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What is a stranded center conductor? Why is it important?

A stranded conductor is composed of a number of strands of copper wire bunched together to form a larger wire.

Solid conductors having only one strand are the cheapest and easiest to work with when assembling cables, because they do not require the twisting and tinning that stranded types need to prepare them for soldering. The problem with a solid conductor is that it quickly fatigues and breaks when it is bent or flexed.

This makes stranded conductors a must for cables that are frequently moved around, especially when they are attached to human beings playing music. Finely stranded conductors increase the cost of the cable because of the increased production time and the expensive and sophisticated machinery required to assemble very small and fragile strands into a single conductor. The stranding of the center conductor is only one of a number of factors that influence the overall flexibility of a given cable, but it is generally true that finer stranding increases the flexibility and the flex life of the cable.