Do you agree with his views about speaker cables? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by pronghorn/az View Post

I was sneered at in Best Buy when I told the sales person (when he said Monster makes that cable and we can order it!) I refuse to buy Monster Cables, over priced. Everyone has their limits But thanks to AVS I don't have to spend lots of hard earned money on cables.

I've actively "rescued" a couple of customers in electronics stores by catching them trying to buy $70 Monster optical cables--I just told them to go to Monoprice.com. Normally I'd mind my own business, but I couldn't let this go. While it appears that the prices of Monster optical cables have come down to more reasonable levels since then, they're still grossly overpriced for an interconnect and protocol with such modest requirements (I've always used the cheapest optical cables and have never experienced even a single glitch--TOSLINK is not like HDMI).
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post #32 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by puremotion View Post

I think the only real difference between cheap and expensive cables is the BUILD quality. More expensive cables will tend to have tougher housings and connectors. I don't believe the cable itself (i.e. the metal inside) would be much different between the two.

Couldn't agree more. You can buy inexpensive connectors from monoprice or meritline that work as well as anything, but the connectors have a tendency to fall apart or snap off pretty easily.
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post #33 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

You can buy inexpensive connectors from monoprice or meritline that work as well as anything
If you use connectors at all. Most consumer grade receivers/amps and speakers have combination binding posts that work just as well, if not better, without a connector. Connectors are convenient if you have to disconnect and reconnect cables on a regular basis, but otherwise they're a waste of money and just one more thing that can go wrong.

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post #34 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 04:35 PM
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The only time I heard a difference was when I bought some non-gauge Monster wire from RS, in '07. That was all they had.
It had some kind of dielectric running down the middle, claiming to improve the HF. Well, it made it worse, to say the highs were ear splitting would be kind!!
I then went online and ordered cable from BJC and when I got it two days later, the sound was good again.

Things that would be more important would be how the bias current of an amp was set.
Finding the best locations in the room for the speakers. Just to name two.
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post #35 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chrischaos View Post

I'm sure you believe you do. I used to believe i could make my wife happy.
why did you have to try and ruin any chance I had of making an easy grand off some auidiophool?mad.gif

BTW as to making your wife happy, I have a few tips for that too (availble at the right price wink.gif)
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post #36 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by toslat View Post

why did you have to try and ruin any chance I had of making an easy grand off some auidiophool?mad.gif
BTW as to making your wife happy, I have a few tips for that too (availble at the right price wink.gif)

Sorry sir, didn't mean to rain on your parade! As for the tips, at this point, i think i've spent enough! Well, at least she lets me spend (some would say) foolish amounts of $ on AV!
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post #37 of 58 Old 06-14-2012, 10:29 PM
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Completely agree about the cables but what are some of your opinions on the power conditioners? I know he's not a fan. I live in Louisiana and have been getting a ton of thunderstorms lately that have been making me nervous. If 150 bucks can protect thousands then it'd be worth it just for the peace of mind.
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post #38 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JackDiesel14 View Post

If 150 bucks can protect thousands then it'd be worth it just for the peace of mind.
It hardly requires $150. This is the active ingredient:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062574&cp

As for EMI/RFI filtering, most gear has that built in already (and MOVs too for that matter) but if you're a belt and suspenders guy put one of these into your power strip too:
http://www.excesssolutions.com/cgi-bin/category/11700

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post #39 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 06:59 AM
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Cables make a difference and a sizeable difference up to a point. That point comes very quickly. If there isn't something wrong with the cable and it's the size and construction that won't have problems then you won't notice a difference going to an expensive cable.
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post #40 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by darkhorror View Post

Cables make a difference and a sizeable difference up to a point.
Does lamp cord sound different than monster? Does 6 feet of 18awg sound different from 6 feet of 12awg lamp cord? How about 30 feet? 50ft? 200ft?
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post #41 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

Does lamp cord sound different than monster? Does 6 feet of 18awg sound different from 6 feet of 12awg lamp cord? How about 30 feet? 50ft? 200ft?
No, no, no, maybe, probably. It's a pretty well established constant that those who really understand how gear works dismiss the cable nonsense outright, unless they have a monetary interest in feigning otherwise. Or they're simply nuts. biggrin.gif
http://www.verber.com/mark/ce/cables.html

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post #42 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

Does lamp cord sound different than monster? Does 6 feet of 18awg sound different from 6 feet of 12awg lamp cord? How about 30 feet? 50ft? 200ft?

No, no, no, maybe, probably. It's a pretty well established constant that those who really understand how gear works dismiss the cable nonsense outright, unless they have a monetary interest in feigning otherwise. Or they're simply nuts. biggrin.gif
http://www.verber.com/mark/ce/cables.html

There is an assumption floating around AVS that cable length matters. As an enlightened group of enthusiasts, we've largely moved past the high end cable argument and have launched instead into a new assumption, that cable length affects signal. I'm not suggesting it doesn't but I don't think we know with any falsifiable certainty that it does, and to what extent. Am I mistaken? Have there been studies conducted, even rudimentary ones? What were their results?
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post #43 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

There is an assumption floating around AVS that cable length matters.
It does, as does gauge, but not nearly as much as most assume. This simple tool is all you need to be sure you're not pouring money down the drain on excess copper:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

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post #44 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

It does, as does gauge, but not nearly as much as most assume. This simple tool is all you need to be sure you're not pouring money down the drain on excess copper:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf
Neat app. Based on what research?

I love that site, btw. Explain it to me like I'm five.
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post #45 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 12:54 PM
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Based on the research of Ohm and Maxwell, primarily wink.gif
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post #46 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jonnythan View Post

Based on the research of Ohm and Maxwell, primarily wink.gif
You're an EE with authority of the subject and vouch for the site author's accuracy?
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post #47 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 01:26 PM
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You don't need to be an EE to perform these calculations, though incidentally I did undergraduate work in this exact subject.

The calculations performed by that site are very simple.
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post #48 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

You're an EE with authority of the subject and vouch for the site author's accuracy?
I am, and I do.
Quote:
Based on the research of Ohm and Maxwell, primarily
+1. While the cable mountebanks would lead you to believe there's something cutting edge about their products the physics of wire was very well quantified in the 19th century.
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post #49 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

Neat app. Based on what research?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnythan View Post

Based on the research of Ohm and Maxwell, primarily wink.gif

Well, it should be obvious enough that resistance is going to make a noticeable difference at some point. For one thing, in addition to the general loss of some power, it's eventually going to start making the speaker's frequency/power response conform to its impedance curve, right? When this becomes audible is up for debate, and it probably varies between individuals, as well. Then when you factor in room response and equalization, it kind of becomes "lost in the noise," even in the more extreme cases. So no, wire gauge and length are not major factors, in my view, but there is some measurable, if not always audible, effect, and I wouldn't blame anybody who spends a few extra dollars (emphasis on "few") to ensure that any such issues are obviated entirely (for all practical purposes). Psychologically, it provides some peace of mind, like buying well made cables that are more robust and less prone to failure (even though they won't sound any better, really)--one less thing to worry about. Spending a lot of money, however, is crazy, and making a huge deal out of miniscule differences--such as fretting over whether 14 AWG is good enough for 8 feet, and wanting to upgrade to 12 AWG--doesn't make sense.

Having said all that, there are some examples of when cables can matter. For instance, two of my devices just wouldn't communicate reliably with any HDMI cable I tried, including cables that worked between other devices. Sometimes this happens when two devices are on the opposite margins of the spec, I'm guessing, and require a cleaner signal for high-speed, high-frequency (much higher than audio, of course) signaling. I finally found a cable that worked reliably (from Blue Jeans Cable), so maybe having better specs matters sometimes, like with Cat6 versus Cat5e--sometimes you can get reliable gigabit Ethernet with Cat5e, but eventually the better specs of Cat6 will allow you to make longer runs. With speaker cable, however, the requirements are so laughably modest that virtually any type of plain old conductor will do, given a reasonably low resistance--you really have to try to screw it up for anything to go wrong to any level of significance.
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post #50 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jonnythan View Post

You don't need to be an EE to perform these calculations, though incidentally I did undergraduate work in this exact subject.
The calculations performed by that site are very simple.

http://www.bcae1.com/ohmslaw.htm
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post #51 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 01:51 PM
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Thank you for giving me a quick refresher on my high school physics :P
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post #52 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 03:01 PM
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If I use monster cables for my lights, will I see a difference?
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post #53 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

If I use monster cables for my lights, will I see a difference?

Yes, the light will look more "open" and "spacious," as though a "veil" has been lifted, allowing you to see the bottom of your wallet. biggrin.gif
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post #54 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 05:21 PM
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Hate all you want but my 3,000 HDMI cable makes the 1's and 0's much fuller and dynamic. With the cheap cable it made the 0's look top skinny, almost like 1's. This would confuse my TV and it would display everything in grey.

/sarcasm off
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post #55 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDiesel14 View Post

Hate all you want but my 3,000 HDMI cable makes the 1's and 0's much fuller and dynamic. With the cheap cable it made the 0's look top skinny, almost like 1's. This would confuse my TV and it would display everything in grey.
/sarcasm off
My 25 foot HDMI that I use to connect my computer to my TV works a treat, even for 1080p. Cost me all of $6.98.

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post #56 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 05:25 PM
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My speaker wire of choice 10 gauge 413/36 strand:
http://www.altex.com/Pro-Sound-102-OFC-Speaker-Wire-100-SP-10GIANT-100-P144254.aspx

No more worries about the quality of my speaker wire. Very high strand count and very flexible with the rope lay. Tried Home Depot (or was it Lowe's?) 12ga before and although it worked fine, the wire was extremely stiff. This wire looks better and as I said, routes easily. It's made by JSC:
http://www.jscwire.com/jsc_ss.taf?p=2225
The JSC part# is 2225.

If anyone recalls the speaker wire shootouts/faceoff on Audioholics, the JSC 10/2 wire was the closest thing I could find to the SoundKing/Cobalt 10 gauge (which doesn't seem to be available anymore).

The measurements and results from the Cable Faceoff 3 has me curious about trying the twisted Cat5 cable.
http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/cables/diy-speaker-cable-faceoff/diy-cable-faceoff-results-and-conclusion


Max

P.S. There IS one thing from Monster that I actually DO buy and use:
http://www.amazon.com/QuickLock-MKII-Connectors-Crimping-Terminations/dp/B000WXAX6G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339802265&sr=8-1&keywords=monster+quicklock
Monster Quicklock II connectors/terminations. The price for 2 pairs on Amazon fluctuates between the $20 they sell for at brick and mortar stores to $13.10. I find them very easy to install (and they work with the 10ga wire. Although the jacket will not fit into the opening, the stripped wire fits just fine). They fit great and the other thing I like about them is that once you place the part on the end of the stripped wire, you can easily change the terminations by unscrewing one type and screwing a different one on.

To change from bananas to spades for instance, I just unscrew the gold part (the black part stays on the end of the stripped wire), and screw on the gold spades:
http://www.amazon.com/QuickLock-MKII-Connectors-Crimping-Terminations/dp/B0013JUEJ4/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1339802265&sr=8-9&keywords=monster+quicklock

The black ends are also rubber/plastic so they're insulated to avoid having the connectors touch each other too easily. Not really a problem for folks who turn off all their equipment before changing connections, but I still like the added safety factor compared to all metal connectors/terminations.

P.P.S. Although there are other companies (like Sewell) that now make connectors like this, the quality isn't as good. With the Monster connectors, the inside of the connectors is smooth and tapered so pushing the bare wire through is simple and easy. With the Sewell copy, the inside is not tapered, it is stepped, which means that using large gauge wire (like the 10ga) could lead to some strands catching on the step and folding back/jamming. With smaller gauge wire, it probably wouldn't be as much of a pain.
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post #57 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDiesel14 View Post

Hate all you want but my 3,000 HDMI cable makes the 1's and 0's much fuller and dynamic. With the cheap cable it made the 0's look top skinny, almost like 1's. This would confuse my TV and it would display everything in grey.

/sarcasm off

Once the bits have been correctly interpreted as 1s and 0s, then any analog nastiness in the cable no longer matters, but in high-bandwidth digital formats, sometimes it can interfere enough to cause errors. This is why different types of cable are needed for high-speed networking, for example, and error correction is a part of network protocols; it is also why so many people have problems with HDMI, which usually take the form of handshaking failures and glitches in the data (HDMI is NOT a robust format in the least).

I understand your sarcasm, and I think I've made my position clear on the subject of cables, but in reality it is not always so simple, even with digital formats. Sometimes a 0 can in fact be misinterpreted as a 1 (all signals are analog--digital is a manner of interpretation), and vice versa, which is why error correction is used in so many places. You are correct that bit errors are not going to have the kind of subtle, analog-like effects that some people believe, but my point is that in the most general sense, sometimes the physical characteristics of a cable can matter a great deal--the key is to know where and when, and speaker cables aren't it.
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post #58 of 58 Old 06-15-2012, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by MrAcoustat View Post

...Tara Labs Temporal Continuum speaker cables...

Do they also sell Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey...Stuff speaker cables?
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