Audio Asylum Thread Printer
Get a view of an entire thread on one page
|For Sale Ads|
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.
Just an additional note about the project. One of my favorite 75 Ohm S/PDIF digital coaxial cables is the Oyaide FTVS-510 (DR-510) featuring a large 18 AWG solid core silver center conductor (equivalent to RG6 coaxial). The cable is dual shielded along with a carbon loaded layer for energy dissipation purposes. The cable being a coaxial design requires a braided shield which also serves as the return conductor.
Oyaide also offers the FTVS-910 bulk AES/EBU balanced digital cable which is essentially the same design as the FTVS-510 but it features an 18 AWG twisted pair rather than a single center conductor, and the shielding is intended for XLR ground rather than also serving as the negative return conductor. While wanting to try the FTVS-910 for a DIY AES/EBU balanced digital cable build, the lowest price found for an experiment was $170 per 3 foot length, and the FTVS-910 is a shielded cable of which I consider unnecessary for a 0.5 meter length DIY home audio AES/EBU digital cable build. So the alternative option was to hand-build an 18 AWG solid core silver unshielded twisted pair cable like my 7 other DIY AES/EBU digital cable builds that implement unshielded solid core copper conductors for the purpose.
The ultimate DIY material for my purpose would have been VH Audio's 18 AWG OCC soild core silver with AirLok dielectric hookup wire, but at just under $100 for a 4 foot length in order to build a 0.5 meter cable, it is a bit too much to consider for an experiment such as this, at this time.
Very nice review, thank you.
I know how heavily involved you are with DIY projects of all sorts and wonder why you don't save yourself needless wait time by utilizing a cable cooker such as the audiodharma?
No disrespect intended but you'd find that not only would it save you a good deal of wait time while the cables burn-in by simply using them but a cable cooker produces a better finished product. I've found improvements when cooking cables that I thought were fully burned-in previously.
Just a thought.
I've found improvements when cooking cables that I thought were fully burned-in previously.
As have I repeatedly. The most surprising wasn't even a cable -- it was the Furutech e-TP60 which is basically an outlet box. Alan suggested I give it a burn when my new Cooker arrived, so I did. It already had multiple hundreds of hours on it with a good amount of current (whole system is plugged into it), so my preconceived notion was that Alan had been smoking something funny. But he was right....very noticeable improvement in low-level detail, bass dynamics, air in the treble, and just a more natural presentation in a lot of respects.
This is a little off topic but I found the same improvements you mention, and they weren't subtle, when I placed Alan's PowerWing II power line conditioner into my system.
....I don't smoke. Anything. :--}
The rest of us? Not so lucky. :-(
I certainly don't mind if others do, or benefit from it....especially the herb. I can see your little animated friend could use some calming down.
"Why, some of my best friends......"
...drinking. Yeah, that's what I meant. :)
Duster: I always appreciate your reports.
I am happy to condition your cables on my Audiodharma 2.5 conditioner if you wish to have them conditioned.
Interesting results, and thanks for sharing your methodology and sonic evaluation. Greatly appreciated!
I wonder if the consistency of the dielectric contact has any bearing on the resulting sound? I agree that the extruded dielectric would have a more intimate contact with the conductor than the tape wrap, and I would think it would be more consistent too no matter how painstakingly the tape was wrapped. Question is whether that consistency is a bad thing or a good thing sonically. Might there be some advantage to random variations in the dielectric contact pressure on the conductor?
I've been wanting to try this gold wire I have for an analog interconnect application (DAC -> preamp), but haven't settled on the construction method yet. I'm thinking rather than putting the positive conductor in a PTFE tube, perhaps using a .006" wall PTFE heat shrink. The heat shrink would be considerably thinner than the tube, but would be in much more intimate and consistent contact with the conductor versus the (comparatively) loose contact in the PTFE tube. Guess I could try it both ways, but I'm probably too lazy, especially if the first effort comes out sounding really good. :)
"...consistency is a bad thing or a good thing sonically"
Consistency is best for a digital cable, since characteristic impedance is maintained by a precision dielectric relationship between the opposing conductors.
Actually, a gold plated copper wire should perform well with both wires insulated with cotton or silk tubing.
plus 1 on the cotton tubing I have used this copper core gold plated wire from germany for awhile its very very good
Post a Message!
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: