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post #1 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Speaker Cable Debate in Perspective

Obviously the nature of quality of speaker cables is and has been hotly debated in forums around the world. Let see if we can establish some perspective.

Generally we want the Resistance of the Cable to be less than 2% of the nominal impedance of the speakers. Some say it can be as high as 5%, others say it needs to be less than 1%. I'll leave you to make up your own mind on that. Generally, I use 2% as the standard.

That leaves Capacitance and Inductance to contend with. Those are hard specs to find, but I did find those specs on several cables, and am posting the results below.

I chose a point where the impedance of the cable was equal to that of an idealized 8 ohm speaker. That would be the point where, ignoring phase, the cable and the speaker would drop HALF the applied signal each.

This started with this link provided in another speaker cable discussion -

Low Inductance DIY HiFi Speaker Cables -

http://diyaudioprojects.com/Power/Lo...peaker-Cables/

I posted this in another forum because I though some people might be interested in the project. But near the bottom of that link, they posted the Capacitance and Inductance of a variety of cable including the DIY Cable.

With that information, I started calculating at what frequency the impedance of the wire was equal to the idealized impedance of an 8 ohm speaker.

But first, here is now the math breaks down -

The Impedance of a Coil -

XL = 2(PI)(f)(L)

The Impedance of a Capacitor -

XC = 1 / (2(pi)(f)(C)


So the frequency at which XL comes into play is -


fL = XL / (2(pi)L)

The frequency at which XC come into play is -

fC = 1 / (2(pi)(XC)(C))

f = frequency
(pi) = mathematical PI (3.14159...)
X = impedance
C = Capacitance
L = Inductance

Cable with specs in capacitance/foot or inductance/foot are for a 10 foot cable.

Cable specs with capacitance/meter or inductance/meter are for a 3 meter cable (9.84ft).

The DIY Cable (at the link provided above) -

650pf / 10ft
0.50µH / 10ft


fL = XL / (2(pi) x 0.5x10^-6

f = 8 / (6.28 x 0.0000005) = 8 / 0.00000314

fL = 2,546,479 hz

Some one should check that math.

fC = 1 / (6.28)(XC)(C)

f = 1 / (6.28) 8 x 650x10^-12

f = 1 / 50.24 x 650x10^-12 = 1/ 50.24 x 0.000000000650

fC = 1 / 3.27x10^-8

fC = 30,622,220 hz

As you are about to see, fC is commonly in the millions of Hertz and the fL is in the 100's of thousand of Hertz.

Next, using the information provided at the DIY Cable link, we measure some bog-standard 12ga twin-lead speaker wire.

common 12ga twin lead (18pF/ft, 0.19µH/ft)

For 10 feet of common 12ga wire, we have -

180pf /10ft
1.90µH /10ft

fL = XL / (2(pi)L)

f = 8 / ((6.28) x 1.90x10^-6)

fL = 670,120 hz


fC = 1 / (2(pi)(XC)(C))

f = 1 / (6.28) 8 x 180x10^-12 = 1 / 6.28 x 8 x 0.000000000180)

fC = 110,580,326 hz

Just out of curiosity I calculated the fL for 32 ohms and for 4 ohms, just to see how much difference the changing of the speakers impedance across the frequency range would make.

32 ohms = 2,680,504 hz

4 ohms = 335,063 hz

Still well outside the audio range.

Here is straight forward double insulated Belden speaker wire.

Belden 46381NH 2-conductor 2.5mm² speaker wire -

Resistance conductor @ 20°C < 8 W/km
Nominal capacitance at 1kHz 76 pF/m
Nominal inductance @ 1kHz < 1.2 uH/m

1.2µH x 3 meters = 3.6µH

fL = 353,677.7hz

76pF x 3 meters = 228pF

fC = 87,255,999.5 hz

Then I decided to try some common but slightly exotic cables - The QED Anniversary XT and the new QED XT400.

QED Anniversary XT -
http://www.qed.co.uk/speaker_cables/..._xt_cable.html

Capacitance - 50pF/m
Inductance - 0.47 µH/m


Wire gauge - 16 AWG
Cross-sectional area - 1.50mm²
Dissipation factor - 0.0006

QED XT400 -
http://www.qed.co.uk/speaker_cables/...400_cable.html

Capacitance - 43pF/m
Inductance - 0.50 µH/m


Wire gauge - 12 AWG
Cross-sectional area - 4.00mm²
Dissipation factor - 0.0400

There is a graphic on the QED XT400 page that explains the design concept of this wire. (3 meter cable)

Anniversary XT - (50pf, 0.47µH) -

fC = 132,629,119 hz

fL = 903,007 hz



QED XT400 - (43pF, 0.50µH) -

fC = 154,219,906 hz

fL = 848,826 hz

No matter what wire I choose, from basic to exotic, the results are the same. The impedance effects of the Capacitance and Inductance are WELL OUT of the Audio Range.

For what it is worth.

PS: Feel free to check my math, or to recalculate using other ratios. For example, rather that X = R, you might want to use X = R/10.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #2 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 03:31 PM
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I can't read all that but speaker wire is speaker wire.

Also a prediction, this thread will get at least 100 replies!
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Just 'cause you're right doesn't mean I'm wrong
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post #3 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, as a side note, could someone explain -

Dissipation factor

The QED Specs show this spec -


QED XT400 (12ga, 4mm²)


Dissipation factor - 0.0400

QED Anniversary XT (16ga, 1.5mm²)


Dissipation factor - 0.0006

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post #4 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 04:01 PM
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So what your'e saying is buy whatever speaker wire that a person wants. I'm one of those that buy 12awg in whatever length I want from whoever has a good deal....like Monoprice or Amazon. Oh and I went down to one of the local Radio Shacks that are closing and bought 2 rolls of 50ft length of Auvio 12awg that they usually sold for $50. I only paid $12 each, so not bad.

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post #5 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkpenguin View Post
I can't read all that but speaker wire is speaker wire.

Also a prediction, this thread will get at least 100 replies!
I can be summarized in this one statement -

As you are about to see, fC is commonly in the millions of Hertz and the fL is in the 100's of thousand of Hertz.


In short, the effect of Capacitance and Inductance are well outside the Audio Range.

Even if we shift the results by a factor of 10, the lowest numbers calculated are still outside the audio range.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #6 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m3incorp View Post
So what your'e saying is buy whatever speaker wire that a person wants. I'm one of those that buy 12awg in whatever length I want from whoever has a good deal....like Monoprice or Amazon.
Yes, that's sort of it. I'm not 100% against buying nice (read ...sort of... expensive) wire. But don't get too carried away, and definitely don't spend more than you can afford.

Myself, I might spend approaching $100 per cable (all cable, not just speaker wire). Why? It looks cool and I can afford it. Assuming at the time I could afford it.

But, until such time as a win the Lottery, I'll stick with decent quality bog-standard OFC twin-lead cable.

So ...yeah... get what you want.

Just don't go overboard.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #7 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 04:13 PM
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I agree with the they look cool factor unless they are hidden in rack or behind equipment and then it makes no sense. I can not hear the difference in high end cables. I use 12 gauge speaker because I was told it was best. I know in Banana style connection 14 gauge fits better. I have tried all kinds of wire and interconnects and it does not make that much difference to me. I love this quote "Reminds me of the the difference between a music lover and an audiophile.

A music lover listens to music with his sound system.

An audiophile listens to his sound system with music."


I am a music lover that likes quality equipment.
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post #8 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the thread where I started these calculations. It includes one additional cable.

https://www.avforums.com/threads/mor...#post-21792957

QED 79 Strand which is standard twin lead 2.5mm², about 13ga.

http://www.qed.co.uk/speaker_cables/...and_cable.html

Capacitance - 58pF/m
Inductance - 0.66 µH/m


0.66µH x 3 meter = 1.98µH

fL = 643,050 hz


58pF x 3 meters = 174pF

fC = 114,335,448 hz

Pretty much the same as all the other wire.

Just out of curiosity, I'm going to calculate the above very common wire at R/10, so instead of the wire being 8 ohms, it will be 0.8 ohms, just to see how that affects the outcome.

R = 8 ohm idealized speaker impedance

R/10 = 8/10 = 0.8


fL = (R/10) / (2(pi)L)

f = 0.8 / (6.28)(1.98x10^-6)

fL = 64,430 hz


fC = 1 / (2(pi)(R/10)(C))

f = 1/ (6.28)(0.8)(174x10^-12)

fC = 1,143,354,476

Again with this very straight forward cable, even at R/10, we are not remotely close to the audio range.

For the fL to touch the top of the audio range it would have to be R/35 -

R/35 = (R/35 = 8/35 = 0.22857)


R/35 = ~2.286% loss due to Inductive Impedance.

fL = (R/35) / (2(pi)L)

f = 0.229 / (6.28)(1.98x10^-6)

fL = 18,407 hz

At this frequency, the inductance of the wire is 2.86%. That is insignificant at that frequency.

No matter how you slice it and dice it, it comes out the same. Capacitance and Inductance have little to no effect on the standard audio range.

Steve/bluewizard

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post #9 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 06:40 PM
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16 to 14 awg is all you need. 12?? Got some 1,000 watt amps 50 feet from the speakers?

Sounds good!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkpenguin View Post
I can't read all that but speaker wire is speaker wire.

Also a prediction, this thread will get at least 100 replies!

Bet you a nickel it will be over 100


Ray
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post #11 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
Yes, that's sort of it. I'm not 100% against buying nice (read ...sort of... expensive) wire. But don't get too carried away, and definitely don't spend more than you can afford.

Myself, I might spend approaching $100 per cable (all cable, not just speaker wire). Why? It looks cool and I can afford it. Assuming at the time I could afford it.

But, until such time as a win the Lottery, I'll stick with decent quality bog-standard OFC twin-lead cable.

So ...yeah... get what you want.

Just don't go overboard.

Steve/bluewizard
Quote:
Originally Posted by jreb14 View Post
I agree with the they look cool factor unless they are hidden in rack or behind equipment and then it makes no sense. I can not hear the difference in high end cables. I use 12 gauge speaker because I was told it was best. I know in Banana style connection 14 gauge fits better. I have tried all kinds of wire and interconnects and it does not make that much difference to me. I love this quote "Reminds me of the the difference between a music lover and an audiophile.

A music lover listens to music with his sound system.

An audiophile listens to his sound system with music."


I am a music lover that likes quality equipment.

Guilty for spending money on the look
Wire size, I always get 12 awg for piece of mind (and look), needed or not since the price difference is so small.


Since I now make my own cables, I do send more money for a name with more wires strand count for the ease of use, not sound.


Wire is wire, but also guilty to overspend


Ray
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post #12 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 07:17 PM
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While I love the HT hobby, I also have a life...so calculating the capacitance of my wire, well, I just don't care!
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post #13 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 07:19 PM
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There is no speaker cable debate. This has been solved years ago by industry heavyweights like Ken Kantor and Arny Krueger. What there is, is greedy people who keep the myths alive in order to profit from the gullible people of the world.
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post #14 of 95 Old 02-23-2015, 08:01 PM
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Ultra high-end people have better ears than normal people; so they can afford ultra expensive cables to match their set of ears.

It's all about matching your equipment. ...Synchronicity and synergy. Get the best, get the most expensive stuff you can afford, and don't look back.
It's not what you're worth (financial assets) that dictates quality music, it's your cable (mojo).
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post #15 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post
While I love the HT hobby, I also have a life...so calculating the capacitance of my wire, well, I just don't care!
No need to do the calculations, I've already done them for you. The result is - - - Don't worry about it.

Notice Capacitance is in the many MILLIONs of Hertz, the lower number is inductance, in the 100's of Thousands of Hertz in my examples.

I've also shown that at 18khz, the inductive impedance of my example, bog-standard 2.5mm² wire, the impedance is less than 3%.

Steve/bluewizard

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post #16 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 01:05 PM
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Tell that to my father in law. He won't buy any speaker cables (or HDMI cables for that matter) if they're not Monster. Yikes

Yippee-ki-yay...
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post #17 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
There is no speaker cable debate. ....
Obviously you don't read this forum or any other forum or you would know this is hotly debated everyday. You may have it resolved in your own mind, but your mind doesn't control the subjective experience of countless millions of people.

That's the point I'm trying to make here. That if the resistance is in the proper working range (<2%), and the inductance is in the proper working range, and the capacitance is in the proper working range, what else can possible effect the sound?

People can ramble on about Cryogenic Treatments, and Long Grain Copper, and all the other 'tech' that is applied to speakers wire ... but while those things may be real and while they may have some effect on the copper, it is very doubtful that they have any effect on the actual sound.

Still, if you've got the cash, I'm not against people spending money on moderately expensive wire and cable with emphasis on the word moderately.

To use an analogy, I have nothing against anyone who wants a moderately expensive BMW, but if you are spending over US$1,000,000 on a Bugatti Veyron, you are just being silly.

If a person wants to spend $25, $50, or $100 on cable and they can easily afford it, then who is anyone to say NO. Who is anyone to tell you, you can't buy a BMW or a Tag Heuer watch, or any other moderately expensive item.

If is not moderately expensive that worries me, it is crazy expensive. There is just no justification for that. But on the lower end of expensive, there can be some justification, though it has little to do with sound quality.

So, the debate is not over, or it would not be hotly debated every single week on every single audio forum in existance.

Now, that does not mean the debates have foundation, it simply means ...like it or not... it is one of the most hotly, and repeatedly debated topics on the Internet.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #18 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 01:22 PM
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Please take the following remarks in good nature.

In your calculations insert variables for hearing damage and tinnitus. Thankfully most of my hearing damage is corrected by the high technology hearing aids. Tinnitus though is a constant companion. I really enjoy audio of all kind, use high quality components, cables, connectors and speakers.

You undoubtly notice that no AV manufacturer claims to overcome the human frailty factor. Such is life.

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post #19 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlsaudio View Post
16 to 14 awg is all you need. 12?? Got some 1,000 watt amps 50 feet from the speakers?
Another aspect of speaker wire that can be addressed.

Look at this chart of AWG Wire here. Notice it has the Current ratings for each size wire -

Power Stream - AWG Chart -


http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

Notice there are two current ratings, one high and one low.

HIGH = Maximum amps for chassis wiring

LOW = Maximum amps for power transmission

I'm going to re-interpret this as -

HIGH = Absolute melt down limit.

LOW = Sustained Current

14ga wire is -

HIGH = 32 amps
LOW = 5.9 amps

So, just to give us some perspective, let's push that Current into an 8 ohm load.

32 A = 8,192 Watts

5.9 A = 278.5 Watts


So, 14 ga wire can sustain a 279 watt amp for a very substantial period of time, and it has a peak failure capacity of 8,200 Watts.

Seems to me that 14ga is more than adequate unless perhaps you have 500w/ch to 1000w/ch amps.

If we do the same with 12ga wire, which has a -

HIGH = 41A
LOW = 9.3A

And again to simply give us a sense of perspective, we push that power into a 8 ohm load, we have -

41 A = 13,448 Watts

9.3 A = 692 Watts


To offer an additional perspective, a 14ga extension cord is rated at 15 amps. The equivalent of 1800 watts if pushed into an 8 ohm load.

The last factor that goes unmentioned is Skin Effect. The AWG Chart in the link above also provides the frequency at which Skin Effect begins with the various size wires. Not were the Current has completely moved to the skin, but where is starts moving toward the skin -

Maximum frequency for 100% skin depth for solid conductor copper


My interpretations is, at the Stated frequency, the current still flow 100% though the entire wire, but above this frequency, it start to move from the core to the Skin. So, for full 100% Skin Effect, the frequency would be much higher. At least that is my interpretations.

Skin Effect for 14ga and 12ga -

14ga = 6700hz

12ga = 4150hz


The bigger the wire, the lower the frequency at which Skin Effect begins, though these electrical charts are typically for solid core electrical wire.

Below is the power distribution of Full Orchestral Music -



Whether this is correct for the type of music you listen to is irrelevant, at 4khz and up, we see the power, and therefore the current, are pretty low. About 1/20th of the peak power band.

So, while Skin Effect begins much earlier than most would have imagined, the current is low and the wire still has more than enough capacity to carry that current.

In short, what ever it is a person might worry about with respect to speaker wire .... don't worry about it.

Steve/bluewizard

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post #20 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 02:09 PM
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Yeah. So even 14 awg wire wont melt until over 8,000 watts are passed through it. So for the average Joe passing 1% of that through the wire, I think we're safe.

Sounds good!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by northsky View Post
ultra high-end people have better ears than normal people; so they can afford ultra expensive cables to match their set of ears.

It's all about matching your equipment. ...synchronicity and synergy. Get the best, get the most expensive stuff you can afford, and don't look back.
It's not what you're worth (financial assets) that dictates quality music, it's your cable (mojo).
lol!!

Sounds good!

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post #22 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 03:27 PM
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post #23 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Still curious about -

Dissipation factor


Anyone have any idea of what it might be??

The QED Specs show this spec -

QED XT400 (12ga, 4mm²)


Dissipation factor - 0.0400

QED Anniversary XT (16ga, 1.5mm²)


Dissipation factor - 0.0006

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post #24 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by karlsaudio View Post
Yeah. So even 14 awg wire wont melt until over 8,000 watts are passed through it. So for the average Joe passing 1% of that through the wire, I think we're safe.
Just to be on the safe side, let's call it 1800 watts, or a 100w/ch amp is capable of about 5.6% of that peak value.

A 200w/ch amp is capable of delivering about 11% of that considerable power limit.

I think we are safe.

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post #25 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 04:49 PM
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It is my understanding that ultra audiophile establishments now offer ear optimization surgery. Guarnteed to enable you to justify $250K speakers, $2K per foot cable and 24ct gold connectors.

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post #26 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
Obviously you don't read this forum or any other forum or you would know this is hotly debated everyday.

So, the debate is not over, or it would not be hotly debated every single week on every single audio forum in existance.

Now, that does not mean the debates have foundation, it simply means ...like it or not... it is one of the most hotly, and repeatedly debated topics on the Internet.

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And you obviously don't use the search engine because you would agree this topic (as you pointed out yourself) has been debated in numerous threads already...so why start a completely new thread vs bumping an existing thread (with your comments)?

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post #27 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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And you obviously don't use the search engine because you would agree this topic (as you pointed out yourself) has been debated in numerous threads already...so why start a completely new thread vs bumping an existing thread (with your comments)?
OUCH ... not really.

Your post smacks of desperation.

It also seems a bit disingenuous to claim there is no debate then tell me to seek out an endless list of CABLE DEBATES. A list that I already admitted existed, and have participated in.

All those other thread start with "What cable should I buy?" and end with people ranting and raving about - What cable you should NOT buy. Apparently the contrarians think you should never buy anything that doesn't come from MonoPrice.

This thread focus on all the measurable parameters of Speaker Cable -

- Resistance
- Inductance
- Capacitance
- Skin Effect
- Current and Power handling capacity.


In this thread, there is really nothing to debate. I present Data and Calculations, people are free to make of it what they will. That means there are things that can be discussed, but really nothing to Debate.

Further, not only do I inform, but I provide the tools by example and through formulas, that allow people to evaluate any speaker wire they want, as long as they have the specs.

With the Specs, you can determine the impedance at any frequency, or determine the frequencies at which the impedance will or will not matter.

But I think I have also demonstrated by giving the results for a variety of cable, and approaching it from several different perspectives, that none of the parameters will have any affect in the audio range beyond making sure the wire is of the right size.

What is there to argue with?

Steve/bluewizard

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post #28 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 05:37 PM
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While I love the HT hobby, I also have a life...so calculating the capacitance of my wire, well, I just don't care!
Seriously! A life challenged horse is being tenderized here! I get there is some science going on with HDMI cable but speaker wire? As long as I keep the polarity right, I'm good! As should all of you!

Sounds good!

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post #29 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
OUCH ... not really.

Your post smacks of desperation.

It also seems a bit disingenuous to claim there is no debate then tell me to see out an endless list of CABLE DEBATES. A list that I already admitted existed, and have participated in.

All those other thread start with "What cable should I buy?" and end with people ranting and raving about - What cable you should NOT buy. Apparently the contrarians think you should never buy anything that doesn't come from MonoPrice.

This thread focus on all the measurable parameters of Speaker Cable -

- Resistance
- Inductance
- Capacitance
- Skin Effect
- Current and Power handling capacity.


In this thread, there is really nothing to debate. I present Data and Calculations, people are free to make of it what they will. That means there are things that can be discussed, but really nothing to Debate.

Further, not only do I inform, but I provide the tools by example and through formulas, that allow people to evaluate any speaker wire they want, as long as the have the specs.

With the Specs, you can determine the impedance at any frequency, or determine the frequencies at which the impedance will or will not matter.

But I think I have also demonstrated by giving the results for a variety of cable, and approaching it from several different perspectives, that none of the parameters will have any affect in the audio range beyond making sure the wire is of the right size.

What is there to argue with?

Steve/bluewizard

Let me be blunt. I think your intention isn't to change anyone's opinion, but to draw attention to yourself. Starting a new thread screams "look at me." The question is why do you feel the need to draw attention to yourself?
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post #30 of 95 Old 02-24-2015, 06:41 PM
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More humor......

If I take all of the OP's data to Best Buy will it enable the Sales Associate to recommend the superior cable? Seems perfect for Walmart's Electronics uber staff.

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