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Is a larger transformer with more copper, better than a small one

Discussion in 'The Cutting Edge' started by freQ(*)Oddio, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. freQ(*)Oddio

    freQ(*)Oddio Super Member

    Yes sounds pretty simple, the more copper in a transformer, the better right, more reserve power? so is a extension of the transformer , the other reserve copper outside the system ?, more reserve voltage for peak draw, the more copper in the entire system, more available peak voltage draw. would smaller tiny flat transformer wire be a better choice? maybe 50' of 8g copper rolled up next to each speaker would be the best solid signal ever ,just like huge transformers, Voltage loaded, ready for a large draw.


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  2. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

    I think like many things there is no one right way.

    To me, what matters more than one or two, big or small, EI or toroidal, is the basic design of the PS as a whole. Does the power supply have the necessary capability to fulfill the design goal/targeted performance of the device it serves?
    I LIKE MUSIC likes this.
  3. petehall347

    petehall347 the brandy coffee man Subscriber

    uk.. the middle bit
    if proper fuses are fitted it will be fine to go way over the top .
  4. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

    Hertfordshire, UK
    The sheer quantity of metal (copper?) associated with any high quality sound system has little or no bearing on how it will sound. Good quality, properly designed and specified transformers will make a difference, it is very well known that the power transformer is the foundation of good quality vintage sound equipment.
    ev13wt likes this.
  5. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Southern NJ
    Sufficient current capacity in the power supply is really the magic. That does tend to go with more metal in the trafo but once you have enough capacity to meet full demands of the amp, adding more is not going to improve the situation. Toroids usually have a lot less copper and iron in them vs an older style EI laminated transformer at the same capacity and all else being equal they produce a lower impedance power supply as a result of it.

    A large coil of speaker wire will simply be a resistor. It will reduce damping factor and lose signal. It is not beneficial to run more wire than you need. I can see arguments for having the same length on both channels just so its all equal but beyond that its a waste. You'll get all sorts of theories on whether its better to use fat wires or a lot of thin ones, but from a really low level sort of view it doesn't matter. Its X number of feet of Y gauge or effective gauge of wire produces Z amount of resistance. Where it gets tricky is when you start calculating impedance, which is variable with frequency. Thats where different types of wire will have bigger differences but no matter how you slice it, more wire isn't going to help.
    WobblySam likes this.
  6. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    There are two additional variables: efficiency and power supply energy.

    Toroidal transformers can be as much as 95% efficient while traditional EI core units far less so. Depends upon design.

    The transformer is but one part of determining the energy storage and delivery capability of a power supply. You can calculate the energy in joules if you know the rail voltage and capacitance. Since the value increases with the square of the voltage, that is the primary determinant. J=C*(V*2)/2 where C is stated in farads.

    Here are a couple examples:

    1981 Threshold Stasis 3 amplifier - 50,000 uF of capacitance running 65V rails
    2001 VTL MBL 450 amplifier - 1650 uF of capacitance running 550V rails

    Which of the two has more than double the energy capacity(250 vs 105) ?

    In my experience, power supply stiffness can make a significant difference in dynamic capability and the overall sense of "authority". My Audio Research SP20 preamp has more energy storage than many 100 watt amplifiers. Transformer type also effects the amount of radiated magnetic fields which can effect nearby circuitry as well. Which is why toroidal and R-core types are widely used.


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  7. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber

    Duvall, Washington
    To answer the OP question directly.


    A transformer requirement is in amps required by the system.

    To achieve that, there needs to be enough iron core mass to handle that load.

    To create the proper field in that mass, there is a balance between the size of the core and number of primary windings.

    The number of secondary windings controls the voltage output.

    Beyond that, a butt load of variables come into play. Things like core saturation and thermal dynamics and core material composition and ?

    Manufacuturing and distribution and marketing is restricted by costs versus profits so the least necessary dictates that they squeeze the line as hard as they can. Most crap fails because they got so close that the actual unit had enough variance to be not-good-enough.

    Bigger and heavier may be better but costs more in materials, nanufacture, shipping, etc.

    So, amount of copper isn't the whole story.
    Over all size is, more load capacity indicates a stronger unit.
  8. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Española NM
    It's the same as copper bracelets for arthritis; more copper equals better for your arthritis! Skeptics assert that the huge bracelets act as 'training weights' and that any positive effects are actually due to exercise, but believers know better. It's the same with transformers. More copper takes the 'stiffness' out of the music, and make the music move easier. Just say: "More copper, please!"

  9. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

    Hertfordshire, UK
    But please can we not have that extra copper as several tens of feet of copper wire coiled up and connected to the speakers. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  10. owen-g

    owen-g New Member

    Transformer design is a trade off.
    It is extremely complicated and you could spend years learning the ins and outs.

    The "best" ones out there today are no copper but. Silver wire. £€¥$$£€

    As for the copper it basically has to do with the geometry of the windings .the better ones have multi wound coils that dampen the hum and interference. It is a complicated subject.
  11. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    West coast
    there are many schools battling for supremacy. some say the type of steel in the laminations
    and some others say silver wire (not copper or amalgams) and there are tube amps
    out there with the "best" of both.

    Others weigh in with size, shapes, and weight (pun intended).

    My input is the overall transformer design, its functionality with the target design circuit,
    and the actual implementation makes the difference.


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  12. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Yes. More metal is better if you like speed and objective accuracy.
  13. analoge4ever

    analoge4ever Active Member

    Lock Haven, PA
    Depends on what is the weakest link. That could be your transformer, but probably isn't if the power supply capacitors are sufficiently large and working properly. All the transformer does is keep sufficient charge in the caps, which in any good equipment operated within its' design parameters is seldom an issue.
  14. Joe Dawson

    Joe Dawson Active Member

    Well, I have designed an amplifier that is near perfect accuracy via special listening tests, and the output transformer used copper windings.
    In general it is better to have a larger core and less windings/copper to reduce leakage inductance adn capacitance. Winding technique also makes a huge difference etc.

    With both OPT and power transformers, more metal and less wire results in less resistance. But price is also a factor.

    keep on truckin
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

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