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This has probably been beaten to death here but...


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#1 of 21 AngeloEug

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Posted April 12 2005 - 09:48 AM

Is there really a significant sonic difference when using normal "Monster" or "______" (fill-in-the-blank) 12 - 14 guage speaker wire vs. the "hi-end" Tara/Vampire/Canare/Audiquest etc?

I know people on both ends of the spectrum who SWEAR by hi end speaker wire and those that SWEAR by Home Depot el cheapo 12 ga.

Has anyone ever done a comparo between "the cheap stuff" vs. "the good stuff"? Is it psychological or factually based?

I'm really not interested in spending half of my system's total cost on cables and wires but if it will make my system sound 10x's better then may I'd consider it.

What sparked this question was the fact that the store I may borrow the B&W 601's from insists on bi-wiring AND running "better" speaker wire than my run-of-the-mill 12 ga.

Any hardcore believers on either end?

#2 of 21 Aaron_Mum

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Posted April 12 2005 - 10:11 AM

On this board you'll find most lean to the side that it makes little difference. Speaker wire will not make your system sound 10x better no matter what anyone tells you.

In my opinion there are more important things to consider rather than your speaker wire. If the store spent as much time telling you how to position your 601's properly rather than insiting on high end cables and bi-wiring then you'd be further ahead.

IF speaker wire makes a difference I think you'd have to have a nice enough rig to be able to hear it. For most of us a decent, affordable set of speaker cables should do the trick just fine. I use Ultralink speaker cable for my front end ($1.50/ft) and Home Depot to the rears, works great.

Ask the store if you can demo some wire with your 601s. That should settle it for you.

#3 of 21 Andrew Pezzo

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Posted April 12 2005 - 10:55 AM

Quote:
On this board you'll find most lean to the side that it makes little difference. Speaker wire will not make your system sound 10x better no matter what anyone tells you.


That pretty much sums up my view. If ANY wire makes your system sound 10x better than something was seriously wrong with the old wires. I do believe better wires can make a difference buts its marginal at best. Things like positioning and room treatments will make the biggest impact.

#4 of 21 John Garcia

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Posted April 12 2005 - 11:32 AM

The way I see it, speaker wire will make the least difference in your system. Put the money where it will make a bigger difference - the rest of the system. As long as the wire AWG is sufficient for the current, you aren't going to see a night and day improvement.

I'm in the camp that believes wires and interconnects do have influence on the total system too, but they are a tweak not magic. Everything in the signal path exhibits some influence on the signal, which means the goal would be to change it as little as possible ideally. Wire cannot add something that wasn't there already, only detract from it, so the less it does that the better.

Quote:
If the store spent as much time telling you how to position your 601's properly rather than insiting on high end cables...

More than half the time, the salespeople have no clue, so they couldn't help you with this kind of thing even if they wanted to... I agree, proper setup of the components and positioning of the speakers can make a considerable difference.

Quote:
IF speaker wire makes a difference I think you'd have to have a nice enough rig to be able to hear it.

I completely agree with this too. The level of your gear is going to be a big factor. If you've spend a $100K, wire *might* make a noticable difference. If you spent $1K, boutique wire isn't going to make your system sound like you spent $100K.

I think this belongs in the tweaks area.
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#5 of 21 Garrett Lundy

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Posted April 12 2005 - 02:03 PM

Speaker wire (or speaker cable if you're selling it) is the weak-link in the audio chain. Any cable is going to degrade the signal (even on a very minute level), and make it not-as-good. As such:

No wire, no matter how cheap or expensive can make your audio "better". It can only make it more or less "less bad than it has to be".
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#6 of 21 JimTW

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Posted April 13 2005 - 03:14 AM

Hi All,

On the same topic... I've read in this forum sometimes
people will mention "I used xxx speaker cables first...
sounded great. Then I used yyy speaker cables and the
speakers sounded warmer which I much prefer."

Do speaker wires really make a difference like this
example? Or is it more psychological?

Tks,
Jimmy

#7 of 21 AngeloEug

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Posted April 13 2005 - 06:19 AM

Hi Jim,
I tend to believe it is psychological MOST of the time.

Just from a mathematical standpoint, how can the human ear hear .08% of a difference from one wire to the next assuming that the source is exactly the same, the equipment is the same, the power, the electricity, the ambient noise, the power company, the time of day, the thickness of the air, humidity etc etc etc. OMG where does that end you know?

Let's even say that there's a 5% increase in measured (in-lab)performance from product A vs. B, how many things have to be exactly right to hear the difference?

I guess for the majority of audio fanatics on here, where you're listening in an area other than an actual studio, that 5% is going to be minimal.

I believe at that point, you're not listening to THE MUSIC, you're now listening for imperfections and flaws in your system. And that you may have lost the point of investing your money in this equipment in the first place.

In the end, I think that enjoyment and the experience rather than, "Oh, I heard this and that" is what matters.

There is a time and place i.e. recording STUDIO, mixing labs and the such where subtleties this small can make a huge impact but from the standpoint of pure listening enjoyment...I really don't think that it would be that much of an issue.

Besides, when I'm dancing with my wife and two boys in the family room, jamming to Bob Marley, my breathing is louder than that amount of difference...when I'm chillin' with Cannonball Adderly or Getz with my wife on the sofa, she's more important than the way the air moves out of the trumpets and sax...

I answered my own question after reading the replies and hearing from sensible forum members who know how to enjoy music...I'll leave the noise measurements to the recording and mixing professionals that are paid to listen on our behalf.

Thanks for humoring my inquiries folks!

BTW, sale at Walmart on Monste....ahhh just kidding!Posted Image

#8 of 21 paul clipsel

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Posted April 13 2005 - 06:22 AM

Quote:
The way I see it, speaker wire will make the least difference in your system. Put the money where it will make a bigger difference
Wise words. Ditto IMHO

PC

#9 of 21 Jeff Gatie

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Posted April 13 2005 - 07:49 AM

Quote:
Speaker wire (or speaker cable if you're selling it) is the weak-link in the audio chain.


No it isn't, it is the simplest, most understood, easiest to manufacturer and hardest to screw up link in the chain. How can a hunk of wire be a weak link, it is just wire? Utter simplicity compared to the speakers, housings, circuit boards, amplifiers, lasers, DAC's, crossovers, prepro's, etc., that make up the rest of the system. The basic physics and engineering that goes into making a wire that is within specs have been known for over 100 years.

Besides, if having such "quality", large gauge, silver/gold leaf, oxygen free wires/interconnects is so necessary, how come the DAC's in my receiver use sub-micrometer widths of crummy old solder to move my signal around before it gets to the uber-interconnects?

#10 of 21 Dave Lindhorst

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Posted April 13 2005 - 08:09 AM

I had a fello at an Audio Store tell me how the high frequency sounds traveled down the outside spiraled wire and the more bassy sounds travelled down the center part of the wire. He said it was absolutely critical that the 2 sounds arrived at the speaker at the same time. He said the high sounds traveled faster in the wire than the low sounds did and that is why they had 2 paths to follow.

So I asked him how long do my cables need to be so the different frequencys get to the speakers at the same time. I also asked him how the signal knew which wire was the long one and which was the short one. I laughed my way out of the store much to the chagrin of the sales person. What a bunch of malarky. I can see someone who knows nothing about audio not to mention some who do, buying that BS and paying through the nose.

When did this kind of bullsh-t infiltrate the audiophile ranks anyway?

#11 of 21 Dave Lindhorst

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Posted April 13 2005 - 08:15 AM

I should also point out that no matter the size of the wire all wire has resistance. If it didn't we wouldn't need big wires for anything. All resistance in a wire opposes amperage. Voltage is lost when pushing the amperage through a wire. Just get a decent wire of about 12 or 14 gauge and you will have no issue with the performance for sure. 12 or 14 gauge wire will handle with ease any amperage the average home system will use. The longer the run of wire the more resistance you will have. A 20 gauge wire may be ok for short 8 ft runs but going long distance to an outdoor set you may want to use a little bigger wire. 3 or 4 dollar a foot wire is not required.

#12 of 21 John Garcia

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Posted April 13 2005 - 08:59 AM

Quote:
I had a fello at an Audio Store tell me how the high frequency sounds traveled down the outside spiraled wire and the more bassy sounds travelled down the center part of the wire.

It is true that current collects at the outer edges of the wire, but that is true regardless of frequency.

Quote:
He said it was absolutely critical that the 2 sounds arrived at the speaker at the same time. He said the high sounds traveled faster in the wire than the low sounds did and that is why they had 2 paths to follow.

I would have told him to lay off the crack. Posted Image
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

 


#13 of 21 warnerWH

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Posted April 13 2005 - 12:40 PM

In double blind tests people have not been able to tell the difference between 500 dollar speaker cables and 14 gauge zip cord.

#14 of 21 MikeNg

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Posted April 13 2005 - 12:42 PM

I agree with most of the opinions already posted. If the store says you 'have to' run a certain cable to drive their B&W's, maybe they should supply them as well. That'd be a great opportunity to see for yourself if it makes a difference by doing a blind comparison.

There was a blind test someone did a while back where they compared gourmet cable with zip cord, and had 'professionals' listen for differences. They couldn't tell. I'll see if I can hunt it down, and I'll post a link here.

IMO, the difference between thick, cheap cable and the expensive stuff is marginal for most people's systems. If you're already running 12ga. and your gear is 'mid-fi' at best, I don't think you stand to gain a whole lot in performance.

Mike

#15 of 21 Steve*_P

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Posted April 13 2005 - 11:21 PM

I had cheap walmart speaker wire that was I think 14 gauge I bought 10 gauge sound king wire, probably overkill but I think that my speakers now sound cleaner and hit a little harder. I think it was worth it to upgrade and now I'm not always thinking should I change speaker wire.

#16 of 21 David_P

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Posted April 14 2005 - 03:25 AM

gauge does matter...

I replaced 16 ga. zip cord with homemade 8 ga cabling (made from discarded spacetel power harnesses, fine stranded but 8 ga).

The result: tighter bass, better slam, and visually tighter/smaller woofer excursion at the same volume levels (woofer previously "flapped about")

The reason ( I think ): damping factor of amp is critically affected by resistance between amp and speaker... dropping resistance significiantly does impact how well the woofer can be controlled by the amp.

Key though... it is gauge that matters, all the rest is marketing goobley-gook.

David_P

#17 of 21 Jose G

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Posted April 14 2005 - 08:33 AM

45 minutes later, she turned to me, smiled, and said, "It's true then; It is gauge that matters." Posted Image

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I can't believe I'm almost 39 sometimes.

#18 of 21 Max F

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Posted April 15 2005 - 01:39 AM

I'm suprised no one has use outdoor power extension cords for speakers. You know the kind that can go 100 feet. That would be funny, big fat, orange covered cords all over the living room. I wonder what gauge they are?

I did noticed that my leaf blower had move power, but thats because i used to hook two cords together which is a no no.:b

#19 of 21 Garrett Lundy

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Posted April 15 2005 - 02:00 AM

Power cords are usually 8
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#20 of 21 Dave Lindhorst

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Posted April 15 2005 - 02:30 AM

Normal power or extension cords are for 15 amp only and usually are 14 gauge. Heavy duty ones may be as high as 8 but this is not the norm.


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