Comparison of wire types
Surf Cables(R) offers a high quality Military/ Aerospace rated silver plated copper and Teflon insulated cable as its "Standard" (24 AWG) wire. As an upgrade we offer an "OCC" based cable which is made of higher purity silver plated copper, also featuring Teflon insulation. Both are highly flexible and durable, and both are contained within a cloth-like sleeving.
The standard wire is high quality MIL/ Aerospace rated Teflon insulated wire suitable for applications requiring high conductivity, flat frequency response through high frequencies, and low resistivity. This is the type of wire used by NASA and in military aircraft.
Over the years, we have refined our standard wire to be more suitable for headphone cables- higher stranding and improved softness yet still 24AWG silver-plated copper that is two sets of twisted pair wire. Unlike the competition, we strive for flexibility and this has continuously improved since our first cables, which were originally offered in 2015 and 2016.
We have sold thousands of cables using this wire with universal customer praise, yet customers are always asking for something "better." Read on.
Surf Cables "OCC" Wire
If you read the headphone forums you will discover the popularity of OCC wire. There now are a variety of OCC wire types and suppliers. The wires vary in purity, size, stranding, and insulation. Some are plated and some are not. We have looked at as many types as we could find over the course of a year and contacted suppliers to see if an ideal wire for a headphone cable could be developed. In the end, it does not come down to the purity, although high purity does help. A combination of purity, Teflon insulation, silver plating, softness, and stranding is how we optimized for the best sound. Also, we wanted and obtained high flexibility and low microphonics, which many of our customers demand.
OCC wire is generally described online and summarized in the 2017-2018 "Ultimate Guide to Headphones and Personal Audio" issue of The Absolute Sound & Hi-Fi+. OCC stands for "Ohno Continuous Casting" and is a special process that is undergone to reduce the grain structure within the conductors. Normal copper wire has about 1500 grains per foot, while specially processed Linear Crystal copper wire has about 70 grains per foot. OCC wire reduces the grain count to about 1 grain in 700 feet. The purity of the conductors can also be improved in OCC wire to "ultra pure" (UP-OCC), up to or exceeding 99.99997% purity (which is "Six Nines" purity), also meaning the undesired oxygen content within the wire is vastly reduced.
The Surf Cables(R) OCC wire is a premium top-of-the-line UP-OCC product. The OCC wire that we use is a UP-OCC specially processed high purity silver-plated copper, which is "five nines" of purity or better. It is approximately 28 AWG and is insulated with Teflon. This wire is far more costly than our standard wire, but headphone gurus claim that this is the best sounding stuff out there, and it is luxurious in its feel and flexibility. Does it sound good? Yes. Is it the best? Well, it's pretty impressive is all we can say.
If you compare our cable to what is offered by other headphone cable suppliers, you will see that our fabric-covered OCC cable is far more finished in sound and construction than the rubberized, fat, bloated, and microphonic cables sold by the competition. Just our opinion. And our price for this premium product is hundreds less than the premium offerings from others. Hold our cable in one hand and you will be amazed by how light and flexible it is, and how great it sounds compared to the competition. Headphone cables from other companies are weighed down by hard, rubberized outer shells, thick insulation, and tough, brittle nylon braiding.. Our cables with thin Teflon insulation inside cloth-like coverings are completely different and, we think, provide a far better user experience, both electrically and physically.
The Surf Cables(R) OCC Wire makes a great headphone cable for the discerning buyer.
Here is some interesting reading on OCC wire- Link1. Another interesting discussion is at the Sowter transformer page here.
The picture below shows OCC silver-plated copper wire on the top and standard military grade silver-plated copper wire on the bottom.