Speaker Wire: How much of a difference does pure copper vs. copper coated aluminum make? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-29-2012, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, I'm a bit of noob when it comes to HT but have pieced some components together with some recent deals at crutchfield and frys.

Receiver: Denon 1612
Speakers-4 Infinity primus p363 and 1 primus p153bk (was planning on using the 363s as the front, center, and one rear)
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I have some 12 gauge wire (it's this here) Raptor Wire which is aluminum and copper coated aluminum. I hooked up 2 speakers yesterday and noticed intermittent popping on one of them and wondered if it is the wire (have yet to fully troubleshoot but swabbing ports in the receiver etc). My question is would using pure copper (probably 16 AWG from monoprice since my runs are less than 50') make a noticeable difference in sound quality?

Thanks for your input!
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-29-2012, 02:57 PM
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My guess is that it is not a problem with the wire. That 12AWG wire should be fine in most situations.

P.S. The difference in resistance between aluminum and copper will be small compared to the speaker resistance at the length you are using.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-29-2012, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-29-2012, 06:58 PM
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Switch the wires at the AVR and see if the problem follows the wire or the speaker.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-29-2012, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosbuzz View Post

... would using pure copper...make a noticeable difference in sound quality?
Only to the extent that a change in the resistance would affect it. Aluminum doesn't sound any different than copper per se. You need to use about 60% larger cross sectional area with aluminum to get the same resistance as with copper. That is about 2 AWG difference. So, using 12 AWG aluminum is equivalent to using 14 AWG copper. If 14 AWG copper is adequate for what you are doing, so is 12 AWG aluminum.

The connections could play a part in the popping problem. Aluminum oxide is an insulator.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-01-2012, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosbuzz View Post

Hey everyone, I'm a bit of noob when it comes to HT but have pieced some components together with some recent deals at crutchfield and frys.
Receiver: Denon 1612
Speakers-4 Infinity primus p363 and 1 primus p153bk (was planning on using the 363s as the front, center, and one rear)
Sub-TBA
I have some 12 gauge wire (it's this here) Raptor Wire which is aluminum and copper coated aluminum. I hooked up 2 speakers yesterday and noticed intermittent popping on one of them and wondered if it is the wire (have yet to fully troubleshoot but swabbing ports in the receiver etc). My question is would using pure copper (probably 16 AWG from monoprice since my runs are less than 50') make a noticeable difference in sound quality?

I read the Raptor wire saga on Amazon, and it &^$$&$ me off. They appear to be short-selling the wire - alleged 50 feet rolls don't seem to have 50 feet of wire. Not only that, but I'm equally outraged if they are selling copper clad aluminum as pure copper. Admittedly they don't say its pure copper, but since pure copper is the customary product, any deviation from that should be clearly stated. Furthermore, there is some evidence that even as copper wire, its too thin. Since aluminum does not have the conductivity of copper, the combination of undersized plus lower conductivity makes this stuff doubly substandard. Triply substandard if you consider the short-length.

But, that all said, the difference between copper and aluminum doesn't explain the popping. The most common cause of *any* connection failure is the termination of the wires. I've installed thousands of cables over the past 40+ years and that has always been what actually happens. I suspect you have a loose connection someplace.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-01-2012, 08:35 PM
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process of elimination.... go to Home Depot, or Lowes, or your garage, and get a cheap extension cord, look for a 14/2 or even a 16/2 label... roughly the same length of what you have connected to your front speaker... cut the plugs off, pull back and separate the 2 wires, and use a wire stripper to expose at least 1/2 to 1 inch of the center wire... and set it aside... this will be your control wire.

Pick one speaker that is 'popping' and one that isn't, front, back, doesn't matter... set them up as a 2 channel, stereo, set , using whatever wires they're currently corrected with... same wires, and unplug everything else... play something , radio, cd, whatever... and see if that speaker still 'pops'. If so, switch the speaker wires... if the 'pop' stays in the same speaker, the problem is either in the speaker, or the receiver... but the wire is fine. If the 'pop' switches sides, then it is the wire...replace the wire connecting the 'popping' speaker with your 'Black and Decker Special' wire, and the popping should disappear. problem solved...bad wire... now swap in the other speakers, one at a time... if it was a bad wire, you should have no more problems. You've just shown both of those wires are good. So now you can determine if one of your speakers is bad. ie, one, or more of them, will pop.

Now let's say the 'pop' stayed on the same side... then wires are fine, and swap it out with another speaker... still 'popping'? then put the 4th speaker in that position...still popping? probably a problem in the receiver... so step back to when you put speaker 3 in... still had a pop, right? and so did the one you just replaced it with.(#4).. but the other one (still #2) didn't.. so now switch the speakers... does the 'pop' switch now? Does the one speaker that you knew wasn't popping before , ummm... popping? or did the pop follow the speaker to the other side? if it did, it's the speaker... if not, it's definitely the receiver.

Wow, that's confusing. But I hope you see what I mean. You can eliminate the wires, one at a time, and you can eliminate the speakers, one at a time. By odds, unlikely more than 1 speaker is faulty, but entirely possible all the wires suck. Having one wire that is different, can show that. And yes, an extension cord is good enough.

I really hope I didn't just confuse you more.
Joseph

...what a long, strange trip its been.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-06-2012, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for your input, I haven't had a chance to fully troubleshoot yet, but the suggestions above will be helpful when it is time!
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