Speaker Wire discussion
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:02 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

classicalguy

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Talking about speaker wire on this board is a little like talking about religion at an iraqi governing counsel meeting, but here goes.

I recently bought two different kinds of inexpensive speaker wire. 14 gauge RCA branded speaker wire from Home Depo (about $20 for 50 feet), and 14 gauge Beldon 5100UE for about the same price for 100 feet from here:

http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=5100UE-50

The RCA wire was highly stranded and quite thick, with a very thick sticky clear plastic jacket. It was hard to strip without cutting the tiny little strands of wire inside, and removing the coating was hard too. The wire barely fit into my T-Amp spring clips.

The Belden cable is very different. It is loosely packed in a grey outside coating. Inside is some loose dialectic material and two strands of wire coated with a thin plastic covering - easy to identify for polarity because one strand is white and one is black. The wire feels much thinner than the RCA wire, even though both are labeled 14 gauge. I think it's because the belden has much larger strands of wire tightly wrapped together, while the RCA has many more smaller strands loosely wrapped (more air between the strands). The strands in the Belden are so thick and tight, it feels almost like a single piece of wire. Stripping the Belden is much easier. I wish I had bought the 12 gauge belden because it would easily fit in the spring clips of my t-amp, since the strands are so tightly woven together.I thought 12 gauge would be too thick because the 14 gague RCA wire barely fit.

So you probably want to know whether I can tell the difference in sound between these wires. Well, I have not yet tried the belden. Also, I have no scientific way to compare the two wires. But I plan on swapping them to see if I can tell a difference.

I much prefer the design of the Belden - much easier to strip and work with. It will be almost like a solid pin sticking it in the spring clips of the T-Amp, while the stranded gets bunched up and catches on the sides of the clips. I've always thought that solid cable was better than stranded for audio, although my suspicion may be totally wrong.

I plan on using bare wire connections. Is there anything I can dip the stripped ends in before connecting to prevent oxidation?

Any thoughts? People of all speaker cable religions are welcome to comment.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:13 PM Post #3 of 4

Wodgy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by classicalguy
I plan on using bare wire connections. Is there anything I can dip the stripped ends in before connecting to prevent oxidation?


Tin the ends with solder. This reduces oxidation (which copper is prone to) and has the added bonus of holding the strands together making it easier to work with. If the wire has PVC insulation (rather than teflon, which is rare in speaker cable applications), when you heat it with a soldering iron to tin it, the PVC will crawl back due to shrinkage. This leaves a portion of the untinned copper exposed. If you're the type of person who obsesses about details, cover that area with heat shrink.
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 4:14 PM Post #4 of 4

scm207

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If you don't wish to solder, you can also paint the ends with Caig Pro Gold, let it sit awhile and then wipe it off. You will have to reapply periodically but it is an alternative if you have zero DIY skills.
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