Nordost Speaker Cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by FredS, Jan 29, 2002.

  1. FredS

    FredS Extra

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have some El Cheapo, wire connected to my rear speakers, because the aesthetic police (aka wife) wouldn't let me run heavy guage wire across the floor of the den. I've just read about this Nordost flat cable - which could be run under the carpet, and was wondering if anyone had opinions.

    Nordost makes some VERY expensive stuff, but I am only considering their two lowest price products: Nordost 2-flat, and Nordost Flatline Gold MKII. Are they OK? Should I go for the more expensive MKII? My runs will be about 25 feet.
     
  2. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1999
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Nordost you mention should be perfect for the application mentioned. Nordost makes some fine wire.
     
  3. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree. The Nordost cables are great. Teflon insulated OFC.Using mine with Paradigm studio 60's.
     
  4. FredS

    FredS Extra

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks, Mark and Mark. Do you think there's any noticeable advantage in going with the more expensive Gold MKII, or should I stick with the less expensive 2-flat?
     
  5. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For rear surround speakers I'd stick with the cheaper wire. Doubt you would notice the diff.
     
  6. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nordost makes some great cables, but I would only use it on my main speakers. For surrounds I would go with a cheaper cable. I think Monster makes a flat cable (white) but it can also be painted.
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    FredS: Try this -

    Disconnect your front 3 speakers.

    Pop in a favorite DVD and start the movie

    Turn off any DSP modes you may have on your receiver

    Then sit in the room and just listen to the ammount & quality of sound that the movie sends to the rear.

    Do you think the upgrade cost is justified for that amount of sound?

    If you use your rear speakers as part of a high-end DVD audio system, then the upgrade is justified.

    But what would you think of a man who put 220 mph speed-rated tires on his Yugo? Sure, it will handle a bit better, and is safer, but the purchase ... is out of line for the vehicle.

    The same issue applies to speaker wires.

    A good rule of thumb is the 10% rule: Your wires should be about 10% of your speaker cost.

    How much is the Nordost wire you need, and how much did your rear speakers cost?

    I DO believe in good cables. But I also belive that you should spend money where it counts. For a HT system this priority makes sense to me:

    - Video (your eyes are much more sensistive than your ears) Get good video cables, proportional to your display size.

    - Center speaker. It's used nearly 100% of the time

    - L/R speaker. It's used ~40% of the time

    - Rear speaker. They are used 10-20% of the time

    - Subwoofer - It's used a lot, but the low-frequency signals are not very demanding.

    But if you really have your heart set on the Nordost, budget for 3 runs (dont forget that rear-center speaker that is becoming popular).

    Good Luck.
     
  8. Dennis B

    Dennis B Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    FredS,

    Just a thought, you could go with cheaper cables for the surronds like the other suggested and get maybe a Nordost Solar Wind for your center/mains.
     
  9. FredS

    FredS Extra

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks to all for the inciteful comments.

    Bob McElfresh - your comments really got me thinking, so let me elaborate.

    First of all, I'm not sold on the Nordost. I was leaning toward them, for reasons that, I think, will be become apparent. However all the comments have gotten me wondering what I should do.

    My surrounds are M&K SS150, which list for around $1300. My current cables are Radioshack "Megacable" 16 AWG, around 40 feet to each speaker. Total cost: $34. I run this under the carpet along the edge of the wall. A straight shot, under the carpet with flat cables, would only be about 25 feet. Is this a bad thing? I don't really know-but I presume they make better quality speaker cables for a reason.

    Running heavier gauge wire to the rears is impossible. They would be visible if I followed the current route along the wall (wife won't like). My "home theater room" (actually, the den) is on the 1st floor (under another floor), on a slab foundation, and the walls are wood panelling - no way to snake wires (even if she'd let me cut a hole in the panelling). Flat cables solve this problem (assuming my cheap wire really IS a problem).

    Nordost 2-flat cables would cost about $160, including terminators. This is 12% of the list price of these speakers - not too out of whack with the rule of thumb, but then again these are just the rears. (And by the way, I have some $1.00/foot Monster cable connected to my fronts M&K S150's; will I REALLY tell a difference if I upgrade?)

    Ken suggested I look at the flat Monster cable. I see they have a 12 gauge "superflat." It's only $1.50/foot. This sounds like it might be fine, but how does the thickness compare to the Nordost? The main thing is: will my wife notice it when she walks on it?

    As Paul Harvey says, "now you know the rest of the story." What do you guys think I should do?
     
  10. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    While I still think the Nordost cables are overkill for surrounds I think they will perform better than the Monster superflats. The Nordost use Teflon as the insulation which I think is worth the extra cost. I think you will find the Nordost cabels are thinnner too.
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You are correct. The order of upgrade should be:
    SAF - (Spousal Acceptance Factor)
    Video
    Front Speakers
    Rear Speakers
    While the $130 does stay proportional those speakers, I really, really doubt you will get much improvement.
    For $124, you could buy a Bhering Feedback Destroyer for your external sub and tame the peaks in your room response. (Even my wife is all for getting rid of the annoying "boom" we sometimes get) [​IMG].
    For $160, you could get a lot of DVD's.
    Try this: go to Home Depot and buy enough of their 12 ga by the foot to reach 1 rear speaker. Should cost you less than $20.
    Take it home and as an experiement, run it to 1 rear speaker (go through the middle of the room, just for this test). Fire up a favorite movie and listen & decide if the speaker with the 12 ga sounds any better (0r even any different). If not, dont bother with the rear wire upgrade.
    Some speaker sites recommend the following gauge wire based on run-length:
    1-10 feet: 16 ga
    10 - 20 feet: 14 ga
    20 - greater feet: 12 ga
    You need 40 feet. So unless the Nordst is flat 12 ga, you would be upgrading, but still be below the guidelines.
    So I just cannot get behind this upgrade from a cold-hearted perspective. On the other hand, it's your money. If $160 is something you would spend on a weekend's entertainment, go for it. There is nothing wrong with trying to have the best components & parts for your hobby. And this is a hobby.
     
  12. FredS

    FredS Extra

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for your clear thinking, Bob. I will do such a test today.

    I have two additional questions: even if there is no Audible difference between the 16 gauge and 12 gauge wire, is there any harm in using the narrow gauge? For example, doesn't it require the amplifier to work harder, because of the added resistance?

    Finally, I completely agree that I am better off spending the money elsewhere to make a true audible difference. I will check out the feedback destroyer (never before heard of it), but before I completely abandon the notion of upgrading speaker cables: what's your opinion about using higher cost speaker cables for the fronts? Do you think this would make an audible difference? I know some folks suggest it can make a difference (are you one of these?), but I'm not sure if their judgements are relevant only to extremely high-end gear.
     
  13. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1999
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    IMO, when considering a cable upgrade the mains and center should always be the first consideration. I could not recommend anybody upgrading their rear cabling, before the fronts.
     
  14. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In truth, there IS an audible difference between a long run of 16 vs 14 vs 12 ga.
    For example:
    If you were to send 3 tones down a long run of 16 ga, you would start with:
    100 hz: 70 db
    5,000 hz: 70 db
    10,000 hz: 70 db
    But at the end you would get:
    100 hz: 69 db
    5,000 hz: 65 db
    10,000 hz: 40 db
    You see, the wire reduces the higher frequencies A LOT more than the lower ones.
    The thicker wire reduces, but does not elimnate the difference.
    For a music system, this is important. But... a DVD movie does not use the rear speakers very much. And the sound is usually support and not critical, and the sound is highly compressed (They throw away 5/6 of the information compared to a CD).
    So this is why you can get away with thinner wire to the rears for a HT system.
     
  15. FredS

    FredS Extra

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I DID test one of my rear speakers, playing a DTS CD of McCartney's Band on the Run. I could definitely tell a difference, though subtle: a saxophone seemed to sound more natural. My sound meter even showed it to be slightly louder with the 12 gauge.

    I DO listen to a lot of music, so I think I will go ahead and upgrade the cables to my front left and right. What the heck, partly just to see for my self if it will really matter. I found some used Nordost Solar Wind cable, 2 meter, terminated with Z-Plugs, at usedcable.com for $189.

    By the way, I'm keeping my wife away for PVRs, cause I think she WOULD like one. The reason is, I have a DISH 6000 and then we'd have an argument everytime an HD show was on. I am looking forward to the HD PVR expected next year.

    Thanks again for the insight and suggestions.
     
  16. Dennis B

    Dennis B Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Fred,

    Please let us know your impressions with the Solar Winds after you get them.

    Rgds.
     
  17. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 1998
    Messages:
    2,917
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I recently upgraded my main speakers to the Nordost Super-Flatline Bi-wired cables and noticed a tremendous difference in my CD's. I am still using 12 gauge wire for surrounds. My local dealer wants $2/foot for the 2-flat cable. I will probably wait until I move my HT to a dedicated room.

    I spent $225 for a 3 meter pair of the cables for speakers that list for $700. The price of the cables might seem disproportionate to the price of the speakers, but the difference in sound more than made up for the cost. I was hearing things in CD's I had never heard before. My wife and others have said it sounds very "clean".

    Bottom line, if you can hear the difference, then the upgrade is worth it for you.
     

Share This Page