Where can one buy thin gold wire?
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brandnewgame

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From my reading, mostly of inticing blurbs, it seems like the thinnest audio wire possible is made from gold which, apparently, has great sound quality too. Where can we mere DIY mortals buy thin gold wire (preferably insulated)? I'm personally in the UK so UK/Europe sources are preferred


Note: I mean just a strand of wire, not premade cable lengths which I couldn't afford in a million years.

Thanks for reading
 
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luvdunhill

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perhaps jewelry supply, or use the Mundorf Silver and Gold wire?
 
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Nemo de Monet

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AFAIK, with the possible exception of somebody like Mundorf, nobody makes insulated gold wire. What would be the point? There are no legitimate uses for gold wire other than the purely decorative, so why cover it? It's soft, it's brittle, and it's ridiculously expensive at the moment, thanks to the economy.

You can get gold wire from trade suppliers like this one, albeit uninsulated, and at a fairly ridiculous rate - 85 GBP/meter for 24 AWG, plus shipping, taxes, and so on.

Oh, and just out of curiosity (I am a jeweler, BTW) you were planning on using gold solder for your wiring, right? No point in contaminating your golden audio signal with audibly inferior base metals like lead and tin, yes? You realize no electric soldering iron on earth will melt even the easiest of gold solder (minimum flow temperature north of 1300F/700C), and you'd have to use an oxy-propane or similar sort of torch, right? Had you figured out how you were going to do that without melting the hypothetical insulation on the wire, let alone the insulation on whatever connectors you used?
 
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Juaquin

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Good point about the solder. Everyone worries about silver wire, cyro wire, etc - but in the end, most of the components you're using in the rest of the chain are lower quality - solder, the leads on resistors and components, the "regular" copper in the PCB. Unless you're running long lengths (>10'), the degradation due to a "regular" copper wire isn't going to be more than the degradation due to the rest of those "lossy" components.
 
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m1abrams

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Keep in mind the ONLY reason contacts are gold plated is because of gold does not oxide as easily as other materials and this is a benefit in the plating of contacts.
 
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Nemo de Monet

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The only reason a very few contacts are gold-plated is because it doesn't oxidize, et cetera, et cetera. Most gold-plated contacts are basically for show, i.e. marketing purposes. Rhodium-plating is, in almost all circumstances, "better", by whatever criteria you'd like to define "better" by.

And, before anyone asks, no, they don't make insulated rhodium wire. They do make uninsulated rhodium wire, which will run you - in the UK - around 1300 GBP/meter just at the moment, for 24 AWG. It's fairly brittle and inflexible, and a PITA to solder, like any other platinum-family metal - the easiest solder flows around 2000F (1100C), which is above the melting point of most anything you'd want, in audio circles, to connect it to - like aluminum (1220F/660C), or copper (1980F/1100C), or even gold (1950F/1060C).
 
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Uncle Erik

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Try a jewelry manufacturing supply house. A lot of people make their own jewelry, so you should be able to find a supplier.

Have you given any thought to what karat you want to use? You do know that anything less than 24k is an alloy, right? That means that you're going to get any number of other metals, of varying sound quality (assuming metals do have a sound quality) and purity. As has been pointed out, gold is very soft and prone to cracking, especially if bent repeatedly in a cable. Is that what you really want?

I'm beginning to think that audio is just jewelry and fashion for men. Science was mostly taken out of the equation years ago. Give some serious thought to that before you string jewelry between your components.
 
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mypasswordis

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I don't understand why you would, at all. Thinner means greater resistivity and gold means lowered conductivity. Both mean lower durability and ease of use. Not to mention it's extremely expensive and hard to source. What a terrible idea.
 
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brandnewgame

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemo de Monet /img/forum/go_quote.gif
AFAIK, with the possible exception of somebody like Mundorf, nobody makes insulated gold wire. What would be the point? There are no legitimate uses for gold wire other than the purely decorative, so why cover it? It's soft, it's brittle, and it's ridiculously expensive at the moment, thanks to the economy.

You can get gold wire from trade suppliers like this one, albeit uninsulated, and at a fairly ridiculous rate - 85 GBP/meter for 24 AWG, plus shipping, taxes, and so on.

Oh, and just out of curiosity (I am a jeweler, BTW) you were planning on using gold solder for your wiring, right? No point in contaminating your golden audio signal with audibly inferior base metals like lead and tin, yes? You realize no electric soldering iron on earth will melt even the easiest of gold solder (minimum flow temperature north of 1300F/700C), and you'd have to use an oxy-propane or similar sort of torch, right? Had you figured out how you were going to do that without melting the hypothetical insulation on the wire, let alone the insulation on whatever connectors you used?



Thanks for the info on a seller. I have an oxy-propane iron, though I'm not sure about max temp.. And as far as the rest is concerned, no
Thanks for the insights.

Quote:

Originally Posted by m1abrams /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Keep in mind the ONLY reason contacts are gold plated is because of gold does not oxide as easily as other materials and this is a benefit in the plating of contacts.


Understood


Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemo de Monet /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The only reason a very few contacts are gold-plated is because it doesn't oxidize, et cetera, et cetera. Most gold-plated contacts are basically for show, i.e. marketing purposes. Rhodium-plating is, in almost all circumstances, "better", by whatever criteria you'd like to define "better" by.

And, before anyone asks, no, they don't make insulated rhodium wire. They do make uninsulated rhodium wire, which will run you - in the UK - around 1300 GBP/meter just at the moment, for 24 AWG. It's fairly brittle and inflexible, and a PITA to solder, like any other platinum-family metal - the easiest solder flows around 2000F (1100C), which is above the melting point of most anything you'd want, in audio circles, to connect it to - like aluminum (1220F/660C), or copper (1980F/1100C), or even gold (1950F/1060C).



Wow, that's mad.. Thanks for the info.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Try a jewelry manufacturing supply house. A lot of people make their own jewelry, so you should be able to find a supplier.

Have you given any thought to what karat you want to use? You do know that anything less than 24k is an alloy, right? That means that you're going to get any number of other metals, of varying sound quality (assuming metals do have a sound quality) and purity. As has been pointed out, gold is very soft and prone to cracking, especially if bent repeatedly in a cable. Is that what you really want?

I'm beginning to think that audio is just jewelry and fashion for men. Science was mostly taken out of the equation years ago. Give some serious thought to that before you string jewelry between your components.



But the blurb on Stealth Audio is so enticing:
Quote:

But why using gold while silver is more conductive?!!!

Well, there are several reasons:

In line-level interconnects, conductivity per se is NOT the main factor that determines the sound quality: purity, internal grain structure and gauge (thickness) of the wires effect the sound of a cable much more than conductivity all by itself. Certain qualities of the dielectric used to insulate the wires (such as its dielectric constant and mechanical damping factor) are also more important to the sound than the measured conductivity of the wire. This is not a mere personal opinion: the vast majority of foremost cable designers promote similar ideas.
According to "The Essex Echo" article by Malcolm Omar Hawksford (which is the ONLY classical and acknowledged article on the on audio cables sound theory: 10 or 12 printed pages that explain what sounds best and why using a lot of math) interconnects sound more "focused" and "extended" if they are made of a VERY thin wire: the thinner - the better, in fact. Clarity, resolution, bass tightness - everything is better with thin wire. Why? Because thin wire allows to "move" the skin effect out of the audible range and eliminate (or greatly reduce) the time smearing of audio signal - i.e. the time domain distortion subjectively perceived as excessive upper midrange "brightness" and "boomy" unfocused bass...
So, the wire must be VERY thin and VERY pure to sound good. But...
Thin wire is fragile. Plus it is VERY difficult to make a very thin silver wire of high purity - since despite of using special measures, it gets terribly polluted in the production process. It is expensive - but possible to make a chunk of silver of 7N (seven nines) purity (i.e. 99.99999 pure). However, making a REALLY THIN wire is a multi (multi) step process, the metal inevitably gets polluted, and the resulting THIN wire is only 99.9% pure or even worse. It is close to impossible to make pure enough thin copper wire either. Plus - unless immediately protected by a layer of SOLID dielectric - a very thin wire "ages" very quickly and becomes even more fragile (and even brittle) with time. Oxidation is not the only factor of aging: silver oxide IS highly conductive (unlike copper oxides) - but silver is easily polluted with Sulfur and other active elements (from the outside air or from a contact with human skin). When polluted, silver loses conductivity, uniformity and "plasticity". It's not a problem with thick silver wires or contact surface, but it IS a real problem with extremely thin bare wires or silver foil used in interconnects.
Back to the dielectric. Vacuum is best. Air is almost as good. Teflon is best of solid dielectrics (because of the fast charge/discharge characteristics = less energy storage = better transient response). Foamed Teflon is better than solid Teflon (since it contains air bubbles). The more air - the better. But - how to protect our thin silver or copper wire if it 's surrounded by a lot of air?
So - gold IS the solution - since it IS possible to make a high purity VERY thin gold wire. How thin? Approximately a half as thin as human hair :) How pure? 99.99% or better (24 carat gold is only 99.9% pure). Plus gold is practically grainless, a properly made gold wire is considerably more uniform than silver or copper. And it stays that way!


Quote:

Originally Posted by digger945 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
A compromise.

20' 24 AWG .999 Gold plated OFC solid Wire with Teflon - eBay (item 380091936166 end time Dec-31-08 08:17:50 PST)

I have purchased from this ebayer (not gold plated wire, but other wire).



Thanks muchly for this source


Quote:

Originally Posted by mypasswordis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I don't understand why you would, at all. Thinner means greater resistivity and gold means lowered conductivity. Both mean lower durability and ease of use. Not to mention it's extremely expensive and hard to source. What a terrible idea.


Not according to that Stealth Audio source that is probably just appealing to my sense of, as Uncle Erik put it, jewelry/fashion for men.

Considering the various difficulties, I think I'll stick with 99.99% silver or the Mundorf Gold/Silver with Cardas Quad Eutectic. Thanks for all the info, I probably would have tried something stupid without it.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by digger945 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I wonder if I need a propane torch to solder my gold plated rca jack also?

50 Feet Mil-Spec Solid 24-AWG Silver-Coated Wire,Teflon - eBay (item 310065266342 end time Jan-14-09 09:31:11 PST)
^I bought some of this, lemme know if you want a different or more detailed pic. I think the seller may have it in other gauges also.



You won't need to unless you use gold solder. Regular solder (tin and lead?) melts at a much lower temperature. You won't want the RCA jack to melt, so the fact it requires a high temperature is a good thing =]
 
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