Do good cables make an audible difference in sound? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post
Fwiw, the best stereo system I have heard in a home used monoprice speaker cables and I believe monoprice interconnects. It bested another system that had very expensive cables with cable elevators etc. go figure.

That suggests very strongly that the person with Monoprice knew more about how to assemble a good system than the person who bought the cable elevators. It would be wrong to extrapolate from this single example, however.
Of course, I am aware of that. It is purely anecdotal, however there is a funny story with it. Apparently some audiophiles were very impressed with the system and asked that he bring it over to a local audiophile meet. That is, until the president called and asked what kind of cables and power conditioner he used...then no interest what so ever.

P.S. The other system sounded very good. The question that begs to be answered would be how much worse would it sound with cheaper cables and no elevators?

Last edited by Randy Bessinger; 07-22-2014 at 11:50 AM.
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post #32 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post
thanks

but if they measure different on test equipment can't we look further to see how this translates?

is that not reasonable?
It's very reasonable to me.

The traditional and accepted ways to manage the translation from numbers to audibility are:

(1) Reference standard psychoacoustic tests that are relevant.

(2) Perform reliable listening tests of the actual equipment

(3) Perform reliable listening tests of simulations of the measurable difference

Case in point: HDMI jitter.

(1) Standard psychoacoustic tests say the measured amounts of distortion are way, way too low to notice

(2) Nobody is stepping up to do reliable listening tests of the actual equipment. This may be hard to do. I sure haven't figured out how to do it on my budget.

(3) Reliable listening tests of simulations of the measurable difference say measured amounts of distortion are way, way too low to notice. I did figure out how to do it on my budget - I organized the tests and I provided the resources to participants for no out of pocket expense to them. A complete run of listening tests took less than an hour. There were very few volunteers.
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post #33 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy Bessinger View Post
the Audioholics web site has had some pretty good articles on the subject with comments by various engineers as well as measurements.
And your executive summary of the above was???
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post #34 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
And your executive summary of the above was???
I didn't buy expensive cables.
Pretty much the usual suspects...length and gauge matter as does impedance. Most of it above my head but I didn't find anything to make me search out Stereophiles recommended cables.

P.S. Definitely not qualified to be an executive and give that type of summary. Wish it were so.

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post #35 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Bessinger View Post
Of course, I am aware of that. It is purely anecdotal, however there is a funny story with it. Apparently some audiophiles were very impressed with the system and asked that he bring it over to a local audiophile meet. That is, until the president called and asked what kind of cables and power conditioner he used...then no interest what so ever.
Crazy audiophiles.
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post #36 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 12:38 PM
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I say spend as many dollars as there will be responses/posts to this thread over the next few days.
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post #37 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
thanks

but if they measure different on test equipment can't we look further to see how this translates?

is that not reasonable?
Sure it is reasonable.
That measurement testing should have followed by credible DBT listening tests for audible differences between those cables.
A poll on a web site or by other means is not indication of facts.
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post #38 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
On another site this was presented as a poll.

The results came back:

528 to 24 that cables make an audible difference.

Test results were submitted, among them this:

Loudspeakers: Effects of amplifiers and cables


Latter in the thread it was noted that here at AVS the results of such a poll would likely be reversed.

Why is that?

From the link above, it seems to support the idea that cable do make a difference. Why no agreement across the audio enthusiast world?

These measurements seem to suggest cables matter.
Since Randy already read my other response, I am posting this added response after I looked at the plots, enlarged.
Apparently the authors confused the issue by asking to look at the difference between the plot at the amp and the speaker terminal and the magnitude of that differences.
Wrong, in my no standing in life mind. He should have compared the three graphs at the speaker terminal to each other, that is what you will hear or not, not the difference the cable has from end to end but between cables at the speaker terminal. Is this audible?

Some brought up 24ga wire and 12 ga. Greenhill et al did such testing not long ago.
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post #39 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 06:14 PM
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I only buy audio wires that have a arrow on them pointing in the direction of the signal flow.
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post #40 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Bessinger View Post
Fwiw, the best stereo system I have heard in a home used monoprice speaker cables and I believe monoprice interconnects. It bested another system that had very expensive cables with cable elevators etc. go figure.
I am assuming that you did not hear those systems side-by-side, playing the same content with the same speakers, level matched, etc. As such, there is nothing we can figure. You could very well be wrong and the other system sounds better. You simply did not have a proper test set up and could have been biased by many factors.
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post #41 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 06:23 PM
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BTW, here are the results of my objective measurements of a few speaker cables. A hint: monoprice did not do well .

REVIEW INCL. Just got monoprice speaker wire in.....why do you guys reccomend this so much?
------------

Hello everyone. As promised, here is my analysis of the common 12 Gauge speaker wire. Hope you find it useful . I will be creating an online article from this so please critique both technical points and writing.

Introduction
Why test 12 gauge (AWG) wire? 12 AWG speaker wire is a “safe bet” from performance point of view because anything thinner may interact with the low impedance of your speakers and cause the frequency response to vary beyond threshold of hearing (-0.5 dB). That change can “color” the sound.

Once you get to 12 AWG and in reasonable (shorter) lengths, you should be good. This conclusion however only holds if the wire you buy is actually 12 gauge wire and has the nominal resistance that is used in the computation of dB drop. For this reason, it is useful to see if the wires that one can readily buy online or from local sources in US complies with the nominal values for 12 AWG. The measurement in question is “DC resistance” where we measure the resistance of the wire when it is being fed direct current (DC). This is the most basic parameter for cables.

I plan to keep updating this data. So if you like your favorite speaker wire measured, PM me for address and be ready to mail a 4 foot/1.5 meter section of your wire and I will measure and add its value to the measurement table below.

Test Methodology
The purpose of a good speaker cable is to transfer energy with very little drop. That very characteristic makes it very hard to measure the resistance by definition, that is a very small value. Typical (DC) resistance of speaker wire is in the area of 0.0015 ohm/0.15 milliohm per foot. This small resistance puts typical multimeters out of business since they become inaccurate in single digit ohm let alone in thousands of an ohm.

There are different solutions to this problem. The one I opted for is the so called 4-wire or Kelvin measurement invented by Lord Kelvin 100+ years ago. At high level, the 4-wire system separates the leads that provide power to the load (i.e. our speaker wire) from the leads that measure the voltage drop across it (which given the current, tells us the resistance using Ohm’s law). Because the leads are separated, we are now free to provide much more current and as a result, create a larger voltage drop. Not only that, but we also eliminate the effect of meter probe because the current that is going through them is a fraction of what we are feeding the load. Please look online if you like to have more details about its operation.

Unfortunately high-end milliohm meters are quite expensive, some going for as much as $5,000. I don’t do enough of this work to justify investing in them. The unit I have used here is a portable unit which has resolution down to 0.1 milliohm and accuracy of 1% (plus 5d). Its output current is rather low at 200 milliamps since it runs on batteries. That however, is still 200+ times more than standard multimeters which use 1 microamp to 1 milliamp typically for resistance measurements.

In my test fixture, I am using a common, 2-probe system. There are still 4 leads going to the load but they attach to the load in pairs. This removes one of the sources of mistakes (using the wrong probes for high current and voltage measurements) and makes it much faster to test multiple items. Accuracy is still quite high.

As is always the case, the reality and theory are different. A milliohm meter is a very sensitive device. This means that it will actually measure the contact resistance of its own probes. This is easy to back out however by zeroing out its lead resistance first which is what I did. What is not so easy is to guarantee that you put the same contact pressure on the wires in question. There is an easy solution to this which is to use a much longer length of cable and hence, have its resistance swamp the connection load. Problem with that is the wire will coil every which way and won’t match from sample to sample. I wanted a predictable setup where every wire was tested the same way which meant straight and flat.

My solution to the problem was to use a ~3 foot segment of wire that I could hold flat on my desk but then short out one end and measure the resistance as seen from the other end. This does create a new problem in that the twisted end again has certain resistance and variability. To counter that, I put “clamping” load on it in the form of a beefy paper clip. I tested that fix by pushing hard on the connection while the clip was holding it and the difference was negligible. Without that clip, there would be considerable change when I put force on it.

Here is what the final fixture and my test setup looks like:



Sample Wires Tested:
Here are the samples that I managed to acquire during a two week or so period:

Monoprice 12 AWG Speaker Wire: I bought a 50 foot spool through Amazon third-party service. I paid $25.35 and shipping was “free” (Prime). Monoprice’s own price is lower but you have to pay shipping and I prefer to not create accounts online any more than I have to.



The cable itself has a blue stripe on one of the wires which is useful in identifying which wire is which. The reel was cardboard and the overall impression screamed budget/low-end. The stripped wire did not hold well together due to many soft strands. Stripping it resulted in loosing fair number of strands.

RadioShack 12 AWG “AUVIO” speaker wire: I bought a 50 foot spool this on sale for $39. With tax it came up to $43 or so. Since I picked it up locally there was no shipping.



This is one good looking cable and spool! It oozes quality. The spool is blue and substantial. Likewise the wire looks thick and beautifully wound. I weighed the spool and wire and it was 4.51 pounds. In comparison, the Monoprice was 2.68 pounds. If I put the two next to each other and put the price tag on them, I am pretty sure most people would go for the RadioShack wire. The visual difference is unmistakable.

Parts Express Wired Home SKRL-12-50: I bought a 50 foot spool again through Amazon for $24.20. Shipping was an additional $7.69 for a total of $31.89. I went to their site and it was similar in price with shipping so I bought it from Amazon. It took over 7 days to get this wire. They shipped it quickly but they used economy service to send it to me. Being spoiled by free Prime shipping from Amazon, it was quite annoying to pay nearly $8 and have to wait a week.



As the listing indicates, this is from a company called Wired Home. It came in a nice blue plastic spool. It was not nearly as substantial as the RadioShack wire but definitely a step above lower end stuff.

Belden 5000UP 12 AWG: This is an in-wall speaker cable. As one of the largest cable suppliers in the world, and set of measured specifications, I thought this would provide a nice baseline to compare others. I could not find 50 foot spool of this wire on Amazon. All that was available through third-parties was 100+. Parts Express sold it however by foot though so I ordered 20 feet. The cost for that was $19.60 and shipping was $14.00 for express delivery.



The outer wrapping in this cable is thick and substantial. Not to the level of RadioShack wire but still above average. The individual wires inside strip easily and hold their form strongly. It is the closest thing to electrical wire.

Fry’s 12 AWG Wire: It was hard finding this wire at Fry’s Electronic as it was not with the rest of the speaker wires in the AV department. This is what it looks like:



Price was a reasonable $15.99 for the 50 foot spool. The spool is very light and the wire pretty flexible.

Electrical Wire: This is your typical stranded 12 gauge electrical wire that I had bought from Home Depot. It is a single conductor wire so not very suitable as speaker wire. But I thought I include it as a reference since I had it in my drawer of electrical parts. I don’t have the label handy but it is similar to this:



It strips easy because it matches the gradations in the a typical wire stripper but is very stiff.

Colman in-wall 12 AWG: I have a few hundred feet of this in my house. My then contractor (before I started Madrona Digital) selected it without my involvement. I told the contractor to pick “good quality cable” and this is what he bought. The application is non-critical (background music in the kitchen and feeding power to other devices). This is what it kind of looks like:

[IMG]http://i.tfcdn.com/img2/Xv__rUYAY5r8r0koNSc1uaQoPy8zuZgho6SkwEpfPzW5Qi8zNz E9tVg3MTexKj9PLzk_Vx8iou-pb2zommjgFmIa5Oujl1WQDgA*/fvUG-v8A.B[/IMG]

As you can see, it is a typical in-wall (CL3) cable with outer insulation and Belden like inside wires.

ICE 12 AWG Speaker Cable: ICE is one of the “go to” brands of cables for custom AV installers. We use a number of different speaker cables at Madrona and I found this left over reel in the shop and thought I should test it:



BestBuy 12 AWG CableAs with Fry’s, the speaker area had a bunch of wires from Monster and their own house brand but nothing that went up to 12 AWG. I remembered that the automotive section often has heavier gauge wires and that was the case. They had a non-descript 20 foot spool. One conductor is copper colored and the other “silver.” I suspect it is actually aluminum wire.

Canare 4s11
This is a premium in-wall cable. It has four 14 gauge conductors. You can use two of the 14 gauge wires together if you only need one speaker feed which is the way I tested it. Alternatively you can use it as redundancy in case during construction a nail or screw went into it.



Coat Hanger: No, you don’t new glasses; I did say coat hanger! There is an online fish story that says someone performed blind testing of coat hanger against monster cable and nobody could tell the difference. There are other issues with that story but here, I thought I focus on the DC resistance.



The specimen I used has no brand or label. It is awfully thick though and was very hard to unwind into a straight “wire.” To combat contact resistance, I zeroed my meter by putting the probes next to each other and using that as the new “zero.” In a real situation that contact resistance would also be part of the equation.

Measurements
OK, enough rambling; let’s get into the measurements. The table below shows all that data. The first column is the length of the wire I was testing. I was not anal about keeping the length exactly 3 foot. So instead, I measured the actual segment and used that in the computation. In some cases I had a fixed length already and I used that.

The second column is our key data, the measured resistance in milliohms. Since this would vary based on the length of the wire being tested, I divided its value by the length and arrived at the industry standard milliohms/ft.

Next is the claimed DCR if available. Yes, there are discrepancies between my measurement and theirs. Since these are stranded wires, it is hard to get the exact number the resistance is supposed to be. Likely there are differences between my fixture and the one cable manufacturer used. So the best use of the measurements is as a relative value to compare one wire against another, rather than attempting to match it to any published spec. To that end, I used the measured DC Resistance of Belden cable as the baseline and used that to create a ratio in the next column (“Ratio to Standard”).

The Relative Difference column takes out the value of the Belden cable giving us a “pure” percentage of how much higher or lower the DCR is relative to Belden. In that regard, Belden gets a reference of 0. Negative numbers now mean a wire has higher resistance than Belden and positive numbers the other way around.

The bottom row in green is the Geometric Mean (Geomean) of the column of data above it. Geomean is an average of a set of numbers that doesn’t get thrown off badly by one or more samples being way off the scale. Since that is what I am dealing with here, it makes for a better value than simple average. The number then provides a statistic average of the samples I tested.

Here is the table as computed in my spreadsheet:



And the Relative Difference charted as bar graphs:



I have color coded the underperforming wires in orange. As you can see, Monoprice, Fry’s, Bestbuy and Coat Hanger fall in this bucket. The coat hanger actually went past the bottom of the graph so whatever story there is on how it sounds is quite suspect.

Fry’s and Bestbuy wires must be aluminum cored to have such high resistance. They are not thin enough for the difference to be due to that. I would certainly avoid using both in any high fidelity application.

Of the none-in-wall wires, the RadioShack by far leads the pack on both subjective quality and measured DC Resistance. It managed to slightly outperformed our Belden reference. At $40, that is not much of a premium cost wise considering that you can pick it up in person and be able to instantly use it.

The Monoprice’s resistance is almost twice as high as RadioShack wire but not nearly as bad as the BestBuy and Fry’s no name wires. But being least bad doesn’t translate to good in my book . My recommendation is that if you want to go the mail order route, go with the Parts Express Wired Home cable. It outperforms Monoprice both subjectively and in measured resistance (50% lower than Monoprice).

Conclusions
So there it is. Clearly 12 AWG wire is not 12 AWG when you buy a no-name brands. The notion then that you should buy any old wire that says 12 AWG and shopping purely based on price is not a wise one. When you can, buy branded cable that comes with proper specification.

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post #42 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
BTW, here are the results of my objective measurements of a few speaker cables. A hint: monoprice did not do well .

REVIEW INCL. Just got monoprice speaker wire in.....why do you guys reccomend this so much?
------------

Hello everyone. As promised, here is my analysis of the common 12 Gauge speaker wire. Hope you find it useful . I will be creating an online article from this so please critique both technical points and writing.

Introduction
Why test 12 gauge (AWG) wire? 12 AWG speaker wire is a “safe bet” from performance point of view because anything thinner may interact with the low impedance of your speakers and cause the frequency response to vary beyond threshold of hearing (-0.5 dB). That change can “color” the sound.

Once you get to 12 AWG and in reasonable (shorter) lengths, you should be good. This conclusion however only holds if the wire you buy is actually 12 gauge wire and has the nominal resistance that is used in the computation of dB drop. For this reason, it is useful to see if the wires that one can readily buy online or from local sources in US complies with the nominal values for 12 AWG. The measurement in question is “DC resistance” where we measure the resistance of the wire when it is being fed direct current (DC). This is the most basic parameter for cables.

I plan to keep updating this data. So if you like your favorite speaker wire measured, PM me for address and be ready to mail a 4 foot/1.5 meter section of your wire and I will measure and add its value to the measurement table below.

Test Methodology
The purpose of a good speaker cable is to transfer energy with very little drop. That very characteristic makes it very hard to measure the resistance by definition, that is a very small value. Typical (DC) resistance of speaker wire is in the area of 0.0015 ohm/0.15 milliohm per foot. This small resistance puts typical multimeters out of business since they become inaccurate in single digit ohm let alone in thousands of an ohm.

There are different solutions to this problem. The one I opted for is the so called 4-wire or Kelvin measurement invented by Lord Kelvin 100+ years ago. At high level, the 4-wire system separates the leads that provide power to the load (i.e. our speaker wire) from the leads that measure the voltage drop across it (which given the current, tells us the resistance using Ohm’s law). Because the leads are separated, we are now free to provide much more current and as a result, create a larger voltage drop. Not only that, but we also eliminate the effect of meter probe because the current that is going through them is a fraction of what we are feeding the load. Please look online if you like to have more details about its operation.

Unfortunately high-end milliohm meters are quite expensive, some going for as much as $5,000. I don’t do enough of this work to justify investing in them. The unit I have used here is a portable unit which has resolution down to 0.1 milliohm and accuracy of 1% (plus 5d). Its output current is rather low at 200 milliamps since it runs on batteries. That however, is still 200+ times more than standard multimeters which use 1 microamp to 1 milliamp typically for resistance measurements.

In my test fixture, I am using a common, 2-probe system. There are still 4 leads going to the load but they attach to the load in pairs. This removes one of the sources of mistakes (using the wrong probes for high current and voltage measurements) and makes it much faster to test multiple items. Accuracy is still quite high.

As is always the case, the reality and theory are different. A milliohm meter is a very sensitive device. This means that it will actually measure the contact resistance of its own probes. This is easy to back out however by zeroing out its lead resistance first which is what I did. What is not so easy is to guarantee that you put the same contact pressure on the wires in question. There is an easy solution to this which is to use a much longer length of cable and hence, have its resistance swamp the connection load. Problem with that is the wire will coil every which way and won’t match from sample to sample. I wanted a predictable setup where every wire was tested the same way which meant straight and flat.

My solution to the problem was to use a ~3 foot segment of wire that I could hold flat on my desk but then short out one end and measure the resistance as seen from the other end. This does create a new problem in that the twisted end again has certain resistance and variability. To counter that, I put “clamping” load on it in the form of a beefy paper clip. I tested that fix by pushing hard on the connection while the clip was holding it and the difference was negligible. Without that clip, there would be considerable change when I put force on it.

Here is what the final fixture and my test setup looks like:



Sample Wires Tested:
Here are the samples that I managed to acquire during a two week or so period:

Monoprice 12 AWG Speaker Wire: I bought a 50 foot spool through Amazon third-party service. I paid $25.35 and shipping was “free” (Prime). Monoprice’s own price is lower but you have to pay shipping and I prefer to not create accounts online any more than I have to.



The cable itself has a blue stripe on one of the wires which is useful in identifying which wire is which. The reel was cardboard and the overall impression screamed budget/low-end. The stripped wire did not hold well together due to many soft strands. Stripping it resulted in loosing fair number of strands.

RadioShack 12 AWG “AUVIO” speaker wire: I bought a 50 foot spool this on sale for $39. With tax it came up to $43 or so. Since I picked it up locally there was no shipping.



This is one good looking cable and spool! It oozes quality. The spool is blue and substantial. Likewise the wire looks thick and beautifully wound. I weighed the spool and wire and it was 4.51 pounds. In comparison, the Monoprice was 2.68 pounds. If I put the two next to each other and put the price tag on them, I am pretty sure most people would go for the RadioShack wire. The visual difference is unmistakable.

Parts Express Wired Home SKRL-12-50: I bought a 50 foot spool again through Amazon for $24.20. Shipping was an additional $7.69 for a total of $31.89. I went to their site and it was similar in price with shipping so I bought it from Amazon. It took over 7 days to get this wire. They shipped it quickly but they used economy service to send it to me. Being spoiled by free Prime shipping from Amazon, it was quite annoying to pay nearly $8 and have to wait a week.



As the listing indicates, this is from a company called Wired Home. It came in a nice blue plastic spool. It was not nearly as substantial as the RadioShack wire but definitely a step above lower end stuff.

Belden 5000UP 12 AWG: This is an in-wall speaker cable. As one of the largest cable suppliers in the world, and set of measured specifications, I thought this would provide a nice baseline to compare others. I could not find 50 foot spool of this wire on Amazon. All that was available through third-parties was 100+. Parts Express sold it however by foot though so I ordered 20 feet. The cost for that was $19.60 and shipping was $14.00 for express delivery.



The outer wrapping in this cable is thick and substantial. Not to the level of RadioShack wire but still above average. The individual wires inside strip easily and hold their form strongly. It is the closest thing to electrical wire.

Fry’s 12 AWG Wire: It was hard finding this wire at Fry’s Electronic as it was not with the rest of the speaker wires in the AV department. This is what it looks like:



Price was a reasonable $15.99 for the 50 foot spool. The spool is very light and the wire pretty flexible.

Electrical Wire: This is your typical stranded 12 gauge electrical wire that I had bought from Home Depot. It is a single conductor wire so not very suitable as speaker wire. But I thought I include it as a reference since I had it in my drawer of electrical parts. I don’t have the label handy but it is similar to this:



It strips easy because it matches the gradations in the a typical wire stripper but is very stiff.

Colman in-wall 12 AWG: I have a few hundred feet of this in my house. My then contractor (before I started Madrona Digital) selected it without my involvement. I told the contractor to pick “good quality cable” and this is what he bought. The application is non-critical (background music in the kitchen and feeding power to other devices). This is what it kind of looks like:

[IMG]http://i.tfcdn.com/img2/Xv__rUYAY5r8r0koNSc1uaQoPy8zuZgho6SkwEpfPzW5Qi8zNz E9tVg3MTexKj9PLzk_Vx8iou-pb2zommjgFmIa5Oujl1WQDgA*/fvUG-v8A.B[/IMG]

As you can see, it is a typical in-wall (CL3) cable with outer insulation and Belden like inside wires.

ICE 12 AWG Speaker Cable: ICE is one of the “go to” brands of cables for custom AV installers. We use a number of different speaker cables at Madrona and I found this left over reel in the shop and thought I should test it:



BestBuy 12 AWG CableAs with Fry’s, the speaker area had a bunch of wires from Monster and their own house brand but nothing that went up to 12 AWG. I remembered that the automotive section often has heavier gauge wires and that was the case. They had a non-descript 20 foot spool. One conductor is copper colored and the other “silver.” I suspect it is actually aluminum wire.

Canare 4s11
This is a premium in-wall cable. It has four 14 gauge conductors. You can use two of the 14 gauge wires together if you only need one speaker feed which is the way I tested it. Alternatively you can use it as redundancy in case during construction a nail or screw went into it.



Coat Hanger: No, you don’t new glasses; I did say coat hanger! There is an online fish story that says someone performed blind testing of coat hanger against monster cable and nobody could tell the difference. There are other issues with that story but here, I thought I focus on the DC resistance.



The specimen I used has no brand or label. It is awfully thick though and was very hard to unwind into a straight “wire.” To combat contact resistance, I zeroed my meter by putting the probes next to each other and using that as the new “zero.” In a real situation that contact resistance would also be part of the equation.

Measurements
OK, enough rambling; let’s get into the measurements. The table below shows all that data. The first column is the length of the wire I was testing. I was not anal about keeping the length exactly 3 foot. So instead, I measured the actual segment and used that in the computation. In some cases I had a fixed length already and I used that.

The second column is our key data, the measured resistance in milliohms. Since this would vary based on the length of the wire being tested, I divided its value by the length and arrived at the industry standard milliohms/ft.

Next is the claimed DCR if available. Yes, there are discrepancies between my measurement and theirs. Since these are stranded wires, it is hard to get the exact number the resistance is supposed to be. Likely there are differences between my fixture and the one cable manufacturer used. So the best use of the measurements is as a relative value to compare one wire against another, rather than attempting to match it to any published spec. To that end, I used the measured DC Resistance of Belden cable as the baseline and used that to create a ratio in the next column (“Ratio to Standard”).

The Relative Difference column takes out the value of the Belden cable giving us a “pure” percentage of how much higher or lower the DCR is relative to Belden. In that regard, Belden gets a reference of 0. Negative numbers now mean a wire has higher resistance than Belden and positive numbers the other way around.

The bottom row in green is the Geometric Mean (Geomean) of the column of data above it. Geomean is an average of a set of numbers that doesn’t get thrown off badly by one or more samples being way off the scale. Since that is what I am dealing with here, it makes for a better value than simple average. The number then provides a statistic average of the samples I tested.

Here is the table as computed in my spreadsheet:



And the Relative Difference charted as bar graphs:



I have color coded the underperforming wires in orange. As you can see, Monoprice, Fry’s, Bestbuy and Coat Hanger fall in this bucket. The coat hanger actually went past the bottom of the graph so whatever story there is on how it sounds is quite suspect.

Fry’s and Bestbuy wires must be aluminum cored to have such high resistance. They are not thin enough for the difference to be due to that. I would certainly avoid using both in any high fidelity application.

Of the none-in-wall wires, the RadioShack by far leads the pack on both subjective quality and measured DC Resistance. It managed to slightly outperformed our Belden reference. At $40, that is not much of a premium cost wise considering that you can pick it up in person and be able to instantly use it.

The Monoprice’s resistance is almost twice as high as RadioShack wire but not nearly as bad as the BestBuy and Fry’s no name wires. But being least bad doesn’t translate to good in my book . My recommendation is that if you want to go the mail order route, go with the Parts Express Wired Home cable. It outperforms Monoprice both subjectively and in measured resistance (50% lower than Monoprice).

Conclusions
So there it is. Clearly 12 AWG wire is not 12 AWG when you buy a no-name brands. The notion then that you should buy any old wire that says 12 AWG and shopping purely based on price is not a wise one. When you can, buy branded cable that comes with proper specification.
This comparison, as has been pointed out in previous threads, is fatally flawed and misleading. As such, it should be disregarded.
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post #43 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 07:34 PM
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Here is a 20khz sinewave from an $300 EP4000 Class-H amplifier through 40-50feet of PE 12awg wire.



If there is distortion caused by the cable it sure is doing a good job at hiding it... (as in 0.00000001volts in the 100,000,000hz range... certainly nothing you'd be able to hear!)
Speakers can swing up to 30ohms and god knows how many pF's and mH's, it totally eclipses any failure in even the worst 14awg wires...

END OF THREAD!
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post #44 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 07:56 PM
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Here is a amplifier that has a Class D power supply and a Class AB output.

There is some noise leaking through the power supply into the output (the cable isn't causing it, the Class D power supply is)


Let's find out what frequency that is?

Nearly 0.8 megahertz, the switching speed of the Class D, and it is only a few millivolts RMS. You'd never hear 0.8 megahertz as it is 40 times beyond the range of human hearing and/or most tweeter rolloffs.
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Some years ago I participated in an extensive ABX test of speaker cables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABX_test

Among the cables tested was the usual 16ga lamp zip cord and $10,000 speaker
cables, all about 3 meters long. The room was filled with "Golden Ears".
Speakers varied widely and were mixture of moderately high end and consumer
off the shelf. The whole process took the better part of the day of listening
and voting. In the end the group noted very little sonic difference between
the cables tested.

I choose my speaker cables more on mechanical robustness then expecting
potential sonic attributes.
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My "go to" wire:


I'll be back later...



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This comparison, as has been pointed out in previous threads, is fatally flawed and misleading. As such, it should be disregarded.
There were no fatalities in my testing. No animal testing was done either. And no children used for any labor. UNICEF certified the later. For the former, we got the local humane society to witness the work.

A goat was sacrificed for a good outcome but that was Ratman's doing, not mine. For obvious reasons, we didn't let the humane society see that.

So not sure what you think "fatally" occurred.
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I am assuming that you did not hear those systems side-by-side, playing the same content with the same speakers, level matched, etc. As such, there is nothing we can figure. You could very well be wrong and the other system sounds better. You simply did not have a proper test set up and could have been biased by many factors.
Of course I could and I never said otherwise. Don't "figure anything". Why would you make an assumption like that. I said FWIW. Take it with a grain of salt or better yet, disregard it entirely. Wait a minute, I said I indicated preference. Could you please go to JJ's very effective video on "preference". Please learn from someone who worked for you but is a real scientist. Or do you think I can't have "preference".

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Of course I could I never said otherwise. Why would you make an assumption like that. I said FWIW. Take it with a grain of salt.
I don't care whether you said FWIW or not Randy. You broke the forum rule. No one here is supposed to convey subjective results of one system being better than the other unless and only if it involves DBT, ABX, Foobar, level matched, proper testing, within operating range, not broken, volume not turned up, third-party audit, people who are hard of hearing, non-revealing content used, etc, etc, and etc. You know the rules. You broke them.
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post #50 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:08 PM
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I don't care whether you said FWIW or not Randy. You broke the forum rule. No one here is supposed to convey subjective results of one system being better than the other unless and only if it involves DBT, ABX, Foobar, level matched, proper testing, within operating range, not broken, volume not turned up, third-party audit, people who are hard of hearing, non-revealing content used, etc, etc, and etc. You know the rules. You broke them.
I don't care what you think either. If I broke a forum rule, report me. I didn't say one system was better than the other. I talked about preference. Oh, I get it, you are being sarcastic...you know trying to teach me a lesson...so disappointed.


I believe and I may be wrong but I think you are actually hurting yourself in these "side" wars. What if I don't want to be on a side. What if I think both sides are dumb. What then?

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I don't care what you think either. If I broke a forum rule, report me. I didn't say one system was better than the other. I talked about preference.
You have lost your entire sense of humor Randy....

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post #52 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:24 PM
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Deja vu.

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post #53 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:38 PM
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You have lost your entire sense of humor Randy....
Yes I suppose you are right. That said, I just came back from a concert of live music. I just wasn't ready for BS. Again FWIW Gary Clark Jr. was awesome.
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post #54 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:49 PM
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On another site this was presented as a poll.

The results came back:

528 to 24 that cables make an audible difference.

Test results were submitted, among them this:

Loudspeakers: Effects of amplifiers and cables


Latter in the thread it was noted that here at AVS the results of such a poll would likely be reversed.

Why is that?

From the link above, it seems to support the idea that cable do make a difference. Why no agreement across the audio enthusiast world?

These measurements seem to suggest cables matter.
Haven't seen a post from you in the last few hours. I hope that you haven't been chased off? I appreciate what it is that I perceive your points to be.

I too would like to see some better, simplified charting or some such thing as a 101 guide to narrowing the width of options, with regards to cabling. Not sure that it's possible, but if it is, this forum is as good a place as any to post this request.

I also think that you're correct in pulling over the consensus of other audio lovers, from other forums. While at times they maybe in stark contrast to one another there's often a truth to be found by reading between the lines. In my experience the realities are in fact often found between two extremes.

In an attempt to answer your direct question, it's my opinion that this AVS Forum - Thread, is particularly biased toward the ideology that most to all solid state devices, if designed and manufactured properly essentially will not add any audible coloration to the audio signals passing through them. A speaker wire is about as solid state and transparent of an LCR network available within typical home theatre system, making it arguable far from being the weakest link. In weight to other probable weakness, it falls to the bottom of the list and as such has been determined not to be a productive use of time, to debate, further than it has. With or without hardcore objective data (whatever that may in fact be to this group) you're not like to pull many into this debate, because frankly, as it has been presented, it has failed to overcome these legitimate objections.

You have no doubt, inferred this for yourself, as the replies made directly to you have echoed much of this; perhaps it's more accurate to state that my reply is in fact the echo.

The best advice posted to you, IMO has been those in relationship to keeping your speaker wire as short as practical. Objectively speaking, very few people have ever claimed or have been able to subjectively determine audible differences in speaker wire below 2m's, in 2-channel Stereo topologies.

For me, mathematically I can produce evidence that any length of speaker wire can and will affect at a minimum, electrical ring within a circuit, however, due to a multitude of rival distortions, and psychoacoustics masking, etc., most of the calculations are of no real-world, audible value, within typical home audio circuits, IMO and experience.

So full-circle: I have two basic questions for you: How do you define "Good", and how do you define different?

I have posed these questions to help you extend the life of your thread (increasing the potential for you to find more of what you're looking for), as your answers will most certainly cause further engagement/enlightenment.
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I don't care whether you said FWIW or not Randy. You broke the forum rule. No one here is supposed to convey subjective results of one system being better than the other unless and only if it involves DBT, ABX, Foobar, level matched, proper testing, within operating range, not broken, volume not turned up, third-party audit, people who are hard of hearing, non-revealing content used, etc, etc, and etc. You know the rules. You broke them.
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You have lost your entire sense of humor Randy....
Relax Amir; it's only a thread of an audio/video forum about cables and as to "hear" if the good ones make an audible difference. It is very vague, undefined, diversified, marginal, relative, and all that jazz.

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post #56 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:06 PM
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Relax Amir; it's only a thread of an audio/video forum about cables and as to "hear" if the good ones make an audible difference. It is very vague, undefined, diversified, marginal, relative, and all that jazz.
Isn't it more probable that a 'Bad-one' will produce audible differences?

This is my fundamental problem with the OP's wording...

There's a bubble afoot that needs to be popped!
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Good first post Garidy. ... #55

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post #58 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:11 PM
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Good first post Garidy.
Thank you!
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post #59 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:17 PM
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I posted a poll about this on AVS, asking whether or not people have heard exotic cables make an audible difference; check it out here!

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post #60 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:20 PM
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Isn't it more probable that a 'Bad-one' will produce audible differences?

This is my fundamental problem with the OP's wording...

There's a bubble afoot that needs to be popped!
Yes, a 'broken' (bad) cable will certainly "color" the sound in an unpleasant way. ...Distorted accuracy.

And I agree; the thread starter (OP) has asked a very very vague question. We can navigate all waters and weathers and feathers under such undefined question regarding "audibility" by all the people who listen with their own set of ears, and through their own audio/video gear and loudspeakers, and in their own rooms. ...So much relativity here...

The bubble, is inside each one of us, and we, individually, decide when, where, how, why, and what we'll use, and if we do need to pop it up.

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