Copper vs. aluminum speaker wire

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Copper vs. aluminum speaker wire

Postby c2dzmm on Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:06 am

I changed the speakers out today in my Marshall 4x12B cab from Celestine 75s to 65s(the 65s are so much smoother and no more ice-picky highs like with the 75s). I am really happy with the tone. I noticed that the speaker wire was aluminum or some other metal(it is silver in color). I have another Marshall 4x12B cab that I am soon to install some Ted Weber "Stan Spec" speakers in. I was at Lowe's today looking for wire and it was all copper. Do I need to get the silver colored wire like Marshall uses in their cabs or will the copper wire be OK? Where can I buy the silver colored wire that Marshall uses?

This is from Wikipedia:

Use of copper is more or less universal for speaker wire; it has low resistance and less cost compared to other suitable materials. Copper and aluminum both oxidize but the oxides of copper are conductive, those of aluminum are capacitative and insulating.
Last edited by c2dzmm on Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby 908ssp on Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:35 am

I have never seen aluminum wire in a Marshall cab. Lots of wire is plated so it looks silver that does not make it aluminum. Mostly plated with tin I think.
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Re: Copper vs. aluminum speaker wire

Postby cholula69 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:43 am

c2dzmm wrote:I changed the speakers out today in my Marshall 4x12B cab from Celestine 75s to 65s(the 65s are so much smoother and no more ice-picky highs like with the 75s). I am really happy with the tone. I noticed that the speaker wire was aluminum or some other metal(it is silver in color). I have another Marshall 4x12B cab that I am soon to install some Ted Weber "Stan Spec" speakers in. I was at Lowe's today looking for wire and it was all copper. Do I need to get aluminum wire like Marshall uses in their cabs or will the copper wire be OK? Where can I buy aluminum wire?

This is from Wikipedia:

Use of copper is more or less universal for speaker wire; it has low resistance and less cost compared to other suitable materials. Copper and aluminum both oxidize but the oxides of copper are conductive, those of aluminum are capacitative and insulating.


+1 I have never seen aluminum wire either. Are you just looking at the ends? They may be 'tinned' with solder.
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Postby c2dzmm on Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:07 pm

I am not sure if it is aluminum, but it is silver colored not a copper color. Is it coated copper, and if so, why do they coat it?
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Postby Simon Wicks on Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:25 pm

All i used is copper wire. Stanbdard electrical flex actually other than a £10 speaker cable to link the head and cab :wink:
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Postby MajorWatt on Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:26 pm

c2dzmm wrote:I am not sure if it is aluminum, but it is silver colored not a copper color. Is it coated copper, and if so, why do they coat it?


It's probably tin coated copper. Tin won't oxidize like copper. Real expensive aircraft wire is silver plated copper.
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Postby MKB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:22 pm

I can't imagine why you would want to use aluminum. Aluminum wire is mainly used in high voltage applications to save money, there is no reason to use it in any audio applications. You can't solder aluminum wire with standard soldering techniques and materials, plus aluminum tends to flow away from pressure points over time (meaning you'll have to tighten the connectors often). The "silver" wire used in amps is tin plated copper in most applications, as mentioned before you can also get true silver plated copper for aircraft or military applications. The tin plating helps the wire to keep from oxidation, and aids in soldering. But standard plain copper wire is fine if you carefully clean and solder the ends at the contact points.
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