Power Cable as Speaker Wire

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by ChrisMcK, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. ChrisMcK

    ChrisMcK Stunt Coordinator

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    I have seen it mentioned in a few threads on this board about using power chords as you speaker cable - specifically outdoor extension power cable. I'd like to give this a try and see what happens - I'd start with just my fronts. Can anyone tell me exactly what I need and what to look.
    Thanks
     
  2. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Get the current issue of The Absolute Sound. One of the reviewers compared Home Depot 14 gauge outdoor extension cord to some pricier cables. He gives the specifics.
    Interesting results...
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    No reason it wouldn’t work just fine; it’s a pretty common practice in pro audio to use 12 or 14ga. multi-conductor industrial power cable for speaker wire.

    Regarding regular outdoor extension cords, they’re cheap and come in a variety of attractive colors. Win, win!

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You can use both low-voltage or even AC power cord for speaker wire.

    But there is good speaker wire designed for just your use for less than $0.50/ft.

    Or are you talking about brading your own wires from something like Cat5 network wires?

    This link to DIY Cat5 Speaker Wires may be what you are looking for.
     
  5. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone tried these CAT5 cables? I recently ran across the link that Bob pointed out above and have started on this project. However, considering the time investment I would like to hear opinions before I continue. Anyone?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Provided your amp or receiver doesn't have issues with the increased capacitance that results from braiding it should work out just fine.
     
  7. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Chu.....just the guy I was looking for!
    You are a scholar and a gentleman (not necessarily in that order)!
    I am currently (no pun intended) using an old Phase Linear 400. I would not expect it to have problems, however it's design IS 30 yrs old.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It's a lot of work Rob but it'll keep you out of trouble.
     
  9. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    I guess that depends on the wife's patience....I've got wire all over the house [​IMG]
    But seriously, considering that I respect your opinion and all, do you really think I'll be able to tell a difference vs a decent 12 ga. wire? The testimonials on the website indicate a drastic difference which I'm inclined to disbelieve somewhat, however, it's not like anyone's making money off this so why exaggerate?
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Impossible to predict. I’m a firm believer that any differences one hears between 12 ga. and a “tweak” speaker wire is entirely system dependent – primarily the speaker/amplifier combination.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  11. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    For the record, I'm using the Phase Linear 400 series one amp with Paradigm Studio 40 v.2's.

    EDIT:
    I've just found a bunch of threads on this subject in the DIY forum. I guess I searched the wrong one to begin with. Doh!
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Hell if I spent a long time making something like that I'd be inclined to hear a difference. One could estimate the resistances, capacitances, inductances, and come up with a fairly accurate model of what the FR would be compared to say 12 gauge zip. Then you could look at the two curves and compare it to thresholds of hearing sensitivities. The thing is, whatever improvements there are, are well within the 'can't hear it' area.

    If you're hell bent on making a theoretically better speaker wire, I'll give you a couple of options that you can look into.

    1) Come up with a design for speaker wire that minimizes both inductance and capacitance. The braiding approach messes up with capacitance rising. Then add a zobel circuit to it. Find out how Dunlavy made his wire via a google search to get you going.

    2) Go to New England Wire and Cable's site and look at their offerings for speaker wires. They make for a lot of people like Transparent and several others. Look at the hollow wires and see if they'll sell you a 100 feet or so.

    Have fun!
     
  13. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    So , in a polite manner, you're telling me I'm wasting my time, if the end result is to be able to hear a significant improvement.
    Come on now....give it up...I'm a man.....I can take it [​IMG]
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I've no objection against going for theoretical advantages. If you follow my suggestion (1) then you'll get a theoretically better wire without the drawbacks of high capacitance.
    Yeah, you're wasting your time but that's what happens when installers leave 100's of feet of cat5 lying around after an install.
     

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