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Advice on speaker wire for new speakers


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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 Anish

Anish

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Posted November 06 2004 - 04:25 AM

Excellent thread - and just the information that I was looking for. I just purchased a set of Paradigm Studio 100v3 speakers and a Paradigm Studio CC570. I am upgrading from my Anthony Gallo setup. With the Gallos I used 12ga Home Depot speaker wire. It actually sounded better than the "Gallo" wire mainly because the Gallo wire was only 18ga and one single thick strand. But at a price of about $1/ft from Home Depot, I was able to get quite a good length.

However with the Gallo speakers, I just wrapped the stripped ends of the wire around the poles... but with my new Studios I want to weld nice banana plugs to the ends of the wires. Any advice on what kind of banana plugs to get and where to get them from? Any special kind of solder that I should consider?

My current setup is as follows:
Denon AVR-3802 receiver
2 x Paradigm Studio 100v3
Paradigm Studio CC-570
SVS PB12/Plus2 subwoofer - on order now as well (and I went ahead and got their subwoofer cable - 12m)

I also checked out the www.bettercables.com website and saw their 3 choices of speaker wire. But as the guys in the thread above said, the difference might really not be transparent between wire that costs a few hundred dollars vs $1/ft cable! But I have read good things about bettercables so I am in a bit of a dilemma.

A quick note on the speaker wire - stereo pair vs single channel - are those are my only 2 choices? If I understand this correctly, the stereo pair has 2 plugs on each end (speaker end and receiver end) and a single channel has only 1 plug on each end?

I know that I posted a bunch of questions but thanks for any advice. Posted Image

#2 of 5 Allan Jayne

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Posted November 06 2004 - 05:48 AM

Use only rosin core solder for electrical and electronic work. The 60/40 tin/lead works best but some stores carry only non-lead solder. Soldering is the most reliable way of attaching banana plugs.

For non-powered speakers, the 12 or 14 gauge speaker wire has two conductors and two bare tips at each end for each channel.

Cheap 12 gauge wire works just as well as but might not look as attractive as expensive 12 gauge wire.

You do not need banana plugs unless you need to disconnect and re-connect the wires frequently such as for pulling out the speakers to vacuum around them, or unless the terminals are so close together you are worried about a strand of wire shorting to the other terminal, or unless the hole in the terminal is so large that the bare wire end cannot be held securely.

You can twist together the strands and apply solder and that makes a hard tip like that on the end of a shoelace that does not have loose strands to cause short circuits with and is almost as easy to disconnect and reconnect as a banana plug.

Audio cables with RCA pin and shell plugs (two plugs at each end for stereo) are a must for powered speakers (with RCA jacks and built in amps) but are a no-no for unpowered speakers.

About every three years it is a good idea to unplug and replug all connections and also undo and re-do all unwrapped and unsoldered banana plugs. This counteracts oxidation which gradually degrades connections.

Video hints:
http://members.aol.c...ynejr/video.htm
.

#3 of 5 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted November 06 2004 - 06:24 AM

As Allan noted, you don’t necessarily need banana plugs. From his list of reasons why you might need bananas...
Quote:
...unless the hole in the terminal is so large that the bare wire end cannot be held securely.
...I’d like to add that sometimes the reverse is true, that the holes in the binding posts are too small for 12 gauge speaker wire.

Banana plugs are convenient, however. I don’t move my stuff around much, but when I do it’s such a hassle dealing with poking all those wires in those holes that I went ahead and sprung for some.

Quote:
Any advice on what kind of banana plugs to get and where to get them from?
Radio Shack has them, ranging from fancy to cheap. They also have fancy and cheap varieties of single bananas.

Quote:
Any special kind of solder that I should consider?
Most banana plugs don’t require soldering – they use screw terminals to secure the wire.

Quote:
But as the guys in the thread above said, the difference might really not be transparent between wire that costs a few hundred dollars vs $1/ft cable!
Unless you have a system valued in the five-digit range, there’s no reason to waste any money on high-priced speaker wire. You can get stuff even cheaper than $1 a foot at places like Home Depot, but as Alan noted, the $1/ft. stuff is more attractive. It’s also more supple. Another thing to consider, I’ve found that with the cheaper Home Depot stuff, the jacket tends to get stiff after a few years. So even though the $1/ft. cable might not sound any better, you are getting something for the extra money.

Quote:
A quick note on the speaker wire - stereo pair vs single channel - are those are my only 2 choices? If I understand this correctly, the stereo pair has 2 plugs on each end (speaker end and receiver end) and a single channel has only 1 plug on each end?
That’s not “stereo” speaker wire. It’s for bi-wiring. Bi-wiring is where they use two cables for each speaker, one connected to the tweeter, one to the woofer. Some people think this makes their speakers sound better.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#4 of 5 Kevin Stewart

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Posted November 06 2004 - 05:33 PM

Quote:
...I’d like to add that sometimes the reverse is true, that the holes in the binding posts are too small for 12 gauge speaker wire



I found this to be true today. I was hooking up my Pio 56txi and it wasn't very easy to thread my bluejean 12 gauge speaker wire through, especially because the posts are so close together. I got it to work though.



Stew
"the dream never dies, just the dreamer"

#5 of 5 Kevin. W

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Posted November 07 2004 - 12:17 PM

Anish,

If you can get your hands AR Master Series 10AWG wire I would recommend it. It comes pre-terminated with banana plugs for easy connection. I got mine from www.factorydirect.ca Right now they only have one set of 2x15ft left. www.ac4l.com also sells it but its in the states. You could also try http://www.thetwiste...stomer/home.php
They ship to Canada and also have the cables. I run the cables to bi-amp my Studio(v3)40's and single run to the 20's and 570.

Kevin


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