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Frequently Asked Questions
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I start thinking about getting a hold of some
RCA jacks to make interconnects, do you recommend
the Vampire pure-copper ones first and foremost?
The Vampires 800C are the best sounding OFC
copper Plugs I have found. They also offer
connection as well. The Vampires have a “sputtered” Gold
Flash directly on the OFC Copper, no nickel or
silver plating. The body(negative connection)
has a machined slot that allows the negative
wires to be the same length as the positive strand
wires. In my experience this was important to
In addition Vampire offers an OFC Copper Chassis
Jack at a reasonable price. Ideally, you should
replace the Chassis Jacks as well. The improvement
in sound performance is not subtle.
you use some special tweaks or parts on your Advantage
Interconnects, that will make them sound better
than cables I build using your wire, solder and
Yes, in some cases my cables do sound better to
some DIY efforts. I always
recommend that constructors read the Advantage
Specification Sheet. It clearly details all the
materials I use and covers almost all of the
I use. I believe not stressing the wire and braiding
a uniform “long” braid where the
braid is not to tight is very important. Also
and melting wax into the finished braid significantly
improves low level detail resolution(dampens
But I will come clean and tell you about my “Mystery
Process”, which I don’t think is mentioned
in the Spec Sheet, but I will add now that I am
telling you. I use a Jewelers File and a Small
Tool Grinder to remove the Gold Plate on the outer
body of the Plug and in the conductor mounting
hole in the Plug’s Center Pin. That way
I am soldering a “tinned” copper
conductor to tinned copper without the gold getting
way. Yes, I can hear a difference and the low
level detail resolution and instrument voicing
the OCCC Wire insulation substantial enough to
use the wire as chassis hook-up wire by itself,
or would it need a heat-shrink cover or something
to prevent shorts?
The insulation on the OCCC wire is a double coat
of high Grade Polyethelene, it can handle a lot
of voltage. So it works great as hook-up wire.
However, I am not sure why you are concerned
about “shorts”. It is not a good
practice to bundle wires in a layout, nor have
voltage or signal wires come in contact with
chassis or ground planes.
I recommend that all audio signal wires over a
few inches in length be Litz Braided. In low voltage
level signal wires like DACs or preamps, A three
strand braid works well. One strand positive,
one strand negative, another negative strand only
connected at the ground plane. In power amps,
Two strands positive and Two strands negative
with another negative strand only connected at
the ground plane.
I also recommend Litz Braided wires for AC and
DC Filaments and the High Voltage power supply
wires. In order to “tin” the ends
on Litz Braided OCCC wires a solder pot should
be used. You can braid a 24” length or more
of braid, cut it into the ideal length and dip
both ends in the solder pot to “tin” them
for installation. The very small pots sold by
TechniTool only cost around $60.00 or you can
find them at electronics flea markets.
The wire should be run so there are no tight
radius turns, electronic transmission line theory
audio signals don’t like sharp turns. I
install wiring in large horizontal(audio signal)
about 3/8” off the chassis, and DC wires(except
for the ground plane) in large vertical radius
loops. When DC lines have to cross over AC lines
you have them at 90 degrees.
Using this wiring technique, developed for high
frequency applications, there is very little “crosstalk”
due to EMI interaction. There are electronic and
electrostatic fields around any wire passing a
signal, care should be taken that they are spaced
and “crossed” properly. For a higher
number of strands, presume the braiding sequence
is still the same as described for the 4 strand
Litz (cross over one on the right, over many
the left, ad infinitum)?
The important to remember is the definition of
Litz construction, outer conductors are "laid"
or braided through the center of the conductor
bundle in a sequential pattern. The ‘ideal” Litz
braid would have each conductor braided the number
of times with each conductor having the
So when you use from 3 to whatever number of strands,
you part the strands(let's say 8) into two equal
bundles, in this case 4 on the left and four on
the right. You take the outer conductor from the
right bundle and lay it across the other three
remaining strands in the right bundle. You now
have 5 strands in the left bundle and 3 strands
in the right bundle. Now you take the outer conductor
in the left bundle and lay it across the four
remaining strands in the left bundle. You have
completed two braids and the left bundle and right
bundle is back to four and four strands each.
You just keep repeating this sequence....always
taking the outside wire from the right and laying
it across the right bundle strands and then taking
the outside wire from the left and laying it across
the left bundle strands. This way each braid is
from outside to center of the bundle......True
In the case of odd number of strands you put the
extra strand in the right bundle and you follow
the same sequence. I do not recommend odd number
strands, save for three strands with the odd strand
a floating shield, because I believe that the
positive and negative conductors should have the
same cross section.
you tried a multi-strand Litz which is left-right
channel separated just at the ends so you have
what looks like a single Litz connector carrying
two channels. Downside / upside to doing so?
I do not have any personal experience in combining
channels into one Litz braid. My instinctive response
is why would we want to interleave two different
signals?.....sounds like a recipe for cross talk.
But, the only way to learn is to build a pair
and compare them to a pair braided the way I suggest.
I use a separate positive and negative braid for
speaker cable or internal wiring, say like inside
In my experience, one of the “secrets”
of the cable construction is to combine positive
and negative strands in a single braid for any
AC(Audio) signal transmission. Separate braids
just don’t sound anywhere near as good
as the combined cable. So speaker Cable or internal
wire that is used to transmit the audio signal
is braided just like the interconnects except
with more strands. The positive and negative
are braided into one cable.
Let’s take a 10 strand speaker cable for
example. It consists of 5 strands positive(equivalent
to 18.5 gauge wire) and 5 strands negative for
a total of 10 strands. I braid split “ends”
on my speaker cables. I take the 5 strands Positive
and braid them for about 2” to 2.5”.
Then I braid the negative 5 strands the same way.
Then I interleave the positive and negative strands
to create a 10 strand cable. When I get close
to 2”-4” of the required cable length,
length. I stop at a point where all the positive
strands are on one side and all the negative
are on the other side(I use a felt marker to
color code the positives). Then I braid split
finish it off.
was looking over the documentation for using the
OCCC wire, but am still unclear about several things.
First, the wire is much thinner than the wire
I had been using (which was 20.5 gauge approx.),
and was wondering what's the best way to compensate
for this.. Litz braid 3 conductors together?
I am not sure why you want to approximate the
same gauge. I use single strands of the 25.5
as audio signal wire in both tube preamps and
power amps and have never found the need for
higher gauge. The wire will handle 0.4 Amps @
700CM/Amp. I do Litz braid wire for HV power
wires(only in high current power amplifiers)
and for AC filament supplies. For long audio
wire runs, say from the RCA jack to the first
tube input grid, I do Litz braid three strands
of wire….one positive, one negative and
one floating shield(connected on only one end
at the ground point). It does sound better than
Also you had mentioned some "advanced" techniques
to using the wire.. something about first dipping
into solder pot to melt the outer
coating, then rosin core flux, then using? I
didn't quite recall what you had said, so was
if maybe you could clarify that again.
you had mentioned some "advanced" techniques
to using the wire.. something about first dipping
into solder pot to melt the outer coating, then
rosin core flux, then using? I didn't quite recall
what you had said, so was wondering if maybe
you could clarify that again. Do you know of
a good and cheap source for solder pot?
If you use a candle or disposable lighter to “flash” off the insulation
you then need to clean the bare conductor ScotchBrite. Then you need to “tin” the
exposed conductor with solder. If you use a solder pot, it burns away the sprayed
on insulation and “tins” the conductor with solder. The solder flux
I mentioned is a small container of highly active flux. You dip the insulated
end of the wire into the flux, making sure the flux covers more of the wire length
than you are going to “tin”. Then you dip the fluxed end into the
solder pot. The melting flux carries away the insulation and you end up with
a perfectly tinned end on the wire. The best solder pots are mini-pots that have
a very small “bucket” for the molten solder. TechniTool(they have
a web site) has a great 800 degree pot for $68.00 their part number 432SO240.
You will need to melt enough CC solder into the bucket to achieve the best performance.
Kester’s SP-44 Rosin Paste Flux works very well. TechniTool carries it
got around to making up several style cables with
the CCC. In your explanation of the LITZ braid,
using the 4 wires and 8 step instructions, is
it necessary to complete the whole 8 steps? Say
the length you have cut the wire to length, but
in braiding you can only manage, say 3 1/2 complete
8 step sequences?
In my experience, the important thing is to keep
the positive and negative strands the same length.
Since there is very little "shrinkage"
when you braid the strands, using your example
of 3 1/2 complete 8 step sequence, should work
just fine. I use the Vampire 800s RCA plugs because
they have a milled slot in the RCA outer shell.
This allows me to solder a ground strand on each
side of the milled slot, keeping the length of
all the strands the same.I know you highly recommend
4-wire method over 3-wire ones. But at this length
of 2" does it matter? 3-wire is easier in
braiding, but if 4-wire one still sounds better
at this short length, then I'll do it as you
Even in 1” of wire, I would use the 4 strand.
I do everything possible to reduce the energy
absorption of the signal. I feel the third floating
wire, like thick insulation or a “shield”
absorbs the leading edge of the signal. The 4
strand is much faster. When I am going to rewire
something I braid a 24” length of 4 strand
and use a permanent felt marker to “mark”
the cable after 8 braids. That’s the point
where all the wire lengths are oriented with
strands in the same position as the start of
I install wire so that the cable arcs(has a radius)
from the input connections to the output connections.
I feel this reduces mechanical resonance. When
the wire is longer than 4 inches. I use a wooden
dowel to support the wire for the same reason.And
be it 3- or 4-wires, there should be no "dangling" ground
(i.e., ground connection on one end but not the
other), right? For 3-wire one should have
2 grounds, 1 signal; for 4-wire one should have
2 grounds and 2 signals, right?
Again, I do not recommend three wires. But the
proper way to install it is for two strands to
be connected to ground at one end and only 1
strand to be connected at the other end. This
is to keep the positive and negative “cross
section” the same. The third wire acts like
a floating “shield”. The best point
to end the third wire is at the ground plane
the amplifier circuit. Regarding the wirewound
potentiometer, I wonder it might cause problem
with volume setting as it is multi-turn. Is there
any indicator for which turn the volume pot is
There are no plans to add an indicator to identify
what turn position the pot wiper is at. The concept
is for the user to establish the average position
they listen to Music at. They then position the
indicator on the volume knob to 12 O clock an
use the 360 degrees of rotation to “fine
tune” their system to establish optimum
balance and volume. There really is no reason
to turn the volume post off as part of the system’s
start up or turn off operations. All the Music
sources I am familiar do have a “pause”
or mute switch to “turn off” the music…if
they have to answer the phone or the doorbell.
Long term this same pot will be offered as a
driven unit to allow volume and balance control
form the listening position.
only other questions/concerns I have are their
durability (I don't swap interconnects too often
but do need to move things around on occasion)
and their long term stability (i.e., resistance
to oxidation and other performance degradations).
I heard OCCC wire is very delicate?
Thanks for interest. The Chimera Labs Advantage interconnects
come with a lifetime warranty, saving unnatural
disasters, say a cat, fire or an axe. I have
had OCCC wire in operation for over 7 years and
is no sign of deterioration, it has a double
spray coating that was developed for magnet
I checked with the magnet wire manufacturers
they told me that the coating did not attack
and has a 15 year minimum life in transformers
that run at a 54 degrees Centigrade or 130 degrees
Fahrenheit. It handles heat, abrasion and chemicals
extremely well, much better than the standard
Teflon or PVC insulation's. Since the cables
run at room temperatures, I feel it is a "Lifetime" product.
The solder joints have been sealed so they won't
oxidize, so the sound performance
deteriorate. The OFC Copper Plugs are very solid
mechanically with an excellent fit on the chassis
OCCC wire doesn't like to be bent in tight radius,
tightly twisted or hit with a hammer. No conductor
does. This will fracture and randomize the grain
structure. Metal does have a memory and a disrupted
and randomized grain structure will slowly heal.
One of the factors that might account for the
superior sound performance of vintage tubes and
wire. Actually vintage wire was drawn or extruded
from Cast Copper. So it has a superior grain structure
to the modern wires that are made by the Electrolysis
was wondering if the lack of shielding makes interconnects
susceptible to corruption by the close proximity
of power cords and other
No, the unshielded Litz Braid has not proven
to be more sensitive to power cords or other
It is a good idea to keep all interconnects and
speaker cables away from power cords, equipment
cabinets and shelf uprights. The semi-rigid sleeving
and Isoloss damping grommets at the wire side
of the RCA plugs ensures that the OCCC wire can
not form a tight bend. Instead you get a nice
gentle loop. The sleeving not only protects the
wire from abrasion but stiffens it. SO it is
easy to run them so they don't contact any of
the above items. It is a good idea to run your
power cords straight up to the equipment and
have the interconnect cross the power cords
at a 90
degree angle. If you need to space the interconnect
braid away from something, Go to a hardware
and buy some "foam" water pipe insulation
for 1/4" or 3/8" diameter pipe. This
is a plastic foam tube with a slit running
length of the tube. Slice the foam into 1/2" thick
doughnuts and use it to space the braid from
whatever it was touching. By the way these
doughnuts do a wonderful job of keeping you speakers
cables off the floor. Space them about every
or so and your bass slam and low level detail
resolution is much better.
if you could tell me more about the "Dots
of EAR Isodamp SD are used to dampen the
RCA plugs. A special low temperature microcrystalline
wax..." used to make your Advantage
Working Wax into the Litz braid
dampens mechanical resonance. The paraffin
wax used to seal Mason Jars for preserves jars
or beeswax will work well. Both are low temperature
microcrystalline waxes, You gently rub it on
the outside surfaces of the braid and use a
heat gun to melt it into the braid.
Actually I now use specially modified EAR Isodamp Grommets at the wire exit
end of the RCA plugs. This supports and centers the braid in the large exit
hole of the RCA Plugs. It also damps the resonance between the Plug Outer and
Inner Shells. You can use the foam insulation that is used to insulate water
pipes. Use the Outer Shell like a cookie cutter to punch out washers and use
a smaller tube to punch out the inside hole. You wan the foam thick enough
so that the foam is slightly compressed when the outer shell is screwed on
to the inner shell.
I use a Jewelers File and a Small Tool Grinder to remove the Gold Plate on
the outer body of the Plug and in the conductor mounting hole in the Plug’s
Center Pin. That way I am soldering a "tinned" copper conductor to
tinned copper without the gold getting in the way. I also use an alcohol based
varnish to seal all the solder joints. Yes, I can hear a difference and the
low level detail resolution and instrument voicing is better.
I have been making and refining these interconnects for over 8 years. To be
honest, I have listened to sample interconnects made by my wire customers and
they don’t sound as good as mine. It is really a matter of practice,
execution and very close attention to details.
in the heck do you keep all that wire organized while you braid long speaker
To keep all the strands organized I tin or solder the ends on the positive wires.
That way I can ensure proper orientation. I tried using a permanent felt marker
to color code the wires, but it tended to wear off.
I start braiding the cable at the middle not at one end. I take a couple of C
Clamps and two pieces of smooth softwood with some rubber tape on one surface
of both pieces of wood. I lay all the strands side by side so the mid point of
the strands rests on the rubber faced face of the bottom piece of wood. Then
I position the top piece of wood rubber face down and use the C Clamps to clamp
the pieces together to grip the wires. I use a saw horse as a work bench and
an office chair with large casters so I can move away from the sawhorse as I
When I get about two or three inches from the end at a braiding point when all
the positive and negative strands are in proper orientation. I braid all the
positive leads and negative leads into a short pigtail, looks like a Y. This
will allow proper connection to a binding post without stressing the wire.
This way if, for example, you are braiding a four foot speaker cable, you only
have to deal with a little over 2 feet of loose strands to braid, instead of
4 feet. I add about 4” to the wire length for every 3 feet of braid. You
may end up with some excess wire, but you won’t be short.
I know you highly recommend 4-wire method over 3-wire
ones. But at this length of 2" does it matter?
3-wire is easier in braiding, but if 4-wire one still sounds better at this short
length, then I'll do it as you advised.
Even in 1” of wire, I would use the 4 strand. I do everything possible
to reduce the energy absorption of the signal. I feel the third floating wire,
like thick insulation or a “shield” absorbs the leading edge of the
signal. The 4 strand is much faster. When I am going to rewire something I braid
a 24” length of 4 strand and use a permanent felt marker to “mark” the
cable after 8 braids. That’s the point where all the wire lengths are oriented
with the strands in the same position as the start of the braid.
I install wire so that the cable arcs(has a radius) from the input connections
to the output connections. I feel this reduces mechanical resonance. When the
wire is longer than 4 inches. I use a wooden dowel to support the wire for the
And be it 3- or 4-wires, there should be no "dangling" ground (i.e.,
ground connection on one end but not the other), right?
For 3-wire one should have 2 grounds, 1 signal; for
4-wire one should have 2 grounds and 2 signals, right?
Again, I do not recommend three wires. But the proper way to install it is for
two strands to be connected to ground at one end and only 1 ground strand to
be connected at the other end. This is to keep the positive and negative “cross
section” the same. The third wire acts like a floating “shield”.
The best point to end the third wire is at the ground plane of the amplifier
I would also like your comments on creating a Balanced
Microphone Cable with XLR connectors. Number of conductors? Braid technique?
I use two strands on all three connections or pins on the XLR cables I braid.
So you are braiding a six strand cable. I have the two positive strands, pin
2 on the left and the two negative strands, pin 3 on the right. I split the shield
strands from pin 1 so that one strand is on the inside right and one strand is
on the inside left. So there are three left strands and three right strands.
I use the input XLR as a braiding jig. I solder two strands on each pin. I use
a permanent felt marker to color the ends, red for positive, green for negative
and don’t color the shield wires. I braid the cable to the approximate
length I need and when the wire ends are in proper orientation…I cut and
tin them to install them on the output XLR.
I need matched tube with matched sections
when my preamp uses only one tube per channel?
Most preamps use tubes, called twin triodes,
that have two amplifier sections.
Your preamp has one tube per channel, but
since it uses twin triodes there are two amplifier
sections or stages per channel. So you need
are a matched pair of tubes where the first
section of both tubes match each other and
the second sections of each tube matches.
If both tubes measured 85/90, they would be
matched in your application.
In equipment where the left channel and right
channel are amplified by both tubes, you could
have one tube with 85/85 sections and the
second tube with 90/90 and they would be matched
for that application.
So it is important to know how the audio signal
channels are amplified or processed by the
As an aside, equipment where both channels
go through all the tubes, you can mix different
tube types. This can achieve better performance
than using all one type.
I realize the need for amp output tubes to
be matched, however what about pre-amp tubes
and phono stage tubes, is there a need to
Well, the prevailing opinion is that the single
ended tube circuits in preamp and phono stages
do not need to be matched. Certainly any preamps/phono
stages using balanced(push-pull) or differential
tuber stages will require matched tubes. Remember
the most common tubes chosen for these circuits
are “twin triodes”. This means
each tube has two separate amplifier sections.
I feel it is important to use tubes with matched
sections and matched pairs of tubes in preamps
and phono stages simply because each channel
in your stereo system will have the same amplification
factor. While it is true that amplifier stages
or sections with the same gain may not reproduce
the entire frequency spectrum identically,
they will certainly do a better job than non-matched
Can you hear the difference? It has been my
experience that you can even hear the difference
in power amplifiers and it is easily discernable
in preamp and phono stages.
I should mention that matching new tubes is
an exercise in futility. Tubes will change
their operating characteristics more in the
first 24 hours of operation than they will
for the rest of their “lives”.
You may of heard of “burning-in”
or “preconditioning” tubes. The
tubes are conditioned for at least 24 hours
and ideally for 100 hours(standard set by
RCA for their studio applications). After
preconditioning the tubes are then tested
and matched for transconductance and noise.
That is the only way to end up with “matched”
do you recommend I test tubes for microphonics?
All tubes will be microphonic to a degree.
You should be most concerned with tubes having
the highest gain and those closest to the
Musical Source….a phono preamplifier
stage, for example.
Have your system powered up with the volume
control set at your normal listening position.
Tap your finger on the top of the chassis
the tubes are in. Listen for the tap being
amplified and driving your speakers. The longer
the ringing and decay the rap has the more
microphonic the tube is.
You can also use a wood pencil with an eraser
and lightly tap on the top of the tube/tubes.
If you are testing more than one tube, try
to tap each one with the same force. Remember
you are not listening to see if you can hear
the tap, you are listening for ringing and
do I determine the best operating point, voltages
for a tube?
Every Tube has an optimum operating point.
A combination of voltages and current that
provides the best reproduction of Music the
tube is capable of. Too bad the data Tube
Manufacturers supply doesn’t get you
In the good old days, most Tube Manufacturers
at least supplied a data sheet that showed
the gain, plate resistance and distortion
level at one or two operating points. Using
the “Factory” Operating Voltages
is a compromise, because the Tube Manufacturer
choose an operating point that provides adequate
tube life, adequate power and an acceptable
distortion level(usually 5% or less). That
much distortion is certainly not optimum for
Many Tube Manufacturers provided a tube curve
chart. You can use this chart and calculate
the amplification and harmonic distortion,
based on a chosen load resistance or impedance
value. That will certainly get you closer
than using the “Standard” Operating
Point. I haven’t seen a whole lot of
tube curves on the tubes being produced today.
What a tube curve chart doesn’t take
into account is that the tube stage is just
one part of a complex audio system that can
consist of many “amplifier” stages.
So the only way I know to optimize the tube
is to “dial it in”. First, you
need to have your power supply optimized by
making it stiff and as isolated from other
amplifier stages, including the “other”
channel. Then you use the ultimate test device,
your ears, and you adjust the value plate
load resistor, input grid resistor(if you
need one), cathode bias resistor and cathode
bypass capacitor (if you need one) until the
tube makes Music.
In general, tubes sound better with a decent
amount of current flowing through them. More
current usually means the tube has a lower
internal plate resistance which gives it more
drive and a lower output impedance.
The value of the Plate Load Resistor needs
to be as high as it can be with the Power
Supply voltage you have available. Too much
plate resistance and you drop too much voltage
across the resistor. This can limit the amount
of current flowing through the tube.
In order for the amplify the audio signal
at low distortion, the bias voltage needs
to be high enough to amplify the full dynamic
range of the musical signal. Too low a bias
voltage and the tube will clip off part of
the signal and your distortion goes way up.
Too high a bias voltage and you find the “idle”(no
signal on the input grid) current of the tube
is too low. The value of the bias resistor
determines the bias voltage and the amount
of the tube’s idle current. The bias
resistor’s value and the determination
whether you need a cathode bypass capacitor,
and its value, are probably the most critical
adjustments to dial the tube in.
Finally, if you need an input grid “stopper”
resistor you can adjust its value to determine
the right balance of low level detail resolution
and bandwidth versus rhythm, pace and presence.
Dialing in a tube amplifier stage can take
a lot of time and listening evaluations. You
should use good audio components when you
do it, so adjustable pots instead of fixed
resistors won’t get you there. But,
if you take your time and do it right, you
will be surprised at the difference it makes.
DIY Wire FAQs
finished the horn cabs for my Lowther DX3's. Can
I use the Chimera gauge 25.5 solid copper wires for
the horns internal wiring. Can I use single runs
of the wire or use multiples of them? Or can I just
run them from the drivers straight to the amps (no
Yes you can use the 25.5 AWG OCCC wire to wire your Lowthers. Bob Hoekstra, the
designer of the Axiom Amp, uses the DX-3’s in his Hedlund Horns. I use
the Lowther PM-5As in custom dipole cabinets with separate Bass Bins.
Based on out listening evaluations the optimum wire configuration is 10 strands
of 25.5 Litz braided in a 5 strand positive and 5 strand negative configuration.
You braid five strands separately for 2 to 3” to create separate positive
and negative leads to connect to the driver terminals. You then braid the strands
into a 10 strand Litz cable and separate into 5 strands positive and negative
braided leads for your binding posts.
Not using binding posts on your cabinets should offer better sound since you
have one less mechanical connection and one less solder joint. Strongly suggest
you use Copper Binding Posts on your amp. I use the Vampire OFC chassis Jacks,
RCA Plugs and Binding Posts, they make a huge difference in sound performance.
Ideally you want your speaker cable to be short enough so that it doesn’t
touch the ground. If you have your wire exit at the driver height out of the
cabinet and keep it short enough to loop to the amp without touching the floor,
it is MAGIC.
I provide samples of the speaker cable braid and interconnect braid when customers
purchase the wire. Let me know if I can help in any way. Congratulations on using
the DX3’s, they are great drivers.
keep the wire and solder in stock, or does it need
to be special-ordered?
Yes, I usually have the wire and the solder in stock. The solder is made in small
production lots and requires about an 8 week lead time. Due to the increasing
demand for the solder, customers have had to wait when my on hand stock was sold
Dennis, in the last paragraph of your braiding
instructions you mention burning off the enamel
or insulation. You
mean just enough for the terminations correct?
Yes, the polyethylene insulation is two coats
sprayed on the “bare” OCCC conductor
as part of its manufacturing process. Although
it is only 0.0001
think, it is very tough and will not absorb
moisture or gases like many other insulation
materials or processes.
It is very important to only “burn off” or
tin just the end of the wire and just long
enough to allow a good solder connection.
I use a special alcohol based natural varnish
to coat the solder joint and any tinned wire.
a “gas tight” connection and both
the solder joint and the wire is sealed from
joints will oxidize just like a bare conductor.
Good thing to remember on all your construction
I would also appreciate your thoughts about
spade lugs at amp and speaker ends versus other
Well I have tried just about everything including
running cables through grommets in holes in
a chassis and soldering
everything. I can’t argue about its effectiveness.
That the reason I design tube amps so they
have enough gain that a preamp will not be
that approach, the most important criteria
for connectors is the base metal it is made
In term of off the shelf components, I have
had good luck with the bare copper Edison Price
With them you should use their adjustable bare
copper binding posts. To get the best fit,
due to machining
ridges, you should use a hand drill to “lap” the
binding post with a fine lapping abrasive using a hand
drill and the banana post. You need to color code each
binding post and banana plug so you won’t
get them mixed up. Wash them in parts cleaner
rid of the lapping compound and use the best
you can get. I like Cramoline Blue not the
Gold. Clean them(De-Obit) and apply contact
two or three months to maintain a good performance
Now I use the Vampire Direct Gold Plated OFC
connectors. I got a few samples of the RCA
Plugs and Chassis
Jacks in bare copper and did the lapping and
preservative bit. I was surprised to find that
I could not hear
an improvement over the Gold Plated versions.
could hear were the Bare Copper connectors’ sound
performance deteriorate as they oxidize.
I just finished the horn cabs for my Lowther
DX3's. Can I use the Chimera gauge 25.5 solid
for the horns internal wiring. Can I use single
runs of the wire or use multiples of them?
Or can I just
run them from the drivers straight to the amps
(no binding posts)?
Yes you can use the 25.5 AWG OCCC wire to wire
your Lowthers. Bob Hoekstra, the designer of
Amp, uses the DX-3’s in his Hedlund Horns.
I use the Lowther PM-5As in custom dipole cabinets
Based on out listening evaluations the optimum
wire configuration is 10 strands of 25.5 Litz
braided in a 5 strand positive and 5 strand
You braid five strands separately for 2 to
create separate positive and negative leads
to connect to the driver terminals. You then
into a 10 strand Litz cable and separate into
5 strands positive and negative braided leads
Not using binding posts on your cabinets should
offer better sound since you have one less
and one less solder joint. Strongly suggest
you use Copper Binding Posts on your amp. I
OFC chassis Jacks, RCA Plugs and Binding Posts,
they make a huge difference in sound performance.
Ideally you want your speaker cable to be short
enough so that it doesn’t touch the ground.
If you have your wire exit at the driver height
out of the
and keep it short enough to loop to the amp
without touching the floor, it is MAGIC.
I provide samples of the speaker cable braid
and interconnect braid when customers purchase
wire. Let me know
if I can help in any way. Congratulations on
using the DX3’s, they are great drivers.