February 2021

"The HELIX IMAGE" - With a little help from my friends

This Page is an overview of the very latest developments and updates to the Helix Cable Geometry
Last Update: May 2021.

NOTE: For Helix Cable/Component compatibility - please see HELIX Q & A

The latest development features an approach of changing the insulation on the the
Signal and Live conductors in the Helix cables.

During the most recent developments, it was quite noticeable that selecting wires that had an insulation with a low
Dielectric Constant (Dk) for the signal or live wires only resulted in improved sound quality

Dielectric Constant (Dk)…
  • Dielectric constant, property of electrical insulating material (which is a dielectric) equal to the ratio of the capacitance of a capacitor filled with the given material to the capacitance of an identical capacitor in a vacuum without the dielectric material.
  • PVC: Dk = 4.0
  • Teflon: Dk = 2.2
  • Foamed Teflon (AirLok): Dk = 1.45
  • Cotton: Dk = 1.3
  • Air: DK = 1.1

So the challenge was: how to get the Dk as close as possible to the value of Air?

The adaption to the insulation can be found here…

The HELIX IMAGE (Air)


Applying this approach to the insulation of the Live or Signal wires of HELIX IMAGE cables resulted in improvements to every single metric we use to assess system performance…

  • Dynamics, Clarity, Details, image size, image focus, space around performers
  • outstanding clarity and details together with improved precision within the image
  • the depth of the bass was deeper with improved textures.

For Interconnect Cables see…
For the USB USB Cable see…
For the Speaker Cable see…
For the Power Cable see…

I am currently using HELIX IMAGE (Air) cables and can report that the modifications have resulted in significant and easily discernible audible improvements over the older design.
I have listed a few options of wires that can be used for the signal and neutral wires in the detailed fabrication instruction, but the digram below shows which wires I use and for which components

System Cables


The original helix design concept was to eliminate the parallel conductors commonly used in conventional cable architectures in order to minimizes the noise, proximity effect and Skin effect to imperceivable levels, improving clarity and dynamic performance of the interconnect.

Since those early days, developments include the selection of advanced wire metallurgy, gauge of wire best suited to the task at hand and types of insulation in order to reduce noise to a minimum, which brings us to this moment in time.

The instructions on this web site demonstrates how these cables can be fabricated in the easiest and most cost effective manner in order to achieve extremely high levels of resolution that competes with the very best commercially available products for a fraction of the cost.

Previous adaptions to the HELIX Cable are courtesy of:
  • long time contributor on the Audiogon Forum: Member Name: Grannyring (i.e. Bill) - for his Schroeder Double Shotgun approach
  • Ernst of Austria - who first brought my attention to the importance of Dielectric Constant
  • Yordan & Evgeny of Bulgaria - who test numerous wires containing different metals and insulations
  • Todd (US) for developing the first bi-wire version of the Helix speaker cables
  • also, Ghislain (Canada), John (USA) and many others.

Will there be any further updates - probably, because there is always someone, like Bill, Ernst, Jordan and Evgeny that is looking to improve on the capabilities of “The Helix” cable geometry.

“The HELIX IMAGE (Air)” - these cables now convey the most realistic and compelling image I have ever observed in any system

The level of detail and clarity, together with precise location of performers and an image that envelopes the listener is stunning


If you have any further questions on these upgrades just drop me a line.

Regards - Steve

The HELIX IMAGE (Air)

NOTE: This page ONLY describes the process of insulating the Signal or Live wires of the Helix IMAGE cables.
  • strange as it may seem, you DO NOT have to apply this insulation guide to the Neutral wire

Links to the pages on how to build the individual cables can be found at the bottom this page


So How do you build a conductor that has Air as the dielectric?

Teflon tube has been a long time favourite in my cables (early on) so I looked back a previous versions of the cables and realized if I used the right sized tube it would allow enough air around the wire and result in a very small area of contact.

I selected a PTFE Tubing with Internal Dia = 0.106" and Outside Dia = 0.130" - from Take Five Audio

This tube can be used for either
  • a single 14/12 gauge wire when used to fabricate the Signal or Live wires for the speaker cables and power cables
  • or the 2 x 18 gauge (for Interconnects) and the 2 x 16 gauge (for SOURCE power cables)
  • so basically, this teflon tube it is suitable for all Interconnect, speaker and mains cables

Looking at the diagram below, of the cross section of a Live conductor of a mains cable and a twisted pair signal conductor of the interconnect cable it is quite clear that provided the tube does not collapse there is only ever ONE point of contact with the teflon tube, with lots of air around the actual wire

This is the value Teflon has over Cotton and Silk sleeves, because cotton and silk tend to collapse around the wire resulting in multiple points of contact, increasing the value of the Dk



00 cross section


Unfortunately, the UP-OCC copper I have been using from both Neotech and VH Audio both have insulation that must first be removed, but bare UP-OCC wire can be purchased from retailers such as Part Connexion

In order to remove the insulation with a minimum of effort I inserted an eye ring in the end of a piece of wood (see below) to make a simple striping jig

  • Thread the wire through the eye ring
  • hold the wire on the board at the other end of the board
  • Place the blade of a utility knife on the wire and lift the blade to about a 5 degree angle
  • and simply cut a small sliver of insulation from the wire
  • then peel the insulation from the wire


01 board

The rest of this process depicts how to fabricate the Signal conductor for the Helix interconnect
  • which uses 2 x 18 gauge wires
  • but the same process can be applied to any HELIX IMAGE (Air) Cable



FOR the 2 x 18 gauge Interconnect SIGNAL CONDUCTOR
AND the 2 x 16 gauge Source Power Cables LIVE CONDUCTOR


Strip the insulation from the two wires (as shown above) and twist one end tightly to hold the wires together

02 twist tight

Then twist the two wires together at the rate of about one complete twist every 3-4 inches

And twist the last 1/2" or (centimetre) to prevent the wires from untwisting, as below


03 twist loose

Then insert the tightly twisted portion into a drill chuck and hold the other end with a pair of pliers

04 drill

Rotate the drill clockwise i.e. clockwise as you look down the wire from the rear of the drill

Rotate until the wire is evenly twisted - approximately 3 twists per inch - as below


05 Drill Twist

Remove the wire from the drill chuck - it will remain twisted, but tightly twist the end to match the the opposite end

Then "TIN" the wire with solder for about 1" at each end - this prevents oxidation outside the Teflon tube


06 tin ends

Insert the wire into the teflon sleeve and apply a small piece of heat shrink tubing that has the adhesive on the inside

An optional alternative is to seal the ends with hot glue

This seals the tube and prevents air flow and prevent oxidation of the bare wire


07 seal ends

FOR the 2 x 16 gauge Speaker Cable SIGNAL CONDUCTOR
AND the 2 x 14 gauge (heavy duty) HD Power Cables LIVE CONDUCTOR


A similar process is required, except that each of the two wires is inserted into it's own tube and then gently twisted as shown below
i.e. approximately 1 complete twist every 4" (10cm)

Speaker-Live


The Power Cable LIVE conductor is terminated with a spade and both tubes are sealed with a single piece of Heat Shrink as show below.
Only attach the speed at one end to allow for easy insertion into the Helix Coil and then attach the other spade



Power term

Using this technique, a view of a cross section of the twisted pair conductor reveals…


Twisted Pair X


This provides an additional benefit when the twisted pair conductor is placed inside the Helix Coil of the speaker cables





No Beads

If desired the conductor assembly can be placed inside a cotton sleeve for improved vibration control, but it is NOT required


So why prevent air flow?
  • In order to prevent the bare copper wire (or silver) from oxidizing
  • Initially some oxidation will occur and a little dullness will result
  • but based on my current speaker cables which have been in place for about 4 months, the dulling of the copper appears to have stopped

I was initially very concerned about oxidation because if it was a real issue it meant people would be faced with re-wiring their cables once they turn green.
  • But on thinking about the oxidation process further, those copper weather veins on buildings generally take about 5 - 7 years to obtain the green patina
  • they are open to the elements 24/7.
  • Also, the bare ground wire in my house (that connects to the water supply) is still pretty bright after 4 years
I believe sealing the wire inside a Teflon tube using the approach above will protect the wire from oxidation for a considerable period of time. i.e. many years

In recognition of the superb performance achieved by applying this technique I have decided to name this versos of the HELIX cables…

The HELIX IMAGE (Air)


When this approach is used on all Helix cables the results are stunning !!!


So In Summary

  • Interconnect Cable Signal Wire is 2 x 18 gauge UP-OCC twisted wire inside a single Teflon Tube
  • Speaker Cable Signal wire can be either 2 x 16 gauge or 2 x 14 gauge, where each wire is in it's own Teflon tube with a gentle twist
  • Source Power Cable Live wire is 2 x 16 gauge twisted wire inside a single Teflon Tube (see warning below)
  • HD Power Cable is 2 x 14 gauge Live wire where each wire is in it's own Teflon tube with a gentle twist
  • The neutral and ground wires are unchanged from the original design

WARNING: You may be tempted to use a single tube on the speaker cables if using 2 x 16 gauge wire, but it becomes increasingly more difficult to insert the twisted conductor into the tube after about 4-5 feet

This technique can be applied to any of the following HELIX IMAGE Cables…
Interconnect Cable...
USB Cable...
Speaker Cable...
Power Cable...