Deep Cryogenic Treatment, what is it and why do we do it?

Here at Fyne Audio we pride ourself on bringing the best possible sound to our loudspeakers. Like athletes who spend years honing their craft and striving for that extra small gain, it means considering every possibility improving on the smallest detail. We are one of the few audio companies who perform our own deep cryogenic treatment at our Scottish Factory on the whole electrical network, or crossover which makes us a rare breed in the field. So, why do we go to all this trouble and what exactly is it?

Freeze!! What is Deep Cryogenic Treatment?

Deep Cryogenic Treatment or DCT has been around since the 1960s and is most commonly used in the motor sport industry to reduce wear and increase the life of the engine and gearbox components amongst other things. It’s also used in aerospace components and more recently has been applied to brass instruments and even guitar strings.

The motorsport industry has benefitted from Deep Cryogenic Treatment since the 60’s.

car engine uai

Initially it was discovered that treating steel at extremely low temperatures removes most of the softer austenite structure giving a much harder crystal structure. In Deep Cryogenic Treatment, the components to be processed are gradually cooled to typically -170 Celsius, held at this for a time, then gradually brought back to room temperature, with a cycle time of several days to avoid thermal shock. With non-ferrous materials as a result of the production process, be it drawing wire, casting or cooling of thermoplastics from the molten state, stresses and dislocations occur in the material structure. Deep Cryogenic Treatment relieves a lot of these stresses and dislocations and purifies crystal boundaries, to enhance signal transfer.

Deep Cryogenic Treatment slowly cools components to typically -170C over a period of days

Rather than treat individual components, we treat the whole electrical network within the loudspeaker, known as the crossover, which is responsible for ensuring each speaker driver unit receives the correct frequency band. No further operations are carried out afterwards, making sure that the material structure of all the cables used, inductors, resistors, capacitors, even the push-on drive unit terminals all benefit from this process.

Deep Cryogenic Treatment

The crossover and in particular, solder joints benefit from a deep freeze.


Cool, so why do we use it in the audio industry?

The use of Deep Cryogenic Treatment in the audio industry is mainly aimed at the electronic components. Dr Paul and his team have been researching and developing the most effective technique, extensively testing materials and each component to ensure compatibility and reliability. Solder joints, in particular tend to have the most noticeable poor crystal structure, especially with the lead-free solders used today. By undergoing such treatment, it realigns the crystal structure, allowing for a much smoother transmission, improving signal transfer and has also been used to improve the performance of other components such as valves.

Sounds good, but does it sound good?

Well, we don’t just rely on theory, after all listening is a very subjective thing. So, we carried out extensive subjective blind listening tests to quantify any improvements. The results indicated an improvement in musical detail and transparency together with a lack of harshness, amongst other benefits.
Deep Cryogenic Treatment provides a cost effective and in our opinion, a worthwhile method of enhancing the performance of high-end loudspeakers. In fact, we believe in it so much, that rather than outsource the treatment we have invested in our very own chamber, allowing us to have facilities in house at our HQ in Scotland. This gives us control and flexibility and enables us to optimise our process, from extended cooling and warm up times, to avoid thermal shock, exactly as to the letter designed by Dr Paul Mills.

Our flagship F1 and Vintage Series benefit from the full cryogenic treatment of the crossover, while the Vintage Classic, F700 Series  and F500 SP Series use our more economical Cryo-Lite process, which is where only the internal wiring is treated.

It’s this type of small detail that gives you that joy when listening to your favourite music. So now would be a good time to chill out and do just that.

Happy listening.

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