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Old 31st March 2005, 09:10 PM   #1
dgo is offline dgo  Netherlands
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Default Advice needed on speaker cables

Hi,

I've searched for an answer, but haven't found it so far, so maybe
someone can help me.

I'm using copper monster cable with bare wire ends, which sounds good.

However, every once in a while, my sound degrades, especially the
clarity (crispyness), some high frequency and dynamic loss.
I found out that after I recut my wire and reconnect at the terminals,
the sound quality is at its original level. So this must be caused by some corrosion of the copper.

What is a good solution to this problem? Soldering? It seems to me that the contact surface when soldering the ends is less than tightening the bare ends in the terminals? Or is this not the case?
Also, what kind of solder is best to use? Are there other special things to consider for soldering the ends?

I'm not looking for a connector based solution as I find the sound of 'fresh' bare audio cable pretty satisfying.

Any advice will be highly appreciated!
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Old 31st March 2005, 09:23 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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Solder! The absolute number one cause of verifiable audible differences among cables is termination/connection.
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Old 31st March 2005, 09:44 PM   #3
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Use gold plated terminals and high quality binding posts. High quality are these ones, which have guarantee high current, for example, which is designed for velding machines . For practical example look at machines from Krell, ML or Burmester. To SY : Have you seen on this machines wires, rising up from rear panel, which are ready for soldered connection ?
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Old 31st March 2005, 09:51 PM   #4
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Pavel, I was just following the poster's restriction, no connectors. My own amp uses a barrier strip; the cables have gold spade lugs soldered to the wire.
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Old 31st March 2005, 11:50 PM   #5
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Oh boy, this is quite the can of worms, so rather than preach anything, I will tell you what I do.

The corrosion is called oxidization. Virtually all metals suffer from it.

Dip the bare ends of the wire in penetrating fluid (WD-40) and shake off the excess.
I used to solder, but now I don't, for the reason you suggested, more contact area on the bare wire.

I have also heard some use white grease like you see on your car battery, but I have no immediate reason to try it. WD works fine for a couple of years at a time.

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Old 4th April 2005, 05:35 PM   #6
dgo is offline dgo  Netherlands
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Thank you very much for your replies, I really appreciate your help

@ SY: Thanks for your advice, currently I'm using raisin-core solder (is
silver solder better for this purpose?) on the bare cable tips after I
drenched them in S-39. Then I screw them in the speaker binding
post. You're not talking about soldering the cable directly on the
binding posts are you?

@ Upopa Epops: Thanks for the tips.. First I'm trying to get the best
results on bare wire/soldering combination, if this fails (eg if I still have
to recut the wires every other two weeks) I'll dive into your suggested
options with soldered terminals.

@ Cal Weldon: Thanks! Right, oxidation, pardon my ignorance And
this may just be the tip I was looking for. I didn't try anything like that
before but I will experiment with this. Is WD-40 the same as S-39
soldering fluid? And doesn't the fluid degrade the conductivity of the
metal? Don't your terminals get very messy?
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Old 4th April 2005, 06:27 PM   #7
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WD-40 is penetrating fluid/lubricant. It is nothing like solder flux.

It is used for everything from loosening rusty nuts and bolts to drying out your car's ignition system to removing wax pencil (crayon) from your walls.

It also doubles as a:
Handcleaner
Firestarter
Bondbreaker
Degreaser
and probably many other uses I haven't though of.

I call it "god's fluid"

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Old 4th April 2005, 08:27 PM   #8
dgo is offline dgo  Netherlands
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Right. I didn't know the stuff. So it prevents the oxidation of the copper. Sounds good. One thing that struck me reading about this thing on the Dutch wd-40 site: it doesn't conduct..?
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Old 4th April 2005, 08:46 PM   #9
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
You're not talking about soldering the cable directly on the
No, although if it were a more-or-less permanent installation, I would do something like that. For audio hobbyist use, I'm talking about soldering the wire directly to a spade lug or (very distant second choice) a banana plug.
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Old 8th April 2005, 09:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by dgo
. So it prevents the oxidation of the copper.
It helps, it doesn't prevent it.

Quote:
[i]One thing that struck me reading about this thing on the Dutch wd-40 site: it doesn't conduct..? [/B]
Don't worry about that. The non-conductive part is the carrier fluid.

Also, when you tighten the connectors, make sure you tighten them very well.

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