Who loves Cotton ??

A trend I've noticed for a long time now but never indulged is the use of cotton or even silk insulators on wires intended for low voltages, including speaker voltages.


I'm just wondering why, and who has direct experience with them in general.






Had cotton(copper) ground wire $155.00 list got it used..This cable was a joke it took out my right channel on phono only as soon as I put in the original cable right channel came back.Lesson learned got my money back will NEVER use cotton on any cable.True garbage.

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@erik_squires - when used as an insulation Cotton performs better (i.e. improved clarity) due to its lower value of dielectric constant (Dk).

  • Vacuum is 1.0
  • Air is 1.1
  • Cotton/silk is 1.3
  • Foamed Teflon (e.g. Airlok) is 1.4
  • Teflon is 2.2
  • PVC and rubber variant are much higher

The insulation charges and discharges with the change in polarity, which impedes the transfer of the signal.

The lower the value of DK results in a more accurate signal transfer

For more details on cable design take look at...




I have tried all of the insulation mentioned above and the very best to date is inserting bare wire into a teflon tube with a larger diameter bore. The teflon tube does not collapse like cotton or silk, which results in a layer of air between the wire and the teflon tube - this is about as close as you will get to an air insulation.

Using this technique to insulate wires in cables produces exceptional details and clarity.

I use it in all my DIY cables.

Hope that helps - Steve

I used some really skinny gauge Jupiter copper hookup wire in cotton as a speaker cable on some of the Zu 16 ohm models (skinny wire had been recommended by my tube amp designer and by Sean at Zu).  It worked quite well, the wire sounded just as good as pricey cables.

Many use this or this copper in cotton wire to make cables.

They also offer silver foil in silk as shown in the first link.

I have also had good luck with Jupiter’s copper in cotton wire.

A friend got into using the center wire out of RG56 or 58 (tiny sucker). It cost him nothing and he tried all kinds or oversized tubes. Silk, and brown Texas cotton tube was my favorite. Silicone was nice and FREE at the time LOL. I never tried teflon with his "Stinger". That's what he called them. They were not terminated, Mids and highs only. I used them on small planars, they were like razors. It was the 90s. My Mac tube gear loved them.

The old WE copper with woven cotton/asbestos cover sound nice too. 




Never tried cotton, but did make a few pairs of BARE (open air) solid core silver wire interconnects years ago.


Even though the electronics were contained in a closed closet located behind the living room speaker wall the stress of "something" going wrong was too much for me so I went back to my basic 47 labs cables.


I used cotton ribbon slings anchored with push pins to support/separate the 2 wires per channel and the SQ was INCREDIBLE.


Used 26 and 30 gauge wire, but forget which one I favored.


Also experimented with large diameter lab tubing (difficult to route/control) and oversized clear Teflon tubing, but cheaped out on the HUGE Teflon tubing due to the expense.


The BARE versions were clearly better, but being outside the listeneing room they didn't require the dampening that inside room cables may benefit from (sonething to consider).


If you don't have pets maybe experiment with BARE solid core silver interconnects if you have any silver wire on hand?


Didn't have enough silver wire to try the oversized tubing on speaker cable.


I used 47 Labs non-metal RCA's for both pairs of the nude interconnects, which may have made a difference.



The DIY speaker cables from GR Research involve wrapping wire around cotton rope.

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