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Solid vs. Stranded: Does it matter?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by oddity, Dec 8, 2009.
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  1. googleborg
    personally i use this 6mm stranded (why 6mm? because i had NO IDEA how big the cable would be and now i have HUGE speaker cables gah) van damme blue series stuff for my speakers, £7 per cable including the soldered-on plugs at both ends, DIY woot! anyhow, flexible, as solid wire would be a pain in the arse, but for internal stuff i'd use solid as it would be easy to route and take corners with.

    SQ? ever tried using a single strand of thin copper wire for your speakers and comparing the difference with the entire wire? hell i just unplugged an optical jack from my dac and shone it in through thin air from 1cm away and heard absolutely no difference in the sound at all - hurrah for digital.

    (this is my cable 1m Pure Optical TOS Link Cable TOSLink Lead Digital UK on eBay (end time 20-Jan-10 10:19:52 GMT), £1.73 & free p&p, buy one and compare it, it costs less than busfare)

    perhaps i'm just odd in that i would rather reverse tweak (it's free) and see, if, by the popular logic of audiophilia, the sound gets worse if i totally make things as bad as they can possibly be before the system won't work at all. i believe the fancy posh latin phrase for this would be reductio-ad-absurdum :p

    give it a go!
  2. tosehee

    Originally Posted by Koyaan I. Sqatsi /img/forum/go_quote.gif

    Are you ******* kidding?


    Where do people come up with such nonsense?


    Thanks for the good laugh~.[​IMG]
  3. zoka
    Electricity flows like plasma in only one or two directions (DC or AC), so with materials like copper, silver, and gold, stranded or solid won't matter for sound. Maybe there's a minute latency effect but we're talking about such low voltages that it's impossible to hear or perhaps even measure. It's like saying will a smaller motherboard make my pc faster? Not really, but theoretically since the length of circuits is shorter the latency will be a tiny bit faster. But since electrons flow at the speed of light, it's irrelevant.
    Different materials in cable construction do make a difference in sound, but not by much, and it's usually the thickness of the cable that matters most. So the thicker the cable, the more free space electrons have to move from point A to point B, and therefore the less resistance. Brands like Transparent Audio have something, I think capacitors, built into their cables to make them supposedly better than others. Also oxygen free copper is important over time. I use Sewell cables and they are as good as any other cable costing thousands more. If you pay such a high price, you WILL hear the difference.
    So keep in mind, thickness and oxygen free copper is what matters most. The thicker, the more power can flow through, and the less oxygen between strands, the less corrosion over time.
  4. elmoe
    You realize this thread is 4 years old right? lol.
    That said, personally, I don't hear a single difference between the two, but I prefer stranded for soldering, it seems like the hold is better.
  5. zoka
    didn't realize that lol.
  6. Steve Eddy

    Um, if the electrons in your cables were flowing at the speed of light, or anything near the speed of light, you'd be vaporized.

    Why is that exactly?

    Oxygen between the strands has absolutely nothing to do with oxygen free copper. Oxygen free copper will oxidize just as readily as any other copper when exposed to the air.

  7. 2leftears
    Higher profit margins.  You can't deny that matters [​IMG]
  8. Steve Eddy

  9. cablepro98
    the dielectric can have capacitance though which can introduce distortion the dielectric combined with shielding affect the ammount of noise in the cable so the dielectric can have an effect but it won't be as big as the conductor
  10. ab initio

    So, what is the magnitude of the effect on typical 2 meter audio cables, say, at frequencies equal or less than 20 kHz?

  11. wakibaki
    Way to go, ab initio.

  12. cablepro98
    I saw a good unbiased study on audioholics YouTube channel recently that says skin effect is actually worse on solid then stranded and they explained how for interconnects capacitance and inductance are what matter most and in speaker cables resistance is what matters most they have some of the specs on their site
  13. Speedskater
    I think that they scored near zero on everything.
  14. jcx
    oldie but popular speculation - "strand jumping" in uninsulated stranded wire is sometimes pointed to as a "problem"
    from the older posts we have even "arcing" mentioned
    the physics is certainly way against arcing - see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paschen%27s_law
    with tens of milliOhms between ends of wires in audio and milliamps being the current relevant to headphone drive we end up a bit short of that Paschen minimum of 327 Volts between strands for arcing in air
    microvolts is the right engineering unit for potential difference between stranded wire conductors in headphone cables - if some of the strands don't connect at both ends
    I have posted before that there is actually some difference in skin effect impedance rise with stranded vs solid wire (strands not individually insulated, Litz has many insulated strands to cut Skin/Proximity effect) - but like usual not alarming (ie remotely near audible thresholds) when the numbers are scaled to home audio, particularly headphone application
    you can find some numbers for commercial theater installations with amps in the projection booth and speaker wiring running the full length of the theater - and at theater power levels: http://www.hps4000.com/pages/spksamps/speaker_wire.pdf
    any want to speculate on the effect with 6 foot headphone cables?
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