Speaker Cable Recommendation

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by MikeTz, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    I just bought a new multi-channel amp (Bryston 9B SST) and will connect to Vandersteen speakers. Can anyone give me a recommendation for speaker cables that cost less than my speakers? Is there a high performing modestly priced cable out there that I should consider?

    Also, should the length of all speaker cables be the same?

    MT
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    congratulations...nice warranty. i'll put it this way. it's yet to happen, that anyone has been able to audibly distinguish between any 2 wires of similar length and similar gauge under controlled, unsighted conditions. that translates to something like take 10 or 12 gauge of regular old speaker cable and compare it to any other cable out there and you can't tell the difference. So spend as little or as much as you'd like.
     
  3. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Home depot 12 gauge wire: 33 cents per foot.
     
  4. Steve_K

    Steve_K Auditioning

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    Lets save the Home Depot stuff for for the bathroom system.
    After choosing the components you have, im sure your looking for something a little more Audiophilesque.

    I use Audioquest Speaker cables from Parasound Amps to my Vandersteen 2c's Vcc-1 and VSM-1's with great results.
    Smooth and detailed no trace of hardness or grain.

    Vandersteens need to be Biwired and the best stuff I have heard for the money is the Audioquest GR8. I mention this since you can buy it new @ hcmaudio.com at low prices since this cable is now obsolete and these guys bought miles of it.
    8ft pair was $308 , they sell 8ft pairs for $91(Bi wire is a little more)

    I like to keep the front 3 Speaker cables the same length but for the surrounds you will probably need to run longer lengths anyway. Keep the right and left Surround runs the same and use 10 gauge wire.
     
  5. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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  6. steven pm

    steven pm Agent

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    I picked up some 10 gauge stranded wire, clear jackets, looks fine (if looks matter!) at cablesamerica.com. I think it was about $25 for 50 feet. It will not limit your system in any way, IMO. And once I swept up a bit behind the component rack after hooking things up, there also was no trace of any hardness or grain. $^)

    As for lengths, different lengths will not affect the sound in the least. Esp. not with 10-14 gauge wire. The resistance differences are minimal. One click on a speaker level setting will have a much bigger impact than a 10' difference in wire length.
     
  7. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll stand by what I said, despite the unnecessary opinions, and also second what Chu said.
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    What you said was fine Mat [​IMG]
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The great thing about being aware of the lack of credible evidence to substantiate differences between wires of similar gauges and lengths, is that you're free to spend as little or as much as you'd choose to and can look at all these reviews and such for what they are...2 am infomercials. Makest thou a good connection and enjoy your system.
     
  10. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, zip cord makes great tie down straps for my pick up truck, really, I do use it that way, try it!

    However, when it comes to my systems and systems I advise on, I don't choose PVC coated copper of perhaps even questionable purity. I'll always choose teflon coated copper or silver of the highest quality possible. Teflon is a better dielectric and well in the end, a finer constructed cable, is just a an improved cable. Whether Audioquest, or whatever brand, treat your system better than zip cord.

    As to your question about length Mike. Different length cables can result in timing issues. However, odds are, the small differences in length you would be talking about, (a few feet), will not be audible in your system. I always recommend same length cables, if for no other reason, it builds in better flexibility for future system moves. But it isn't absolutely required. But I wouldn't vary them any more than I have to.

    Lex
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    they don't need to be the same length. if we were to assume the cable had no losses then even 500 feet of cable would amount to a timing difference of about 5 nanonseconds. that can be looked upon as the difference as moving your head the tiniest fraction of an inch in a particular direction. since you're probably thinking along the lines of differences of 10 feet or so, you wouldn't have to worry about it.
     
  12. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    You know what, one of these days I'm going to end all this nonsense. I have an HP 8720 frequency analyzer at my lab. An 80 grand piece of equipment that should be able to put an end to all this subjective debate about cabling. Just give me some time...I'll get it done.
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well that'd be fun but everything in the end hinges upon the nature of human hearing. Wire's got to get awfully thin and long before people can reliably distinguish between that and something like 12 gauge. Of course, you could always braid your wire therebye increasing the capacitance and use a long enough length such your amp or receiver goes into mild ultrasonic oscillation.
     
  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I like the "webwire" sold by www.spidergear.com - it's 12 guage PVC coated and works fine in my system. I'm not a cable "believer". However, since you have such nice components you may want something "upscale" to go with them - I wouldn't put $10 cheapo floormats in my $35K Audi for example (bad example because I do have $10 cheapo floormats in my Audi).

    I've found that in general, AudioQuest cables offer excellent audiophile panache for the dollar. They're not too expensive, are very high quality, and look very solid.
     
  15. FrantzM

    FrantzM Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Forum

    Ah!! the great wire and cable debates. There is a forum for DIY cables. They have conducted quite elaborate testing and have come to the conclusion that cable DO make a difference, often subtle sometimes extraordinary. Their finding have shown that jacket material counts. I have forgotten these guys URL.

    Try Nordost. They are not cheap but they have improved every system I have put them in.

    Frantz
    Port-au-Prince, Haiti
     
  16. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    I would highly recommend Harmonic Technology. The HT Pro-11 plus I use on my mains were quite an improvement over the IXOS cables I had been using.
     
  17. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the interesting discussion guys. I had some time and access to a well instrumented electronics lab so I performed the following test. I got pairs of 8ft. speaker cables from Audioquest, Monster, MIT, Nordost, and yes Chu, even Home Depot. My wallet was pulling for the Home Depot.

    I used a network analyzer, time domain reflectometer, spectrum analyzer, and frequency generator to measure the properties of the cables. My technicians, who are audio buffs, and I had an interesting time analyzing the cables.

    The results were interesting. There were differences in the cables in almost every measurement. Some differences were very small and some were not. It seems the biggest differences were in the lumped capacitance and inductance of the cables. Cable construction and materials apparently effect the network properties.

    Now that we have proved speaker cables do have different electrical properties the big question was, could we hear the differences? We took our cable sets to an audio rig that has Bryston amplification, a Sony SCD-XA777ES CD player, and Revel speakers. My techs selected the cable pair and then I entered the room, listened to the same CD tracks, then left while they switched the cables. We had some fun and here are our unscientific conclusions:

    There were no quantum sonic differences in the cables

    There were small sonic differences that could be detected

    There were no giant soundstaging, or dynamics revelations from one cable pair to another, however there were differences

    I wanted to share my day of cable fun with all of you. Not to end the debate but instead to throw more gas on the fire. As for me, I think I'll buy a low cost speaker cable the has a bi-wire configuration because that is how my speakers are structured. Since I can't perceive differences in the cables that would justify a large investment, I'll blow the money on better source components.

    Thanks for the stimulating debate!

    MT
     
  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  19. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Turns out with Vandersteen speakers and their powered sub, the bi-wired speaker connection makes it easier to integrate the sub. I have never heard a perceptible improvement from bi-wiring although some folks swear it helps. Since I will use DIY speaker cable (based on my previous test) the extra cost of bi-wiring is trivial.

    MT
     
  20. MikeShea

    MikeShea Agent

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    I picked up a pair of Monster MTX-1 cables, they were $70 a pair for 12 foot cables with banana plugs. Probably too high for the "cut a power cable" crowd (of which I believe in spirit, if not with pocket book) but not snobby enough for the $1600 a foot golden wire crowd either.

    Still, they make me happy.
     

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