AC or DC, speaKer wire question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 02:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Forgive me, but an old memory that "DC current likes solid core" from sometime back with the dinosaurs is sticking in my craw. Just bought a set of used Vandersteens 2Ce and was sorta shocked when I went to buy replacements for my 30 year old monster cables... $395 for some OFC... nope not going to happen. But... I got to thinking (not good!). Is the output to the speakers from the amp AC or DC current? If its DC and the old addage above is correct, why not use solid core 2-12 or so house wire? If its still an AC output than than it won't... but thought I'd ask.

Dave
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dem45133 View Post

Forgive me, but an old memory that "DC current likes solid core" from sometime back with the dinosaurs is sticking in my craw. Just bought a set of used Vandersteens 2Ce and was sorta shocked when I went to buy replacements for my 30 year old monster cables... $395 for some OFC... nope not going to happen. But... I got to thinking (not good!). Is the output to the speakers from the amp AC or DC current? If its DC and the old addage above is correct, why not use solid core 2-12 or so house wire? If its still an AC output than than it won't... but thought I'd ask.

Dave

It's A/C. But do yourself a favour and just go out to Home Depot and buy a roll of 12 guage low voltage wire and use that for all your speaker cables. It's cheap, it's thick, and it's all you will ever need. There is absolutely no way any other "boutique" cable will ever be shown to be better. You can spend a lot more (as you have seen), but it won't sound any better (unless you like the sound of your own voice bragging about how much you got hosed on speaker cables).

Mike
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 07:10 AM
 
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If its DC and the old addage above is correct,

It's AC and the 'old adage' is incorrect.
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post #4 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 07:35 AM
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The effect of the wire on sonics is not just gauge but more related to length of the run.. Every type of wire has resistance/capacitance characteristics and these interact by loading and changing the amplifier's output..

Just my $0.02..
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 07:39 AM
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solid wire carries less current, than stranded, where you got that addage? ever look at a welder the wire it uses, your car battery

you want cool looking cables, and cheap, check out this thread, I got 200 ft. of 12 awg from monoprice and some cool Black Chrome GLS banana plugs

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1301573
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post #6 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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Every type of wire has resistance/capacitance characteristics

...and inductance.

but none of these have anything to do with stranded or solid wire.
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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solid wire carries less current, than stranded

No, equal guages carry equal current.

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ever look at a welder the wire it uses, your car battery

Stranded is used for flexibility, nothing to do with current handling capacity.
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post #8 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

No, equal guages carry equal current.



Stranded is used for flexibility, nothing to do with current handling capacity.

"This one is a bit of a mind-boggler, but it's important. When electricity flows through a wire, it mostly flows on the surface of the wire, not through the middle. This effect is more pronounced on high frequency AC than it is on DC or low frequency AC. This means that a "wire" of a given size that made up of many smaller strands can carry more power than a solid wire - simply because the stranded wire has more surface area. This is one reason why battery cables in your car and welding cables are made up of many very fine strands of smaller wire - it allows them to safely carry more power with less of that power being dissipated as heat. However, this "skin" effect is not as pronounced in a typical 12V DC automotive application, and the wire and cable used there is stranded for flexibility reasons."
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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This one is a bit of a mind-boggler,

...only for people, such as yourself, who don't really understand 'skin effect'.

Quote:


This effect is more pronounced on high frequency AC than it is on DC or low frequency AC.

In fact, it only becomes measurable well above audio frequencies, and therefore has no place in a discussion on audio signals.

Quote:


This is one reason why battery cables in your car and welding cables are made up of many very fine strands of smaller wire - it allows them to safely carry more power with less of that power being dissipated as heat.

Battery and welding cables carry DC....which , of course, have no influence on skin effect....which is a high frequency phenomena.

Should have read the quote you posted
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 08:44 AM
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Stranded wire of the same diameter has a slightly higher resistance than solid wire because the unavoidable gaps between the strands reduce cross-section of the wire that's actually conducting current. The skin effect makes no difference because the strands are all short-circuted together and so end up behaving like solid wire.

In normal situations there's no reason to use solid wire to connect speakers. It stiff and hard to route, more liable to break, and costs more than the equivilent gauge (slightly larger diameter) of stranded wire which will perform exactly the same.
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post #11 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

...only for people, such as yourself, who don't really understand 'skin effect'.



In fact, it only becomes measurable well above audio frequencies, and therefore has no place in a discussion on audio signals.



Battery and welding cables carry DC....which , of course, have no influence on skin effect....which is a high frequency phenomena.

Should have read the quote you posted

you make me laugh, I am only talking about which can carry more current, I don't care what you believe stranded wire has more surface area, can carry more load than a similar size solid wire.
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post #12 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by monsteraudio View Post

you make me laugh, I am only talking about which can carry more current, I don't care what you believe stranded wire has more surface area, can carry more load than a similar size solid wire.

You make me laugh...and your post doesn't really make much sense...seems you're a little angry 'cause you got schooled.
Try to comprehend the information provided here, hopefully you'll learn something
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post #13 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 02:12 PM
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I have never read anything to indicate there's any reason not to buy stranded wire, of the cheap hardware store variety for speaker cable.

Gauge does matter, at least on paper. 16 GA is sufficient for most rooms (you can use less depending on the length.) If you had pretty long runs, you can look up a speaker cable gauge chart online.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #14 of 21 Old 07-25-2011, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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but thank you for your responses. After the shock at high end store, I bought a spool (250 ft) of 14/2 "speaker wire" from Lowes. Didn't see any larger there. I am concerned though about the aluminum ground conductor. We'll hook it up and see (listen).

Just for the sake of argument and to stir the pot, here is what Vandersteen says about wires.

From Vandersteen's FAQ section of their webpage:
Quote:


What wire should I use?

With all the advancements in materials and construction, there are good wires available at a wide range of prices. We receive at least one call a day asking what wire to use with Vandersteen speakers. Often the callers want to know what wires were used in designing the speakers or what the internal wires are.

Actually, neither the design wire nor the internal wire has any bearing on choosing the wire that is best for your system. During design, we connect the loudspeakers with a resistively loaded bus bar that can be set to simulate different wire lengths without contributing any inherent sonic character of its own to the sound. None of the internal wires in a Vandersteen speaker carry a full-range signal, so they are each individually engineered as part of a tuned-loop with the driver and crossover they connect. The woofer, midrange, and tweeter each use different wires selected for their characteristics coupling the particular driver to the crossover. If any of the wires were changed, the relationship between the crossover and the driver that wire connected would have to be adjusted.

There is a best wire for your system. It is the wire with the sonic characteristics that work best with your electronics, your speakers. your listening room, and your personal listening tastes. Change any of the four determining factors, and the best wire may also change.

This is why it would be irresponsible for us to suggest a wire to use. We know the speakers and might know the electronics, but there is no way we can experience your room or adequately understand your personal listening tastes to make a valid recommendation.

What we can recommend, is that you work with your local dealer to find the best wire for your system. Start with a base wire, then borrow different wires and evaluate them with your music, in your own system, in your own room. You don't have to try every wire, just enough to find one that works well in your system.

Thanks all.

Dave
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-26-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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I am concerned though about the aluminum ground conductor.

What about it?
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post #16 of 21 Old 07-26-2011, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dem45133 View Post

but thank you for your responses. After the shock at high end store, I bought a spool (250 ft) of 14/2 "speaker wire" from Lowes. Didn't see any larger there. I am concerned though about the aluminum ground conductor. We'll hook it up and see (listen).

Dave



What aluminum ground wire? There is no way that any aluminum wire is used in that speaker wire cable.
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post #17 of 21 Old 07-26-2011, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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but its definitely not copper or copper colored... its silver colored. Advertised on the label for Sound, Security, and Alarm, 14/2 CL3 for indoor use. Made by CCI (Coleman Cable Inc, Waukeegon, IL .... might actually be Made in the USA, says it is)

Concern is that on a higher than typical engineered system such as the Vandersteens, that the silver conductor will pass electrons differently than the copper side is feeding them... It has to travel differently than the copper side doesn't it? If so, what does than do to the sonic qualities (or lack of)?

Haven't open then spool...can take it back yet. Just trying to get the best I can out of these Vandersteen 2Ce's when fed with a pair (bi-amp'd) of Rotel RB980-BX's. But I can't justify the OFC costs, at least theirs.

Dave
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post #18 of 21 Old 07-26-2011, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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went to their web page and learned a little bit... its tin coated copper... 99.97% o2 free
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post #19 of 21 Old 07-26-2011, 05:40 PM
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Far as I know, electrons don't care about copper vs silver, except that one may have a bit less resistant than the other.

There's a fair amount of "reliable" articles online explaining audio cabling which abide by the laws of physics. Then there's the ones selling something - ignore those

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #20 of 21 Old 07-27-2011, 04:49 AM
 
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Concern is that on a higher than typical engineered system such as the Vandersteens, that the silver conductor will pass electrons differently than the copper side is feeding them... It has to travel differently than the copper side doesn't it?

No
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post #21 of 21 Old 07-27-2011, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dem45133 View Post

but thank you for your responses. After the shock at high end store, I bought a spool (250 ft) of 14/2 "speaker wire" from Lowes. Didn't see any larger there. I am concerned though about the aluminum ground conductor. We'll hook it up and see (listen).

Just for the sake of argument and to stir the pot, here is what Vandersteen says about wires.

From Vandersteen's FAQ section of their webpage:

Thanks all.

Dave

Roger Russell's webpage explains that whole block of PR copy quite well - they aren't going to tell you that speaker wire makes no difference because the audiophools who don't feel validated if they can't spend $55,000/pair on 20 ft of speaker cable wouldn't buy their products if they didn't just say "do whatever you want". It's all about market appeal. You're perfectly well handled by your 14/2, unless you're running a ton of power or a huge length.

Find a chart somewhere if you're really interested in length/gauge/power limits. A truncated one is available from the below Roger Russell link, Bose publishes one (and actually suggests standard lamp cord for all wiring), Wikipedia has a VERY complete one, and I'm sure others exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dem45133 View Post

but its definitely not copper or copper colored... its silver colored. Advertised on the label for Sound, Security, and Alarm, 14/2 CL3 for indoor use. Made by CCI (Coleman Cable Inc, Waukeegon, IL .... might actually be Made in the USA, says it is)

Concern is that on a higher than typical engineered system such as the Vandersteens, that the silver conductor will pass electrons differently than the copper side is feeding them... It has to travel differently than the copper side doesn't it? If so, what does than do to the sonic qualities (or lack of)?

Haven't open then spool...can take it back yet. Just trying to get the best I can out of these Vandersteen 2Ce's when fed with a pair (bi-amp'd) of Rotel RB980-BX's. But I can't justify the OFC costs, at least theirs.

Dave

The bi-amping is also probably a waste of wire and equipment unless its done in the most complex way possible (in other words, pull the crossovers out of the speakers and use active components to drive amplifiers - it will take quite a lot of tuning to get it right), not to stir things up any more, but most "audiophile things" are hype. If you aren't at least running active crossovers I'd say it's still a waste of equipment and time (in other words, if you've just got a receiver/preamp set to bi-amp or are feeding the signal full duplex to the amps, while it may provide some minor benefit, is a huge waste of power).


See here:
http://sound.westhost.com/bi-amp.htm
and here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1349873

"Sorry. Proper biamping requires the removal of the built-in passive crossovers in the speakers and the design/construction of custom active crossovers to fit between the preamp/processor and the power amps." - Kal Rubinson

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

"If I don't believe that expensive speaker wire makes an audible difference, why is it used inside the IDS-25 speaker system? The answer is very simple. IDS is out to sell speakers and not everyone believes in ordinary wire. The explanation is the same as what McIntosh found at shows and is described in the section above. Cardas wire does not sound any better but it may help to sell speakers to those who are concerned about wire and are not convinced that ordinary wire is just as good. The increase in cost is negligible compared to the drivers, enclosures and equalizer." - Roger Russell

As far as aluminum vs copper, yeah I would have some objections to aluminum wire, nothing to do with electron speed (BAH!), but resistance and ultimately heat. That said, your coated wires are fine, and should be nice to wire (you can visually see them as different, so maintaining polarity/phase is much easier).
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