marker to mark any marring or portions with less than optimal polish. Black marker to indicate the top of the wire, red to indicate bottom of the wire. I use a cosmetic mirror in order to see the back side of the wire. I use the microscope LCD monitor to verify the level of polish as well.  8) I do this verification process for both Nano AND hand polishing processes.




poseidonsvoice

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Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #8 on: 20 Sep 2022, 10:23 am »
Yoctosun rocks!  :green:

Best,
Anand.

Pez

Re: Nano-Polishing - the ultimate in sound quality
« Reply #9 on: 20 Sep 2022, 02:44 pm »
I didn’t even remember what brand they were. I’m very happy with them, the one issue is I could still use more light! I was thinking about getting one of those super stylish LED headbands.  :lol: