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JackCrank
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Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

So the last step in upgrades for my little 2.1 system is speaker cables. Currently I'm running a Linn Classik to Linn Katans mostly using my Pro-Ject Xpression III as a source. Up until a few months ago I was just using whatever generic radioshack cables I could find and was plenty satisfied with the great, simple setup I had going. I recently started upgrading my interconnects to Nordost blue heavens and an Acoustic Zen power cable and have been pretty happy with those too. They really opened up the sound and brought out a bunch of depth and clarity.

The last step I'm looking to do is upgrade the speaker cables. Does anyone have any ideas about what a good cable for my set up would be? I need at least 3m of cable and I can spend under $500. I biwire as well. I'd like to look on audiogon for some used cables.

Brands I'm looking at so far are Nordost, Kimber Cable, Transparent, and then I've also heard good things about bluejeans cable. I'm really in it to get the best sound for the best deal.

linden518
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

My favorite budget cables are entry-level Cardas. And unlike some other brands, they use quality material for even their budget wires, i.e. litz copper...

ncdrawl
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

id recommend DH Labs and Vampire Wire, both of whom supply cables to some pretty exclusive clientele.

Anti Cable is another one that is touted quite a bit.

dbowker
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

I've heard good budget Nordost- I really don't like Kimber- too bright and edgey for me- Budget Audioquest is also quite good. You need to actually listen to some of these before buying though...

tom collins
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

i am using blue heaven biwires for mine, i am happy but would love to move up the nordost chain. however, keep in mind that different combos of amps and speakers will react differently to wires.

Tedrick
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

For budget speaker cables, I like Audioquest Type 4 or Type 6. The treble is smooth with no edge, and the solid core copper is great for bass definition and extension. At your nominated price range, you could go way up the Audioquest line if you buy used on Audiogon.

If you want to bi-wire, you could mix and match as I've done using Nordost Blue Heaven on the mids and tweeters, and Audioquest solid-core copper cables on the woofers. I get the sweet, liquid Nordost sound on top; and the solid, deep AQ bass on the bottom.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables


Quote:
I'm really in it to get the best sound for the best deal.

Bang for buck cables start with 18 AWG magnet wire from Radio Shack. Take a razor blade to scrape off the enamel coating at each end and make bare wire connections to your amp and speakers. This is the equivalent of the 18 AWG RS hook up cable that stayed in Stereophile's Recommended Components listings for years. The cable will want to roll and you'll need to keep it apart with a wire loom or embed it in some wide tape to keep a consistent distance from each leg of the cable. The enamel is the dielectric and there is no danger if the two conductor legs touch where the enamel is in good shape. The cable just looks and operates better if the two conductors are kept a constant distance of a few inches apart.

Next you can try either the generic Home Depot orange outdoor extension cable or the WalMart white Yard Master outdoor cable. Use a 16AWG cable and cut off the plug ends. Strip the cable down to bare wire and make good clean connections at each point. Both of these cables have been favorably reviewed by a specialty audio magazine and both offer esentially neutral sound with minor faults that easily fall into the "sins of ommission" category. As a rule sins of "ommission" are considered far more acceptable, particularly in a less than extravagant system, than would be sins of "commission". You should not be choosing cables that act as tone controls.

None of these three cables will cost you more than $25 and a bit of prep time. You'll do away with connectors so you'll minimize loss and distortion at any metal to metal junction. The RS magnet wire is for all intents and purposes other than price a thinner version of the "anti-cable" products. If you really must have a 12 AWG cable - though I doubt you do - run an extra set of 18 AWG legs to your speakers and the combined guage will be about the equivalent of a 13 AWG cable. It will be cheaper, easier to manage and sound as good if not better.

Those are all bang for the buck choices. If you just can't see your way clear to not having a name brand cable in your system, try the cheap AudioQuest cables. You can do better than any of these cables including the anti-cable and the AudioQuest but you will be spending far more and gaining far less in the process. Try one of these just to have a good starting point for comparisons.

tomjtx
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

I got rid of my 3,000.00 speaker cable for 100.00 Anti Cable.
One of my best audio decisions ever.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

The anti-cable sells for $100 now?!!! For $5 in materials? And he still ships them in a zip lock Baggie?

There's an "anti" in there somewhere but it's not in the product.

JIMV
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

My speaker cables are used Cardis from the Cable Store...happy with them. My interconnect is a new Transparent set that is a quantum leap up from my Kimber PBJ or my old Transparent cables. Highly recomended, toug, for me, pricy. My digital connector is a silverlink and at least a decade old.

R.Solhaug
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

Hmm, sonds familiar. You`re basicly right exept for one thing; if we talk abot SS-amps real fun begins at 9awg. Solid off course, all the way

Jan Vigne
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

I would strongly disagree. But, go ahead, give your reasoning for your statement.

commsysman
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Re: Nice 'n' Easy Speaker Cables

Buy a 100-foot roll of #10 Alpha hookup wire from Mouser Electronics or other supplier. This has over 100 strands per wire and is fairly flexible.

Cut eight 12-foot pieces and terminate them with Audioquest or other gold-plated spade lugs to resist corrosion, and you will have speaker cables better than anything I have ever seen for sale anywhere. Use high-quality 63/37 solder and make sure you dip the wire ends in rosin before soldering to get good tinning of all strands and lugs.

Do not bundle them up tightly; use some 3/8 heat shrink tubing every two feet or so, but tight bundling creates capacitance between the wires; don't.

Cost; $205 for the wire and $30 or so for tubing and lugs.

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