All cables are made to order. "In Stock" means the parts 
are available, but the cable will only be built once the 
order is paid. Lead time is currently 4-5 weeks. 

BTG-Audio

It's your cable!

Types of Copper

BTG-Audio wire Specs

  • Oxygen Free Copper: This is a type of copper that is made in a oxygen free environment. Thus giving it very low oxygen content. Most cables are made from OFC. 99.95% purity, 0.0005% oxygen. In OFC, silver is considered an impurity and is therefore purged from the wire.
  • Tough pitch copper: Anything that isn't labeled OFC is probably TPC. TPC uses oxygen to purify the copper leaving it with a higher oxygen content, but about the same purity as OFC. 99.9% purity, 0.02% or 0.04% oxygen.
  • Ultrapure-Ohno continuous cast copper or UP-OCC: This is the cream of the crop in terms of wire. Purity is claimed to be 99.99999% copper or 7N. Almost all wire is taken from rods, heated, and drawn out to the correct diameter to make a cable. UP-OCC is not, as in the name "continuous cast", UP-OCC is made in a single crystal at length, rather than begin stretched and constantly recrystalized. UP-OCC has one crystal of copper per wire. Now it may seem like I am hyping this wire, but there is no conclusive evidence UP-OCC has any effect on how music sounds. 
  • NOTE: I've noticed some cable makers boast "pure" cables "injected" with gold up to 1%. Gold is an impurity and if a silver cable is sold as 7N purity, this is an outright lie and false advertisement. Gold "injected" cables are only 98.99999% pure, lower than the standard purity rating on your typical OFC conductor. Not to mention 7N is not humanly measurable, both in audible effects and purity testing machines! 7N is an estimate, the best machines in the world can only read to the 5th Nine.  I hope you avoid this snake oil.

Cable Science

Skin Effect: In AC current, electrons have a tendency to travel on the outside of a conductor. This phenomenon is called "Skin Effect". This occurs because the alternating current creates a circulation of eddy currents, forcing 98% of electrons to the outer skin of the conductor. However, skin effect has no place in headphone audio and it can be proven

Skin effect can be calculated using this formula.  δ is the skin depth,  ρ is resistivity of the conductor,  ω is angular frequency of current (2π × frequency), and μ is the relative magnetic permeability of the conductor. 


At 60 Hz, skin effect is approximately 8.5mm in depth. That means, given a conductor that is 17mm (~.75in) thick, the electrons of the AC signal will be fairly evenly distributed across the entire area of the wire. So there is absolutely no need to be worried about low frequencies.

So what about 20 kHz, the peak of human hearing (not that you'd ever want to listen to such a frequency)? Skin effect at this frequency STILL means nothing. At 20 kHz skin effect in copper is approximately .5 mm in depth, giving us a 1 mm diameter to work with. That’s 18 AWG. Even at 18 AWG the electrons are STILL evenly dispersed throughout the area of the conductor. So if you could imagine how evenly spread electrons would be in a 26 AWG wire, like BTG-Audio’s wire, you would see there is no reason to fear skin effect what so ever.

To help you visualize skin effect in an either very large conductor, or at a very high frequency (1 MHz [That’s a million Hz]), the image to the right is a graphic representation of skin effect. At 1 MHz skin effect is still around 0.1 mm deep, or about half the size of a 26 AWG conductor (imagine a .2 mm diameter circle in the middle of the conductor).

As you can see by the picture to the right, the area in which skin effect is occurring (labeled by δ) is a VERY densely populated area of active electrons. If the image to the right was properly sized to the calculations above, you would have a hard time discerning any different shades of red.

In summary, do your research and ye shall find answers. Skin effect, has    NO EFFECT in headphone audio.  Cable makers referencing such effect on audio as a detrimental factor are simply selling snake oil.

 Description
 Value
Wire type
  Oxygen Free Copper
Purity
  99.997%
Strand Count
  30 Strands
Wire Guage
  26 AWG
Capacitance    (Cond. to Cond.)
  131pF/m(40pF/Ft)
Resistance
  0.13 Ω/m(0.040 Ω/Ft)

Neotech OCC copper

Information was collected directly from Neotech. 

Description
  Value
Wire Type
  UP-OCC Copper
 Purity
 99.999% (est. 7N)
  Strand Count
  1
  Wire Guage
  26 AWG
  Capacitance
  Never Measured
  Resistance
  0.1279 Ω/M

As you can see, the difference are minimal, and some measurements aren't even taken. I had to personally ask for this information and they were less than forthcoming. I wonder why Neotech and other OCC manufacturers don't have this information publicized.

Fun Links!

Cable Jargon

  • Microphonics: An all too common misnomer. Microphonics is the phenomenon when mechanical vibrations create electrical impulses. People often use "microphonics" to describe the cable's level of mechanical wave transmissions, or cable noise. This is not the correct terminology because microphonics does not encompass mechanical vibrations creating mechanical waves, or cable noise.
  • Annealing:  "In metallurgy and materials science, is a heat treatment wherein a material is altered, causing changes in its properties. It is a process that produces conditions by heating to above the critical temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature, and then cooling. Annealing is used to induce ductility, soften material, relieve internal stresses, refine the structure by making it homogeneous, and improve cold working properties." - Excerpt from Wikipedia Article.
  • De-stressed wire: Fancy word for Annealed wire. (see annealing) 
  • Cable Burn-in: Burn-in is a practice used to break things in to their fully functional state. From cars to new books, you always need to break in a new item before it's easily workable, or performing at it's best. However, breaking in cables is just false marketing. Cable makers who support cable break in use it to exploit flaws in our psycology. First, they use cable burn-in to assure an unhappy customer that things will get better in time, which plants a bias in the observer. Second, the long cable burn in times, like 200hrs, 300hrs, maybe even 1000hrs, make the customer hold on to the cable past the manufacturer's return policy. Finally, even if a customer does manage a 300 hr burn-in, it's scientifically proven that the longer a person has an item, the less likely he or she is to return the object. BTG-Audio does not support cable burn-in or other unscrupulous marketing gimmicks.

Braiding and Interference

  • Braiding a cable CAN help reduce the amount of interference your cable is subject to. All of my four conductor cables use a "milloit" or round braid pattern to help keep EMI or RFI out! (Electromagnetic interference and Radio frequency interference). Since headphones rely on magnetic waves to move the diaphragm, things like EMI are not welcome. GET OUT EMI! WE HATE YOU!
  • I do want to stress, "help" and "can" though. In longer cables like 20ft+ is when EMI or RFI can have a audibly detrimental toll on a cable, but typically anything under that isn't subject to much of an audible change anyway. So braids are also used to make your cable look AWESOME. Which is why I even stray from the "milloit" braid and offer things like the 8 strand cable.
  • Braiding helps reduce interference by equalizing the differences across the wire. In a twisted pair, both the signal and the ground are subject to the same standing waves. Interference can be stopped by twisting cables in a way that they cancel out each other's standing waves. You can also remove any noise which the cable induces to itself. This is also used in active noise cancellation, or destructive interference. Destructive interference is a good thing. Imagine a wave that has the value of 1 and another that has the value of -1. When these waves collide they create the sum of 0 and therefore canceling any interference or noise.

Types of Jack finish and conductors

  • Gold!: More often than not, gold plates headphone jacks. Because gold is inert and will not corrode over time this makes it a viable solution for some cables, NOT PERSONAL HEADPHONES. Gold plating is a sales pitch and is only presented entice and trick the consumer into buying something that's just not worth it. The reasons gold is not viable for personal headphones is because gold is soft, after only a couple hundred mating cycles, the gold plating begins to fade and turn to nickel. This is because the gold is rubbing off the jack! The only place gold is usable is in home audio. There, users don't move around cables or walk with whole stereo systems in their cramped pockets. Therefore there are few, if not any mating cycles, thus retaining your gold plating. Also, because it's inert, you don't need to worry about corrosion on your jacks. The bottom line is, the only place you will use gold jacks is where you never see it.
  • Nickel: After that glorious rant about gold, I will explain why nickel is for you! Nickel is nearly 3x as hard as gold, resulting in a longer lasting plating and exceeding ten thousand mating cycles (the socket on your DAP[digital to analog player] is likely to wear out before a nickel jack exposes the copper/brass). Plating on a jack is negligible because that's just what it is! Plating! Nickel will protect you jacks from repeated use slowly scraping off the oxidized Nickel, while gold will never oxidize in a home audio setup. This is why I highly recommend nickel and dissuade all consumers from buying into gold plating.
  • Silver: Silver is hands down the best conductor. Silver, copper, and gold are the top three in that order. Some specialty jacks come with silver plating or solid silver plugs (I do not stock either). The problem with silver is its' oxidization. Contrary to popular belief, silver does not oxidize with oxygen, silver oxide is a very good conductor. The problem is the silver it reacts with the sulfates when it is exposed to raw air. This creates silver sulfate which is a excellent insulator and looks black. To avoid this, constant cleaning and maintaining is needed to keep silver at its optimal state. If sivler is put into a tube, the silver will only react with the sulfates in the air available! The only reason silver can ever get black is if it is exposes to a constant source of fresh air. In a insulator, there is little to no circulating air. Silver is the best for conductivity, but conductivity does not translate into optimal sound. Rather different sound.
  • Rhodium: In extremely high end cables, one may see the words "Rhodium Plating". Rhodium however isn't even in the top 5 for conductivity. Silver, Copper, Gold, Aluminium, and Calcium, just to name a few, beat out Rhodium. But rhodium has what nickel doesn't, higher conductivity and 2x the hardness (6x vs gold). So for those looking for the ultimate setup, you may want to consider rhodium plating.

Types of Insulation

  • Teflon/PTFE: Often called Teflon, but Teflon is a product made by Du Pont. So not all products are Teflon, but rather PTFE, or Polytetrafluoroethylene. This is a very hard (in comparison to other insulators), and very slippery (Thats why we use it on our cooking pans!) material. Highly heat resistant, making it great for non-machines, or humans... when soldering. Because PTFE is very hard, it creates more cable noise as your move around. Therefore, not too enjoyable for someone that get annoyed by background noise. PTFE also extrudes (the process of adding insulation) at very high temperatures (if it can take a lot of heat, it will take a TON more to melt it!). This is why we see SPC and PTFE co-mingled. The silver helps protect the copper from the heat while adding conductivity when skin effect is present.*
  • PVC: Polyvinyl chlorinate. Very soft material used often within the audio community for its lack of cable noise. PVC is a horrible insulator for humans because when heat is added the insulation melts and shrinks back. Otherwise, where heat is not a problem (outside of a bundle of wires perchance?), PVC does its job.
  • PE: Polyethylene. PE is used in many things, such as plastic bags! Therefore making a crappy insulator. This is why I don't use PE, rather, I use XLCPE or XLPE, but I still call it PE. Cross-linked Polyethylene combines PVC lack of micro phonics with PTFE's heat resistance to create a variable orgy of dielectric goodness. This is my insulator of choice because not only does it create an orgy, it also removes the toxic fluoride component of PTFE -> PE. The only down side is that it's not as slippery. :/ Can't win everything.

Random Bits

  • To be added as needed.