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Do speaker cables actually make a difference .

 

whatzisnem
do speaker cables actually make a difference after a certain level? are all those exotic materials and tech really one great con aided by brilliant marketing and ad hungry hifi magazines??
i have a modest stereo set up (total value $1500). i'm using cheapo no name 24 strand copper cable for speaker connections.i have had no problem with the sound quality. should i go for a entry level branded cable? please advice.
 

Berny
whatzisnem,
check out the argument below regarding thx cables. There are some links that I posted on there that makes for good reading.
With regard to your speaker cable, just use 12 or 14 gauge wire and you will be fine.
cheers
*flame on!
 

New member
Username: Sometimesuk

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2004
If any one still reads this as the last post was in Oct 2003, From personal experience hifi cables DO MAKE A DIFFERRENCE. I Bought a Nordost Blue heaven interconnect and am about to purchease nordost solar wind speaker cables.

i have read and heard many people say that there is no measurable differrence between cables, all i can say is that have the people actually done listening tests?

Many people buy interconnects and hifi cables i can not believe that if they make no differrence so many people have been done.

From my experince my interconnect makes the sound clearer and more detailed, taking it out and replacing it makes the system sound contrained.

As a general rule spend about 10% of your system cost, or if your like me buy the best you can afford so that when you upgrade your cables are upto the job.

A good hifi dealer should let you borrow the cables to use at home or do a demonstration. If you dont notice the differrence dont bother buying the cable. At first the effects of the cable were not night and day, but now am fimilair with the systems sound i can tell stright away if i take the cables out
 

New member
Username: Lx50373

Post Number: 6
Registered: 01-2004
Dont use any thing more exspensive than what the manufacturer used in the equipment you have. So if you look inside one of your speakers and see 14 or 16 ga. copper wire, well you have your answer!!!
Unless you like the look of a certain cable then in that case the sky is the limit or rather you'r wallet.
 

New member
Username: Sbull

Post Number: 8
Registered: 02-2004
Mike Skelton:
I understand your last post to a certain degree, but if you open up your speaker and find 18 or 20 ga. wire, I wouldn't recommend using that for long cable runs, as it may affect the impedance your amp is looking at.
I'm not advocating or opposing audiophile-grade cables, but at least run a heavy gauge w/good connectors.
 

Unregistered guest
"As a general rule spend about 10% of your system cost, or if your like me buy the best you can afford so that when you upgrade your cables are upto the job."

Any good, shielded RCA cable will do. Even then, I can't tell the difference between a thick coax RCA cable and a smaller RCA patch cable (that sometimes comes with your DVD player).

People hear a difference because they just spent $40 on a cable and they expect to hear a difference.

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, invest it in better speakers, which really do make a difference.

Also, I think suggesting a percentage of your budget to spend on cables and wire is a bad idea.
 

New member
Username: Sometimesuk

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2004
I totally disagree with the last comment. I buy interconnects / speaker cable, becuase i can hear a differrence.

Granted on budget systems the differrence may not be that noticable, but even then cables do make a differrence.

One comment about not buying cables more exspensive that what they used in the equipment,, that doesnt really answer the question about whether cables do make a differrence.

Ok, if you have got a significant amount of money to spend, i too would spend it on more exspensive components, as these will make more of a differrence, particularly speakers. Any way am getting my speaker cables on friday, once they are broken in i'll let you know what i think.
 

HiFiNut
Unregistered guest
Shootout: 13 Interconnects from $122 to $250

http://www.audience-av.com/REVIEW_985.pdf

Check it out and draw your own conclusions.
 

Unregistered guest
"once they are broken in i'll let you know what i think."

This statement destroys any credibility you had in your argument. Please educate yourself and stop buying into propoganda:

http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/interconnects/Cable-Breakin. html
 

New member
Username: Sometimesuk

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
First think the two links posted where good and interesting, thanks for that.

Second, My argumnet for the cables needing breaking in, was based on a work collegue who is very much into music and hifi, pucheasing the same speaker cables i am about to buy.

Before he bought them he auditioned the cables at home for a while, and found that when he had the new cables at first he was disapointed, after about 80 hours or so of listening to music, he found that the cables sounded a lot better.

the article you linked me to, suggests this is physcological, which may be right, however it also says " "Break In" is not a proven audible or measurable phenomenon", well its not disproved.

Whether it is all in the mind, i dont know, i'll soon find out. But many differrent people / manufactures suggest it, and what benfit do they gain from saying they will sound better over time?

Change the subject a bit, proberly i should go into another forum, Do any of you have Dynaudio Contour 1.3S.E or wilson Benesh arc's?, thinking of upgrading
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 213
Registered: 12-2003
If you take cables for home evaluation, and believe they can take up to 80 hrs to "break in", you are going to spend more time evaluating than listening. And do you, or does your dealer, know whether the cables are already "broken in"? This seems completely mad. Cables are passive electrical conductors. What they are made of, and how long and thick they are, are all there is to it.

Nice link, Nathan. Great story there about a Quad show demo using the power cable of a hedge trimmer. Made of copper, nice and thick. Wonder if trimming hedges counts as "breaking in"....
 

Bronze Member
Username: Heff

Post Number: 56
Registered: 12-2003
Roger Russell has an article about speaker wire that's a good read.

Check it out!

---> http://home.earthlink.net/~rogerr7/wire.htm
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 216
Registered: 12-2003
Heff,

Excellent link. That is how it is.

There is also a thread here Receiver Connection Questions.
 

New member
Username: Gtk

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
try before you buy, my friend bought nordost solar wind speaker cable and for some reason they hated his hifi?? we tried them on mine and the difference was instant! miles better, so we swopped even though his cost 40 pound more for some reason my chord company cables suited his system miles better.
 

New member
Username: Sometimesuk

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2004
its nice to hear that someone has solar wind cables. If am sensible i should try the cables first, but i already have a blue heaven interconnect and i like it, besides the bristol hifi shows tommorow and they got a special offer on.

One question, what equipment do you own. I'll tell you mine, but i have to say really the cables are too exspensive for the system, but i want to take the cables with me when i upgrade.

I have a Musical Fidelity A3 CD player and intergrated amp, and Dynaudio Audience 52 Speakers on attacamma stands, which really need to be upgraded to Partingon stands. When i upgrade i want to spend about £1200 - 1500(Pounds, live in the UK) on each component, i'll have to audition equipment at the time. anyway, am getting the cables tommorow anyway.


 

dale miller
Unregistered guest
I work at Frank Harvey hifi in coventry and we use nordost cable heavily on our display equipment rooms. We originally auditioned all the nordost interconnects on Musical Fidelity A3.2 cd player & A3.2 amp, using Dynaudio Contour 1.8 speakers using the nordost valhalla referance speaker cable.

We were all able to hear the improvement in every interconnect we tried, even up to a £2500 Valhalla interconnect.

we also tried the pulsar isolation points, anti static spray and mains leads from nordost and received great audible improvements

we also found that nordost cables are better value and more consistent than QED, Chord and Van Den Hull

Enjoy the Bristol Show Mike, we will be there too on the sunday with a load of our customers :-)

do a search for Hifix under google in about 1 month to find our website (currently under construction) we will be selling nordost cables mail order amongst other things
 

Bronze Member
Username: Tonytiger

Post Number: 24
Registered: 02-2004
check this thread as well:
https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/accessories/6238.html
 

New member
Username: Sometimesuk

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2004
dale, i really enjoyed the hifi show, bought my cables, first impressions an improvement in the treble, see if they get any better once broken in.

Show was great, just left me with a few problems. First thing i want a pair of JMlab Diva Utopia Be - they sounded really good. lol, well i can dream.

On the serious side, I am seriously considering buying a michlle gyrodec, as my new source instead of a cd player. I would also like to upgrade to AVI lab series intergrated amp. Need some adive though, currently i have dyanudio audience 52's. I would have like to upgraded to the countors 1.3s, the problem is, they are discontinuted, Of course i'll audition equipment before i buy, but should i buy the 52S.E, that is meant to replace the 1.3, or save up another grand and get the Contour 1.4, how much of a differrence is there. Or i could pick up an exdem or second hand pair of 1.3's for about 700 - 800, Not sure what would be best, any ideas?



 

vivi
Unregistered guest
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/interconnects/SpeakerCableFa ceoff.htm
 

Robert Jenks
Unregistered guest
Does anyone out there actually believe speaker wire needs a braking in period??? The notion of "breaking in a piece of wire" is ludicrous. Sound is a signal (current) that passes through the wire--an exchange of electrons if you will. This implies that the wire initially contains "bad electrons" that are eventually replaced with "good ones" over time. Come on guys, electrons are just that---electrons. If someone out there actually knows any bad electrons, the ones that hang out in new speaker wire please let me know.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 261
Registered: 12-2003
Robert,

Totally agree. See Feb 18. Instead of breaking in the cable with speakers, use it as the power cord for a hedge trimmer or similar. It doesn't take as long.....
 

Unregistered guest
I'm no expert in the theory of cables, but can relate my experience.
I bought some new 3 metre pure silver speaker cables and connected them to my system. When I first played music through them, the sound was dreadful, all the timing was wrong.
I immediately turned off the system to check which of the cables was wrongly connected. None were, they were all ok.
So without having changed anything I turned on again and after a few minutes realised that things were improving - so I left music playing and left the room for 10 minutes.
When I returned, the sound had settled down, timing was right, and there was a great improvement in detail over my previous copper cable.
I can confirm that the improvements continued but cannot say why.
Therefore my conclusion is that -
yes, speaker cables make a difference
yes, speaker cables do need to run in.
You can quote all the theory you like, but that was my experience. After all, the world was flat in theory until - well, you know the rest. . .
 

New member
Username: N2audio

Lawrence, Ks USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-04
All I can say is Psycoacoustics is a STRANGE thing.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 296
Registered: Dec-03
Justin, Agreed. But it is the "psycho-" that is stranger than the "-acoustics". People certainly need warming up and breaking in, I think we can all agree on that.
 

j.j.
Unregistered guest
Psychoacoustics agreed.
Stating terms such as "sound settled down, timing became right, greater detail" is a lot of babble.
People hear what they want to hear or what is suggested to them. Go to a BOSE dealer and during their presentation you'll hear them use phrases such as "listen to the crispness of the highs. now, listen to the lows. now, listen to the detail." The longer you listen to a source (as long as there is no audible distortion) you will get used to it and it will sound "good" to you.
ONLY, only when you can do an A-B comparison can your ears tell you the truth and give you a preference. That's why when auditioning loud speakers comparisons and preferences are easily made. Auditioning speaker cables in an A-B setting is rarely if never done because no one can hear differences because there are none. Fancy cable sellers rely on the "our cable only" listening conditions where they can tell you what your hearing (i.e. pshchoacoustics).
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 299
Registered: Dec-03
j.j. Yes! Then there is auto-suggestion, when you imagine things yourself. Like on the basis of what you have read somewhere. Like here. The way to test a system, or a component of it, is to do A-B, just as you say, and then, always choose a familiar source, such as your favourite CD or DVD. Listen to A, and B, and see if you hear anything new. It helps if you have the rest of the system you are used to, for reference. Always take your own disc to a dealer for any demo there. Home trial is the best, if you can get it. blaster - after you began to like the sound with the silver cables, did you try the old copper ones again, just to be sure? Did you get a friend to change the cables from silver to copper and back, without telling you which was which, so you could make a "blind" comparison? I know I am crazy, too. My wife prefers the look of speakers with covers on. I say the covers absorb some treble: it stands to reason. My wife maintains I cannot tell the difference between speaker covers on and off. I say I can. We occasionally try this out. We seem to be both right, half the time! When I see the bare speaker drivers, it feels to me like I am getting more detail in the sound. If I listen in the dark, to check, I hear more of the music anyway, and decide music sounds better with the lights off. It does. Strange business!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Avman

Kansas City, MO US

Post Number: 22
Registered: Mar-04
Read This



Speaker Cable Make a Defferents BECAUSE!!!!


when you run current of freqencys through a Cable lots of things happen.
First thing first Lower sounds run through the middle where the wires or in the biggest form, and higher sounds run on the out side edges on the wire, and the higher freqencys will also travel 3 to 4 time fister through the cable then bass.

so an higher in cable will do two thing, one will have lower gauged cable in the middle for better bass and and higher gauged for the outer edge for better trible, and they will twist the small cables around the center so that no matter what the trible and the bass get to the same point at the same time,

this is called time corrected.

Then current running through a cable creates a magnetic feild in the center that will create a type of road block in the wire for the signal, some companys will put a piece of plastic down the middle of the wire to break this up so that the magnetic field will not enterupt the signal.

This is called a flex tube.

Next you will see a hug jacket over the wire this is a sheild for RF noise so that nothing will inter the signal and create noise such as CB radios, power cables, and even vibration from your sub.

This is called sheilding.

Finally some times you will see the + and - wire twist around each other this also get rid of noise in the signal.

This is called noise canceling.

so after reading all this make up your own mind.

I could be a damn good lier or these are all facts you be the judge.
 

Silver Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 315
Registered: Dec-03
WOW...what was that about???
Was that some sort of test?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Buckeyeshine

Post Number: 30
Registered: Feb-04
Berny...lmao!

I like the advice on Axiom's site. I think he offers very practical advice...

http://www.axiomaudio.com/archives/cable.html

Here's another good one on speaker cables...

http://home.earthlink.net/~rogerr7/wire.htm

Incidentally, I ended up getting Audioquest GR8 speaker cables for my Center and Fronts because I found a good deal on a set. I think you can get some benefits by stepping up a bit on speaker cables but imho, you quickly get to a point of diminishing returns with speaker cables.

I'm sorry Gabriel...while some of your definitions are accurate I ain't buying it. This sounds like the marketing hype Monster puts out.

I am not knocking Monster's cables, I believe they have some good products. I just think they overstate things without offering any technical specs. to support their claims.

I ended up buying Audioquest for my componnet video cables too because they provided actual information on their cables. I looked everywhere for some technical info on Monster to help w/ my comparisons to no avail.

When Monster posts some specs. on their website for their cables I will consider them in the future again. You get no more info there than the worthless info they put on their packaging. Sad.

They can continue to sell to the un-educated mass market that flows through the retail chains and buys blindly but anybody who asks for my advice will be directed elsewhere.

I just hate to see people waste money and I know there are a lot of people out there wasting their money on marketing hype. I feel better now :0)
 

snubon
Unregistered guest
Just make sure there's enough copper to carry the signal. Beyond that, I think it depends on how good your ears are. I personally can't tell the difference with my setup.

16 gauge or lower for 50ft or less to speaker
14 gauge or lower for 100ft or less .. and so on.
 

Unregistered guest
Gabriel said:

"when you run current of freqencys through a Cable lots of things happen.
First thing first Lower sounds run through the middle where the wires or in the biggest form, and higher sounds run on the out side edges on the wire, and the higher freqencys will also travel 3 to 4 time fister through the cable then bass."

Gabriel, if this was true (which it's not), are you saying your ears could detect that the treble is reaching your ears before the bass?

The electric signal is travelling on the order of the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), but actually less than that because of resistence. For the sake of argument, let's say your theory is true and that the bass takes four times as long as the treble to travel through the speaker wire.

For a length of wire of 25 ft., the treble would reach your ear .00000008 seconds before the bass.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 352
Registered: Dec-03
...during which time, sound travels 24 micrometers, or a little less than one thousandth of an inch.

That is much less than the tolerance of tweeter position relative the bass/midrange driver in an electromagnetic speaker.

And, at 1 kHz, it is about one twelfth of a wavelength.

Even with speakers positioned to that accuracy, which is absurd, no-one could keep his/her head in the right position to hear that difference. Or sufficiently still.

Excellent, Nathan!
 

john m
Unregistered guest
In addition to Nathan and John A.,
If a cable was built so precise that it corrected this timing issue, it would have to be a set length and could not be cut to size as needed.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 356
Registered: Dec-03
john,

Correct. Simple. Well done.

There are some useful links in the thread Cables.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 29
Registered: Dec-03
I have heard (and seen) differences with speaker cables, video cables, and interconnects. I have used Straight Wire, Nordost, Monster, AudioQuest, radio Shack and Wireworld. My conclusions are:

1. More expensive doesn't always mean better

2. Stranded speaker wire (regardless of gague) doesn't always sound better.

3. Most people here will regurguitate something that they read somewhere else and don't have (or will ever have) any first hand knowledge on the subject. The fact is that nobody can prove or disprove any cable theory. (Hell, they can't even figure out if the Atkins diet is good for you and I guarentee more scientists are looking at that subject.)

The most important thing is to decide what you want to pay, do research, ask questions, and listen. I did and I have made the right choices for my setup.

 

CableReptile
Unregistered guest
Here are some interesting claims from cable manufacturers. All have a unique way of making their cables sonically superior to others. Anyone tested their cables? Did they actually give you an improved sound?:

Alpha Core claims that their flat Goertz MI Speaker Cable has the lowest inductance in the business and therefore is better than conventional cables.
http://www.analysis-plus.com/Pages/report981.htm
http://www.analysis-plus.com/Pages/sound20k.htm

SlinkyLinks' ultra-fine silver, air-dielectric, near zero metal content, and point-contact terminations make for the ultimate audio conductor, so they claim:
http://www.slinkylinks.net/index_flash.html
 

A-K-H
Unregistered guest
Recently in HiFi News it was admitted that Quad used orange hedge trimmer cable to wire up a set of speakers at a recent HiFi show. No one noticed. Go figure.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Lockaudio801

Post Number: 52
Registered: Apr-04
whatzisnem,

Good question. Now lemme give you a few, Are all people alike? Are all cars alike? Are all watches alike? Are all cables alike? The answer is the same as anything else THEY ARE NOT ALIKE. Difference in construction,sound,price etc. The argument will go on and on.

You have a very valid question as you mature in this hobby you will realise by your own experience where the truth lies. Everyone has motive to endorse a particular school of thought regarding this matter. My advise to you is to discover the truth by yourself. In your quest by simply conducting actual listening test on your own system a particular cable will stand out regardless of it's costs then you are not very far from the truth. You are now a level up for your ears have managed to tell the difference on how each cable performs on your system.

As in all things the thirst for total satisfaction will never end. There will come a time you will continue to try other cables to see if they can sound better than the one you already have and enjoy. Once you stop enjoying the cables you are using is sign for you to begin to explore if other components in your system has already reached it's time for upgrading.

Contrary to what many will believe your cables whatever they may be will be and must be your constant partner in your journey to high fidelity. Remember that those wires and interconnects are the soul and blood of any system the earlier you can identify what suits you the most the better off you would be in this roller coaster ride of audiophilia.

Trust your God given faculties is what I say if you hear the difference then you have arrived as I have, we only came on separate flights!

Enjoy the music!
 

Tinu Patel
Unregistered guest
Ok for those of you here's are the requirements in order to hear a difference that is not based on a placebo effect. First the amplifier must be of high quality. In fact no ordinary receiver will do. Usually one that can output to 4 speakers in parallel instead of a series setup is closer to hi fi. Now I trust Nakamichi at its lowest in terms of this quality as well as Onkyo in the higher ups. Two, you need to have speakers that are designed for maximum control and not designed to resonate. For example some speakers are just designed to go out of control in certain bass frequency while others maintain control. Second the best way to test is to create the worst possible condition. I would use 24 guage speaker cable single strand. This is the worst you could use. Listen to on a piece of music that has very low bass frequencies (in the 10Hz to 15Hz) and with someone singing. Remember to crank up the volume. I guarantee that as you crank up the volume, the voice of the person literally breaks up into pieces you could barely make out the words. Now increase you cable thickness and watch the bass become tighter (you might think it actually dropped in a placebo effect). I know for a fact this is true. Just for those hifi guys, my test system is nakamichi av-10 with Martin logan woofers. I determined later that the amplifier was out of control with the martins and later purchased a sunfire 325 watter stereo. This AMP is the king of control and sound. I don't think there is another amplifier out there than can sound any better except for some high end vacuum tubes costing about 4-5 times as much. For me the only benefit of having better speaker cables is more control over the base which results in clear mids. The high frequencies are also cleaned up because the control of bass which lets the listener focus on the entire sound spectrum.
 

GW
Unregistered guest
Hello! Just wandered in following a thread about speaker wire opinions. Quite a wide variety of knowledge levels here from beginner to audiophile. Just thought I'd make a few comments.
Wire does make a difference. In some cases minor, in others very drastic. The reason for this is more simple than most people realize. There is a lot of good science in better designed cable, but the resulting sound depends on what comes before and after it in the playback chain. The standard performance of amplifiers is geared around an 8 ohm purely reistive load. Change that and the amplifier performance changes. Speakers are not an 8 ohm purely resistive load. They are a highly complex loads that vary drastically, (in some cases below 1/2 ohm). The variable you add to bridge these two is the cable. Depending on how the cable design interacts you can have a nightmare or a "magical" combination (regardless of price).
And to clarify another point of naysayers. Break in time. Real? Of course. Electronics manufacturers break in a circuit. It's called burning in. Guess what? An audio system is a circuit. Change a component or wire, you change the sound and the sound will in fact change as the circuit burns in. Measureably. Is it really the cable you're breaking in? No. It's how those components on either side see each other. That's why it's called a system.
I know this is simplistic, but thought it might at least prove helpful.
 

Andy Goodman
Unregistered guest
This is a great debate and there will be no winner because both sides of the wire issue can manipulate science to make compelling points. Also, you can't change someone's mind who feels that they heard a difference. I have perhaps a little different perspective, I have upgraded my equipment to the point that it doesn't make sense to make any more major investments/changes. However, I love the thrill of the purchase and frequenting AV dealers. The cable/wire upgrade is a seductive thing, the promise of improvement from an interconnect is relatively more reasonable to purchase, for instance, than buying a new amp. We are all vulnerable, just like when you purchase that first quality car. You pull up to the gas station and get the high test gas when you always used to get the regular and drive off feeling the difference in performance, whether it is truly there or not. Here is what I believe to be true, cables are a major profit center for dealers and are sold and marketed to give the appearance that they provide a broader influence on your system than scientifically possible. An engineer at Sonic Frontiers flat out told me that a cable/wire is meant get sound from point A to B and the simpler the design the better. This is coming from a guy whose company depends on dealers who sell his Anthem equipment and thrive on cables. Regardless, I do feel that well constructed/shielded cables that look nice give me satisfaction and perhaps in some way do my system justice to some degree. I can't lie to myself enough to convince myself that exotic megabuck cables will provide the kind of advertised improvement. Nor do I believe that "tighter bass, clearer mid range, better extension" are properties that can be heard from one cable to another. The placebo effect is strong my friends, be honest with yourselves, the dealers are making a killing on these things. My advice is to bite the bullet and spend the 10% of your system on the prettiest cables you can find
and go home and enjoy. If someone can convince me that spending more than that on cable/wire can make my system even better, I am open to it because I am dying for another upgrade.
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