There is only a handful of companies that produce pure silver Litz wires for audio cables. The production costs of such wires are extremely high while the manufacturing process has many limitations in terms of the materials that can be used and the suitable techniques. We produce a type of entirely handmade pure silver Litz wire (do not confuse with Litz braided cables) and incorporate it in our cable designs. By doing so we have managed to overcome all the limitations imposed by the manufacturing process in mass produced cables and deliver a unique and perfect product to our precise specifications. However, the extensive labour required for such an achievement sets very high production costs. As a consequence the only way these cables can reach the consumer at a reasonable price is by being sold directly by ourselves bypassing all distribution streams that would set an excessive retail price. Furthermore, all the cables of the Gaia Series are of a very limited production that does not exceed the 50-100 pieces of each design per year. The time consuming production of these handmade cables does not allow us to produce them in larger volumes.
Each Gaia cable is made upon order and it is the product of many hours of work accomplished over a period of a few days, so that each stage of its construction is properly assessed and executed. Performance, durability and finish are taken to the highest possible level to achieve a superb conductor and cable.
Our Gaia cables have a unique ability to expand the soundstage in depth rather than simply horizontally & vertically. They are holographic and will deliver more of the 3D elements of the performance. They are characterized by full body and the ability to create better layering and separation between instruments. They carry transparency, speed and dynamics with excellent bass response. Well defined but still natural with rich and believable midrange and upper bass. Although not strictly clinical, they are quite unforgiving cables in the sense that they will not mask detail and likely to expose weaknesses in the system.
They will especially reveal their qualities to those who seek a very well balanced alternative to what most silver cables deliver. Their performance is not simply focused on delivering clarity, detail, speed and dynamics but reveals hidden aspects of music that have to do with the coherence of a recording (I,.e how layering, imaging, ambience and height are projected in the soundstage).
There is a common confusion between LITZ wire and LITZ cable. When referring to a cable the term Litz describes the cable geometry / arrangement of the conductors in a cable (i.e. a cable that consists of solid conductors braided in a Litz form). A LITZ wire refers to the internal structure of a single conductor (i.e. a single conductor consisting of individually insulated strands as opposed to bare stranded or solid conductors).
A well designed Litz wire has all the advantages of both solid and stranded conductors and none of their inherent weaknesses. Our pure silver LITZ conductors are unique and far superior to anything we have worked with or come across in the past in every aspect. Developing them and incorporating them in our designs was the most significant step towards creating something truly new. No other cable we are aware of carries such conductors
Litz wire means that the individual strands that form a single conductor have their own insulation and do not interact electrically with each other, so each strand acts as an independent “signal transmission line”. The insulated strands of the wire are twisted or braided to form such a conductor and then encased in a secondary outer insulation. This design expands the signal transmission surface without increasing the overall size of the conductor. In principle Litz type conductors have the ability to maximize conductivity at high frequencies and prevent skin-effect as it would appear on solid wires of the same gauge (although we should be very clear and specific on how skin effect may have an impact for wires in audio frequencies) as well as eliminate strand cross-conduction of bare stranded wires. Litz wires are also extremely tough and a lot more flexible than solid ones of the equivalent gauge while they are immune to corrosion. Their embodiments have excellent conductor resistance and inductance to cable capacitance ratios. An additional advantage of Litz wires over stranded ones is that they eliminate resonance and distortion produced by the interaction of the bare strands.
Litz wires are an extremely useful structure for a cable designer. When designing a cable we aim at achieving certain balances. There are optimal wire/conductor gauges for given frequencies but also there are optimal strand gauges. Balancing these two is often impossible when using either stranded or solid wires. The most profound example comes from speaker wires where large size of conductors is required in order to minimize the resistance, but the optimal strand size should be very small. In the case of solid cores such a balance would be impossible. In the case of stranded wires, we can have a large gauge conductor consisting of many small strands. However, since the strands are bare and interact with each other they practically act as a solid body. Litz wire is the only structure that allows the combination of larger effective gauges with very low skin depth transmission lines.
Our Litz conductors are formed by helically wound pure OCC silver strands individually insulated in miniature Teflon tubes that have the same internal diameter as the diameter of each stand. The tubes have superior mechanical and electrical characteristics compared to the coatings usually found in Litz formations. We use a variety of methods to further reduce the diameter and thickness of the Teflon tubes manually and ensure a tight fit on the surface of the metal. Although such methods do not involve any temperature changes, melting of the insulation, drying or damage of the perfect silver surface, they are extremely time consuming. Every single strand of the conductor has to be individually treated before we even start the formation of the conductor, let alone the formation of the entire cable. After being insulated and helically wound they are encased in an outer PTFE insulation to form a single conductor.
Forming the conductors is only the beginning in the process of creating our Gaia cables. The conductors are arranged in the proper geometry according to the type of the cable and then re-insulated to achieve the required spacing before they are accordingly shielded and jacketed.
LITZ vs. "LITZ"
Although one would expect a Litz wire to be the perfect conductor for audio applications not all the examples of LITZ wires are successful. Quite the opposite actually. Most of the audio cables with LITZ conductors, despite their very high price, can be very disappointing. (Some of these examples are coming from reputable hi-end audio cable manufacturers). Most well known Litz cables are not neutral. They tend to have their own sound and mask detail. Often the sonic result is well balanced and pleasant, but far from what an audiophile cable is meant to be. Why is it so? Well any wire consisting of strands that have some sort of insulation can be described as LITZ. I.e. Very often the term LITZ wire has been reduced to describe a bundle of enameled/magnet wires. The secret on forming a good conductor for audio purposes is not only in the quality of the metal but also in the characteristics of the insulation used on the individual strands. The type of insulating material, its thickness and the method of application play a very important role in the performance of the conductor. A wrong combination of these parameters IS audible and will lead to loss of detail in the higher frequencies and flatness due to the dielectric effect on the signal.
Almost all of the Litz wires found in audio cables have their strands coated with thin layers of inferior types of varnish, lacquer, enamel etc (just like magnet wires). The dielectric properties of such insulating materials are far inferior to Teflon and will most certainly have a negative sonic impact. With enamel reaching a dielectric constant of 5.1 (compared to the 2.1 of Teflon) and polyurethane reaching even higher levels one can very easily realize how problematic the use of enameled wires is (as well as most types of coated strands in Litz wires). Would you ever varnish a solid wire in order to use it as a conductor in a hi-end cable? Why would one do this to the individual solid strands of a LITZ wire? Convenience, lower cost and complexity to be dealt by the manufacturing process are usually the answers. PTFE is a lot more expensive and difficult to apply compared to most popular dielectrics. It has a very high melting point, meaning it cannot be extruded over the bare strands without causing some surface damage. The thinner the strands the more the damage. On the other hand the application of the insulation in miniature tubular form that does not exceed the 0.3mm diameter is a particularly time-consuming processes and certainly prohibiting for mass production.
The method a coating is applied on each strand is also important. Radical temperature changes as well as the changes the coating material goes through during its application and the drying process are likely to affect the surface of bare silver. The extrusion (when applicable) and curing temperatures are extremely high and can damage damage the conductor surface. In our case, the surface of the strands of our conductors remains unaffected by the insulating process since this does not involve anything more than carefully threading the bare wire in very thin Teflon tubes and then manually reduce its diameter and thickness. Last, traditionally Litz wires use thin coatings. Even multilayer coatings will not achieve the fixed distance (up to 0.26mm) the strands in our conductors have from each other thanks to the wall of the Teflon tubes.
Our Litz conductors effectively deal with all of the above issues. These are not off the reel conductors but entirely handmade. They are so unique that it is unlikely to come across anything similar in terms of quality, design and performance at any price. As you can imagine creating such conductors is a very time consuming process that requires precision at every stage. The simplest of our cables with Litz conductors will typically take over 8 hours of work to be produced while more complex designs may take days. At the same time the materials used for these cables cost many times more than the materials used in cables with solid silver conductors. Well, the benefits of creating such conductors make the whole thing worthwhile. The signal travels on the most perfect path formed by a single crystal of ultra pure silver. Each path remains apart from the other, spaced by thick insulation with minimum dielectric impact on the sound. These Litz conductors are very flexible and so strong that it is almost impossible to break. Inevitably, such cables come at a cost and under any account price is the only negative thing one can find in using such a silver Litz conductor.
The cost of manufactured pure silver Litz conductors in the market is extremely high. At the same time the quality of the existing silver Litz wires is much inferior to what we have managed to create due to the limitations of the manufacturing process as described above. The price of our silver cables with Litz conductors is still many times lower than the price of cables that wouldn't even come close to the complexity of the construction and the level of performance these cables deliver. The least we can claim about these cables is that they will not be matched by any cable at their price range
For any further information on our cables please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yannis Tome Audio Cables, 36 Dinas Terrace, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1BT, U.K / Yannis Tome, Startoni, Halkidiki, 63082, GREECE
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