What kind of signal wire do you use in your DIY DAC or CDP? - diyAudio
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Old 2nd April 2006, 07:17 AM   #1
MGH is offline MGH  United States
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Default What kind of signal wire do you use in your DIY DAC or CDP?

Hi all,

This may be a silly question, but since I'm going to builld my first DAC, I would like your input on what kind of wire is appropriate for this application. Should I use a different kind of wire for those that carry digital versus analogue signal? What guage? Is silver wire just hype? Can someone name some high quality wires from a particular manufacturer?

Another question is, are there solders that don't contain lead (just for health reasons)? What are some high quality solders you recommend? I know of one solder that is a copper alloy (no lead and no silver, I think) by those who make those Audiopoints footers. Any thoughts?

http://www.audiopoints.com/Riehlcopper.HTML

Thanks.
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Old 3rd April 2006, 04:02 AM   #2
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This is in fact very good question. Only a few if any pay attention to hook-up wiring. Silver loaded solder is also good thing to use.

Try solid core wire for a start. Avoid multi strand (litz) wire. Experiment with ribbons - cut them yourself - just dont use scissors.

Pure solid core copper sounds very good for general purposes – with a transistor gear in particular.

Silver and valve gear is match made in haven.

Pure silver ribbons, annealed sound by far the best. Difficult to obtain and anneal.

If you work with copper - use copper loaded or silver loaded solder - no lead.

If you work with silver - use silver loaded solder only.

Extreme_Boky

PS
The difference pure silver ribbons make when used as input wiring / input hook-up wiring is amazing. It is important to cut - off any connection between RCA's and pcb and feed the signal only via ribbons to switch / pot or whatever... Using this technique, you are virtually getting rid-of any capacitance / inductance introduced by (HORIBLE!!!) PCB tracks’ proximity to ground plane, and to each other. This is one of the most cost effective mods I do in amps and pre-amps – on a budget.
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Old 3rd April 2006, 08:55 AM   #3
MGH is offline MGH  United States
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Thanks a bunch again Extreme_Bokey.

How do I get silver ribbons? Website?
Any brand of lead free solder (silver and copper) you recommend?
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Old 3rd April 2006, 09:38 AM   #4
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I get the silver ribbons and solder from a friend of mine. He makes cables and interconnects. I think he gets this stuff from jewellers. If you search the net look for 4% silver + tin. This solder requires higher temperature soldering iron. Sorry I couldn’t help more. But you should be able to get silver wire / ribbons from jewellers.

For the start try solid core copper wire. Remove the insulation and feed the bare wire through plastic sleaving with much bigger diameter. Always use very light twist between + and – (ground). Try to avoid shield as much as you can.

The density of those twists can influence the sound: tighter twists with more of them per length make sound less spacious and tighter.

Extreme_Boky
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Old 3rd April 2006, 10:29 AM   #5
MGH is offline MGH  United States
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Thanks.
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Old 3rd April 2006, 10:54 AM   #6
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Im a bit of a noob myself, but Im not sure I understand how the quality of cable could effect a digital signal, unless there was significant loss of bits occuring with lower quality, I would think that they both transfer the data, in bits, with no difference in quality.
</runnonsentance>

I can understand how making a switch that completely disconnects RCA etc would help, but is there really enough bit loss to make quality digital cables worth it?

Thanks for helping us noobs.

EDIT: Also, would you recommend using lead-free solder for all solder joints in preamps/dacs/amps etc?
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Old 3rd April 2006, 11:53 AM   #7
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MGH:
Quote:
Pure solid core copper sounds very good for general purposes – with a transistor gear in particular.
I use solid 20gauge UP-OCC copper from partsconneXion.com for analog signal with success. Read the info there.

I also have OCC copper, 24G, that I received as a gift. I plan to build some IC's with it, three braided per lead.

I use solid silver, 20G wire, for digital hookup, as I can't get anything better (unshielded I'm affraid). This wire was purchased at homegrownaudio.com

Solid silver v/s solid OCC copper: silver is extremelly detailed and has black soundstage, BUT if you have any problem with your gear it will show: noise, weack bass, etc. Also it tends to sound cold with SS.
OCC copper is nearly as detailed as silver but has a very coherent and colorfull presentation. It is a pitty that not many people is using this copper.

I hope this helps.
M.
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Old 3rd April 2006, 01:35 PM   #8
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For buying wire, I'd recommend having a look at Ebay too, you can often find mil spec 'cabling' on there at prices that make experimentation feasable. Especially from the US.

...and fair play if you have the patience to experiment

As for what to look for (and personally I'm lousy at hearing and/or describing any difference) Have a google for 'skin effect' theres a good paper from St-Andrews Uni that comes up on the first results page. For me its clear - many strands of insulated, highly conductive, non magnetic conductors.

I guess digital signals are high frequencies and require different properties to Analogue audio cables. (or not, depending on what you're looking for)

anyone any ideas on how to neatly terminate ribbon cable and get the signal where it needs to be? hmmm tricky.

Andy
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Old 4th April 2006, 05:44 AM   #9
Joseph0 is offline Joseph0  United States
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24 gauge cardas uninsulated solid-core silver from Michael Percy.
$1.5/ft.
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Old 4th April 2006, 01:17 PM   #10
MGH is offline MGH  United States
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The 24g solid-core uninsulated silver wire is interesting because I guy recommend using this type of wire in 16g Teflon tubing, in effect creating a "air" dielectric which supposedly ideal. I guess you should be able to get away with 18 or 20g and still get "air". Anyone tried this?
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