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Is thicker always better? Interconnects

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Thinking about diy'ing some interconnects to compete with my mates silver, cryo, braided cables. I don't need them but for the money I just thought I could do for laugh.

All I really need is RCA connectors that won't be expensive. I intend to use thick speaker cable 4 x 2.5mm2 per cable which I have too much of anyway. I know it will work. But the question is is thicker always better? Anyone tried this?
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
Thinking about diy'ing some interconnects to compete with my mates silver, cryo, braided cables. I don't need them but for the money I just thought I could do for laugh.

All I really need is RCA connectors that won't be expensive. I intend to use thick speaker cable 4 x 2.5mm2 per cable which I have too much of anyway. I know it will work. But the question is is thicker always better? Anyone tried this?
Possibly......but I wouldn't be using speaker wire for interconnects.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Some would argue, that it helps to be thicker, when it comes to believing anything but cheap interconnects make much difference. *unknw*
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
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insider9 said:
Thinking about diy'ing some interconnects to compete with my mates silver, cryo, braided cables. I don't need them but for the money I just thought I could do for laugh.

All I really need is RCA connectors that won't be expensive. I intend to use thick speaker cable 4 x 2.5mm2 per cable which I have too much of anyway. I know it will work. But the question is is thicker always better? Anyone tried this?
Thicker is (theoretically) always better for speaker cables. I use 4 x 4 mm2 for my Maggies
. For ICs thicker is not better, often worse. If you look for a cheap solution, get yourself some CAT6 (or CAT 7) cable: shielded, twisted, even starquad: should work a treat.

As for RCA-plugs, go for Neutrik: rock solid and very affordable.
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
Thank you Al Ears and DocG! Will have to do some reading and see I have any suitable cable available.
From what I gather, for digital sources a 75 ohm cable is preferable though not exactly sure why.

As to thicker being better I am not convinced having used single solid core DNM Reson interconnects in the past. ;-) These, however, were not cryogenically treated...... ;-)
 

CnoEvil

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Al ears said:
From what I gather, for digital sources a 75 ohm cable is preferable though not exactly sure why.
Atlas explains it (from page 7/16): https://www.atlascables.com/assets/files/pdfs-technical/DNA_of_Atlas_Audio_Products-Revised_Oct12.pdf
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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The cables I have are solid core so could take two "strands" per cable.

Found the specs quoting 7.41 Ohm per km. I'd do half meter pairs providing resistance of 3.7 mΩ
 

DocG

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May 1, 2012
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CnoEvil said:
Al ears said:
From what I gather, for digital sources a 75 ohm cable is preferable though not exactly sure why.
Atlas explains it (from page 7/16): https://www.atlascables.com/assets/files/pdfs-technical/DNA_of_Atlas_Audio_Products-Revised_Oct12.pdf
And on page 11, they suggest to use UTP-cable! (Or am I overinterpreting?
)
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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By interconnects I presume you mean the low level cables that use RCA phono plugs that you connect between the amp and cd player, turntable etc. and not for connecting speakers, if so it has to be screened cable or you will just suffer from severe interference. (The screen is also the return)

Get the proper stuff (RS, Maplin, CPC or pro music store etc. will have what you need) and avoid anything fancy from Hi-Fi cable manufactures.

Bill
 

Vladimir

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Dec 26, 2013
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By default thicker is better in all cable applications, including USB.

What's more important is to have pure copper, not CCA (copper clad aluminium). A smaller gauge pure copper wire will outperform a thicker CCA one.
 

DocG

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May 1, 2012
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Vladimir said:
By default thicker is better in all cable applications, including USB.

What's more important is to have pure copper, not CCA (copper clad aluminium). A smaller gauge pure copper wire will outperform a thicker CCA one.
Then how can a thick, pure copper wire reach a 75 or 110 Ohm resistance?
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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DocG said:
Vladimir said:
By default thicker is better in all cable applications, including USB.

What's more important is to have pure copper, not CCA (copper clad aluminium). A smaller gauge pure copper wire will outperform a thicker CCA one.
Then how can a thick, pure copper wire reach a 75 or 110 Ohm resistance?
You are confusing DC resistance with characteristic impedance. I am afraid the full answer is a bit technical, but you could consider it as the AC resistance bewteen the screen and the centre conductor of an infinitely long screened lead.
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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Vladimir said:
By default thicker is better in all cable applications, including USB.

What's more important is to have pure copper, not CCA (copper clad aluminium). A smaller gauge pure copper wire will outperform a thicker CCA one.
While I normally agree with Vlad, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with CCA. Sure, if you have two cables the same thickness, then copper wins over aluminium. Use a thicker aluminium cable.

Equally if you have two cables the same weight, then aluminium wins over copper. Where weight really matters (overhead grid cables for example) aluminium cables with a steel core for strength are used.
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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In answer to the OP, size usually matters, but you have to choose the right design of cable for the job.

Cat5e is used in differential data circuits and is twisted pair, RCA interconnects are usually used for low level signal leads and require shielding, Coax is used for low loss high frequency connections and so on.

For audio:

1. Speaker leads are used in a circuit with very low source impedance and very low sink impedance. Any resisitance in the cable has an effect. Thicker is definitely better.

2. RCA low level interconnects are used ins a circuit with low source impedance but very high sink impedance. Current flow in the cable is low, and cable shielding is much more important than having the absolute lowest resistance.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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andyjm said:
In answer to the OP, size usually matters, but you have to choose the right design of cable for the job. 

Cat5e is used in differential data circuits and is twisted pair, RCA interconnects are usually used for low level signal leads and require shielding, Coax is used for low loss high frequency connections and so on.  

For audio:

1. Speaker leads are used in a circuit with very low source impedance and very low sink impedance.  Any resisitance in the cable has an effect.  Thicker is definitely better.

2. RCA  low level interconnects are used ins a circuit with low source impedance but very high sink impedance. Current flow in the cable is low, and cable shielding is much more important than having the absolute lowest resistance.   
Thank you very much Andy!
 

Pedro2

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Nov 29, 2010
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You may find the following link useful. Once made some DIY speaker cables using braided cat 6; they performed well but were bulky!

https://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/diycables.html

Have fun!
 

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