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Old 28th July 2012, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default Bare hookup wire vs insulated

Other than preventing it from coming in contact with other exposed parts is there any advantage/disadvantage in stripping the insulation on hookup wires?

In other words - is the best insulation no insulation at all?
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Old 28th July 2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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Dielectric Constants

The lower the dielectric the better so theoretically air is better than PTFE.

However, the construction must be so that the bare wires will never touch and must always be separated by air. Most amps will attract dust and this will eventually cause problems.

One thing you can do is manufacture little spacer bars, ie from the insulation from the wire, then poke the bare wires through the spacers (like a ladders rungs).
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Old 28th July 2012, 03:19 PM   #3
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Do you really think the improvement in sound will be worth the loss of safety? Personally, I think you would be crazy to strip your hookup wires.
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Old 28th July 2012, 03:21 PM   #4
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For power wires it makes absolutely no difference.

For signal wires you could have a play and see what your ears tell you.
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Old 28th July 2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies

The only place I have bare silver wires is on my DAC's digital input. There is absolutely no risk of them coming in contact with anything.

I was just curious if replacing them with insulated wires would be an improvement or if replacing my insulated RCA output wires with bare ones would be likewise.
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Old 28th July 2012, 04:00 PM   #6
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I think you would be hard-pressed to hear any improvement.
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Old 28th July 2012, 04:27 PM   #7
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Aint going to have much if any effect at audio frequencies, that are worth bothering about. For digital signals it is better for a signal to be closely coupled with its return path (usually 0V) so insulated twisted pair with signal/ground; or signal+ /signal- would be the best option for a digital signal. Seperating the signal from its return path is one of the biggest causes of signal integrity problems. So bare seperated wires is the worse option for digital signals.

Last edited by marce; 28th July 2012 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 28th July 2012, 04:42 PM   #8
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Yes, and you should make some attempt to maintain the correct characteristic impedance for digital signals. (Not necessary or even possible for audio signals unless you have astonishingly long wires).
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Old 28th July 2012, 09:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marce View Post
... For digital signals it is better for a signal to be closely coupled with its return path (usually 0V) so insulated twisted pair with signal/ground; or signal+ /signal- would be the best option for a digital signal...
For S/PDIF input to board would 75ohm mini coax be as good/better as the twisted pair?
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Old 29th July 2012, 08:43 AM   #10
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Yes, again the signal and return are in intimate contact and in this case would be the best solution. The main point was to illustrate that a digital signal from its return current is like slots in ground planes, dont do it.
The return, or screen of the coax must be terminated as near to the signal on the board as possible, using a long tail to terminate the return (screen) is a complete no no, and dont even think of terminating the return (screen) at some distant star point, even worse.
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