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Old 20th January 2007, 05:54 PM   #1
Peteruk is offline Peteruk  United Kingdom
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Question What difference does solder type have? (41Hz Amp4)

Hey all,

Ive been making adjustments to the 41hz Amp4 kit for some time now, so am now down to the much finer (and perhaps trivial) parts of the kit.

In this thread, Id like to ask about what difference what solder you use to assemble the kit has on the sonic results.

Now some people, have said that using different solder has only physical effects, ie. affects only how you solder it (temps ect), and how strong the resulting hold is. However, others have said it makes a huge difference, and have recommended silver-containing solder, specifically WBT or Audionote UK.

Id be very interested in knowing your opinions on this!

Thanks,
Peter
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Old 20th January 2007, 07:05 PM   #2
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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In this amp you have smd IC, so I would use nothing but solder with silver, and use a fine tip for small parts and a bigger tip for the rest
Actually you should use a solder with smaller dimension for smd IC

The way you solder will have influence on sound, nothing else

Always use as little solder as possible - it should smooth and shiny
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Old 21st January 2007, 09:28 PM   #3
EdT is offline EdT  Canada
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I just have one word for all this hocus pocus - "hogwash" !

Your standard 63/37 or 60/40 with rosin flux is good enough for anything. Try to avoid water soluble fluxes which are very caustic and have to be washed in less than 30 minutes. Lead-free (RoHS) solder which is becoming the norm now in Europe contains 3% silver tends to require hotter soldering irons and less wetting characteristics make a solder joint look whitish and unshiny. Hotter temperatures and longer work time can lead to component damages if not careful, so in essence lead free solder has less tolerance when you are working with components with lead based specifications. Average working time before a component is damaged is usually 3-5 seconds, if the solder does not melt and wet properly in this time frame, then your tip is not big enough for the job.

People tend to think if they spend more for silver solder, it will sound better, but the truth is it all about how you solder with proper size tips, wetting and soldering skills.

It seems from watching and looking, the audio world has alot to learn about electronic workmanship and acceptability, it simply is not on par with other technology based industries at the moment. I have have built, supervised and consulted for mission critical assemblies and components for DOD, DND, NASA and the wiring and harnesses for the International Space station and I can tell you they all use only 60/40 with RMA flux. The only aerospace company using lead-free solder now is Airbus, so now I don't trust their reliability, their planes will start falling out of the sky in about 15-20 years for the sake of environmental friendliness.
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Old 22nd January 2007, 10:52 PM   #4
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by EdT
I just have one word for all this hocus pocus - "hogwash" !
My question would be - "How can you know?"

How can you really tell if the solder has a sound? You'd have to build two or more identical amps using different solders throughout the circuit to know. Wouldn't you?

While some manufacturers may be able to do this, for example go to a new solder in the middle of a production run, most of us can't/won't.

I can tell you that in my business, fine art printing, everything makes a difference. A shift in the ink formula, the printing substrate, the coatings, the humidity, etc. All of that changes the way things look. Sometimes drastically, sometimes subtly. But because we have a reference print on file, it's easy to compare. Sometimes there is no need to compare; we just see it right off. It's a constant hassle.

So I can believe that the solder "could" make a difference to the sound. I just don't know it "does."
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Old 22nd January 2007, 11:11 PM   #5
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Quote:
Originally posted by EdT

The only aerospace company using lead-free solder now is Airbus, so now I don't trust their reliability, their planes will start falling out of the sky in about 15-20 years for the sake of environmental friendliness.
Do you honestly think you have more insight than all the people working at Airbus? Then you must think very highly of yourself. Do you make people around you address you "supreme being?"
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Old 23rd January 2007, 02:13 AM   #6
EdT is offline EdT  Canada
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by phn


Do you honestly think you have more insight than all the people working at Airbus? Then you must think very highly of yourself. Do you make people around you address you "supreme being?"
[/QUOTE

Actually, I worked on the modules that were for Airbus, their people were always visiting from France and we had some difficulties in getting good solder joints after reflow. It has been less than a year since the switch over to RoHS due the EC regulations. All US aerospace manufacturers have been exempted from this ban, because no one in the right mind would just switch over from something that has been proven for over 40 years to some thing that was not even available less than 5 years ago, there is no data to support reliability, only accelerated aging tests. We are talking about people' lives here, not just some electronic appliance that has no consequences when it fails.

I guess its all the misinformation that makes the high end audio sector a snake oil type of business, I guess its because these are the people who have the money to burn without anything to support the facts ! All these audio gear manufacturers come up their little niche slogans or so called technology, all I can say is that anyone with a technical background will know if it is BS without a wink, the only people they will catch and fall for prey is the uninitiated !
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Old 23rd January 2007, 02:41 AM   #7
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Default Yes, solder has a sound

My friend, it is not a good idea to ask about things like the sound of solder or damping heatsinks or the sound of resistors or other things that tweaky or even tweakier.on this forum....most here do not believe in these things....so, mostly you will get the "that's voodoo ********" kind of answer.....the truth is otherwise.

All brands of solder have a sound...including those that are made using the same proportion of materials....some silver solders sound bright.....I have one here (Acer Racing Solder) that is something like 6 percent silver and has no highs....sounds real dull. Solder, like many things can be straight wire bypassed to assertain its sonic signature.....simply use a piece of wire say 4 inches long as the reference and then add four solder joints in the middle and A/B the two pieces of wire (naturally, do this in stereo..one wire for each channel)....you will clearly hear that the nonsoldered piece will always sound better.....of course, now we will hear from those that want blind tests and all that....oh well....I personally think the goal of audio is to make something sound better.....what could be a better tool than our ears? for that task?....Do you think that you could measure any difference with different brands of solder....not likely....but you can sure hear the difference. Those that want to know will find out. Those that just want to be right will naturally just be right....he he....even if they are wroing...he he.

Some good sounding solders are: Wonder, WBT and Cardas....others like Siltech (too bright for me), Marigo and Johnson. The newly introduced lead free versions sound slightly different (according to their manufacturers)....I have some here but I have yet to listen.

I can hear the change in sound simply by redoing one solder connection (per channel) anywhere in my chain.

I just can't wait to hear the normal "that's voodoo" replies to my post. Well, maybe I can wait....he he. Listening is an art. It leads to wisdom. Spouting supposed knowledge based on non-experiential data (not tested with your senses...your ears...ie, not exeprienced...simply a thought) is simply righteousness.

End of religious rant on the sonic differences of solder....Hail solder fumes...the all mighty one has smoken....I mean spoken...he he...............sure is fun posting here!
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Old 23rd January 2007, 03:20 AM   #8
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Well, here we go.
It seems pretty apparent that the quality of an electrical connection can be characterized by physical measurements of electrical qualities- resistance, capacitance and inductance. How the effects of solder on a particular connection can significantly alter those electrical characteristics is pretty non-intuitive. I know that a lot of people have convinced themselves, without the benefit of measurements, that things like solder make a difference. This is an rejection of the principals of science and engineering. But it's your money. I suggest you take a BLIND Pepsi challenge. Then ask your audiophile friends to take the same. Good Luck
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Old 23rd January 2007, 03:21 AM   #9
novec is offline novec  Norway
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When you think of it, it's more likely that there is a difference than that there isn't. Afterall, one solder joint makes for two material transitions (far more on multi-strand wire), so different solders will not only have different conductive properties through the solder itself, but more importantly, they differ in how well they connect to the components you solder.

But like others have stated here, expensive solder isn't going to do you much good if your soldering sucks. And no matter what, I think we can all agree that what kind of solder you choose isn't going to make the most significant difference on sound.
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Old 23rd January 2007, 03:31 AM   #10
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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Well, I doubt that I could hear the difference in ONE solder joint, but a whole amp full of them, maybe.

FWIW, I use and like Wonder Solder, it's easy to work with and not too expensive.
WBT is a nice working solder, too. The quality of the solder joint these give me may be more important than what the solder is made of.

Quote:
...we had some difficulties in getting good solder joints after reflow.
And so solder makes no difference? If you dislike the new RoHS solders so much, don't you think that other solders could be better or worse than others?
Or is it a case of "this type of solder is good enough, it doesn't get better."

It seems to break down into the Romantic and Pragmatic schools of audio practice.

The Romantics think everything in the audio chain makes a difference.
The Pragmatics think anything "electrically equivalent" sounds the same.

Old argument, there is no end in sight.
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