Tinned Copper Cable vs. Bare Copper Cable for speaker wire?


We always lean towards tinned copper conductor for our cables because we like our low frequency cables to last longer.

However, we do get asked for bare copper at times because it's a little bit cheaper. 

Wondering what your preference is between tinned copper cable and bare copper cable? 

Which do you choose, and why?
1xtechnologies
Why would you tin it to begin with your just adding another dissimilar metals and another point of compromise of signal.  bare wire is always better for transmission of a signal  and you can always cut a inch off if the bare wire becomes corroded.
Tinned copper sounds better to my ears....
Just tell people it is silver plated :-)
@1xtechnologies - Having tried many wires over the past couple of years my preference is for a solid bare wire (no insulation), but this leads to the problem of oxidizing.

Tinning may provide a partial solution, but mixiing metals degrades performance. Even silver plated wire can sound worse than either plain copper or plain silver

You can take measures to minimize this but nothing short of molding the insulation to the wire, i.e. as with normal insulated wires, will fix the problem

This approach presents a problem pertaining to the Dielectric Constant (Dk) of the insulation chosen e.g.
1. Teflon is pretty good, but has a Dk of around 2.1
2. Foamed Teflon is significantly better with a Dk between 1.4-1.5 - it has great heat handling properties
3. Foam Polyethylene or PVC is around 1.6 but cannot withstand the heat
4. Cotton or silk has a Dk of around 1.3 but is prone to oxidation over time (i.e. a few years)
5. Air has a Dk of 1.1 and a vacuum is 1.0 and something which is difficult to fabricate

It might seem insignificant to many, but my observations from different insulation approaches to reduce the Dk properties of the insulation have proven to favour insulation having a lower Dk

The thickness of the insulation may also play a role, but I have not been able to verify this

So if I had to choose - my preferred wires would be
- a solid UP-OCC copper or UP-OCC solid silver wire with a Foamed Teflon insulation (i.e. for all cables).

This would provide the best compromise between performance and lifespan due to oxidation issues

WRT gauge - I found that increasing gauge  from 14 gauge for the live wire had little effect on sound quality, but I stress this is with MY system/speakers. This could vary by system and speaker demands.
-  the Neutral is 10 gauge silver plated stranded wire on my speaker cables

Regards - Steve
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Steve , I’ve always see your post on cables, it seems you are very good at it, Have you thought of designing cables for sale? I think you should, but price them fairly. Audio Envy has good excellent cables , price is fair.
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Cardas solder is only 4% silver. More marketing that anything.  There are regular lead free solders with up to 3-3.5%
@jayctoy - I do actually have my own DIY Helix cables - see this link for details

My Audio Alchemy (image99.net)

Unfortunately, performance comes at a price and the link above only promotes the best performing cables to date - as such, they may be over some peoples budget. But the nice thing about DIY is that you can select the materials to fit your personal budget. I actually started by using CAT5 wire and over time have tried many of the wires (e.g. Duelund, Neotch) you hear about on A'gon

As for making them for others? - that’s when life gets really complicated and very expensive - e.g. maintaining stock, marketing, packaging, etc. etc. not to mention competing with the established brands

So I prefer just to make my discoveries, materials and designs available to anyone armed with a soldering iron and some basic DIY knowhow.

The A'gon thread below will give you an indication of what other A'goners are discovering about the Helix Cables - you might want to start at the last page - the thread is quite long.

Duelund conversion to DIY Helix Geometry Cabling | Audiogon Discussion Forum

If you have any questions about them just ask - just don't ask me to make them :-)

Regards - Steve


If I lived in a hot, humid climate I would use tinned.