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  • Speaker wire: stranded vs. solid?

    Is there any difference in sound quality, or advantages/disadvantages to using solid wire vs. stranded for speaker cable?
    My Grandma & Her Friends on Their Spring Vacation

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nola111 View Post
    Is there any difference in sound quality ~ to using solid wire vs. stranded for speaker cable?
    some say yes, some say no. most would agree that the difference is not significant enough to worry about. I seriously doubt you could hear any difference in a car.

    Originally posted by Nola111 View Post
    advantages/disadvantages?
    solid wire is cheaper to buy and can be bent to shape, but it's not very flexible and can fatigue (or break) quickly if it's moved often. solid wire offers less resistance for DC current.

    stranded wire is flexible, easier to work with, and is much more durable, but it's also more expensive. stranded wire offers less resistance for AC current.

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    • #3
      Ah ha. Thanks for the info CG!
      My Grandma & Her Friends on Their Spring Vacation

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      • #4
        I believe solid core wire has more resistance...? Electrons flow over the surface of the wire (as opposed to flowing through the wire like most ppl think) so more electrons can flow with stranded wire because there is more surface area. Will you hear the difference in your application, idk...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ComputerGeek View Post
          some say yes, some say no. most would agree that the difference is not significant enough to worry about. I seriously doubt you could hear any difference in a car.
          It depends on the ear we're talking about here.



          solid wire is cheaper to buy and can be bent to shape, but it's not very flexible and can fatigue (or break) quickly if it's moved often. solid wire offers less resistance for DC current.

          stranded wire is flexible, easier to work with, and is much more durable, but it's also more expensive. stranded wire offers less resistance for AC current.

          All true!

          I should note that smaller wire is better got high range frequencies while thicker is better for lower range.

          Part of this is due to the way in which electrons travel down the wire.

          Since higher frequencies travel at a faster pace than lower frequencies, you want to slow them down some so that the timing is consistent between frequencies.

          This is why we have 3 different kids of speaker wire in our car. One for tweets, one for the 3"s and the same for the 5" subs and the 16" sub.

          Yes, this is extreme for some. Will you notice a difference? It totally depends on your ear and your level of appreciation for the minute differences in audio.

          For the average user on this forum, your average stranded speaker wire would be the best bet in the car.
          Jan Bennett
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          Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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          • #6
            you could always just use a solid bar:


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            • #7
              Originally posted by scott_fx View Post
              you could always just use a solid bar:


              I thought that was just tubing?

              There is a guy I saw at show who runs JBL, I believe he competes in IASCA iirc.

              He did copper to for his subs. I dont know if you can see it but its there.

              screen name here use to be MegaloRESE15"

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              • #8
                heh - he's not competing any more. He did ONLY SQ, NO install. Mostly USACi shows.

                His name is Vince and he recently moved from Fort Worth to Kansas City.

                It's not solid, it's wire run inside a tube then bent.
                Jan Bennett
                FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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                • #9
                  I think the stranded vs. solid comes down to enviromental conditions when talking about auto installs...among other things.
                  Stranded has a tendancies to oxidize easier than solid...
                  However, insulating material, and layout has just as much to do with sound quality as does the wire itself!

                  Having your wire resting on plastic or non-wool material is detrimental...

                  Never use speaker cables shorter than 8'...and try to keep interconnects short as possible...

                  If you can manage it, use bare, solid copper wire from any passive crossover to speaker. Try to keep the bass and treble wires at least 1ft. apart. Don't bundle the wire runs from the amp to the crossovers...

                  Never bundle wires! If you must run wires parallel for more than a foot, separate them by 6" or more. Wires that cross at at 45 degrees or more can touch without any sonic degradation.

                  Seperate your 2 channel RCA interconnects by several inches if possible...
                  If you have a "clean" power setup, you might also try removing the plastic insulation from the interconnect, revealing the braided sheathing underneath.
                  Open air has the best dielectric properties. Teflon comes very close.

                  And lastly, Google VenHaus speaker wire...

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                  • #10
                    Here is another approach:



                    Probably overkill for audio; where I work we use it for big power.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bob T View Post


                      Probably overkill for audio; where I work we use it for big power.
                      Heh, Do not drop a wench across those something bad would happen...
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                      • #12
                        If interested, you could Google up Gordon Gow, President of McIntosh Laboratory (a fairly well respected audio company) and probably find an archived article on 'blind' speaker wire tests. Hint: he didn't find any difference, nor did anyone who took his test.

                        There are only three things affecting cable & wires in the audio range, and those are the RCL (Resistance, capacitance, and inductance) values. Anything else with a claimed impact is snake oil. Linear electrical theory is virtually 100% accurate in this arena. Things like skin effect (electrons only travel on the surface) have application at video rates, but not audio.

                        Flame-suit on folks, but a PhD in Physics and almost 40 years of audio experience (sales, trivial design, and as a user) tells me this is the biggest hype area of audio. YMMV.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lbridges View Post
                          Flame-suit on folks, but a PhD in Physics and almost 40 years of audio experience (sales, trivial design, and as a user) tells me this is the biggest hype area of audio. YMMV.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lbridges View Post
                            There are only three things affecting cable & wires in the audio range, and those are the RCL (Resistance, capacitance, and inductance) values. Anything else with a claimed impact is snake oil. Linear electrical theory is virtually 100% accurate in this arena. Things like skin effect (electrons only travel on the surface) have application at video rates, but not audio.
                            These are the reasons Cat-5 makes decent speaker wire...but I can't tell you how it compares to anything else...
                            Cat-5 (Teflon coated, twisted pairs) has low inductance which is condusive to good signal rise-time...
                            Braiding the pairs together reduces any asymmetrical field interactions...
                            And Teflon insulation has a low dielectric coefficient and is considered to be one of the best dielectrics available...

                            All that, and you get the satisfaction of making it yourself!!

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                            • #15
                              Can Cat-5 deal with the currents involved? Seems kinda thin.
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