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post #1 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Speaker Cables

I figured some of you might get a kick out of this. (or maybe not!)

This weekend I finally got around to setting up my office music maker. While the components are anything but low quality, everything was purchased used to save money.

I needed some speaker cables and just couldn't stomach dropping $150 on cables again.

When I bought my "main" system the best stuff they had was Monster Cable. Monster Cable doesn't produce a bad product, but it's highly overpriced for what you get, and the company is really awful with it's trademark lawsuit practices. (for example they sued Disney over the movie Monsters Inc). When I pulled back the cover to look at how the cable was made, I was totally unimpressed.

After wasting about $120 on speaker cables there, I decided to think about this. Years ago I used welding cable in car audio and felt the results were outstanding. That cable is much better quality than the crap you get at your local Circuit City, and about 1/10 the price. About the only downside is that it's not a pretty red/blue/pink, whatever.

I eventually decided to go look at some bulk "extension cord" cable. I ended up buying 2 wire 14 gauge (multistrand) cable. It's a twisted pair in cloth and wrapped in vinyl. Your standard "mid quality" extension cord cabling. (they had 12 gauge, but it was orange, couldn't do it ) It cost $.49/foot at my local ACE hardware. I hooked it up and compared to the Monster Cables. I cannot hear a difference.

It's not much solace that the Monster cables "look" better.

So before you go drop $100 (or more) on speaker cables think about trying this stuff.



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post #2 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:11 PM
 
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Re: Speaker Cables


Must obey the sheep dog
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post #3 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Heh, no kidding.

I forgot, mention of this review in another article was also part of the inspiration, though I hadn't read the actual review until just now. They even used 14 gauge.

Scroll to the bottom.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/news...e_survey2.html




Last edited by luvtolean; 10-31-2005 at 12:50 PM.
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post #4 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:23 PM
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Screw that, this is all you really need.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=family
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post #5 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDA116
Screw that, this is all you really need.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=family
Naw, too expensive.



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post #6 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:26 PM
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Re: Speaker Cables

I'm no audio guru, but copper is copper. I'd guess the important thing is that the wire not be resistant enough that it causes an impedance mis-match between the amp and speakers. If the wires needed to be long enough that 14AWG was too resistant, just use a bigger extension cord cable.

I say nice work on avoiding the marketing hype.
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post #7 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Copper is copper but wires are not copper. First the wire is not 100% copper in most cases rather a copper alloy. Also stranding vs solid has an impact (as would number of strands).

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post #8 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:36 PM
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepofblue
Copper is copper but wires are not copper. First the wire is not 100% copper in most cases rather a copper alloy. Also stranding vs solid has an impact (as would number of strands).
Assuming the wire is not too resistive, would any of this matter at audio frequencies? I'm open to an education here...
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post #9 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:40 PM
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

I speak with no authority on this subject. Now that the disclaimer is done, I just inquired to a friend of mine yesterday that installs home theater systems for a living about what cables I should use that are per code to run through walls and attic.

He uses 14 AWG Gensis Audaciaous Audio Cables (Link) and swears by it.

Per the pro, I could get away with 16 AWG if I wanted to save a few bucks. I'm still waiting on him to provide pricing for me.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Post-blade
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post #10 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:42 PM
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by dB
Assuming the wire is not too resistive, would any of this matter at audio frequencies? I'm open to an education here...
Impedance will affect the amp and is directly related to the cable. Personally I cannot tell the difference as I listen to an iPod although there are those that can. I have a coworker that has written for Stereo Review and I will not ask him stereo questions as it is like asking a cultist for advice.

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post #11 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by dB
Assuming the wire is not too resistive, would any of this matter at audio frequencies? I'm open to an education here...
Yes. Truly good wire also uses teflon jacketing rather than the normal vinyl.

This was a cheap quick, easily available in my hick-town alternative for me. If I wanted to get serious (and I plan to) I could aquire some good Belden teflon jacketed, highly pure copper, wires to make my own cables.

The strands aren't too fine on this stuff I just got. Welding cable has amazingly fine wires (it is made for super high current). I really like that stuff, and always use it for car battery cables too. The downside is that it corrodes quickly. It is also too big for speakers obviously.

Here's an interesting link discussing materials and such in more detail.

http://www.geocities.com/jonrisch/s1.htm

His read on AC cables is quite good too. Next time I'm somewhere I can find a good electronics supply house, I plan on buying good hospital grade plugs and thick cables to build an AC cable for my power amp. As a tube amplifier, it's quite "thirsty".

If I was more ambitious, I would've got the 3 wire twisted pair and used the third as grounds in the speaker cables.

Maybe abtech will check in and take us all to school.



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post #12 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

dB, some also argue color matters. (Yes, audio guys are like cultists) Since black plastics are usually colored with carbon I can actually entertain the idea that someone might hear a difference. Not my ears though!



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post #13 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 1:03 PM
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvtolean
I would have never guessed that skin effect would come into play as low as 1-3KHz. Some interesting stuff there too about the dielectric coefficients of different insulators...something I'd probably never have thought of. You guys are probably talking about more power over a longer distance than anything I'm used to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepofblue
I will not ask him stereo questions as it is like asking a cultist for advice
I hear ya.
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post #14 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 1:04 PM
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvtolean
dB, some also argue color matters.
Ok, that's just crazy right there.
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post #15 of 32 Old 10-31-2005, 1:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Speaker Cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by dB
Ok, that's just crazy right there.
Especially since last time I saw that argument it was to do with the material used in the platter of a record player. I had to call on that one.

But in a cable, when you load the insulator with a conductive material, I can see how theoretically that could change things.



My speakers for this set-up are these:

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/news...ysic_yara.html

The amp I mentioned before is this one:

http://audiobuff.zoovy.com/product/SOPHIA_EL34#Reviews
And for a pic of it:
http://www.toddthevinyljunkie.com/pr...uct.php?id=164

If your system isn't as good as this, you don't need better cables.



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