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4N Pure Silver Dead Soft Wire Project Report

I finished my 18 AWG solid core 4N pure silver DIY AES/EBU cable with each conductor individually mummy-wrapped with PTFE tape as the dielectric insulation, and allowed adequate burn-in time for a proper evaluation. Initial impression was the obvious sonic signature of a large gauge solid core conductor, with a robust full-bodied tonality and the typically strong bottom-end of solid core pure silver. However, it took quite some time for the presentation to sound more dynamic, and for the soundstage to open-up, and the top-end to sparkle, since right off the bat the presentation sounded somewhat dulled, with a somewhat softened and ill-defined treble characteristic. This matter was not so surprising, since both the mechanical stress of the tightly hand-twisted metallurgy and the hand-wrapped PTFE dielectric must be severe enough to require many hours of dielectric burn-in and mechanical relaxation in order for the DIY cable to perform at its best.

Throughout the evaluation I observed little of what I found in terms of a profound dielectric or cable resonance effect. From what I gather, typical PTFE tape is a low density material with a lower dielectric constant (1.6 to 1.8) than solid PTFE or FEP (2.1), but not as low as a foamed/cellular dielectric such as VH Audio's AirLok dielectric ( less than 1.45), which offers the least apparent dielectric sonic signature of all plastic dielectric insulators, IME. An intriguing issue I'll postulate is that extruded solid PTFE or FEP may have a more intimate contact interface with the surface of a conductor than a low density tape wrap (which is not extruded) which might reduce dielectric involvement vs. a solid PTFE or FEP extruded dielectric, but this is just conjecture on my part.


The final judgement of this novel DIY cable build is that the presentation is decidedly middle row, verging on a comparative level of darkness due to a notably great image density vs. more airy spatial cues, with a subdued dynamic energy characteristic which may be better appreciated for use in a bright and/or strident audio system rather than a more vivid and assertive presentation that 'pops' which I tend to prefer. Whether or not my findings are the result of an inferior jewelry-quality silver wire, the PTFE tape wrap dielectric, or a combination of both, I found myself thinking about the strengths of the sonic signature and how it might fit my particular wants for another quite different application. Since I've been planning to try various DIY DC umbilical builds for use with a power supply for an outboard active subwoofer crossover, the notion of a large gauge solid core pure silver DC umbilical seemed like a perfect match for an application that benefits from a notably strong bottom-end. The current DC umbilical for the outboard active subwoofer crossover is a DIY 16 AWG Mil-Spec SPC PTFE twisted pair, which could be bettered by the 18 AWG 4N solid core pure silver twisted pair cable. It should be an interesting DIY project to explore.

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Topic - 4N Pure Silver Dead Soft Wire Project Report - Duster 15:45:48 03/26/17 (12)


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