Does it matter how "good" your cables are for rear channels?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Keir H, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

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    I have Monster XP, I think about 14 guage. Will it matter if I have higher quality cables for sound reproduction for the rear? Powering DT BP-6. I have AQ and Tributaries up front now. Am I missing detail?
     
  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    There can't be an absolute yes/no answer for this, can there? It's all relative.
     
  3. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Keir,
    I would say that really is the loaded $64 question.
    I am currently in the same quandary, so to speak ,as you. I have Analysis Plus Oval 9/12 shotgun biwire for the mains, and a straight single run of Oval 9 to the center(not biwirable). All three front speakers have WBT 0644 locking bananas(amp) to AP T1 spades (speakers). Obviously, I'm one of those who believe in good cable makes a difference.
    But for my rear surrounds, I have used Monster XP 16AWG since day one. Yep, a holdover from day one, about 3 years ago. The rear run is about 12 feet. Did I contemplate swapping out the XP for better wire..... sure, about once a week. But I stayed with the XP because the rear channels, however discrete, never seem to be loaded with a lot of information as a rule. The monster XP was certainly adequate, if not uninspiring.
    But now, I am moving the HT down to a dedicated basement room and I, just today, ordered 46' (meaning I will probably end up with a 22' pair, with me doing my own terminations) of IXOS 13AWG stranded wire. At a cash outlay of $62., I'll give this wire a try. I would have liked to purchase Oval 12 in that length, but the cost was a little much. So, I'll try out this IXOS wire and if it sounds good, it stays. If I feel I can do better, I'll save up.
    Don't know if I answered your question, but until the rear channels are provided with more than ambient sound by the studio/mastering houses, I will try out this IXOS wire. Perhaps 6:1 and greater tracks will see more discrete info reaching the rear channels. But for the common 5:1 mixes, middle of the road wire may just be the right balance.
    Good Luck,
    BOK
    [Edited last by Brian OK on August 06, 2001 at 01:56 PM]
    [Edited last by Brian OK on August 06, 2001 at 02:01 PM]
     
  4. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    I would suggest you try Home Depot
    12 guage for rear surrounds it
    should work out just fine.
    ------------------
    Jerry
     
  5. Burke Strickland

    Burke Strickland Second Unit

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    I don't think there would be all that big a difference in noticable detail by "moving up" to more expensive wire to connect your Def Tech BP-6s for surround duty. Unless you actually listen to them very critically, but then you would be losing the continuity of the movie to critique the surround sound. And you may not even notice a major difference then. (Moving from 14 gauge to 12 gauge would probably make more of a noticable difference than changing level of wire "quality".)
    Of course we all know that, according to the industry gurus, "ideally" the five speakers (and by extension, associated electronics and cabling) for 5.1 sound should be "identical". In reality, given the desire of many to have a more capable stereo pair up front than they could afford to replicate all around (due to space constraints and/or $$$$), and given the relatively lower-scale usage of the surrounds, it is possible to have a satisfying movie experience with something of lower quality (but still full range and still good quality) supporting the surrounds.
    If your speakers are not already the exact same model as the fronts, then you are already stepping away from the 5.1 "ideal" and a couple of runs of wire are not going to bridge that "gap", IMHO.
    For example, I had a 5.1 system which was wired with Monster/Home Depot 12 gauge running from (about equivalent) Acurus and Yamaha amps to a full complement of Definitive Technology speakers. It was balanced. It was close to the "ideal". It sounded great on movies. But I wanted even better sound on two channel music.
    So I stepped up to Magnepan MG 3.6s for my stereo pair in front for music and swapped out the front amp to a BEL 1001 MkV and connected them with BEL "The Wire" speaker cable. However, there was no way three more MG 3.6s would fit in the room, and adding them and powering the whole system with BELs would have left me walking to work, :>) so I left the Def Tech surrounds in place as well as the Acurus amps and budget-priced wire, so the surrounds are the same as before -- pretty darned good, but not nearly the high end level of the stereo pair up front.
    Although I may be "missing some detail" in the surrounds, I sure don't notice it. :>) Not when caught up in the movie experience. I just do not believe it is all that critical to go beyond a certain level of quality (which I do believe I have already acheived) to have an effective movie experience in the surrounds. And I'm not convinced it would be worth the investment to upgrade all around for multi-channel music either. (I guess I could reconfigure the system the way it was before, with everything basically the same all around, to see if that makes a meaningful difference for me on multichannel music.) :>)
    Just my thoughts -
    Burke
    [Edited last by Burke Strickland on August 06, 2001 at 02:35 PM]
     
  6. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

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    Thanks guys for your replies. Burke I know what you mean by Maggies being very "musical" I too went over to Audio Concepts (awesome place) and heard them. Very nice. Made me want to go out and replace my BP-30's to them but they are rather large for an apartment. Plus I cannot manage the BEL amps either and that price to get them to really sing. Interesting that your sound stage did not "collapse" because of the timbre differences among you speakers. What's your center channel? BTW, what did you think of the Aerial's and Linn's?
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Keir: A long run of speaker wire does different things to a signal depending upon the frequency.
    The upper-frequencies are reduced a lot more than the lower ones.
    Using a thicker gauge of speaker wire reduces, but does not eliminate the reduction.
    This applies to all wires no matter how "good" or "expensive" it is.
    Some speaker sites recommend the following:
    Runs to 10 feet: 16 ga speaker wire
    Runs 10-20 feet: 14 ga speaker wire
    Runs > 20 feet: 12 ga speaker wire
    So should you upgrade? Try this:
    Disconnect your front 3 speakers & sub.
    Fire up a favorite movie, turn off the TV and sit down to read the newspaper and just listen to the rear speakers. (Make sure to turn off any DSP modes on your receiver.)
    When I last did this test, I was shocked at how LITTLE information there was that went to the rear speakers, and how un-important they were to the show. (It was often a repeat/delay of what came out the L/R speakers).
    My guess is you will not bother to upgrade.
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Burke Strickland

    Burke Strickland Second Unit

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    quote: Interesting that your sound stage did not "collapse" because of the timbre differences among you speakers. [/quote] Fearing that might happen, I had originally planned to keep the Def Tech BP-2000s in play for movies (until I tried the Maggies on a soundtrack. There was no going back.) :>) Of course, on two channel music I am using just the Maggie 3.6s with their awesome sound stage. For movies, the bipolar surrounds timbre match the Maggies better than one might think. When the "sound ball" swooshes around on the Avia tests, it doesn't really sound that much different around the rear vs across the front. So it isn't the timbre difference so much as a host of other qualities that make the Maggies so enjoyable in my HT for both music and movies.
    quote: What's your center channel?[/quote]I replaced my Def Tech C/L/R 2000 with a Magnepan MGCC-1 center. I'm powering it with a Marantz MA700 monoblock, which isn't a BEL by any means, but it was only about 1/10 the cost. While ideally, I'd like three BELS in monoblock configuration across the front, reality does set in at some point... :>)
    quote: BTW, what did you think of the Aerial's and Linn's? [/quote] They are awesome. Not as awesome as the Maggies, IMO, or I would have bought a pair of one or the other, instead. But quite fine, nevertheless. I've recommended Linns to others in certain situations for music, and the Aerials "sell themselves" in an HT setting. But if I had to choose a speaker other than what I am using now for the front pair in my current environment, it would be the Vandersteen Model 5. (They sound pretty good with a BEL amp, too.) :>)
    Regards -
    Burke
    [Edited last by Burke Strickland on August 06, 2001 at 04:41 PM]
     
  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Here's my take on it, your mileage may vary:
    1. My run to the rear speakers is over 25 feet.
    2. On most movie soundtracks the rear effects channels don't really push the 20Hz-20KHz range.
    3. My rear speakers are cheaper than my front speakers.
    4. I don't use them for anything but movie soundtracks.
    5. The cable needs to snake across my living room floor.
    So I have that Monster Flat cable stuff and that's good enough for me. I have TaraLabs banana terminated wires for the fronts and center (about $90 retail but I paid less) and still used the cheapo stuff on the rear channels for the reasons listed above.
    ------------------
    My dealer of choice (especially if you live in So-Cal, I highly recommend them): www.yawaonline.com

    Click here for their www.audiosurvey.com reviews
     

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