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Solid vs. Stranded

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was just wondering what experiences anyone has had using solid core interconnects vs. stranded interconnects. There seems to be a debate that "solid" is actually superior to stranded.

If you read the "insights" at Cardas, www.cardas.com George Cardas claims that stranded is better only if it's "done right". I find the information at Cardas very informative and may consider getting Cardas cables.

On the other hand, companies like AudioQuest and Alpha-Core swear by their solid core conductors.
post #2 of 14
Cardas Insights are interesting to read and there also are some useful tips. However, there are many views on cable design, just look at different cable companies sites!
The ultimate test is how they sound in your system. Reading reviews can be a help to select interesting candidates, but remember that this only reflects the reviewers opionion and that the cables are hooked up in another system.
Borrowing a few cables should be the best alternative. If there is no good local dealer you have an option to borrow from the Cable Library (only US residents).
post #3 of 14
I use continous cast vampire wires in my home system, and they sound great
post #4 of 14

Re: Solid vs. Stranded

Quote:
Originally posted by Magic77
I was just wondering what experiences anyone has had using solid core interconnects vs. stranded interconnects. There seems to be a debate that "solid" is actually superior to stranded.

If you read the "insights" at Cardas, www.cardas.com George Cardas claims that stranded is better only if it's "done right". I find the information at Cardas very informative and may consider getting Cardas cables.

On the other hand, companies like AudioQuest and Alpha-Core swear by their solid core conductors.
If it were possible to have two sets of interconnects identical in every way other than the fact that one was stranded and the other solid core, maybe something resembling a definitive answer could be provided..I can't see how such an experiment could be set up, however. I do know that one can obtain superb solid core interconnects (Tara Labs RSC Air for example) as well as excellent stranded interconnects (Cardas), so both approaches are legitimate; the one (minor) distinction is that solid core cables are usually a lot stiffer than stranded cables As always, buy what sounds best to your ears.

- Wasif.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Re: Re: Solid vs. Stranded

Quote:
Originally posted by wasifazim


If it were possible to have two sets of interconnects identical in every way other than the fact that one was stranded and the other solid core, maybe something resembling a definitive answer could be provided..I can't see how such an experiment could be set up, however. I do know that one can obtain superb solid core interconnects (Tara Labs RSC Air for example) as well as excellent stranded interconnects (Cardas), so both approaches are legitimate; the one (minor) distinction is that solid core cables are usually a lot stiffer than stranded cables As always, buy what sounds best to your ears.

- Wasif.
That definitely makes sense, whatever sounds best to your own ears. I also agree that most of us do not have the luxury or conveinence to make A/B comparisons with many different cables. I guess you have to go on your own instincts based on information given by the various cable manufacturers and go with whatever appeals to you the most.
post #6 of 14
I've been reading the Insights on Cardas' page too and admitedly a bit of it still goes over my head.

Does anyone know of any good sites for general cable theory, including things like stranded versus solid?

With all due respect to Cardas, I sometimes feel a little leary when accepting an education from someone with a product to sell.
post #7 of 14
These are just a few:

www.audioquest.com
www.nordost.com
www.ecossecables.co.uk

These reflect manufacturers views. There was an article on cable theory in a number of Stereophile last autumn (Nov. 2001 I think). It can be interesting to try to understand something about cables, but I don't thinks it is so helpful when matching a cable to the system. Then I reason rather like this. Step 1: What is the sonic character of my system, anything wrong and what? Step2. Look at cable reviews and try to find some cables that maybe would fit better. Step 3. Test if it becomes better.
I think it is best to start with neutral cables. If this becomes too revealing or coloured because of component colouration / distortion, you know something on the direction to go.
post #8 of 14
This is just Cardas marketing material, go to any cable site you will see various different theories put forth why their cable design is the best. Good cable can be made both ways.

Just to see how extreme IC design can go check this Audiogon thread about Sakura OTA ICs, aka fishing line ICs.
Sakura OTA

Here is photo and info, many Agon members with very high end systems have used these, the maddness continues:
OTA Photo, Info
post #9 of 14
Just a bit of further ironic sarcasm, some of the Agon members who use the ultrathin OTA ICs aslo use the boa constrictor size
BMI Whale AC cords........heh,heh,heh
post #10 of 14
There is an interesting article on what cables might be doing in the November Stereophile, IIRC. Worth a look.
post #11 of 14
Check out the Cable Company (not the best site going, but it works). They offer a fairly large cable 'library' and will allow in-home comparisons of different cables. The only stipulation is a ten percent NON-REFUNDABLE deposit. But, they do have a good selection and it shouldn't be too hard to find something to spend that deposit on, when all is said and done.

I have purchased two pairs of interconnects and speaker wire from their Used Cable department. They have a very accomadating and friendly staff. I have had a couple of very informative conversations ...these people know cable and aren't afraid to share their insights!
post #12 of 14
I have also good experience with the Cable Company. I don't have the option of borrowing cables (only US residents), but can exchange them if I don't like them. So far, I haven't sent back anything. The sonic results have been in the expected direction, sometimes better than I could dream of.
Prices can be better on Audiogon, but without help with matching that I think is essential.
post #13 of 14
I also have had a great experience in working with the Cable Company (www.fatwyre.com). They do really seem to know their stuff in regards to interconnects, power cords, and most importantly, system synergy.

As far as cable geometry goes, I don't really think it matters. What matters is the sound quality of the specific cable and the preferences of the individual ears listening. There are many ways to skin a cat, and I think that stranded and solid-core cables can both be made to sound excellent (or conversely, horrible). Besides, there are other factors that influence the sound of a cable (length, termination, composition (silver, copper, etc), dialectric utilized, and of course, the measured capacitance and inductance of the complete package).

I think this is a debate along the lines of dynamic vs. electrostatic and tubes vs. solid state; great results can be had with either mode chosen. It all depends on how well the execution of the final product was pulled off.
post #14 of 14
All other things being equal, yes, solid conductors should be better than stranded, but as many have mentioned, all else is NOT equal. Further, welded connections should sound better than soldered.

BUT, contrary to all of that, seems to my ears that stranded OCC (continuous cast) cable with soldered connections sounds far beter than solid OFC cable with welded connections. AudioQuest Coral/Vipers vs. OutLaw PCA.

That's my ears anyway.

Cheers!
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