DIY interconnects

Seeking opinions on interconnects regarding types of wire (silver , copper, or hybrid)and bes gauge? Is it better to use multistrands or a larger single gauge?

There is a guy on e-bay that sells solid silver wire (22 gauge), he also includes the teflon cover and solder. I made up some IC's in a Kimber type configuration (braided) and after they broke in they sound great in my system IMHO. That was my best experience with diy IC'S. Belden 89259 is also suppose to be excellant for diy IC's according to John Risch's site. You can also find alot of info as to alternatives on the Audio Asylum site. Have fun, TG
here are some "generic" guidelines about interconnects based on my experiences. Obviously, there are always exceptions to the "rules" : )

Smaller gauge wires typically present a leaner tonal balance.

Heavier gauge wires typically present a warmer tonal balance.

Solid wires typically tend to present a smoother, more cohesive presentation.

Stranded wires typically tend to present a brighter presentation.

Copper wires typically tend to present a fuller sound with greater output in the warmth region. Copper adds "body".

Silver wires typically tend to present a brighter sound with greater output in the upper mids / lower treble. Silver adds "detail".

Using the exact same materials in various designs with different geometries ( braiding, coaxial, twisted pairs or quads, etc.. ) can produce audibly different results.

High capacitance cables tend to roll-off the top end, reduce sibilance, add warmth, etc...

All cables sound better after being run on a Mobie or cable burning device of similar design for an extended period of time.

The key to making a "good" interconnect is to make one that is as transparent as possible that is resistive to RFI & EMI. To do this, the cable would not have any specific sonic traits and use geometries that are known to reduce inductance to reasonable levels.

To achieve these goals, one could take different types of wire combinations ( solid and stranded, copper and / or silver, thick and thin ) and go to town on various geometries. Since there wouldn't be any one dominating factor to either wire used in the circuit, all of the "resonances" would be spread out due to disimilar qualities. You would not hear any specific traits of either wire singled out.

Jon Risch's SSTP ( solid stranded twisted pair ) design using the cores from Belden 89259 & 89248 does just that. One wire is smaller gauge stranded copper, the other is larger gauge solid copper. Both cables make use of Teflon insulation for low dielectric absorption.

By playing with different combo's and geometries, you can literally "fine tune" various degrees of warmth, detail, air, liquidity, etc... once you get experienced. Obviously, the results might vary from system to system and component to component but you should have "somewhat predictable" results as you progress.

This can all be done for pennies on the dollar compared to commercial designs while resulting in a LOT of fun and education along the way. I highly encourage folks to try their hand at something like this. Sean
Check out Jon's IC recipes at:

Silver is better IMO, so that is all I use for IC's. Air dielectric with no insulation is also superior.
I have found that the items mentioned in the earlier response by Sean to be pretty accurate. A couple of further comments, however.

While thicker cables for interconnects may yield a bit more warmth, I use 24 guage .99999 silver. I have found that, while the 24 guage can be difficult to work with (primarily threading it through Teflon tubing), this size wire seems to add the least amount of coloration (skin effect, etc.) In addition, I have heard no difference between the 24 guage and 18 guage (also .99999 silver) as far as extension in the frequency extremes. Using a high quality solder, such as WBT or Wonder, silver also tends to be noticably easier (i.e. cleaner weld) to solder. To me, silver just plain sounds better than copper....much more linear, better bass extension, and contrary to many peoples opinion, has a cleaner (i.e smoother and less "bright") upper end once properly broken in. I braid my interconnects as I think most do.

Now, for speaker cables I use multiple runs of 20 guage .999 or .9999 silver. I have found the difference in sound to be much less noiticable on speaker cables compared to interconnects as far as purity of the silver goes. Also, when laying down (braiding) 4 runs (2 plus and 2 minus) of between 4 and 9 strands each, silver speaker cables can get pretty expensive for a DIY project. Then add ANOTHER 4 runs for the math and you'll see why manufacturers charge what they do for some of their cables. I have found that for each upgrade in purity, .999 to .9999 for example, the cost per foot increases roughly 200%. In sticking to the less is more principle, I do not terminate my speaker cables. I simply place the bare ends into the speaker and amp's binding posts.

This stuff really IS fun. Cables make as much of a difference in the way your system sounds and ANY single other component yet are the easiest way for a novice DIY'er to get actively involved in building and tweeking audio components. Good luck and happy listening!! -Jason
~~~~D, (Re:Speaker wire) before "Big Bucks" spent, compared new additions against cheap electrical wire as a reference. Used (get this!) Essex 14-3 NM-B with ground, solid Copper. Helped to flush out the "Hype" and actual effects of wires. New connections sound different, contact points fresh. Always used same music and reference wires. One brand attenuated music to an unacceptable level. Your Mileage May Vary.

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