Is this a good way to compare speaker wires?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MattCPT, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently bought a refurbished Marantz 8200 that arrived DOA. Now that I have my system apart and the backs of all my components are accessible, I have considered doing a comparison of the speaker wires in my house using my old Yamaha. I have a radio shack 12 gage wire($30), Monster Cable ($95), and Mapleshade Helix speaker cables ($85, on the way as I type this). Because of the time involved to take both wires off and put new ones on I figure that it could be difficult to pick up differences in the wires/cables. It will take more time because only the Monster wires have banana clips.

    What I was thinking of doing was connecting two wires at a time. One wire would go to the left channel on speaker set "A" and the other would go to the left channel on speaker set "B". I would then put the receivers output to the "left" speaker only and switch between "A" and "B". This would not be a stereo comparison, but I think it may be a fair comparison because both wires and speakers will be playing the same information. I would think that it would be easier to pick up a sound difference between 2 different speaker cables playing the same channel than comparing the left vs. the right channel when the information/sound would be different.

    Does anyone agree or disagree with this method. I plan to do it regardless, but would like to hear input.
     
  2. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    I realize that this may not be good for judging sound stage, but I would think that I could still pick up differences in the way that they reproduce trebles, mid-range and bass.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Maybe because its early and i'm working on my coffee still but are you saying that you'd take one set of wire and connect them to speakers A outputs and the other set to speakers B output? Then you want to turn the balance all the way over and just focus on say the left side? Both wires of course being connected to the speakers in question. I'm not sure quite what's being tested there. For starters you'd need to be sure there were no imbalances between the A&B. Hence you could try running some pink noise and measure the voltages at the speaker terminal with a VOM. Let's say they measure pretty close to the same. Now we can say that we're level matched. This is quite important. As you switch, while playing a particular musical selection there will be a momentary silence or other audible sign of switching as the musical piece that you've selected continues. So just what are you comparing here? The first half of 'baby got back' to the second one?
    Try this. Run it in stereo, no signal processing Find something you think you really know. Listen to it with first the A then the B setting. Got it set in your own mind the 'characteristics' of each wire so to speak? Enlist the aid of your wife. You'll need to trust her Matt because you've already driven her crazy. Sit back in your chair and put a blindfold over your eyes. Have your wife flip a coin ten times marking down H & T. Then at her discretion let H represent whatever it is she wants...let's say speakers B. With you doing the listening to 'baby got back' have her, without your knowing, put the receiver into the selection of the first coin toss. Make sure each switch she does, assuming its done by hand, has a significant back and forth so you truly have no idea what setting the receiver is on. You write down after each time your choice. At the end determine your correct # of answers. Got 8 or 9 right? We're assuming here that settings A & B are truly identical in every respect...a leap of faith but usually a reasonable one.
    Is this still about the 'bright' thing Matt? Don't tell me you bought the Marantz and the wires because you're trying to knock it down a bit. Actually tell me. Has your wife laid down the law insofar as any further room treatments? If so have you experimented with moving the speakers closer or further away from the back wall?
     
  4. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu Gai,

    Thanks for the information. Just to clear things up I didn't buy the Marantz or wires in an attempt to help my bright situation. In fact the sound is very pleasing since the addition of the acoustic foam panels. I went with the Marantz because my current receiver is only Pro-logic with 25W to the back speakers. Since I recently bought a DVD/SACD player I wanted to take advantage of the surround sound with movies and multi-channel sound with SACDs. I decided to buy new wires because the Monster cables are about 1 foot shorter than I would like with the location of the Marantz (no room for error!). I have the radio shack wire but it's very cheap. I went with the Mapleshade because I found some of their Cd's to sound very good and figured "what the heck" their wires are less expensive than most and "may" actually sound better. I of course would like to test this theory of different sounding wires. I figured switching from speakers "A" and "B" would be a lot quicker than the 20 minutes it takes to switch the wire on my speakers(large floor standing type with connections underneath). I could always start a song and after a brief period hit the button on cd player to restart song at the same time I switch the receiver between speakers A and B. This would allow me to hear the same song information through the second wires. I hope all this makes sense, I wrote both of these posts on little sleep.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    why not just listen in stereo seeing as how that's you normally listen and take me up on my suggestion to have your wife be responsible for the switching. Let's say you begin the evaluation...you listen...according to the coin tosses your wife toggles rapidly winding up either on A or B. replay the song. You then say same or different. You then use that as a point of reference...song is over...wife again toggles rapidly winding up on selection #3 based on the coin toss...you listen...same or different. Compare your score to whether there actually was a difference. Try it with just the left side only if you wish. The reason for you not seeing, and her doing the switching is to make truly sure you heard a difference without knowing in advance what you were listening to. Get 8 or 9 right then talk to me.
    BTW, just cuz the Shack wire is cheap (inexpensive, thrifty, fairly priced) and the Mapleshade is more costly (overpriced, poor value, etc.) does not make it unsuitable to the job. The plastic fork you use at bbq's can do a quite adequate job of putting food in your mouth.
    Just curious, any feedback from the wife on the utilization of acoustic batts on the wall or did she come after you a cleaver? LOL
     
  6. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu Gai,
    I understand what you're talking about when you say that I should connect both wires to my speakers with one as my receivers A set and the other the B set. The reason I didn't want to do this is because both wires (monster + radio shack) would be touching each other at the speaker connectors. I would think that the electricity/signal would then be conducted through the length of both wires as well as the speakers. Wouldn't this then add a variable that could effect the sound and purpose of the experiment. As far as the acoustic panels go, my wife says that she would prefer that I store them in a near-by closet when not listening to my system. At this time they are still behind my speakers and she hasn't made mention of putting them away. Maybe they've grown on her [​IMG] or maybe I'm just pushing my luck. Time will tell.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    let's say the monster's go on A, the shack on B. both are run to the same speakers. It is my understanding that when you've selected A, then there is no physical connection on B, hence an open circuit. If there's an open circuit, nothing travels through B when A is on. you may just want to call the manufacturer and try and get someone techical to respond to this question for a more definitive answer.
     

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