Like

Speaker cables: Adding fat to the fire?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Jim_mcbob

Post Number: 52
Registered: Nov-04
This, from Roger Russel, formerly of AR and McIntosh:

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

Money quote: "It can be solid, stranded, copper, oxygen free copper, silver, etc.--or even "magic" wire--as long as the resistance is kept to be less than 5% of the speaker impedance. There is no listening difference as long as the wire is of adequate size."

Also:

"I credit the success of the speaker wire industry to their expert sales and marketing ability. However, it is my experience that ordinary copper wire, as long as it's heavy enough, is just as good as name brands.

"Looking at this from a different perspective, there will always be those who will want expensive wire, not because there is an audible difference, but because they may value pride of ownership and prestige in a similar way to that of owning a Tiffany lamp or a Rolex watch."

Annnnnnnd:

(Russell, quoting from a magazine review)
"What also emerged, though, was that there was no clear winner among the audiophile cables. Rather, I learned that one worked better with solid state equipment, another with tubes. One was outstanding with digital sources but not with turntables.'


"The author has made the faulty assumption that all wire can have an influence on the sound, no matter where it is used in the system and including the house wiring. It is difficult to understand why the relatively short lengths of internal house wiring can make a difference, when the "ordinary" wire in the power lines, right through the distribution transformer in the back yard and stretching for miles and miles to the generating station, does not influence the sound. This reminds me of the comparison with speaker wire where the voice coil wire is ordinary copper wire that is far longer than the wires from the amplifier to the speakers.


"The author has cleverly used words such as "detailed", "open" and "dynamic" to describe the sound. These are not measurable quantities. However, dynamic could be interpreted as a higher peak power. But in the article, all the components remained on the same line except the CD player. This eliminates the possibility of any listening differences for the power amplifier and other components in the system."
 

New member
Username: Blasterman

Post Number: 7
Registered: Mar-05
I totally agree up to a point.

However, I've been able to verify and awknowledge rather obvious sonic differences when using really radically different speaker cable types. Solid core wire for example with 20' runs does something weird to the midrange of a really good speaker. I switched back to my generic 10gauge stranded and the midrange went back to normal. I put the solid core back on, and the midrange sounded weird again.

I still think pretty much all stranded speaker cable sounds the same, but there's something funny about that solid core. Note that most high end wire uses geometries of mostly solid core, I guess to simply sound different vs better and hence try to justify it's price.
 

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 430
Registered: Jan-05
Nice article.
 

mauimusicman
Unregistered guest
Tooooooooooooooo funny. "Formerly of AR and Macintosh" Those are some VERY old companies. Makes for some VERY old employee's.....which makes for some VERY old ears.......get my drift?
Hey, if you can hear the difference.....buy the cables. If not.......don't. Simple as that. But don't preach to us that there is no difference just because you can't hear it please?
Any of you taking Arnold's (California Governor) advice for body building these days?
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
> Any of you taking Arnold's (California Governor) advice for body building these days?

I'm curious, what's Arnie's advice?
 

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 449
Registered: Jan-05
Considering he's the greatest of all time, I'd probably recommend taking his advice. Of course, he did 'roids, but it was legal back then.

Heh.....
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jim_mcbob

Post Number: 54
Registered: Nov-04
Maui, your 'drift' is away from reality, no? I am not preaching, just posting an expert's advice.

I thought experience was supposed to make one the wiser. Russel didn't just start in with his research this year; it's the result of a lifetime of research. But he's wrong and you're right: wire is a magic substance; your experience trumps his.
 

mauimusicman
Unregistered guest
Jim-Bob, "Expert"? Ok...whatever. Believe him if you want. I couldn't care less. I hear differences. THOUSANDS if not hundreds of thousands of people do. He can't. But we are all hearing things....and he's right. Feel better? Move on.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Gas_wyoming

Cody, WY

Post Number: 15
Registered: Mar-05
Just got a better receiver for the HT system. Since I have a ton of solid core 10 guage (building a house), I'm going to try the 'mid-range experiment' with my setup. This topic has piqued my interest. Logically (sorry, but I can't help trying to apply logic to subjective topics) it makes no sense that any signal would be lost or gained by the type of wire - braided vs. solid core - transmitting the electrons.

Another thought that occurred to me - if the midrange sounded 'weird' for solid core, and we all started out listening to speakers over braided wires, did those ealy experiences 'color' our hearing? We are a species who is easily conditioned to 'normalize deviations'. The blocking out of white noise around you right now is a prime example. Maybe the solid core is giving us more pure sound...it makes some sense (although an extremely small amount ) that electrons would flow more smoothly in a solid pipe than in a pipe that is made of many smaller pipes. However, 186,000 mi/s is pretty fast. Any thoughts? I know this topic has received a lot of posts in the past on this board...I'm just not completely 'up' on the bottom line. Educate me!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3400
Registered: May-04


"Logically (sorry, but I can't help trying to apply logic to subjective topics) it makes no sense that any signal would be lost or gained by the type of wire - braided vs. solid core - transmitting the electrons."

Logically, people once believed the Earth was the center of the Universe; you would fall of the edge if you went out too far and that Adolph H. was doing what was best for Germany. A lot of people died from those items of logic. Thankfully cables are not likely to bring that sort of reaction.

It is not our position to "educate" you, Gas. There are innumerable articles written on both sides of the argument. Instead of getting the Cliff notes version as presented by someone on this forum, if you really want to understand the issue of cables, you will be wiser after looking at a few ideas from the experts. And then, since experts with any logical opinion can be wrong, experiment for yourself.


http://sound.westhost.com/cables.htm


http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/165/index3.html



There are plenty of sources for seeing both sides of the argument. Search, read and then think!


 

mauimusicman
Unregistered guest
Jan.....great post.
http://www.flatearthsociety.com/
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3410
Registered: May-04


It is amazing those people have the courage to walk outside their own home; isn't it? Misplaced conviction is still conviction.


 

Bronze Member
Username: Gas_wyoming

Cody, WY

Post Number: 16
Registered: Mar-05
As a Geologist and Environmental Engineer, I am aware of the 'real' Flat Earth Society, not the band (but they look kind of cool to me!). I am also a member of the "Stop Continental Drift Society"...since 1983. We propose to stop continental drift by stimulating of the growth of Kimberlite pipes (like the diamond mines in Kimberly, South Africa) from the mantle up into the continental crust to further slow that 2-3 inches per year drift rate...we like the continents where they are today!

You see, we scientists have a sense of what is logical, but we also have a sense of humor about it. Most of the scientists left Germany before Adolf became a god in his own mind. Stop Continental Drift has some great T-shirts ;-)

Jan,
Despite your position not to educate me, I appreciate the posts and the links! I will get a little futher into it because cheap cables are hard to come by. In case you haven't noticed, most people who wander onto this board are looking for the Cliff notes version from you, Maui, Paul, Edster, etc. We know there are folks out there like you who already have considered both sides of the argument and have taken a position one way or the other. Your opinions are valuable...and quite intimidating when we think you have provided over 3400 posts to this website since May '04.

I'm starting to enjoy the banter on these subjects...it seems like everyone has been a little more civil the last couple of weeks. Keep on the tenure track guys! Thanks again!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Justme123

Post Number: 19
Registered: Mar-05
THIS is the ONLY thing you need to know about cables......period.

http://www.funpic.hu/files/pics/00022/00022656.wmv

CUT AND PASTE!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 659
Registered: Dec-03
In many speakers there are over 100 feet (often much more) of standard copper wire that is generally much thinner gauge. The odds that the 12-15 feet of 12-14 gauge coated copper wire you add is going to make the speaker sound worse (or better)doesn't pass an electrical engineering smell test. Or an ABX listening test for that matter.

And Roger Russell, an engineer who designed many of the McIntosh speakers, certainly has more qualifications on this subject than John Atkinson of Stereophile--plus has no axe to grind, unlike like Stereophile and other high-end mags and retailers.

The above said, if you have the money and feel like spending copious dollars on wire--go ahead.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 344
Registered: Feb-04
maui wrote:

Tooooooooooooooo funny. "Formerly of AR and Macintosh" Those are some VERY old companies. Makes for some VERY old employee's.....which makes for some VERY old ears.......get my drift?

"Expert"? Ok...whatever.

You ridicule the man and his long years of paid employment experience instead of arguing with the content of what he says (Ad hominen attack), and then in another thread we should be impressed by an M.Sc. who has worked on time-domain physics for 30 years.

You, sir, do not merit any more of my time.
 

mauimusicman
Unregistered guest
Peter, you saying that you cannot hear any differences between any cables? Speaker wires or interconnect cables? No matter what the cost? And you expect me or any other audiophile to take you seriously? Come on guy. Get real please? Let me make this easy for you. Take the interconnects that came with your cd player. Compare them to Signal Cables cheapest( $49.00). If you cannot hear a night and day difference, your ears are totally shot.
As far as ridicule goes....he WAS gainfully employed. I'll give you that. However, he was NOT gainfully employed doing time domain research and development. Roy Johnson(GMA) has spent his entire LIFE doing nothing BUT time domain math/research. It's a pretty specialized field, however that hasn't stopped you from ridiculing him and his work (even without any scientific/physics based proof). If you want a real opinion from a true amplifier guru, try asking Jeff Rowland of Rowland Research or the good folks at Edge Amplifiers. At very least they are up to date on the subject. Need phone numbers?
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 660
Registered: Dec-03
Siegfried Linkwitz knows plenty on this subject and since he sells his excellent speakers-particularly the "Orion" in kit and or finished form directly to customers, he has no apparent axe to grind on keeping cable and wire sellers happy or miserable. His site is one of the great ones on the internet for credible information.






Q37 - What cables and interconnects do you recommend?

A37 - I prefer not to recommend any specific product. Cables can have audible effects and some manufacturers make sure they will, either through unusual electrical parameters and/or by suggestion. Weaknesses in the design of the output-to-input interface are exploited. Sounding different does not mean it is also a more accurate transfer from electrical to acoustic domain.
My guideline for speaker cables is to keep their resistance to less than 0.1 ohm for the roundtrip path of the current. This defines the maximum length of a 2-conductor copper cable for different wire gauges.

Wire gauge Max. length in feet
18-----------------8
16-----------------12
14-----------------20
12-----------------30
8------------------80

I measured the 16 gauge Megacable from Radio Shack (278-1270) that I use. A 10 foot length has 0.07 ohm resistance, 714 pF of capacitance and 1.9 uH of inductance. The line impedance is 51 ohm. A typical tweeter has a voice coil resistance of 4.7 ohm and 50 uH inductance. At 20 kHz this yields an impedance of about |4.7 + j6.3| = 7.9 ohm. Add to this the cable inductance of j0.24 ohm, and 0.07 ohm resistance for 10 feet, and the impedance becomes 8.09 ohm. This causes a 7.9/8.09 = 0.98 or 0.17 dB reduction in tweeter output at 20 kHz which is insignificant. The cable effect is even less at lower frequencies.

Speaker cables can act as antennas in the AM frequency band and may cause distortion in the output stage of a solid-state amplifier, if strong radio frequency signals are present. In particular, the cable capacitance in conjunction with the inductance of a driver voice coil may form a resonant circuit for these frequencies. The resonance can be suppressed by placing a series R-C circuit of 10 ohm/2 W and 0.33 uF/100 V across the cable terminals at the speaker end.
Coaxial interconnects with phono (RCA) plugs tend to pick up radio frequencies in the FM band. The currents that are induced in the cable shield must not be allowed to enter the inside of the coax. This requires a very low resistance connection between the outer conductor of the phono connector and the chassis (signal ground) of the equipment that it plugs into. The continuity and low resistance of the shield is also very important for hum and buzz currents, so that they will not induce a voltage on the center conductor. The technical description for this is the Transfer Impedance of the cable and connectors, which must be in the low milli-ohm range. Unfortunately I have not seen this specification used by the audio industry. An excellent description of the theory and treatment of hum and buzz problems in equipment setups with mixed two and three prong AC plugs is given in AN-004 by Jensen Transformers, Inc. I have not found balanced interconnections to be necessary for the high level circuits past the preamplifier. But sometimes it requires to experiment with AC outlets in different locations to reduce to insignificant level the buzz that one may hear with the ear close to the speaker cone. So, when choosing a coaxial audio interconnect look for good mechanical construction, direct contact between shield and connector, and well plated contact surfaces.
I find what is needed at Radio Shack. I solder speaker cables to terminal strips on the speaker end and use dual in-line banana plugs on the amplifier end.




 

Anonymous
 
(Shorter) Maui:

If an expert agrees with me, he's right; if he disagrees with me, he's either over the hill or a crackpot.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 193
Registered: Feb-05
Maui

If we should call the good folks at Rowland or Edge. Why don't you then call the good folks at "The Absolute Sound" or "Stereophile". They all claim to be experts. Our ears make us all experts at the sound that we desire from our audio systems. Between this discussion and the "top 10 audio lies" discussion I don't which is more inane. Oh well, here I am participating in it. Maui, why are so many folks selling their GMA's? I don't mean that as a smart remark, I am just curious. If you consider how many GMA Europa's have sold vs say Paradigm Monitor 5's it seems strange that 3 pairs of GMA Europa's were for sale yesterday on Audiogon vs 0 Monitor 5's. Also if it took Roy 30 years to develop the Europa how long did it take him to develop the Europa Max and why is there a need for it if he did it right the first time. By the way Dave Holland sounded great without GMA's. I'll try Luciana Souza when I see her in a couple of weeks maybe she uses time/phase coherent speakers in concert and at home, not likely but perhaps.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 194
Registered: Feb-05
I meant this discussion and the top 10 one.
 

mauimusicman
Unregistered guest
Arthur, rely on the absolute sound or stereophile if you chose. Still a free country last time I checked. Those guys are not really experts though. The designers/manufacturers doing highly touted/highly reviewed products are the real experts. Do you really think Michael Fremmer could design and build a high end amp? E-mail him and ask him that question. See if he has the expertise to do so.
Why "so many gma europa's for sale"? Is that your question? A few pair are somehow "so many"?
Could it be they are moving up? The Europa is an absolutely amazing speaker at it's price point. In fact, i'll challenge you or anyone else to find ANY other speaker anywhere close to it's price that can outperform it. Good luck. I'll also challenge you or anyone else to find me one bad review on the GMA line. Just one. Again, good luck.
People sell things all the time Arthur. People sell Lexus cars.....Rolex watches....Vintage wines....in fact.......you name it....it's probably for sale. I'd be willing to bet you a very large amount of money that if you looked really really hard you'd even find a pair of Paradigm speakers for sale somewhere. So, are we to conclude, based upon your statements, that if someone is selling Paradigm speakers or Wilson Alexandria's they must suck?
About your live music post: You still don't get it do you? You can never reproduce what you hear at that concert hall in your home. Never ever. Ain't possible. The recording process will not allow it. So stop using it as your reference.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 208
Registered: Feb-05
Maui, rely on those reviews on Audiogon if you chose. You apparently have trouble with either reading or comprehension. I don't rely on any reviews. But you talk out of both sides of your face about reviews.

"So, are we to conclude, based upon your statements, that if someone is selling Paradigm speakers or Wilson Alexandria's they must suck?"

Since I know that you really aren't this ignorant i'll assume you're being difficult for the sake of it.

By percentage of a given speaker sold how many are now being resold and how soon after the original purchase...and why? It's a question. It just seemed odd to me that so few GMA's are out there compared to say Monitor 5's or Ascends or Axioms or whatever and yet you can find more of them on the resale market, why?

"Do you really think Michael Fremmer could design and build a high end amp? E-mail him and ask him that question"

Such inane responses don't become you. I hope that it is just too early in the morning and you haven't had your coffee yet. Maui you front as an expert can you build a high end amp, and if so where is it.

This is tiresome. I think I'll go to work. I know you are trying to get out the word for GMA's, but honestly you've done more to turn people off to them that anything.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 212
Registered: Feb-05
Yes, you're right as always maui. We shouldn't use live performance as our reference. What then shall we use? Obviously you "get" what no one else here can. Shall we use the sound of those GMA Europa's as our reference. Probably not because Roy has now bestowed upon us the Europa Max for a mere $1695. In fact I'll just quit going to concerts and save myself some money and just buy some GMA's. Maui, I love music more than stereo's. I have enough sense to know that I am not going to produce a live concert in my home, but I will always use it as my reference. That you do not says more about you than you know.
 

jimvm
Unregistered guest
maui - you are always directing folks to 6moons.com to read a review of the GMA Europas. I went to the site, but couldn't find any reviews on the Europas; only on the Callistos. Please furnish a link.

By the way, while at the site, I read the biographies of all 24 6moons professional reviewers. Of the 24 reviewers, 20 listed their personally owned audio equipment. I found it interesting that of those 20 people who listed their gear, not one owned Green Mountain Audio speakers. What do you make of that?
 

Anonymous
 
I try not to get preachy about anything. After all, most of the time, all it does is ticks people off. I personally can't hear a difference between different brands of wire but if someone else thinks/belives/knows they can, who am I to say they're wrong? It's their money, their system and their time.

I personally couldn't afford most of the higher priced speaker wires even if I thought they made a difference so I go with what I can afford. I don't buy the cheapest stuff I can find either. As long as it appears to be well made and is from a company I've actually heard of, I usually figure that's as good as I can do. Most of the equipment in my setup is nowhere near audio or videophile level anyway so nothing would probably help it that much. It always cracks me up when I see someone buying a $50 DVD player and $100 worth of Monster stuff.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Facebook

Shop Related Deals

Directory

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us