Terminating Gotham Audio GAC-SPK

My speaker cable of choice these days is stuff I made myself from Gotham Audio's GAC-SPK 2x2.5mm cable. These replaced FMS Zero in my system, although they cost about a tenth as much. If you want to get away really cheap, you can use one of the SPK wires, such as the the SPK 2x4.0mm, the SPK 4x2.5mm, or the new SPK 4x4.0mm. The latter two will allow you do to an internal bi-wire, if you want. In my testing, these were comparable to the Zero, though not superior to it. But they cost about 5% as much and, in general, would run about half the price of the GAC-SPK. This is for a reason I will now explain.

Unlike with most speaker cable, where each channel is made from one piece of wire, we need two pieces of wire for each channel here. (If you are bi-wiring, then of course you need four pieces of wire per channel.) The cable has two conductors, an inner one (marked '6' in the diagram below) and an outer one (marked '3' and '4'), but we are going to tie them together to make one huge conductor rather than use them separately. You could try using them separately, but this is not easy to do, since we do not have separate insulators on the two conductors. Moveover, I do not think it would sound as good. In my testing, I tried using two wires but using just the inner conductor, and that did not sound nearly as good as using both conductors. So I think the method described here, which is also what is recommended at the bottom of Gotham's page on this wire, is best.

Gotham Audio is a pro-audio company based in Switzerland that just happens to make absolutely outstanding wire. In the United States, Gotham wire can be ordered from Gotham Audio LLC. The part number for GAC-SPK is 50150, and as of March 2010 it lists for $2.97 a foot.

Step 1

Remove the outer insulation, marked '1' and '2', and then fold the exposed wires, marked '3' and '4', back over the outer conductor and against the cable.

This is a very delicate process, as it is very easy to cut into the conductor and lose some of the tiny wires. It is OK to lose some, but not too many, and you will almost certainly lose a few each time. I have had the best luck with a very sharp pair of scissors, such as you'd have on a Swiss Army knife. I recommend that you try to remove only the blue, outermost bit of insulation first, stopping as soon as you feel yourself hit metal. The white, inner part can be removed in a second step. The blue part is quite hard, but the white part is soft, so once the blue part is off, the white part can be scored, or very gently cut, with a knife, and you will not damage the conductor.

Step 2

Remove the inner insulation, marked '5', exposing the inner conductor, marked '6'.

This can also be a bit tricky. The wire is about 12 gauge, so you can use that setting on a wire stripper to cut it. But the inner insulator is very tight on the conductor, and if you just pull hard on it, you will start to pull the whole inner assembly out of the cable. I have had good luck holding the insulation I'm not removing with the nail of my free hand, and then pulling on the bit I am removing with the wire stripper, on the 10 gauge setting, which doesn't put so much pressure on the wire. Twisting the insulator on the wire can also help loosen it up. Twist it in the same direction the wires are twisting, which is usually clockwise, if you are looking at the open end of the cable.

Step 3

Fold the outer conductor back up over the inner conductor, and fold them together to make one big piece of wire.

Step 4

Put on your favorite terminations, ...

Step 5

...add some heat shrink, ...

Step 6

...repeat thrice, and we have a set of cables!