[Moderator Edit: This thread was started by a duplicate account set up by AudioSonus. We have zero tolerance for shilling on our forums. Let this be a warning.]
I've been a long time lurker but recently made friends with a person that makes headphone cables, which got me thinking.
For the past 9 months, I've been doing some research in my spare time: why are pure stranded silver cables so expensive?
Why are pure stranded silver cables so expensive?
I have been looking into the prices of materials for cables, talking to various Members of the Trade, and have estimated that the cost of stranded silver wire and cables you buy from many audio/cable businesses have extreme mark-ups. This to the point where some popular cable makers are making at least $75 USD/hour selling stranded silver headphone cables.
This kind of pricing is absolutely crazy, and in my opinion cannot be justified. Additionally, it also drives up the cost of copper wire and cables being sold as well, especially from the same sellers.
What can we do about it?
Recently I finally started taking action and have since been in touch with a few personal contacts here and there in an attempt to find a balance between reasonable cost for high purity, stranded silver wire.
26 AWG stranded silver wire is the most likely candidate as it would be cheapest compared to thicker wires, but it thick enough for good durability.
How you can help
You can subscribe to this thread and follow me on my quest to find good quality, high purity stranded silver headphone/IEM cables for under $100 USD. Along with this, I will also be trying to find high purity, 26 AWG stranded silver wire for under $5 USD per foot ($16.50 USD per metre).
I am will not be personally selling any of this, but merely locating a reputable source of these wires that can be customised to said needs.
Thanks for reading!
Extra reading on cables
I have been researching in cables and wires for the past 8 months, and have been told from a reputable wire manufacturer that:
If the strands that make up the wire are too thin, then the properties of the single crystalline structure are adversely affected
During the manufacturing of electroplated wires, e.g. silver plated copper wires, the silver will NOT have the single crystalline structure due to the electroplating process, but the copper would still have the single crystal structure.
Additionally, an excerpt from Cardas Audio about silver plated copper wires:
"Silver Plated, Copper Conductors
Q.) First off, I like your cables very much, and use them in my system. After reading about various manufacturers using silver-plated copper in their interconnect and speaker cable designs, I was just curious what it is about copper that you like so much that you prefer using it over silverplate.
A.) Well basically it sounds better. Cables are a dynamic system, prone to ring. Like any other system without a little loss they will resonate, like a speaker box with no stuffing inside or phono cartridge with no damper. Ultra pure copper is ideal for audio purposes in most designs.
Plated conductors are inherently impure mediums with bi-metal junctions and are not suitable for audio use in my estimation. - George"
Taken from the Cardas Audio website
- Because of concerns about durability, I have changed the goal to find 26 AWG instead of 28 AWG stranded silver wires. Additionally, since many people are voting that they would be willing to spend upwards of $120 USD, I have changed the goal from $100 USD to $120 USD, reflecting the goal change of 28 AWG to 26 AWG stranded silver wires.
- My friend has acquired some silver wire samples and will make a cable and take photos once he comes back from his break.
- I have just received some photos and it looks like he was impatient and has already made a prototype cable with connectors he took with him, and he apologises about the photo quality since he used his phone camera.
- From the photos, it looks like the wire is very thin for 26 AWG compared to cables from others, however he assures me that it is just because of the thin PE tubing, "thin so it is less bulky and less deceiving in terms of wire thickness compared to other cable makers."
- As you can see from photo 2, it is clear that the silver wires are stranded.
- Furthermore, he tells me that "the budget 3.5 mm Rean plug and the 2-pin connectors were used to test the cables and are not final. I will use higher quality connectors when I'm back." and "Congratulations (my name). Looks like you've found stranded silver [headphone/earphone] cables for $100-$120 [USD]!"
- He estimates the cables in the photos would be ~$100 USD, and cables with a Viablue 3.5mm plug and better 2-pin connectors would be ~$120 USD.
- Looks like my quest and our journey is nearly over! Can't wait to test them out.
- P.S. Almost forgot to mention that they are 7N stranded silver wires, meaning that they are estimated to be up to 99.99999% pure, and are guaranteed to be a minimum of 5N (99.999%) pure.