I personally prefer to sonic signature of solid core OCC copper.
Certain patented cable designs favour stranded cables ( eg CARDAS)
Both the Clear and Cross lines feature Golden Ratio scaled, ultra-pure copper multi-stranded Litz conductors, carefully chosen dielectric materials, and innovative manufacturing techniques.Cardas litz conductors use ultra-pure copper, in a Golden Ratio scaled, multi-stranded arrangement. Each individual strand is coated in an insulating enamel.
Litz wire is a particular type of multistrand wire or cable used in electronics. The wire is designed to reduce the skin effect and proximity effect losses in conductors used at frequencies up to about 1 MHz. It consists of many thin wire strands, individually insulated and twisted or woven together, following one of several carefully prescribed patterns
Yeah, there is. I’ve compared many types over the years and solid core is cleaner, less confused when music is busy, and yields blacker internote spaces..
@blue_collar_audio_guy OFC copper interconnects in varying solid or stranded designs (imo) tend to have a slightly more raspy sound and less smooth sound compared to true Ohno OCC or Pure Cardas Copper in my system. I've re-tested it countless times over decades with various brands. It was the one small thing I could change in my old SS systems.
On the flip side, some brands with OCC crystal copper can smooth out the sound greatly with no grain which can also present this odd sense of a loss of texture and some tone loss compared to some higher end OFC or other pure copper stranded cables. Striking that midpoint is key and there are tradeoffs in both spectrums, imo. Start with lower cost demo/loaner cables if you can, might get lucky and find a good one!
To combat this, some designers will intermix a single silver strand or plated silver over copper, and the results varies yet again with different pros/cons. One of the reasons I went back to Cardas pure copper multi-stranded designs and have never looked back.
Results do seem to vary from one designer/manufacturer to the next. For those who cannot hear a difference in their particular systems, or non-belivers, well they get to save real $$$ and good for them - YMMY. 👍
Why is my feeling that cable geometry, quality and treatment of wire, insulation and sheath materials matter the most. Also i would prefer to use solid core in a tubed system with horns and stranded on everything else. OCC, CCC, DUCC wires are definitely better sounding than OFC, but still cable construction remains important. Also depends on the connecting component.
Stranded cables are actually made up of tiny solid core wires. Morrow audio stuff (which works fine) illustrate that point sort of, although they claim to be "small coated wires" bundled together...their top of the line "anniversary" speakers cables have 2,304 small wires...now that's some solid core!
I find stranded cables smear the time domain and never provide the attack of a single solid core wire. This applies to both interconnects amd speaker wire.
OCC silver has proved the most lifelike and detailed for interconnects. I tried different wires with same plugs as I make my own cables. My speaker cables are solid core soft silver (bendable and better sound) 4n pure.
Sound stage is holographic, detailed, phase coherent and wonderfully natural and tight.. Never had anything close with even two strands of wire doing the same job.
How good is your hearing?
OK. So talking speaker cables. I'm not aware of anyone using solid core cables for speaker cables. Speaker cables should be at least 12 awg and preferably 10 awg. That would be very stiff.
Speaker cables can be made by weaving individual strands of solid core ofc copper into a round braid. 12 strands of 22 gauge is 11awg equivalent so weave 24 strands (half for positive and half for ground) would make a good cable. I use a very similar speaker cable but each of the woven strands is also stranded. I am very happy with their performance.
I do use ofc solid braided interconnects.
Audioquest type 4 & 5 is solid core. Both carry two solid red and black cores for bi-wiring. Audioquest states Type 5 is 15 AWG in total.
Stranded speaker cables remind me of the Monster cables I started with in the 90’s, which are still being sold today, albeit they tout "pure copper" today. But why would I go back to that?
I have found that the larger (lower) AWG is better for Power cords. So I am interested to know why that would make a difference in speaker cable runs? My runs are about 20 feet, and a bigger AWG is important for resistance, but I am curious if you have heard a sonic difference with the use of a bigger AWG in your speaker runs? My speakers are Martin Logan motions and go down to 4 ohms.
In the Audioquest world (and I am not sold on any manufacturer) if I was to upgrade to Type 9, I would still get the same 15 AWG solid core wire but with the dielectric-bias (battery), so Audioquest is in not providing a larger core as you go up their product line. As far as I know, 15 AWG is the most copper found in Audioquest speaker wire line, so I have always just surmised that going with a larger copper core will not enhance the sound.
@goodlistening64 I tend to go the other way. I would not try a cable that was only 15 awg.
That said, it would probably be fine on low power systems or systems with an active bass driver.
Edit to add: I am intrigued by a speaker cable that is stiff enough to stay where you put it rather than lay where it wants to lay. Audioquest has a free in home trial. My system is using less that one watt per channel....maybe I should consider it.
I prefer solid core OCC/OFC over stranded after testing a few brands and set ups.
For some reason it performed better in my small modest system. I've tried Silver Sonic, higher end Audioquest, and lower end Kimber Cables. The best was actually "Anti-Cables" done in true bi-wire.
This will sound ridiculous, but I see one advantage to stiff solid core is that the cables suspend in free air on their own....no need for cable risers!!!
It might be worth simply testing really good solid core for a week or so and see how you like it. It seems a lot of folks who use it, swear and stick with it.
I think the issue is a bit more complicated than just a generic difference between litz vs solid cables. I tried the Neotech OCC solid cables both copper and copper with silver and they sound terrible.
People praize the Audio Quest Thunderbird and William Tell. They also praize the Transparent Music Wave Ultra cables. But these are expensive.
I would like to find a speaker cable that sounds good and 3D without costing an arm and a leg. Whether it's solid or litz doesn't matter.
Some years ago I did a comparison on DIY power cords using the following as internal wire:
- #1 - Using cheap crap Radio Shack 20 awg solid-core copper conductors with PVC insulation (multiple wires to make a 14 awg power cord).
- #2 - Using high grade Furutech 14awg STRANDED OCC Copper power cable.
Listening tests revealed that the Furutech OCC copper provided a much higher resolution sound.
The power cord using cheap Radio Shack solid-core conductors did not have good high frequency resolution and overall sound was not quite as crisp and clear....BUT .. the Radio Shack solid core just sounded so much more natural when compared to the Furutech stranded OCC. The Radio Shack solid core has better mid-bass and midrange body. The Furutech had that low-end "Hi-Fi" type of sound and just did not sound as natural or real. If these were my only choices, it would be the crap Radio Shack wire because it was just so much more pleasant and enjoyable to listen to.
noromance's comment stating "solid core is cleaner, less confused when music is busy, and yields blacker internote spaces" is definitely a characteristic here as well.
When comparing OFC to OCC in general, the OFC wire can sometimes be a bit harsher sounding and there is definitely a loss of resolution with OFC. Think of OFC wire as 1000 male-to-female and female-to-male plug adapters between the source and target. An OCC wire would be like having 3-5 adapters between source and target. The loss and harshness from surface contact on 1000 connections is what you get with OFC.
There are some comments on silver interconnects. I have gotten to the point where I don’t like silver or silver-plated conductors for anything relating to analog waveforms (i.e. power cord, interconnects, speaker cable). However, all of my components are all high-resolution revealing. A solid-core silver cable could do well if your components are on the warm side.
BUT, I have found that solid-core silver is absolutely excellent for digital cables (i.e. AES/EBU or HDMI or something). The copper digital cables are on the warm side and don’t have as much resolution. Though, it is a balancing act and system synergy definitely comes into play here.
"When comparing OFC to OCC in general, the OFC wire can sometimes be a bit harsher sounding and there is definitely a loss of resolution with OFC"
I concur this statement...after diy’ing a few ac/speaker cables.OFC has a little more "smack/but slight glare" to timber but tone is truer with OCC i feel...Auxinput has it right...synergy.
@auxinput - You really cannot attribute the difference in sound between the two cables to one being solid core and the other stranded when there was multiple other differences in design/configuration (e.g.multiple small conductors vs. one larger conductor, different grades of copper, likely different dielectrics).
I see a lot of audiophiles comparing two similar products that have multiple differences in design/configuration and then attributing whatever difference in sound they heard to whatever the specific attribute is the topic of the day. I recognize that it's very difficult to make comparisons where only one factor has been changed, but we can't cherry pick one of the differences as the explanation for the overall difference.
Hi mceljo. I respect your opinion, but I have done a significant amount of testing with so many different types of cable and wire over the years. My statement stands after listening to all sorts of different configuration (like you say - multiple wires vs. single wire, etc.). In some cases, the multiple wire scenarios actually did better with bass and open sounding highs.
My statements above were in direct response to the original post "solid-core OFC vs stranded OCC".
I agree with so many variables coming into play hard to determine litz vs solid core alone. I simply tune by ear, metallurgy and cable design all come into play. I've found perfect DIY Helix Image power cable recipe to be combo of solid core VHAudio Airlock on hot, Take Five cryo'd litz for neutral, solid core ground. I've tried all solid core, prefer the litz on neutral. As stated above, plating bring another variable to table, I have tin, silver and gold plating on various cables. And then we have gauge of wire, connectors ,type of cable, so many variables! The idea of one type cable for my entire system hasn't been something I've contemplated or wanted to try.
I recently bought a pair of the newer version Kimber 8PR (with the "Varistrand" solid core thing) speaker cables and they’re very flexible (unlike myself), present 9 AWG to each speaker input, and sound fabulous. I needed a longer run than my AQ or Morrow provided so these were surprisingly inexpensive (under 500 bucks for 13 1/2 feet) and I had to try ’em...amazing for the price. I have AQ Type 8 (great cables) and Rocket 33s (later 4 conductor per leg version) both extremely solid core. Extremely...
Sounds to me that the comments are all over the map. It's clear to me there are variables that the DIY's aren't considering and even some that cable companies aren't considering as well. When I was a consultant I evaluated some very expensive cables and inexpensive ones from various manufacturers. I came to the conclusion that cables make a difference, the differences have nothing to do with price, and some high end manufacturers either ignore EMI or they don't know how to shield their cable from it. You guys have the right idea here: buy it, listen to it, and take it back if you don't feel the improvement is worth the $ or if it's worse than what you had originally.
@blue_collar_audio_guy - after many years of building my own cables, plus conferring with other audiophiles all over the globe that also tried many different configurations of wire types,
Regards - Steve