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rmeyer52
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Speaker cables

The article on speaker cables on the home page of Stereophile.com is interesting. When I decided to upgrade my system I did upgrade my speaker cable to the Monster Z3 which actually I am very happy with. At $200 for the pair (6') it was about the top of what I wanted to spend.

Now to me the amount you spend on speaker cables is should be in proporation to the amount you spend on your system. My system (Arcam Solo, Paradigm 100) was less than $5K so I could not justify spending a lot on cables. I will throw this up to the group...can you really hear the difference with high end speaker cables vs. those that cost less? What do you recommend in the $200 range and higher?

bobedaone
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Re: Speaker cables

I share your "balanced system" approach, Rich. I fully believe that more expensive cables sound better, but, at a certain point, the money would be more wisely invested in better components. I have $50 cables right now, which are very satisfying. My upper limit is probably about $100 for a 10-foot pair. I have a Rega Brio3 and Paradigm 7se Mk.3's (ancestor of today's Monitor 7 v.5). If I had the money for statement gear, everything would be connected with the best wire. At this level, though, it's smarter to just buy a better amplifier, source, or speakers.

I just read a Hi-fi+ review yesterday of Nordost's new flagship, Odin. $20,000/pair. So much for Valhalla being outrageous! I'm sure Carl has something to say about the white wonders.

Poor Audiophile
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Re: Speaker cables

Rich,if I may "piggyback" on your question, I'd be interested in opinions on cable under $100. Also, what about special cables for sub-woofers? Do they really make a difference? Thanks!

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Re: Speaker cables

I had 3,000 speaker cable that was replaced by under 100.00 cable: anti-cable.

Thought it sounded better than the valhalla I auditioned as well.

bobedaone
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Re: Speaker cables

I really want to try some Anti-Cables after I get my turntable. Based on what I've heard, they don't just sound good for the money; They sound flat-out high-end. Has Paul Speltz hit on something? Perhaps.

CECE
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Re: Speaker cables

www.partsexpress.com Soundking, is KING 100ft/roll may be all of $35. Flexible, never turns green or oxidizes like I have seen some super expensive stuff do. so much for paying a lot and getting so little. $200 for speaker wire, I bet it's UL listed for maybe harsh use, oil and water resistant, SOW or some other heavy duty cord? Cus that what ya can get for that amount, that's what they use in a lot of live events where stuff gets used and abused. Don't need any such stuff for home use. I bet it's called Monster Cable cus the price is a montrosity!!! No?

CECE
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Re: Speaker cables

Who uses 24 ga. wire for any speaker of any significance? For some HTIB sure. The only reason you can hear a difference between some UNDERSIZED wire and heavier guage is pure reistance etc. That issue is cured with larger cord, nothing needed that is "audiophile" nonsense. Like that absurd stuff reviewed in the Apr 2007 issue, 5 ga speaker wire!!! spliced onto some thinner stuff, wrapped in stantdard cord sleeves available at any supply place...over $3K !! Ya gots to be kidding me on many fronts, PRICE, 5 gauge for a speaker!! with some 8 ga...Same for their insane power cord, I wonder if the cord is Al, and using a non Cu/alR wiring device, like the termination is som eWattgate? Hmmm UL says, Al wire for power in the 15-20A devices, need to be ULR (revised) rated for Al wiring. Remeber all teh hub bub with Al wire issues years and years ago in 15-20A ckts using Al wire? Hmmm. One says Al another wire magician says cu, and still others say this magic blend. One has rocks, reptiles, streams, rivers, arachnids..all with some audio magic. Sure for teh people selling it, they magically make your money disappear, so they can buy some nice audio stuff...... After you are done using this super expensive wire, look inside your amp or speakers, what kind of wire comes off or goes to the connectors to which you hook up magic wire....Same for a magic AC line cord, what feeds teh input transformer, some good ole' hookup wire. Off a IEC conenctor that goes for about 42. Maybe more if it has an integral fuse(non audio grade fuse of course)

mfi
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Re: Speaker cables

I've always wanted to demo different cables to see what all the fuss is about. Haven't yet. I made my own from CAT 5 cable from a recipe I got on line. Took forever to braid them but am satisfied with the results, and they where free, except for the time I put into them. To me it's just like the vibration control money machine...it will never end.

rmeyer52
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Re: Speaker cables

I'm glad to hear that most people who responded feel the same as I do. When I last went to a hi-fi show a company was auditioning cables that ran from $2500 a pair to over 410K a pair. If you have perfect hearing and have the perfect components and a generous bank account then go for it if it makes you feel better. Some people need to ride around in a lexus or Mercedes not because they are better cars but because they say something.

When I talked to the people at B&W a couple of years ago about my Series 3 I asked about cables and they told me make sure it's a good cable but don't spend too much. If I had a set of Martin Logans at $20K I guess $1,000 for cables would be OK but for now I'll put my dollars into components.

cyclebrain
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Re: Speaker cables


Quote:
Who uses 24 ga. wire for any speaker of any significance?

24AWG wire does have advantages.
If the damping factor of your amp is too high, you can reduce it by using skinny wire.
Your wife will find the smaller wire more visually pleasing than those jumper cables that many are currently using.
You can use the power wasted by the wire to provide baseboard heating. Cold? Turn up the volume.

cyclebrain
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Re: Speaker cables

What gauge wire do they use in the output side of a tube transformer?

ankolistoflower
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Re: Speaker cables

whats your take on mogami?

CECE
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Re: Speaker cables

Isn't that the Japanese art of paper folding?

CECE
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Re: Speaker cables

What guage wire is IN the OUTPUT side? What direction am I going here? And there is also wire on the outside of the INPUT side right? And WATT size is the transformer? That would determine the size of the wire, like anything else? Maybe some nice 8 ga for a 8 W super duper tube amp, that is all the rave, with like around 3% distortion, yet is just so magical.

tandy
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Re: Speaker cables

"that is all the rave, with like around 3% distortion, yet is just so magical."

As usual, misinformation from dup. Here is a copy of a response from me to dup from the cable forum. He seems to know more than engineers from RCA, CBS etc if you read his responses.

"Dismissing experts from RCA, CBS, scientific field etc is rediculous and uncalled for."

CECE
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Re: Speaker cables

RCA "experts" at one time developed a mechanical video disc!!! Philips developed the laser optical laserdisc (MAgnavox branded here), as you see, laser optical was the winner, it evolved into everything. Remember, or is you got short term memory? Remember CBS's quadrophonic LP's? Hmmm, just cus' it's says CBS or rCA don't mean it's any good now does it? You left out ABC....they are owned by a cartoon MOUSE, now that must be some set of engineers, think that's "goofy"? RCA (NBC) way back when. RCA no longer exists, GE bought it back years ago sold it all off, RCA became an AR or Fisher name only. Yes i did say GE bought it back cus way way way back GE was involved with RCA, they had to split it off, for some kind of business issues. Do you have any write ups on CBS, or RCA doing a work on teh sound of solders?

tandy
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Re: Speaker cables


Quote:
RCA "experts" at one time developed a mechanical video disc!!! Philips developed the laser optical laserdisc (MAgnavox branded here), as you see, laser optical was the winner, it evolved into everything. Remember, or is you got short term memory? Remember CBS's quadrophonic LP's? Hmmm, just cus' it's says CBS or rCA don't mean it's any good now does it? You left out ABC....they are owned by a cartoon MOUSE, now that must be some set of engineers, think that's "goofy"? RCA (NBC) way back when. RCA no longer exists, GE bought it back years ago sold it all off, RCA became an AR or Fisher name only. Yes i did say GE bought it back cus way way way back GE was involved with RCA, they had to split it off, for some kind of business issues. Do you have any write ups on CBS, or RCA doing a work on teh sound of solders?

Just keep making excuses for yourself.

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Find a nice quality ($) pair

Find a nice quality ($) pair used, buy em, install em, then forget about em! Cables are done, on to the next thing.

But fine sounding cables are really nice! If you ever get lucky enough to find the pair that work for you...'Never' Sell Them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

soulful.terrain
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cable synergy

From my personal experience, mixing and matching gear is fine as long as you know what you are doing. On the other hand, I do not mix cables within my system. I have found it to be a good policy to have all the same brand in my system. That seems to keep the EQ balanced all the way around.

Anyone else apply this philosophy?

Mark Evans

geoffkait
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Philosophy
soulful.terrain wrote:

From my personal experience, mixing and matching gear is fine as long as you know what you are doing. On the other hand, I do not mix cables within my system. I have found it to be a good policy to have all the same brand in my system. That seems to keep the EQ balanced all the way around.

Anyone else apply this philosophy?

Mark Evans

That philosophy makes sense. However, if I can be so bold, if one opts to use the same brand of cables system wide then one has to live with that brand's philosophy. I find that a different brand digital cable may sound better than Brand X's interconnect, the same applies to copper and silver conductors from the same manufacturer. I also think that frequency response is not the only important characteristic of cables; tone, dynamics, "timing" and resolution come to mind.

Lastly, if a mix and match approach is employed, any characteristic "anomaly" or "irregularity" -- e.g. slight suck out in the upper bass frequencies -- of a particular manufacturer that would be emphasized by a single brand approach would probably be mimimized or eliminated by a mix and match approach.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

soulful.terrain
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True
geoffkait wrote:
soulful.terrain wrote:

From my personal experience, mixing and matching gear is fine as long as you know what you are doing. On the other hand, I do not mix cables within my system. I have found it to be a good policy to have all the same brand in my system. That seems to keep the EQ balanced all the way around.

Anyone else apply this philosophy?

Mark Evans

That philosophy makes sense. However, if I can be so bold, if one opts to use the same brand of cables system wide then one has to live with that brand's philosophy. I find that a different brand digital cable may sound better than Brand X's interconnect, the same applies to copper and silver conductors from the same manufacturer. I also think that frequency response is not the only important characteristic of cables; tone, dynamics, "timing" and resolution come to mind.

Lastly, if a mix and match approach is employed, any characteristic "anomaly" or "irregularity" -- e.g. slight suck out in the upper bass frequencies -- of a particular manufacturer that would be emphasized by a single brand approach would probably be mimimized or eliminated by a mix and match approach.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

That's very interesting Geoff. I agree. I once had an all Shunyata cable configuration in my system and while it had great resolving power, the Bass region lacked the authority I was wanting. So, I probably would have benefitted from a different set of speaker cables.

It's interesting that you bring up the digital cable because that is where I'm at a crossroads. I like the AT&T glass fiber optic as much as the AES/EBU digital. The jury is still out on that one which would be best. :)

I changed to an all StraightWire setup, with the digital cable being the only different cable (Acoustic Zen Mc2). I swapped back and forth between the StraightWire Info-link digital cable and the AZ, and the AZ was more resolving. As I added more AZ cables, my system came more and more alive, especially in the Bass region.

Mark Evans

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I've done a lot of cable swapping

I've reached my own conclusions about the difference cables make and will mix and match between brands. To me, they are another component in the audio chain. I won't take this into the weeds, but for whatever reason, they definitely have an audible signature and more expensive doesn't mean better sounding in a given chain of components.

soulful.terrain
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going green :)
Catch22 wrote:

I won't take this into the weeds, but for whatever reason, they definitely have an audible signature and more expensive doesn't mean better sounding in a given chain of components.

...my cables always seem to have an improved audible signature whenever I am "into the weeds" lol!

Tom_Lemon
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Personally, I think the

Personally, I think the Source is the most important component in the system, so if I am looking for cable, it is for the CD/DAC/MAC Mini portion of the system. After that, I use and swap various from very low to mid priced.

Actually, I left Speaker cable for last. I started with simple single run 12gauge, but that stuff rusted at the ends, and most likely through out over 3 or 4 years.

I then went with dressed up 12gauge bi-wire, which was probably bulk Canare cable with jacket, heatshrink and connectors. It was cheap though, around $100, which would be the SAME cost in parts if I built it myself.

Lastly, I stumbled on a used set of Wireworl Atlantis 5 bi-wire which where awesome cheap ($150) compared to the full price, which would have been 4 or 5 times more.

YES they made a difference.

If you are using lamp cord, switching even to cheap 12 gauge will get you an improvement, but anything in the $100 range will sound pretty much the the same.

Personally, I am not willing to spend more then $500 for a set of speaker cable, but I think one needs to also look at the quality of cable, and construction technique.

Things like, Continuous Cast Copper can sound much better then your average 4nine's OFC cables. So can silver or silver coated copper cables. Certain dielectrics/insulators do make a difference, even in measurements. Geometry (twisted pair?) can make a difference in noise levels or noise pick up.

Do these kinds of cable need to cost $1000? $2500? $10,000?

Probably not, and I am thinking one could locate similar products that may of may not combine all the above points, at much much lower costs.

Manufacturing, advertising, distributing usually multiplies price by a factor of 5.

Does higher price equal better? Not that often.

TOM...

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How does your wire sound?

Where do you get these concepts? Would you do a blind test and then tell us you heard an improvement on the wires, when you don't know which ones you are using? I also know that copper doesn't RUST. So your story about what some copper wire did is bizarre.

Catch22
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Copper doesn't rust

But, it certainly can react to environmental conditions. I think it is most likely affected at the connection points and should be cleaned from time to time. If the dielectric allows moisture and oxygen to reach the skin of the wire, it can certainly deteriorate the surface over time and since much of the signal passing through the wire rides on the skin, it's not much of a stretch to see this as interfering with the design characteristics and thus the audio signature.

Allen Fant
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I agree as above. Try to keep

I agree as above. Try to keep the same cabling throughout your system.

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Cables and components

There's always a question of matching the components - cables being a component of the setup. There are cables that will choke your throughput/output, cables that will bring their own coloration to the mix and cables that are intended to present the quality of the other components as honestly as possible. I've experienced this with 300$ cables back in the days when I started to enjoy Hi-Fi. That's 25 years ago now. As with any other interest/hobby/passion most people will raise their standards as they get more and more into their dedication. For me there are only two brands that stand out now: A well known manufacturer called Nordost with their Odin reference cable and an equal match called Skogrand SC Air 2.5 from Skogrand Cables. The latter being an obscure Norwegian brand that sells for 1/10 of the Odin - which makes it my choice obviously. Expensive if you have a walmart throw together setup, but inevitable if you're serious about getting the best out of each component. Those Skogrand cables are handmade and it takes about one week to build a pair. It took almost a month from I ordered until it arrived in the mail getting me all psyched up. But even then they gave me one big happy face when I finally had them hooked up. I haven’t tried all the worlds speaker cables yet, but after 25 years of testing these certainly gives me a thrill. And they are solid core, rather stiff and can’t be bended more than eh… let’s say “the arch of a banana” (?). Anyways: There are so many brands and literally thousands of nice sounding cables out there. They don’t have to be expensive to be exceptional, but when you enjoy listening and have a respectable audio setup the bar is raised and the prices go up.

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Speaker Cables

 

The old rule "You get what you pay for" applies - if you're careful, and within limits. Here is what matters in my humble evaluation:

1.) Impedance. Many studies and reports have shown that within the relatively low frequency range of audio signals, this translates to resistance. Conductor configuration, conductor materials, and insulation properties are almost insignificant. Conductor size matters more than anything else by orders of magnitude.

2.) Termination quality. Most important factors here are the material quality (gold is best) and mechanical design. You want low resistance, high contact surface area, and a rigid physical connection.

3.) Appearance. There, I said it. Really now, who isn't willing to pay a little more for a set of cables that just plain look really good?

I've tried MANY cables over the years and spent thousands of dollars. My favorite by far are from Neustadt Research (www.neustadtresearch.com). They're not cheap but they are not at all exhorbitant either. Each cable is handmade and the quality, fit, and finish are fantastic. The cables are thick, have a beautiful woven sheath and the best sawtooth banana connectors I've ever seen.

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NCD! (new cable day)

I just bought (used) an 8-foot pair of DH Labs Silver Sonic Q-10 from a seller on Audiogon for less than $150.00. This is a 10-gauge cable with silver-plated OFC in a spiral/counter spiral geometry with Teflon insul... oops, I mean "dielectric". Nicely terminated, too. This stuff seems to let so much more music through to the Maggies. I wish I'd gotten something like it years ago. Bass is much better than the Audioquest and MIT cables I was using, vocals are holographic, well-recorded piano sounds almost real. But the real improvement is the treble, now smooth and extended. Probably the best thing I've done for my system in a long time.

soulful.terrain
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DH Labs
Bluesbob wrote:

I just bought (used) an 8-foot pair of DH Labs Silver Sonic Q-10 from a seller on Audiogon for less than $150.00. This is a 10-gauge cable with silver-plated OFC in a spiral/counter spiral geometry with Teflon insul... oops, I mean "dielectric". Nicely terminated, too. This stuff seems to let so much more music through to the Maggies. I wish I'd gotten something like it years ago. Bass is much better than the Audioquest and MIT cables I was using, vocals are holographic, well-recorded piano sounds almost real. But the real improvement is the treble, now smooth and extended. Probably the best thing I've done for my system in a long time.

I have utilized DH Labs cables in the past with great success. Straight forward, no-nonsense cable. And yes, damn good termination. The DH Silversonic D-110 digital and the Revelation were a great combo. Thinking about returning to them.

Mark

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Wire is wire....unless!

Been there, done that!  Yes, I've owned several $20K plus cabling for various systems over the years and just about everything else in between...even the bargain basement giant killers.  What I learned was that wire is wire, unless it's attached to an MIT network.  Example, try a pair of AVT 1 series cables ($230/M msrp; $115/M online) against any of your favorite cables for 30 days.  If you can hear reasonably well and value authentic sound reproduction, you will be blown away at how music can come alive in your system with presence and palpability.  Everything else really is a joke at any price over $50!

Allen Fant
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Agreed,   cables and cords

Agreed,

 

cables and cords do not have to be expensive to be effective.

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