By Frederick Ampel • August 17, 2018 Editor’s Note: Nothing discussed here is true… Right? :>) Check any good handbook of physical constants and you will find that silver has much lower resistivity than copper. In fact, silver has the lowest resistivity of anything that is solid at room temperature, and is thus suitable for making wires. However, the practical solution is to use thicker copper. Still, to avoid the debilitating nature of skin effects, the best solution is to use silver plated copper wire. Of course, not to be overlooked is the fact that copper is reddish, and so will tend to brighten or warm up the sound, while silver, being white, will tend towards a neutral presentation, which can be tweaked with additional brightness by selective use of gold-plated jacks and plugs. The type of wire insulation used can grossly affect sound quality. For example, rubber-type insulation acts as a shock absorber that dampens dynamic peaks (such as turning the crack of a rim shot into something more like a thud). It also has a high coefficient of friction, which slows the passage of sound through the wire causing the musical pitch to be lower. To counteract this effect, musical groups have to tune to a concert A as high as 450 Hz in order for the correct musical pitch to be reproduced through the sound system. The best wire insulation is Teflon, which is a very firm material with a very low coefficient of friction. This allows the sound to slide easily through the wires without dampening the peaks or slowing it down. The colors of wire insulation should be selected according to light spectrum wavelengths and absorption. Generally bright colors are reflective. Therefore, bright colored insulation will reduce high frequency loses by reflecting high-frequency audio back into the wires thus maintaining clarity and brightness. Dark, absorptive colors should be used for low frequency wire insulation. By absorbing and carrying some of the low frequency energy dark colored insulation actually increases the effective diameter of the conductor – a good thing for improving the high current flow needed at low frequencies. You should also rack your signal sources above your amplifiers, and rack the amplifiers higher than the loudspeakers. This is so that the electrons don’t have to struggle uphill through the wires to get the sound out. You’d be amazed at the difference that can make. Also, both loudspeakers should be placed to the same side of the amp, so that the cables are subject to the same Coriolis forces owing to the earth’s rotation; failure to observe this can result in truly nasty phase shifts. Of course, your mileage may vary… Fred Ampel has been involved in the A/V industry for more than 35 years, working with sound reinforcement, studio, A/V system design, installations and equipment development. About Frederick Frederick Ampel Dr. Frederick J. Ampel has been involved in the professional A/V industry for more than 40 years, working as a systems designer, consultant, sales and marketing professional and market researcher. Presently he runs Technology Visions Analytics, a consultancy and market research firm. Comments Have something to say about this PSW content? Leave a comment! Cancel reply Scroll past the ”Post Comment” button below to view any existing comments. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Kacper says Don't forget that you need to raise the cables off of the floor to eliminate interference from the earth's magnetic field. :) Blowydoll says These phenamena are some of the reasons that zip cord performs so well in blind taste tests. Most of these unknown things have been known by the few who care for a long time StanV says I am *thoroughly* enchanted by the fact that someone thought it necessary to lead this article with a dsclaimer... Tagged with: Cables Fred Ampel Humor Interconnect wires · all topics Subscribe to Live Sound International Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound. Subscribe Today!