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Pure stranded silver headphone/IEM cables for under $120 USD? - Update: 07/09/2012 - Prototype...  

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

[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.]

 

Hi everyone redface.gif

 

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!

Sonify cool.gif

 

 

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

 

 

Updates

 

03/09/2012

  • 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.

 

06/09/2012

  • My friend has acquired some silver wire samples and will make a cable and take photos once he comes back from his break.

 

07/09/2012

  • 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. beerchug.gif
  • 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.

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

Reserved.

post #3 of 20

I would really recommend shooting for 24-26awg.  28awg is like dental floss.  Unless that's truly what you're after.  No aftermarket cables are that small and it's questionable how much you stand to gain with a wire that thin, plus you run into durability issues unless your OEM puts kevlar stranding into the mix with the silver.

 

28awg silver is worth less than $1 per foot even for the best stuff.  Because it is ludicrously small.  

post #4 of 20

Pure silver wires are inherently quite soft.  The thin silver can be easily kinked and is generally not a good idea for everyday headphone use.
 

post #5 of 20
For my DIY cables I use 22AWG silver, though 24 would work too, anything smaller than that feels too fragile to be suitable, IMO.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

I have a poll located here, where it asks how much people would be willing to spend on good quality, stranded silver headphone cables (4 ft).

It seems that many would be willing to spend upwards of $120 USD which is quite interesting.

My friend that makes cables (mentioned in the first post) is currently overseas on a break and is going to meet up with a certain UP-OCC manufacturer in a few days for a some silver wire samples and I'll post updates.

He's currently trying to find the best price to silver wire thickness ratio for a silver headphone cable to be priced at around $120 USD (from the poll).


Edited by Sonify - 9/5/12 at 11:03pm
post #7 of 20
If you want to make your own cables for yourself or for resale, have at it. But IMHO you can do that without saying that $75/hr is outrageous. When you did that calculation, I hope you included all the time you and your friend are currently spending sourcing the cables and components, as well as the time after you build them to test them, package them, advertise them and sell them. Oh, and don't forget to include the previous 8 months you spent doing research. I happen to agree that cables are outrageously expensive - which is why I buy plain old cables at Monoprice - but I don't begrudge the folks that invest their time the opportunity to get paid for that time. Good luck in your search!
post #8 of 20

pizza box style cardboard boxes in practical yet impressive sizes cost little more than $1 each, foam for inside costs roughly $3, and sticker paper for an inkjet printer for a nice logo and cable name costs $2 for a sheet of 8 stickers (and this is not oem pricing - this is what I paid when I decided to experiment myself, paying retail).  I even ordered a small order of 20 pieces of custom printed heatshrink for cheap (can't recall the price off the top of my head, but it was negligible).  punching small holes in the box and sticking in twist-ties takes about 1 minute, and is essentially free.  the entire packaging process took about 10 minutes to look absolutely superb, and packaged more securely than any pair of Grado headphones. 

 

cutting, soldering, techflexing, and heatshrinking a detachable headphone cable takes me about 30 minutes, and I do not have a streamlined process - I was scrambling to find where I had put my tools and parts, and was in no hurry to finish. 

 

not only are the parts costs for custom cables low, but the labor is low as well.  the markups are simply stupid, end of story.  as much as I would like to say that labor and so-called "R&D" (which doesn't really exist in the cable world) are legitimate costs that are covered by charging $120, this is simply not true. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

If you want to make your own cables for yourself or for resale, have at it. But IMHO you can do that without saying that $75/hr is outrageous. When you did that calculation, I hope you included all the time you and your friend are currently spending sourcing the cables and components, as well as the time after you build them to test them, package them, advertise them and sell them. Oh, and don't forget to include the previous 8 months you spent doing research. I happen to agree that cables are outrageously expensive - which is why I buy plain old cables at Monoprice - but I don't begrudge the folks that invest their time the opportunity to get paid for that time. Good luck in your search!
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

pizza box style cardboard boxes in practical yet impressive sizes cost little more than $1 each, foam for inside costs roughly $3, and sticker paper for an inkjet printer for a nice logo and cable name costs $2 for a sheet of 8 stickers (and this is not oem pricing - this is what I paid when I decided to experiment myself, paying retail).  I even ordered a small order of 20 pieces of custom printed heatshrink for cheap (can't recall the price off the top of my head, but it was negligible).  punching small holes in the box and sticking in twist-ties takes about 1 minute, and is essentially free.  the entire packaging process took about 10 minutes to look absolutely superb, and packaged more securely than any pair of Grado headphones. 

cutting, soldering, techflexing, and heatshrinking a detachable headphone cable takes me about 30 minutes, and I do not have a streamlined process - I was scrambling to find where I had put my tools and parts, and was in no hurry to finish. 

not only are the parts costs for custom cables low, but the labor is low as well.  the markups are simply stupid, end of story.  as much as I would like to say that labor and so-called "R&D" (which doesn't really exist in the cable world) are legitimate costs that are covered by charging $120, this is simply not true. 

And yet, you didn't stick with this as a viable business?
post #10 of 20

Homegrown Audio sells 4 braided strands of 99.997% pure silver 26 awg for $20/ft, since there are 4 strands, that's $5/ft.

post #11 of 20

no, I have a sense of decency

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post


And yet, you didn't stick with this as a viable business?
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

HGA has large markups on their silver cables, and what you're talking about is solid core, generally significantly cheaper than stranded silver wires.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuwhere View Post

Homegrown Audio sells 4 braided strands of 99.997% pure silver 26 awg for $20/ft, since there are 4 strands, that's $5/ft.

post #13 of 20

Are stranded wires better than solid core?

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Stranded wires are much more resilient to bending, and so have added flexibility and durability.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuwhere View Post

Are stranded wires better than solid core?

post #15 of 20

This guy prefers solid core.

 

http://www.laventure.net/tourist/cables.htm

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