Cardas Cold Forging


Has anyone tried the new Cardas option to have their speaker cable and connectors cold forged, making for a solid connection with no "connective" points with solder, etc. Sounds good in theory for line transmission, but can you hear any difference? If so what? I'm using Cardas Golden Reference.
pubul57
You can find more info on this process at

http://www.cardas.com/content.php?area=insights&content_id=43&pagestring=Compression+Die+Forging

Snake oil? Sound Science? Perceptible Difference? Breakthrough? or Just a Unique Selling proposition? It's different, but as they asked in law school, "is it a difference that makes a difference?"
Doesn't look any different than any other good crimp IMO.
pubul57,

try audiogon user lenny_zwik, i believe he had his golden reference sent back and reterminated. Pretty sure it's a nice improvement and worth it for lenny...
I guess the idea is to eliminate a solder connection, but I
would think there are hundred between source through the
amp, including the ICs, got to wonder how it can make much
difference, but....

I called it cold forging, but it is really "Two Stage,
Compression Die Forging" where the copper of the cable and
the copper of the connector become one solid piece. This
connection "eliminates the Eddy Currents found in other
types of terminations by forging a perfect homogeneous flow
of conductor and connector." Well, that's the claim. So
there is theory and practice. Anyone tried upgrading the
Cardas cables with this process?
It's a plain old fashion compression crimp that everyone has been using for years. I don't see why they even mention it. You could get 10k pounds of pressure with hand crimpers. There is nothing unique on the video. It's just a sales pitch. Any other company that has crimp on terminals most likely has the same connection, or better. Even budget generic ones. The die is replaceable for different terminals. All crimpers have dies. If they want to run a different size through, they just change the die to fit the different terminal. Old technology to the world. If there is anything different here that anyone with knowledge on crimpers has, please chime in. Google compression hydraulic crimpers, and you'll find a full variety. They're doing a double crimp with the terminal misaligned, in the video. That might be causing a worse crimp.Nobody is supposed to notice that, or they don't know better themselves. I have some Cardas, but I'm starting to wonder. Nothing new here.
So it's amazing to me the opinions the fly around when the most important thing is how it sounds. Which no one seems to have heard here....at least I offered up someone that has heard it...

From watching the cardas video and having owned some of their cables, I doubt you can get that type of crimp by hand...unless your using some sort of manual hydraulic jack. That's heavy gauge wire and a serious spade....

Pubul57, keep searching for the truth here please and good luck
I agree with Jfrech, it appears to be more than just your usual crimp.
I have a feeling I am going to have to try it, even though I
do tend to be a bit skeptical, but trying will tell me -
though I won't be in a position to A/B and there tends to be
a tendency to think what you just paid for is an
improvement:)

Question: If this is simple crimping available to all, why
has Cardas not been doing something so simple since day one?
I think somewhere in their literature they once said
crimping is usually better than soldering, but the best connections are soldered. A change in position?
From watching the cardas video and having owned some of their cables, I doubt you can get that type of crimp by hand...unless your using some sort of manual hydraulic jack. That's heavy gauge wire and a serious spade....

Jfrech (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Hand hydraulic crimpers have been around for decades that are almost the same but with more capable higher pressures. Actually enough to crush that terminal to pieces. Don't forget, that is soft copper. That crimp won't pass inspection for a lot of aircraft crimps. I wouldn't want to be under any high voltage power line with that crimp. They use portable rechargeable crimpers for up in the air that have a lot more pressure. Here some links with their specs. Simple math. Old technology. It's been powering the world literally. Aircraft, cars, and an endless list before hi-end audio cables. In his video of the cutaway, you could see a lot of air gaps, that shows it could have been better. Again, nothing new. They might sound good though.

[http://www.huskietools.com/HydraulicCompressionSection.pdf]
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjYrA1WjmZU&feature=related]
[http://www.hydraulic-tool-manufacturer.com/hydraulic-crimping-tool.htm]
There lies the rub:)
I used to manufacture cable ...sold it in NY, NJ, etc. I always found that soldering degrades the sound.
What I don't get is why Cardas has not been doing this since day one with the ability to use this "old" technology and if soldering does indeed degrade the sound.
So what does this do when you consider that between each end the rest of the cable is configured in a certian geometry, with space around the wires etc and the end are compressed?
A very good question, given the importance of the golden ratio. It did always bother me that my friend the electrical engineer thought I was crazy when I explained my cable choices for my equipment. He did not think that all cables sounded the same, but the capacitance/inductance/resistance parameters were easily understood and designed for. He bought radio shack with gold connectors.
Hi, thanks JFrech. Yes I had my GR speaker cables reterminated using Cardas' new process. The difference was not subtle. I noticed a much smoother, slightly more transparent sound. The cost was $400 plus shipping which I think is quite reasonable. I highly recommend doing it, especially if your system is of sufficient resolving power, which yours definitely seems to be.
You really think 400 bucks to reterminate is reasonable?? That is highway robbery for a few spades.

"cold forging" has been done by numerous companies for some time. its nothing new.
Saves money. The idea of these terminals was to save the industry money, with these solderless terminals. It takes more time to solder, plus better silver solder costs more. The inside of most amps speaker wire will be soldered right behind the speaker terminal. Plus all of the terminations in the amps, preamps, and rest of the gear. This (adding solderless to soldered) might go against what is called synergy.
I would venture to say the only perfect solder connection would be made with pure silver or smelting both the conductor and connector material together. Either process would be expensive. But I still think cold forging is bs since is doesn't actually fuse the metal. Kinda need a little heat for that.
Have you heard them? If not, then you've no basis to make a value judgement. If you have, then you're welcome to your opinion.


03-31-11: Lenny_zwik
Have you heard them? If not, then you've no basis to make a value judgement. If you have, then you're welcome to your opinion.
Lenny_zwik (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Anyone is entitled to an opinion about something like this. Maybe it's time for them to start proving what their product can do, since they're making the claims. Amplifier, speaker builders not only go by sound, they also give measurements. When someone reviews their products, they also give their own measurements, and opinions. I'm just speaking about a technology that's over seventy years old to my knowledge. In the medical, aerospace and other types of industry, the company has to prove what their product can do. And we also still can give an opinion of proven products. I did not say it will sound bad.
anybody know the answer to this? When you forge metals you are actually causing material flow and microcrystaline changes such that the metal afterwords does have different mechanical properties. Forging generally is high pressures (way high) and usually heat. I thought crimping was a smashing of stuff together at low heat and much lower pressures. Thats the material show from the cheap seats. Question is if forged materials exhibit different electrical properties than the native materials did before forging? If they get enough pressures here I could see different material properties as a result but electrical properties are out of my league.
03-31-11: Paulsax
... Question is if forged materials exhibit different electrical properties than the native materials did before forging? If they get enough pressures here I could see different material properties as a result but electrical properties are out of my league.
IMO the differences in electrical properties are out of everyone's league, Paul, in the sense that any differences in electrical properties that may be claimed cannot be established in a QUANTITATIVE manner to be audibly significant, based on generally recognized electrical principles.

Keep in mind that differences in resistance, inductance, capacitance, skin effect, parasitic diode rectification effects, eddy currents, etc., will only have audible consequences if they are significant in relation to load impedance and to the current drawn by the load (or in the case of capacitance, in relation to possible effects on the amplifier).

All of which is not to say that differences don't exist that may be audibly significant while being unexplainable. But which is to say that there is grounds for skepticism, and for suspicion that reported differences may have been the result of either an unrecognized variable or mistaken perception.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al, well said. Hard to know what to do since I'm skeptical I could hear the difference, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't and to the better. Like I said before, I do wonder why this approach wasn't done long before, since the ability to do this has been available for years.
You can see here Cardas Two Stage Compression Die Forging that the process results in a metallurgical, homologous material with any gaps. These gaps can act as capacitors, two conductors separated by a dielectric, in this case air, which can cause changes in current flow and frequency response.
Should have said "without" any gaps
Lenny, I had looked at all of that before posting. And the question would be HOW MUCH is the capacitance you are referring to? I doubt that it is much more than 1 or 2 pf. Compare that to the overall capacitance of the speaker cable itself, which is probably hundreds of pf's for typical lengths and typical cables, and then consider that even those hundreds of pf's represent a completely negligible and unimportant impedance at audible frequencies, in relation to both amplifier output impedance and speaker input impedance.

If the forging process makes an audible difference, it is not because of the capacitance you are referring to.

With all due respect, IMO qualitative theories that are not put into meaningful quantitative perspective are a pervasive problem in audio.

Regards,
-- Al
The engineers I used to work with said that the purposes of both solder and crimping are :

1)Mechanical connection

2)Exclusion of Oxygen, to prevent corrosion

They preferred crimping over soldering as more consistent and reliable.

Ken
Cardas on soldering verus crimping:

"When we look at crimping connectors onto cable vs soldering them, I would have say that most crimped connections are better than most soldered connections. However, the best connections are soldered connections. The problem is there is only one type of solder connection that is truly a joint, most are as the word states, a connection. Most solders, such as the popular 60/40, are a slurried mixture of tin and lead. In making the joint the tin/lead mixture melts, but as it solidifies it does so one metal at a time. It goes into a slurry state and one metal is liquid and the other is very small solid particles, sort of like wet cement. Next, the other metal solidifies and creates a million little connections. This type of connection is not particularly good and not permanent. When the phone company used this type of solder on their main frames, every joint had to be reheated once a year to insure reliability. Even then, the "cold joint" was a common occurrence. Bad and noisy joints were the main cause of failure in early printed circuit boards and electronic equipment until some time in the mid sixties or early seventies. Then they learned that eutectic joints were perfectly reliable and I do mean perfectly. By the mid seventies or early eighties most electronic equipment was being soldered with eutectic solder (63/37). The reliability of printed circuit boards went up about 1000% and solid state audio gear began to sound almost tolerable. Today, all printed circuit boards use 63/37 eutectic solder. Eutectic solder is a special mixture. The melting point of a eutectic solder is lower than any of its component parts, so there is no slurry state in these solders. They solidify as one piece and make a true solder joint, not a connection. Now, provided that the parts being soldered are made of the metal incorporated in the solder (tin plate in the example of printed circuit boards and component leads, with 63/37 tin/lead eutectic solder in the solder baths), you will have a perfect joint." Ok, so I have a perfect joint. Now I need to cold forge? Hmmm.
Ultrasonic welding.
http://www.ktu.lt/lt/mokslas/zurnalai/mechanika/mechtu_65/Kuprys365.pdf

The linked article deals with mainly mechanical properties, but you get the idea.
Thanks, will read, but those pesky formulas:)
All said, $400 for retermination is definitely not VFM. Whether it is robbery or not cannot be confirmed without listening though.
One thing I haven't seen addressed either in the Cardas video or in this thread is that Cardas wire is coated - from their website:
As each strand is drawn, the resultant ultra pure surface is immediately given a urethane enamel "Litz" coating. This is a continuous process that results in a perfectly insulated strand and ultimate longevity of the conductors. Ordinary uncoated copper stranding corrodes in a relatively short time. Cardas meticulously maintains the purity of the conductor strands until they are sealed at termination.
In their previous soldering process it is my understanding the wire was "tinned" in a solder pot to remove the enamel coating. In the ultrasonic welding link posted above, enamel coatings are removed by "high frequency vibration." How is the enamel removed in the Cardas "Cold Forging" process, or is it simply mashed into the connection?
Lenny, I'll give my opinion freely without question. Thanks.

The fact that I have not heard them does not mean anything. But one thing can be true, fusing different metals can easily change the electrical properties in a negative way. So there may be some truth to the improvement by making the connection as solid as possible without actually binding the material.

And it all goes back to YOUR ears. Why do I even bother commenting on a subjective subject anyway? ;)
No, I don't have to prove sound quality is worth the $400. It in no way should cost near $400 to have this type of re-termination.

Zu cold forges their interconnects which cost 100 bucks on sale.
I had the process done on my Golden Reference for $300, and the improvement is obvious. Smoother, more information coming through, more organic. I'm very happy with the results.

As far as the comments casting doubt on the value, this is my understanding of the process after speaking with a Cardas technician:
Day one: Old terminations removed. Ends are dipped in solvent to remove the clear coat on every strand.
Day two: dipped again, while being agitated. Set out to dry
Day three: unwind the conductors using a couple of wire wheel hand tools to remove remaining residue from stripping process. Two stage crimping process, resulting in each strand being fused into a solid lump, and then fused onto spades.

A word about the spades: they are not cheap. They are machined pure copper spades with silver plate and rhodium flash.

This sounds like a labor-intensive, time consuming process to do 8 of these. Regardless, I've spend a lot more money to get less improvement in sound. There are always going to be nay-sayers. Hearing is believing.
Take a look at what BJC does with their speaker cables. Of course Blue Jeans Cable has zero cache and no heirloom boxes.

http://www.blujeanscable.com/articles/ultrasonic-weld
Take a look at what BJC does with their speaker cables. Of course Blue Jeans Cable has zero cache and no heirloom boxes.
http://www.blujeanscable.com/articles/ultrasonic-weld.htm
You left the e out of blue, here is the correct link;
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/ultrasonic-welding.htm
This is a pretty cool process. Here is another article;
http://www.ktu.lt/lt/mokslas/zurnalai/mechanika/mechtu_65/Kuprys365.pdf
to everyone, the cost for cold forging a pair of single run speaker cables is $300 or $37.50 a connection (this is for 8 spades). the cost for cold forging a pair of internal bi-wire cables is $400 or $33.33 a connection (this is for 12 spades). the connectors used in this termination are unique to this process. the wire is litz so the coating has to be removed. a chemical is added to the connection to keep out impurities. the whole process is very labor intensive. what you are left with is a connection that is a solid piece without solder. it is much more than a crimp because the copper actually melts and becomes a solid with the connector. it took mr. cardas two years to develope and test this process. it was first avalable in the cardas clear cable. cardas is now offering this type of termination for all of their speaker cables and from what i have heard, people that have had this done end up with a profound improvement in their sound.
first hand knowledge always beats speculation.
best, bobby at merlin
Thank you Bobby, you addressed my question from 4/2 about whether the enamel is removed. Can you add any more details about how they remove it prior to the cold forge process? I suspect that is not easy in the absence of tinning the wire.
mitch,
Day one: Old terminations removed. Ends are dipped in solvent to remove the clear coat on every strand.
Day two: dipped again, while being agitated. Set out to dry
Day three: unwind the conductors using a couple of wire wheel hand tools to remove remaining residue from stripping process. Two stage crimping process, resulting in each strand being fused into a solid lump, and then fused onto spades.
this is the description from turboglo above.
ok mich?
best, bobby
Geez Bobby, sorry but I totally missed tuboglo's post. I am on board with the process since I use high pressure hydraulic crimpers on the cables I make; using a similar die, two crimps and trim the spades, very similar to the Cardas video, but of course not the same pressure or degree of fusion. I much prefer that crimped connection to soldered connections I have done, but I haven't tried it on litz wire. I am glad to hear those who have had cold forging done to their Cardas cables prefer the sound, although I would expect nothing less from Cardas.
This process of doing this this does not leave you with a solid one piece of copper. Cutting it open will actually let them separate into multiple pieces again. If they melted and turned into one, that's what you would have, but this most likely wouldn't be the case. Also, this process is actually over crimping. Copper is soft and malleable. If you run the cable at its full rated capacity, you will most likely have a hotter terminal with this method, than a normal proper crimp, with the correct dies used for both crimps. When over crimped like this, some of the copper will squeeze out, leaving a lighter gauge wire, than you started with. I'd like to see the terminal cut the opposite direction, to show this claimed solid theory. Also under a scope before filing, and letting some stray fillings appear to fill the gaps. You could polish the cut end enough to make a nice shiny finish. It is still not one, like taking in to its melting point, and actually turning the multiple pieces into one. For low current speaker termination, I'm guessing this process is fine. I don't think it would ever be adopted for termination that involves carrying electricity to anything, that may have human lives on the line.
the copper wires are pressed together and extruded. they are in effect one piece. to get them apart a chisel would be needed. are they melted? maybe, maybe not but there is heat evident. how about fused?
when the connector is crimped to the wire bundle, just enough pressure is used to squeeze the air out between them. the second stage reqires much higher pressure to fuse the components into one piece.
we are talking about speaker wire termination and not conducting electricity. but george assures me this connection would be fine for that too.
best, bobby
we are talking about speaker wire termination and not conducting electricity. but george assures me this connection would be fine for that too.
best, bobby
Bobbyapalkovic (Answers | This Thread)

They can be cut open quite easily, and that would reveal they are not fused. I didn't know anyone used a chisel to check something like this.

For speaker termination, they should get by.

As far as they are not for electricity, speakers need that to make music.

I'm glad I didn't make the claim.
H, are you usually this argumentative about things you cannot disprove? your knowledge of crimping may be considerable but this is not the same process. mr cardas has worked for years to make this a considerable improvement of the norm.
and we are discussing speaker wire terminations here and nothing else. for those that have had this done, they like it and that is all that matters. as i said, first hand knowledge is everything. now is you want to purchase a pair of cold forged speaker cables and chisel them apart which which george said would need to be done, then you would have some first hand knowledge.
have a nice day.
ok?
best, b
Here is a nice pic of the cut open connection. Some possible evidence that the strands and the connector seem totally fused...

http://www.cardas.com/content.php?area=insights&content_id=43&pagestring=Compression+Die+Forging+(video)

From Cardas' Website:
"Two Stage, Compression Die Forging
Clear and Clear Beyond speaker cables have truly forged connections, where the copper of the cable and the copper of the connector become one solid piece. This connection eliminates the Eddy Currents found in other types of terminations by forging a perfect homogeneous flow of conductor and connector."
04-15-11: Jfrech
the strands and the connector seem totally fused...

There is a huge gap between seem, and is. They are not, at least in any terms of metallurgy. It is a crimp.
i rest my case.
he is just going to be argumentative to the end.
he must be a lot of fun to live with.
:-)
best, b
It isn't supposed to be an argument like you state. It would be nice to see the measured facts for this claim of the elimination of Eddy Currents. This could be great for mankind, if this is really the case too. This could be measured. Fact finding, not arguing.
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