How important is speaker wire?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom-G, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. Tom-G

    Tom-G Screenwriter

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    I'm afraid that this topic is something like the infamous "DTS vs. Dolby Digital" debate. If this is the case, I can assure you my intention is not to get another debate going, but it is something I've been wondering.
    Does speaker wire make a difference in the quality of sound? This of course is in regards to the manufacturer and gauge.
    I realize that it is very important to have speaker wire hooked up, otherwise what you end up with is very expensive decorations! [​IMG]
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    [Edited last by Tom_G on October 26, 2001 at 06:35 PM]
     
  2. JohnMW

    JohnMW Second Unit

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    I have been browsing thru many threads on this forum, and see lots of folks saying "home depot & radio shack" 12ga. is adequate. As long as it is oxygen free copper you are good to go I would think.
     
  3. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been wondering about this too lately but am sitting on the fence because there is no consensus.
    I currently have Home Depot 12 guage wire bi-wired to all my speakers.
    One thing I did read on here, is that if your system is low-fi to mid-fi, an expensive cable won't make that much of a difference. That makes intuitive sense to me.
    I'm sticking with Home Depot because all that is sold around here is Monster, Acoustic Research and Radio Shack. If I order on-line, I won't be able to return it if I can't discern a difference.
    Plus, my system is upper low-fi, or is that lower mid-fi? [​IMG]
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Tom: I'm NOT a big fan of expensive copper. But the trend seems to be as people upgrade to seperates and more accurate music speakers, the speaker wires have a larger influence.
    For HT systems, the good 12 ga is fine.
     
  5. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Does speaker wire make a diffrence? I will say yes.. Does
    this mean a $1000.00 pair of Bi-Wires will sound better than
    a $50.00 set of home made Bi-Wires? No..
    Yes a high quality 99.999% OFC in 12Ga should transmit a
    better signal than a set of 20ga cheapo wires used for
    headphones!
    But once you use a quality wire you can't get much better.
    Yeah a OFC tinned in Silver or Gold may have even better
    transmision charecteristics but is it realy needed to send
    sound rather than data?
    All my wires are home made from Sound King 12Ga 99.999% OFC
    rope braided with a 300+ strand count. You know you have a
    quality wire when you rub the copper against your skin and
    it feels like silk... You can pick up 100' of Sound King
    12 gauge for $30.00 at http://www.partsexpress.com
    $30.00 for 100' of this cable is all it should cost. Those
    paying hundreds of dollars or more for 100' of Monster Cable
    12Ga are simply being poked in thier rear orifice without
    a kiss or vaseline!
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    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
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  6. DonH

    DonH Stunt Coordinator

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    Is it necessary to use a banana plug or can bare wire be just as effective? Thanks.
     
  7. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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  8. DonH

    DonH Stunt Coordinator

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    Brett... do you know how many strands per conuctor that cable you mentioned has?
     
  9. Nick G

    Nick G Stunt Coordinator

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    Don, the answer to your qestion is yes, banana plug or bare wire will be equally effective.
    Nick
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    using 12 ga copper as a point of comparison and making the following reasonable assumptions: there does not exist a situation in your listening environment with strong RF interference, solder connections are made properly, lengths are kept equal and reasonable (otherwise, you just 'might' find that those nice thin, detailed!, pure silver cables are starting to attenuate the high frequencies), and of course the output level is kept the same, it can be stated that at the present time, there is no way that in controlled tests listeners can reliably differentiate between cables. long sentence. sorry about that.
    this thinking that some propose that one needs a sufficiently accurate system or as Karim stated, "One thing I did read on here, is that if your system is low-fi to mid-fi, an expensive cable won't make that much of a difference. That makes intuitive sense to me." is hogwash. this is pure and simple marketing and is designed, in part, to make you disatisfied with your system. its also designed to make you fall lockstep into thinking there are differences where none exist. we don't want to think that somehow our hearing is lacking and not up to audiophile norms.
    the earth isn't flat, homeopathy won't protect you from radiation and anthrax, miss cleo is a fake, and i've stated my position on speaker wires.
    oh...one last thing...that song that says '...and it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summertiem'...well that's a lie too.
     
  11. Kevin_W

    Kevin_W Second Unit

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    As a home depot 12g rip cord user you would think that I don't believe cable matters but in fact I do. I just believe that, as Bob eluded to, you really need the speakers, the room, and the equipment to make it more obvious the differences. With my family room/HT room combo with my def tech BP8's and denon reciever and a 4 year old running around and the phone ringing and the dog barking, I don't think I will be hearing much difference, so zip cord it is. [​IMG]
    Kevin
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I just received a 10-foot pair of BetterCables Premium speaker cables this week for my main stereo system, and they are great. I have noticed an improved in the sound over the Monster XP wire I was using before. The sound is more three-dimensional and involving with the BetterCables speaker cables.
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 16, 2001 at 09:24 AM]
     
  13. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    When I went from 12AWG zip cord to my own homemade 12AWG braided SPC TFE wires I noticed a subtle difference... the highs were more pronounced and the depth of my soundstage improved a bit.
    Was it worth the expense? Well, considering that I only spent $50 for the materials I would say it is definitely worthwhile. If I had to spend $200 for this upgrade I wouldn't do it, it would be a waste of $ (IMO). But for the cost it's fabulous.
    ------------------
    September 11, 2001
    "Those who died will always be remembered.
    Those who killed will never be forgotten.
    We who remain will not let it happen again."
     
  14. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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  15. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    I noticed a tremendous difference from going to Nordost Superflat bi-wired speaker cables. At $225 a pair it is a steep price, but I appreciate the difference. I am very pleased with my decision to spend this much money on cables. The results will vary from ears to ears.
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I should add that the 10-foot pair BetterCables Premium speaker cables with Vampire banana plug terminations was $180, but it was worth it. Of course, a 50-foot roll of Monster XP wire is $35, but you get what you pay for.
    ------------------
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 16, 2001 at 12:56 PM]
     
  17. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Here are my thoughts on cables. They DO make a difference. In general the more money you spend, the more positive the improvement. In all cases, these improvements are subtle. Indeed, if you are not already very familiar with the sound of the system being used, you might not notice anything.
    It breaks down like this :
    1) on a low end system you are crazy to spend big money on cables. For the same price, greater improvements can be made on virtually any other front (speakers, amp, preamp, source).
    2) on a mid level system it is worth spending a little more on cables but, again, spending a fortune is probably not wise since greater improvements can be had elsewhere for the same money
    3) on a high end system, where everything is of pretty damn good quality, spending a lot on cables pays off, though not in the way some seem to think. Basically, at this level of performance, just getting a slight increase in sound quality costs a fortune in any direction, and cables are a good place to spend that money.
    In other words, spend money on cables proportionate to the worth of your system (a fixed %)
     
  18. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Banana plugs and bare wire are NOT "equally effective". Banana plugs are a great convenience connector but they are decidedly inferior to bare wire or spade connectors. Bare wire offers the most contact area followed by spade lugs with banana plugs lagging quite a ways back. Regards.
     
  19. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Remember that your speakers can only reproduce what is in front of them. A good connection is improtant regardless of what you use. Also remember that components and speakers are not laboratory devices in the sense that impedence or other factors is a constant amount. We also all listen in difference rooms and rooms can have different sonic qualities. The point being is that one solution may not work for all. Don't judge wire by gauge alone.
     
  20. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Bare wires oxidize, this is not opinion it is fact. Bare
    Copper or Bare Silver, over time either will develop a
    natural oxidization layer that will eventualy block the
    transmission of current. So what is so superior about
    bare wire? That coupled with the fact that you can easily
    have a stray wire hanging out that can cause a short between
    the 2 posts.
    As far as Spade Vs. Banana Vs. Bare Wire: prove to me that
    Banana does not offer as much contact area as the other 2
    methods. I have some spare Banana's here I can measure the
    9 leafs on one and we can do surface area comparisons if
    you want to measure the Spades and Bare Wire.
    As for the tremendous diffrence some users are hearing. I
    know if I spent $200.00 on cables I would hear a diffrence
    too...
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    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     

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