Silver speaker cable question

We recently bought a pair of Klipschorn speakers. The speaker wire connection won't allow us to continue using our 4' Quicksilver pure silver speaker cables, which we really like.

So I made a pair of 6' pure silver speaker cables--2 strands of 20ga for each pos/neg connection in teflon sheathing--and they sound woefully thin. I've heard another system with these cables, and the music sounds quite full. Problem is, it's been so long since we got the Quicksilver that I can't remember if this is normal for new silver cables. Tonight, I hooked up one side with the Quicksilver (only one side is long enough, and just barely), and there is a big difference in the tonal roundness and fullness of the music coming from that speaker. When I swap the cables, the other speaker becomes the better one.

I'm dreading finding replacement cables for the Quicksilver, and I really can't spend $500 right now for a 6' pair from them. With them in the chain, the music is more lively and transparent than with any other cable I've tried. So the question is, do we save our pennies, or do we give my DIY's adequate time to burn-in?

*Also, I hate to have to say it, but if your position concerning cables/burn-in/etc. will not allow you to resolve this dilemma, please don't respond. I'd rather not be the author of yet another mucky cable thread on the fastrack for censorship. In other words, please just answer the question. Thank you.
IMO two strands is not enough Howard. Before you give up on it, I would add an additional 6 strands per connection (8 strands each) of the same silver wire and see if it makes a difference. I have wires constructed that way and they are wonderful and have been my preference in every wire shootout I've tried with them. Unfortunately they too are quite short. I don't know where you are getting your silver wire, or for how much, but you can find it at Homegrown in bulk for $1.85 a foot for 22 awg 100+ feet. If you already have six foot double lengths you'll need a total of 144 feet more, or about $300+. If you are skeptical order half and try it out on one wire as a comparison, or try six strands rather than eight. Either way should yield a marked improvement. They also sell a braided version of a thinner gauge wire, but I think it's cheaper to run straight wires with zip ties. My experience has been that silver wires do indeed seem to take a long time to burn in. You may want to give your two-wire deal more time, but I still think it would be bested by what I'm suggesting.

Congrats on the new Khorns!

I'm not familiar with Quicksilver speaker cable, but when I checked their website, they say that the cable is 15 guage, however, there is no comment as to how many cables make up the final product. on the flipside...I checked out the Homegrownaudio website and noticed that they use 32 strands of 22 guage sliver wire in their cables but they do not say what the final cable guage is. I'm not sure of how guages add up...but could it be that you might need to have more cables. just a guess on my part. hope it helps.

Just a note on my experience with silver speaker wire:
When I got my new Celtic Silver it sounded like crap,or worse. It took 7 days of 24 hrs,of playing---then it sounded great.----This for $1500 worth with all the right stuff;inside. You seem to have the lack of proper geometry and break-in---no wonder??
In most cases from my DYI pure silver DYI speaker cables, it takes min 50 to 100 hours for it to settle in. 200+ hours to be fully burn in. This is no different from DYI interconnects as well.

The problem you have is not because the burn in. Rather, it is because of the damping factor for the speaker load.

You can calculate the right damping factor to match the sensitivity of your speaker.

As long as your DF is greater than 200 then it became diminish return.

Just remember, the thicker you make, the longer break-in time required

Hope this helps
Oops I mean DIY....

In your case,
20 AWG X 2 = 17 total AWG
17 AWG would give you damping factor of 79 for 6 ft ( assuming your nominal R for your speakers is 6 Ohm )

To do it right, your'll need to make 13 total AWG cable to get 200 DF.

For 8 Ohm speakers, I ususally assume 4 Ohm nominal load.
If this is the case, you'll need to make 11 AWG speaker cables.

I've achieved excellent result based on the calculation.
I can't say about your setup, but in my and all my friend's setup, my version of cable sounded as good as some XYZ brand speaker cables that costs over $3000 a pair.

Keep in mind,

Size of strands, number of strands, and geometry of cable do make big difference.

Since then, we have yet to find something better then my version of cable.

It is time comsuming but it is well worth it at the end.

Good luck
Thank you all very much for the feedback. Marco, I was afraid I might not have enough. Oddly, I heard a very high end system sound fantastic with just the two, but unless this fills out considerably, it's clearly not the right recipe for our system. We'll have to measure the cost factor and see where to go from here. Unfortunately, it's been an incredibly expensive week, so we might have to listen with crap cables for the time being.
Thank you again. This is a big help.
To do it right, your'll need to make 13 total AWG cable to get 200 DF.

For 8 Ohm speakers, I ususally assume 4 Ohm nominal load.
If this is the case, you'll need to make 11 AWG speaker cables.

S23chang, what does this mean in terms of number of additional strands? I presume that we're talking the 6 or 8 total that Marco mentioned above, yes?

Hi Howard,
That's correct. Plugin number of conductors ( or strands ) in the spreadsheet from website.
It could be 6 or 8 or whatever number of conductors you use. Take that total AWG number, length, speaker nominal resistance and amp output resistance and plugin them in to calculate the DF.
As long as the total AWG meets your requirement which gives you DF of 200 or greater.

Hope this helps
Boa, unless you already have lots more 20g. wire to add to your existing cable, I'd add a pairs of 16 and 21. That'll make a cable with an AWG equivalent of about 12.8. You'll also get the benefit of what Audioquest calls Spread Spectrum Technology. See and click Cable Theory.

I'm happy to send you (or anyone) an Excel spreadsheet of AWGs; then go to to calculate the effective gage.
Jeffreybehr, audioquest price is too expensive for pure silver speaker cables. Assuming 12 total Awg weights 1 Troy Oz/ foot, your total length for 6 ft pair is 6ft X 4 = 24 ft = 24 Oz of silver.
You can figure out how much it will cost you.
Oops I did the math wrong. 12 total AWG weights 0.5 Oz/ft total would be 24 Ft X 0.5 Oz /ft = 12 Oz of silver.
The Market rate for raw silver is $7 / Oz.
The processed silver usually cost 3 to 5 times more.
You got to figure out where and how you can get the silver cheap.
It definitely better than the copper version. More transparent and clarity. The bass carries more punch than the copper version. Smoother and quieter overall.
I just doubled up on one side, and with 4 runs for each pos/neg it already sounds MUCH better. If I ended up going with 6-8 strands, do you generally twist the end before terminating it?

Are you suggesting that with the remaining four for each pos/neg, I should use two 16's & two 21's?

Thank you.
Makes no difference to our setup seperate or twisted them togather. Keep in mind that they're fragile when twisted togather. You should find some way to reinforce it.
I also use Stealth Audio pure silver spades.
Hi guys

This thread is very timely. :-) I'm thinking of trying some DIY silver speaker cables myself. I have much longer cable runs though. Where do you get your materials(Silver wire and silver spades/bananas) from?

Let's see if I have done this correctly. I plugged in the following numbers:

20AWG x 8 strands gives an aggregate gauge of 11.03 AWG

Cable length (+ and -): 6 + 6 + 12ft.
Nominal Speaker Resistance: 8ohms
Amplifier Output Resistance: 8ohms

Gives a damping factor of 210.57
With 6 strands, the DF is somewhere around 157.

Please let me know if I entered any of this incorrectly.
Thank you,
As Marco suggested, is a good source, though it appears their bulk wire comes no larger than 22ga.

My last purchase was from, and I ended up buying 20ga silver and 14ga teflon. Otherwise, you will have great difficulty in threading the wire. That is a definite advantage to the Homegrown, as their wire is already encased in the teflon.

Best of luck,
That is the correct web site info for Michael Percy. It appears that the web site is down, or it went on vacation with him. I believe he is gone for a week or two.
Thanks Howard. Here we go..... BTW - love your system! :-)
Hi Howard,

Cable length: Just 6 feet for each cable you making and not 6 + 6.

Speaker load: I don't think your speaker's nominal load is 8 Ohm. You should consider that impediance drop when the load increases. Some 8 Ohm speakers can go down below 3 Ohm. 6 Ohm would be a safe estimate and 4 Ohm would be a better assumption for more power hungry speakers ( which I would suggest since it will be more useful in the future.)
Also, you want to get extra 1/2 ft for each 6 ft length.
Cool. Thanks, S23chang. I'll do the formula again, but I'm pretty sure it comes out at less than 200 DF in that case.

Paul, Thanks for the compliments. Enjoy your cable project!
s23chang: "Jeffreybehr, audioquest price is too expensive for pure silver speaker cables."

Huh? Where oh where did I suggest he buy AQ silver-conductor cables? I sent him to AQ to read about what they call Spread Spectrum technology.
Hi Howard,
If you are using 11 total AWG for 6 ft lengh,
you'll get the following

Nominal Nominal
Speaker amp DF
8 8 424
6 8 318
4 8 212

How can the DF be less than 200?
What value did you put?
Jeffreybehr, since the topic is silver speaker cable question, I thought you were referring to audioquest silver cables.
S23chang, I must have misread the result. Thanks for the correction.

S23chang, OK.

BTW, I thought the AQ silver-conductor cable so good I bought short double-biwire lengths of KE-6/8 and KE-4. Sure does sound great, but it is indeed expensive!
Jeffreybehr, off the topic.
The real Spread Spectrum Technology I know is only for radio transmission in military , cordless phones and cell phones technologies.
I think AQ just made up this buzz word.
As far as using different size of conductors in one cable, this is nothing new. XLO has been using this since the 90s (you can buy the XLO raw cables from percy audio but I made my own.) I've been using it for my own design too for the interconnects. However, I do find it more effective in interconnects than speaker cables ( I've tried many different combo in the past 2 years.) I felt that it adds uneven sound in speaker cables. No so smooth transition as single size conductor. Not sure if it is due to much higher current and voltage passing through vs a fixed low current/voltage for the interconnects.

This is from my observation with mixed cord speaker cables:
i.e. The tremble sounded more extended but slightly distorted. The bass sounded more volume but less refined and snappy. The mids made no improvement.

Also found fewer conductors gives you lower distortion.