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Re Audio Interconnects... silver, copper, canare, oh my! Which and why?


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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 03 2002 - 05:42 AM

This is for AUDIO interconnects... So, there are silver cables, copper cables, silver-copper hybrid cables, and then everyone says to just get Canare wire (which is made of copper?). Do the different substances have different aural properties? And is Canare wire intended for video sources primarily, or is it also recommended for audio?
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#2 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 03 2002 - 05:52 AM

To further clarify, I mean analog audio interconnects (not digital coax/toslink). Posted Image
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#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Andrew Pratt

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Posted October 03 2002 - 06:44 AM

Personally I like the silver interconnects (pure silver not silver coated copper) for critical audio runs. I'm partial to SilverCats but I'm sure there are other alternatives as well. The benefits of silver though might be lost in some systems though if the speakers/amps or pre amps aren't revealing enough...though I've heard the differences on some modest systems providing the speakers are placed properly.

#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted October 03 2002 - 06:58 AM

different aural properties...well maybe if one finds a way to make a poor cable or perhaps to use one with enormously high capacitance for long lengths then maybe there might be some roll off of the high end. as to the different materials, that's a matter of companies looking for product diversification. kind of like packaging. btw, you forgot graphite, gel, all the little flavors of copper out there, cryogenic, burned in, irradiated, etc.

#5 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 03 2002 - 07:14 AM

Dumb question (and, yes, I've tried the search function!)... :b

Much talk of Canare and Beldon wire, which I presume is a high-quality wire of some sort (copper?), but there's often no distinction made between using it for digital coax or analog runs. Since I'm only interested in analog audio interconnects for an SACD player, am I confusing the situation with options that have no impact on this particular function?

FWIW, I've seen good feedback on Kimber PBJs and BetterCable Silver Serpents, but then there are the even more reasonably priced outfits like Heartland Cable and Wicked Cable which use Canare/Beldon wire and sell fully terminated pairs for around half the price of the Kimbers and BetterCables. Are these even properly worth considering for analog audio applications like SACD, or are they primarily intended for other purposes (coax digital connects or component video, for instance)?

To make things even more difficult, some offer additional options... for example, I could choose either the Canare L-5CFB or the Canare LV-77S ...but I can't find any source to explain where and why one would benefit over the other.

It's all very confusing. Posted Image
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#6 of 32 OFFLINE   Kevin Deacon

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Posted October 03 2002 - 09:30 AM

I use Canare L-5CFB and its associated connectors(5CFB) for all my analog interconnects. I also use it for video and digital coax connections. The Canare LV-77S is simply a more flexible cable with the same properties as the 5CFB(75 ohm RG6 coax cable). I don't know how the Canare compares to the Kimber PBJs and BetterCable Silver Serpents, but I know it's much less expensive to implement. I just purchased the Sony SCD-C555ES SACD player and in turn ordered 100 feet of red Canare and 20 connectors from Pacific Radio for the low low price of around 90.00 w/shipping. I went to Radio Shack and picked up a crimper for 15.00 which will crimp the center pin along with the outer connector ring. Add some red or white heat shrink, depending on Right or Left cable, and viola, a nice looking interconnect. By the way, I wave the end of the connector with the heat shrink attached over a red hot stove to shrink the wrap and it works great. Here are some specs: Canare CANL-5CFB Flexible 75 ohm coax cable, RG6 type L-CFB is a precision digital video cable. 100% sweep tested, low cost, low loss coax. It meets today's facility migrtation trends toward serial digital video and HDTV standards. Olther colors: Black, red, green, yellow Structural return loss >20dB to 2GHz. Solid annealed copper center conductor. Low loss dielectric of foam polyethyeneand braid shield of tinned copper. Canare CANL-5CFB AWG 18 Bare copper center dia .041in (1.05mm) center material Solid annealed copper center nom dcr <7.0 ohm/M' (<2.3 ohm/100m) insulation Foam PE nom attenuation @ 1000Mhz 7.1dB/100ft (23.3dB/100m) nom capacitance 17pF/ft (55pF/mt) nom core od . nom overall od .303in (7.7mm) shield nom dcr <2.1 ohm/ M' (<0.7ohm/100m) shields material Al foil 100% TAC braid >93% Here's the info on the connectors: Canare CANRCAP-C5F 75ohm RCA connector for Canare V-5CFB series cable RCAP-C is a 75ohm type video crimp connector, impedance matched to achieve outstanding analog and digital electrical perfomance with usable bandwidth to 200MHz. High quality gold pin & sleeve. 100% compatibility with standard Canare hand tool, diesets and 15 second quick TS coaxial cable strippers.

#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Marty Christion

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Posted October 03 2002 - 11:48 AM

Belkin or Canare. Anything more and you're wasting your money.

#8 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 04 2002 - 03:14 AM

Thanks everyone for the info! Posted Image

I tried to educate myself a bit more about this, and it seems that the best low-cost option is either Canare or Belden cable with Canare connectors. I understand that this is 75 ohm cable, primarily intended for video and digital-coax, but it seems that it's also a superior cable for analog audio.

(Right?) Posted Image

Further, it seems that the Canare has somewhat better specs than the Belden, but this is unlikely to have much real-world effect. The Belden is a more flexible cable (physically, not in terms of applications). Similarly, the Canare L-5CFB (a single strand cable) specs better than the Canare LV-77S (a multi-stranded cable), though, once again, real-world effects are likely minimal, the only significant difference being the more flexible nature of the multi-stranded cable.

Everyone seems to recommend the Canare connectors.

So, as compared to the braided Kimbers and silver-copper hybrid BetterCables and other boutique brands, it seems that the Canare is the best low-cost alternative for analog audio interconnects. Before I pull the trigger and test a pair, is there anything I may be overlooking?

(Thanks!)
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#9 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 04 2002 - 03:21 AM

Hmmm... this topic sorta came up in another forum, and Mark Rich provided the following opinion:
[quote] I have tried solid core coax cable for audio and did not like the results. Exaggerated midrange and boomy bass. The L-5cfb is great for video but not so great for audio. It uses tinned copper for the shield which is not the ideal when mixed with foamed PE. If you can find someone who sells audio cables using Belden 89259 its much better. It uses stranded 22 awg bare copper core, Teflon insulation, Bare copper braid and a Teflon jacket.Superior materials IMO. [quote]
Just when I thought I had the answer! Posted Image

Any comments or alternate views?
"Only one is a wanderer;
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#10 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Rich

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Posted October 04 2002 - 06:28 AM

Rich, Actually you have it backwards. The Belden cable (1694a) has better specs than the Canare L-5CFB series. Canare still has not produced a competing cable. The Belden cable has better shielding, higher bandwidth etc. Does it make a difference in the real world? Probably not at shorter lengths but considering its usually cheaper to buy... FYI Gepco does make a cable that competes with the Belden as does Comscope.
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#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 04 2002 - 07:39 AM

But you wouldn't recommend either the Belden or Canare for analog audio interconnects, Mark?

"Exaggerated midrange and boomy bass" is precisely what I'd like to avoid (though "shrill highs and a collapsed soundstage" would be even worse). Damn hard to know how these things are gonna sound without testing them out, and I've only found that I get that option with super high-end stuff and the Outlaw interconnects. Plus, I'd really hoped I could get away with Canare/Belden without any sonic degradation.

Drats. Any suggestions? Posted Image
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Two together are always going somewhere."

#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Rich

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Posted October 04 2002 - 07:53 AM

Rich,

I just would not recommend the typical RG6/RG59 coax cables for audio. Most of the RG6 (Belden/Canare) cables are sold by custom cable makers who believe in the one cable,one tool solution to audio/video. Great for them as they reduce their tooling and inventory costs but I don't think the consumer is getting the best end of the deal. I agree with Jon Rische and others that the Belden 89259 is probably the best bang for the buck coax audio cable out there. Its sold by Rhino,Bolder,Signal and probably others.

Have you considered Zu? they have a great return/trade policy with a wide range of audio cables. Just ignore that Mumbo Jumbo they call features/specsPosted Image

CatCables also makes some fine audio cables, have you checked them out?
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#13 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 04 2002 - 08:07 AM

I haven't checked those folks out yet, but I will! Posted Image
I assume I won't be finding interconnects for around $30/metered pair, though, right?

I don't want to spend an arm+leg for cables, but I don't want to shortchange my SACD playback either. I guess all that hubbub about high-quality Canare/Belden wire is strictly digital-coax related? I probably should've guessed, as this is primarily a DVD-related forum, but there's gotta be a good value in analog audio connects out there somewhere!
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#14 of 32 OFFLINE   Marvin

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Posted October 04 2002 - 08:54 AM

[quote] I guess all that hubbub about high-quality Canare/Belden wire is strictly digital-coax related? [quote]Not necessarily. It depends upon whom you ask. I really don't know, personally, though the consensus around here seems to be that differences between audio cables are less noticeable than differences between video cables.

If you do go for something more expensive than Radio Shack gold or Canare/Belden, try to get it from someplace that allows returns in case you don't detect a difference in your system.

#15 of 32 OFFLINE   Kevin Deacon

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Posted October 04 2002 - 09:04 AM

Check out Jon Risch. Sounds like he knows what he's talking about concerning Belden 89259 cable.

http://www.geocities...isch/cables.htm

#16 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Rich

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Posted October 04 2002 - 10:13 AM

Rich, No I'd say Belden and Canare make great cables but you have to pick the right ones. Pick the right one and they will compete with some of the best boutique cables out there.
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#17 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 07 2002 - 02:37 AM

Like Belden 1694a or Canare L-5CFB with Canare connectors? It seems that the next step up from this is a step from $30/metered pair to around $90 (for BetterCables, CatCables, Kimber PBJs, etc.). And, for three pairs, that starts to add up. Hmmmm... wish I could test all these in my system before buying!
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#18 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Rich

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Posted October 07 2002 - 05:32 AM

Rich, For video use the Belden 1694a/1695a or Canare L-5CFB would be ideal. For audio I'd look at a totally different cable. If you a coax design then the best is probably Belden 89259. Otherwise go with a twisted pair design where the shield does not have to carry the signal. Rhino, Bolder and Signal carry the Belden 89259 cables. If you want to step up I'd check out Bolder, Lat and Zu as well. I'd not put Bettercables anywhere near the top of my list for analog cables. For video, yes but not for analog audio interconnects.
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#19 of 32 OFFLINE   Tom Boucher

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Posted October 08 2002 - 02:36 AM

I decided on Silvercats for the 'important' interconnects (Pre-Amp to Amp, CD In, and SACD 5.1 Analog Bypyass) and went with lower end copper stuff for the VHS, TiVos, and other stuff.
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#20 of 32 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 08 2002 - 05:27 AM

You guys do nothing but cost me money! Posted Image

Ok, so now I'm leaning towards the much more expensive Homegrown audio Silver Lace's: http://www.homegrownaudio.com/lace.htm

I'm thinking of pricing a soldering iron to see whether the DIY is the better option for me (though no returns if I don't like 'em), and then probably pick up a pair. If I like them, I'll consider the cheaper Super Silver II's for the rear channels... and then probably get the more expensive Lace's anyway!

But I'll probably think about it for a few more months, as per my usual tortoise-like purchasing process... :b

BTW, any different considerations for the sub channel? Should I be considering copper or something different here?
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