Max Townshend

Communication Engineering

Max Townshend is known for marketing impedance-matched speaker cables since 1978 and for challenging conventional wisdom in the field of audio cables and transmission line theory. He argues that transmission line effects can occur at audio frequencies, even with cables shorter than a wavelength at 20kHz. His reasoning is based on the idea that transmission lines are not limited to high frequencies and that reflections can occur with relatively short lengths of cable.

Townshend points out that transmission lines are used to deliver mains power at 50 or 60Hz, and even a disconnected 1km line can take time to dissipate reflections due to impedance mismatch. He extrapolates this to 20kHz frequencies, where reflections can occur with just one meter of cable. He emphasizes that critics often fail to understand the difference between simplex and duplex transmission and that the requirement for source impedance to match line impedance and load impedance applies primarily to two-way signal transfer scenarios.

In his view, when dealing with one-way signal transfer, such as a zero-source impedance amplifier driving a speaker with a relatively constant impedance above 5kHz, reflections are not as critical. Below 5kHz, where a speaker’s impedance varies widely, he argues that reflections are less significant.

Max Townshend’s approach to audio cables and transmission line theory challenges established beliefs and encourages enthusiasts to consider the importance of factors like cable geometry. He is described as a renegade in the HiFi establishment and is known for his innovative and unconventional solutions in the pursuit of high-quality audio.

Max Townshend’s background includes a passion for electronics from a young age, studying communication engineering at university, and working in the Australian Airforce as an engineer, where he observed military isolation solutions that inspired his work in HiFi equipment isolation. His practical approach to engineering and willingness to question conventional wisdom have led to his unique perspectives in the audio industry.

It’s important to note that opinions on audio cables and transmission line theory can vary widely within the audio community, and Max Townshend’s views represent a particular perspective within this field.


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