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Newbie wiring question

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I recently just received a nice set of Paradigm Signature speakers for a 5.1 system and am looking at getting the wiring set up.  I'm trying to prepare my 12 guage speaker wiring and am stripping the ends of the wiring off. I have a tool for cutting off the pastic cover while (supposedly) leaving the wire untouched. When I get the plastic covering off however, there's quite a few pieces of wire that are apparently getting cut and are coming off as well. If I use the wire like this am I going to be degrading the sound quality by not having as many of the wire fibers transmitting the signal?  Or is the fact that all the wires are in contact with each other through the wire going to mean it doesn't really make a difference even if a lot of the fibers are cut on either end?

 

Your help would be much appreciated!

post #2 of 7
This isn't going to actually degrade the sound, but why use a thicker wire only to have the gauge reduced at the ends? A few strands wouldn't be much concern, but "a lot of the fibers" sounds like more than just a few strands.

I think that a different method of stripping the wire would solve the problem and then the question would be moot. Like most fancy new tools that replace the old ways, those new automatic strippers are faster but not always better - obviously since it is damaging the wire. The old way of doing this was probably better - with some practice.

There are several ways that I have stripped finely stranded wire without damaging ANY strands depending on what type of insulation the wire has - you will need to experiment to find what works best. I'm sure others will have some great methods:

  • Use a razor knife, slightly bend the wire at the strip point (helps you see into the cut and how deep you are) and gently cut the insulation 75% to 90% of the way through and repeat on 3 or 4 sides - then just pull off the insulation - knife should never touch the copper
  • Use a larger gauge hand stripper (10ga for 12ga wire) to cut only part way through the insulation and to pull it off
  • Use a lighter to heat / nearly melt the insulation and use a larger gauge stripper to pull the insulation off
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elemental2000 View Post

So I recently just received a nice set of Paradigm Signature speakers for a 5.1 system and am looking at getting the wiring set up.  I'm trying to prepare my 12 guage speaker wiring and am stripping the ends of the wiring off. I have a tool for cutting off the pastic cover while (supposedly) leaving the wire untouched. When I get the plastic covering off however, there's quite a few pieces of wire that are apparently getting cut and are coming off as well.

Sounds like your wire stripper needs adjustment.
Quote:
If I use the wire like this am I going to be degrading the sound quality by not having as many of the wire fibers transmitting the signal? 

Probably not. The conductivity of wire is based on cross-sectional area or number of surviving strands multiplied by length. If a wire is 8 feet or 96 inches long and 10% of the cross section is removed over a distance of 1 inch, approximately about one tenth of a percent of the total conductivity is lost. This has no audible significance.

The clipped strands are not audibly significant unless they are extensive, both in terms of number of strands and length of the damaged area. They are just a cosmetic situation.
Quote:
Or is the fact that all the wires are in contact with each other through the wire going to mean it doesn't really make a difference even if a lot of the fibers are cut on either end?

Yes. Your reasoning appears to be well, sound! ;-)

Back in the days when connectors were often designed for wire no larger than number 14, clipping off a few extra strands of number 12 wire was an acceptable circumvention.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the explanations.  Does this mean that there is more likely to be signal loss if there is a significant amount of fibers cut at the amp end than if it is at the speaker end?  Basically I'm asking, if there's a few fibers cut at the speaker end, will those fibers pick up the signal downstream because they're in contact with the other intact fibers?  At the amp end though, since those fibers would not be in contact with the amp, obviously they're not conducting the signal.

 

And just to clarify, at maximum, I don't think there were any wires where I'd have lost more than 10% of the fibers and I tried to be additionally careful with the longer wires.

 

My slightly obsessive-compulsive personality may force me to go back and redo this however if people think it could result in a noticable change.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
My slightly obsessive-compulsive personality may force me to go back and redo this however if people think it could result in a noticable change.
If you're truly OC, then you need to go back and redo it even though it won't make any difference!

But it really won't make any difference.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elemental2000 View Post

Thanks for the explanations.  Does this mean that there is more likely to be signal loss if there is a significant amount of fibers cut at the amp end than if it is at the speaker end?  

No.
Quote:
Basically I'm asking, if there's a few fibers cut at the speaker end, will those fibers pick up the signal downstream because they're in contact with the other intact fibers?

Yes.
Quote:
 At the amp end though, since those fibers would not be in contact with the amp, obviously they're not conducting the signal.


But the fibers are in contact upstream of the amp, and that is enough to put them into play over almost all of the length of the cable which is what matters.

Quote:
And just to clarify, at maximum, I don't think there were any wires where I'd have lost more than 10% of the fibers and I tried to be additionally careful with the longer wires.

So I got lucky with my example and it fits? Cool!

Quote:
My slightly obsessive-compulsive personality may force me to go back and redo this however if people think it could result in a noticeable change.

I appear to be far more OC than you are because I'd re-adjust the stripper and redo the connection if even just 10% of the strands were cut, all the time criticizing myself in my mind for being so OC! ;-) BTW this is not speculation, but stuff I've done all of my life.

BTW congrats on getting the Paradigms - nice speakers!
post #7 of 7
Being OC is a rite of passage to learning all things audio and visual.
Then, you actually step back, look at things from 30k feet viewpoint and judge when to be OC and when not.


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