Should speaker wire be tinned? Perhaps, it is okay to tin the wires before inserting them in the speaker and receiver terminals. Could this improve connections? Let us discover.
Tinning speaker wires are okay. However, you need to tin it with a solder containing high silver, typically 60/40:T. Soldering the speaker wire ends does not sonically or electrically affect anything.
Experts claim that tinned speaker wires protect the ends from fraying. If you wrap them around binding posts, you reduce the contact with the surface area of the post.
What is Tinned Speaker Wire?
Tinning a speaker wire is when you use soldering iron to solder stranded electrical speaker wires together. This firmly holds the ends of the stranded speaker wires, making it easier for you to insert them into the terminals or any connection.
Tinning makes sure that all the wires have an electrical connection, so no wire sits out in the process.
Before the move to ROHS compliance, the industry standard electronics grade solder was Sn63/Pb37 or Sn60/Pb40.
There is no real difference in the micro ohms between tin or lead solder and silver solder regarding solder resistance.
Nonetheless, silver solder requires a much more aggressive flux while tin/lead requires resin fluxes. Thus, if acid wicks copper strands and enters the insulation, the copper wire can corrode faster.
Should You Tin the End of Speaker Wire?
You should tin the end of your speaker wire. However, do not tin the wire ends if you are using the speaker wire on a screw-type terminal. Otherwise, the solder will eventually flow cold, loosening the connection.
Besides, the threaded compression knob and flatness of the surface will crush the wire. Thus, causing it to spread on the flat portion. It also gets to contact more points.
A tinned speaker wire does not fit to a flat surface. Since it is stiff, the contact area is not great, so you need to remove any solder.
Tinned speaker wire in this case will experience metal fatigue which causes the connection to loosen with time.
The difference, in this case, can be overlooked, so you go ahead and tin the cables.
You can visit any hardware store for solid copper terminations. Purchase the wires that fit the size of your binding post’s stud.
When you solder the ends of the wires, make sure they are neat. Plate the terminals with tin after soldering them to the ends of the wire for a brighter finish.
Is Tinned Copper Wire Good for Speakers?
Tinned copper wire is good for your speakers, and enhances the sound system if used with high-efficiency speakers.
Copper is also considered a good material for speaker wire. When buying a speaker wire, you are looking at 100% copper.
If you are on a budget, you can get copper-clad or copper-plated aluminum wire. The sound difference is not sharply noticeable.
Can I Use Tinned Copper Wire for Speakers?
You can use copper wire for speakers. As mentioned earlier, copper wires work excellently with highly efficient speakers and animate your music life.
You want to strip back the speaker cable insulation a little longer than you should. Tin the tip of the speaker wire only, it is enough to hold the strands together. Of course, this also ensures bare copper for your connection.
Typically, the wire ends will stick out of the binding post than usual.
Therefore, you would be better off handling your speaker connections with crimped-on spade lugs. Do not bend the wire around the threaded stud. You only need the proper size lug for your stud.
What to Look for in Speaker Wire
When buying speaker wire with tinning in mind, you must consider the following:
The speaker wire should have a tin coating. It can be an oxygen-free copper wire that enhances the electrical conductor to aluminum.
This type of wire does not contract with heat, so it will seamlessly carry the load you throw at it. Tin coating on the wire will also prevent corrosion, increasing the speaker wire life.
It should be easy to identify the polarity. A mistake in your polarity can destroy the audio compartment of your speaker.
Therefore, you want speaker wires that use colorful jackets for you to easily identify (+) polarity.
You need to look at the jacket, only a flexible jacket is what you need. It should also be easy to install.
Flexible PVC jacket
Buy speaker wire that allows wide and flexible adjustment. If your speaker wire lacks elasticity and flexibility, this impacts resistance to physical changes.
Look at the gauge number of the wire. A lower gauge number means thicker wire. However, a thicker wire provides less resistance to the flow of current.
Tinned Copper Wire for Speakers
Our concern is with tinning your speaker wire. For this reason, we are considering the best speaker wires with tins.
Below are tinned speaker wires:
InstallGear 14 Gauge Tinned OFC Heavy Duty Boat Marine Speaker Wire
Some other reasons to get this speaker cable include the following:
As mentioned earlier, thicker wires present less resistance to current flow. This InstallGear is a 14-gauge speaker wire built to ensure commendable current flow.
This InstallGear speaker cable allows you to flexibly adjust the physical properties of the wire. It uses reliable elasticity that impacts resistance.
The copper of this speaker wire is tinned and oxygen-free. Thus, you can expect reliable electrical conductors to aluminum as it will not expand or contract with a high current load.
Tin is used to coat the wire which prevents corrosion, thus, you receive the value for your money.
Speaking of the jacket, InstallGear offers a heavy-duty jacket built with a focus on the installer.
The jacket is designed with the flexibility to ensure easy routing. It also uses low memory.
This InstallGear speaker wire has a single-colored jacket. However, you can easily identify the polarity. Note that a polarity mistake can damage your audio equipment.
One side of its jacket uses a silver stripe, so you can tell the ‘+‘ polarity. see on this Amazon
Rockville R14G50MS-BL 50 Foot Spool Marine Waterproof 14 AWG Speaker Wire
There is more to the Rockville R14G50MS-BL:
Since tinning is our focus, it is worth the emphasis. This speaker wire is tinned, which also resists corrosion.
The sound resulting from the R14G50MS-BL is amazingly unique even when used in the rain. Rockville built it with a special winding technique to reduce the impedance skin effect.
It is a speaker that eliminates noise while purifying the sound.
The jacket is an area to consider before investing in a speaker wire. Rockville ticked the box here with their use of a Super-Flex jacket designed to handle extreme conditions.
As mentioned earlier, this is your go-to speaker wire if you want to tin under conditions exposed to battery acid, gasoline, oil, ultraviolet radiation, salt water, and extreme cold. see on Amazon
How to Tin Speaker Wire Ends
If your speaker wire is not already tinned, you can tin it while retaining top-quality sound performance.
First, get tools including soldering iron, soldering iron cleaner and side cutters.
The materials needed for this operation include solder and wire (single or multi-core).
- Gripping the wire. Grip or wrap the speaker wire around your finger, freeing your thumb. Gripping the speaker wire keeps it from slipping out.
- Holding the side cutter. The side cutter should be on your other hand. Apply light but firm pressure on the insulation a short distance from the wire. If your wire is multi-core, you want to place the side cutters further down the wire for perfect twisting.
- Soldering the wire. Firmly hold the wire between your fingers and the thumb. Heat the wire with your soldering iron, feeding the solder to the wire. Start with heating the core of the speaker wire. If it is a multi-core wire, it will wick the solder, making it tin nicely.
Finally, trim any excess length of your speaker wire. Your tinned speaker wire is ready.
Is Tinned Copper Wire Better Than Copper Wire?
Unlike tin copper, the bare copper wire does not prevent accelerated corrosion. A bare copper wire is fairly resistant, especially against wet and contaminated environments.
Many reliable speaker wire makers use tinned copper to prevent corrosion and oxidation.
Tinned copper wire conducts just as bare copper wire conducts and still withstands corrosive agents. Experts say tinned copper speaker wire lasts longer and costs 30% more than bare copper wire.
You can easily solder tinned copper wire compared to bare copper wire.
Meanwhile, copper wire plated with tin enhances the existing properties of copper, making it sustainable in wet and highly humid conditions.
Can Speaker Cable Stop Working?
Like any material, speaker cable can stop working. However, tinning your speaker wire is not a reason why your speaker stops working, except if you do not tin it properly or use the wrong soldering element.
A speaker that does not work could also be due to broken wires, poorly connected speakers, and more.
How Do You Troubleshoot Speaker Wires?
Wire or speaker problem
First, look at the wire, it could be a wiring problem that needs to be fixed. Your amplifier or speakers could also be faulty.
Before you troubleshoot your speaker wires, disconnect them from the amplifier.
Get a 1.5-volt battery. Next, touch the ‘+‘ of the wire to the ‘+‘ of the battery. If you get a pop sound from the speaker, the wires and speaker are working.
Do not touch the wire longer than a few seconds to avoid damaging both the wires and speaker.
If you do not get a pop sound from touching the wire on the battery, the amplifier could be faulty. First, switch the wires to another speaker and try again.
If the result remains the same, you know where your problem lies.
Only one set of speakers plays
There are situations where only one set of speakers plays. In this case, you want to check the channels if they are correct before looking at the wires. You can find the channel outputs on the amplifier.
Remove the speaker wire end from your amplifier, making sure that any loose wire is not frayed haphazardly. Frayed wires alter the performance of your speakers.
If the speaker wires are frayed, twist them together and replace them in your amplifier.
You want to place the wires in the correct place. This is, the ‘+‘ goes to the ‘+‘ and the ‘–‘ to the ‘–‘ of the amplifier respectively.
If your speaker does not still work after these steps, switch the wires between the speakers that work. If the working speakers stop working after you switch the wires, then it is a wiring problem.
Buy replacement wires making sure to invest in speaker wires with a tin coating to prevent corrosion.
How Do You Remove Tin from Tinned Copper?
If you no longer want your speaker wires tinned, you can get rid of the tin coating. Note that this will expose the wires to corrode as fast as bare copper.
Experts claim that non-oxidizing acids can dissolve acids but copper metal does not. All you have to do is to immerse your tinned wire in hydrochloric and nitric acids to dissolve tin.
Sodium hydroxide will also remove the tin from your copper speaker wire at room temperature. Ensure that it is anodic by using a 6-volt steel cathode.
Final Thought on Should Speaker Wire Be Tinned?
Let us reaffirm that you can and should use tinning on your speaker wire. Be careful when instilling tin coating on your speaker wires if they are not already coated.
Even with a tin-coated speaker wire, always check the connections monthly and keep them clean. Get rid of any oxidation before replacing the wires in the terminals.
Your best bet and solution is to invest in pre-tinned speaker wires as highlighted in this informative article.