Making Jumpers with Multiple Conductors - Twist or Not?

msgmsg Posts: 3,608
edited December 2017 in 2 Channel Audio
Hey guys,
I'm finally getting around to making some jumpers with some leftover conductors from some of Doug's DIY Furez cable kits. I've also got some spare lengths of some AudioQuest Type 8 to play with.

I ordered some of the Furez silver plated copper spades that Doug offers, with the screw down termination (reusable), and planning to make two pair of jumpers.

Douglas Connection Furez SP8 SB40Ag Silver Plated Spade Speaker Connectors
ecykadulz22o.png

The Furez ones will be single runs of either 12awg or 10awg, and pretty straight forward to build.

The AudioQuest ones I have a question about - should I twist these conductors?
On the Slate cables I've been converting from bi-wire to full range, I fed the exposed section of the conductors into the connector straight on, not twisted, and screwed them down. I've found that trying to twist exposed solid core conductors of differing gauges is a bit difficult to get a nice even twist, and the smaller conductors tend to end up winding around the larger conductors. At the recommendation of another senior member with experience with this type of wire, I fed them into the connector barrel straight, not twisted, and it made for a nice, solid connection, and one that I would think results in better contact geometry of all conductors with each other and the inner wall of the connector barrel. For the 5"-6" insulated portion of the conductors, however, I did give them a liberal twist prior to heatshrinking.

What's the convention on speaker wire in cases of multiple conductors for SC end-wires and jumpers, to twist or not to twist?

Comments

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 8,301
    That is why I used crimp tubes. The smaller wires (audioquest) more times than not will be loose inside. If they do fit tightly straight on then no worries it does not matter if they are twisted or not. Chances are that the set screw is really only getting a good bite on 2-3 wires inside. Stranded type that is much easier to twist helps keep the screw from just pushing them aside and not getting a good bite on the tiny wires and help keep from just cutting them in half.

    My .02
  • msgmsg Posts: 3,608
    Hey, thanks Ivan. Yeah, I was considering those crimp tubes and can see where they would be very handy, but 1, I was too impatient to order and wait :) and 2. I didn't want to introduce any unnecessary additional metals into the connection.

    To clarify, I'm talking about whether to twist the 5"-6" insulated portion of the free end wires, not the 1/2" or so bare conductors going into a connector.
  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 4,556
    Twist them and make them look pretty. Lace them with a plethora of rainbow heat shrink to let everyone know where you stand! :p

    Do you tin the raw ends to keep everything together prior to locking down in the spade?
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  • msgmsg Posts: 3,608
    edited December 2017
    Good question, Mark, and one I had as well.
    After speaking to a few people and doing some reading, I like it RAWWW.

    I like the idea of solder after mechanical crimping for stuff in general, but where audio signal quality is a consideration, I think I'm becoming a bit of a purist - no additional metal in the signal path whenever possible, even if it's Cardas Quad-yoot. That's saying a lot for me, because I love soldering with that stuff and am always looking for an excuse to use it, even though I still suck at soldering.

    I like the idea copper core conductors (as opposed to brass) with silver or gold plating, and I want the wire in direct contact with the connector. This is why I think I prefer the screw-down connectors, or robust, secure crimps that allow for crimping in multiple locations, and not just a short crush wrap-crimp, but the dimple crimp of a solid tube. Those crimp tubes that Ivan mentioned are like this. So are some of the Furez spades, which allow for crimping in two locations, as well as offering solder windows should you opt for them.

    Have you ever crimped something and had it loosen up, or the wire just pull out, or the strands get mangled? This is why I like double crimp locations, but still think I prefer the double set screw connectors. Plus, the set screw connectors are reusable, unlike mechanical crimps.

    Whenever crimping is necessary, I've been trying to crimp with the dimple on the solid side of a crimp, not the split side. I haven't had much experience with this, but I've found that even with cheap electrical crimps, this method seems to mangle the tangs on the side of the split less if you dimple the solid side instead of the split one, and it seems to make for a tighter connection. I've only done a few things this way, so I can't be sure. I was also using a ratcheting crimper which sort of "keeps" the crimp in place on the bottom so it can't spread when you're crimping.

    You can see in this photo the difference a tube might make compared to a split crimp connector. I almost went with those split Vampire spades, but decided on the screw-down spades above. Here's what the crimp/solder version of that spade looks like, though.
    mfz45kz2bbdo.png

    One other thing to note here, plated copper core connectors are very soft, as you might imagine, so it's important to see that those cables are supported. With the jumpers I'm making here, it's not such a bit deal, but it would be with speaker cables.
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 1,654
    Wonder if tinning with good quality solder would do about the same thing?
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  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 8,301
    Ok got it. I have braided mine in the past. Yes i would twist or braid just to neatin it up and shrink tube it.

    My mistake i thought you were talking about the wire going into the end.
    In my experience tinning then trying to use screw down ends has never worked well for me. I just ended up stripping the banana end or twisting the screw in half and not getting the bite i wanted on the wire.
    YMMV
    I'm with you on this Scott nekid ends then screw the snot out of them. The crimp tubes are gold plated copper and my end was gold plated copper so not a whole lot of dis-similar metal in my mind.
    On naked copper when you do take the end off the wire where the screw was looks almost like it re-solidified under the screw.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,503
    Most, if not all of the major cable manufacturers solder their connections. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.
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  • msgmsg Posts: 3,608
    edited December 2017
    F1nut wrote: »
    Most, if not all of the major cable manufacturers solder their connections. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.
    That's a good point, Jesse. MIT's Iconn system comes to mind, for example, with the Pin Base soldered on. In fact, I just remembered I grabbed a couple of sets of these some time ago to use in my speaker cable builds, and forgot about them. I've been curious as to the composition of the base metal with these in the past - they seem weighted like gold plated brass, but I've not been able to determine for certain what they're made of. When researching cable connectors for build projects, one can't help feeling drawn to the conclusion that brass is perceived as an inferior base metal compared to copper where signal flow is concerned. My understanding is that the signal is carried over the plating, but then why the use of copper base metal in some brands?
    MIT Iconn System
    anckhrpigcu0.jpg
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Wonder if tinning with good quality solder would do about the same thing?
    K - do you mean instead of using connectors at all?
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Yes i would twist or braid just to neaten it up and shrink tube it.

    In my experience tinning then trying to use screw down ends has never worked well for me. I just ended up stripping the banana end or twisting the screw in half and not getting the bite i wanted on the wire.

    The crimp tubes are gold plated copper and my end was gold plated copper so not a whole lot of dis-similar metal in my mind.
    On naked copper when you do take the end off the wire where the screw was looks almost like it re-solidified under the screw.
    Aight, I'll go with yours and Mark's notes on this and twist them.

    I've had the same experience with tinning first with set screw connectors; it's like trying to screw into solid metal, and the set screws don't penetrate, and you can't muscle it without stripping something. I've considered adding solder after making the connections with set screws, but without being able to tin the wire first, I'm not sure it would provide the desired result. Would the solder flow into the wire properly? Maybe if you fluxed the exposed wire first? I don't like the idea of blind soldering like that, though. I've sometimes wondered where the flux goes. Is it always displaced/boiled off? Prob ends up in the same place as missing socks.

    Gonna go solderless for now.
    Might build to pair of identical speaker cables at some point and test the soldered connectors vs screwdown to see if I can notice any difference with the addition of quality solder. I'm guessing most likely not, but I like this idea of direct conductor contact with the connector.
    Should probably keep that testing confined to connectors of the similar build materials from the same manufacturer, and then maybe a second test with copper core vs brass?
    (yeesh... what am I getting myself into...)
    Post edited by msg on
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 3,752
    F1nut wrote: »
    Most, if not all of the major cable manufacturers solder their connections. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

    I would think they use " Silver Solder " too. Right ?
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies . I am glad to be a part of a select group that tries to take our auditory and visual senses to a higher level: we EXPERIENCE them.... GOT SDA?... Got TFM ?
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 8,301
    Tony M wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    Most, if not all of the major cable manufacturers solder their connections. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

    I would think they use " Silver Solder " too. Right ?

    Some do not use solder at all, cold welded.
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