teflon vs. PVC

kkchunghk

Member
2004-10-06 10:46 am
Hi fellas,
I'm deciding to build speaker wire with CAT5e cable. Now the choice is between Belden 1585 and 1583. 1585 has a teflon jacket but cost more than twice as much as 1583 with PVC jacket. The 1585 is about US$128 for 1000ft here. There has been so many claims about the sonic difference between teflon and PVC. Has anyone here actually done a listening test on teflon vs. PVC jacket cable used for speaker? Glad to know the findings.

Cheers,

K K
 

kkchunghk

Member
2004-10-06 10:46 am
Outer jacket

Hi,
Coolin, I check the spec of 1585 again and you are right. The outer jacket is LSPVC. Also, you bring up an interesting point. I'm going to have 4 cables (32 strands) for each speaker. I have no idea to strip the outer jacket. I thought I might just twine the 4 cables along the run. If I strip them, I would have not 4, but 32 wires in the bundle to take care of. Messy. What is the drawback of leaving the outer jacket on? Is it sonicly bad?

Cheers,

K K
 
Save yourself some money and go for the cheaper one. Dilectric loss is in effect non-existent at audio frequencies, despite what Audioquest and inumerable others would have you believe (without offering any evidence that this is the case I might add). It's just not an issue. There is not the slightest scrap of proof that teflon, though it might be lovely stuff in itself (though avoid combining it with silver like the plague) is audably superior to PVC. In fact, there's a vast wealth of scientific evidence that shows there is no difference whatsoever in audio applictions. Have a look at the various articles on these two sites for more:
http://sound.westhost.com/cables.htm
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/
They make enlightening, and frequently entertaining reading. The latter also has an article on numerous DIY designs, including a number of ones using cat5 that you might find useful. I've built most of these at different points, and they're all good.
Best
Scott
 

Coolin

Member
2003-04-07 8:14 am
Holland
Lots of duscussion on cables alright...

If your system ir revealing enough it maters.

There are othet things that are alot more important but each part of chain plays it own role and all these distortions let themselves be heard in different ways.

The more you can minimise each one the better you can hear the others. So this is also something to be very aware of.

But i know for a fact it has influences the sound. More so the more sentitive your speakers because the currents are smaller.

Later,
Collin
 

thylantyr

Member
2001-02-19 10:38 pm
Mars
Scottmoose said:
Save yourself some money and go for the cheaper one. Dilectric loss is in effect non-existent at audio frequencies, despite what Audioquest and inumerable others would have you believe (without offering any evidence that this is the case I might add). It's just not an issue. There is not the slightest scrap of proof that teflon, though it might be lovely stuff in itself (though avoid combining it with silver like the plague) is audably superior to PVC. In fact, there's a vast wealth of scientific evidence that shows there is no difference whatsoever in audio applictions. Have a look at the various articles on these two sites for more:
http://sound.westhost.com/cables.htm
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/
They make enlightening, and frequently entertaining reading. The latter also has an article on numerous DIY designs, including a number of ones using cat5 that you might find useful. I've built most of these at different points, and they're all good.
Best
Scott

/agree

Audio voodoo and myth spreads like wild fire. :)
 
!

Coolin said:
Lots of duscussion on cables alright...

If your system ir revealing enough it maters.

There are othet things that are alot more important but each part of chain plays it own role and all these distortions let themselves be heard in different ways.

The more you can minimise each one the better you can hear the others. So this is also something to be very aware of.

But i know for a fact it has influences the sound. More so the more sentitive your speakers because the currents are smaller.

Later,
Collin

What facts? No cable introduces non-linear distortion, still less whatever it happens to be wrapped in. That's an electrical fact. Fair point though that minimising potential problems is the way forward, but wrapping an otherwise identical piece of wire in teflon rather than PVC won't help to improve sonic performance. Still, let's not get too far into another of those cable debates! (I'm feeling weak today!)
All the best
Scott
 
Re: Teflon and Silver - Bad Mix??

FlaCharlie said:
"Teflon . . . (though avoid combining it with silver like the plague)"

I hadn't ever heard of this. What are the drawbacks? . . . Charlie


In real life audio applications.....none. The benefits are though obvious, as silver solders easier than copper, so less bad joints. I have been using silver plated copper for ages, never had anything that remotely resembles a problem.

As for the teflon part, sonically I am fairly sure there is no benefit, I use it purely for mechanical strength and the fact that you have to be $hit out of luck to get a short due to molten isolation.

Magura :)
 

Coolin

Member
2003-04-07 8:14 am
Holland
Re: !

Scottmoose said:


What facts? No cable introduces non-linear distortion, still less whatever it happens to be wrapped in. That's an electrical fact. Fair point though that minimising potential problems is the way forward, but wrapping an otherwise identical piece of wire in teflon rather than PVC won't help to improve sonic performance. Still, let's not get too far into another of those cable debates! (I'm feeling weak today!)
All the best
Scott


Want facts ? Look up dialectric absorbtion and dissapation factor...


Boso(o) said:


CAT5's design was intended for use with extremely high frequencies. (MHz. and now GHz.). Any of the EMF, RF protection will not work for audio applications.
Scott

Thats why this cable works so well. its very imune for electromagnetic influance from the outside.
This has nothing to do with the used materials though.
 
Re: Re: !

Coolin said:

Want facts ? Look up dialectric absorbtion and dissapation factor...

None of which have the slightest relevance at audio frequencies unless you've suddenly gained the ability to hear at circa 100KHz, asuming, of course, you've found a carrier medium that can go that high. I refer you to the two websites I mentioned earlier, which actually have measurements of these and other factors posted. These articles may be of particular interest:
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/interconnects/dielectricabsorptioncables.php
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/interconnects/cabledistortiondielectricb.php

Coolin said:

Thats why this cable works so well. its very imune for electromagnetic influance from the outside.
This has nothing to do with the used materials though.

True enough -Cat5 varients, being of the twisted pair nature, are quite good at rejecting RFI: I like the stuff, you you can help matters still further by adding a ferrite clamp (£1.49 from my local Maplin) around the end of the Cat5 lead. Works well with zip-cord too.

Silver and Teflon are a nasty combination in triboelectric terms, which is why I avoid it, as my listening room also serves a dual duty as a very small studio for accoustic recording. To be honest, it's only really a problem for microphone leads, but having slightly different requiremments to most people means its best for me to avoid it. I'm not a fan of silver anyway; it's not much more conductive than copper, and it's very delicate too -it's quite a brittle material, which is not great for a studio, and it costs a fortune (also bad).

Best
Scott
 
The articles look plausable however they only look at the lower load impedance of speaker cables. At line levels this should become much worse then.

They also do not take into consideration the fact that the ear is extremely sensitive. So something that they say has influence in the Mhz range could still be relevant at audio because our ears are able to hear something at such a low level in the audio signal.
What was it, a dynamic range of something like 90 dB is audible.
Compare that to the relatively small Rdielectric's in the audible range they are using to "prove" that it cant be audible.
 
A fair point, and agreed that at the (frequently) higher impedence at line levels, it becomes somewhat worse. But it's still only relative: a bit like the fact that some parts of the Titanic are less underwater than others. Talking transmission-line loss, if you analyse even the most pessimistically high impdence for a sensibly proportioned audio lead, its shunt resistive impedance in the audio band is still to be measured in the kilo-ohm regions (or higher). More significant shunt resistive losses still only start to occur at frequencies several decades outside of our hearing range. And that's assuming a pessimistically high impedence -only the idiotically designed 'high-end' cables, which are electrically far inferior to the majority of cheap wires even remotely approach this.

I agree wholeheartedly: the human ear is a quite remarkable thing. But, astonishing though it is modern analysers are far more sensitive than we are -would we use them if they weren't?
Seconded that the aforementioned site might have done well to have presented a wider range of freqencies, but those spotlighted show that there is basically nothing to see at those points. Such properties of shut-resistive impedence don't behave in a random fashion, and the data, small though it is in quantity shows that even in the MHz region losses from the much-villified PVC are utterly negligable, and, even if the losses at those frequencies were transfered to the most sensitive point of our own audio-range, it would be unlikely we'd ever pick them up. Where they are, they're not going to do any harm. Personally, I'd rather have better quality drive units than a teflon dilectric on a cable. Still, audio's a broad church, that's what I like about it: you can have an entertaining discussion like this with people who hold different approaches to the hobby! All good stuff!
Best
Scott
 

TimA

Member
2002-11-17 5:39 pm
UK
I have compared pvc/solid core mains cable with its outer sheath removed and its conductors twisted together, with ptfe insulated silver wire which was also twisted, a 3M length to each speaker was used. Though it would please me to say there was no audible difference between them and though at the time it would have suited me very well if the the former sounded better than the latter, the pvc mains cable sounded thicker, depressingly so. The measurements might say one thing, but as it is our ears that have to listen to the music surely it should be they which have the final say.

Tim.
 

Coolin

Member
2003-04-07 8:14 am
Holland
TimA said:
I have compared pvc/solid core mains cable with its outer sheath removed and its conductors twisted together, with ptfe insulated silver wire which was also twisted, a 3M length to each speaker was used. Though it would please me to say there was no audible difference between them and though at the time it would have suited me very well if the the former sounded better than the latter, the pvc mains cable sounded thicker, depressingly so. The measurements might say one thing, but as it is our ears that have to listen to the music surely it should be they which have the final say.

Tim.

OK but thats two differences. Copper-silver (+diameter :) )
and PVC -ptfe
 
Hmm. I don't doubt there was a difference actually, but could I ask a few questions regarding the methodology and wire used?

1) Was this a properly controlled ABX double-blind test?
2) Were both types of wire of identical guage?
3) Did both sets of wire have an identical twist?
4) Were both the copper mains cable and the silver cable of solid-core construction? A stranded wire will always have somewhat less material in it than a solid wire -the practical upshot is that it will have a fractionally smaller conductor area (yes, I know there's no such thing as a 'conductor' -only varying levels of resistance) for a given guage. Very little in it of course; but it has to be borne in mind.
5) Did you only change one variable at a time? Assuming that all the above factors were identical, we have two different variables here: the insulation and the conductor material.

All of these need to be considered, and accounted for for a comparison to be valid, because they drasitically affect the electrical performance of a cable, and major differences in such performance can indeed affect the sound of a system. I agree that we should listen, but it should be done in a properly controlled scientific way, and backed up by technical measurement which show how these differences occur.

All the Best
Scott