Wire Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SanfordL, Mar 13, 2002.

  1. SanfordL

    SanfordL Stunt Coordinator

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    As heated as some of the threads seem to get here, I hope I am not opening up a can of worms, but I am looking for recommendations for upgrading speaker wires. I would like to get the best wire for money. I would like to spend less than $200~$300.00 if I can, but it's all open as I want this system to rock once I am done. The runs I need are as follows:
    Front Left and Right - 4 meters each (only need 1 on the left, but am going for symetry)
    Center - 2 meters
    Surrounds - 10 meters each (running through the ceiling)
    I have checked out Kimber Kable, but the Monocle (sp?) XL's was thousands, so I kind of ran screaming from that experience. I don't really want to do this myself (i.e. I don't want to rig some coax's, solder them together, heat shrink them, and then curse when we sell the house and I have to do it all over again,) but I would like the best bang for the buck.
    The system I am slowly building is going to have Swan Diva's (6.1's, C3, and R-3's) along with an SVS 16-46 PCi (still waiting on that to ship). I ordered the Better Cable sub-wire, so that's taken care of already. I want to hear everything that is there, and nothing that is not. The amp I am running is a Denon 3802 if that matters and we mainly listen to HT, with about 30% going to music. Any advice on products, wire guage, connectors, web links, or other sources will be greatly appreciated.
    Oh, I think the Diva's require a 10 mm spade, but I don't know which connector, if any I am going to use. [​IMG]
     
  2. John Beavers

    John Beavers Second Unit

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    I've had good success with Straightwire speaker wire. I had their Rhapsody wire for my mains and center at one point, and their affordable backstage speaker wire for the rears. The Rhapsody would go beyond your budger, but the Encore II for mains and center with the backstage would work out to about the upper end of your budget. Here's a link to a sample price. http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...lAttribute_1=8
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well, I'm not into exotic speaker wires (my system is not sensitive enough that it would make much difference). But have you looked at some of the internet sites around here? I can tell you that people have nothing but praise for places like www.bettercables.com, www.wickedcables.com, etc.
    They all have very good return policies and a reputation for outstanding bang-for-the-buck. Just because they dont advertise in high-end magazines does not mean they dont perform well.
     
  4. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    I am a newbie to the home theater world. But I just don't see paying that much money for speaker wire. I have better things to do with my money. Unless you want to boast "my speaker wire alone cost me $500" then I don't see an advantage.
    For me and my money give me another 100 feet of http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd..._ID=2792&DID=7
     
  5. SanfordL

    SanfordL Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the links and info thus far. Brian, I don't know if I buy the whole "Bigger Cable is Better" and "More Money means MORE SOUND" thing, but I have a hard time dropping in excess of $3500.00~$4000.00 for sub + speakers, and then hook it up with some spaghetti and degrade my sound via a poor connection. I tried this a while back when first looking at speakers, and it's something you might want to try. I was looking at M&K's (150's) and the dealer was insisting that I audition the Kimber Kables at the same time. He had a spool of Radio Shack 14 guage ( I think) and he hooked up the speakers with the Kimber Kables, then with the Radio Shack, and boy what a difference a few (more than I'd like, but that's beside the point) benjamins can make. The transient details were startling with the Kimber's, and barely there with the Radio Shack wires. The cables almost sold me more on the speakers than anything else. Just try it out before you poo-poo the whole idea, as you might find that your speakers you were thinking of replacing are better than you thought when fed the right signal. Now where is my tax return Uncle Sam? [​IMG]
    Bob and John, that was exactly what I was looking for and I appreciate the info. One thing though, the Audio Advisor site doesn't have the backstage wire listed that I could find. Is that possibly an older wire, or am I just missing it somewhere?
    Now, I can not seem to find any clear concensus on what the best guage wire to use is. I've heard from some that anything over 13 guage is overkill, while others insist, "if I could fit 2 guage in there, I'd use it." What do you think? Also, what about connectors. I've read that no connector is best because it allows total wire connection, but that spades or bananas are more convenient. I can wire the speakers and the amp either way, although I am not too sure about the spades for the amp. Just let me know if anyone has any ideas.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Wire Size: Some speaker sites, not wire sites, recommend the following guidelines based on length of run:
    1-10 ft: 16 ga
    10-20 ft: 14 ga
    20+ ft: 12 ga
    The thicker wire helps reduce the rolloff on long runs of wire. This is not usually a problem for short runs which is why you can use thinner wire.
    Connections : The audiophile consensus is that bare wire into the posts is best. Fine, as long as you have lots of space around each binding post to work with.
    I prefer banana plugs because it's easy to do a neat job, they are safe, convient, etc. (But remember, I'm not into high end music so you might want to take others advice on this one.)
    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    an interesting demonstration by the salesperson. i tried something similar once, but in reverse. the salesperson was unable to select the wire he was pushing despite his stated familiarity with with it. i rather suspect something was amiss in the demonstration.
     
  8. John Beavers

    John Beavers Second Unit

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  9. SanfordL

    SanfordL Stunt Coordinator

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    John, thanks, I didn't think to assume that Straight Wire might have more to offer than what was shown on Audio Advisor's site :b Well, I am going to check with A.A. in a couple of minutes and see what they have to say about the price and availability.

    Next, Chu, it was the same speaker, same amplifier, and the same length wire. Age of the wire shouldn't matter right? If it did, then it would indicate that one wire has an inherent superiority over another wire, which I believe you are stating is not the case. If the standard zip-cord is as good as the next best thing, then, they should sound the same, right? Now, from an electrical standpoint, I can not believe that an 18 guage wire is going to be able to carry as much current as far or as accurately as a 12 guage wire, but then again, I am not an electrical engineer, so I might be wrong. One thing I do know though is that in any electrical system, the more current you desire a wire to carry, the heavier the guage you use. It might be a waste (and I'm not saying for certain it's not,) but it is gonna look excellent, and "that's what's important, Right?"
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    age only matters to those who want to think wires somehow magically improve with use. The only other effect of age might be one of corrosion. And that may well be at the root of many problems that people have experienced. The ability to properly determine differences in sound is not quite so simple and most certainly having advanced knowledge of the cable being tested as well as not striving for level matching, precludes one from being able to give an honest assessment. The salesman and the store will derive a far greater profit, if not in actual amount than in percentage-wise from the sale of that cable than they will from a similar dollar sale on speakers.

    I take no issue with your desire for the cable to 'look good'. That is a matter of personal preferrence. Importance of this varies from person to person. Btw, we're not dealing with any substantial amounts of current in speaker wires. Myself, I'd ensure that my runs through the ceiling met code and if choosing to not terminate, make sure that i've got an extra foot or so to periodically give them a trim.
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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