Tim, you will need a high temperature solder pot (full of silver solder) to properly prepare that kind of wire for termination (it vaporizes the enamel insulation and solders all the strands together all at once.)
My recommendation is that you send the wire back to Straightwire and have them cut and reterminate it to your specifications. It's just not worth the hassle and expense of doing it yourself. Plus you'll have factory terminations which increase the resale value. Also, because of Straightwire's particular cable topology, you can use the same cable to make either a balanceed (XLR) or single ended (RCA) interconnect.
Thanks for the info. As I said I tried heating the wire; used a small torch my wife bought for caramelizing. The wire was very hot (glowing) but the coating seemed to stay.
I sent an email off to Straightwire. If they don't give me advice then I'll have to send them off. Shame though as DIY is a large part of this hobby's appeal for me.
My Cardas Quadlink 5C is the same way. I was told as well I would need a solder pot. Before I knew this, I ending up using some banana plugs I had on hand. (Cardas and RS gold-plated ones) Seems to work well. Length of spk. wire turned out to be to short in my main system, so I ending up using in a downstairs system w/small monitors. Still I wonder how good the conductivity of such a termination? Do send your cables back to Straightwire.
The reason for the insulated multi-strand wire design (some with a teflon or nylon rod at the core) has to do with solving time smear, and began with Bruce Brisson's (owner of MIT) original design for Monster Cable. The cables consist of two or more different gauges of wire, with the thinner wire wrapped around the heavier wire, which means that for a given length of cable there's a longer length of thinner wire than fatter wire.
Why do this? It became known that HF favors traveling along surfaces and/or thin conductors, and at a higher propagation speed than LF, which tend to favor thicker gauge wire and travel slower. So by making the thin wire longer than the thick wire, the faster HF has to travel further than the slower LF and so they meet up at the other end of the cable at the same time. This leads to better image and soundstage and better rendition of timbres and overtones. Eliminating time smear is the holy grail of cable design.
With cables designed like Straightwire, Monster, MIT (and probably 90% of all other brands) it's essential that all the various wire sizes (which are insulated from each other along the cable itself) be tied together electrically at each end. Otherwise, the high and low frequencies may not take their intended route(s), thus defeating the built-in time smear correction.
Wouldn't dispute the science behind that concept but it is hard to concieve seven feet of cable causing a noticeable smearing. It takes better ears or more discerning listening habits than I posess to catch it.
Tim, whether or not one agrees with the science/theory, the undisputable fact is that if you don't connect all the wire strands together electrically at each end of the cable, then you are not using its full conducting capability.
For sure Nsgarch. That's what stopped me. I was checking continuity to ensure I wired properly when I found I could only get a reading on the very end of the wire. If I pressed hard enough the meter would read through the coating but that ain't gonna cut it. It would be a waste of cable to crimp, solder and hope for the best.
Hopefully, Straightwire's customer service is adequate. Thanks for all the advice.
Well after emailing Straightwire and doing a little research it looks like buying a solder pot is the way to go. As a decent new one goes for $300+, I'll keep my eyes open on ebay and see what they go for there. Straightwire wants $26.50 per spade, that's more than $300 for the pair of cables. I know I can do it for less and just as well.
Tim, I was suggesting you have Straightwire do the reterminating primarily for maintaining the resale value.
Wow! I didn't realize the pots were THAT expensive now. And don't forget to factor in the cost of enough silver solder to fill it up (check with Welborne to see if they have in fluxless and in bulk.)
On the other hand, there are a number of folks here in audioland that do reterminating for a lot less than Straightwire quoted you. Don't give up. Got to Google and search retermination AND audio AND cables.
Moon Audio is a good one:
I just shot off an email to moonaudio. I've seen his ads, he has good feedback every place I checked. Thanks for the tip. These cables are too nice to give up on.
I got the price of the solder pot from my Newark catalogue. The $300 unit was the least expensive one they sold. The range was $300 to $1500. If a soldr pot can be had for a reasonable price it might be worth it as DIY is part of the fun.
I have a cast iron electric solder pot that someone gave me (complete with solder ;--) It looks like it's from the 1940's or earlier. But it works just fine!
I bid on a pot that went for 1$ over my bid of 55. It was a model listed in current Newark catalogue for 1k. Hard to believe but true. If I was at a computer I wouldn't have let go that cheap. Try again.
Tim, you need to use a sniper site -- it's the only way to do eBay IMO. Here's the one I use, but there are lots of 'em:
Looks interesting, I'll give it a shot. Appreciate the info.
BTW still waiting to hear from moonaudio, I'll let you know how they compare to Straightwire's price.