I know of no way to sonically describe thick and thin cables. There are both thin and thick cables that sound great and some that do not.
8 responses Add your response
Let me offer my limited experience. I own a Moth s45 SET amp that outputs 1.8-6wpc depending on output tube (either 2a3 or 45) rectifier tube and bias point. After reading many posts on the benefits of small gauge solid-core wire, either silver or copper, I decided to try it myself. My existing bi-wire cables were typical Audiophile fare; Silverline Audio copper cables that match the internal wiring in my Silverline speakers.
I substituted 24awg (5n) 99.999% pure silver wire with 20awg teflon tubing, bare-wired to the top-posts, while keeping the Silverlines on the bottom (for now). RESULTS: IMS the performance was much improved, paralleling many of the benefits of SET amplification itself. The cost of $64 for a 10' pair was a plus. Highly recommended. YMMV.
If you believe Malcolm Omar Hawksford, "The Essex Echo", generally regarded as the one and only classic article on cable theory, interconnect wire should be thin. But speaker cables should in general be thick, and as short as possible, which is not to say that the individual wires in them should be thick. Thick wires in any cable bring on "skin effect", which surely everyone agrees is bad. Many prestigious IC's of yore, and for all I know some today, have wire in them that's MUCH too thick, if Hawksford is right, and 24 gauge may be a step in the right direction but wouldn't be counted as thin by good cable designers today.
The thinner your interconnect; generally the better. I personally prefer 26 AWG Silver wire as interconnect. Shielding is not a good idea especially if you are using SETs. Shielding which is a favorite catch phrase of cable manufacturers actually chokes off the sound, shrinking the soundstage by introducing unwanted musical veils. I repeat; do not buy shielded cables with your SETs and also never buy an interconnect or speaker cable that's multistranded...For the interconnect, in order to prevent audio noise from contaminating your music, stay away from MULTI-STRANDED design!....For the speaker cable: Make short; true bi-wired; keep it simple (generally a bad idea to have spades or bannana plugs); avoid multi-stranded wires and try to keep the cable off the ground.....Ohhh, in order to really know what I am talking about, try the above design and listen to your system at 2 am...with all the lights off, the frig off, and all appliances turned off (including the wife)..lol
I use 30ga. single conductor unshielded copper IC's and 22ga. single conductor copper spkr. wire. Both are in oversize teflon or polyethylene tubing for as much air dielectric as possible.Speaker wires are bare wire terminated. I use all tube electronics with a 1 watt OTL amp. Results are very good in my system, I would expect similar results in other low power tube systems. With 22ga. wire, keep the length less than 3 meters for best results.