speaker wire and what makes it [sound] better

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Geno, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    first off I just wanted to get others opinions on what makes speaker wire better/worse than others.
    In a few other posts I have seen conflicting arguments and wanted to try and clarify truth from speculation.
     
  2. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    Didnt think so................
     
  3. Luis C

    Luis C Stunt Coordinator

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    Your own ears! NOT someone elses opinion...
     
  4. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    Ok, what would it take to test different speaker wire?
    besides diiferent samples of wire, an oscilator and a meter?
     
  5. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    I think you're going down the wrong track. If you want to try and measure differences, that's already been done. Everyone knows that measurable differences exist. The debate is whether these measurable differences translate into audible differences. Testing wires with a generator and a scope will easily show you differences in the cables, and that won't prove anything. The question is, do these differences matter, do they make a difference that can be heard.
    So, what you really need for the test are a pair of ears, not a signal generator and oscilloscope.
    Here's a link for some tests Nelson Pass ran on speaker wires, and the measured differences that he found. Note that this is a PDF document:
    http://www.passlabs.com/pdf/spkrcabl.pdf
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    (this really belongs in the interconnects forum)
    As a matter of fact, related to the "discussion" that Mr. Palacio initiated, I tried this out last night as well. I went and bought some solid, 99.99% purified copper, Audioquest Type 4 bulk cable ($3/ft) last night and did a basic test comparing it to my cables - basic 14ga, stranded OFHC wire. I swapped them back and forth on one speaker, playing the same songs, and particular passages, listening to very specific sounds each time - sometimes the sibilance of "S"s, sometimes focusing on the hi-hat, guitar, piano, whatever.
    My conclusion was, in my system, I could hear only the most negligible difference. YES, I could hear a very, VERY, subtle difference, but I really had to listen for it. To me, I cannot justify the cost of this cable for a difference that nobody else would ever notice in my setup, and I could barely hear myself, if I was even hearing a difference at all. Since I was swapping the cables, this could have simply been a psychoacoustic effect. In the end, all I proved is that *I* don't have to wonder about this with the gear I currently own.
    Gear used: Marantz SR6200 source direct stereo (full range, no sub), Sony CA-70ES via analog, Paradigm Monitor 5s.
     
  8. GalenValentine

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    Cables have to be the most controversial issue in audio - at least that I have seen. You'll find people willing to spend $85,000 on pair of speakers but who will argue that anything more than Home Depot zip cord for speaker wire is ridiculous.
    There was an article in Stereophile a year or two ago attempting to explain in technical terms why cables made a difference (though they were talking specifically about interconnects if I remember correctly). I'll try to find it.
    Here is a link to an article by John Dunlavy, of Dunlavy Audio Labs, on "Cable Nonsense" http://www.verber.com/mark/cables.html
    I know that I have come across more articles both for and against attempting to provide technical reasoning behind their arguments. I'll see if I can find them.
     
  9. Luis C

    Luis C Stunt Coordinator

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    Trying to "scientifically analyze" audible differences in speaker cable is like trying to prove the existence of God.
    Current science cannot either prove or disprove either. You either believe or not... or you hear, or not.

    I stand by my previous statement...

    "Your own ears! NOT someone elses opinion..."
     
  10. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    Ok, here is a wrench in the question. depending on room size/# of speakers/speaker placement, we all have at least 75 to 100 ft of speaker wire running around our HT's. And Im sure some have over 250 ft of speaker cabling.

    Does length of a wire matter?
     
  11. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  12. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    Geno says: "Ok, what would it take to test different speaker wire? besides diiferent samples of wire, an oscilator and a meter?"

    Actually an oscillator and an oscilloscope or a spectrum analyzer would be better suited. But since you have eliminated these then may I suggest a double blind test using the speaker and amp of your choice.

    I won't get into the definition and exclusions of double blind for expediency sakes. Suffice it to say that neither the wire swapper nor the listener can know what are they listening to.
     
  13. Luis C

    Luis C Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark,

    Because "nonsense" all of a sudden became profitable.
     
  14. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    Bob Carver had a most interesting and revealing anecdote about him trying some special silver speaker wires. Bob did not believe in "magic wires" but had to try them just to see.

    Much to his amazements he heard depth of soundstage and other details that were missing before.

    This is not possible! he said. He reverted to his old wires and it was back to the old sound.

    To keep this story from getting too long, all of these differences between the two wires were gone when a blind test was done! (Bob got a friend to do the swapping).

    It is indeed amazing that even though he was a non-believer, the act of switching cables was enough to change his perception into believing there was a difference. Several repeated blind tests conducted afterwards with several people listening showed both cables alike.

    Carver went on to do some studies on this strange phenomena and discovered some very interesting things like:

    Two identical amps of different colors will appear to sound different.
    The cooler (i.e. blue) colors sound "dry and analytical".
    The warmer (i.e. brown) colors sound......you guessed it, warm.
     
  15. Luis C

    Luis C Stunt Coordinator

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    John,
    Could that explain why the vast majority of tube-equipped product manufacturers focus in on the "warm, rich, orange glow" of tubes rather than the "blue" thermionic emissions that are the heart of tube theory?
    [​IMG]
     
  16. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    Luis C says: "Could that explain why the vast majority of tube-equipped product manufacturers focus in on the "warm, rich, orange glow" of tubes rather than the "blue" thermionic emissions that are the heart of tube theory?"

    I dunno. You should be much more qualified than I being that you are the director of sales and marketing for a manufacturer of tube amps for cars.

    But as a sideline comment: Carver's Sunfire line of amps are all black with a very warm light on the front meter.

    I have seen them described in a couple of forums as "the warmest of all solid state amps", and I even saw the following comment "too warm for even my taste".

    You be the judge.
     
  17. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    OK so we all agree that ears are the best judge.

    NOW, I want to know if different wires have higher/lower impedence and can ruin your amp [over time]
     
  18. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    "NOW, I want to know if different wires have higher/lower impedence and can ruin your amp [over time]"

    Speaker wire can have different resistance, capacity and inductance. The combination of these three is what is referred to as impedance.

    No amp that I know of can be ruined by the impedance of any wire that I can imagine.
     
  19. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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  20. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Geno: just what are the specific questions you want answers to? If it's a long run of cable then one would increase the gauge (smaller numbers) accordingly.

    Dunlavy has publicly stated his reasons for offering boutique wires has nothing more to do than meeting customer demands. Same reasons that drug stores sell homeopathic preparations, hospitals provide 'aura treatments', hotel chains provide 'feng shui' conference and meeting rooms, etc. The public has indicated their desire to be fleeced and hence the present situation. He makes no claims for the 'sound' of his wires. Marketing plain and simple. Yes the piece has been around a little bit, but then so has the proof the earth is not flat, the pythagorean theorum, and 2+2=4 although with the advent of proponents of 'fuzzy math', the latter may change.

     

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