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Just seen one of the most ridiculous guitar services...

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Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 827

* There are plenty of other phase changes other than in the state of matter such as magnetic properties, transitions to superconductivity, and crystalline structure changes in some metals. This last one is likely the underlying cause of the transformation of metals under cryo treatment.

yep, but which of these first are actually occurring or affected here? high temps and mechanical shocks disrupt magnetic dipoles permanently -- cold, not so much; liquid nitrogen won't take any mundane metals to superconductivity -- that's the realm of exotic ceramics. the collapsing of crystalline structures is real, and results in the lower resistance. I assume both electrical and thermal, as they often go together. not sure the other mechanical properties of cryo annealing really do anything for us.

Hmm, I didn't intend to imply that these other phase transitions occurred in the cooling of the pickup though the crystalline structure change of the three does occur. It was intended as an example of other phase transitions that occur - most people don't realize that there are others. Heck, there are phase transition like events in other places too such as in the solution difficulty of NP-complete problems (I did some research on this effect as a CS grad student).

I do remember when the "high" temperature (liquid nitrogen temperature) superconductors were discovered. It was 1986 and I was a physics undergrad at the time and there was a great amount of discussion going on in our department and the physics community in general and lectures from all the condensed matter guys about what had been found, where it was going, etc. I think this pushed at least a few of my classmates into condensed matter. There were some pretty big hopes at the time that this was the verge of some really big changes and that we'd be seeing some room temperature or thereabouts superconductors soon. Oh well.
it's all an interesting read in wikipedia and other places, but beyond that, I'm willing to bet the processes related to prepping materials for and extracting materials from a cryo treatment have just as great or even more affect of the material: chem treatments, tweaks to alloys or mixtures. special handling and tooling. there is usually a lot of collateral processing for such a radical process.

It's hard to tell. A lot of the other "secret sauce" portion is secret and we can't know for sure. A quick scan of the literature seems to indicate that it's real and not just pre- and post-treatment effects. Plus in a number of places where people really measure the benefits (e.g. racing) they seem to think it's worth spending the money. Now, that's in places where they are using the physical property changes directly in a measurable way - reduced physical wear, better heat transport, etc..

The use of this technology on pickups is a whole 'nother ball of wax. It kind of comes down to the try it and see if you like the effects much like picking between two different pickups or different brands of strings. It really doesn't matter if one has stronger magnets or lower resistance or greater resistance to stretching or whatever. It really comes down to how you like the sound. Now, that being said, it's hard for people to remember exactly how something sounded and to compare it in their head. You really need to record the two (or more) and then compare them and hopefully blindly. To make it worse there's the placebo effect where people will put their hope into the answer and say that the new one is better.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson

Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 174

Seems like a bad idea to me.
Different rates of thermal expansion/contraction of the materials causes problems. Broken solder joints being quite common.

See Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT). (Which I've done on computers. Yep, we broke them pretty quickly.)

(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)

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