Subwoofer cable advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Larry Hoffman, Sep 22, 2001.

  1. Larry Hoffman

    Larry Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    I need a subwoofer cable and could use some advise. Bettercables, Catcables and Kustomcables all make what look like quality sub cables at a very reasonable price. Also, you can pay up to a few hundred dollars on a sub cable from audio stores. I won't be using this for a high end system...I'm looking at Energy Take 5.2's etc.
    What would you recommend.
    Thanks,
    Larry.
     
  2. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Any TRUE 75 ohm cable which uses true 75 ohm connectors and manufactured to maintain the 75ohm.
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  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    John's on the money and following his advice will save you some of yours.
     
  4. Tor Arne

    Tor Arne Stunt Coordinator

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    Since the signal to the subwoofer has a very low bandwith (less than 200Hz), you don't need a very good (expensive) cable. [​IMG]
    Just as an example. Video cables have to be good with good shielding because they will handle signals of several MHz. The higher the frequencies, the more susceptible the signal will be to interference.
    Regards,
    Tor Arne Hustvedt
    Norway
     
  5. Jason Watson

    Jason Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't think it even needs to be a 75ohm cable(although it would not hurt)for your sub. If your system is prone to RFI noise,make sure you use a shielded cable especially if you need a long run.
     
  6. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    I am with Tor on this one. The minimal bandwidth requirements for a subwoofer cable means that things are very forgiving son long as the cable is shielded and makes solid connections on both ends. I wouldn't pay more than $20 for a 40 foot run. Any more and you're lining someone else's pocket without getting any more performance. On the other hand, if you're of the PAM makes CD's sound better persuasion, someone will happily sell you some super coaxial foam dielectric cables for $2000/inch. Do that and you are sure to convince yourself that the sub sounds better.
    A length of of RG-6 quad shield cable withcrimp on F connectors and F to RCA adapters on each end will do just fine. You need to make good and proper crimps to achieve solic connection, but every home theater enthusiast SHOULD learn how to create good F connections since they are needed for other connections as well. The slight impedance mismatch due to the F to RCA adapter it won't make a drop's difference in the ocean at the subwoofer frequencies. At video frequencies, yes there may be signal reflections of significance, but for a subwoofer you'd make a much bigger difference moving the sub a foot one way or the other.
     
  7. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    I still maintain an audio grade cable is best for bass transmission. Why? Because it was designed to carry an audio signal, not a video signal.
    You don't have to sacrifice shielding, and you increase conductive surface areas in the process.
    Lex
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    Lexman's Theater
     
  8. Chris White

    Chris White Second Unit

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    Larry: Given your system, I recommend you buy a cable from Radio Shack. As John has told you, any 75 ohm coax will work perfectly.
    I still maintain an audio grade cable is best for bass transmission. Why? Because it was designed to carry an audio signal, not a video signal.
    Lex, I'm not sure what you mean by the term "audio grade cable," but your statement in not accurate. RG6 coax is designed to transmit any signal from DC to 2 Ghz. Just because an "audio grade cable" is not efficient for video frequencies does not make it a better cable for an "audio" signal, it just makes it a lousy cable for "video" frequencies.
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  9. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, Chris, you have your opinions, and I have mine. But I don't think you can unequivically say I am wrong as well, you did. Audio grade cable specifies 50-52 ohms, not 75 ohm. Further, you cannot dispute the difference in 22 AWG coax for example, vs. 16-18 AWG audio wire which provide more conductive surface.
    Lex
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    I’ve never heard of 16-18 ga. audio signal cable. Who makes it?
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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  11. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    Any old composite video cable has always worked fine for me. I have a 40ft run in my HT...twin 6m lengths of some generic composite cables...tied together with a 99 cent female/female...I think there's about $20-$25 in the whole 40ft run.
    TV
     
  12. Steven Lin

    Steven Lin Extra

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  13. Chris White

    Chris White Second Unit

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    I don't think you can unequivically say I am wrong as well, you did.
    Sure I can. Read carefully. You are wrong.
    Your statement implies that 75 ohm coax is less efficient than "audio grade cable" for audio frequencies. That is not correct. For this application, cable impedence is not important. As I stated, RG6 coax is designed to transmit any signal from DC to 2 Ghz. Just because an "audio grade cable" is not efficient for video frequencies does not make it a better cable for an audio signal, it just makes it a lousy cable for a video signal.
    Audio grade cable specifies 50-52 ohms, not 75 ohm.
    Correct, but irrelevant. Again, cable impedence is not important for audio frequencies.
    Further, you cannot dispute the difference in 22 AWG coax for example, vs. 16-18 AWG audio wire which provide more conductive surface.
    Correct -- 16 AWG wire has more conductive surface than 22 AWG wire. However, the difference in conductive surface between RG6 coax and an "audio grade cable" is irrelevant for this use. An LFE signal is low power and the most important element of the connecting cable in this application is shielding. That's probably why SVS recommends a "shielded 75 ohm A/V RCA type cable.
     
  14. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    as said above, RG-6 makes a great sub cable. i prefer the kind that has a solid copper center conductor, as opposed to copper clad steel, since we don't have to worry about pull strength (the advantage of steel) and skin effect does not come into play at the freqs we are working with.
    and as Chris alludes to, we are talking about an interconnect cable for a line level signal, not a cable for an amplified, high current speaker level signal. ability to carry current is not the issue, transmission of a clean signal is, hence the recommendation for a well shielded cable.
    [Edited last by Craig Robertson on September 23, 2001 at 12:27 PM]
     
  15. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    Again Chris, those are all your opinions. I stand by my comments and have no further comment in this thread.
    As to the question who makes 16-18 gauge audio wire. Just about any major wire manufacturer from Belden to others.
    Lex
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    Lexman's Theater
     
  16. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    Larry, as you've seen. There are always arguments over interconnects as the difference are small enough that it is never a day and night issue. Start with something which is of reasonable price for your pocket book so long as it makes good solid and clean connections. You can always opt for a more expensive solution and gain the satisfaction of spending more money later.
    Even with the higher power carrying requirements of speaker cables, I'd happily pick a set of well positioned speakers hooked up using 22 gauge wires over the same speakers hooked up with 10 gauge silver wires but poorly positioned relative to room walls and objects. Getting your sub properly positioned in the room will make a much larger difference than the smaller differences between the cables. Put the emphasis where it makes the most difference first, and then sweat the smaller stuff.
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  17. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  18. Larry Hoffman

    Larry Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you all for your help. I recieved a lot more advice than I expected.
    Doug, from CatCables sent me an e-mail. In it he mentioned a number of things about his sub cable. I'd appreciate your comments on the following taken from his e-mail:
    1. It's NOT 75 ohm coax. We don't feel that it provides enough conductive surface with a single conductor wire of 22 to 26 AWG.. We use 18 AWG stranded conductor.
    2. the full audio spectrum is designed to be transmitted through 50-52 ohm wire. That's what we use. 75 ohm is designed for video or digital.
    3. We use a dual ground, insuring a very solid ground for your subs.
    4. We do use a shielding design to resist RFI, EMI noise.
    Any reaction to his comments?
     
  19. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Larry: In response to your posting of the email reply from Doug I offer my comments in the numerical order as your post. First of all, I take it that you're aware that the references to 75 and 50-52 ohm cable refers to the cable impedence.
    1. Yes, 18 gauge wire is thicker and will provide lower resistance (this is good....but read on). Higher resistance in long runs will translate to an attenuation of the higher frequencies however that would prove to be an issue only with full range speakers. For a subwoofer, which is commonly taken to be non-directional, any attenuation would be modest and if marginally audible could certainly be easily rectified by attenuation. I shudder to think that one would make the comment 'feel' and not back it up by some data.
    2. We're not dealing with a full audio spectrum here...its a subwoofer. If 75 ohm cable can't be used for a subwoofer then please tell me what its frequency limitations would be? Full audio spectrum....well that'll be transmitted through 24 gauge for that matter, although we won't be dealing with a flat frequency response. Neither will the 75 ohm cable, but then again, we're dealing with a subwoofer.
    3. Dual grounding...ok I'm sure it's a solid ground but assuming two cables, one singly grounded the other dual, both properly conctructed, how should that make a difference?
    4. Shielding certainly will resist those noises. For that matter there are many 'flavors' of shielding that you can read about that address things like resisting noise to various degrees. Many decently made subwoofer cables are shielded.
    His price for a 4 meter cable is about $38 less shipping. For the same length you can get an AR cable from PartsExpress for $25 so he's about 50% higher.
    Here are a couple of links (not related to subwoofer cable) that speak to the questions that many have regarding speaker cable.
    http://www.sundial.net/~rogerr/wire.htm
    http://www.rwonline.com/reference-ro...n-July18.shtml
    For interesting debates regarding speaker wire I direct you to two sites that are on opposite camps. www.audioasylum.com will put forth the proposition that wires are capable of doing everything. www.audioreview.com largely puts forth the proposition that cables are vastly overhyped.
    just surf on over to the message boards and read.
    Where do I stand? Well, my belief is that its up to the manufacturer to prove, either individually or by proper references to sources, that their claims for superiority are valid. Otherwise...well otherwise, what do you think?
     
  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    don't make this hard on yourself. the solution is quite easy:
    1. buy two or three different cables. entry level, mid and hi-end. (just make sure you can return them - which you should be able to.)
    2. plug them in one at a time. if possible, do a "blind-test" - this is where you don't know which cable is being used. obviously, you'll need someone else's help with this.
    3. let your ears decide[/list=a]

      it's really that simple. my opinion says you won't hear a difference, but everyone's ears are different. doing the blind test is really important - otherwise you may be sub-consciously swayed by the more expensive cable. i've read that in a few reviews.

      good luck...have fun...isn't this a great hobby!


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      [Edited last by Ted Lee on September 24, 2001 at 12:01 PM]
     

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