Ever tried copper foil speaker cables ? I have experimented with a couple recently:
- DIY model
- Silversmith Audio's Fidelium cables
1) DIY copper foil cables
They are easy to make yourself - here is a recipe someone gave me. All you need is:
- Copper foil, 16AWG will do (https://europe-audio.com/Product.asp?Product_ID=8636)
Its a two person job, and makes for a fun project with your partner or children. You'll need to secure one layer of tape face up on a flat surface (ex: a long table), carefully lay two strips of copper foil (with gloves, preferably, to avoid moisture on the foil), and cover them with another layer of tape. The tricky part is to find a way of securing the cable to your speaker and amplifier binding posts. You can cut out the tips in various shapes, solder wire or banana plugs... I did not do a very good job.
The results were very convincing: definition is the adjective that comes to mind; lack of distortion as well. I compared them to several cables, with a few trusted ears:
- Nanotech SP79
- simple Belden 9497
Is there a science to flat cables ? It seems so, and the key concepts are "Eddy Current" and "Skin Effect". Don't ask me more.
Being "sold" on the idea, and wanting to have something more "robust", I went shopping for similar types of cables and ended up purchasing a pair of Fidelium cables (https://silversmithaudio.com/fidelium-1/). They are not "cheap" (and in fact are half the price of my speakers!), but the reviews available are all excellent, and I thought I would give them a try
2) Fidelium cables
The Fidelium cables appear very similar to the DIY assembly above (they are obviously professionally assembled) but there are some key differences:
- the cable is wider and thinner (less than .001 inch think), lowering overall Eddy current losses
- they are not made of copper but of a "very special alloy that has skin effect properties that are over 30 times better than copper or silver" (manufacturer's claim)
- they offer a convenient and secure way of attaching the cables to binding posts
I was nervous when I first tried them, never having spend this much on speaker cables, and weary that they would not offer a significant difference over my DIY build. Disappointed, I was not. The sound quality improvement was so obvious it was hard to believe. I had some experienced "audiophile" friends over to compare them again to the same set of cables and my DIY cables, and they have not stopped talking about them since.
The copper wire cables all sounded "coarse" in comparison (with some minor differences between them). There is simply no going back: unparalled accuracy and refinement without sacrificing dynamics.
I won't be trying other cables - so I have no way of knowing whether these are indeed "head and shoulders" above the rest. The provocative title probably got your attention, perhaps some will be curious to try and confirm my very favorable impressions. I was not a big believer in cables before, I still am not - aside for those.
For those interested, the DIY route can be further explored with different foils - it offers a great "bang for the buck".