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Does speaker wire honestly make a difference?


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62 replies to this topic

#1 of 63 London Lawson

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Posted February 01 2006 - 10:44 AM

i use some old cheap, thin speaker wire I got from Wal-Mart, I just didn't think their would be a justifiable difference for the price of better wire. So is there really? And how big of a difference?

#2 of 63 Jongyoon Lee

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Posted February 01 2006 - 11:17 AM

short honest answer:

depends.

caveat:

The rest of your system needs to be "better" than the cable you are replacing. Identifying the bottleneck in the system is the key. If you have superb speakers and amps, then you may be able to hear different nuance in the cable. $500 HTIB probably won't reveal $100 cable. (and economically it doesn't make sense to buy $100 cable when the rest of the system is $500)

The selection of the cable is more of a tweaking process. If you are reasonably happy with the system, and don't want to invest an arm and a leg, then the next thing you may want is to try different cables. If you hear improvement, job well done! If you don't, then you don't have to waste money improving something you can't hear.

#3 of 63 John Garcia

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Posted February 01 2006 - 11:18 AM

No. As long as the AWG is sufficent for the length you are using, it won't make a considerable difference. In terms of things that make a difference, speaker wire is probably the lowest on the toem pole.

http://www.roger-rus...e.htm#wiretable

I compared 5ft runs of $0.30/ft (multi-strand) wire to $3.00/ft wire (single conductor, ultra high purity). I percieved a small difference in favor of the more expensive wire (though that could have been nothing more than perception), but in terms of cost vs performance, there was no question that the difference would not even come close to justifying the cost difference.

Wire and interconnects (RCA) aren't the same thing. Interconnects have a build quality associated with them, and small factors can make one cable sound slightly different from another. I've tried a number of interconnects and found there to be a much more noticable difference with them. I agree that the level of the system is related to how far one should go when looking for interconnects and that they are more or less a tweak (not a FIX for a problem) - really nice interconnects may improve the sound of an HTiB using the lowest form of interconnect (included in the box), but they aren't going to make it sound better than it is realistically capable of.
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#4 of 63 SethH

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Posted February 01 2006 - 11:51 AM

i use some old cheap, thin speaker wire I got from Wal-Mart


It really depends on the AWG. If you just bought speaker wire from Wal-Mart, I would guess that it's probabaly 18, 20 or 22awg. Most people want 16 or 14awg for short runs and maybe 12 for longer runs.

#5 of 63 Ari

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Posted February 01 2006 - 02:45 PM

Boy...that question will get you in a raging debate. Here is what I tell most people:

Speaker wire will make a difference only if you can hear it. Some people can tell the difference, some can't. Some systems will sound different, and some won't.

If it does make a difference to you, then the law of diminishing returns applies (i.e. you'll have to spend unproportionately more to get any further improvement).

In the end, you'll have to try it out and listen for yourself....

#6 of 63 Joe Szott

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Posted February 02 2006 - 05:17 AM

Let me tell you man, asking that here is akin to asking people whether abortion is immoral or not. At best you're going to kick off a massive, heated debate in which both sides already have their minds made up and no one will ever budge an inch.

Luckily, that need not happen. Search for 'speaker wire' in this (speaker) forum and in the tweaks forum and you'll get the whole messy enchilada of wire debate. Read it, enjoy it, and decide which side of that fence you personally fall on.

Personally, I use 12 gauge wire I buy from home depot and it is solid, but again I don't mess with other folks' religion or another audiophiles' wire beliefs. It just isn't worth it...

#7 of 63 alanR

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Posted February 02 2006 - 05:24 AM

The only way to know the differences between wire or any type of component is a doube blind test. period.

#8 of 63 Dick Boneske

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Posted February 02 2006 - 07:29 AM

Double blind test--well said. It has been proven time and again that speaker wires DO NOT make an audible difference. If you use 16 gage zip cord as a reference, wires that sound different from that are distorting the signal. This argument will persist forever in spite of the fact that, to this point, NO ONE has been able to demonstrate expensive wires result in superior sound!!!
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#9 of 63 MikeLi

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Posted February 02 2006 - 07:57 AM

I agree with Dick above but I do up the quality on my interconnects.
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#10 of 63 Arthur S

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Posted February 02 2006 - 08:17 AM

Speaker wires make a huge difference in the bank accounts of those that make name brand speaker wire. Making speaker wire (and interconnects) is one of most lucrative undertakings in audio. All you need is an outlet to advertise.

As John Garcia said, 16 gauge is fine for runs up to about 35 feet. 12 guage for runs longer than that.

Go to your local Home Depot or Lowe's type store and buy some 16 gauge lamp cord. 50-100 feet should meet all your wiring needs for a while. I prefer white.

#11 of 63 London Lawson

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Posted February 02 2006 - 08:22 AM

Why do people get so worked up over such an insignificant thing as speaker wire?

#12 of 63 Jack Gilvey

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Posted February 02 2006 - 08:31 AM

Quote:
Why do people get so worked up over such an insignificant thing as speaker wire?

Likely due to their other...insignificancies.

I've found length to be the critical factor in cabling. If one side is too short, the soundstage collapses to the other.
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#13 of 63 Arthur S

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Posted February 02 2006 - 08:40 AM

>>>If one side is too short, the soundstage collapses to the other<<<

This gives the impression that one speaker is much closer than the other. THAT might explain any collapse.

Perhaps you would care to elaborate.

Thanks

#14 of 63 Jack Gilvey

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Posted February 02 2006 - 09:24 AM

If one cable is "too short",it doesn't reach the speaker.
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#15 of 63 Arthur S

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Posted February 02 2006 - 09:40 AM

Jack, your sarcasm is most enlightening.

#16 of 63 John Garcia

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Posted February 02 2006 - 11:13 AM

Posted Image LOL.
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
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#17 of 63 Jack Gilvey

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Posted February 02 2006 - 11:46 AM

Posted Image
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#18 of 63 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 03:55 PM

london, it's one of the most subjective topics at hand. you can't get an "honest" answer out of anyone.

but honestly...

as long as the speaker wires aren't prohibiting you from making secure/firm connections, it should all ok. there are some poorly designed speakers with poor termination ends that doesn't connect properly to either ends. that'd bad.

#19 of 63 Philip Hamm

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Posted February 03 2006 - 12:33 AM

Short answer. No.
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#20 of 63 Chu Gai

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Posted February 03 2006 - 02:49 AM

friggin Jack! Had me going there. If you want some sharp looking wire that won't break the bank, check out KnuKonceptz.