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Got speakers.. NOW WIRE!!


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73 replies to this topic

#1 of 74 OFFLINE   EdwinL

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Posted October 07 2002 - 01:32 PM

Would someone be kind enough to suggest a make/brand of wire that will suit the connection of Klipsch Monitor 9s with a Marantz sr7200 for pure stereo sound (for now)

Also, if you know of any good deals, "Hook Me UP!"

Thanks

Edwin L

#2 of 74 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Noel

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Posted October 07 2002 - 01:56 PM

Edwin, I use the 12gauge speaker wire from Home Depot on all of my speakers. It's some pretty good wire and at only 39cents per foot it's a great deal. Just a thought! Posted Image
God bless!
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#3 of 74 OFFLINE   BrentPollard

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Posted October 07 2002 - 02:10 PM

I agree no need to get fancy I too use 12g wire between a Rotel pwr amp and all five of my PSB'sPosted Image

#4 of 74 OFFLINE   Brian Fellmeth

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Posted October 07 2002 - 02:14 PM

12 guage from home depot or sound king from parts express.

#5 of 74 OFFLINE   EdwinL

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Posted October 07 2002 - 02:22 PM

Hi-Fi....... Hi-Fi.... Posted Image

#6 of 74 OFFLINE   Martice

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Posted October 07 2002 - 02:59 PM

Before you take any advice, I think you should ask all who respond to tell you a little about their systems and listening habits. Not implying that anyone who's responded may fit the following description but you never know how they listen or what type of system that they are using.

Suppose I only listen to commercial music at rock concert levels and I tell you to get the 12gauge stuff from where ever? What if you liked to listen to music in a controlled place where sonic differences are easily recognizable?

If someone is a critical listener then they may find subtle differences when using different cables. However, if someone is a casual listener and doesn't really listen critically, then they may not put cable as a high priority.

If you want some descent cables on the cheap that are very well built and don't seem to muck up the sound of your system, check these out:

Liberty Cable

When you get there, go to the selection bar on the top left of the screen and select 'speaker wire'.

You should be cool after that.

I recommend/use these cables for the HT portion of my system and find them very sturdy and good sonics. In fact, depending on the length of the cables that you're looking for, I have a 8ft pair of DH Lab T-14's that I'm not using that I'll let go for about $40.00 bucks. If you go to Audioreview.com and look them up they have pretty good reviews.

Then again, if you are one who feels that cables have an extremely minimal effect on the overall sound of your system then head for the Home Depot and stock up.

Good Luck.
Turn Key Guy!

#7 of 74 OFFLINE   RajeeK

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Posted October 07 2002 - 04:58 PM

I use 12ga Sound King wire all around. I think I have a pretty respectable system and it sounds wonderful to me.

#8 of 74 OFFLINE   Iver

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Posted October 07 2002 - 05:01 PM

Hi,

You have left out one key factor: the length of your speaker-wire runs. That determines the minimum (narrowest) gauge of speaker wire which you can use without having any appreciable impact on your audio signal.

Any speaker wire, from Home Depot or any other hardware store, will be fine, as long as it's of a sufficient gauge (thickness) for the length you will use.

You do not need 12 gauge speaker wire unless your runs are quite long (200 feet or more). The 12-gauge costs quite a bit more per foot than thinner gauges.

For example, I just bought a 25-foot roll of Trisonic 16-gauge speaker wire at my friendly neighborhood hardware store for $4.50. If my calculations are correct, that comes to 18 cents per foot.

The 12-gauge speaker wire is very aesthetically pleasing because it is quite thick and creates the impression of being very heavy duty. It looks wonderful connected to a lug-type connector.

It certainly won't hurt to have wider wire than you need, but buying the appropriate gauge, rather than one wider than you need, will save you money, money which can be spent on things like ... DVDs, CD's, a new universal remote, you name it.

But, as mentioned above, you can go to 16-gauge and even thinner and still have virtually nil resistance in typical home-installation lengths. Check out the Crutchfield Web site (not people known for suggesting anybody scrimp on hardware costs) where they suggest using 16-gauge for runs up to 80 feet.

Also, take a look at this chart which breaks down the appropriate gauges to use with shorter runs. As the author, a MacIntosh engineer with 30 years experience, points out, his recommendations are actually conservative. The rest of his site is quite enlightening, one of the best online information resources about speaker wire.

One last point: there is no need to use the same gauge of speaker wire for all your runs. For example, if your surrounds use 50-foot runs, you would use 16-gauge for the surround speakers. If your center and front-left and front-right speakers have eight-foot runs, 22-gauge would be plenty wide (though you might have other practical reasons to go with all-16, such as having purchased one large spool of it that's long enough to cover all your runs).

Happy installation and happy listening!

#9 of 74 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted October 08 2002 - 12:30 AM

Edwin, considering that you don't have any peculiar equipment that 'might' mandate a speaker wire of particularly low capacitance and for that matter an electrostatic or planar speaker whose impedence at high frequences drops to 1 ohm or lower, which 'may' benefit from a wire with lower inductance, there's no reason to think, given the many controlled listening tests that have taken place over the years, to suspect that any two wires, of similar gauge and length, can be audibly distinguished. Now you can choose to believe that or not. Somehow the world manages to go on. That's not to say though, that you may have a particular preference, whether it is based on theoretical grounds, those of appearance, a desire to obtain something from a particular company, a particular construction technique, whatever. To that end, if clear PVC just doesn't cut it for you, then certainly the Liberty, which has many strands to facilitate flexibility, is a possible choice. Some may find offerings from somebody like KnuKonceptz, with a blue PVC, a bit more attractive. If it happens that you desire a lower inductance cable than say the brands just mentioned, you may want to find a source for the StarQuad from Canare.
However, there are a number of companies that seem to think nothing of dressing up a pennies per foot cable and then selling if for several dollars a foot. A person over at audioreview recounted a story where they'd been given some speaker wire as a gift that was 'made' by Cobalt Cables. Turns out he was feeling the cable in his hand and curiousity got the better of him, so he peeled back the covering. What he found was clear PVC coated 10 gauge copper which can also be bought for under a dollar a foot. When he informed Cobalt of this, they did offer to take the cable off his hands and refund any monies. Thoughtful wouldn't you say?
Now if you're looking to get more out of your present system, you may want to consider working on speaker placement and also room treatments. Over at the tweaks section, a recent inquiry into this brought out several links to DIY sites whereby the individual can make their own acoustic panels, bass traps, etc. Speakers aside, an important factor to consider as to why high end systems sound as good as they do in certain stores has a lot to do with both how the speakers have been placed and the way the room has been treated.
As I think about it, when one reads the various speaker wire reviews in magazines and on the web, its a most remarkable coincidence that somehow the lowly, value priced 12 gauge copper always comes out at the bottom. Raise the capacitance, they'll say its better. Lower it, it's better. Etc. Etc. Certainly by now, if one applied all the tweaks that are out there: isolation devices, high end speaker cables and interconnects, outboard DAC's, speaker spikes, CD & DVD treatments, power conditioners....each which purport to remove the veils that obscure sound and video, there'll come a point where Britney Spears will indeed be seen in all her "i'm not so innocent" glory, don't you think?

#10 of 74 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted October 08 2002 - 02:52 AM

Quote:
You do not need 12 gauge speaker wire unless your runs are quite long (200 feet or more). The 12-gauge costs quite a bit more per foot than thinner gauges.

Huhh??

I've seen several speaker sites (not wire sites) recommend the following:

1-10 ft: 16 ga
11-20 ft: 14 ga
20+ ft: 12 ga

This is because the impedence of the wire will reduce the higher-frequency sounds a lot more than the lower frequency sounds. This causes a "slant" in the frequency response. One "golden-eared" magazine writer claimed to be able to hear the slant caused by a 15 ft run of 16 ga wire going to his Magnapan speakers using music he was familar with.

The "Sound King" brand of 12 ga speaker wire from www.partsexpress.com is very popular and if you can wait for the shipping, is your best value.

And if you really want to buy into the myth that your equipment somehow "deserves good wire" (as a salesman would put it), buy the Sound King wire anyway. It's so inexpensive that it will give you a good base-line. Use this wire for about 3 weeks and get used to the sound. Then, hit the stores/web-sites and try some botique wires for a few days and decide if the change in sound is worth the $$$.

Good Luck.

#11 of 74 OFFLINE   Phil_DC

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Posted October 08 2002 - 03:00 AM

If you want the real good stuff get TRIBUTARIES Direct Series Loudspeaker wires SP2.

http://www.belmonttv...eaker_wire.html

If you want a full 300ft spool then inquire here they might be able to get it to you much cheaper.

http://www.docdvd.com/

#12 of 74 OFFLINE   EdwinL

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Posted October 08 2002 - 03:57 AM

What about bi-wiring speakers? Has anyone noticed any discernable changes in sound? And also, what about the methods. I know people who bi-wire by running to sets of wire to each speaker, and others who just run a jump from one set.

As far as the wire goes, the idea of having thicker wire as being better makes sense. It analagous to drinking from a straw. The thinner the straw, the harder it is to drink, the thicker the more enjoyable.


Keep up the postings, thanks!

Ed

#13 of 74 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted October 08 2002 - 05:23 AM

well even the people from Klipsch, the engineers that is seem to have their doubts about biwiring. at the very least it increases the effective gauge of the wire. one way to look at biwiring is to imagine taking the plate from the back of your speakers and sliding it back along the wires until it finally reaches the back of your receiver.
Now let's grant for the moment the premise that biwiring can have a positive effect upon your speaker's sound. Further let's grant the premise that drivers in speakers have different electrical characteristics and that these electrical characteristics and those of the wire must interact in some yet unknown way in order for there to be a positive benefit. This would suggest that there is probably a unique combination of driver/wire, in a biwired configuration, that will give an audible improvement. Now the ball goes back into your court. What's that combination going to be?
12 gauge top and bottom?
12 on top, 8 on the bottom?
reversed?
12 gauge on the bottom and 16 on top?
The combinations that one can investigate are monumental.
The potential audible benefit? Well I wouldn't want to hang my hat on them that's for sure!

#14 of 74 OFFLINE   Iver

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Posted October 08 2002 - 08:02 AM


Quote:
This is because the impedence of the wire will reduce the higher-frequency sounds a lot more than the lower frequency sounds.



My mistake on inductance. If you are referring to impedance then we are talking about resistance, not inductance (after you see enough of this speaker voodoo bologna you start to expect extraneous factors like that to get thrown into the conversation).

Also, to clarify, my reference to 12-gauge being a waste on runs under 200 feet refers only to speakers which are accurately rated at 8 Ohms (some are nominally 8 Ohms but if you see a graph of resistance v. frequency there are usually several dips and peaks).

So, for speakers of lower resistance (2 Ohms, to take an extreme example which I believe is the case with certain designs such as the Magnepans), the minimum footage point at which 12-gauge would stop being a waste of money would be lower. The chart referenced below is based on the conservative notion of adding no more than 5% to the total resistance of the speaker wire - voice-coil - speaker wire circuit.

As the author, a MacIntosh engineer with 30 years experience, points out, his chart accounts for speakers with fairly extreme variations below their rated resistance. As he says, you could go up to a 10% added resistance margin, allowing a large increase in all the lengths given in the chart, for a speaker that actually stuck fairly closely to its nominal resistance rating across its spectrum of frequencies.

Also, as he points out, there is no particular band of frequencies that is inherently vulnerable to added resistance. Rather, this vulnerability is a factor of the speaker's resistance at a given frequency, with portions of the spectrum having lower resistance being more sensitive to added resistance. Thus, if a speaker has a dip in resistance in the low end, that would be the frequency range most sensitive to the use of a higher-resistance wire.

One point to remember is that speaker wire is part of a series circuit. The total resistance is (resistance of positive-side speaker wire) + (resistance of wiring inside speaker plus the very long run of the voice-coil wire) + (resistance of negative-side speaker wire).

A typical voice coil will have somewhere from 50 to 130 feet of 32 gauge wire. For an 8 Ohm speaker installation, almost all the resistance in the circuit is in the speaker itself, so you have to go to a very narrow gauge and long speaker-wire run before you are adding enough resistance to audibly affect the quality of the speaker's output.

Anybody who is skeptical about the numbers in this engineer's chart can verify for themselves that relatively-narrow gauges of wire add very little resistance to the circuit. To do this, one would simply take a moderately long run of relatively narrow gauge wire (say, 20 feet of 22 gauge) and measure its resistance with a $10 multimeter. It will barely register, much less even hit a single Ohm.

The bottom line is, with an 8 Ohm speaker, there's certainly nothing wrong with using 12-gauge, but with the wire-run lengths involved in most home installations, using a narrower, less-expensive gauge will have absolutely no negative effect at all on system performance.

I have no inherent objection to 12-gauge speaker wire and, in fact, I would be happy to use it (it never hurts to err on the conservative side) if the opportunity arose to purchase it for a price similar to that of 16-gauge.

However, as the 12-gauge is usually about twice the price of 16-gauge, I will be sticking with the narrower wire (unless I ever notice any impairment of my speakers' performance with 16 gauge and, thus far, they've been working great).

Twelve-gauge speaker wire (for 8 Ohm speakers with runs under 200 feet) is a good product for people who believe they need it, but only in the sense that a sugar pill may make you feel better if you believe it's a Tylenol 3.



#15 of 74 OFFLINE   EdwinL

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Posted October 08 2002 - 08:23 AM

Hrm.... Excellent discussion. Now we're heading to the root of the problem... the "Hard" facts.

As far as my choice for wire, I'm leaning toward purchasing Sound King 14g wire and bi-wiring by running two pairs to each speaker. My only concern now is corrosion. So anyone with experience with Sound King, please let me know how they are corroding, if they are.

As far as testing, honestly, what Iver has proposed is very do-able. I figure the only reason why such a test has been conducted is because it would be rather difficult to 'round-up' all the 34534579345793 types of wire out there.

Thanks for all your help, and keep posting.

ED

#16 of 74 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted October 08 2002 - 09:32 AM

Iver: I believe Bob was talking about inductance and if so, in that case he is correct with regards to increases in inductance having the effect of a slight depression of the higher end of the audio spectrum. The thing is that our hearing is non-linear with regards the audio frequency. In the range of about 1-5 kHz, it takes about a 1/4 of a dB change before one can detect a difference. Up over say 15 kHz, it takes well over a dB before people can hear a change. Couple that information I just provided with the fact that these differences apply to test tones using headphones. Headphones have a lower noise floor than your listening evironment. That means it'll take a greater difference before you can detect a difference. Now switch from test tones to music...the differences before you can detect a change increase again. It is a bit of a simplification, but this is essentially the reason why, when one conducts controlled listening tests under what's known as double blind conditions between two speaker wires...any two wires, and output levels are matched, that no one to this date has been able to reliably differentiate one wire from another provided that the gauges and lengths are comparable. Now say you're the kind of person who says 'I don't give a damn, I want a cable that has a lower inductance than run of the mill 12 gauge. I also don't want to spend the cost of a DVD player to do it. Simple. Take say a cable that's got two runs of say 14/2 gauge. Take a wire from each run and twist the ends together. Now what you have is effectively 11 gauge wire with an inductance that's lower than say conventional 11 gauge. Make sense?
Commercially the various players in the cable game are playing around with inductance and capacitance. Put an extra twist per foot and you get a small change. For a given wire resistance, one can, as I mentioned above, lower inductance at the expense of capacitance. As an extreme example of this consider the wires from Alpha-Goertz. Vanishingly low inductance but capacitance is pretty high. Take Nordost and they have wire with low (not as low as Alpha's) inductance and also low inductance.

#17 of 74 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted October 08 2002 - 09:43 AM

Ignore lists are great for heated discussions Posted Image

Analysis Plus is great imho. It's not overly pricy but its more than the Sound King stuff. I prefer it over the Monster, Radio Shack, and Home Depot 12 g I have used before and still have in a closet someplace.

#18 of 74 OFFLINE   EdwinL

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Posted October 08 2002 - 09:46 AM

Where'd you get it? the Analysis Plus?

#19 of 74 OFFLINE   Iver

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Posted October 08 2002 - 10:30 AM

Hi Chu Gai,

Very interesting post.

I could understand the method wire makers would use to increase inductance: they would put coils in the wire, many of them if they were hoping to have any impact on the frequencies involved with the audio spectrum. Preferably, they would make these coils around an iron core, thus increasing inductance even more. In fact, they would then have an RF choke.

But why would they want to do this?

As for capacitance, it's difficult to follow what you are saying. Assuming the wire manufacturer would want to increase capacitance, how would they go about doing so?

[Naturally, capacitance is inherent in speaker wire, but, at any given gauge and run-length, and assuming a fairly normal distance between the pos and neg wires, and the same insulator material, it would appear likely that capacitance would be identical from one speaker wire to the next.]

Also, if you have any links on the phenomenon of capacitance and inductance in speaker wire, and especially on any practical way to measure inductance in straight wire, I would appreciate it if you could pass those along to me.

Regards,

Iver

#20 of 74 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted October 08 2002 - 10:53 AM

Analysis Plus can be found at http://www.analysis-plus.com/
I'm not sure if the fella who sells that stuff is the same guy I'm thinking of who posts at audioreview and audioasylum (audioengr?). If so you might want to head on over to those two sites and read some of his posts. You can decide then if the price is to your liking.





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