Sometimes enamel is also used. I think the key is to have as thin of a coat as possible to avoid corrosion of the wire's surface. This makes a very small amount of material to have any kind of dielectric absorption, and thus comes closer to the air dielectric. Using an over size tubing to protect it, and provide air all around the lacquer coated wire, and still protect it, is the way I went. Also, try not to bend or kink the wire when making the cable, because this might fracture the lacquer coating and allow a place for corrosion to start, and it also may corrupt the grain structure that was drawn into the wire during manufacture. These are some things that I used when doing my DIY cables.
I have not tried Laquer or any other substance as yet. I shall use a plastic tubing to protect and seal the ends.
I have some Insulated Copper on the way and have been experimenting with SIlver which I am impreseed with thus far.
I am also trying different RCAs like Cardas,Daytons,Eichmanns and Homegrown. The Cardas SLVRs did not work out good. Stilll do not know why.
If you are using Bare wire sis you clean it and wirh what?
I used magnet wire that is already coated with something, and I only bare the ends for terminations. The oversize tubing is only for protection.
When I clean it, I use 0000 fine steel wool on the wire ends.
Magnet wire is typically coated with enamel. Sean
I do not think I want to use anything as abrasive as steel wool. I am just looking to take what ever tarnish and dirt accumulation away. Isopropyl Alcohol and maybe a special liquid cleaning solution for the particular type of metal should be appropriate.
What those solutions might be is what I am wondering.
Steel Wool or duraglit might take whatever uniformity or plating or coating off or damage it.I do not wish to scratch the metal either.
But thanks for the thought.It might work well.
Craig makes a solution that might work. I might try that.Looking into all options at the moment to see what is out there.
Another thing is Cryo. I do not think it cleans,but it might loosen the surface impurities.
Larry, you might also want to try lacquer thinner during the final stage of your wire prep. It's blend of solvents will dissolve most organic contaminants(polymers, oil, fingerprints, etc.) in addition to providing a wet agent to remove any dust should you need to(if you went with steel wool or another abrasive).
You could buy Tara labs air or the 2 series cables.Air or vacume your choice, love the sound of these cables in my systems.
Trelja:I was thinking of putting Heatshrink at the ends before running lacquer over them so I would not hav to introduce any need for the use of a thinner.
The cable I tried the other night I just used a run of TexFlex Teflon tubing material and left the return run bare in order to hve seperation.Then I ran it through Plastic tubing and terminated the ends.
That worked good. I will be trying alll kinds of other things that peole have suggested. The most expensive part are the terminators I have bought.
I will be ordering more wire of different gauges soon also.
I was surprised at the sound I got for the IC's and speaker cable thus far.
JohnK:I am doing this for several reasons. First is to see what might work best in my system and secondly to come up with cost effective solutions in order not to pay the extravagant prices commercial wires cost.
I have plenty of expensive wires I can use. I am finding that the different designs I am using aer beating some of my reference wires in several area's like soundstaging and Decay of instraments.
BTW I am using Tara Labs TFA on my bass Drivers at present which is the best I have for Bi-Wiring to those drivers.
If you are just looking to seal the ends and the solder joints pick up a small bottle of Q-Dope @ an electronics shop. A 3" tall bottle should be under $3. It's a liquid "poly" plastic, I think (can't find my bottle to confirm type).
I use electrician's alcohol right now to clean wire and joints (previously used Kontak which was better, but I spilled the remainder of my bottle and have yet to replace it).
There is a also a "non-residue" spray contact cleaner by MG Chemicals of Canada that works well (approx. $4.50/can).
I use burnishing cloth (the purple stuff) myself as I don't like the mess that steel wool leaves behind. The main thing it to not touch the metal parts, with your fingers, after they have been cleaned and to also clean the solder joints prior to sealing them. If using magnet or insulated wire I run the Q-Dope up and over where the insulation meets the bare wire. JR or Jon Curl (one of those guys) recommended Q-Dope over @ AA.
I will look into the the Spray Contact cleaner. Another one is Craigs I think it's called.
I am trying to get as Close to an Sir Dielectric as possible.
One of the things I did not like about the Dayton RCAs are they have very little area to use solder in for the return lines. I ended up wedgeing plastic in the space to get contact instead of Solder/ The results were good,but I do not feel comfortable with the connection. I could use A plastic melting gun to make it better.
Other RCAs I will try are Home Grown which look really good for the $$ and I had bad luck with the Cardas SVLR RCAs.
I was thinking that using Silver Wire I would want to use Silver RCAs,but Eichmann Silvers are to pricey for my purposes and the Cardas's looked like a good alternative till I tried them. They did not have good sonic quality at all and I am still trying to figure out why. Could it be because I am using a Passive Controller?
The Daytons really surprised me for the price and they are my first choice until I can try the HG's.
I have Eichmann Coppers which Are my first choice ,but if I can bring down cost by using the Daytons without sonic degradation I will use them. If the HG's are better I will go with them seeing that they are only a few more $$'s and are Silver.
The reference to beat is the OTA Cable terminated with Eichmann Plugs. For Silver Cable IC's I am quite impressed with what I have come up with.
For Speaker Cable I am using 26AWG Pure Silver going to the Midrange\Tweeter XO. For the Bass I have a run of 18ga. Tara Labs TFA PH.II. This is being used for Bi-Wiring of NEAR M50MKII's using updated drivers which only I and the manf. have at the moment. So I am impressed by what I have come up with thus far and they a re very cost effective.
I have other cable coming that I hope is as good as the OTA. I am paying alot for it though after doing a through search for an ulternative.
I am experimenting to see what works best in my system at the moment. Having fun and alot of frustration doing it! It is worth it though.
Thanks for the info on the Q-Dope and Contact Cleaner!
BWhite:It looks good,but it's very expensive.I might definitely use it for my personal cables like IC's,but it might be to cocstly for a 10ft speaker run.
I have not read the reviews yet. I will tomarrow. The reason I want to use a lacquer is that I want to have a substitute for teflon covering.My aim is to have something closer to an Air Dielectric. I am experimenting with Bare wire. Silver at the moment with some good success.
The IC's & speaker wires I have made surpass all the other's I have tried in my system so I am making progress.
Thanks for the links!
Abex, please keep up the updates. THey are VERY informative & valuable.
You realise of course that what you're doing is obviously a God sent "light at the end of the expensive wire tunnel" to all those who, like myself, are too lazy to take up tools and experiment as you are doing...:) CHeers
Abex, I think the main differentiator for C37 is its carbon content. I've heard of people applying Revlon black fingernail polish with added pencil shavings on wire who claim the results are similar to the C37. I'm not sure how flexible the nail polish is though.
Geez-I use to work in Rocket Technology which uses tons of Carbon Wire which is conductive.The purpose was not to conduct electricity though. I should have saved some. Dirty stuff though.
Graphite is the substance which is the same as
what you are talking I think.
VanDen Hul experimented with Carbon also. If you look at the Grasshopper Cartridge I think that has Carbon Tech intergrated in it also.
If you have any luck with lacquer + carbon you might then research violin/wooden instrument lacquer. Some of the highly rated ones are not that expensive (under $20/pint).
There is also a great deal of tweaky info on lacquer/varnish in some of the speaker/Hifi forums.
http://6402.teacup.com/le8t/bbs (in Japanese/use Babel Fish)
It's obvious as to why lacquer changes the sound of drivers, but there may be some info to which to apply to your application.
I would also try searching other Japanese/German/Italian Hifi sites for info (maybe you will come across a DIY C-37 formula).
http://babelfish.altavista.com/ (free translation software)
Most already know this, but powdered graphite is what locksmiths use to lubricate sticky locks (it's cheap and readily available).
DEKAY:C37 was discussed a few threads back. The main reason for using lacquers is to bypass the use of Teflon which I think is a disadvantage as a Dielectric. Air being the best,but if you are going to have 2 wires side by side you do not want them to short. Applying a lacquer.
You can always use seperate tubings,but that brings in the factor of room plus the thichnmess of the plastic tubing which I am trying to eliminate.
I do not want to twist wires .I want them to be straight.
As mentoned I am satisfied with what I have been able to accomplish thus far. I will do as you say once I get the trmination to what I have made up so far right or as good as I can get it. They are cost effective.
BTW I have a roll of wire coming this week that should be as good if not better than the OTA which I shall use as a substitute to it. I will post the results of that in the coming week. The rest of the OTA I have left shall be used for internal wiring of the speakers I have being modified with better crossover parts.
With what I determine that works best with my system for IC's and Speaker wire runs I shall intergrate into my system. The rest I will sell. I will be sending packets of the best solutions I come up with to those who have contributed to finding these cost effective solutions in order to get feeddback and ideas on how I might make them better.
Ther is still the factor of terminations such as RCAs,Banana Plugs and Spades. I have mentioned some I have tried and some which I am at presently trying.
Other things I have not gotten into are Cryogenic treatments and what advantage they might bring in order to enhance sonics.
After the present round of basic IC and SPeaker wire construction is over and I settle on what I feel is best I shall order Lacquers,more Connectors and any other meterials I have not tried yet. I have already compiled a list of the meterials mentioned and some I have come up on my own. Quite alot of things to consider and try.
I will check into the Violin lacquers also.
Thanks for the info!
Larry, you are on a very interesting journey here.
As you know, the reason I brought up lacquer in the first place was the noise coming out of Japan. But the C37 proves the Europeans are also on the bandwagon. I remember seeing this website in the past, but its theories are a bit on the exotic side and I don't think I stayed around long.
Still, my recommendation for lacquer is Deft's Clear Wood Finish. At about $8 for a quart, you certainly can't get hurt on it, and this quantity would be more than enough to find out a few things about lacquer - is it physically a candidate for wire, and also how does it sound.
Also, I am not sure how high you would be willing to go, but I picked up a set of Audio Note AN-P(?) RCA plugs for a little over $100 a couple of years back. One thing about silver, most people who employ it don't tell you that their connectors are not silver. I think it's important to go with a cable with silver from stem to stern.
Audio Note is one the companies who do things the right way, and they were perhaps the seminal company when it comes to silver wire. Their mantra is that if silver sounds harsh, the cause is either the quality of the silver, the fact that the terminations are not silver as well, or a problem elsewhere in the system. Can't say that I am exactly a disciple of this, but it makes for something to think about.
I remember a company in Brooklyn, Stage 3 Concepts(?) who was manufacturing silver cables which employed silver from termination to termination. In fact, they sold a silver power cord where even the IEC and the plugs were solid silver. THAT, in my opinion, is the way to do it. Haven't heard from them in the past year or two, but that doesn't mean they are not still around.
Trelja:I tried Cardas Silver SLVRs which sounded horrid. Most RCAs I believe are just Silver plated so you are not getting pure silver anyways.
I am going to try Homegrowns. I am looking for cost effective RCAs to work with at first in order to see what might be easy to work with along with the best sonice traits.
Another important thing I notice is that the wire must be cleaned. I could not believe the grundge that came off the wire when cleaning. It looked like a different metal afterwards.
Eichmanns are the easiest RCAs I have worked wotj thus far. The Daytons without the STrain reliefs are second. I was surprised at how good they sounded. I had expected the Cardas to sound best out of any of the RCAs. There is an artifact that is associated with the Eichmanns I cannot describe and believe it or not I might like them over the Eichmanns,but I would have to verify that.
I was disappointed with the Cardas. It might be the Capacitance factor associted with them that gave them such a bad sound also. I do not know. When I tried the Daytons though I knew I was onto something good.
Thanks for the help!
Just to elaborate.It was the Daytons I liked in low priced RCAs and I really cannot see Capacitance being a factor in the sound after thinking about it. It is to minimal.
I will try HG's because of the cost. They are Rhodium / Silver Standard RCAs. Silver Locking Barrel RCA are also ones I want to try ,but they are alittle more expensive. Seeinf that I am using uninsulated wire, the outter shell screw on in the front is the easiest to work with. If I use a Lacquer then the rear outter shell screw-ons will be even easier to work with.
Abex: I found that if you remove the barrel on the Cardas they sound better. Eichmanns IMO, sound strange due to the plastic dielectric. Some of the Vampire plugs sound good. I still like WBT-0101.
I will try them without the Barrel.Vampires I looked at. How are they to work with with uninsulated wires?
Just thought I would mention that someone had told me that Caigs Pro Gold or another of their cleaners is similar to Lighter fluid. Weather this is true or not I do not know ,you'd have to verify to be certain.
I will post a compiled list to what others have mentioned in the threads and readings to make this more concise as to what might work.
I have made this a passion on the last month and it has been very intresting. Alot of my Physics, Electronics and Welding training comes back to me at times.
I really do not llike to pay extra for tweeks and now I wish I had never bought a set of Commercial cables in my life,but we all need somewhere to start as a reference I guess.
I will also tabulate what has been spent on this project after I get all the meterials incase there are others who wish to venture and experiment with Cables.
Thanx for the replies!
Insulator Table Question?
I want to know about Insulator properties as they relate to cables and was wondering about this stuff called TECH-FLEX.
Seeing that it is not tightly surrounding a wire I would think that it would be a better Insulator because it would have air betweeen it and the wire if used loosely,whereas Polyproylene or Polyethylene would be tightly sealed against the wire or cable.
The table of Dielectric Permittivity of Meterials show the following values
PolyEthylene Terepthalate (PET)3.25
Is using the (PET) stuff going to hinder or be better as an Insulator seeing that Air is more a part between the wire and the meterial or am I missing something? Is using regular Plastic tubing going to better yet?
As far as Polar Resins are concerned the lowest I see is:
The Air Dielectric being the best Insulator made me think of the PET stuff as being best.
Where the aforemention Lacquers are concerned and where they might fit into this equation I do not know.
Any insight would be helpful!