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Speaker cables to pair with my MA6300

 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2405
Registered: Feb-07
OK, Art has got me to thinking that it may be time to try a different set of speaker cables with my 6300. See if maybe I can get even more potential out of my Mac.

Let's hear some recommendations fellas.
 

Silver Member
Username: Soundgame

Richmond Hill Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 729
Registered: Jun-08
Dave, what does your Mc dealer recommend? Has he matched Totem Sttafs with a Mc 6300? Your Sttafs are small enough to take to your dealer and get him to demo a few sets of cables for you on a 6300. That way, you'll know what they sound like on your gear. The other option is to borrow a couple a sets of what he recommends based on your objectives for sound i.e. transparency / detail / tight bass etc. I think the dealer owes you some assistance after that purchase.
That's my recommendation bud.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2408
Registered: Feb-07
Hmmmmm. Good point George. Before I bought the 6300 I did audition them at the dealers with some Sttafs. I should go back and see what cables they were using. Mind you, I've seen them using what looked very, very expensive cables in there before, so maybe that's not such a good idea ;-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Soundgame

Richmond Hill Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 730
Registered: Jun-08
Speaker cables are just the start. If you go with Art's theory you need a consistent "loom" to get the "real" benefits.
Right now I think you still running all Blue Jeans stuff, right Dave?
I was just corresponding with a guy on CAM regarding his Cardas Quadralink IC's and he said he replaced them with a Blue Jeans IC at 1/10 the cost and hears no real difference. Therefore, Dave, it may take a very expensive loom to get some "real" improvements.
You may need to get to the $500 mark to make it worth your while. On the other hand you could try the DIY all silver wire route with Eichman bullet RCA's for the IC's.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2409
Registered: Feb-07
Yup. BJ IC's and speaker cable.
 

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 2132
Registered: Nov-05
Guys, some speaker cables and interconnects don't always make a night and day difference or might not seem to make any difference - that is until one listens for a decent period of time. Upon a change, a quick listen is not the way to compare cables. Ideally if you can borrow a few different ones and use them for reasonable time periods (at least a few hours) that would be the way. But I know that's not always viable.

I've had a few and settled on VDH for both speaker & I/C's (see my details for the models).
 

Silver Member
Username: Jazzman71

Phoenix, AZ USA

Post Number: 681
Registered: Dec-07
Upon a change, a quick listen is not the way to compare cables.

I completely agree, M.R. A few days is better. The Chord interconnects I recently plugged in are a perfect example. I was ready to box them back up after two hours and a couple of aspirin. Those cables were absolutely singing two days later. Whether it was insufficient break-in or what, they are night and day different now.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3644
Registered: Sep-04
That sounds like running in to me. Not sure how long their higher end microwave cables take to run in, but I believe it's quite some time too.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1872
Registered: May-06
My MIT Shotgun 2's took 48 hours to get 75% burned in and 2 weeks to get fully burned in. I did the complete loom like Art has discussed. It was JV who got me moving away from my DIY ICs and speaker cable by bringing over a set of OCOS speaker cables to demo speakers for a buyer. I tried the OCOS and game over. The same thing happened with some older MIT ICs that I swapped in to try out.

I had no intentions of going down the upgrade path with my ICs or speaker wires as the risk (expense) / reward (finding something that would trump my DIY stuff) did not add up. Who knew that I would find something better while not even looking. LOL
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12130
Registered: Dec-04
And we need a new pic, Mike!
i can't wait to visit and not step over the Burmese Tiger Traps!
Rather akin to trench warfare in WW1 actually...
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 9451
Registered: Feb-05
van den Hul.
 

Silver Member
Username: Jazzman71

Phoenix, AZ USA

Post Number: 684
Registered: Dec-07
That sounds like running in to me.

I agree Frank. I just wasn't in that frame of mind because they were demos.

David, do you have a budget in mind for speaker cables? Depending on length, OFC/teflon cables may run you several hundred dollars. Any thought to dealing with the ICs first? It may change your perspective on the system since the Mac can only process what it's given. If you plan to stay with your source a while, don't go up the ladder as far on the ICs. Several possibilities for substantial upgrade to the ICs for less than $200. I'd start there personally before I did the speaker cabling.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2476
Registered: Feb-07
Neil, I don't really have a particular budget in mind for cables. I would say a few hundred bucks. I know that really limits me as far as speaker cables go. As for IC's I'm using the BJ IC's right now. To me, they're just fine. For some reason I seem to think that I would get more of a gain out of upgrading my speaker cable rather than my IC's. I could be wrong, though.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12133
Registered: Dec-04
Borrow a few runs from your dealer, man.
 

Silver Member
Username: Jazzman71

Phoenix, AZ USA

Post Number: 695
Registered: Dec-07
There you go. No sense speculating if you've got a dealer who can let you try some wire.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12195
Registered: Dec-04
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/126738-mcintosh_ma6300/

Yikes!

Should a hundred watts cost this much MSRP?

Stirs pot
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2503
Registered: Feb-07
ok, I gotta respond to this.

$3600 MSRP. It was on sale at my dealer's last week for 3400.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 9480
Registered: Feb-05
It's about the first watt more than the number that follow....
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Brooklyn, NY United States

Post Number: 2553
Registered: Oct-04
http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/audioproducts/speakercables_hub.php
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 9485
Registered: Feb-05
Gutwire Basic 2...story to follow soon.
 

Silver Member
Username: Jazzman71

Phoenix, AZ USA

Post Number: 722
Registered: Dec-07
CM, have you tried any of their speaker cable? It looks very reasonable in terms of performance to price.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12241
Registered: Dec-04
I have Xindak speaker runs coming soon, will watch here
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Brooklyn, NY United States

Post Number: 2562
Registered: Oct-04
No Neil, I haven't, but I'd like to given what I've read.

If I was sporting a several thousand $$$ set-up, rather than a seval hundred $$$ one, I'd definetely give them a whirl.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 91
Registered: Mar-08
Hey - I just got in some Belkin PureAV Silver Series RCA interconnects- they've got 99.9997% OFC coper. Folks were getting hot and bothered about them on Audiogon for the $18.49 they cost for a pair.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?fcabl&1239416380&read&keyw&zzup-occ

To complicate things, I have a CI Audio VDA-2 DAC that has a pair of out of phase RCA outputs that you can buy a special Harmonics cable ($175) for that goes from 4 RCAs (+/gnd, -/gnd) to a balanced connector.

I'm driving the DAC with an OPPO 983H that I've also got plugged from its RCA outs into another channel on my Amp though an inexpensive IC.

In compairing the Balanced DAC operation with the Oppo RCA out, the DAC always sounded much louder (+4-5 dB) and "better" - more base (maybe even punchy), more presense, better sound stage. You would say obviously the 4.5 volt balanced output should be louder (+6dB) than the 2.25 V single ended output, but my Jeff Rowlands says its specifically designed to make them be the same level.

Anyway - with DAC hooked up with the Belkin RCA, it sounds much more like the OPPO output so far. Though I might be getting a bit more detail and better sound stage. More subtle so far than the balanced cable. Mid's perhaps a bit more forward.

I'm curious about what differences do you guys think you hear with burn in. This new cable's pretty much right out the bag at this point.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2579
Registered: Feb-07
Nuck, which Xindak cables did you buy? I see tons of them on CAM for sale.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2580
Registered: Feb-07
Rick, I have trouble accepting the notion of cable burn-in.

CD player burn-in, speaker burn-in, amp burn-in - all of these things are conceivable to me. Cable burn-in not so much. 'Course I could be wrong, and often am.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 9589
Registered: Feb-05
From my experience David you are wrong...but that's my opinion ofcourse....and you are not often wrong.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2589
Registered: Feb-07
Thanks Art :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1959
Registered: May-06
MIT advertises 2 days for 75% burn in, 2 weeks for 100%. The 2 days does make a significant difference. It took more than 2 weeks for my cables to finally hit a plateau.

Magnet wire takes about 2 to 10 minutes to burn in. LOL
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2590
Registered: Feb-07
Interesting...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12407
Registered: Dec-04
David, I got them from the seller in BC.
The ones I got are too short for me (at the moment) and are terminated in pins, which don't fit my amp.
I will email the info.
Do you want to try them?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12408
Registered: Dec-04
I am a ways away from home now, Indiana then St Louis, but i can ship when I get back.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2591
Registered: Feb-07
That's awfully cool of you Nuck.

What's the length of the runs?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12417
Registered: Dec-04
8.5'
spades and pins
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 103
Registered: Mar-08
Rick, I have trouble accepting the notion of cable burn-in.

David, the idea with cable burn in - to my understanding - is that the di-electric starts out with its molecules having a random polarization alignment. Over some period of time, the fields generated by the voltages (audio signals) in the conductors supposedly cause the molecules to 'align'. This difference has some impact on the sound supposedly. I've heard that this alignment tends to randomize again if the cable is not used for a while.

This might have a bearing on why some folks say basic cables have a 'direction'. Probably not important which direction it is as long as it stays the same direction (i.e. same connector on the amp end, same connector on the same amp terminal). Audioquest uses batteries on their high end cables to charge some conductors in the cable which in turn generate a static field that supposedly keeps the di-electric aligned - so no burn in. Sort of fits with the mag-wire comment too since the dieletric on mag-wire is very thin and probably has less impact even if it is polarized.

It's a bit hard to say I really heard a difference, but it seemed that after a few days the Belkins got a bit more 'balanced' in their response. They seemed more 'harsh' at first - though it's subtle at best.

I haven't taken much time to do much comparison yet. The wife has me busy with driving a window upgrade that then required an alarm system upgrade, a window covering upgrade, and a wall color upgrade - painting tomorrow and window converings in the mail. At least the double pane windows have cut down dramatically on any exterior noise - including the outside AC compressor that's near my listening room.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 104
Registered: Mar-08
It was JV who got me moving away from my DIY ICs and speaker cable

Michael, while I was off wandering in the cable desert, one of the things I bumped into is that most mag wire is not oxygen free copper - it tends to be lower grade (92%). I actually tracked down a vendor that had OFC mag wire (Pelican), but it was getting a bit pricey for the amount I was thinking about. I was looking at using 30 AWG mag wire to build up a much heavier litz conductor to handle a tri-wire termination and needed several thousand feet of wire (something like this http://www.vhaudio.com/neotech-nes-3002.html but with smaller and more conductors). With regular mag wire - it would have only been about $90, but the OFC was looking more like $500. At that price point, I went back to looking at vendor cables.

Can't say that OFC is better, but it seems to be pretty much a minimum requirement for most audio cables these days. For the amounts of mag-wire you were using, I don't think the OFC price would be a factor if you were inclinded to experiment.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 105
Registered: Mar-08
Magnet wire takes about 2 to 10 minutes to burn in. LOL

Michael, was that about the time it took for the dust bunnies to collect on the cable?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2599
Registered: Feb-07
Interesting point Rick. I don't have a background in electrical engineering, which I guess is why I don't understand the notion of cable burn-in, but your post made a valid argument for it. Cheers.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12430
Registered: Dec-04
Good post Rick and good simple language.

Mikes DIY cables didn't get dust bunnies. They were constantly being jostled about by dogs and unwitting drunks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2600
Registered: Feb-07
Nuck, is there such a thing as a "witting" drunk?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12432
Registered: Dec-04
Ask any drunk, and he will say yes.




















but it sounds like yessshhh
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2601
Registered: Feb-07
lol! That'll be me later tonight.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12433
Registered: Dec-04
Mind the speaker runs....
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1963
Registered: May-06
Rick, I checked into vhaudio.com. I would have been interested purely in magnet wire, nothing at all like what was depicted in the link above.

My ICs are now MIT Shotgun 2's for the CD to Pre and Pre- to Amp. MIT Terminator 2 for tuner to pre. MIT 2's for Aux to laptop.

I might only interested in the OFC magnet wire to make up new speaker wire runs. I would still combine it with .999 Silver. Probably 4 to 6 stands of copper to 1 to 2 Silver.

One neat thing about building your own, you can add and subtract strands until you hit the best combination then bind them all together using packing tape or whatever.

The closest thing they have to what I build form is the 18 AWG @ $4 / ft. That could run me about $125. However I would not be able to add / delete strands like I could with 30 AWG magnet wire.

Also of interest is their .99999 28 AWG Silver wire at $119 / 25 ft.

Contrasting that against the $4 DIY speaker wire I am using which works better with my 240 / Gallo combo than my MIT Shotgun 2's which were a bit more retail. I suppose I could find OFC magnet wire someplace else if I took the time to look.

Not sure I want to go there.

Thanks for the additional info Rick.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1964
Registered: May-06
Nuck me lad, it is once again safe (well in your case that may be subjective, but for the dogs anyway) to navigate in and out of my room without my speaker wire wrapping around your foot and ankles like seaweed. I have shortened the runs and bonded he ultra thin and wide wires to the not as thin and not as wide wires.

Don't question this anyone it makes perfect sense to Nuck and my dogs ain't talkin'.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 9622
Registered: Feb-05
No Q's here dawg...lol!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 106
Registered: Mar-08
Michael - The picture at VHAudio was just a cable geometry I was thinking of trying as a DIY with 30 AWG mag wire. I know you are just using a small number of parallel runs in packing tape.

So you are saying you like the MITs for ICs better but still have the mag wire for speaker cable? Did you notice any difference in the response characteristic with Nuck in or out of the mag wire? Sounds like it might have been 'off' at some point going to 'on' sometime afterwards.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 570
Registered: Jul-07
Rick, what are you using for wire between your Oppo and the VDA-2 ?
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 107
Registered: Mar-08
Hi Chris - right now I'm using a Straight Wire - Silver Link II cable. http://www.straightwire.com/video.html .

However, I've got a Neotech NEVD-2001 cable on order that should show up soon. http://www.neotechcable.com/video_PSU.htm
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 572
Registered: Jul-07
Let me know how that works out. I was using a Zu cable that I really liked. My VDA-2 is on vacation right now, but I'm sure I'll get it back in business again soon.....probably when I get my Apple TV.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1971
Registered: May-06
Rick, I may need you to ask your question again but I will answer the best I can from I have drawn from above.

With my MC-7300 300+ wpc the mag wire was stifling the presentation. I swapped into the MIT Shotgun 2 speaker wire. Viola'!

With my change out to a pair of MC-240 (running as mono-blocks) at 80+ wpc JV suggested trying the mag wire again. They had a better sense of pace and timing however not quite the mid-range warmth of the MITs. Some might say that the MIT Shotgun 2s were darker.

I do not have the background to discern that one configuration and gauge is better suited for a higher output amp versus another and visa-versa but that is along the lines of my experience.

I have since moved the Shotgun 2s to the Gallo sub-amp in place of the Goertz much to my audio delight.

If I missed the target with my response please try asking again.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 108
Registered: Mar-08
Chis - the new co-ax cable's due about mid-June. I'll let you know how it goes. I've heard Nuck say he liked Zu cables. I think I'm gonna have to find some locals who like to sit down and listen to cables over scotch so I'm not the only one speculating about how they sound.

Michael - I can't say my background does much more than help me quantify better how little I know. It's easy to have opinions with little or no experience which is more or less where I'm at. I think I understand your response now - I missed the change in the amps. What I was really asking was whether the dogs (or Nuck) ended up pulling the wires off one end or the other. Answer not important - but I can somehow picture the entire episode. Sounded like a fun evening.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12465
Registered: Dec-04
In fact, we did do a repair on one speaker cable at some point. The diy cables are effective, but would be happiest if left alone.
If not 'esoteric' is appearance, then slightly 'fragile' in implementation perhaps.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1137
Registered: Dec-06
Mike, I am using the WM extension cord for speaker runs with the 7300 now. Are you suggesting otherwise?

Also, I still have to make another run of the mag ic's to complete things out. The rig sounds better with the mag from cd to pre than the Dareds. Just need one more run from pre to amp.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12472
Registered: Dec-04
Stryvn, I am still using the WM cord as well, and had an issue with one run, had to shorten and reconnect, had some internal issue.
While ok, I think some better speaker runs are in order. The 6moons that started the project was intended for the Zigmahornets, and I thing that project worked better than what I have now.
If you can keep the magwire speaker runs out of the way, you might really like them.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 109
Registered: Mar-08
Michael, were you playing the two different amps at about the same volume (as perceived by your ears)? .
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12474
Registered: Dec-04
Rick, it's just a guess till I get to hear Mike's new tube setup, but I have to think that the volumes are equal. The 7300 didn't need to touch 30w on the meters to be very effective, and the 240's are right at home doing that kind of power with the 6550 output tubes.

That's my guess, lets get the verdict.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12475
Registered: Dec-04
Also keep in mind that Mike's speakers have a seperate bass amp for the 2nd set of voice coils in the woofers, driving the lowest bass that the Mac might not be comfortable delivering.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13645
Registered: May-04
.

As a general rule I would not pair the magnet wire with certain speakers unless you went to the 18 AWG wire as a minimum guage.

Consider the output impedance of your amplifier and if it falls below 0.1 Ohm nominal, then the amplfier will not be very reactive with the speaker load. The higher the output impedance of the amplifier (or source/preamp if you're building ic's), the more reactive the amplifier will be to load variations. Certainly what frequency variation there will be will amount to far less than your room introduces to the system. The idea though is to minimize any frequency response errors we can control.

Keep in mind amplifier output impedance varies with frequency (just as it does with a speaker's load) and there will undoubtedly be higher impedance at the frequency limits which might be sufficient to cause errors in those regions making the system sound thin as impedance rises and the amplifier delivers less power into the higher impedance load.

The higher the output impedance from the source (the amp in this case) the more reactive it will be to a similarly reactive speaker load. Those of you with transformer coupled amplifiers should be very careful about any additional impedance you place in the amplifier/speaker circuit. Transistor amplifiers tend to boast direct coupled outputs (no transformer/autoformer in between the output transistors and the speaker outputs) which gives them much lower output impedance and assures their flat response into varying speaker loads (the ability to deliver voltage/current to drive the speaker is another matter).

More than even the amplifier's spec for output impedance consider the load your speakers present to the amplifier. You want this impedance curve to be as flat as possible and relatively high in its nominal value. If the speakers are more than a bit reactive, swinging between four Ohms or less and rising above fifteen Ohms for more than a short span of frequencies, then you need to minimize the impedance of the cable to minimize the reactance of the system.

This is essentially what Ohm's Law will tell us and it is a good predictor of just how much interaction between amplifier frequency response and speaker impedance load will exist and at what frequencies.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ohm's+law


Providing more conductor (lowering the guage) in the cable will lower the impedance of the load as will shortening the length of the cable. IMO the magnet wire works best with simple loads and short runs. In the case of MW's and my amplifiers (which both use 6L6's and not 6550's), we have mono amplifiers that are sited near the speakers. I have single drivers without any crossover filters to swing the impedance (which means my speakers vary in impedance up and down by no more than probably a few tenths of an Ohm at worst) and MW has relatively flat impedance speakers also. (Also keep in mind the speaker system's impedance will vary somewhat as the components, particularly the voice coils of the drivers, heat up during use and change the real world impedance of the system.) Both flat, high (around eight Ohms for a solid state amplifier) speaker load impedance and short cable runs will miminimze the interaction of the cable within the circuit of amp/speaker. The further your system strays from those ideals the more conductor guage you will require.

The magnet wire is certainly cheap enough to try all three guages supplied in the RS package. If your speakers tend toward the reactive side of things, then I wouldn't even bother with the thinner guages and go straight to the 18 AWG and possibly a double run of that if you need to minimize the cable impedance further.

When you build the cables, twisting conductors together does nothing to alter the total resistance of the cable but increases capacitance somewhat and raises inductance less and this results in a higher impedance cable (impedance being a combination of resistance, inductance and capacitance at any frequency). Widely spacing the conductors (4-6") will minimize capacitance while also minimizing inductance providing a lower overal impedance to the cable.

Closely spacing the conductors in parallel runs will add inductance. Standard zip cord (lamp cord) has a relatively high inductance vs its resistance and capacitance when compared to a similar guage of twisted pair cables. Such construction, closely spaced parallel runs, mimicks 300 Ohm antenna lead and you should be able to imagine what problems might exist in that arrangement and those problems only increase as the cable ends oxidize and begin to act as diodes at their terminations.

Think crystal radio set. (How many of you built a crystal radio when you were a kid? How many of you know what a crystal radio is? http://scitoys.com/scitoys/scitoys/radio/radio.html)

However, years ago - long before specialty cables even existed - more than a few people used 300 Ohm flat antenna lead as speaker runs and claimed good success with such a simple, thin guage cable. Speakers were quite different then. (And not to be completely discounted were the users who never threw anything away because they knew they would eventually have a use for it and they had a chunk of twin lead antenna cable laying around after they'd put up their rooftop antenna.)

My advice would be to keep your runs short, widely space the conductors and have speakers that are as flat in their impedance swings as possible. And, if you don't like the magnet wire as speaker cable, go on to something else.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2616
Registered: Feb-07
"My advice would be to keep your runs short". How short Jan?

This is gonna sound like a stupid question, but is a couple of feet per side going to make any difference? Am I going to degrade my sound quality running 10 foot leads vs. 8 foot?
 

Silver Member
Username: Soundgame

Richmond Hill Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 786
Registered: Jun-08
My short answer Dave is nope, unless you've got ears like your dog.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13649
Registered: May-04
.

The best answer is "as short as possible". Don't create a safety hazard for the sake of a shorter cable.

A few feet of cable will not make as much difference as the impedance of either the amplifier or the speakers.

.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_r

Tucson, AZ USA

Post Number: 110
Registered: Mar-08
Here I can quantify a little. Let's ignore capacitance and inductance for now.

The DC resistance of a round wire in ohms/meter is R'=1/(cross section of wire * conductivity of metal). Using 5.8x10^7 mhos/meter for conductivity of OFC copper, consider 12 AWG which has a radius of 1 mm, you get R'=1/(PI*(0.001)^2 * 5.8x10^7) = 0.004132 ohms/meter. If your cables are 3 meters, that's 6 meters of wire (round trip) or 0.03126 ohms. If your speakers are nominally 8 ohms with say a minimum impedance at some frequency of 7 ohms, the output voltage at the speaker is going to be 7/(7+0.031) % or 99.55% of input to the cable. Power attenuation due to the cable would be 20log10 of this or about -0.039 dB.

Now look at the numbers for a 3 meter cable at different gauges:

AWG Ohms
30 2.0313
29 1.6109
28 1.2775
27 1.0131
26 0.8034
25 0.6371
24 0.5052
23 0.4007
22 0.3177
21 0.2520
20 0.1998
19 0.1584
18 0.1256
17 0.0996
16 0.0790
15 0.0626
14 0.0497
13 0.0394
12 0.0312

For example with 30 AWG (one strand), the cable is going to be 2.03 ohms. Now the output voltage at the speaker is going to be 7/(7+2.03) = 77.5% of input. Power attentuation due to the cable would be -2.21 dB

Just from a power attenuation perspective (which is all the resistance is going to do at low frequences), you probably want to keep the resistance well below 5% of the speaker minimum impedance.

So it's not just the length, the effective gauge of the conductor determines the resistance per length that is multiplied by whatever length you have. 30 AWG is fine provided you parallel enough of them so that the effective gauge is larger. Every time you double the # of wires, you increase the gauge by 3 AWG roughly. So 2 x 30 AWG = 27 AWG, 4x 30 AWG = 24 AWG, 64x30 AWG = 12 AWG.

Assuming an 8 ohm load and the 5% criteria and a 3 meter cable, that would say don't go over about 0.4 ohms or probably stick with 14 effective AWG or larger - especially for a bass speaker. There are possibly reasons to use (multiple) small gauge wires in speaker cables, but keeping the DC resistance down to an acceptable level is probably an initial starting point.

I can talk more to impedances above DC if anyone's interested.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1992
Registered: May-06
Rick, I had lost track of this thread for a bit and I was very interested in both JV's and your most recent posts.

I agree that the "bundling" by twisting a couple of gauges together does lower the resistence, not by your calculations which I am not questioning, but by what I heard when I did that. I have a twisted pair or 18 gauge Manget run in parallel along with a 28 gauge twisted pair, one magnet wire and one .9999 silver wire. These two pairs are separated much like JV describes above, 2" - 4" apart using packing tape, then each of my wire pairs are connected together at the terminals at both ends of the runs.

Now going back to the question Rick posted earlier;

Michael, were you playing the two different amps at about the same volume (as perceived by your ears)? .

There is no simple answer here. My room is better suited for volume now so it is no longer an apples to apples comparison. I am demoing some ASC bass traps which have effectively improved the output efficiency of my amps. I hear more now with less volume.

There were other things I have done in the past that have netted me similar results, such as building butcher block stands under my speakers, isolation and dampening of my pre-amp, Peter Belt practices, and working on my room acoustics in general.

So the net is I can get very clear loud enough volume at 3 watts and very clear very loud volume at 30 watts.}
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