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post #1 of 241 Old 06-21-2009, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I'm looking to upgrade my speaker wire to 14 gauge, I was just wondering if going from a small gauge (approx. 18 gauge) to 14 would be a noticeable difference, and if I should go with banana plug or not. Thanks.
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post #2 of 241 Old 06-21-2009, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devin1886 View Post

Hi, I'm looking to upgrade my speaker wire to 14 gauge, I was just wondering if going from a small gauge (approx. 18 gauge) to 14 would be a noticeable difference, and if I should go with banana plug or not. Thanks.

Short answer no.

Somewhat longer answer : No, unless you have a very long run of speaker wire. I don't know the exact length at which you would want something thicker, but if you are talking a couple of feet, don't worry about it. If you are talking dozens of feet then you would want something thicker.

As far as banana plugs go, it doesn't offer any SQ advantages, but they are easier to plug in and easier to detach.
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post #3 of 241 Old 06-21-2009, 05:22 PM
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I've seen this guide posted around the forums a lot:
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable
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post #4 of 241 Old 06-22-2009, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input, you just saved me 40 bucks.
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post #5 of 241 Old 06-22-2009, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by einstein4pres View Post

I've seen this guide posted around the forums a lot:
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable

Despite that 18 gauge can be used up to 32 feet for an 8 ohm load, I'd never use anything less than 14 gauge just for peace of mind. Some people say the same about 12 gauge. The fact that speaker impedance can vary all over the place, even for nominal 8 ohm speakers, suggests using a larger gauge wire than that table shows.

"Regular" speaker wire (not Monster or some other esoteric stuff) is the cheapest thing in your whole system, so a little insurance by using a larger gauge seems like a good call.

If you want inexpensive speaker wire, try this place: www.monoprice.com

http://www.monoprice.com/products/su...02&cp_id=10239
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post #6 of 241 Old 06-28-2009, 06:47 PM
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Hi Devin,
What type speakers do have? I know most people wouldn't recommend Monster Cable, but some of them have never used it. And the cost is another turn off. But, I use Monster Cable XP speaker cables for my Harmon/Kardon system and I definitely notice a difference between the cheaper standard cable and the higher quality monster cable. You also have to have a sensitive ear that can pick up the audio differences; just like some people can notice little changes on Hi-Def pictures. You can get a 30ft roll on ebay for about $30, which isn't a bad investment.
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post #7 of 241 Old 06-28-2009, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H/Kthunder View Post

Hi Devin,
What type speakers do have? I know most people wouldn't recommend Monster Cable, but some of them have never used it. And the cost is another turn off.

One doesn't have to have been to the moon to know it isn't made of green cheese.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H/Kthunder View Post

But, I use Monster Cable XP speaker cables for my Harmon/Kardon system and I definitely notice a difference between the cheaper standard cable and the higher quality monster cable. You also have to have a sensitive ear that can pick up the audio differences;just like some people can notice little changes on Hi-Def pictures.

Actually, what you really need is a vivid imagination and a gullibility to marketing claims. The human imagination is a very powerful thing and you are a victim of it.

The idea that expensive speaker wire or audio cables makes some sort of difference has been debunked time and time again. If you actually knew anything about electrical principles, you'd know their claims are BS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H/Kthunder View Post

You can get a 30ft roll on ebay for about $30, which isn't a bad investment.

Yes it is a bad investment. You can get wire that is just as good and far cheaper.
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post #8 of 241 Old 06-28-2009, 09:47 PM
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While I won't get into a debate about whether one can hear a difference or not between cables, I do believe a forum like this is about sharing of one's point of view and/or opinions. In my 15+ years of being an audio enthusiast, I myself have gone through a lot of audio cables. Specifically talking about speaker wire, I've used everything from cheapo 24 gauge clear jacket wire to expensive (well to they were me) MIT Terminator 4 cables. From my recollection, I would say I definitely heard a difference when switching from the cheap 24 gauge to something larger like 12 gauge standard Monster Cable. Beyond that, I'd say any difference I heard was minor at best. Like everything electronic, the performance improvement to price ratio gets less and less the more expensive it gets. Just because something is double to price does not mean you'll get double the performance as we all may know. The reality is that the double price may only yield a 5 to 10 percent improvement.

Right now I'm using Belden 5T00UP 10 gauge cable for my front soundstage. They're a well made, high quality cable that's just as good as any name brand you could buy for many times the price. Audioholics did a review of them a few years ago:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/c...-cable-5t00up/


Blue Jeans Cable sells the Belden Cable and also has nice termination options. There's a DIY cable thread at Audiokarma that I followed to do mine:

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/speaker/index.htm

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=94203

Otherwise if you're on a tighter budget, I'd say go with anything Monoprice sells and they've got awesome prices. For about $20 shipped, you could get a 50' spool of their 12AWG CL2 Rated 2-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable. I use these for my surrounds and since they have a white outer jacket, they do a decent job of blending in to most homes.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
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post #9 of 241 Old 06-28-2009, 11:53 PM
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The question has always been how long are you planning to run that cable? If it's only 8' it's highly unlikely that you'd head a difference between 18 and 14. Though I personally use a 12 gauge on 8-12' run just because it gives me a peace of mind.
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post #10 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ace0001a View Post

From my recollection, I would say I definitely heard a difference when switching from the cheap 24 gauge to something larger like 12 gauge standard Monster Cable.

24 guage is thin enough that if you had runs of any significant length that it could conceivably increase the resistance of the speakers by a measurable amount.
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post #11 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 06:29 AM
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I'm an engineer (sorry) and perhaps because of that, I agree with the link table posted very much. From an engineering standpoint the idea of using 8 gauge wire with pin connects and spade connectors commonly found in speakers is a bit silly. Lots of very high quality speakers have 18 or 22g wiring in them.

However I will say that regardless of the table, I tend to commonly use 16g-12g wiring depending upon length. Anything smaller than 16g is too dinky in my opinion and doesn't give me enough wire meat to work with in soldering or terminal clamping to be happy.

In terms of paying for premium brands, the more expensive wires do tend to have a more pliable jacket that will harden less over time, and also better visual marking for +/-. Jacket quality should be considered for in wall runs or if the wiring will be exposed to some abuse such as under carpet runs or outdoors/automotive. However for loose indoor use, the monoprice 16-12g solutions seem fine and are probably the only speaker wire I will buy unless they go out of business.

Monster, while terribly overpriced at retail, is decent wire. I've purchased a few spools of it (always at out of business sales and such) and have always been fine with it. If you can find it at generic wire prices on clearance or whatever, it is a bit of a no brainer. I have a set of cables made from Monster XPL (?) or something square jacketed wire that is about 15 years old now, and it is still the most pliable wiring in my kit.
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post #12 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 12:12 PM
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tpnbobcat,
As i mentioned in my recommendation for devin, its all about how your ears can hear the differences between a cheaper cable and a higher quality cable such as monster. Electrical principles have nothing to do with it. And i tend not to rely on statistics because i'd rather trust my hearing more than a piece of paper with numbers on it.

I agree with ace that sometimes the difference might not be huge, it might be only 10-20%. It all depends on the combination of the types of speakers and cables you are using to see how much difference they will actually create for you. And also, its not always about sound either, sometimes the quality of the cable is good enough reason to purchase.
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post #13 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 12:18 PM
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I'd call 10% huge. That's just me, though.
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post #14 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H/Kthunder View Post

tpnbobcat,
As i mentioned in my recommendation for devin, its all about how your ears can hear the differences between a cheaper cable and a higher quality cable such as monster. Electrical principles have nothing to do with it. And i tend not to rely on statistics because i'd rather trust my hearing more than a piece of paper with numbers on it.

Except that it's been repeatedly proven that such "differences" are not something you can hear and that it is all in the mind of the person who shelled out a lot of money for these sorts of things.

I've seen more than one person claim that $3,000 power cords made an audible/visible difference in their AV system. (they don't)

I've seen more than one person claim that an expensive HDMI cable made some sort of "dramatic" improvement in their AV system. (they can't)

I remember when people started claiming that using a green magic marker on your CDs resulted in "dramatic" improvement in sound quality.

I've seen this sort of BS getting peddled time and time again by people who claim "Oh, you just can't hear it." I'm sorry folks, but people are gulible, suggestible and easily persuaded to believe things that have no basis in reality.

Expensive speaker wire is just one of them.

It's all part of this "magical thinking" that plagues us. Your beliefs are not superior to facts. Your subjective experiences don't trump evidence and tests.
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post #15 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H/Kthunder View Post

tpnbobcat,
As i mentioned in my recommendation for devin, its all about how your ears can hear the differences between a cheaper cable and a higher quality cable such as monster. Electrical principles have nothing to do with it. And i tend not to rely on statistics because i'd rather trust my hearing more than a piece of paper with numbers on it.

I agree with ace that sometimes the difference might not be huge, it might be only 10-20%. It all depends on the combination of the types of speakers and cables you are using to see how much difference they will actually create for you. And also, its not always about sound either, sometimes the quality of the cable is good enough reason to purchase.

Oh man, this post is awesome. He should be running for office with that kind of talk.

I mean honestly, the best statement ever made on these forums, "Electrical principles have nothing to do with it."...

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post #16 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TPnBobcats View Post

It's all part of this "magical thinking" that plagues us. Your beliefs are not superior to facts. Your subjective experiences don't trump evidence and tests.

While I can appreciate TPnBobcats' strong passion for the facts, I see no need to discredit anyone else's point of view and/or opinions either. The reality is when it comes to home audio, you can't discount the subjective nature of personal preference here. Does a $100 cable sound or perform better than a $10 one? The facts and statistics will almost always point to there not being any quantitative difference, but I won't discount what anyone would perceive. Regardless of psychological factors (i.e. brand name or the realization of price difference), I truely believe that if you got a group of people to do A/B tests and tell them that you're trying to find out if anyone can perceive a difference of one be better than the other that you will have mixed results. While anyone's subjective experiences won't "trump" facts and numbers, to me they aren't any less valid. The OP asked if he can hear a difference between the cables he has right now versus going to something more expensive or "high end". Well, I think only he can actually make that judgement. Posting a thread like this will of course lead to varied opinion and that should simply be what we have to offer. Trying to discount anyone else's opinion is not only unecessary, but also disrespectful here. With that said, I don't think it'll hurt the OP to try different cables to see what he thinks. Like I said, you'd don't have to spend alot of money for the improvement of your speaker cables. It may or may not yield a perceivable improvement, but I think anything is better than standard cheap 18 gauge speaker wire as far as build quality goes. My vote goes to Monoprice's 12AWG CL2 Rated 2-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable that starts at about $20 for a 50' spool shipped, which I think is quite inexpensive.
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post #17 of 241 Old 06-29-2009, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ace0001a View Post

While I can appreciate TPnBobcats' strong passion for the facts, I see no need to discredit anyone else's point of view and/or opinions either. The reality is when it comes to home audio, you can't discount the subjective nature of personal preference here. Does a $100 cable sound or perform better than a $10 one? The facts and statistics will almost always point to there not being any quantitative difference, but I won't discount what anyone would perceive. Regardless of psychological factors (i.e. brand name or the realization of price difference), I truely believe that if you got a group of people to do A/B tests and tell them that you're trying to find out if anyone can perceive a difference of one be better than the other that you will have mixed results. While anyone's subjective experiences won't "trump" facts and numbers, to me they aren't any less valid. The OP asked if he can hear a difference between the cables he has right now versus going to something more expensive or "high end". Well, I think only he can actually make that judgement. Posting a thread like this will of course lead to varied opinion and that should simply be what we have to offer. Trying to discount anyone else's opinion is not only unecessary, but also disrespectful here. With that said, I don't think it'll hurt the OP to try different cables to see what he thinks. Like I said, you'd don't have to spend alot of money for the improvement of your speaker cables. It may or may not yield a perceivable improvement, but I think anything is better than standard cheap 18 gauge speaker wire as far as build quality goes. My vote goes to Monoprice's 12AWG CL2 Rated 2-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable that starts at about $20 for a 50' spool shipped, which I think is quite inexpensive.


Though i understand your sentiments, and i agree with you that subjectivity is a major factor in audio purchases, we're talking about something that is literally 100% psychological BS.

A subjective issue is one person not liking the klipsch sound versus another loving it. There are quantifiable, measurable differences between the way two speakers reproduce sound. And thats fine for someone to trust their ears and their personal feelings in a situation like that.

"hearing" a difference between speakers wires when there isnt a difference is what we call a delusion. You can literally take the same cable, tell the person that its now playing the same piece on the uber super cable (even though you're still using the same "cheapo" cable), and they will "hear" a difference because you preempted their thought by telling them its not playing on the uber super cable. Its purely psychological and its not subjective, its in essence a placebo effect.

Allowing people like that guy to voice their opinions unfettered is a disservice to the people who come to this forum looking for *useful* information, to make an informed decision or purchase. Someone who goes out with a budget of say $1k and spends $200 on cable when they could have spent $50 is going to be severely pissed when they find out they could have gotten identical performance and saved $150, or put that $150 towards better speakers, sub, avr's, etc, where they actually could have made a quantifiable, real, performance difference.

He is certainly entitled to his opinion, and he is entitled to post it. Should we be limiting people's responses to debase his opinion? absolutely not. Now, if those people are overly aggressive, and are attacking the person and not the argument, then yes, there should be some form of moderation.

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post #18 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrimnir View Post

He is certainly entitled to his opinion, and he is entitled to post it. Should we be limiting people's responses to debase his opinion? absolutely not. Now, if those people are overly aggressive, and are attacking the person and not the argument, then yes, there should be some form of moderation.

I see your point as well in regards to moderation of these forums and I won't disagree with you. I will say that you don't even need to be overly agressive with counter statements to someone else's point of view for me to find it unecessary. I honestly felt there was even some of what was said here in favor of the facts was almost condescending, which again is something I find unecessary in forums. While I take into account someone's subjective experiences here, I never said that it's a major factor rather that it's something I wouldn't simply discount. With everything being relative, I can't see the OP being pissed about spending $20 or $50 to find out whether he perceives a sound difference with changing his existing cables...and that's my opinion because I wouldn't be. And by no means am I speaking from standpoint of wealth because I'm just like everyone else these days struggling to get by. I wouldn't be buying cables from Monoprice if I were. Anyway, no harm no foul right? Lets all just get past this and try to get along...neutral to positive opinions abound.
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post #19 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 01:11 AM
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Wow, this is quite interesting. All of the people that love monoprice cables, go ahead and recommend them, and I prefer monster cable so that's what i will recommend. Its completely unnecessary for anyone to attack someone's recommendation. Hrimnir, i have no idea what you're talking about "limiting people's response." Its an opinion/recommendation. If anyone's response should be limited it should be those who choose to argue about someone's recommendation. I have never used monoprice cables so i can't speak for that. I will however recommend the products that i have enjoyed. Some of you are getting too psychological on this issue. Just as i mentioned before, it all depends on what sounds good to your ear. If you don't trust your ears then I wonder how your home theater might sound like. If you spend money on monster cable just for the name or let the name/brand affect your decision during testing, then you're definitely not doing proper testing because you're letting a product influence your decision. If you really care about the sound coming out of your speakers you have to go past the brand/name of a product and do actual comparison/contrast of the sound it outputs.

I think this topic has been thoroughly exhausted.
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post #20 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 06:35 AM
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One thing that has not been mentioned in this thread is esthetics. I personally have fallen victim to the better cable better sound scam in the past. While i certainly did not want to admit it to myself, it was true. However, i believe that it may be worthwhile (to me at least), to spend a little more on cable that i find pleasing to the eye. With my new system i'm building my own :" fancy cables" using monprice wire and a braided jacket from techflex braided sleeving. This way i can have expensive looking wires that obviously must also sound better!
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post #21 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 06:57 AM
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Quote:


One thing that has not been mentioned in this thread is esthetics. I personally have fallen victim to the better cable better sound scam in the past. While i certainly did not want to admit it to myself, it was true. However, i believe that it may be worthwhile (to me at least), to spend a little more on cable that i find pleasing to the eye. With my new system i'm building my own :" fancy cables" using monprice wire and a braided jacket from techflex braided sleeving. This way i can have expensive looking wires that obviously must also sound better!

What!, you don't like dog turd brown lamp cord? I do agree, I like my stuff to look good.
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post #22 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 07:18 AM
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Haha, yeah I think that was a point lost in the arguments in this thread. I'm glad I made my own cool looking cables. Somehow I stumbled upon that Audiokarma DIY speaker cable thread (link above in my earlier post) that inspired me to do make them myself. I went for the somewhat popular Belden 5T00UP cable, but I could've easily used the Monoprice 12AWG CL2 Rated 2-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable too...and probably not even notice a sound quality difference. With that said, going DIY is probably the best route for a nice looking and high quality cable. Knowing how cheap quality cable is (plug for Monoprice), Monster has certainly made a killing all these years. I used to get the "hook up" from friends who worked at the big chains with the Monster Cable retail sales accomodation of 70% off their products. Even with that, I am sure Monster still made a good profit on the stuff we bought. Basically I've sworn off any name brand cables these days.

A while back, tech guru Kevin Rose and his show System did an episode on " Making High Quality A/V Cables". It's a great episode. Check it out here:

http://revision3.com/systm/avcabling
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post #23 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrimnir View Post

Though i understand your sentiments, and i agree with you that subjectivity is a major factor in audio purchases, we're talking about something that is literally 100% psychological BS.

It's what makes this hobby goes around and what makes it so sweet.
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post #24 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 08:12 AM
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I have a related question about cables. I was told by a family friend, who happens to be an audiophile, that all of your speaker cables should be of the same length regardless of the distance between the speakers and the amp, thus the extra cable for your mains and closer speakers should be coiled up behind your speakers.

I also talked to an audio engineer about this issue who said that having the same length cable is unnecessary, rather each speaker cable should be as short as possible, and thus each cable should have varying lengths in relation to the minimum length necessary for making the connections.

What are your thoughts on this issue?
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post #25 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OsakaGaijin View Post

I have a related question about cables. I was told by a family friend, who happens to be an audiophile, that all of your speaker cables should be of the same length regardless of the distance between the speakers and the amp, thus the extra cable for your mains and closer speakers should be coiled up behind your speakers.

I also talked to an audio engineer about this issue who said that having the same length cable is unnecessary, rather each speaker cable should be as short as possible, and thus each cable should have varying lengths in relation to the minimum length necessary for making the connections.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Let's see

1) Guy who probably believes any dammed thing he's ever been told and is convinced he can "hear" things that don't exist.
2) Guy who's job it is to understand the principles and parameters involved in the question.

Doesn't really seem like it's much of a choice to me.

If you are getting operated on, do you want the "faith" healer or the surgeon with 20 years of experience?
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post #26 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H/Kthunder View Post

Wow, this is quite interesting. All of the people that love monoprice cables, go ahead and recommend them, and I prefer monster cable so that's what i will recommend. Its completely unnecessary for anyone to attack someone's recommendation. Hrimnir, i have no idea what you're talking about "limiting people's response." Its an opinion/recommendation. If anyone's response should be limited it should be those who choose to argue about someone's recommendation. I have never used monoprice cables so i can't speak for that. I will however recommend the products that i have enjoyed. Some of you are getting too psychological on this issue. Just as i mentioned before, it all depends on what sounds good to your ear. If you don't trust your ears then I wonder how your home theater might sound like. If you spend money on monster cable just for the name or let the name/brand affect your decision during testing, then you're definitely not doing proper testing because you're letting a product influence your decision. If you really care about the sound coming out of your speakers you have to go past the brand/name of a product and do actual comparison/contrast of the sound it outputs.

I think this topic has been thoroughly exhausted.

I don't care what you recommend. I care why you recommend it.

I recommend Monoprice because their products are reasonably priced and get the job done. I was in Best Buy last week and they had a $90 monster HDMI cable that is absolutely no better than the $3 HDMI cable I got from Monoprice (and in my choice of colors too). It's people like you that keep getting the average consumer to waste $87 on a simple cable.

It's funny that you say people should do comparisons. Have you ever actually bothered to do a real double blind test to see if it isn't your imagination that there's a difference? Or like most "audiophiles" did you just go here's the sucky cheap cable that idiots use and then here's the expensive superduper cable that will make everything so much more wonderful your face will melt.

People are willing to back up my point of view with cash.

The Amazing Randi is offering a prize of $1,000,000 if you can distinguish between speaker wires reliably.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/calling-b...ter-305549.php

So since you find monster cable to be such a "clear" and "obvious" difference. Let me know what you do with your million dollars.
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post #27 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 08:59 AM
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post #29 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPnBobcats View Post

I don't care what you recommend. I care why you recommend it.

I recommend Monoprice because their products are reasonably priced and get the job done. I was in Best Buy last week and they had a $90 monster HDMI cable that is absolutely no better than the $3 HDMI cable I got from Monoprice (and in my choice of colors too). It's people like you that keep getting the average consumer to waste $87 on a simple cable.

It's funny that you say people should do comparisons. Have you ever actually bothered to do a real double blind test to see if it isn't your imagination that there's a difference? Or like most "audiophiles" did you just go here's the sucky cheap cable that idiots use and then here's the expensive superduper cable that will make everything so much more wonderful your face will melt.

People are willing to back up my point of view with cash.

The Amazing Randi is offering a prize of $1,000,000 if you can distinguish between speaker wires reliably.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/calling-b...ter-305549.php

So since you find monster cable to be such a "clear" and "obvious" difference. Let me know what you do with your million dollars.

Hahaha. Wow. HDMI is a another issue. If you're confused, I'll clarify for you. I'm not a Monster Cable fanboy. I just like their speaker cables. I wouldn't get there $200 per foot cable either, just the XP series which I can tell the difference with. No imagination BS. I wouldn't buy their $100 HDMI cable either, because the cheaper ones are sufficient. But that's another topic.
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post #30 of 241 Old 06-30-2009, 02:06 PM
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I have a related question about cables. I was told by a family friend, who happens to be an audiophile, that all of your speaker cables should be of the same length regardless of the distance between the speakers and the amp, thus the extra cable for your mains and closer speakers should be coiled up behind your speakers.

I also talked to an audio engineer about this issue who said that having the same length cable is unnecessary, rather each speaker cable should be as short as possible, and thus each cable should have varying lengths in relation to the minimum length necessary for making the connections.

The audio engineer is correct. An audio signal over coper wire travels at close to the speed of light (299,792,458 meters/sec), not the speed of sound (340 meters/sec) as your audiophile friend has been lead to believe. Hence cable length differences within ones room can easily be ignored. Keeping to shorter lengths will reduce the possibility of added resistance if your wire gauge is incorrect for the amount of power your putting into your speakers.

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