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home made speaker cables?


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#1 of 28 darron Z

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Posted October 24 2003 - 03:41 AM

You know , my logical reasoning tells me that the biggest rip off are speaker cables. i have heard little if no difference between 1200.00 set and 50.00 set. I was considering making my own , and was wondering where i could get the best quality cut length cable. better cables has a solid copper wire , i was considering mimicking that.what is better than solid copper for signal transfer?
also -what i cant understand is the high dollar power cords. does anyone realize the miles of romex 14ga. your current goes through before it gets to that last 3 ft of power to your amp or speaker? anyway hope you can shed some light on this subject .

#2 of 28 ScottCarr

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Posted October 24 2003 - 03:51 AM

I had to pick myself off the floor from laughing so freaking hard.
My favorite example is the Stupid ignorant salesman selling the unsuspecting customer the 2 ft MONSTER modem cable for their computer stating that the 2 feet from the wall to the computer will give them a 20% to 50% performance difference over the standard cable.
And as you bring up what abou the other number of miles that signal is traveling?

I am sure you will get some interesting feedback on this subject if not start a war,Posted Image

Scott

#3 of 28 John Garcia

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Posted October 24 2003 - 04:04 AM

Just because you can't hear it, doesn't mean there's no difference. Nobody ever said you would hear a night and day difference either. IMO, the higher you go, the more subtle the differences are, but they are there, and you really have to know what you are listening for to hear the differences. Speaker wire is the LAST thing you should be looking at to tweak a system anyway, since it generally offers the least improvement. Can you hear the difference between a $1200 speaker and a $50 one? They also do the same thing...

Hook up a $1200 wire to a $100 speaker and a $200 amp with a $50 CD player, and you WILL NOT hear a difference, because the system does not have the resolution to make a difference, but that same cable in a $10,000 system will certainly have some influence on the sound.

If you don't believe in power cords, then don't buy any. I would not spend $200 on a power cord either, but that does not mean they have no benefit. Again, not the first place to look for improvements in a system.

let's not start a war, since this debate will never be settled. It's up to each person to make the choice what they are willing to spend their hard earned cash on, and whether or not they can hear a difference.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
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(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

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#4 of 28 Jerry Parker

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Posted October 24 2003 - 04:52 AM

My take on the subject is, that if you cannot hear a difference in a double blind test, you aren't going to hear a difference when you KNOW which cable is in place.

I haven't seen any DBT's where the subjects were able to distinguish expensive speaker wire vs 14awg cheap stuff. I believe there was one test where subjects COULD hear the difference between 18awg and expensive 12awg, but I think the runs were long, and the increased resistance of the 18awg made the difference audible.

#5 of 28 Jerry Parker

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Posted October 24 2003 - 05:14 AM

http://www.pcavtech....bx/abx_wire.htm

Is an example of some tests done between different speakercables and interconnects.

http://www.audioholi....ble_budget.php

Is a good suggestions for cable buying page.

#6 of 28 Rick Lyon

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Posted October 24 2003 - 05:35 AM

I did notice a difference going from 16g to 14g. I want to go 12g. I use monster XP 14g cable which is kinda cheap and gold plated non soldering banana plugs. I too can't see paying hundreds of dollars except for th looks and craftsmanship.
Couldn't come up with anything clever
or exciting other then to explain the
fact that I was lazy.

#7 of 28 darron Z

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Posted October 24 2003 - 05:52 AM

of course having my electrical expertise from marine electronics and systems, i do believe the requirements for wire guage ,distance and such factors that play with the current you are transmitting. But- oxygen free wires? cmon - if your in a corrosive environ , yes .

ok if you are spending at least 30k on speakers, id say , go ahead and buy those 2k wires, but my 7.1 system with my martin logan hand me downs and a pioneer elite prepro and svs sub ....i think ill spend under a 100.00 fpr speasker wires and bannana plugs - seems reasonable there, not 500-1000.00....

#8 of 28 John Garcia

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Posted October 24 2003 - 06:01 AM

www.audioquest.com

Read what he has to say about cable theory. Very interesting reading. I'm not saying I put 100% faith in what this guy says, but as an engineer, the explaination and substantiation is very plausible, and I can hear definite improvement using their interconnects. We are not talking about simple power transmission, we are talking about SIGNAL transmission, which the quality of the cable and it's material CAN affect. Whether or not that is worth it for you to spend your money on is another story. If you are happy with the $50 cable, then that is what you should get.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#9 of 28 Gordon Groff

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Posted October 24 2003 - 07:22 AM

Great post, Darren! My logic follows yours. Appreciated the link, Jerry. John- I could not get your link to load, sorry.

Parts Express has a great selection of speaker wires you can buy in bulk and various connectors. I'm using solid 12 ga Romex for my in-wall and nice looking 12 GA speaker wire from Parts Express for the visible stuff.

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#10 of 28 Chet Wilson

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Posted October 24 2003 - 09:07 AM

I agree with Gordon. Just go to Partsexpress or equiv. and buy some 14 or 12 gauge wire. Monster wire plainly speaking is a waste of money. I view Monster as being equivalent to Bose. Good marketing thru the chain usual suspect stores. Take that money and spend it on something else. I would bet that a person could take an equal length of 14 gauge monster wire and an equal length and guage of a Home depot cable (right off the spool), do a blind test and not know the difference.

Its all in the mind not the ears....

#11 of 28 Cesar

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Posted October 24 2003 - 09:30 AM

i leave the cable flame wars to others. that debate never ends...

I built my own cables using knukonceptz cables and radio shack banana plugs (they have locking ones that are solderable)

You can get decent wire from Home Depot or Sound King from PartsExpress.com. I like the radio shack plugs because they also lock in place. My 12' cables cost about $30 rather ones costing several times that. And, I'm happy w/ them. (If I'm ignorantly happy, so be it.)

#12 of 28 Jerry Parker

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Posted October 24 2003 - 10:10 AM

John Garcia:

Interesting you bring up Audioquest and their engineering principals. Just last week I read an article on audioholics publically questioning Audioquest's new "active dialectric" material. Its an interesting read to say the least:

http://www.audioholi....quest_DBS.html

#13 of 28 John Garcia

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Posted October 24 2003 - 10:18 AM

Audioquest was not the first to introduce active dielectrics, just one of the more recent. I'm not sure about that one either, so I'm sticking with the products from them I have tried and found to be quite good (interconnects). I am using bulk AQ type 4 (solid) bi-wire with no connectors on either end for my 2ch system, simply to see if I could tell the difference. I honestly cannot say that I can hear a difference, but it is convenient having all 4 wires in one jacket.

For speaker wire in my HT, I'm using bulk Monster X-1S for my mains, because I got 30' for a good price (less than $1/ft). Works fine.

I'll have to take a look at that article later, looks like a good read.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#14 of 28 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted October 24 2003 - 11:37 AM

Darron,

I sincerely apologize for my colleges here, who apparently are too pre-occupied with the cable debate to answer your question about making your own speaker cable.

Quote:
i think ill spend under a 100.00 fpr speasker wires and bannana plugs -
No reason to spend even that much. Something like Radio Shack's12 ga. Megacable is very nice stuff, and only $1 a foot.

If you’re really intent on making your own speaker cable, and don’t care about oxygen free copper, you can do it really cheap - electrical THHN, and twist the pairs into a single cable with an electric drill.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#15 of 28 Andrew Boyd

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Posted October 24 2003 - 01:28 PM

Audio cable doesn't influence the overall rig as much as say, video cable will.

...sorry to add furl if I did.

#16 of 28 darron Z

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Posted October 24 2003 - 01:48 PM

wow - i thought i was the only one out there laughing inside when the kids at the audio stores try to convince me to drop a wad of cash on pretty lamp cord///////

#17 of 28 Chu Gai

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Posted October 24 2003 - 04:24 PM

is putting connectors on zip considered making speaker cables?

#18 of 28 Bob McElfresh

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Posted October 24 2003 - 04:37 PM

Quote:
But- oxygen free wires? cmon - if your in a corrosive environ , yes .

Last time I looked, this was a quite acceptiable/desirable feature in speaker wire. They simply surround the molten copper with a neutral gas while it goes from liquid to solid state which reduces the amount of oxygen molecules trapped inside and on the surface. This reduces the oxidization rate of the wire by something like a factor of 4 over simple molten technique. It's more important if you are considering running the wires through the walls and dont want to have to replace it for many years.

I'm not a big fan of expensive copper, but some of the features do make sense. And www.partsexpress.com sells some pretty good OFC 12ga wire for about $0.50/ft - so it's not costing a lot to get it.

Quote:
better cables has a solid copper wire , i was considering mimicking that.what is better than solid copper for signal transfer

Stranded wire has a higher surface area for signals to travel on, and is more flexable. Solid wire is fine for home electrical systems where it sits in walls for 30-100 years and never has to move.

Also the twists in the stranded wire DO have an effect on the "Q" and capacitance of the wire which are legitimate issues with signal transfer.

(Do these things have a huge effect at audio frequencies? No, but they do have an effect.)

This link to Chris White's has some DIY cable building projects, or links to others.

My personal opinion is that exotic wires have a greater effect on a music system rather than a HT system. A CD has a much higher information content and a much higher duty-cycle than a DVD movie. Not only is the content different, but our listening habits are different with CD's vs DVD's. (We become very familar with repeated playing of CD's and are hyper-sensitive to subtile changes. Not so with movie soundtracks).

#19 of 28 Rick Lyon

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Posted October 25 2003 - 02:39 AM

Get some cheap wire at partsexpress or get some decent wire here

Then get some cool and protective techflex covering

Then you'll also need some shrinkwrap here

Also get a heat gun for the shrinkwrap and some banana plugs for connectors.

You want your cables to resemble (or at least I do, tho I haven't made them like this yet) these.
Couldn't come up with anything clever
or exciting other then to explain the
fact that I was lazy.

#20 of 28 Michael S

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Posted October 25 2003 - 03:25 AM

I too have been considering creating my own "high end" bi-wire speaker cables by using Canare 4S11 Star-Quad speaker cable that sells for about 69 cents/ft. OR even perhaps use DH Labs SilverSonic T-14 at $4/ft. (if I can be convinced that the cost difference for silver coating will make the electrons that much happier) and then cover the wires with TechFlex with heat shrink tubing near the ends to fasten the techflex to the outside of the cable and make the wires look high-end (and no, it will will not make them work better, but I like my projects to also look nice). While this leaves me open to flames, I am not a big fan of terminations--preferring to use the fewest things to potentially interfere with the electrons getting from the amps to the speakers, therefore using bare wires and once a year cut off a half inch and use fresh, unoxidized wire. I have never read any definitive scientific studies regarding the effects of solder and heating the metals involved vs. bare termination and I have always been concerned about crimped connections on connectors, plus omitting the connectors saves money.

For years I have used the original Monster 11 gauge zip speaker wire and doubt will my new cables cause much difference in the quality of sound produced by my speakers--still, I want to biwire and as a DIY project, make my own wires using the same quality wire used by several companies, but at a fraction of the total cost--and the personal satisfaction I get from being a DIY-er.

You can find DIY high end materials from several companies (two links below) and create your own high end speaker cables using the same off-the-shelf components used by several well-known cable companies that have been mentioned in other parts of this thread, but at a fraction of the overall cost.

(Sorry, but since I have not posted to this forum, I am not permitted to include URLs, so you can add the dubs and dot com at at the ends of the links that follow)

markertek
partsexpress

And for a nice step-by-step guide to creating several kinds of wires/cables, hit the Chris White link in post number 18.

Hope this was of help.

Michael S.





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