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speaker cable, why is it never twisted
john11
post Nov 7 2012, 08:31
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Hi. And thanks for reading this post.

I have owned quite a few different speaker cables in my time and have always noticed the copper strands of wire within the cable run straight and parallel to each other I.e. they are not twisted. In fact the same is true of mains cable.

Can anyone tell me why this is I was told the electricity has trouble flowing through twisted strands, if each strand was enameled you might get an inductance effect but obviously it is not so the electricity should take the straightest path, so if the strands are twisted or not should have no overall effect.

Can anyone tell me why the copper strands are never twisted.

Thank you in advance. John.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Nov 8 2012, 21:22
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QUOTE (john11 @ Nov 7 2012, 02:31) *
I have owned quite a few different speaker cables in my time and have always noticed the copper strands of wire within the cable run straight and parallel to each other I.e. they are not twisted. In fact the same is true of mains cable.


You need to get out more. ;-)

Most consumer grade speaker wire I see is indeed composed of parallel conductors as you say. However most speaker wire that is intended for professional use including permanent installation in homes is twisted.

The reasons for this have nothing to do with sound quality.

Twisting and jacketing cables makes it round and easier to install permanently or temporarily.

Twisting cable also decreases its length - the harder you twist it the shorter it gets. So twisting speaker cable increases its resistance per foot slightly, and also makes it a little more expensive to produce.


QUOTE
Can anyone tell me why this is I was told the electricity has trouble flowing through twisted strands, if each strand was enameled you might get an inductance effect but obviously it is not so the electricity should take the straightest path, so if the strands are twisted or not should have no overall effect.


Whoever told you this is poorly informed.

Twisting speaker cable significantly reduces its self-inductance which can actually build up over long lengths to cause a slight dulling of the highs when the speaker has very low a impedance at high frequencies. So twisting wire can have the opposite effect that was claimed by the person you consulted with.

Neither of the above situations apply to most speaker cables in home audio systems so twisting generally has no effect on reliably audible sound quality.

If speaker cables had high impedance source and load and carried small signals we could get worried about noise pickup which is also reduced by twisting. But speaker cables have low impedance sources and loads and carry relatively large signals, so again twisting has no significant audible effect in almost all situations.

For the record a passive loudspeaker responds only to the difference of the voltage on its input leads and thus has inherent resistance to common-mode interference. So if it wasn't for the conditions stated in the previous paragraph, twisting could be a good idea for SQ reasons.

QUOTE
Can anyone tell me why the copper strands are never twisted.


Hard to do because it is simply not true. ;-)

Here are some examples of twisted and untwisted speaker cable:

http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Bulk-Wire-...able-Bulk.xhtml

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Porcus
post Nov 11 2012, 11:49
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2012, 22:22) *
Twisting cable also decreases its length - the harder you twist it the shorter it gets. So twisting speaker cable increases its resistance per foot slightly, and also makes it a little more expensive to produce.


Even 'non-twisted' ordinary stranded speaker cables often have each channel twisted around itself. I suppose that the spring effect is what makes them more resistant against a jerk (pun intended).


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splice
post Nov 11 2012, 23:40
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Nov 11 2012, 02:49) *
... Even 'non-twisted' ordinary stranded speaker cables often have each channel twisted around itself. I suppose that the spring effect is what makes them more resistant against a jerk (pun intended).


That's a manufacturing issue. The individual strands are twisted to keep them in a round planform so the sheath can be extruded over them


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Posts in this topic
- john11   speaker cable   Nov 7 2012, 08:31
- - Garf   My understanding is that twisting cables only make...   Nov 7 2012, 12:34
- - Phlogiston   How about twisted cables use more copper and pvc? ...   Nov 7 2012, 13:15
- - pdq   Twisting the pairs reduces the emission or recepti...   Nov 7 2012, 14:59
- - Speedskater   Really all cables be they power, signal interconne...   Nov 7 2012, 15:46
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Speedskater @ Nov 7 2012, 09:46) R...   Nov 8 2012, 21:26
- - Speedskater   Also Henry W. Ott writes about twisted pairs in ch...   Nov 7 2012, 15:51
- - pdq   I somehow doubt that either of these writers had s...   Nov 7 2012, 16:07
|- - Speedskater   QUOTE (pdq @ Nov 7 2012, 10:07) I somehow...   Nov 7 2012, 21:27
- - Apesbrain   It's not accurate to say that the "copper...   Nov 7 2012, 16:41
- - mzil   QUOTE (john11 @ Nov 7 2012, 03:31) Can an...   Nov 7 2012, 16:46
- - saratoga   QUOTE (john11 @ Nov 7 2012, 03:31) Hi. An...   Nov 7 2012, 22:40
- - greynol   I find that RFI is best reduced if I stand on my h...   Nov 8 2012, 01:56
|- - Speedskater   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 7 2012, 19:56) I fin...   Nov 8 2012, 03:40
||- - greynol   QUOTE (Speedskater @ Nov 7 2012, 18:40) W...   Nov 8 2012, 05:59
|- - julf   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 01:56) Serio...   Nov 8 2012, 12:30
|- - greynol   QUOTE (julf @ Nov 8 2012, 03:30) Bruno Pu...   Nov 8 2012, 15:43
|- - julf   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 15:43) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2012, 15:57
- - DonP   QUOTE (john11 @ Nov 7 2012, 03:31) Can an...   Nov 8 2012, 02:22
- - Speedskater   From page 2 of the above paper: Output Wiring is ...   Nov 8 2012, 03:51
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Speedskater @ Nov 7 2012, 21:51) F...   Nov 8 2012, 21:33
|- - splice   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2012, 13...   Nov 8 2012, 23:31
|- - DVDdoug   QUOTE (splice @ Nov 8 2012, 14:31) It can...   Nov 9 2012, 02:05
|- - Porcus   This is a thread where I think the references to T...   Nov 10 2012, 13:57
|- - splice   QUOTE (Porcus @ Nov 10 2012, 05:57) Did...   Nov 11 2012, 02:11
- - quackalist   No idea on it's effectiveness or otherwise but...   Nov 8 2012, 04:49
- - pdq   Despite what has been said, high frequencies gener...   Nov 8 2012, 13:54
- - greynol   Do be aware that electrical measurements do not fu...   Nov 8 2012, 16:03
|- - julf   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 16:03) Do be...   Nov 8 2012, 16:17
- - greynol   ...and that is perfectly OK.   Nov 8 2012, 16:23
- - mzil   Beside perhaps Arnold Krueger, who else here owns ...   Nov 8 2012, 16:38
|- - pdq   QUOTE (mzil @ Nov 8 2012, 10:38) For the ...   Nov 8 2012, 18:18
|- - Speedskater   QUOTE (pdq @ Nov 8 2012, 12:18) QUOTE (mz...   Nov 8 2012, 18:26
|- - pdq   QUOTE (Speedskater @ Nov 8 2012, 12:26) W...   Nov 8 2012, 18:49
- - Speedskater   Some "Good Engineering Practices" can no...   Nov 8 2012, 18:18
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Speedskater @ Nov 8 2012, 09:18) S...   Nov 8 2012, 18:24
|- - Speedskater   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 12:24) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2012, 18:45
|- - Speedskater   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 12:24) QUOTE...   Nov 9 2012, 03:18
- - greynol   @mzil: Do you mean similar to cranking the volume ...   Nov 8 2012, 18:21
|- - pdq   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 12:21) @all:...   Nov 8 2012, 18:43
|- - mzil   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 13:21) @mzil...   Nov 8 2012, 21:06
- - greynol   How about mic-ing the speaker then? This really n...   Nov 8 2012, 18:58
- - greynol   If it is so faint as to be undetectable other than...   Nov 8 2012, 21:11
- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (john11 @ Nov 7 2012, 02:31) I have...   Nov 8 2012, 21:22
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2012, 22...   Nov 11 2012, 11:49
|- - splice   QUOTE (Porcus @ Nov 11 2012, 02:49) ... E...   Nov 11 2012, 23:40
- - mzil   Mr. Krueger, out of curiosity, do you own an ABX c...   Nov 8 2012, 21:50
|- - pdq   QUOTE (mzil @ Nov 8 2012, 15:50) But my q...   Nov 8 2012, 22:20
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (mzil @ Nov 8 2012, 15:50) Mr. Krue...   Nov 9 2012, 16:07
- - greynol   Again, it it is that faint or subtle it begs the q...   Nov 8 2012, 22:11
- - mzil   ^ Some consider silence as a test signal "che...   Nov 8 2012, 22:35
|- - greynol   QUOTE (mzil @ Nov 8 2012, 13:35) ^ Some c...   Nov 8 2012, 22:57
|- - mzil   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 8 2012, 17:57) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2012, 23:35
- - pdq   There are lots of places in the home audio system ...   Nov 8 2012, 22:45
- - greynol   It's all good. I only wanted to make sure I w...   Nov 8 2012, 23:55
- - aidenn0   I have personally been able to pickup an AM radio ...   Nov 9 2012, 00:30
- - greynol   Post #5 was a bit of a borderline case. It was st...   Nov 10 2012, 16:52


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