Covering silver wire for use as a speaker cable

I have access to some bare very fine silver wire.
What can I cover it with so it doesnt short?
If it's "very fine", I assume you mean very 'thin', as oposed to very 'pure', so just how are you going to layer and bundle it to make large enough conductors for speaker cable? And will you be using a two or four conductor configuration? And how will you twist it uniformly?

And that's all before you figure out how to jacket/insulate it so it is protected from air and tarnishing. If you can do all that, you won't have to worry about shorting ;-)
Why not clear plastic tubing for an aquarium pump? It would insulate perfectly and is primarily just air dielectric, except where the silver wire occasionally touches the plastic.

If you like the sound you could experiment with all the other materials that will be suggested in this thread :^), such as cotton, Teflon, etc.
How heavy a gauge you need (thus requiring more than one strand of the "very fine silver wire" per leg) surely depends on what amount of resistive loss you can support without an ability to compensate through increased volume.

If the amps are very close to the speaker (assuming monoblocks and a separate preamp), you would be able to use very short lengths, and may not need "to layer and bundle it to make large enough conductors for speaker cable".

I am suspicious heavy gauge speaker cables. What problem are they trying to address?

I'd be looking for some natural cotton sleeving.

Thanks for the replies so far. Nsgarch "Fine" meaning 6 nines grade.
Metralla, I already own some pretty pricey Speaker cables (Synergistic Tesla Apex). I just want to see what this silver does.

The wire is about 26 gauge. I have enough that I can multiply it together 5 or more times to make 10-15 foot stereo cables.
I just want to try it first with the wire doubled then tripled and then maybe try another layer and so on.

Feeding this wire through even aquarium tubing ( pretty good idea) might be very hard.

Is there any kind of epoxy paint that could be used ?
Ozzy, so, you were referring to the quality of the wire (although 26 AWG isn't exactly heavy;-) The problem with silver is it tarnishes rapidly when exposed to air; and if you want to bundle/twist several together strands together, they need to make good contact, which they won't if they begin to tarnish. So it's essential to either coat each strand with some kind of high temperature polymer ike Paul Speltz's Anti-Cable (not generally a DIY operation) or enclose the wire(s) in an airtight jacket of some kind.

I think you could probably do the latter using 4 foot lengths of shrink tubing (clear would be nice ;-) and then covering the joints with another short length of shrink tubing. An inexpensive heat gun makes shrinking the tubing pretty easy. I'd also recommend you make the cable in two separate runs for each speaker. That way you virtually eliminate the capacitance and inductance problems of 2 conductor single jacket cable.
If the wire is bare, pass it through polyurethane and let it dry & cure hanging overnight. Then snake each strand through a long 2mm cotton sleeve and make a loose litz braid of all strands. Soak a 1" band of ERS cloth in Goop cement and wrap around both ends. Remove urethane from ends with an exacto knife, twist and terminate wire bare.
Nsgarch, Thanks for the suggestion. Where can I buy 4 foot lenghts of shrinkable tubing? And how do I fish the wire through the tubing?

Dgarretson , Where can I buy the cotton sleeve, and wont this be also very difficult to snake the wire through?
Reference Audio Mods has it. Bend back the tip to make a tight curve with a smooth point and snake it through. If you want to send several strands together through a single sleeve, wrap the tips tightly in teflon tape. Be forewarned that jewelers silver may not sound as good as silver made specifically for audio.
Shink tubing is available at electronic parts stores (B+M or online.) It comes standard in 4 foot (or maybe it's 5 foot) lengths. I suggested it because you can get it large enough (in diameter) to easily snake the wire through, and then it will heat shrink to 50% of its original diameter.

It is made of polyolefin which I have to assume has great dielectric properties since it's used to insulate wire ;-)
Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to give them a try.
Dgarretson, Nsgarch
What size should I buy ?
2mm cotton sleeves from RAM for proper litz braid, or various sized rolls of polyolefin HS tube from McMaster Carr if you just want to bundle 10 or so strands together inside one tube.
Ozzy, go to for shrink tubing in long lengths.I'd reccomend the 3:1 shrink ratio.They also have all kinds and colors of braiding,but no cloth type.Good luck and keep us informed on the project.
IIRC, silver is supposed to more conductive after it tarnishes. Is that urban legend or is the concern about the tarnishing just about appearance?
Dgarretson,Tpreaves Thanks ! Fantastic suggestions!
Oz -- ERS cloth can be a problem if you use too much of it. If you want to play around with some let me know. I have a small, but dwindling stash of ERS (and some 50%Stillpoints too ;-)
I've read somewhere that they've tried wrapping with plumber's teflon tape before a more solid outer layer, like shrink tape. The yellow gas tape is thicker and less prone to tear. I don't suggest separating +/- for any extended length, so we're talking about layers of insulation.
Nsgarch, I have heard that about the ERS cloth also. Thank you for the offer.
Ngjockey, Thats an interesting idea. Do you know if the yellow teflon tape is sticky?

Actually, all I want to do is try the silver wire to see if it has any possibilties.
But keeping the wires seperated from shorting even temporary is a problem.
My favorite solution for temporarily keeping bare wire away from other things and each other, is to thread the runs through foam swimming pool noodles. (Very festive!)

They also make great cable lifters cut into 6" lengths and threaded onto the speaker cable. (Yes, they can be spray painted ;-)
Nsgarch, Good Idea !
I also have some pipe foam insulation that I can try. If the wire sounds good, then I will go after the other suggestions for proper dressing.
Ozzy, don't bother with the pipe foam; been there! It's a nicer color granted, but the split down one side makes it difficult to work with in this application.
Use PTFE Teflon tubing that is at least two gauges larger than the solid silver wire. You want the silver wire to "float" inside of the teflon tubing. Do not use shrink wrap tubing especially if you intend on shrinking it. I would also recommend using at least a 16AWG wire. If your silver wire is not at least 16AWG or thicker, try using copper at about 12AWG-16AWG with PTFE tubing.
The best speaker wire I've ever heard was bare 12AWG copper Romex bought at an ordinary electrical supply house. All of the insulation was stripped off with just bare copper remaining. Keep in mind that this was a mono block setup with only 18" of wire suspended directly from the amps to the speakers. Obviously, proceed with caution and if you have children or pets; forget it!
Willoamp, What about using both silver and copper wire?
This would increase the gauge .
Silver and copper ...

Also happens to be why I wouldn't bother making speaker cables.
Why would you be contemplating using silver and copper? If you can afford it, use silver only. It has the highest conductivity.
Willoamp, The silver wire I have is about 26 gauge.
The thought of using copper was to be able to add more gauge.
Here's a basic "rule of thumb" for estimating wire gauge needed when combining gauges. There's a chart for this somewhere.
Every time you double up the amount of silver, the effective wire gauge goes DOWN 3 steps.

If you double-up on 18 ga., the effective total gauge is now 15. Double up again (4 - 18 ga. wires), and it is now 12 ga. effective total.

Add two eight ga. wires together, and it becomes 5 ga. effective total.

So in your case, doubling two 26-gauge wires is now 23 guage. Four runs of 26 guage would now be 20 gauge, and so forth...

Has anyone made progress with bare silver speaker wire? Any news about the need for a cover? Any other news?
Sabai, check out Tempo Electric cables. They use an oversized teflon tube so as to minimize contact to the wire itself. They also recommend no terminations but if you want, they use what they feel are the best ones out there and they raise the cost of the cables considerably.

I have a set and they're really good.

All the best,

Thanks for the tip. After doing some research since my post I think I will stick to bare wire for now. Contact with other wires is not an issue and silver oxide is supposed to be as conductive as silver.
Check out my systems page for my DIY speaker wire.

Thanks -- will do.

I also used silver polish and 0000 buffing pads to really put a sheen on the wire.
I had enough wire to run the positives and negatives in opposite directions. Then, I threaded the wire into some oversized quality Teflon and twisted the wires slightly.

My speakers are Bi-wire, so I used 14 gauge on the bottom and 16 gauge on the top.

The wire I bought was soft annealed 4&5 nines solid silver wire.

This wire exceeded any and all speaker cable I have ever owned, and I owned quite a lot(at high $$$).

Now, since then the price of silver sky-rocketed but its a one time purchase.