Monoprice speaker wire really copper clad aluminum? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 42 Old 07-22-2015, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Monoprice speaker wire turned silvery color when scraped - possibly CCA?

I just received an order of Monoprice speaker wire. It looked good. Then I cut off some jacket and laid the exposed wiring on cutting board and slid a knife blade over it. After just 2 wipes with the blade, I started seeing many silvery strands in the wiring. I then got some 15+ year old copper speaker wire and did the same thing to it. I saw no silvery strands in the old copper speaker wire. I then scrapped the old wire over and over, about a dozen times, and still never saw any silvery strands in it (for comparison: the Monoprice showed silvery strands in just two swipes.)

I called to see if there was an explanation. Monoprice had no explanation for why the copper scraped off leaving silvery color strands but did allow an RMA.

Last edited by checker9; 01-08-2017 at 07:42 PM.
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post #2 of 42 Old 07-22-2015, 08:29 PM
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What specific product did you buy from them?
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post #3 of 42 Old 07-22-2015, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
What specific product did you buy from them?
2789 100ft 12AWG Oxygen-Free Pure Bare Copper Speaker Wire Cable

and

2747 50ft 12AWG Oxygen-Free Pure Bare Copper Speaker Wire Cable

Test was done on the 50' spool.


Also Belden, an old,respected USA wire company, stated that the knife scraping tests is a valid way to test for wire being CCA:

http://www.belden.com/blog/datacente...or-Failure.cfm

How Can I Identify CCA Cable?

CCA cable is much less expensive than solid copper cable, and it is also noticeably more brittle. It can be easily identified by looking for the silver color at the end of the conductors or by scraping away the thin copper surface on the conductors to reveal the aluminum.

Another sign is weight. Boxes of CCA cable weigh substantially less than solid copper cables. CCCA’s free CableCheck™ mobile app (search “CCCA” from the App Store or from Google Play) includes approximate correct box weights to help identify the use CCA conductors in place of solid copper conductors.

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post #4 of 42 Old 07-22-2015, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Plus looking at an older AVS forum test showing Monoprice to have 76% more resistance than standard copper of same gauge would be consistent with it being CCA. See https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-aud...l#post24515985

Chart from the linked post showing test results:




Note: another message thread has taken on this subject: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...-12-awg-3.html

Would a moderator merge this thread into it or just delete this thread and let that one survive?

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post #5 of 42 Old 07-23-2015, 08:38 AM
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Great thread! I had never heard of CCA before. Yet another thing to watch out for in today's business environment.

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post #6 of 42 Old 07-23-2015, 01:48 PM
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Probably won't make any audible difference to me but after I read the OP's post, I went and ordered some Belkin 10 awg from Blue Jeans Cable today to replace my Monoprice wire. Yes, I'm paranoid.. and their banana plugs to replace the Monoprice banana plugs.
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post #7 of 42 Old 07-23-2015, 02:51 PM
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I have some Monoprice 12 gauge in-wall speaker wire and it is solid stranded copper. It is not copper clad.
Somewhere around here, I have some 12 gauge in-room Monoprice wire. When I find a piece of it, I will check it also, but I am pretty sure it is solid stranded copper. The spool was too heavy to have been copper clad aluminum.

Last edited by Mike Garrett; 07-23-2015 at 02:58 PM.
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post #8 of 42 Old 07-23-2015, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
I have some Monoprice 12 gauge in-wall speaker wire and it is solid stranded copper. It is not copper clad.
Somewhere around here, I have some 12 gauge in-room Monoprice wire. When I find a piece of it, I will check it also, but I am pretty sure it is solid stranded copper. The spool was too heavy to have been copper clad aluminum.
Please post results. Do you recall when you bought it? If it is older, it might just be recent batches. Mine was just delivered from Monoprice, and people comment on Amazon about it are recent posts.

If it is now CCA, Monoprice could be considered a victim too - trust the ultimate supplier and has not checked quality control on it lately.
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post #9 of 42 Old 07-23-2015, 07:10 PM
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My CL2 monoprice wire is also pure copper.
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post #10 of 42 Old 07-23-2015, 11:37 PM
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From my experience the in-wall stuff with a white jacket is true copper while the clear jacket is CCA
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post #11 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 06:18 AM
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It's not just monoprice. Much of the low cost speaker wire isn't pure copper. You probably won't notice a difference unless you have a very long run.

I've found monoprice wires to be satisfactory. Where they cut corners is in their cables with connectors. RCA and HDMI cables. Many of mine have fallen apart after a few uses. I've had a couple of HDMI connectors snap off with very little force applied. Had to use pliers to get the remains out of the receiver.
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post #12 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
I have some Monoprice 12 gauge in-wall speaker wire and it is solid stranded copper. It is not copper clad.
Somewhere around here, I have some 12 gauge in-room Monoprice wire. When I find a piece of it, I will check it also, but I am pretty sure it is solid stranded copper. The spool was too heavy to have been copper clad aluminum.
My Monoprice speaker wire is also pure copper. My guess is Monoprice was the victim of either an accidental or purposeful incorrect shipment from an Asian supplier. I think they will make good on it. They aren't any more interested in shipping you an incorrect product than you are in receiving one.
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post #13 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post
It's not just monoprice. Much of the low cost speaker wire isn't pure copper. You probably won't notice a difference unless you have a very long run.

I've found monoprice wires to be satisfactory. Where they cut corners is in their cables with connectors. RCA and HDMI cables. Many of mine have fallen apart after a few uses. I've had a couple of HDMI connectors snap off with very little force applied. Had to use pliers to get the remains out of the receiver.
But the issue is they sell it advertised as pure copper. I recently bought some Monoprice wire off Amazon. I'll do the scrape test and check mine.

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post #14 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
My Monoprice speaker wire is also pure copper. My guess is Monoprice was the victim of either an accidental or purposeful incorrect shipment from an Asian supplier. I think they will make good on it. They aren't any more interested in shipping you an incorrect product than you are in receiving one.
Monoprice was fair (full refund, including initial postage - although my RMA ticket still just shows an amount equal to the product so no shipping refunded but a representative said it would be when processed), and did not argue.
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post #15 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
But the issue is they sell it advertised as pure copper. I recently bought some Monoprice wire off Amazon. I'll do the scrape test and check mine.
Not only that - Monoprice actually describes CCA as being inferior when it advertises that its speaker wire is not CCA and is close to pure copper:

http://www.monoprice.com/Product/?pg...seq=1&format=4

This speaker wire features two conductors made of high purity (greater than 99.95% pure), oxygen-free bare copper. Pure Bare Copper is a superior conductor to the copper clad aluminum (CCA) conductors used in most other inexpensive speaker wire. CCA is only about 68% as conductive as pure bare copper. This additional resistance is added to the impedance of your speakers and can negatively effect the sound.
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post #16 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
My Monoprice speaker wire is also pure copper. My guess is Monoprice was the victim of either an accidental or purposeful incorrect shipment from an Asian supplier. I think they will make good on it. They aren't any more interested in shipping you an incorrect product than you are in receiving one.
+1. Or somebody at Monoprice mislabeled or misshipped it. In any event they should swap it for the right stuff.

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post #17 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 12:57 PM
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Just bought some of this... I'll dig in to mine this weekend and check!

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post #18 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 01:17 PM
 
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@checker9 My 300' reel (product 2790) of 12g is definitely copper. I think your thread title is misleading as is your first post. You should have been specific in the first post as to the specific product rather than the brand, and that you were issued a refund rather than intimate they didn't do anything (explanation is vague). They need to implement some QC on receipt from their suppliers no doubt....
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post #19 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by checker9 View Post
2789 100ft 12AWG Oxygen-Free Pure Bare Copper Speaker Wire Cable

and

2747 50ft 12AWG Oxygen-Free Pure Bare Copper Speaker Wire Cable

Test was done on the 50' spool.


Also Belden, an old,respected USA wire company, stated that the knife scraping tests is a valid way to test for wire being CCA:

http://www.belden.com/blog/datacente...or-Failure.cfm

How Can I Identify CCA Cable?

CCA cable is much less expensive than solid copper cable, and it is also noticeably more brittle. It can be easily identified by looking for the silver color at the end of the conductors or by scraping away the thin copper surface on the conductors to reveal the aluminum.

Another sign is weight. Boxes of CCA cable weigh substantially less than solid copper cables. CCCA’s free CableCheck™ mobile app (search “CCCA” from the App Store or from Google Play) includes approximate correct box weights to help identify the use CCA conductors in place of solid copper conductors.


I just checked my leftover spool of Monoprice 2747 - bought 2 years ago. Pure copper, scraping the bare wire just makes it shiny copper. No aluminum. No corrosion.
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post #20 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
@checker9 My 300' reel (product 2790) of 12g is definitely copper. I think your thread title is misleading as is your first post. You should have been specific in the first post as to the specific product rather than the brand, and that you were issued a refund rather than intimate they didn't do anything (explanation is vague). They need to implement some QC on receipt from their suppliers no doubt....
I modified both title and explained the explanation comment. I wanted to use the wire and asked Monoprice for an explanation of why the strands would change colors as they did when scraped in case something explained it other than it likely being some other material beneath the coating - again, I wanted to use it. The representative consulted with others and then told me they had no explanation. He thanked me for bringing it to his attention and said Monoprice would check on it (he seemed sincere and seemed troubled.)

Last edited by checker9; 07-24-2015 at 01:38 PM.
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post #21 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 01:42 PM
 
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Title of your first post changed but not the thread itself, but thanks, and would prefer you mention in the first post you were refunded....

Fwiw asking technical questions to a company's phone rep (that easily could be contracted out) is only so meaningful. Written communication is my preference, tends to be more accurate IME. In any case Monoprice in a sense is paying for that poor communication and stocking choice now
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post #22 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
Title of your first post changed but not the thread itself
I tried to change the title to what is the first sentence, in bold, now. I went to edit then go advanced where you can change the title but it does not work and just adds the change to first line of body of message. If a moderator reads this, perhaps the moderator can change it. But I think people should know about the situation because I was not the only one who found this - someone else in another thread here, about speaker wire, indicated he scratched off the copper also on some recent Monoprice wire, and a few posters on Amazon pointed out the same findings. So it seems a potential systemic problem of recent batches and I wish I would have read those comments before I ordered.
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post #23 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 02:04 PM
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50' spool of 14AWG (#2748) purchased ~4 months ago shows no indication of being CCA. Nor does the spool of 12AWG CL2 (#2816) purchased late last month.

Suspect as others have said, either Monoprice mis-marked/mis-shipped, or they unknowingly received CCA from a supplier. Glad to hear Monoprice is working it out with you, I've never had a problem dealing with them on returns.

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post #24 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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they unknowingly received CCA from a supplier.
If it was CCA (I do not know, I just know it changed color as if the inner core in strands was a different material), Monoprice was probably a victim of a third part manufacturer's "Quality Fade." it Happens:

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/a...ess-challenge/

http://www.economist.com/node/13642306

Most of Mr Midler's work is coping with what he calls “quality fade” as the Chinese factories transform what were, in fact, profitless contracts into lucrative relationships. The production cycle he sees is the opposite of the theoretical model of continuous improvement. After resolving teething problems and making products that match specifications, innovation inside the factory turns to cutting costs, often in ways that range from unsavoury to dangerous. Packaging is cheapened, chemical formulations altered, sanitary standards curtailed, and on and on, in a series of continual product debasements.

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post #25 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 03:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by checker9 View Post
If it was CCA (I do not know, I just know it changed color as if the inner core in strands was a different material), Monoprice was probably a victim of a third part manufacturer's "Quality Fade." it Happens:

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/a...ess-challenge/

http://www.economist.com/node/13642306

Most of Mr Midler's work is coping with what he calls “quality fade” as the Chinese factories transform what were, in fact, profitless contracts into lucrative relationships. The production cycle he sees is the opposite of the theoretical model of continuous improvement. After resolving teething problems and making products that match specifications, innovation inside the factory turns to cutting costs, often in ways that range from unsavoury to dangerous. Packaging is cheapened, chemical formulations altered, sanitary standards curtailed, and on and on, in a series of continual product debasements.
Surprising how good communists can be with the finer points of capitalism....
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post #26 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 03:47 PM
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Checker9, could you post a couple pictures of the CCA cable you received from monoprice??

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post #27 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Checker9, could you post a couple pictures of the CCA cable you received from monoprice??
No I sent it back already.
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post #28 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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It looked exactly like this - from an Amazon reviewer who found the same thing when he scraped it. Just one or two scrapes made mine look exactly like this (few strands silvery color.) More scrapes caused more and more strands to look like the silvery ones:



If you go to that review and click on the picture to increase size, you can see it better:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3502E3...re=electronics

Something that did not make sense to me: the copper outer layer came off so easily from scraping on it, yet a cross section of the ends showed no copper donuts with silver colored centers. Seems like it would.

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post #29 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 04:42 PM
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Thanks, I did the scrap test on some left over cables from a spool of the 2747 I bought last year and they seems to be pure copper alright..

I remember reading a couple posts a while back that said to stay away from the clear jacket monoprice cables and to only use the white jacket cables..

Maybe monoprice has multiple vendors and one of them is cutting corners??

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post #30 of 42 Old 07-24-2015, 06:36 PM
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Monoprice is a great place for buying cables cheap. So far I have had nothing but good products from them. But I have been seeing more and more bad reviews of unhappy customers there lately. You can bet that most of the complaints are Chinese imports. I read a lot of bad reviews on the connectors on some of there cables also. So its a hit and miss with them. But they do have an excellent return policy. So they will make things right. The question is if its bad, do you want to wait any longer for a replacement.


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