Speaker cables (What to do? What to buy?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 71 Old 03-12-2012, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys. I am in the process of putting myself together a budget sound system in my small room. Also, I am planning to use my sound system for music and movies. With that said, I need speaker cables and I don't know which route to go about. My 3 options are DIY (The White Lightning Moonshine cables), build generic quality speaker cables (for example, here and here), or I can just purchase myself ridiculously priced, quality pre-made cables, or maybe I can just take it easy on myself and purchase speaker wire, cut it and attach them to banana/spade plugs like so?


I'm a "not so well off" college student with a 75WPC 5.1 AV Receiver with a budget of $40 for enough cables for a 5.1 setup. I would like to know which route would provide me with the best value, and at the same time provide me with decent or maybe even exceptional sound quality for the price. Also, with the suggestions I would also like to know where I should purchase the parts to make my cable (PartsExpress(Dayton), BlueJeans, Nakamichi, or maybe even Monoprice). I am fairly new to home theater so please excuse my "really? it's obvious" questions.



Thanks a million in advance for your responses.
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post #2 of 71 Old 03-12-2012, 10:42 AM
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I suggest that you get some #14 speaker wire and solder on some gold-plated lugs.

On your budget, though, maybe the lugs would be too expensive and you should just "tin" the bare wire ends with solder and forget the lugs, except for maybe the front speakers.

I used #10 wire for mine, but I am using a 300-watt amplifier.

#14 is fine for up to 25 feet. I suggest Monoprice #2820, which is 100 feet for $23.

Audioquest Gold-plated spade lugs are $3 /pair from RAM electronics.




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Originally Posted by ntrisKKT View Post

Hey guys. I am in the process of putting myself together a budget sound system in my small room. I am planning to use my sound system for music and movies. With that said, I need speaker cables and I don't know which route to go about. My 3 options are DIY (The White Lightning Moonshine cables), build generic quality speaker cables (for example, here and here), or I can just purchase myself ridiculously priced, quality pre-made cables, or maybe I can just take it easy on myself and purchase speaker wire, cut it and attach them to banana/spade plugs like so?


I'm a "not so well off" college student with a 75WPC 5.1 AV Receiver with a budget of $40 for enough cables for a 5.1 setup. I would like to know which route would provide me with the best value, and at the same time provide me with decent or maybe even exceptional sound quality for the price. Also, with the suggestiosn I would also like to know where I should purchase the parts to make my cable (PartsExpress(Dayton), BlueJeans, Nakamichi, or maybe even Monoprice). I am fairly new to home theater so please excuse my "really? it's obvious" questions.



Thanks a million in advance for your responses.

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post #3 of 71 Old 03-12-2012, 10:50 AM
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Just truck on down to whatever your equivalent of Home Depot is, and get however many feet you need of 16-2 or 14-2 (18-2 if its a really short run). Bare wire to the amplifier and speakers is perfectly fine, and there's no need to spend a fortune on wire (you're just spending more to spend more).

Some background information if you want more "why" - http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
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post #4 of 71 Old 03-12-2012, 11:02 AM
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Buy a spool of 16-guage speaker wire from Monoprice or some hardware store somewhere. When you connect, spin the fine copper wire together with your hand and attach it to the binding posts of receiver and speakers. Just watch carefully and avoid stray strands of wire.

You don't need spades or banana plugs or 12-guage wire for the simple setup you are considering. Unless you are trying to run speaker wire all over a house, the cheapest 16-guage wire will be fine. Spades and banana plugs are nice if you swap out components often.

Jim
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post #5 of 71 Old 03-12-2012, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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As for now this is what I am set to buy. What do you guys think?:
Mediabridge - 16 Gauge Speaker Wire (100 Feet), I am not losing much purchasing this over Monoprice speaker wire am I correct?
Sewell Silverback Banana Plugs (6 Pairs) , I believe this will do until I get more funds for more banana plugs




Again, thank you guys for the responses. Your tips definitely guided me through my purchase.
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post #6 of 71 Old 03-13-2012, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntrisKKT View Post

As for now this is what I am set to buy. What do you guys think?:
Mediabridge - 16 Gauge Speaker Wire (100 Feet), I am not losing much purchasing this over Monoprice speaker wire am I correct?
Sewell Silverback Banana Plugs (6 Pairs) , I believe this will do until I get more funds for more banana plugs




Again, thank you guys for the responses. Your tips definitely guided me through my purchase.


Yeah looks good to me.

I purchased my wire at amazon too. Nothing against monoprice. But it was cheaper with shipping included.

You don't even "need" banana plugs. But if you want them it's your choice. They do make the install cleaner looking, but don't really affect performance.

Also be careful plugs won't fit spring clip terminals if either speakers/amp have them.
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post #7 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 01:52 AM
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What do you guys think of the Mediabridge 16 gauge vs. the Monoprice in terms of SQ? I haven't had good experience with Monoprice cables. Their speaker cables seem fine but I've had the opposite experience with Mediabridge which the speaker cables I've never compared. Has anyone done this? Thanks.
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post #8 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

Just truck on down to whatever your equivalent of Home Depot is, and get however many feet you need of 16-2 or 14-2 (18-2 if its a really short run). Bare wire to the amplifier and speakers is perfectly fine, and there's no need to spend a fortune on wire (you're just spending more to spend more).


Some background information if you want more "why" - http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
+1.
Quote:
You don't even "need" banana plugs. But if you want them it's your choice. They do make the install cleaner looking, but don't really affect performance.
+1. Connectors are optional, being a convenience only if you're in the habit of plugging them in and out on a regular basis.
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What do you guys think of the Mediabridge 16 gauge vs. the Monoprice in terms of SQ?
There are only two grades of cable: functional and defective. If the cable is adequate in terms of resistance and capacitance there is no difference in SQ between cable that goes for $1 a foot and that which goes for $100 a foot.
On that note, Mediabridge is copper clad aluminum, not pure copper. That could result in a poor resistance spec, so I'd avoid it. Pure copper isn't so expensive that there's any reason to skimp. OTOH paying more for silver or silver plated is money down the drain.

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post #9 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

I haven't had good experience with Monoprice cables.
Their speaker cables seem fine but I've had the opposite experience with Mediabridge

What problems have you had with Monoprice's cables ... and which cables?
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post #10 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

+1.
Quote:
You don't even "need" banana plugs. But if you want them it's your choice. They do make the install cleaner looking, but don't really affect performance.
+1. Connectors are optional, being a convenience only if you're in the habit of plugging them in and out on a regular basis.
Quote:
What do you guys think of the Mediabridge 16 gauge vs. the Monoprice in terms of SQ?
There are only two grades of cable: functional and defective. If the cable is adequate in terms of resistance and capacitance there is no difference in SQ between cable that goes for $1 a foot and that which goes for $100 a foot.
On that note, Mediabridge is copper clad aluminum, not pure copper. That could result in a poor resistance spec, so I'd avoid it. Pure copper isn't so expensive that there's any reason to skimp. OTOH paying more for silver or silver plated is money down the drain.

So that's exactly what I was asking. When I said SQ, I wasn't thinking in radical terms. I was going to mention what you said but I felt like that would be answering my own question, lol. From what I understand, Monoprice speaker cable IS pure copper right? They also claim it's oxygen free although I don't see how or how it's more so than e.g. the Mediabridge. But what you mentioned alone is enough of a turnoff anyway. I have a feeling that if I compared a 50 foot distance with the Monoprice and then then Mediabridge, the output would be lower with the Mediabridge.
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Originally Posted by Hamilcar Barca View Post

What problems have you had with Monoprice's cables ... and which cables?

With the 1/4 inch male to male. They had REALLY poor electrostatic shielding and hummed a significant amount, even the really short lengths.
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post #11 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

They had REALLY poor electrostatic shielding and hummed a significant amount, even the really short lengths.
Speaker cables aren't shielded, and they're immune to hum pickup.

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post #12 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 04:50 PM
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Mogami or Canaree cables used in all pro recording studios and not too expensive
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post #13 of 71 Old 07-17-2012, 06:22 PM
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Belden 5T00UP and 1312A are pretty good, and I use them in my system.
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post #14 of 71 Old 07-18-2012, 08:08 AM
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As has been said above, if you're using regular 8 ohm speakers and runs under 25 ft, just use generic 14 guage from home depot. You can't hear any difference between expensive and cheap cables unless you're doing very long runs of a low guage speaker wire with low impedance speakers.
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post #15 of 71 Old 07-19-2012, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Speaker cables aren't shielded, and they're immune to hum pickup.

Who was talking about speaker cables?... The first sentence you didn't quote linked 1/4 inch audio cables...
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post #16 of 71 Old 07-19-2012, 05:37 AM
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Who was talking about speaker cables?...
The OP. Read the thread title. And then you, with your original question. I have no idea why you brought interconnect cables into a speaker cable discussion.

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post #17 of 71 Old 07-21-2012, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

The OP. Read the thread title. And then you, with your original question. I have no idea why you brought interconnect cables into a speaker cable discussion.

WHAT?! Obviously! I know that!.. I was rhetorically trying to say that what you quoted of me wasn't in reference to speaker cables. I was responding to the guy, saying what cables I've had problems with from monoprice and what those problems were... Holy crap man, there's no need to get ill-tempered. Relax.
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post #18 of 71 Old 07-24-2012, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

What do you guys think of the Mediabridge 16 gauge vs. the Monoprice in terms of SQ? I haven't had good experience with Monoprice cables. Their speaker cables seem fine but I've had the opposite experience with Mediabridge which the speaker cables I've never compared. Has anyone done this? Thanks.
Zero difference. Wire is wire.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #19 of 71 Old 07-25-2012, 01:15 PM
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Zero difference. Wire is wire.

That's not true, especially over long distances.
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post #20 of 71 Old 07-25-2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

That's not true, especially over long distances.
Copper is copper would be a more accurate way to put it. One may require a larger gauge wire for longer runs to keep the resistance acceptable, but not a 'better' wire. As already noted the Mediabridge cable isn't pure copper, so to realize the same resistance would require a larger gauge than copper.

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post #21 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

That's not true, especially over long distances.
Yes it is, as long as you get the proper gauge for the distance. Otherwise there is zero difference.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #22 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 01:11 PM
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Yes it is, as long as you get the proper gauge for the distance. Otherwise there is zero difference.

I mean, it was just mentioned right there... By your philosophy, I'm guessing you also think there's no difference when it comes to Audio cables with TS/TRS connectors. You'd be more than just wrong. I mean, look, it's all relative. if you have $100 speakers, it probably won't matter. If you have $1000 speakers, it will, not in general, but in specific ways.
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post #23 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 02:51 PM
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I'm guessing you also think there's no difference when it comes to Audio cables with TS/TRS connectors. .
The only factors that define cable performance are resistance, capacitance, inductance and, in the case of interconnects, percentage of shielding. The connector does not enter into the equation.

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post #24 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 03:26 PM
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The only factors that define cable performance are resistance, capacitance, inductance and, in the case of interconnects, percentage of shielding. The connector does not enter into the equation.

Right, I was just defining the type of cable... connectors very rarely factor in unless they're significantly oxidized. They do matter though. While gold connectors oxidize a lot less, to begin with, they have less conductivity than the silver ones.
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post #25 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

While gold connectors oxidize a lot less, to begin with, they have less conductivity than the silver ones.
The conductivity of silver versus gold connectors has zero audibility, and neither surpasses good old tin plated brass or copper. Gold has its benefits for corrosion resistance in extreme conditions, like on a boat or in a house near the ocean, but otherwise it's main selling point is as a selling point.

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post #26 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

I mean, it was just mentioned right there... By your philosophy, I'm guessing you also think there's no difference when it comes to Audio cables with TS/TRS connectors. You'd be more than just wrong. I mean, look, it's all relative. if you have $100 speakers, it probably won't matter. If you have $1000 speakers, it will, not in general, but in specific ways.
There may be a measurable difference between brands of cables, but there is no audible difference. Those differences they measure are well outside the human threshold of hearing. Expensive cables are nothing more than snake oil.. People who buy expensive cables are either fooling themselves, or they want to impress someone.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #27 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

While gold connectors oxidize a lot less, to begin with, they have less conductivity than the silver ones.
Oh? How much additional resistance will there be if there are a few microns of gold on the connector? Wouldn't the nickel plating under it required to keep copper from migrating through the gold be more of a problem?
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post #28 of 71 Old 07-26-2012, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Oh? How much additional resistance will there be if there are a few microns of gold on the connector?
Oh tons! It'll totally ruin the sound and color it beyond acceptable! Any real audiophile knows that!rolleyes.gif

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #29 of 71 Old 07-27-2012, 12:50 AM
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For the most part I agree. I was just stating that the connectors are a factor in relation to what was mentioned. I personally don't believe they have a perceivable impact on quality, nor have I heard it, again, in the respect that was mentioned. If the connectors are seriously oxidized, that's when issues could start but in most environments it rarely gets to the point. And guys, wtf? Why the hostility? I'm getting tired of repeatedly moderating myself in response. I don't need this abuse, no matter how mild you may claim it to be. Anyway...

As I said, for the most part I agree. The general idea behind what you say is true but let me just say this. I can't tell you with 100% certainly which factors affect what; I wish I could. All I can tell you is what factors I know to exist - that's 'a', and 'b': I know from the very beginning and recall very precisely getting pissed off that certain sound quality issues I was having ended up being due to the crappy cable, whether it was the soldering or the materials used. Whatever the case, a "better cable" fixed the issue. The previous cable wasn't one in a hundred either; there was nothing wrong with it. In cases it was also proper shielding which caused problems, whether it be for parts of the tip or throughout the cable. Look, just the fact that you can't really use guitar cables for audio cables and vice versa should already tell you something. And please don't say something like "it just needs to be the proper cable", especially if you have no understanding of what that entails.

All I can say is that there is a difference, especially in long chains and long distances in general, between using Monoprice cables and Mogami for example... In long chains, if there's even a tiny consistent flaw in the cables, whatever that problem is adds up. I often hate technical debates because a lot of times it often doesn't affect what you hear to a degree that it matters or any degree for that matter. I always advocate doing everything with your eyes and ears and learning that way, whether it's tuning speakers or calibrating monitors. The differences I could hear, that being true with headphones you can get for $80, safe to say these differences are accessible to people and will become even more so in the future. Even a safer bet that these things are even more distinguishable with some insane top of the line speakers, properly set up of course. Past a certain point, I again think it gets ridiculous and not worth the tiny potential improvements if you look into the right stuff, but the point still stands. So, it's not stupid to get good cables/better cables because in the analog domain, such a thing exists. What's stupid is getting expensive cables without knowing what you're doing - for the sake of it. But I mean, this applies to eveything... Beats... In terms of cables there's of course Monster. OH HEY LOOK, same company, lol.

And Colm, that's a good question, especially the second one. Maybe you can answer that for me? Listen, I'm also learning. I only state the little (relative to the total of things in general) that I know to be true already and have personally experienced. Everything surrounding the element of what I said is up in the air and up for being discussed. I could even be wrong with certain things that I really may have not fully explored. But don't automatically write me off as an idiot that talks about things he/she themselves wouldn't be able to discern and just does/says things that were heard somewhere just to "show off" or something...
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post #30 of 71 Old 07-27-2012, 02:21 AM
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I see your point now. And yes, there are some out there that are so cheap that they will not perform well. I would rather spend a bit more on a manufacturer that uses quality connectors over ones that would use lousy connectors that would break easily or come loose. Your point is taken.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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