14 March 2011|
A big part of making any audio system perform involves getting all the required electrons flowing between the various integral components of the car, and the system itself. Obviously, we need cables to provide large amounts of DC current from the power source to the amplifiers, cables to deliver the AC signals (music) from the amps to our speakers, and cables to transfer the delicate and noise prone low level analog audio signals from our source to various processors and amplifiers. As you’d expect, all of these different kinds of electrical conduction require cables specialized for the various tasks.
A new company called Wirez, believes they produce some of the best quality and best performing cable kits available, and they recently sent us one to check out for ourselves.
The kit we received is their Signature Series 0 gauge amp kit, and I have to say, this is some impressive gear.
The kit is complete. In fact it’s one of the most complete and thoroughly thought out kits on the market. Inside the package we found:
• M2 (Max Flow and Max Flex) Power and ground cable that’s full 0 gauge, 100% fine strand oxygen free copper, with an oil and gas resistant, 105° C rating, covered in a very flexible, soft-touch matte-finished, synthetic rubber jacket. One end of each of the cables also comes complete with a pre-crimped heavy duty ring terminal.
• ANL Fuse Holder using heavy duty mechanical fasteners to secure the 200A fuse in place, inside a clear housing that incorporates 4-stage water protection. There are O-rings as well as end seals around the wire jacket, to keep water out.
• M2 Speaker cable, with dual colors and square/rounded shapes for quick and easy positive/negative identification even in the dark or simply by feel. The 0 gauge kit included 10AWG speaker cable, and the 4 gauge kit includes 14AWG speaker cable.
• Twisted-pair RCA cables with T2T (Tip to Tip) technology, this cable design provides noise isolation over the full length of the cable, with both pairs of twisted conductors being encased in a metalized nylon Shield. The cable tips use gold plated Dual Compression Tips with a split center pin and ground shield for tight, secure connections. A Dual Drain System incorporates a bare conductor on the outside of the twisted pairs to act as a noise drain. The RCA cables are also covered in a nylon braided jacket making pulling them through a vehicle painless and quick.
The Wirez RCA cables have gone through extensive noise immunity testing, and have proven to be one of the best signal cables available at rejecting radiated noise.
• Also in the kit were gold plated, crimp-on spade terminals for the speaker cables, as well as 0 gauge spade terminals for amplifiers that accept that type of termination. A length of wire for remote turn-on is included, and there are even firewall grommet zip ties, and split loom protective tubing to finish things off properly under the hood.
FREE Trial Issue
If you have been wondering how much difference there really is in something as simple as wire, here are some facts for you to chew on. There are two major contributors to the amount of resistance in a cable. One is the type of material the cables conductors are made from, and the other is actual wire gauge. Note that I used the term “actual” and not “advertised” because they aren’t always the same.
The 100% pure copper power cable in the Wirez Signature series has an extremely low resistance specification. In fact, I measured just 0.0022 Ohms of resistance over the 17 foot length of 1/0ga cable. This 2.2 milliOhm, ultra-low resistance means less voltage drop across the length of the cable. For example, at a steady 100A of current, the voltage drop was only 0.221V over the length of the cable.
Had this been one of the cheap copper-clad aluminum (CCA) type cable kits where internal resistance is much higher, the voltage drop at 100A could easily be double that of the Wirez kit. Not long ago I measured the resistance of a fifteen foot length of 1/0ga CCA cable from a popular brand. The resistance of the 15 foot cable was 0.0052 ohms, which translated to over a half a volt drop!
Then we also have to factor in actual gauge size. Many of the “bargain” kits on the market have a large outer diameter cable, but when you look at the size of the actual internal conductors, they are nowhere close to a true “full spec” cable. I’ve seen cables advertised as 1/0 gauge that have slightly better than 4 gauge conductors in them! The outer diameter of the insulating material doesn’t mean much. When it comes to quality cables, there’s no free lunch.
The other thing to consider about resistance in cables is the heating factor. As the resistance of the conducting material increases, so does the amount of heat generated. Here at Cogent Labs, we have documented lab tests that show an increase in surface temperature of over 30°C between various quality levels of cables advertised as the same gauges. When we are already dealing with underhood temperatures of well over 80°C, the last thing we need is a high resistance cable adding to the temperature of the cable. This is how insulating materials break down and how short circuits and fires can start. It’s also another good reason to always use a fuse or circuit breaker within 12”-18” of the battery.
All in all, the Wirez AMPKS-0 kit is one of the highest quality “full spec” amps kits we’ve seen in a while, and while so many brands are trying to be the cheapest by offering copper-clad aluminum wire and skimping on quality, it’s nice to see a product that was built with uncompromised performance and convenience in mind. In my opinion, while very few of us have money to waste, spending more for quality cables is a pretty wise investment. We spend a lot of money on our amps and speakers, so why hobble their performance or take chances with low quality cables? You can check out all the Wirez gear for yourself at www.gotwirez.com.