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Has anyone ever cut open a "Better Cables" or other boutique cable..


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   David K.

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Posted June 21 2004 - 06:02 AM

to see what they really use? im wondering what businesses like Better Cables, CAT cables, and other companies use as raw cabling. i read somewhere in avsforum that a pair of cobalts were cut open and inside was 10 awg zip cord. ie aka lamp cord. which means these would sound no different then say sound king or Home depot lamp cords. if there were any differences, it would be minimal. glad i found this out before o coughed over $200 for 40 feet of zip cord. better cables seem to be a popular company, im just wondering what cables do they use. anyone know?

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   David K.

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Posted June 21 2004 - 06:02 AM

to see what they really use? im wondering what businesses like Better Cables, CAT cables, and other companies use as raw cabling. i read somewhere in avsforum that a pair of cobalts were cut open and inside was 10 awg zip cord. ie aka lamp cord. which means these would sound no different then say sound king or Home depot lamp cords. if there were any differences, it would be minimal. glad i found this out before o coughed over $200 for 40 feet of zip cord. better cables seem to be a popular company, im just wondering what cables do they use. anyone know?

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted June 21 2004 - 09:30 AM

Well, “lamp cord” isnt’ bigger than 16 ga. Still, I see what you mean about it being just zip cord in the end.

Is there a link to a particular cable that you’re talking about?

There are things they can do to zip cord to make it “better.” For instance, it they twist it, it enhances EMI and RF rejection properties. Usually not a big issue with speaker cables, but certainly can’t hurt.

Also, not all so-called zip cord is created equal. For instance, Radio Shack’s Megacable speaker cable has a high strand count, which makes it very supple and easy to bend. It also has a somewhat thicker jacket, which makes it more rugged. I don’t know if it still has this or not, but the older stuff had a big red strip on one lead, for easy polarity ID. I’ve always felt it was good speaker cable for the money even at $1 a foot (by the way, the price hasn’t changed in well over 10 years).

By contrast, I used some cheap zip cord for my rear surrounds, and the stuff had a low strand count, which made it kinda stiff.

Regards,
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#4 of 18 OFFLINE   David K.

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Posted June 21 2004 - 04:18 PM

sorry for the mis use of terminology, the cobalts use gepko 10 awg zip cord, I believe thats what a poster said back in another forum, and no its not twisted. its sleeved with 3/8" tech flex off the spool, terminated and uses 2-1 heatshrink dress it up. i was looking into buying some speaker cables for my rears, their center channel cable was pretty cheap "$60" so i got a single cable. it arrived and felt like large guage zip cord, and when i did some research, that assumption was correct. $60 for terminated 6' zip cord isnt bad... but im glad i didnt bite the bullet and buy the 20' version before i researched, which was substantially higher $200 a pair. what id like to know is what kind of cables boutique manufacturers use especially those that make claims of "better" sound and performance, when the shape and desciptions look very similar to dressy canare and beldon cables.

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted June 22 2004 - 02:10 AM

im wondering what businesses like Better Cables, CAT cables, and other companies use as raw cabling.
Well without specifically looking at each one, let me generalize. There are a few companies out there who use some sort of variant on zip and basically repackage, by putting on techflex, or something like it, bulk wires from Carol, Belden, Canare, Gepco, and a host of others. The actual conducting material can be made of copper, silver, gold, or some combination of them. Further, the material may come in the form of fine wires or a bundle of various gauges of wires not necessarily of the same thickness. The geometry of the wire may be round, oval, square, rectangular, or some other shape. Some use solid wires while others use hollow wires. The wires themselves may be encased in a variety of dielectrics such as PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, teflon, tefzel, various urethanes, etc.

What one finds when they measure the electrical characteristics of all these variants, is that they all have differing Resistances, Inductances, and Capacitances. These electrical parameters have been studied by a number of researchers, most notably Fred Davis, in conjunction with say the impedance of speakers. What has been found is that by varying these electrical parameters results in ever so slightly different frequency responses. However, only in the most pathological of situations, are these differing frequency responses capable of being audibly detected. The main reason for this has to do with the nature of the human auditory system. We are simply incapable of detecting a small difference in the upper frequency ranges.

i read somewhere in avsforum that a pair of cobalts were cut open and inside was 10 awg zip cord. ie aka lamp cord.
I first read about it in the forums of audioreview.com where someone had received it for a gift and was curious what was behind the curtain.

which means these would sound no different then say sound king or Home depot lamp cords.
Indeed.

$60 for terminated 6' zip cord isnt bad
That's a judgement call you'll have to make. We all like different dishes.

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   GordonL

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Posted June 22 2004 - 05:15 AM

10awg SoundKing can be had for ~ $0.71/ft. Add in some Vampire Spades ~ $9/4 (the same spades Cobalt uses), some TechFlex (if you want a boutique look), and you're looking at ~ $14 in materials for a 6 ft "Cobalt" cable. Considering this is not bulk prices, Cobalt's material cost is probably ~ $7, well, $60 doesn't look too good. Posted Image

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   StephenHa

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Posted June 22 2004 - 06:21 AM

but there are differences just ask the guy who shelled out 3 grand to upgrade cables (psycho acoustics is a very popular thing)

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted June 22 2004 - 09:06 AM



Essentially what I did, except I used inexpensive spades that are WBT clones, and added heat shrink on the ends. Posted Image

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted June 21 2004 - 09:30 AM

Well, “lamp cord” isnt’ bigger than 16 ga. Still, I see what you mean about it being just zip cord in the end.

Is there a link to a particular cable that you’re talking about?

There are things they can do to zip cord to make it “better.” For instance, it they twist it, it enhances EMI and RF rejection properties. Usually not a big issue with speaker cables, but certainly can’t hurt.

Also, not all so-called zip cord is created equal. For instance, Radio Shack’s Megacable speaker cable has a high strand count, which makes it very supple and easy to bend. It also has a somewhat thicker jacket, which makes it more rugged. I don’t know if it still has this or not, but the older stuff had a big red strip on one lead, for easy polarity ID. I’ve always felt it was good speaker cable for the money even at $1 a foot (by the way, the price hasn’t changed in well over 10 years).

By contrast, I used some cheap zip cord for my rear surrounds, and the stuff had a low strand count, which made it kinda stiff.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

My Equipment List
“A nice mid-fi system,” according to an audiophile acquaintance.

My Tech / DIY Articles and Reviews

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   David K.

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Posted June 21 2004 - 04:18 PM

sorry for the mis use of terminology, the cobalts use gepko 10 awg zip cord, I believe thats what a poster said back in another forum, and no its not twisted. its sleeved with 3/8" tech flex off the spool, terminated and uses 2-1 heatshrink dress it up. i was looking into buying some speaker cables for my rears, their center channel cable was pretty cheap "$60" so i got a single cable. it arrived and felt like large guage zip cord, and when i did some research, that assumption was correct. $60 for terminated 6' zip cord isnt bad... but im glad i didnt bite the bullet and buy the 20' version before i researched, which was substantially higher $200 a pair. what id like to know is what kind of cables boutique manufacturers use especially those that make claims of "better" sound and performance, when the shape and desciptions look very similar to dressy canare and beldon cables.

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted June 22 2004 - 02:10 AM

im wondering what businesses like Better Cables, CAT cables, and other companies use as raw cabling.
Well without specifically looking at each one, let me generalize. There are a few companies out there who use some sort of variant on zip and basically repackage, by putting on techflex, or something like it, bulk wires from Carol, Belden, Canare, Gepco, and a host of others. The actual conducting material can be made of copper, silver, gold, or some combination of them. Further, the material may come in the form of fine wires or a bundle of various gauges of wires not necessarily of the same thickness. The geometry of the wire may be round, oval, square, rectangular, or some other shape. Some use solid wires while others use hollow wires. The wires themselves may be encased in a variety of dielectrics such as PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, teflon, tefzel, various urethanes, etc.

What one finds when they measure the electrical characteristics of all these variants, is that they all have differing Resistances, Inductances, and Capacitances. These electrical parameters have been studied by a number of researchers, most notably Fred Davis, in conjunction with say the impedance of speakers. What has been found is that by varying these electrical parameters results in ever so slightly different frequency responses. However, only in the most pathological of situations, are these differing frequency responses capable of being audibly detected. The main reason for this has to do with the nature of the human auditory system. We are simply incapable of detecting a small difference in the upper frequency ranges.

i read somewhere in avsforum that a pair of cobalts were cut open and inside was 10 awg zip cord. ie aka lamp cord.
I first read about it in the forums of audioreview.com where someone had received it for a gift and was curious what was behind the curtain.

which means these would sound no different then say sound king or Home depot lamp cords.
Indeed.

$60 for terminated 6' zip cord isnt bad
That's a judgement call you'll have to make. We all like different dishes.

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   GordonL

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Posted June 22 2004 - 05:15 AM

10awg SoundKing can be had for ~ $0.71/ft. Add in some Vampire Spades ~ $9/4 (the same spades Cobalt uses), some TechFlex (if you want a boutique look), and you're looking at ~ $14 in materials for a 6 ft "Cobalt" cable. Considering this is not bulk prices, Cobalt's material cost is probably ~ $7, well, $60 doesn't look too good. Posted Image

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   StephenHa

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Posted June 22 2004 - 06:21 AM

but there are differences just ask the guy who shelled out 3 grand to upgrade cables (psycho acoustics is a very popular thing)

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted June 22 2004 - 09:06 AM



Essentially what I did, except I used inexpensive spades that are WBT clones, and added heat shrink on the ends. Posted Image

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   JasonLaz

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Posted June 28 2004 - 07:50 AM

Where is a good place to buy these types of things? Is there a place on the .net that is one stop shopping for all these types of items?

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   Brian OK

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Posted June 28 2004 - 12:05 PM

I took apart a couple of Signal Cable power cords in order to use the good IEC and AC plugs they use for a DIY project (inserted CV Audio wire in said project). FYI, Signal is considered a good low budget alternative to pricier wire offerings. I found .90 cent (probably less if spool bought) a ft Carol general purpose 12AWG which the jacket said was oil resistant ( obviously this is a "true" general purpose wire ). No big surprise here having Signal use Carol wire, but be cognizent that his low cost power cord fetches a lot more than $3.00 in wire cost. Add the much less than $20.00 in termination cost, throw in < than a half hour to assemble and you have a nice little cottage industry going on. Good for Frank, enterprise at work ;*) Even the small guys have to feed the kids. All a matter of degrees. BOK
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#17 of 18 OFFLINE   KurtBJC

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Posted June 28 2004 - 02:37 PM

Well, there are a lot of people who just repackage either Belden or Canare stock products--usually one can spot those by comparing specs with popular Belden and Canare part numbers, if specs are provided. But sometimes people can be using some oddball stuff which can be hard to ID. A customer came into our shop recently asking if we could repair a Tara Labs cable which had lost its center conductor contact. While it's hard to be sure just from a cursory physical examination, it looked for all the world like a generic RG-8 transmitter cable, such as one might use in a ham radio station. Whether that was something made to Tara's spec, or something otherwise available off the shelf, I can't say for sure. Bear in mind, too, that cable dealers who are sufficiently large can custom-order cable quite easily from major manufacturers. So if, say, one wants Belden precision video cable with silver plating, different shield configurations, different jacket materials, and that sort of thing, it's just a matter of being willing to sign on the dotted line for a minimum order of 25000 feet. We actually have on the shop floor right now a thousand-foot sample run Belden did for us of a special s-video cable; as soon as we can resolve some issues as to being able to terminate it effectively, we will probably proceed with a full-scale order. While it isn't a stock Belden cable, it has enough similarities to Belden's 1520 series cables (1520A, 1521A, 1522A) that someone who was comparing specs could probably figure out that it was at least partially modeled on those cables. Anyhow, my point here is that even when a cable doesn't precisely match a stock cable from a known manufacturer, it's quite possible that it's closely modeled after a stock cable, with minor modifications.

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Brian OK

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Posted June 28 2004 - 03:21 PM

Kurt, Points well stated. One cannot always tell with a cursory look at bare cable -- can get one in a tizzy about possibly being ripped off. One always hates to be taken as the fool. I have purchased from BJC (Component set) and appreciate your forthrightness on the website. Clearly stated what one is purchasing. I appreciate that, as I'm sure many other do as well. That is why DIY is so much fun. I don't like it ? I kick myself in the butt. And quality connectors done right is 80% of the gig anyway, IMHE. The non-DIY buyers know what they buy at BJC. Well done. BOK
BOK




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