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Thread: Oxidation and the importance of well terminated speaker cables...

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2017

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 236
    I'm Tony.

    Default Oxidation and the importance of well terminated speaker cables...

    I've been having a lot of trouble recently with the sound of my system going off.

    After much mucking about I finally traced it to oxidation of the cheap spades on my Van Damme Hifi speaker cable.

    At 1st I went bare back but I found the sound would go off again after a few days. I didn't expect this as I thought oxidation of bare cable would take much longer.

    Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and bought some red copper Gaofei spades from ebay, some silver plated crimp tubes and a crimping tool.

    I put it all together and covered the open parts of the spade with heatshrink and voila, lovely sounds and so far it hasn't gone off!

    I'm not sure why the banana plugs at the speaker end haven't also gone off but maybe they were better attached when I bought the cable.

    Just thought I'd share my findings in case anyone else has experienced oxidation or just to stimulate some discussion
    VPI Scout 1.1, Ortofon Quintet Bronze, Vanderveen MC10 SUT, WAD Phono3, Xiang Sheng DAC-01 (WE 396A), WAD KiT6550 and Reiver Edingdale SR

  2. #2
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,563
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Hi Tony, thanks.

    When you say the sound would go off with bare wire, can you elaborate please
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge - Fritz Gyger S re-tip
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7 on Soundcare SuperSpikes
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,155
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Intenso View Post
    I've been having a lot of trouble recently with the sound of my system going off.

    After much mucking about I finally traced it to oxidation of the cheap spades on my Van Damme Hifi speaker cable.

    At 1st I went bare back but I found the sound would go off again after a few days. I didn't expect this as I thought oxidation of bare cable would take much longer.

    Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and bought some red copper Gaofei spades from ebay, some silver plated crimp tubes and a crimping tool.

    I put it all together and covered the open parts of the spade with heatshrink and voila, lovely sounds and so far it hasn't gone off!

    I'm not sure why the banana plugs at the speaker end haven't also gone off but maybe they were better attached when I bought the cable.

    Just thought I'd share my findings in case anyone else has experienced oxidation or just to stimulate some discussion
    I have often found the opposite to be true. When I use unterminated cable I typical apply a little solder to the cable tips to stop the cable fraying/unravelling. When I tighten the screws on the cable the screws typically cut through the oxidised top surface and exposes some fresh cable under the pressure applied.

    Often though, I use terminated speaker cable just for the convenience of connecting cables.

    Geoff

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2017

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 236
    I'm Tony.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieGong View Post
    Hi Tony, thanks.

    When you say the sound would go off with bare wire, can you elaborate please
    What I meant was that when I cut the ends to reveal some fresh cable and then connect using the bare ends it would sound great for a day or two and then the sound would go a little dull.

    Terminating the ends the way I described has resulted in the sound not going a little dull.

    I guess I'm just surprised that a newly cut bare wire would go off so quick but hey ho nothing surprises me in this game...
    VPI Scout 1.1, Ortofon Quintet Bronze, Vanderveen MC10 SUT, WAD Phono3, Xiang Sheng DAC-01 (WE 396A), WAD KiT6550 and Reiver Edingdale SR

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,563
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Intenso View Post
    What I meant was that when I cut the ends to reveal some fresh cable and then connect using the bare ends it would sound great for a day or two and then the sound would go a little dull.

    Terminating the ends the way I described has resulted in the sound not going a little dull.

    I guess I'm just surprised that a newly cut bare wire would go off so quick but hey ho nothing surprises me in this game...
    Interesting, I've never heard of that before

    Bare wire is prefered by some as it's a direct connection which should be good.

    Be interesting to fond out if anyone else has had the same experience
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge - Fritz Gyger S re-tip
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7 on Soundcare SuperSpikes
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  6. #6
    Join Date: Sep 2013

    Location: North Island New Zealand

    Posts: 1,146
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Intenso View Post
    What I meant was that when I cut the ends to reveal some fresh cable and then connect using the bare ends it would sound great for a day or two and then the sound would go a little dull.

    Terminating the ends the way I described has resulted in the sound not going a little dull.

    I guess I'm just surprised that a newly cut bare wire would go off so quick but hey ho nothing surprises me in this game...
    Key areas for removing contacts altogether are where voltage and current are low. Both volume controls and signal switching as example
    can be contact-less

    Ideally contact-less methods of audio signal transfer, where ever possible should be used. Speaker binding posts are very convenient
    but really should be soldered end to end- if we can overcome the inconvenience barrier.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,458
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    Years ago, I had the usual OFC Monster Cable on my speakers, it was the best available at that time, before the cable market exploded. And I also soldered the tip to prevent fraying, and cranked down on the 5 way binding posts of my then Adcom 555 amp.

    Hearing the losses you describe, I kept cranking down on the terminals until I finally broke them off! After a few years of retightening. So, I soldered the speaker wire directly to the amp! It worked so well i soldered the other side to the amp as well! No more issues, for 10 years I never had to fret with that end of the wire. But, the speaker end I had less trouble with for some reason.

    Today, I also got those red copper spades from eBay and used a copper tube to crimp and solder the wire before adding the spades and the shrink tubing to pretty it up. These big red copper spades work wonders under the big wing nut speaker terminals on the Krell, and were fitted with those expensive banana lugs on the speaker end, which I have not changed. These bananas expand and lock themselves in the hole, and make a very good connection it would seem. Some expensive Legacy speaker wires the gent included in the sale of the Legacy speakers, they were much better than the wires I was using, so Iíve stayed with them.

    Russell

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2017

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 236
    I'm Tony.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alphaGT View Post
    I also got those red copper spades from eBay and used a copper tube to crimp and solder the wire before adding the spades and the shrink tubing to pretty it up.Russell
    I never soldered the tip but as the rest is gas tight I'm hoping any oxidation will be minimal.

    I'd love to try some upmarket cable but as I need 10m a channel my options are limited...
    VPI Scout 1.1, Ortofon Quintet Bronze, Vanderveen MC10 SUT, WAD Phono3, Xiang Sheng DAC-01 (WE 396A), WAD KiT6550 and Reiver Edingdale SR

  9. #9
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 53,123
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    cant say ive had that effect. cable shouldnt oxidize that quick i wouldn't have thought.
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
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    **Men are not punished for their sins, but by them**

  10. #10
    Macca's Avatar
    Macca is online now Moderator and lover of technical papers
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 24,417
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    IME if you use bare speaker cable then it does oxidise over time (months not days) and stripping it back to fresh adds a bit of leading edge and sparkle back to the sound.


    So agree there is an effect but can't see it happening in days. Maybe it depends how oxygen-free the copper wire is?
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SLP1200 CD Player * Nelson Pass DCB1 Pre amp / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'You fool! To think that your ape-brain could contain the full knowledge of the Krell!'

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