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The effect of cables - A sane debate

Hari Iyer

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Telephone cable for digital? Good or bad?
Can't say. For digital it's better to use CAT5, CAT5E, CAT6 cables that are meant for data. The insulator in both telephone cables and CAT cables are polyethylene. In TC it's high density PE and in CAT it's medium density PE.
 
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jls001

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For digital the characteristic impedance is important so I feel it's best to use the cable intended for the specific application instead of trying to brew one's own cable. Example: SPDIF coax must be 75 Ohm, AES/EBU must be 110 Ohm, etc.

If I remember correctly telephone circuits have a characteristic impedance of 600 Ohms.
 

sound_cycle

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TIL

"If you are using a tube amplifier, the output transformers using the four ohm tap will not give nearly the performance that the same transformer will do on eight ohms let alone sixteen ohms. In addition, the speaker cable used driving a 4 ohm load becomes far more critical than it is a 8 ohms and 16 ohms. This is because the speaker cable is in series with the output impedance of the amplifier and so can have a much more noticable effect on damping when low impedance speakers are used. Fortunately, with all the Single-Ended triode amplifiers now available, the market for sixteen ohm speakers has improved quite a lot and they are once again (like they were in the fifties) available."

http://www.atma-sphere.com/Resources/Common_Amplifier_Myths.php (added emphasis)

Found this while reading up on cables that I would need in future. Will start a separate thread for it, but I will have 4 ohm pigs that need 35 feet of cable :\ (the orientation leaves with a displacement of 8 feet from the power amp but the routing is going to be problematic)

ciao
gr
 

Hari Iyer

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In my setup my speaker impedance is around 4.8 ohm - measured. They sound much better on the 8 ohm tap rather than the 4 ohm tap. In the 4 ohm tap it sounds a bit brighter.
 

arj

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Hari Iyer, when you measure impedance, I assume its at a definite frequency. do you do this across frequencies curve to see min max and mean impedance as well ?
 

yogibear

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I was talking to a master crafter of tube amps and he said, in audio spectrum the tubes are always happy driving 8 ohms load and not 4 ohms and sound most musical at 8 ohms. I did have a SE EL84 amp which would accept 8 ohm speaker loads but NOT 4 ohms. I happen to test them at 16 ohm Coral Triaxial speakers and it sounded heavenly !

I think if you have tube power, having 16 ohm impedance speakers, whether bass or extended / full range, is very desirable. For instance, if you double up bass drivers, you are in safe limits and if you want to top up your full range / extended range with a tweeter, you are good to go.
 

Hari Iyer

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Hari Iyer, when you measure impedance, I assume its at a definite frequency. do you do this across frequencies curve to see min max and mean impedance as well ?
yes impedance is a function of frequency. Z=f(Frequency). The Russian driver is relatively flatter impedance in the audible range. Check out attachment.
 

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jasi

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Cables can enhance or degrade the sound good quality cables are a must for a good setup. I was previously using a particular brand of cables which were very good but going from copper to silver cables opened new doors for me in the musical experience.
Though cables are expensive you should consider them as components and not just mere cables to pass the signal thru.
Currently, am using cables from analog tools which are extraordinary and hand build
 

mpw

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Why do I feel this is a trick question ?

:))
 
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yogibear

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Why do I feel this is a trick question ?

:))
Not a trick question but a clue. Hope to soon furnish an example with a pic as soon as an import component arrives. Its a DIY IC cable.
 

drkrack

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One Quick Question,
If we make all the 3 Cables ;
Power Cable, Speaker Cables and Interconnects from Same Type of Cable say Finolex 4 Sqmm (using the extra insulation, as required for different types of Cables) , will there be any additional sonic benefits due to the synergy? Anyone tried that?
 

Hari Iyer

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One Quick Question,
If we make all the 3 Cables ;
Power Cable, Speaker Cables and Interconnects from Same Type of Cable say Finolex 4 Sqmm (using the extra insulation, as required for different types of Cables) , will there be any additional sonic benefits due to the synergy? Anyone tried that?
Imo, the conductor is just part of the cable. The insulator and it's dielectric constant will equally influence sound. Finolex 4 sqmm would be good as power cables as they are pvc insulated. For IC & speaker cables it's better to have PE or cotton insulated. Check if you can get 4 sqmm in PE insulation too
 

yogibear

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It’s being said to avoid PVC in case audio cables. Cotton or Teflon is better. Air or vacuum is best.
 

prem

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Drkrack, power and speaker cables can be made from same cable. For speaker cable, you need to reduce resistance and inductance. Capacitance is not all that important.

IC needs as low a capacitance as possible. Hence thinner the wire better it is.

Avoid hard pvc. Soft pvc which feels like rubber is fine. Teflon and cotton are considered to be better. Most pro cables use some sort of soft PVC
 

Hari Iyer

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I read this today - couldnt help not sharing.

Loudspeaker Cables
Like audio interconnects, loudspeaker cable is a hotly debated topic. At one extreme, we read in glossy ads and the breathless reviews in audio magazines that the length of wire that spans between power amplifier and speaker is the single most important audio component. At the Cardas website, we read:

"It is said, wire is just wire. In reality, a high-end audio cable must balance resistance, capacitance, inductance, conductance, velocity of propagation, RF radiation and absorption, mechanical resonance, strand interaction, high filtering, reflections, electrical resonance, dissipation factors, envelope delay, phase distortion, harmonic distortion, , structural return loss, corrosion, cross-talk, bridge-tap and the interaction of these and a hundred other things."​
"A hundred other things" wow that's a lot of other things. No wonder it cost $8,590 for a pair of 6-meter lengths. In the world of high-end cables, alas, this cable is a beer-budget product, as the AudioQuest K2 terminated speaker cable, with UST plugs in a 8-foot pair costs $14,049.75, not including tax and armor-car delivery. If my memory does not fail me, the Audioquest Everest series was even more expensive. But even that vertiginously high price is middling compared to the Nordost ODIN Supreme Reference Cables or the Modena speaker cable by Allan Shane, which cost $55,000 the pair. Imagine a burglar breaking in a house and stupidly stealing a $4,000 necklace when $110,000 worth of bi-wired Modena cables lay at his feet.

 

jls001

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Some years ago I built the DCB1 buffer for myself. Some time later I built another one for a friend from the same kit that sachu888 made available. The difference in the later build was I used a balanced cable made of tinned copper as internal signal wiring because that cable was what I had at the time. It sounded very different from my DCB1. It had a sense of air around the instruments and voices, especially percussion, making the highs more delicate and open. I rewired my DCB1 buffer and reproduced exactly what I heard in the DCB1 built for my friend. All my buffer, phono preamp and power amp builds from that day uses this particular balanced cable. For those interested this balanced cable is Helusound AES DMX cable, a 110 Ohm AES/EBU digital cable. Some may scream, "Sacrilege!" but it sounds what it sounds.

It has never occurred to me that tinned copper wire could possibly sound good as internal power cabling inside an amp until recently when a new amp I built sounded hard edged across the entire sound spectrum despite many hours of burn in. I had used silver plated copper wires, 1.5 sqmm cross section for all internal power and speaker wiring in this amp. Especially irritating to my ears was the midbass bump. So I decided to change the internal wiring to tinned copper. First I changed all the wirings related to the speaker output (amp boards to amp binding posts) and speaker cabling inside. The new sound that the amp produced was much more agreeable to my ears. There was no more midbass bump. In its place was a deeper bass (of course limited to what my small speakers can reproduce). The mids sounded good like before (the silver plated wires didn't harm the mids). The highs had good extension but it lacked sweetness and can sometimes sound etched. In fact I heard many new nuances and details in familiar music, but it always had a sense of being in a hurry. The tinned copper wire changed the character of the highs the most, making the sound unforced, effortless and airy. Hearing the positive changes I changed all the power wirings inside the amp to tinned copper. With this the entire wiring inside the new amp is now tinned copper.

To extend things further, I thought if tinned copper sounds good inside the amp, how would it sound as speaker cable? The problem is the tinned copper wire I got is fairly thin, and I couldn't find anything thicker in the local market. The shop said it is "23/36" wire. I haven't figured out the equivalent in AWG but by the looks of it, it seems to be about 20 AWG. Since the silver plated copper wire I had used is 18 gauge, I had to double every run to make it 18 gauge. This turned out to be a lot of work because the tinned copper wire has soft PVC insulation that immediately unravels after a pair is twisted together to double it. My solution was to twist together tightly, stretch it tightly and use a heatgun to heat up the PVC insulation uniformly and then allow it to cool down while being tightly stretched. I wanted the speaker cable to be at least 16 gauge (though I have successfully used 18 gauge transformer wire as speaker cable in the past). Twisting a pair 18 gauge to get 16 gauge was too much work so my plan got stalled till I decided to ask Prem for advice. He asked me to consider Belden 9497 which has a bit of a cult following among a section of audiophiles (especially Japanese audiophiles). I had read about this cable and filed it away in my mental storage as yet another exotica like the Western Electric WE16 cable. On a lark I called Kiran Sales in Lamington Road and asked for any Belden speaker cable made of tinned copper. Luckily they had Belden 8471 which is 16 gauge. I plugged this cable into my chain this evening and it is already sounding very promising, especially the bass weight and texture.

The point of this long-winded post is to consider tinned copper as internal and external wiring instead of chasing the purest copper that we can get. They are cheap (Belden 8471 is just Rs 90 per meter, and the 23/36 patch wire I bought is just Rs 15/m), they won't oxidise --- tinned copper wires are usually used in applications where copper oxidation can be catastrophic (like electrical wirings on boats), and they sound damned good (at least they do my ears!).
 

yogibear

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Question is, what magic Tin over copper is doing ?

Electrical conductivity of these metals:

Copper: 100
Silver: 105
Tin: 15

Interestingly, tinned copper is used in many vintage speaker wires and they look shiny like silver instead of copper color. The best role Tin could be playing is just preventing oxidation of copper.

Does higher conductivity of silver play havoc with sound ? Has anyone compared solid silver IC cables with pure copper, for sound ?
 

spirovious

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Some years ago I built the DCB1 buffer for myself. Some time later I built another one for a friend from the same kit that sachu888 made available. The difference in the later build was I used a balanced cable made of tinned copper as internal signal wiring because that cable was what I had at the time. It sounded very different from my DCB1. It had a sense of air around the instruments and voices, especially percussion, making the highs more delicate and open. I rewired my DCB1 buffer and reproduced exactly what I heard in the DCB1 built for my friend. All my buffer, phono preamp and power amp builds from that day uses this particular balanced cable. For those interested this balanced cable is Helusound AES DMX cable, a 110 Ohm AES/EBU digital cable. Some may scream, "Sacrilege!" but it sounds what it sounds.

It has never occurred to me that tinned copper wire could possibly sound good as internal power cabling inside an amp until recently when a new amp I built sounded hard edged across the entire sound spectrum despite many hours of burn in. I had used silver plated copper wires, 1.5 sqmm cross section for all internal power and speaker wiring in this amp. Especially irritating to my ears was the midbass bump. So I decided to change the internal wiring to tinned copper. First I changed all the wirings related to the speaker output (amp boards to amp binding posts) and speaker cabling inside. The new sound that the amp produced was much more agreeable to my ears. There was no more midbass bump. In its place was a deeper bass (of course limited to what my small speakers can reproduce). The mids sounded good like before (the silver plated wires didn't harm the mids). The highs had good extension but it lacked sweetness and can sometimes sound etched. In fact I heard many new nuances and details in familiar music, but it always had a sense of being in a hurry. The tinned copper wire changed the character of the highs the most, making the sound unforced, effortless and airy. Hearing the positive changes I changed all the power wirings inside the amp to tinned copper. With this the entire wiring inside the new amp is now tinned copper.

To extend things further, I thought if tinned copper sounds good inside the amp, how would it sound as speaker cable? The problem is the tinned copper wire I got is fairly thin, and I couldn't find anything thicker in the local market. The shop said it is "23/36" wire. I haven't figured out the equivalent in AWG but by the looks of it, it seems to be about 20 AWG. Since the silver plated copper wire I had used is 18 gauge, I had to double every run to make it 18 gauge. This turned out to be a lot of work because the tinned copper wire has soft PVC insulation that immediately unravels after a pair is twisted together to double it. My solution was to twist together tightly, stretch it tightly and use a heatgun to heat up the PVC insulation uniformly and then allow it to cool down while being tightly stretched. I wanted the speaker cable to be at least 16 gauge (though I have successfully used 18 gauge transformer wire as speaker cable in the past). Twisting a pair 18 gauge to get 16 gauge was too much work so my plan got stalled till I decided to ask Prem for advice. He asked me to consider Belden 9497 which has a bit of a cult following among a section of audiophiles (especially Japanese audiophiles). I had read about this cable and filed it away in my mental storage as yet another exotica like the Western Electric WE16 cable. On a lark I called Kiran Sales in Lamington Road and asked for any Belden speaker cable made of tinned copper. Luckily they had Belden 8471 which is 16 gauge. I plugged this cable into my chain this evening and it is already sounding very promising, especially the bass weight and texture.

The point of this long-winded post is to consider tinned copper as internal and external wiring instead of chasing the purest copper that we can get. They are cheap (Belden 8471 is just Rs 90 per meter, and the 23/36 patch wire I bought is just Rs 15/m), they won't oxidise --- tinned copper wires are usually used in applications where copper oxidation can be catastrophic (like electrical wirings on boats), and they sound damned good (at least they do my ears!).
I had tried Belden 12awg tinned speaker cable but didnt like it.lt was digital sounding little clinical.Bass was good,but soundstage smaller.l heard that cable in 3 different setup and result more or less similar.
 
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