Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables

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maty

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I did not think I was going to comment so much about cables/wires in the amplifiers with IcePower 1200AS2, class D module thread, so better I open a specific thread.


In Benchmark site:

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Note to Hi-Fi Users

If you are a hi-fi user, beware of the pseudo-scientific false claims of overpriced and underperforming hi-fi cables. Avoid these "hi-fi" cables and equip your system with the finest professional cables available. We offer our professional cables in lengths and types that are appropriate for home hi-fi systems. You will save money while getting the very best performance available.


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Star-Quad Construction:

This top-quality Benchmark cable features Canare Star-Quad Speaker Cable. Four heavy-duty 14 AWG stranded conductors are combined into two pairs arranged in a star-quad configuration. The combined conductors are equivalent to 11 AWG, but the star-quad configuration reduces magnetic radiation and interference by about 20 dB, making this cable superior to 2-conductor cables.


From Archimago's Musings: DIY / MUSINGS: Bi-Wired Canare 4S11 And Speaker Cable Discussion...

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Canare 4S11 (11AWG - 2/4 conductors): (~$1.50/ft, I noticed some Ram Electronics 4S11 cable measurements here)

https://www.audioholics.com/gadget-reviews/ram-electronics-hs-speaker/hs-measurements-and-analysis

DC Resistance: 2.6 mohm/ft
Capacitance: 45 pF/ft
Inductance: <0.12 uH/ft


Q. What’s special about star-quad cable?  2009

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-whats-special-about-star-quad-cable

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SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: For the uninitiated, there are four cores in star-quad cable — the clue is in the 'quad' part of the name — plus an overall screen. The screen helps to prevent electrostatic interference from reaching the signal cores, just as in a conventional cable. The four cores are very tightly twisted with each other and rotate over a relatively short length, known as a 'short lay length'. This arrangement results in a magnetically coaxial structure and provides greatly improved rejection of electromagnetic interference compared to standard two‑core mic cables — perhaps by as much as 20dB.

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Obviously, with four wires in the cable, the core‑core and core‑screen capacitance will be much higher than in a more conventional two‑core cable, and that's the down side because it can result in a greater HF loss in very long cable runs — although it really won't be a problem over 10 metres, or even 50.

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As to whether I would use star-quad in preference to ordinary balanced cable, I wouldn't, particularly. With that short a cable run, and in a domestic situation, interference isn't likely to be an issue at all. There's no reason not to buy star-quad if you can get a good deal, but I wouldn't seek it out specially, as you're very unlikely to gain any significant benefit. I'd look for a decent two‑core cable from a reputable supplier. I particularly like double‑screened cables ('Reussen' screen), which are also widely used in broadcasting.


-> https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=58458#p525587

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Starquad cables are very good at rejecting very close sources of EM interference -- such as when laying mic cables in a cable duct with lighting cables -- but are essentially no better than standard balanced cables when the interference source is more than a few feet away. And the extra pair of signal wires increases the capacitance quite significantly, which can become an issue in very long cable runs or if you are trying to force AES3 digital signals down the cable!

* You know, inside the case < 1 feet / 30 cm.

* And the other components of the audio system either.

* Inside the speakers too.


I insisted and insisted unsuccessfully on the IcePower 1200AS2 thread during the amplifer ideation.

I am writing about star quad geometry.



My post better here:

My actual first time listening to the DPS-4 power cable on a fully loaded SE with DPS-4 internal cable (non-anodized).  All I can say is this is insane. A total new level from how it sounded with Jay’s Takachi case with Schurter inlet. I’ve never heard such a profound difference from a power cable. And the one it replaced was a $1000 cable!


The interesting thing is to ask what is due to this improvement in the sound and try to get it at a much lower cost with profesional solutions, I think.



This is a very interesting DIY star quad power cable. The problem is in getting buy a few meters fof the Belden 8374. Or find an equivalent from another manufacturer.

[PDF] https://catalog.belden.com/techdata/EN/83754_techdata.pdf


Belden 83754 Star-Quad Powercord

https://www.takefiveaudio.com/contents/23-belden83754pc






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...Next sort out the wires to get our Star-Quad geometry. If you look at a cross section of the wire you will have a conductor at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00, 12:00 and 6:00 will be combined for positive and 3:00 and 9:00 will be combined for Neutral (or vise versa the important thing is that you use the same scheme at both ends) with the 83754 the Black and Red will make up the "Hot" and Green and White will make the "Neutral".


I like the Oyaide connectors for Star-Quad cables because the terminal pockets have the fastening screw in the middle. This allows you to terminate the two wires with one on either side of the screw instead of having to twist them together and put them in the same hole as with the Marinco and Wattgate connectors.



https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/31554-diy-dc-power-cables/?page=43&tab=comments#comment-802510

by JohnSwenson

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My shielding techniques are very effective at preventing AC cables from radiating noise. The problem is that even "shielded" cables don't do it right. You need to have the external wire from end to end to make it effective.

An intermediate approach is starquad AC cables, they cut down a lot on the radiated noise, but are not as good as a full JSSG.


DIY AC Power Cables by Chris VenHaus

https://www.venhaus1.com/diymains.html

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Flavor #2

(this version sounds best with amplifiers and most other grounded analog components)



Audiophile star quad power cable. Without shield.

VH Audio Flavor 4™ Power Cable

https://www.vhaudio.com/flavor4.html

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* Star quad geometry with tight lay length (twists per inch) provides excellent RFI/EMI rejection, and also reduces the inductance (raises capacitance).

* No shield is utilized in order to maintain unrestricted macro and micro dynamics. The star quad geometry concentrates the current towards the center of the conductor bundle, providing excellent shielding from external sources, as well as mitigating radiation of RFI/EMI.

* VH Audio's "Spaced Counter-spiraled Ground"™ geometry, which helps reduce the sonic effects of having a safety ground.


More cheap by Aleksandar (ATL Hi-Fi):

https://www.atlhifi.com/product-tag/star-quad-wiring/


I think is better idea the ground wire to be outside and in an opposite spiral.

An audiophile version would be with four solid Neotech SOCT-14 (14AWG = 2 mm2) wires or others. It will be more cheap than the expensive VH Audio Flavor 4™ Power Cable.

https://www.hificollective.co.uk/wire/neotech_hookup_wire.html

http://www.zenwaveaudio.com/product-category/wires/


The Mivera Audio cable discussion thread

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=156787.0

Audiophile or not, it does not make much sense to spend a lot of money on cables I think.

Years ago I tried some that I still use, spending very little money. Missed from the sound improvement I wondered what was due: my hypothesis was that they act as a low pass filter for the RF / EMI. Then I decided to look for the best professional solutions to my problem with the electrical network.

[Spanish] Cable de red / alimentación de haiviech: Netzkabel “Ultimative-Silber” mit Kupfer-Silberkontakten. Cables HAMLET.

https://nauscopio.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/cable-de-redalimentacion-de-haiviech-netzkabel-ultimative-silber-mit-kupfer-silberkontakten/

to English with Google:

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fnauscopio.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F07%2F24%2Fcable-de-redalimentacion-de-haiviech-netzkabel-ultimative-silber-mit-kupfer-silberkontakten%2F&edit-text=&act=url


-> [Spanish] cableshamlet.blogspot.com Principios

to English with Google

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fcableshamlet.blogspot.com.es%2F2013%2F07%2Fprincipios.html&edit-text=&act=url

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1) Do not pay 200 euros for a cable if you can get the same for 50. Do not pay 1,000 if you can pay 200 .

2) If it sounds good, it's fine.

3) The audio was developed after the Second World War thanks to the curious and craftsmen who loved their hobby, and there he has to return.

4) Most cable manufacturers do not believe in cables, but in marketing. Luckily, the number of artisans who do believe passionately in their work grows day after day.

5) A nicer cable does not sound better. Once installed, a nice cable is not visible. If it sounds good and, besides, it's beautiful, better.

6) A simple circuit sounds better than one where there are many components. A simple cable works better than a very complicated one. In audio, less is more.

7) To make a good cable, you only need elements of quality, simplicity, patience and common sense. To sell or buy it, you just need honesty and a word.

8 ) Complicated designs usually serve to:

a) justify complicated prices,
b) fix problems created by the cable itself.

9) Solid conductors sound better than multi-conductor conductors.

10) The best insulators that exist are, in this order, air, cotton and Teflon . This principle also applies to headset cables, even if nobody follows it.

11) An open interconnect cable sounds better than an armored one . If there is no other remedy, it is necessary to use less aggressive shields and very separate from the conductors.

12) Good braiding is more effective than good shielding .

13) The only cables that need shielding are loudspeaker and current cables , not so much to protect themselves as to not affect the weak signal cables in their environment.

14) If your ear tells you otherwise, forget the above.

15) A connector should only be an extension of the cable itself, not a jewelry complement.

16) In domestic wiring, quality has nothing to do with resistance. The important thing is the selection of metals, insulators and geometry.

17) Prohibited to prejudge. If a cheap alloy sounds better than a gold or silver cable, let's use it without complexes. If a € 30 cable sounds better than a € 500 cable, sell the € 500 cable , even if it is made with tantalum and diamond.

18) 50% of the sound of a cable is based on the peace of mind it provides to the one who buys it. You have to leave this type of anxiety aside.

19) Oddly enough, there are still very simple designs that have not been experienced or that nobody makes, and that sound really good.

20) The audio market (like many others) is perverse: a cable costs 20 euros, plus 50 for advertising, plus 100 for the distributor, plus 150 for the seller = 320 for the buyer . If you ignore those intermediaries, a cable that costs 20 euros can be sold for 45, depending on the hours of assembly. Simple, right?

21) In the technological era and the society in series, an object crafted by hand, on request and to the taste of those who ask for it, has a value that goes beyond its function, because it is unique and unrepeatable. This includes furniture, jewelry, kitchen and audio craft components.

22) There is no need to pursue chimeras. That record will never sound like when we were 16 years old, even if it sounds better.

FullRangeMan

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Hi,
Do you recommend solid copper or Stranded for power cord to a tube amp?

maty

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About tube technology very few I can say and much less publicly.  :oops:

But solid cables are always better. The problem lies in the price and in that they are more difficult to manipulate. Power cables and inside the amp/preamp too.

The tube purists love the point to point, with solid wire. It is also true that now there are very great PCBs, especially in the diyer world, like the class A (preamp and amp) ALPHA boards made by JPS64.

DaveC113

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Hi,
Do you recommend solid copper or Stranded for power cord to a tube amp?

Solid wire the correct gauge for power cables is not appropriate to use because it is not intended to be bent repeatedly. A cracked wire will have more resistance and at a certain point it will get hot as a result... obviously this is not good. Stay safe and don't sacrifice safety for slightly better subjective sound quality!  :)

FullRangeMan

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This make sense :thumb:
Thanks Dave.

maty

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I had not thought about it, you are absolutely right.  :duh:

That concern for safety should also be extended to the use of audiophile fuses.

FullRangeMan

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Some years ago I see Pass Labs big amps using circuit braker not fuses.

maty

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Neotech Power Cables

http://www.neotechcable.com/product7_2.php

-> https://www.vhaudio.com/neotech-nep-3200.html

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The Neotech NEP-3200 is a 9AWG UP-OCC (ohno continuous cast) Copper AC power cable, that uses 16 solid copper wires that are each 17 AWG. Each of these solid core wires is individually insulated with FEP (fluoropolymer) insulation. Each wire is woven around a fiber-filled PVC core to maintain structural integrity, and minimize conductor movement.

The Neotech NEP-3200 is among the best bulk cables on the market, and is especially ideal for high current amplifiers, as well as feeding power strips or line conditioners. Use the 6 red color-coded conductors for 'hot', 6 blue conductors for 'neutral', and 4 black conductors for the 'safety ground'. Total O.D. is .614" (15.6mm).


DaveC113

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17g is a larger than I'd personally be ok with using, but it depends on bend radius and the complete Neotech cable may be very stiff and nearly impossible to bend in a radius tight enough to cause problems.

It definitely depends on application and how it's handled... for example I've made prototype headphone cables where 24g solid-core wire wouldn't hold up to repeated bending and eventually broke! Headphone cable is a PITA and needs very specific wire for it to hold up to long term use, very fine strands and tough but flexible insulation. 

Speedskater

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Random thoughts:
a] Power cord implies a flexible multi-conductor cable. Solid conductors won't be flexible.
b] The Safety Ground total cross-section area must be equal or greater than the Hot or Neutral total cross-section area.
c] A twisted pair or twisted star-quad with spiraling Safety Ground conductor or conductors would be nice.
d] UL may not be happy with some of these constructions.
e] Only big power hungry amps need heavy cords.
f] From a current delivery point of view, it's a series circuit all the way back to that big power company transformer down the street. So changing the last 6 feet won't have much impact.
g] Some generic power cords are not as good as they appear.
h] A shield connected at only the hi-fi component might be nice from an interference/noise point of view.

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #10 on: 8 Apr 2018, 01:57 pm »
Tin, silver... plated

My hypothesis is they modify the phase. How much? I guess where else you should see the difference is with the speaker cables.


Capacitance, Inductance

My hypothesis: cables can work like a 6 dB Low Pass Filter to the noise. Well, it is not an hypothesis, is true. It is cheaper and more effective to look for other methods that reduce noise much more.

With speaker cables, if the cutoff frequency < 20 kHz it should be heard in the speakers.


If bad recordings are heard like the current ones of commercial music, the previous things should be hardly appreciable I think. As few people hear such very good recordings with good systems, few appreciate the differences.

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #11 on: 8 Apr 2018, 02:05 pm »
https://www.audioholics.com/gadget-reviews/kimber-kable-8pr/kk4pr-8prmeasurements

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It is no surprise that when a cable is designed to be low inductance that its capacitance will be proportionally higher as a result. Unlike cables that sandwich their conductors together, the Kimbers manage to keep capacitance in check without the necessity of adding a zobel network on the speaker side of the cable to assure amplifier stability. Kimbers published capacitance spec is 38pF for the 4PR and 90pF/ft for the 8PR. This is about what I measured as well as you can see from the graph above. The Kimber 8PR is about four times higher in capacitance than the Sonicwave or 5T00UP cables, and twice as high as its 4PR sibling. Again I don’t see this as a show stopper especially since most people purchasing these type of cables are doing so for short runs (under 50 ft) and are likely using high quality amplification that doesn’t have stability issues driving moderately high capacitive cables.

If the amplifier is poorly designed, this increase in capacitance in the speaker cables causes it to malfunction. It's what seems to happen with the Schiit Vidar and its problems with some very audiophile speaker cables.

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #12 on: 8 Apr 2018, 03:31 pm »
Benchmark sells star quad cables a good price.

https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/cables

If I built a diy amplifier (like class A and H2 predominant, ALPHA 20 watts) I would put SpeakON connectors from Neutrik for the speakers and this cable or similar:

https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/cables/products/benchmark-speaker-cable-nl2-to-banana-2-pole

[Big IMG] https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0321/7609/products/Cable_NL2toBan_ends.JPG

Star-Quad Construction:

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This top-quality Benchmark cable features Canare Star-Quad Speaker Cable. Four heavy-duty 14 AWG stranded conductors are combined into two pairs arranged in a star-quad configuration. The combined conductors are equivalent to 11 AWG, but the star-quad configuration reduces magnetic radiation and interference by about 20 dB, making this cable superior to 2-conductor cables.

Canare 4S11

http://www.canare.com/ProductItemDisplay.aspx?productItemID=65

And inside the speakers too.

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #13 on: 8 Apr 2018, 03:43 pm »
Other star quad speaker cable but without SpeakON. OFC copper, from Sweden:

https://www.xtzsound.eu/shop/eu/accessories-/star-quad-cable-2x2-5mm

Speedskater

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #14 on: 8 Apr 2018, 03:49 pm »
Tin, silver... plated
My hypothesis is they modify the phase. How much? I guess where else you should see the difference is with the speaker cables.
At frequencies well above 100 MHz (that's cable TV frequencies) we can talk about silver plating and other surface finishes.

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Capacitance, Inductance
My hypothesis: cables can work like a 6 dB Low Pass Filter to the noise. Well, it is not an hypothesis, is true. It is cheaper and more effective to look for other methods that reduce noise much more.
With speaker cables, if the cutoff frequency < 20 kHz it should be heard in the speakers.
Again, cables don't make good Low Pass Filters until we get above 100 MHz.

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #15 on: 8 Apr 2018, 04:37 pm »
A very audiophile cable...

Therefore, it is best to use a combination of geometry and construction that limits the pickup of noise present in the air.

Inside the case, I suppose the speaker magnets will also affect in some way. How much?

With Canare 4S11 we have a cheap and effective solution.

https://www.google.com/search?q=magico+speakers+canare+4s11

-> https://www.audionirvana.org/forum/the-audio-vault/vintage-audio-gear/60601-speaker-cable-for-old-quad-loudspeaker-aka-57?p=60613#post60613

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Bill, I'm using Canare 4s11 pretty much everywhere (FWIW, Magico uses 4s11 to internally wire their Q series on down). I'm agnostic about wire brand, I look for certain electrical characteristics and good materials/construction. 57s don't put special demands on cables, YMMV

https://www.cs1.net/products/canare/4S11_Star_Quad_speaker_cables.htm

But it is a bad idea to Bi-Amp, Bi-Wire with them -> they would be like normal cables.

DaveC113

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #16 on: 8 Apr 2018, 06:11 pm »

But it is a bad idea to Bi-Amp, Bi-Wire with them -> they would be like normal cables.

I agree. Biwire should be separate cables.

Speedskater

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #17 on: 8 Apr 2018, 07:59 pm »
Inside the case, I suppose the speaker magnets will also affect in some way. How much?

Yep, wrap a single conductor around a magnet and you almost have a speaker voice coil or microphone. Send a voltage thru the conductor and it moves or move the conductor and it generates a voltage.
But with a speaker cable, you have both conductors, so their fields cancel and nothing happens.

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #18 on: 8 Apr 2018, 08:31 pm »
With this explanation, the RF ferrite that traps the two woofer wires in my tweaked KEF Q100 speakers should not modify the sound, but the reality is that yes.

Why does it work? Crossover with RF ferrite (wires) and 10nF polystyrene (bypass) by maty

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/parts/320765-crossover-rf-ferrite-wires-10nf-polystyrene-bypass.html

maty

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Re: Star quad, the best geometry to build audio and power cables
« Reply #19 on: 8 Apr 2018, 08:35 pm »
https://www.audioquest.com/cables/speaker-cables/star-quad-series


AudioQuest Type 4 speaker cable (star quad)

https://www.audioquest.com/cables/speaker-cables/star-quad-series/type-4

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Solid Long-Grain Copper (LGC) Conductors

Star-Quad Geometry

Carbon-Based Noise- and Crosstalk-Dissipation System

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This cable's negative conductors are covered with partially conductive Carbon-Loaded Polyethylene. This remarkable material reduces radio-frequency garbage being fed back into the amplifier. The sonic benefit is exactly the same reduction in "hash" and improved dimensionality that comes whenever RF interference is reduced in an audio circuit. In addition, a carbon layer damps interaction between positive and negative conductors, and an external Carbon-Based Noise-Dissipation System reduces external interference.

Choice of SureGrip Spade or SureGrip 300 BFA/Banana (Gold or Silver) Connectors

Foamed-Polyethylene Insulation (For All Positive Conductors)