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How about silver plated teflon copper cables for everything?

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Hari Iyer

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Those who have read my earlier post on cables and interconnects would know that i am NOT a cable freak. This is because i could not make a difference in SQ between a stock cable and a little expensive one. But past 3 days, i have been experimenting with silver plated teflon copper wires as my interconnects. I also did the following changes,

- removed my DCB1 preamplifier from the signal chain and went direct between DIY DAC to 300B mono-blocks. First used the stock RCA cable between them. Since i already had my sliver platted teflon copper cables with me tried them for a change. To my surprise for the first time in my life i could make difference between the two. The clear difference was increase in mid-bass, reduced harshness and softer mids. To confirm once again, i went back to the old cable and played the same track with everything else remaining the same. I did this comparison many times to confim my findings.

Later i googled to find out why this is so. People mention its more to do with the teflon coating which has low dielectric constant. I then further researched to find out that, even speaker cables used with silver plated teflon cables are good for sound stage and dynamics. Further research also showed me that people are also using them for AC power chords and what not.

I did a qucik math for my setup. My amp is 6w + 6w and my power supply is 80 Watts consumption. So this will require around 400mA of AC current. Data sheet of teflon cables show around 10A current carrying capacity for an 18AWG wire, which should serve my requirement.

So i may plan to change all my interconnects, AC power chords, speaker cables with 18AWG silver plated teflon cables.

Am not sure if anyone else have tried this before, and if yes will be happy if they can share their experience.
 

kane

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how many strands is this cable ? could you post links to which one you are using
 

Hari Iyer

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how many strands is this cable ? could you post links to which one you are using
I had bought these cables about 2 years ago and don't remember the NbR of strands now. Just know they are 20 swg stranded cables. Bought them from Lamington Road, Mumbai.
 

yogibear

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I once had strange experience with thicker cables for speakers. The vocals became shouty ! I replaced them with 16awg pure copper, OFC cables that I could find reasonably priced. Sounds just fine since then.

I don’t believe in cable stuff. For me it’s just waste of money and time.

If I ever delve into to a few planned cable jugglings, it would be when my whole system is optimised as I want it to be.
 

Hari Iyer

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Looks like, i will be the first person in the forum who will be taking this route :)
 

yogibear

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I experimented with 92% pure SILVER 16AWG and plated with pure gold. A couple years of storage and the plating had pin holes and oxidized underlying silver. So pure copper is the way to though not sure on adhesion of silver over copper. And still the silver coating over copper will oxidize with time and faster than copper, in principle. So how is that tackled in long run ?
 

prem

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Hari, many of us have been through this journey of experimenting with awg, material, geometry, shielding, spacing of cables, twisting, braiding, etc. I have been through cables costing a few thousand dollars to a few hundreds of rupees over the last 20 years.

You’ve just begun your journey:) Till sometime back you thought cables were insignificant. Now you’ve begun to hear some differences. As you keep improving your chain, you will start hearing differences easily.

Each system will need a different set of cabling. Every time I have changed my system, I have always ended up changing cables. In some systems, solid core sounds better, in some stranded, in some litz. Presently since you have a 300 tube based amp, silver plated copper might sound good to you because it adds that bit of liveliness. 300 is a slow fat sounding musical tube in most amplifiers. If you use an extreme wide bandwidth solid state amp, silver plated copper may sound a bit tizzy. So it all boils down to your system. What works for me is unlikely to work for you and vice versa.
 

prem

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Oxidised silver doesn’t affect the sound. Oxidised copper messes up the sound though.
 

Hari Iyer

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But wont copper oxide faster than silver in same time period? Maybe teflon will have a role to play here.
 

Hari Iyer

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Prem. I am okay to spend money on cables if they are resonable to the extend of material used, logic and pricing. What i have seen that people are been looted in the name of cables and its improved performance. Again this is IMHO.
 

prem

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Teflon will not prevent oxidation unless the whole cable has been properly sealed. Teflon as a dielectric adds a bit of brightness to the top end which works well in some systems. PVC, rubber, ployeurethane foam, cotton all sound different as dielectrics
 

prem

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There are people who own systems costing 60-70000 dollars. So spending 6-7000 dollars on cables sounds reasonable to them

Also good well designed high end expensive cables do much better in bass as compared to cheaper ones.
 

Hari Iyer

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The silver plated copper teflon cables i am talking about is 18SWG and will not cost more than 18/- bucks per meter. So for changing the interconnects, speaker cable and power cable will not be more than 1000/- bucks for my meter run. Still within my budget. I may go dual wires for more stability and different gometry similar to wire-on-wire if i figured that out properly.
 

prem

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For ic wire on wire seems fine. Lots of guys do that. For speaker some mix up a thicker with a thinner. You can try that too
 

Hari Iyer

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I am trying to reverse engineer the wire on wire geometry method without the tuning spacers. I think spacers can be added later.
 

jls001

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The braid looks very complicated. But I like the idea of using non regular spacing and mixing different wire gauges.

For RFI rejection a simple twist is usually enough. If using balanced wire, a simple braid is easy to do.

And as Prem mentioned, silver or copper coated with silver works in some situations. The trick behind good silver is it must be high purity and soft annealed. For example, 92.x% purity (I think it's called sterling) is very "rough" for cables. I made a test cable out of something much higher purity (but not soft annealed) but it was no good in my trials. I also borrowed a high purity, soft annealed silver interconnect encased in Teflon tube. Again, no good in my setup whereas the friend from whom I borrowed it is a staunch believer and has wired his entire chain in this type of silver.

I also tried high purity silver encased in pure cotton tubing, the signal and ground wires separated uniformly by ¾ of an inch. It was a fun experiment but nothing epic sound wise. So nowadays I stick to good old pro audio balanced cables, and my favourite by far is the Belden 8402.
 
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Hari Iyer

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Yesterday evening i had the opportunity of discussing about interconnects, cables and wires with FM Prem for almost 2 hours. The discussion was very healthy and we discussed about types of material, geometry, single core, stranded, enamaled wires, silver plating, pure silver, pure copper conductors, internal wirings of amps, branded cables, EMI noise - Shakti Stone / Quartz crystals, interlink etc.
Prem is one of the few FMs who have visited couple of occasion to give a listen to my setup at my home and he knows my hardware, software and Room like back of his hand. For this very reason, i take all his suggestions very seriously as he weighs pros and cons of my setup and comes up with a solution.

After our length discussion yesterday, this is what he suggeted for my IC -

26SWG or 22SWG enameled single core pure copper wire with twisting and no sleeving. This is to be fixed on a tin platted RC connector (Not Gold plated connector as this causes the sound to loose timber due to bad gold plating).

I went by his wisdom and assembled them in the evening as i had everything with me and nothing to go and shop for. I later connected and listened for an hour late evening and i liked it very much. I can say it sounded better than the silver plated teflon connector for sure.

This simple IC opened up microdynamics for me. The bass and midbass were very open and the upper mid compression reduced a lot and vocals became very easy on my ears. Also the background noise reduced a lot making listening more of a pleasure.

Prem has also suggested me to try with 22SWG single core conductor and settle finally which ever floats my boat. Will do this on the weekend.

Speaker cables suggestion by Prem for a FR driver is this based on his experience with Voxativ and Rethem -

Single core flat (if not available then round) 18SWG pure copper conductor, enameled and then cotton sleeved (not plastic, rubber, teflon, pvc, etc), Cotton sleeve helps to retain the timber of the sound without any degradation. Better to use them directly without any Banana plugs.

Again i have the materials with me if i salvage one of my 18SWG inductor (not a big deal though). But here i will have to purchase some wire tie and the cotton sleeve which are available at Thane itself. If time permits will do today after office hours and report finding.

Once again thanks to Prem for suggesting me this route. Appreciated.
 
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Hari Iyer

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The braid looks very complicated. But I like the idea of using non regular spacing and mixing different wire gauges.

For RFI rejection a simple twist is usually enough. If using balanced wire, a simple braid is easy to do.

And as Prem mentioned, silver or copper coated with silver works in some situations. The trick behind good silver is it must be high purity and soft annealed. For example, 92.x% purity (I think it's called sterling) is very "rough" for cables. I made a test cable out of something much higher purity (but not soft annealed) but it was no good in my trials. I also borrowed a high purity, soft annealed silver interconnect encased in Teflon tube. Again, no good in my setup whereas the friend from whom I borrowed it is a staunch believer and has wired his entire chain in this type of silver.

I also tried high purity silver encased in pure cotton tubing, the signal and ground wires separated uniformly by ¾ of an inch. It was a fun experiment but nothing epic sound wise. So nowadays I stick to good old pro audio balanced cables, and my favourite by far is the Belden 8402.
What reference speakers were used to check the cable modifications outcome?
 
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