I am using very short (18") copper foil for my speakers. The performance is simply astounding. Rewards including, surprising depth, detail, separation, and extension extremes are beyond expectation.
I gave my ribbons baggy insulation by wrapping the ribbon with Saran Wrap. It has been proven to me dielectrics are the signal's worst enemy.
My ribbon is .003" and 12 gauge. I just unwind what I need from a ribbon inductor.
I always start at McMaster-Carr www.mcmaster.com for things like that
Both of you thanks for the info. I just added a single tail copper foil to the negative side of my speakers and the improvement was outstanding as if I upgraded my system. The system sounds fast, dynamic and downright transparent. I was so thrilled that I am trying to get more for my home theatre speakers but McMaster does not have the .0075 thick foil. I will try the .003 that you Muralman1 mentioned.
For speaker cables, try 5mil x 2", or 7mil x 2" for more LF emphasis.
how do you terminate such thin foil ?
The ends can be folded down to a pointed triangle and shaped with needle-nose pliers for crimping & soldering inside a convention spade. Alternatively the ends can be folded into several thicknesses and punched for direct copper termination. A Cardas no-stress binding post is perfect for this, as it clamps down without twisting.
Mrtennis, I use silver rhodium spades sourced from Home Grown. To start the narrowing of the ends, I gently curve the edges into a U. I snip the last three centimeters into strips for intertwining. The spades have two allen bolts that secure the intwined copper.
My amps have to be carefully guarded against shorts. That is why I use clean spades. Bare ending the copper to the speaker terminals may be advantageous.
"I just added a single tail copper foil to the negative side of my speakers...".
Forgive my ignorance but what is this DIY about? Thanks in advance.
Ghosthouse does 2130 H mean anything to you?
This is the easiest DIY in audio. The returns are way and above any justifiable
Hey guys, for kicks, try your kitchen drawer aluminum foil for the return leg. Just cut it into wide ribbons. See if you hear a difference. I bet you won't.
Muralman1 - sorry, no...2130H doesn't mean a thing to me. But I guess I'll be searching on that! My curiosity is certainly up. Would appreciate learning more about this DIY. I take it is a kind of "tweak"?
Muralman1- OK...looked up your system. See that you used the foil to make speaker cables. Still not clear about 2130 H, however. Thanks for posting it.
I thought your moniker evokes interests in ghosts. Sorry if I was presumptuous.
A major component change is not normally considered a tweak. This particular change is like what LA45 reported. What's cool in it to me is how cheap it is to make this change.
Ahh - OK...line of code in an old "Haunted House Adventure Game" programmed in Microsoft BASIC?
2130 H$(11)="IT CASTS A FLICKERING LIGHT":H$(12)="YOU HAVE EVERYTHING"
(Didn't think 2130 H had anything to do w/G Washington U.)
...no, "Ghosthouse" does not derive from that.
Boy, have I gone daffy. The address to look up is 2131 H. I remembered it wrongly.
Interesting coincidence then...2130 H vs 2131 H. Thanks for the clarification.
An old hifi-troll enters the thread ;P
Speakercables are the component that ruins sound most, to keep them short as possible minimize loss. An old hifi-legend says that energy only use the outside of the conductor, leading hifi-nuts to think that thin foil-conductors would be the optimal solution.
But the whole legend is wrong, current goes deeper than skin-deep, big area conductors is the optimal solution, short & massive.
Years ago a friend showed me his copperfiol-cables thinking he had found the optimal solution. (after uppgrading his filter-coils wsith CFC-ciols; a lot of folks didn`t understand why the foil-coils sounded cleaner))
After liustening a bit I pushed him to make up a set of solid-core copper cabes to compare, about 13awg. Result: a lot cleaner, more open sound and better dynamics. Why? When using a thin foil-conductor the amp looks into jus that; a thin/flat conductor.(like with a multistranded cable)
Thin cables sounds thin and are dynamic-killers. Take a look inside your amp; see the power-circuits dimensioning? The speakercables shoulkd be at least as thick as that circuit, and allways solid.
Off course a triode-amp playing into a hyper-effective horn system wount need the same leader-area as a powerful passiv fullrange. But the key to weightless dynamics is to uppgrade the complete powercircuit, from powercables (solid!)trafos, speakercables and passive filters. (or avoid the last two :S)
Conclution: find some solid copper, say 10awg or even thicker and listen to what happens to your sytem. If you turn up the volume a bit the copper will open up in about an hour. No more hars "details", cleaner vocals and huge bottom-end power. If the boyttom seems fat; add more copper(!) to improve control.
I have a pair of Paul Weitzel designed CRL/FIM speaker cables and a couple of his power cords. All use solid core copper in heavy gauge configurations. I would agree with your assessment on these types of cables as to how they influenced the sound in my system. However, I am currently using some stranded smaller gauge speaker cables and interconnects designed by Dale Pitcher at Intuitive Audio and I have to say I don't feel I'm missing any dynamics. As for thin sounding, maybe it's the solid core wire accentuating the sound. Hard to tell which is which from my perspective, but I enjoy both sets of cables in my system so I guess that's what counts.
Palerider, Far from "hi-fi legend," skin effect at AC is well documented as variation in impedance against frequency that occurs at difference depths of a conductor. The effect becomes pronounced at frequencies above a few kHz. It's not true that signal travels only on the surface of the conductor, but it is true that the larger a conductor's diameter, the more skin effect causes audible frequency shift. This is why litz wiring was conceived.
Ribbons sound great because of reduced skin effect. However you are correct that adequate conductor guage is also significant. The 2"x .005" copper ribbons I'm using as speaker cables have a cross-sectional area of 6.45 mm2-- about the same as a 9awg round wire.
Before you start claiming that skin effect is significant above a few kHz do the calculations. The effect is vanishingly small in the kHz range. I speak as someone who works in the GHz range
I speak as someone who works in the GHz range.
Others are probably speaking as someone who listens to music.
Rather than explore relevant Bessel functions & Maxwell equations in a non-technical forum, I suggest that doubters spend $100 at McMaster-Carr for some electronics-grade copper of equivalent gauges in both formats & experiment. You will be surprised.
I went from solid cord to ribbon. There is no looking back. Dynamics, depth, detail, and separation have never been better.
I did the ribbon experiment. It was a fun go at it. I made 4 inch cables & 2 inch cables. The 2 inch were 0.005 thickness while the 4 inch were 0.007 thickness. The 2 inch had beautiful highs but lacked bass in my system. I then tried again. The 4 inch had too much bass and no highs. While inductance is a major concern for speaker cables and this is solved by separating the positive & negative cables by about 2 inches (or you can tune to taste), the foils on the floor will have a capacitance with the floor if not well insulated. This has been my results. I would suggest 2 inch with 0.007 if you want something that is as good as almost anything in the 5K range. But the best speaker cables are significantlly better. It depends how resolving your system is and how much top & bottom end extension you have.
I do have 1/2 inch foils for interconnects. They are very impressive. Again the best is better, but the foils are very impressive. The best designers recognize how the dielectric stores energy and is truly what breaks in. Audioquest & Tara take this approach. They have different ways of working around it. I also think Synergistic Tesla might also have a related approach. I am by no means an electrical engineer (although I took some courses years ago) but did consult with one in analyzing why certain cables failed in differet areas. Lifting the foils of the floor was his immediate recommendation and it helped a lot but not enough for my taste. I didn't want to listen to my system as I felt that everything was muddied do to excessive bass. This has since been rectified.
To relay a story about 20 years old;
I had a proffesor at Berkeley in Material Science while studying Civil Engineering. He was a hot shot from Texas. They would call him in to analyze electrical malfunctions etc in plane wrecks etc. He new his stuff. I went up to him and asked him why different cables cost more & what the differences are.
His simple answer was (w. a Texas accent)"Heck I don't know, but I just bought that MIT stuff because it sounds better". I think there is more to be said for trial & error than science on early cable design. By now, I think we have come a long way. I can easily hear the difference between my older cables and newer designs.
I do want to experiment w. the Furutech Demag on some of my older cables. I have a feeling Demaging the dielectric might lead to sonic gains.
Dgad, yours is a thoughtful, and educated response. Thank you.
My ribbons dangle in the air. Having never heard them lying on the floor, I will take your word it isn't recommended. I know Speltz warns of the same thing on his almost naked wires.
I had a Tesla on my system for an audition. We were comparing it to a Speltz IC. There was a difference, albeit small. The Tesla either sounded a bit cleaner, or it masked a bit of detail. If we had more time...
I have heard MIT on lots of systems. My prejudice tells me the systems sounded good despite the MITs.
I concur with Dgad on the sound effect of the floor. The phase effect or shift is a sensitive factor in my set up. I don't declare that its the most revealing (resolution) but music flow and soundstage is paramount.
Foils seem to offer a nice presentation at a bargain price. When people like Dave Magnan making foil speaker cables, I take note. He has been designing cables for as far as I can remember (15 years).
Foils is lowsy leaders compared to thicker circular or other shapes. Might look exotic but ruins soundquality used as cables. Foil conductors on the other hand gives a clean sound, and many seems to mix that up not realising why they sound cleaner.
Foil conductors. Anyone know of a designer who builds silver or copper foil for IC's?
Nordost, Goertz, Mapleshade, Allen Wright/VSE are a few. McMaster-Carr sells raw electronics-grade copper and there are several small distributors of silver foil.
From what I undertand "foils" might be easier to use in speaker cable designs than in interconnect designs.