Liberty fine stranded wire vs Carol thicker stranded wire for 50ft in wall runs...

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Todd smith, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Todd smith

    Todd smith Supporting Actor

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    I know there is a price difference between the two. The libery wire is finer stranded and therefore has more strands which I have read is better??? Is this true. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two different types of wire? more thin strands vs less thicker strands.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    If all else is equal, the finer is more flexible. That's it. None of this one sounds better than the other. Forget about it. Consider though, that the in-wall stuff just won't have any where near the number of strands that an external wire will.
     
  3. Todd smith

    Todd smith Supporting Actor

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    But the ONLY disadvantage to not having anywhere near the number of strands is that it is not as flexible, right? The wire with more strands will sound the same as the wire with less strands if they are both 12awg, right?
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'll answer the other post (Liberty) here also.
    No, there's no audible difference in sound whether you go with one single 12 gauge wire like in Romex or with 19 strands or with 697 strands. Speaker wire completes the circuit between your amp or receiver and the speakers. All speaker wire has the properties of resistance, capacitance, and inductance. As such, depending upon how the wire is made, these electrical properties will vary somewhat. For example, you'll find people selling wire that looks like ribbon and this ribbon might be side by side or one over the other, wire where the individual strands are insulatated in any number of materials (PVC, teflon, polyethylene, polypropylene, tefzel, etc.) and then combined together at the respective ends. The list goes on. The primary effects that all these variations result in have to do with varying the resistance, capacitance, and inductance, (R, C, L) of the wire.
    Theoretically speaking, keeping the inductance of the wire down is a good thing mainly because it results in a lesser drop at the upper end of the audio spectrum, 20kHz. However even regular old zip cord has a damned small inductance and you'll find that over nominal length, the difference between super low inductance wire and conventional stuff is only about 0.1-0.2 dB at 20 kHz. That is completely inaudible. If the resistance of the wire becomes too great due to a long length of a small gauge then two major things happen. First, you're going to lose some power from your amp simply due to resistive considerations. Secondly, you'll introduce some frequency response variations from that nice amp or receiver that you bought because the impedance of your source is now the approximate sum of the output impedance of your amp plus the impedance of the wire. If you've ever looked at the impedance curve of a set of speakers, you'll find that it has peaks and valleys. They are made, well at least something like 99+% are, to be driven by a low impedance source. When they're not, in this case because the wire has added a signficant impedance, the the FR varies according to those bumps and valleys. In essence, your amp is now acting somewhat like an equalizer whose response mirrors to some degree those peaks and valleys of the speaker's impedance curve. As to how much impedance the wire has to have in order for this to be audible is tough to say. Let's use 2 ohms of total loop resistance from the wire, give or take a bit, as being the threshold for audibility.
    A decent rule of thumb is that the loop resistance of the speaker wire ought to be around 0.1 to 0.2 ohms. Either the Carol that you're considering or the Liberty will fit the bill here. If you double up on the gauge of the Liberty by combining two strands then you'll have an effective gauge of 11. That's damned close to 12 in my book.
    I appreciate and sympathize with your dilemna Todd. Browsing the web, reading manufacturer's websites, and so forth tell you that you should really sweat this speaker wire thing. They'll invent theories, create fictional distortions, and use all kinds of flowery language to convince you that there are signficant audible differences between their wire and inexpensive 12 gauge. The thing is though, in controlled testing, which involves you the listener being unaware of which wire is connected, what's commonly known as level matched DBT's, not one person has ever been able to pick one wire from another.
    Pick a wire you like Todd, for whatever reason, and put it in. Myself, I'd prefer to terminate the in-wall stuff at a plate and then connect my speakers to the plate by jacks. Other's buy plates that have a through-hole in them and run the wire directly to the speakers. Either way works. My approach costs a bit more but sonically, it's a wash.
     
  5. Todd smith

    Todd smith Supporting Actor

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    Now that is a good response Chu! I verry much appreciate you taking the time to explain that to me, and I will quit sweating this whole wire thing. Sometimes its hard to filter out all the BS on the net, but you have helped me quite a bit. Thanks again!
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You'll find a lot of good, honest, cut through the BS information over at audioholics.com
     

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