Suggestions for a pair of speaker cables for $100 or less?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Mar 2, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would like to buy a good pair of speaker cables for a pair of Energy e:XL 25 floorstanding speakers in my second system. At present, I am just using Monster XP wire with Radio Shack Gold Series banana plugs. My budget for speaker cables is $100 since this is just my second system. I use BetterCables Premium speaker cables with Vampire banana plug terminations with Totem Arro speakers in my main stereo system, but these cables run $180 for a 10-foot pair. So, they are out. For what it's worth, here is the second system:

    Energy e:XL 25 speakers

    NAD C 350 stereo integrated amp

    Sony SCD-C333ES SACD/CD changer

    Pioneer Elite PD-65 CD player

    The e:XL 25s can be biwired, but I am not going to bother with that right now. I tried biwiring them with Monster MCX-IS biwire cables a few months ago and was very disappointed with the sound quality. It could be that I used the "wrong" biwire cable or that the Energys just shouldn't be biwired (I've heard it said that some biwire-capable speakers sound better with a single run of cables). Anyway, I just want a single run of speaker cables for $100 or less. I would prefer to go with banana plugs over spades. Note that I could buy a pair of cables with banana plugs now and then biwire with a second pair of these cables terminated with spades later on. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.
     
  2. Daniel T

    Daniel T Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2002
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I went to Home Depot and bought the 12AWG speaker wire. I have them hooked to all my speakers. I spent around $30 for 80 feet of cable. These might not be monster cable but the sound from the speakers sound fine to me.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Daniel, I appreciate the suggestion, but I doubt the Home Depot wire will be any better than the basic Monster XP wire I am using now.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    what in your opinion do you think should be the qualities of a superior wire?
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    If you are inclined to DIY and, then Belden 83030 would be an option. It comes as a single run and in 100 ft. spools so you will need to mark the two cable runs (plus and minus) with shrink tubing which is inexpensive. It costs in the neighborhood of $46 for the spool. It may well even outperform your main speaker wire. I bought a couple of spools (one red color and one black) and made of single and double runs and had the opportunity to compare it to MIT music hose (750) which was $595 for a 12 ft. pair and it was better on my brother's system (Vienna Acoustics) and the spare B&W (P6s) I have. I have also heard that AudioQuest Type 4 is an excellent speaker cable at its price point. A 10 ft. pair is $80 and a 12 ft. pair is $90.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Chu,

    To be honest, I am no cable expert. The grade of copper used is said to impact the sound quality, as is the number and configuration of the windings and the type of insulation material (dielectrics, etc.) used. One can also use silver wire, which is said to be advantageous in some systems, though I have never tried it.

    Why do you ask? Do you have some thoughts to share on the subject?

    Phil,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am not inclined to try a DIY project right now. I have read good things about the Audioquest Type 4 cable too. I am using a few pairs of Audioquest Diamondback interconnects in my main stereo systems and am very pleased with them, so maybe I'll give the Type 4 a shot. Audio Advisor sells this cable. Thanks again.
     
  7. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ric, I recall coming across some of Chu's posts in the past that disputed claims of cables making a difference. I figured that might be what he was driving at, which is why I asked him what he was driving at.

    This board used to have a disclaimer from the Moderators that clearly stated that argumentative posts targeted at those expressing a belief in tweaks, including cables, were prohibited. While I am curious to hear where Chu is coming from, I don't want to start an all-out war.
     
  9. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2000
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you don't mind spending a bit more than $100 (but not much more) hang out at www.audiogon.com in the speaker cable board and look for a used pair of Analysis Plus Oval 12 to come along.
    Good Luck.
    **** Currently there is an 8' pair for $115 obo.
    It doesn't list the termination buy the T1 spades are my guess. *****
    BOK
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Brian, thanks. I've read good things about the Analysis Plus cables, but they are priced a bit high for my needs in the second system. I would need a 10-foot pair of cables anyway. The simple reason I don't want spade connectors is because I don't know if they will fit my binding posts.
     
  11. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2000
    Messages:
    2,049
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Real Name:
    CJ Paul
    If you are on the fence about whether or not cables make a difference. Take a look at the silver series from www. vampirewire.com The way I look at it is, if you are comparing 12AWG OFC from one brand to another, then skeptics and "scientists" are going to point out that physically, their the same. At least if you look for something a little different you can satisfy your "engineer inside and maybe some other skeptics because at least its not plain copper.
     
  12. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2000
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Keith, there is somebody on audiogon selling kimber 4tc wire for 4.65 a foot. this would be in your price range.

    I have audioquest type 4 in my system and have never been a cable believer but just the other day I bought a 10 ft pair of kimber 8tc for 150.00. Wow, there was a difference regardless of what anybody says I am now a believer.

    The 4tc is built exactly like the 8tc but with fewer strands. I have seen 8 ft pairs go on ebay for around 100.00
     
  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    KeithH,

    John may be on to something. The lower end Kimber is fairly good speaker cable.

    Happy Hunting!

    Lee
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Charles JP: actually that is an inaccurate interpretation of what you refer to as the skeptic's or scientist's position. Quite the contrary, there is every reason in the world that 12 gauge OFC copper wires can measure different. As examples I will cite that the number of strands, whether they are individually isolated, how they are woven together, the nature of the sheething, whether one is dealing with flat ribbons, how thin the sheets are...the material that separates these sheets. A multitude of reasons that will influence such parameters as resistance, capacitance, inductance, phase...the list goes on. The question to be answered is do such differences result in audible differences once we've accounted for other variables that can affect our human assesment? To that end these variables must be eliminated to the extent possible. By way of example it is important the sound levels be matched very closely and that knowledge of what is being tested be eliminated from those being tested. Let us say that a difference or even no difference is found. It is important to repeat the test and that the same exact cables be used. Then another set of the same cables from a different source. After all we want to make sure that we didn't somehow get a lemon in there. By way of analogy, my father, to this day will never ever consider a buick because his 56 buick gave him problems.

    Let us now say that we have established through some exhaustive testing, that an difference was determined. We take a look at whether the subjects who indicated that there was a difference and determine whether they thought this difference was one for the better or worse. We look at how they rank this change. See if there is still some sort of correlation. See if this correlation can be repeated by the various individuals.

    Now let us say, that after all this testing one has identified a particular cable or even a set of cables that not only sounded different but that this difference was deemed an improvement somehow. Understand that we are performing some statistical analysis here and please let us not get into the statistics can lie thing, alright?

    It is then, and only THEN, that we start digging deeper. We examine which instrumentally measured parameters could have played a difference and further tests are performed where these parameters are varied. Factor analysis is performed. Optimization maps (for those who don't know what those may look like imagine a contour map that plots elevation as a function of the compass coordinates), are constructed to determine if there are perhaps multiple areas where particular combinations of say resistance and capacitance and phase change (just random choices folks...don't read too much into my arbitrary selections here) gave a positive, desireable response. We see if there may have been one combination that not only produced the greatest satisfaction but was sufficiently robust (this means that we're not dealing with a narrow ledge but a broad plateau where small changes that may not be reliably be expected to be controlled in a manufacturing situation would result in a preciptous drop in desireablity). We make this cable predicted by our studies. Furthermore we find that our prediction resulted in not only a cable that was consistently found to result in a sound that was both different and desireable by a significant sampling of people. Now we've got something, don't we? We can take this data and start to slice it if we want. Maybe these differences were only apparent to people who's hearing was able to reliably detect 17kHZ signals. well then, you'd be pretty fair in saying that if the best you can hear is up to 15kHZ there'd be no reason to buy this particular cable.

    Of course, such thorough tests are not within the realm of us as individuals. They take time, effort, perhaps access to instruments that aren't readily available, money. Therefore if we choose to perform a critical evaluation of a set of cables we'll need to take shortcuts, not be as thorough, make some assumptions...try and be honest with our protocols.

    They are in the realm of some of the bigger players in this marketplace though. It involves that we first start with controlled listening tests and that is not the point of view of a skeptic, simply one who wants to know the truth.

    I now return control to the program that is already in progress...y'all have a good day now, hear?
     
  15. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Keith,

    Simple qustion: What are you looking for that the Monsters don't deliver? Or are you just looking for an "improvement"?

    Personally I wouldn't bother.
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Philip,

    I found that when I upgraded from Monster XP wire to BetterCables Premium speaker cables, everything improved. Highs were smoother and there was more depth to the sound. I'd like to see if I can get a similar improvement in my second system, but I don't want to spend $180 for another pair of BetterCables cables.

    John and Lee,

    Thanks for the suggestions for the Kimber Kable 4TC and 8TC. I've always heard good things about those cables. New the 4TC is out of my price range, but used is a consideration.
     
  17. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    KeithH,
    You are welcome. By the way, you are now entitled to an honorary membership in the "cables sound different" club based on your last post. [​IMG]
    So far we have RicP, Tan_N (for speaker cable anyway), and looking for more members.
    Hopefully a NYC cable test may convert others into the club!
    Lee
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lee said:
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A True Cable Revelation!
    I know I had set my budget for speaker cables for my second system at $100, but I decided to drag a pair of BetterCables Premium speaker cables from my main system to the second system to see what would happen. Now, recall that I have been using Monster XP wire with Radio Shack banana plugs with the Energy e:XL 25s in the second system. Well, I am here to report what a difference that speaker cables can make on a modest system (NAD C 350 integrated amp and Sony SCD-C333ES SACD/CD changer with Energys). The sound with the BetterCables cables is more natural and smoother. Vocals are smoother and the soundstage is wider. Now, it is not the type of change that one would expect to observe in changing speakers, but the improvement with the BetterCables cables is immediately obvious. Seeing as the BetterCables cables with banana-plug terminations run $180 for a ten-foot pair, I think my budget for speaker cables just went up. Like that's never happened before. [​IMG]
     
  20. ozric_smith

    ozric_smith Agent

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I might just bite on that. I have some RS mega cable and I am looking at Kimber 4pr, 4vs, or 4tc. What ever I can get for cheap < $5 per. Any way, I will report back my findings

    On the fence for now.
     

Share This Page