Cryogenic Pickups

Some audiophiles believe that cryogenic freezing of their audio equipment somehow improves the sound.  New-age audio inventor and pseudo-scientist Peter Belt (of PWB Electronics) claimed that cryogenic freezing of CDs provides 'friendly', 'relaxing' energy patterns, making them sound better. However it is well known that cryogenic freezing of metal affects its crystalline structure and can improve its durability (as used in Dean Markley Blue Steel Strings and banjo tone rings). Although molecular structure may be altered it is quite another thing to say this change will have an audible effect.

The UK Chillertone company are selling cryogenically frozen guitar pickups and cables. They claim the metal parts of pickups and guitar cables undergo an ireversable realignment when subject to temperatures of -195 degrees Centigrade. They also claim that cryo-treated pickups will have enhanced clarity and sustain, and cables will also sound better. Lindy Fralin also offers a cryo treated pickup: the Callaham Cryogenic.

This freezing process might work: it should not be ruled out without proper evaluation. These claims would be very simple to test using basic electronic equipment and some liquid nitrogren (but there is no supporting evidence on the Chillertone website yet). This would show whether there is an observable effect on the electronic components. If there was an observable effect, it would then be worth checking whether humans could actually hear it. A second blinded listening test should be done, where players would compare treated and untreated components (without knowing which was which) and choose their favourite.

Until such evidence is produced I am skeptical about their claims. Undoubtebly people will install these cryo-treated pickups and claim they sound great, but that does not prove the effectiveness of the freezing procedure. People who buy this stuff already believe that it is going to work and their ears will tend to confirm their preconceptions.

Link: Chillertone cryogenic treatment service for guitar pickups and cables

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1 Comment

Chiller Tone "Light the blue touchpaper and retire"


heres the good news

Cryogenic treatment of guitar pickups and cables does indeed, produce an audible difference.

Before bringing this service to market, We looked at the theory behind cryogenics and felt that here was enough evidence to justify testing of the theories at a practical level. We did this by carrying out back to back comparisons using identical guitars and pickups, the only difference being cryogenic treatment. The difference between treated and untreated was quite marked. the "Claim" of improved clarity and sustain come from this process of evaluation. You are absolutely correct when stating these claims are so far unsubstantiated and we have been working towards providing this, but what constitutes proof ?for some it will indeed be charts and graphs of frequency response signal decay etc, all very well in a laboratory. But how often have you looked into the number of turns on a pickup and calculated it against the level of magnetic gauss,  to determine if it will sound good in your guitar? most of us buy on the strength of fluffy generalisations such as "vintage"."bluesy","Heavy" etc, and why not after all it's what the guitar sounds like thats important, and that will always be subjective.

We offer many thanks foryour taking the time to visit our website, and pass comment, and are very excited by the growing interest in our service.

William Sweeney