My only DIY experience with silver is 99.99% 20 guage solid in teflon tubing XLR balanced configuration. Must say, I am pleasantly surprised, really like the sound and simple to construct -not using a shield wire and they are dead quiet.
I'd recommend trying out Mundorf's 1.5mm solid-core Silver/gold(99% silver/1% gold) wires, or the 0.5mm variant for interconnects. To my ears they contribute to a wonderfully coherent, highly resoluted, dynamic(micro as macro), well-balanced, and naturally varm sound.
The Key to using silver wire is to use only soft annealed wire.
I've found success using bare OCC silver that I thread into oversized teflon tubing. I use multiple runs for the conductor and for the return. The last cable I made was in this same configuration but with UPOCC copper and the copper Eichmann bullets. It sounds great. I usually prefer working with silver, but the system was getting a little too bright. I know there's an eBay seller (hifi-deals) who sells gold-plated OCC copper that coated in enamel. They're based out of Ohio; they might be able to get you individually coated OCC silver. The also sell OCC copper that's silver plated, but it's not the same. I haven't been able to find anyone selling enamel or litz OCC silver.
Well, I recently came across an ebay seller (back-promo) who sells handmade silver cables with Litz OCC silver conductors he makes himself. Although he does not supply these wires in bulk he was kind enough to send me a sample and give me its specs. I can say that I was impressed with the wire. The sample was only a few cm but long enough to identify a perfect structure throughout its length. I decided to try and replicated this wire.
It was made of 4 solid OCC silver strands threaded in Teflon tubes of the same internal diameter as the individual wires. The tubes have a 0.12mm wall which is very thin, but still much thicker than any coating found in Litz wires. The insulated wires are helically twisted together to form a 24AWG conductor which is then encased in Teflon. The conductor is extremely tough (actually it is impossible to break) and a lot more flexible than a solid 24AWG wire).
Although I managed to copy the entire design and achieved quite a nice result (not as perfect as the sample I received but still quite symmetrical), I only managed to reach a length of 40-50cm after ending up with lots and lots of broken wires. It is extremelly difficult to thread such thin wires in tubes of the same diameter and I cannot imagine how one can do so for lengths beyond 50-60cm.
Anyway, such a structure is claimed to have all the benefits of a solid core without any of it negatives. I think that both the cost of the materials and the work that such a cable requires is a high price for DIY. But since I have one conductor ready I think I will make a second one so that at least I can form a twin cable and try it out.
When It is all finished I will compare it with my solid silver interconnects and I really hope to be pleasantly surprised.
I tried to search eBay for a seller called "back-promo" but it said that the eBay ID was not found. Is that the correct spelling?
For interconnects MY Audio Cable (MAC) sells solid soft annealed 5N Silver 24 gauge cables.
For speaker cables I bought some solid 18 and 14 gauge(For Biwiring)soft annealed 5N silver wire and I used large diameter teflon tubes. I then used some techflex sheething over the teflon tubes.
Sorry for my mistake Metralla. His ebay name is back25beat10. I confused it with his email address.
back25beat10 - got it. Thanks.
Well, I have finished making a very short pair of silver litz interconnect cables. They are 40cm long with a twisted pair of OCC silver Liz conductors of 24AWG. I have created the conductors as described above but with an overall cotton insulation. The sample of LITZ I received has a PTFE outer insulation but since the strands are already electrically insulated in the Teflon tubes I thought that the thick cotton tubes will add more space between the conductors without increasing a lot the dialectic effect. And since I will use it without a shield or jacket, cotton will give a substantial size and protection to the cable.
I decided to test this cable as a phono cable. Most of the weaknesses of a cable are more likely to be exposed when used for such an application. The reason is that the signal between the cartridge (especially when the cartridge is a low output MC) is very weak. Such a signal is not only vulnerable to EMI and RFI but also to the effects of the conductor and insulation materials. The signal carried by a phono cable will be amplified many more times than the signal coming from any other source of a hi-fi system and therefore any effects on the signal will be amplified too.
Obviously, in order to test a cable as "phono" this cable has to be suitable. My experience (backed often by the observations of others as well as by theory) has shown that the ideal solid or stranded conductor size for phono applications is between 26AWG and 34AWG. The internal tonearm wires are usually 32-34AWG and a cable with such a small size of conductors could be extended to the pre-amp for short lengths. However, a 33AWG solid wire is very weak and likely to break if used as an external cable. So my favorite DIY phono cables have 28AWG solid conductors in a simple twisted pair structure and they have performed better than any silver cable I have tried so far.
Litz however, is much different than solid or stranded wires. It seems to perform equally well (if not better) in larger sizes down to 22AWG. One of my favourite phono cables is a Cardas that uses 24AWG Litz conductors. I imagine that the individually insulated strands in a Litz wire act separate thin solid conductors and therefore larger sizes can be obtained without a high frequency roll off effect. Anyway, since the Litz cable I have made uses 24AWG conductors I decided to compare it with a pair of my handmade 28AWG solid silver cables and a pair of 24AWG solid silver cables I normally use between my pre-amp and amp.
The difference when I used the Litz cable was so obvious. It did take away some of the brightness but added authority and even more detail in the mids. The bass remained natural but layering became clearer. To be honest I was somehow used to the brightness and slight resonance on the highs delivered by my solid silver cables so it dit take me some time to realize that both clarity and openness where still there but mostly projected in depth rather than being flat.
I am now so keen on getting hold of some nice pure silver Litz cables. I would consider the DIY path but it seems unlikely that I will be able to create longer then half a meter Litz conductors. Also, I am actually looking for properly shielded cables which make things more complicated. I am not aware of any branded terminated cables with pure silver Litz conductors (but I imagine they would be extremely expensive).
However, I did come accross the following sourses that seem interesting and I may consider exploring.
hificollective has some similar Litz silver wire for DIY by HGC but comes at a cost of £33.60 per meter!
wonderco_buy on ebay has a bulk shielded twin cable (silver LItz) at around £30 per meter. I am very tempted to purchase some of it and test it. Anyone with some experience of it? It has quite a large outer diameter though (6.7mm) so I don't think one could fit a double run in a DIN tonearm connector, but I guess it would do a nice interconnect.
back25beat10 on ebay sells terminated phono cables and interconnects using OCC silver Litz conductors and since he has been quite nice to me so far I may purchase something to try it out. His prices are very low for what he offers (which after having it tried myself it is a really hard job to make) but I haven't heard anything about him in any reviews.
Sorry if i misunderstand you[i am from Holland]but iknow a supplier here in holland:van den Hul who has for example the 501[pure] Silver litze phono interlink and many others.
Hi Okkie300, I might be wrong but I think that the VDH D-501 silver has bare stranded conductors and not Litz. The only VDH silver Litz that I know is the very thin wires used for internal tonearm wiring.
Hi Aber23, i own myself the D501 Silver hybride,the pure Silver signal wires are coated with transparent laquer just like the jubilee interconnect.The 501 or 502 hybride are bare stranded.
Hi Rik, Thank you for the crarification. The description of D501 Silver by VDH does not specify that the conductors are litz but since you are the owner of one of them and you say so, this should be the case.
What is your opinion on the cable? I have heard / read mixed reviews on it and to be very honest I am not a great fan of Van Den Hul (Although I have only tried a couple of cables).
I think that the D-501 silver hybrid sells for around £90 per metre which is not too bad (depending on how it actually performs).
Regarding the suggestion about Mundorf's solid silver/gold wires, never tried them but I heard that they are very nice for DIY interconnects (at 0.5mm). The seller who sent me the samle actually sells some interconnects with Mundorf silver but when I enquired about it he suggested that I would get better results for a lower price if I use a hybrid of solid, high purity OCC silver and OCC copper conductors than Mundorf's silver-gold alloy.
Still, I would not reject the idea of silver-gold. It appears to add some mildness and roundness to the sound of silver as well as better mechanical qualities to the conductor.
Has anyone made a comparisson of Mundorf's silver with OCC silver? It would be interesting to hear what you think.
I like your DIY approach. What do you think about this company as a source for your DIY projects?
I am thinking about getting some silver IC's with WBT AG's, for long interconnects. I am also exploring the DIY route for IC's between the phono and preamp.
Thanks for keeping us informed about your progress.
Regarding the enquiry about Tempo-electric. I do respect the fact that they have offered so much information on DIY. Their non-commercial partner (I think) website
http://www.laventure.net/tourist/index.html is also a great source of information.
Their prices on DIY materials (i.e. silver, teflon etc) are good but still quite expensive if you intend to use such materials on a regular basis. Ideally you should try to buy them from manufacturers or specialized distributors / resellers that you trust.
The problem in purchasing directly from the sourse (or close to it) is that most materials are not specifically created for the purpose you need them. So you may have to try samples from different sources untill you find the most suitable. By purchasing these materials from somewhere like Tempo Electric you can be a lot more confident on their quality and suitability.
Personally, I prefer purchasing from the source but this has resulted to spending a lot of time and often being dissapointed.
Hi Aber23 Well it is a lot better than the original d501 and as the std.SME cable.But it is silver so it depends on your equipment.But it is not too clear.I had always VDH cables The Revelation speakercable and Thunderline interlinks.that is a good combination however i am now playing with Cardas,[see my question can you help?]Rik
I have just ordered some silver Litz wires by Audio Note at different sizes so next weekend I will attempt to built some interconnects and make a few comparissons.
Some interesting information about their silver Litz wires can be found here: http://www.audionote.co.uk/comp/cables.shtml
I would really like to find out if the sound my short DIY Litz interconnects deliver is a common feature of any good silver Litz wire or the result of other parameters. So I hope to be able to test a few different silver LITZ cables.
Thank you Rik for your comment on the silver D501. It is similar to comments I heard from others as well regarding this cable.
About your question on cardas hexlink golden 5c I am afraid that I am not sure if there is a correct way to match the conductors. I would simply match them in a convenient colour coded way making sure that it is the same at both ends. I guess that the best thing to do is contact Cardas (or an experienced Cardas dealer) directly with your enquiry.
Well, some time passed and I did experiment with lots and lots of Litz wires. I bought what I could afford for DIY and borrowed some Litz phono cables whenever possible. Without getting into too much detail, I was slightly disappointed by the results. In the beginning the ideas behind Litz wire construction and my experience with my handmade cable gave me the impression that Litz equals to the best result you can get. I was very wrong, and I am not sure why. Some wires (like the audionote sounded good) but most of them were missing the sparkle of silver one can get from many solid and even bare stranded wires. I just get the impression that the very thin strands in the conductors are over-dampened by their coatings. I guess there is some effect of the insulation on the strands which I like in some copper cables (like Cardas) but on silver, where I expect speed, clarity and detail to a large extend such an effect was quite undesirable. Still trying to figure out what made that initial handmade Litz so special. Thinking of getting a ready-made Litz cable from the same guy and see if it could keep up with my initial impression. Anyone has any further thoughts about Litz wires?
Guess that you are already checked for Audio Tekne Litz wires, which are in fact cooper cables and not silver. Despite material I can say that AT cables are natural sounding much more than a number of other well established cables. This fact forced me to replace 7 times more expensive cables for ATs. Some not well designed electronic may have a problem with Litz wires due to their high capacity. So it is worth to pay attention to Litz wires extra high transparency, low-level resolution, and sheer of naturalness from top to bottom.
Aber23. Thanks for an honest report after a lot of searching and hard work. Many people would conclude (delude themselves?) that the cables were great based upon the level of effort and cost expended to do the experiment. Kudos and keep at it! - John
No actually I haven't since I was keen on sticking to pure silver so that I can make a more consistent comparison. However, after reading your message I did a small research on the Audio Tekne that (other then the good reviews about them) gave me some further ideas regarding Litz construction and issues that result from it.
One of the most important things that has a direct sonic impact on the performance of a cable is the primary insulation. i.e. the one that is in direct contact with the bare wires. My favouite insulations are cotton and Teflon. However, due to lots of secondary disadvantages cotton has, I rarely use it. So typically, Teflon is what I want as a primary insulation in a good cable. (Here, obviously there may be many other alternatives one may prefer) When solid conductors are involved Teflon is a common feature. However, this is not the case with Litz.
Typically, a Litz wire consists of a bundle of Magnet wires. This means that each strand is coated with enamel or some other type of varnish. Then, all the strands together can be insulated with cotton, silk, or some plastic based insulation. Until now, it never crossed my mind that the problem with Litz wires may not be the over-dampening by using all this insulation on the strands, but the quality of this insulation. I would never use a solid silver cable insulated with enamel or any of those varnishes. In Litz wires, however, this seems to be the standard and no one really pays much attention to it. Often the manufactures don't even mention what the primary insulation on the strands is. I come across descriptions like silk covered Litz. But silk here means very little since it is only the secondary insulation that surrounds the already coated strands.
Apparently, the sonic benefit of using teflon coated strands is left aside for the following reasons. First, the very high cost of production. There are some. companies that manufacture Teflon magnet wire and its price compared to their enamelled wires is 10 times higher.
Second, in order for the Teflon to be extruded over the bare wire, extremely high temperatures are required. In most cases these temperatures can burn the surface of materials like copper (and hence they are silver plated for protection). However, even when silver is used some surface damage is inevitable. So the application is really problematic.
Third. Teflon is really hard to work with. Will not burn or remove easily without risking to damage the silver cores. And when we are talking about hair-like fine cores, terminating such cables is going to be almost impossible.
The best silver litz I tried was the ones by Audionote and having checked their specs they some one of the most acceptable types of insulation although still inferior to Teflon.
Also, could you explain what you meant by high capacity on Litz wires. Although it sounds like an interesting remark, I am not sure that fully I understand what you meant.
I have now ordered a kind of Litz phono cable which is likely to overcome the insulation issues described above. I am not really sure what to expect (or if my approach described above has in the end such a significant importance).
There is also the issue of the size of the strands to be taken into consideration. i.e. a solid 24AWG wire.. well it is solid so it is a transmission line on its own. A stranded 24AWG wire will pretty much act as as single transmission line (no matter how many or what size of strands it uses) since the strands are bare and in contact with each other. In the case of a 24AWG Litz wire however, each strand is a separate transmission line/path and in this case the size of the individual strands matters. I am not sure what the ideal size would be though. Other then the mechanical advantage of using many and very thin strands I don't see any benefit over using less and larger (I.e.34awg strands). Actually the second option sounds better.
Also, thank you John. I am not coming here as an expert but as someone who has some knowledge and experience but understands that there is a lot more to try and learn. Some failure to get the result you expect is certainly not very pleasant, but if one is honest to himself should be able to accept it and move a few steps further.
I'm sorry for late response but better ever then newer. With high capacity I actually meant high capacitance. Technically, shielding add significant capacitance to the cable with minimal positive benefit. Litz cable is designed to have extremely low inductance i.e. ohmic losses are reduced due to skin and proximity effect eddy currents and therefore allowing it to pass high frequencies more easily. On other hand Litz wires are just the cables with high capacitance that can have a dramatic effect on sound quality. Most preamps will have no problem with small amounts of capacitance, however if both pre and power amps have high bandwidth and no filtering than may suffer. What is important here is also that high capacitive cables may cause RF instability in the output stages and therefore ruin the sound. In right combination between low inductance and high capacitance in the Litz speaker wires load may become tricky for the outputs of some amplifiers to become unstable and oscillate at high power to the level of tweeter damage. For all this warnings we may say that they more amplifier design issue than the Litz cables.
Litz cables are not for anyone but in cases when all system limits are overcome than they are exceptional. I prefer Audio Tekne copper wires over any silver, are far more natural and balanced.
Audio Tekne Litz phono cable is equal or even on higher level than other AT cables. To improve environment for phono cable inside tone arm it is good to apply cotton insulation and overall also bride shield which to be grounded.
Hi Guma15. Although I agree that high capacitance will most probably have negative results, I am afraid that I have to disagree with you on your account of the relation between Litz wire and capacitance. Litz wires are nothing but stranded wires with individually insulated strands. So, if anything, two or more Litz conductors/wires are likely to give less capacitance than stranded wires (of the same thickness) because of the additional space which is created by the insulation. Obviously, this is a very theoretical argument since all these values can easily change by simply altering the distances, sizes and dielectrics; so it is up to the manufacturer to create the desired levels of capacitance no matter what type of wires he decides to use.
Also, the shield on a cable does not automatically raise its capacitance. It depends on how it is used. i.e. on my interconnect cables between the source and the pre-amp, the shields are only connected to an external ground lug and have little to do with the capacitance between the conductors. Also, I have to say that the need for a shield or not is very much system and environment dependent. Personally, there is no chance I could use an unshielded cable without picking noise. I have tried it with several unshielded cables and the result was unbearable. I know people, who never felt the need of using shielded cables on their system and rightfully so. Their unshielded cables performed perfectly fine on their system. Most of them were convinced that shielded cables are entirely unnecessary; until they tried their cables in my house :-)
Anyway, I am now the owner of a brilliant silver litz phono cable (which unfortunately I did not make myself). It is a cable made by the guy I referred to earlier. The improvement was such that I could not justify it simply on the change of a cable. Not only the added detail and the perfect balance but also a huge expansion of the soundstage that made me feel like I had made a major component upgrade and moved around my entire set up in the room. The capacitance of the cable is at 18pF/ft which may not be the lowest one can get but it is on the very low side and perfectly fit for my case.
This phono cable travelled around most of my friends' houses and every single one of them has now placed an order for one. So I am quite confident that what I heard was not simply what I wanted to hear. It is simply a radical cable. I now compare two pairs of interconnect cables made by the same guy and I just cannot understand how he has achieved such substantial difference between his cables and other high end alternatives of similar structure. My recently made AN-Vx will be for sale soon without a second thought.
The same time I keep trying to DIY a similar Litz wire. The result is good. However, I end up with much bulkier conductors (which is a bit of an issue when you want to make a flexible cable) and I still cannot go over 50-60cm. Despite this, I am very happy with how these short DIY interconnects perform and have replaced all my previous DIY solid silver braided cables of similar lengths.
i have been told by a person familiar with silver wire that continuous cast silver exhibits none of the stereotypical
sonic characteristics of silver. the wire is stranded.
"the wire is stranded"
The OCC Silver wire is actually solid core.
I am not an expert in metallurgy and I could not argue against someone elses findings regarding OCC silver. However, one silver can be very different in many aspects from another silver. My experience with OCC silver has been very satisfying but I cannot say if it was the fact that the silver was continuous casting or if the characteristics were a result of the purity and annealing of the metal. However, to my understanding the absence of crystals in the structure of OCC can only have a positive sonic impact. Also, the resistance of OCC silver to corrosion as well as its flexibility are two things that I have clearly noticed in comparison to some 99.99% silver I have tried in the past from various sources.
To my knowledge OCC silver wires (just like any other silver wires) are available in both solid and stranded form. It is up to the manufacturer how he prefers to use them. i.e. if one buys thin OCC strands can make any type of wire he wishes. Neotech wires will typically be solid while some sellers like Toxic cables order their occ wires in a stranded form. The occ wires I am currently using in my cables are actually Litz (i.e. neither stranded nor solid)
By the way, lately I buy the occ silver I use for DIY from partsconnextion. It is one of the very few reliable sources I am aware of that sells it as bare wires and at relatively reasonable prices.
I buy the blue teflon insulated Neotech solid core OCC silver from Sonic Craft in either 28g or 30g. I also buy UP-OCC bare solid core silver from a popular e-bay seller claimed to be sourced from Neotech. I have pulled the Sonic Craft Neotech sourced OCC out of the teflon jacket to compare to the e-bay wire. Both look identical, possessing an absolute flawless polished "blue" diamond like reflective finish to the wire surface.
Also buy bulk OCC copper from parts connexion, and that stuff needs to be polished out by hand drawing thru your fingers. Off the spool is rather "rough" and unrefined in surface appearance. Have not tried their bulk occ copper.
For a cheap source of stranded OCC copper wire. I take apart Outlaw Audio PCA cables which contain 4X 20g polyethylene insulated wires. Can be used to great success in making power cords and DIY interconnects.
I have found solid core OCC silver wire to have an identifiable sonic character. Prefer to use smaller guages (28-30) as the larger guages exhibit too much coloration for my taste. Midrange is fully fleshed out with tonal color similar to copper wire. Bass is full, deep and powerful. The highs are never bright, harsh or spotlit as can be the case with other silver wires. Yet it possess the resolution of inner detail one typically only hears from silver wire.
Silver has some unique sound properties, but seems from
all of the reports from many users silver tends to be bright.
Litz wire all silver. A true litz wire, all strands isolated from each other is rare. Modified Litz wire has a sharper frequency roll off than non-litz and higher body capacitance.
Best you stick with copper designs, giving warmer sound
and costs less.
" Anyway, I am now the owner of a brilliant silver litz phono cable (which unfortunately I did not make myself). It is a cable made by the guy I referred to earlier."
I know this thread is a bit old, but which particular cable (model) did you end up getting from this guy (back25beat10) and what are your impressions now?
what occ cable are you using ?
I have a pair of neotech.
I agree with Guma15 with the AT cable. I could not find a cable that dug as deep into the music and keep a natural sound with emotion. I tried a few silver cables but I did not find them bright, what I found is that the sound was smoothed over and sort of dull in comparison. I also had the AT cable cryo treated which also added to the overall sound. Worth the $35.