Do good cables make an audible difference in sound? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 12:35 AM
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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.
HELP PLEASE!

I think I must be misreading the data on the DC Resistance values.

I just measured approximately 7' length of Monster S16, which using your approach is equal to 14' and measured a DC resistance of .3-Ohms RMS on my BK 367A True RMS DMM.

So I must be misunderstanding your report. I've never encountered such high resistance for speaker wire lengths anywhere near 6'.

It must be me, please set me straight.
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post #62 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
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.
Well stated!

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post #63 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
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.
I have been in a couple of very, very high-end mixing stages in LA ($3,000,000+) that are using Belden 5000 cables for some connections. In truth, more and more companies are using powered loudspeakers, so what's often going to the speakers is just a balanced line level XLR connection.

I gotta say, though, the Belden is only $1/foot from Blue Jeans Cable, and that's very affordable and very easy to work with. I think this makes far more practical sense than a much more costly cable from a high-end company.
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post #64 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
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.
You chose to use a mlliohmmeter to measure three feet of wire when you could have measured hundreds of feet and divided by the length, yielding a more accurate result.

And just like your other "comparisons", your benchmark is arbitrary.

In addition, your "comparison" has nothing to do with the OP.
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Last edited by koturban; 07-23-2014 at 06:01 AM.
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post #65 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 07:03 AM
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Question for you guys...

I have Shure SE530 IEMs/earbuds which have internal crossovers. They come with a volume adapter. They are very sensitive, so the volume adapter is really useful for noisy sources, so you can turn up the volume on the source and turn down the volume on the cable when you have a problem with the noise floor.

Something else interesting happens when you do this though - the tonal balance shifts pretty dramatically.
With the volume adapter turned all the way loud and the source volume set lower, the treble is really high.
With the volume adapter turned low and the source volume set higher to compensate, there treble is really low, and the bass dominates.
You can find a balance in the middle (which may or may not be ideal for a noisy source).

This seems to me like an example of resistance dramatically altering the sound - I assume due to some sort of interaction with the crossover.

Do similar issues happen with loudspeakers with passive crossovers?

What about damping?

Some have said that resistance is the only wire factor that matters, but some have argued that nothing matters, including resistance.
Which is it?
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post #66 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
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...
.
nothing vague about it at all, you may want to review the opening post

you can then weigh in on it or not, that is up to you

note that the first half of that post was simply to inform the reader, give context, to what peaked my renewed curiosity

--------------------------

to the newly created user name who questioned what different means:

1 different means not the same

2 the term 'good' was used within a quote as it were. perhaps i should have used actual quotes but i thought it was clear. it was the question posted on another site, as I noted. My questions were different*

my questions spoke to the lack of agreement on the issue of a cables




*defined in #1

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post #67 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 07:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Garidy View Post

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.
Above, I see conflation of the idea of ideology and the idea of observable scientific facts. If a person is sufficiently removed from either or both I can see how this can happen.

Wikipedia defines ideology as follows:

"An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology is a comprehensive normative vision, a way of looking at things, as argued in several philosophical tendencies (see political ideologies), and/or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product of socialization), as suggested in some Marxist and Critical theory accounts. While the concept of "ideology" describes a set of ideas broad in its normative reach, an ideology is less encompassing than as expressed in concepts such as worldview, imaginary and ontology.

Ideologies are systems of abstracted meaning applied to public matters, thus making this concept central to politics. Implicitly, in societies that distinguish between public and private life, every political or economic tendency entails an ideology, whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.



I think the key words in the definition above are "Ideologies are systems of abstracted meaning applied to public matters, thus making this concept central to politics."

To a practitioner or other person who is knowledgeable about science, engineering or an art that has a strong scientific base there is very little that is abstract about it.

Not so with many people in general life with no real background or training in science. As the saying goes, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Arthur C. Clarke).
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post #68 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 07:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post
Question for you guys...

I have Shure SE530 IEMs/earbuds which have internal crossovers. They come with a volume adapter. They are very sensitive, so the volume adapter is really useful for noisy sources, so you can turn up the volume on the source and turn down the volume on the cable when you have a problem with the noise floor.

Something else interesting happens when you do this though - the tonal balance shifts pretty dramatically.
With the volume adapter turned all the way loud and the source volume set lower, the treble is really high.
With the volume adapter turned low and the source volume set higher to compensate, there treble is really low, and the bass dominates.
You can find a balance in the middle (which may or may not be ideal for a noisy source).

This seems to me like an example of resistance dramatically altering the sound - I assume due to some sort of interaction with the crossover.
What you've observed above suggests that the earphones themselves have a non-uniform impedance curve which is common with transducers of all kinds including speakers.

A resistor place in series with them varies the source impedance that supplies power to them, and this interacts with the variable impedance to make an unintentional random tone control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post
Do similar issues happen with loudspeakers with passive crossovers?
The potential for creating an unintentional random tone control exists with any transducer, whether headphone, earphone, loudspeaker, butt shaker, etc.

However, one key ingredient of this random tone control is the high source impedance, and that can be vastly reduced by using good power amplifiers and very ordinary heavy gauge speaker wire.

This is why many recommend and use 12 gauge speaker wires. In actual use they don't get the least bit warm, and they don't lose a lot of power. But lighter speaker wire such as 18 or 20 gauge can interact with the speaker's impedance and create one of these unintentional tone controls.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post
What about damping?
Damping is actually the exact mathematical inverse of amplifier+speaker cable source impedance, so it can be considered to be the same thing, only with a reversed sense of goodness. High damping = low source impedance = good. Low damping = high source impedance = not so good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post
Some have said that resistance is the only wire factor that matters, but some have argued that nothing matters, including resistance.
Which is it?
Resistance matters until the law of diminishing returns sets in. Going from 20 gauge to 12 gauge (8 wire gauges) can have audible effects, but going from 12 guage to 4 gauge (another 8 wire sizes) is deep into diminishing returns.
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post #69 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
What you've observed above suggests that the earphones themselves have a non-uniform impedance curve which is common with transducers of all kinds including speakers.

A resistor place in series with them varies the source impedance that supplies power to them, and this interacts with the variable impedance to make an unintentional random tone control.



The potential for creating an unintentional random tone control exists with any transducer, whether headphone, earphone, loudspeaker, butt shaker, etc.

However, one key ingredient of this random tone control is the high source impedance, and that can be vastly reduced by using good power amplifiers and very ordinary heavy gauge speaker wire.

This is why many recommend and use 12 gauge speaker wires. In actual use they don't get the least bit warm, and they don't lose a lot of power. But lighter speaker wire such as 18 or 20 gauge can interact with the speaker's impedance and create one of these unintentional tone controls.




Damping is actually the exact mathematical inverse of amplifier+speaker cable source impedance, so it can be considered to be the same thing, only with a reversed sense of goodness. High damping = low source impedance = good. Low damping = high source impedance = not so good.



Resistance matters until the law of diminishing returns sets in. Going from 20 gauge to 12 gauge (8 wire gauges) can have audible effects, but going from 12 guage to 4 gauge (another 8 wire sizes) is deep into diminishing returns.
Awesome explanation! Thanks!

So cable resistance DOES matter, up to a point of diminishing returns, and this does come up in real world situations (thin cables, long cables, poor connections, etc.).

By that logic, when using extremely low impedance digital amps, does that improve the point of diminishing returns? In other words, do they potentially benefit more from short cable runs than higher impedance amps?

Here's the impedance curve for those headphones, which are indeed quite non-uniform at the crossover:
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post #70 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 08:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rcohen View Post

So cable resistance DOES matter, up to a point of diminishing returns, and this does come up in real world situations (thin cables, long cables, poor connections, etc.).
Exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post
By that logic, when using extremely low impedance digital amps, does that improve the point of diminishing returns? In other words, do they potentially benefit more from short cable runs than higher impedance amps?
I am unaware of any inherent advantage in terms of low source impedance, for switchmode amps.

Frankly, a lot of plain old class AB amps have ridiculously low source impedance, especially inside the amp before the signal goes through chassis wiring, speaker switches, and jacks. Some designers invest in heavy gauge conductors to carry this to the output terminals and some don't.

The law of diminishing returns is a harsh mistress and she needs to be studied on a case by case basis. Most good amps have such low source impedance that even a few feet of 12 gauge makes a measurable difference. Note: measurable difference, not necessarily audible difference.
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post #71 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
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!
Missing from that poll is:

No, but I have heard some that made it sound worse.
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post #72 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garidy View Post
HELP PLEASE!

I think I must be misreading the data on the DC Resistance values.

I just measured approximately 7' length of Monster S16, which using your approach is equal to 14' and measured a DC resistance of .3-Ohms RMS on my BK 367A True RMS DMM.

So I must be misunderstanding your report. I've never encountered such high resistance for speaker wire lengths anywhere near 6'.

It must be me, please set me straight.
You can't use a regular DMM as the lead/contact resistance will dwarf what you are measuring. If you read my post, you see that I used a specialized resistance meter that has four probes. All of my data is in milliohms, i.e. one thousands of an ohm.
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post #73 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koturban View Post
You chose to use a mlliohmmeter to measure three feet of wire when you could have measured hundreds of feet and divided by the length, yielding a more accurate result.
What I did was industry standard. Compensation for the very small resistance was a high-precision meter, using 4-probe Kelvin measurement, and orders of magnitude higher current than the typical multi-meter.

Problem with using "hundreds of feet" is that it becomes a nice AM antenna and will pick up your local stations or any and all other noise in your home. Those will in turn cause the meter to show the wrong values.

The other problem with using "hundreds of feet" is that you can't keep it straight and the same from cable to cable. This means the level of sensitivity to the noise will vary so your tests will not be Apples vs Apples. You will be measuring two different antennas and measuring that, instead of DC resistance.

In the industry standard fixture that uses 1 meter cable, the wire is clamped straight and therefore the process is repeatable from one wire to another. All will be straight and short length. Here is an example fixture:



The specialized meter I used is rare in that it has very few uses. For this reason, it is not an instrument that folks usually have. Nor is this type of measurement common knowledge even among engineers much less a layman such as yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kot
In addition, your "comparison" has nothing to do with the OP.
Of course it does. You can't just shop for any old wire just because it says it is 12 gauge. Some have higher dc resistance which can change the frequency response of the speaker depending on its impedance.

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post #74 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
I have been in a couple of very, very high-end mixing stages in LA ($3,000,000+) that are using Belden 5000 cables for some connections. In truth, more and more companies are using powered loudspeakers, so what's often going to the speakers is just a balanced line level XLR connection.

I gotta say, though, the Belden is only $1/foot from Blue Jeans Cable, and that's very affordable and very easy to work with. I think this makes far more practical sense than a much more costly cable from a high-end company.
Indeed. There is no reason to bargain shop for cable buying no-name stuff when you can pick up Belden for reasonable prices. It is not like a few feet of speaker wire is going to break your bank.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
You can't just shop for any old wire just because it says it is 12 gauge. Some have higher dc resistance which can change the frequency response of the speaker depending on its impedance.
And at what point does that "change" cause an audible difference?

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post #76 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
....

Problem with using "hundreds of feet" is that it becomes a nice AM antenna and will pick up your local stations or any and all other noise in your home. Those will in turn cause the meter to show the wrong values.

The other problem with using "hundreds of feet" is that you can't keep it straight and the same from cable to cable. This means the level of sensitivity to the noise will vary so your tests will not be Apples vs Apples. You will be measuring two different antennas and measuring that, instead of DC resistance.

...

..
If you had tied one end of the wire together and measured on the other end you would have no antenna and measured double the length giving twice the accuracy.
Same goes for longer lengths for more accuracy.
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Indeed. There is no reason to bargain shop for cable buying no-name stuff when you can pick up Belden for reasonable prices. It is not like a few feet of speaker wire is going to break your bank.
There is also no reason to bust your butt looking for Belden branded wire while sticking up your nose at any number of competitive suppliers of what is technically the same thing. Most Belden wire is a member of a collection of brands that meet the same industry standards.

I'll reiterate the fact that by wiring my listening room's speaker wiring with stranded wire designed for power wiring in houses and businesses I ended up using a product that has to meet legal standards. I think it was branded Carol who is a Belden competitor that does very competitive work where they choose to compete.

Even Belden makes mistakes, for example if memory serves a number of years back they ended up making a fair amount of audio cable with triboelectric insulation.

Rather than stimulating any number of hits on Google, I'll cut to the chase and explain that triboelectric insulation picks up a permanent electric charge during manufacturing which can make it excessively microphonic in some applications. It is a readily measurable and sometimes even audible effect, and surprised the heck out of me the first time I encountered it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post
If you had tied one end of the wire together and measured on the other end you would have no antenna and measured double the length giving twice the accuracy.
Same goes for longer lengths for more accuracy.
Not only that, but the fact that any random wire can become an antenna is generally taken out of the equation by the fact that most DVMs only have response up to a few 100 Hz or so.
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post #79 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
And at what point does that "change" cause an audible difference?
I will give the shorthand version. Suggestion reading Dr. Toole's excellent book, Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms: http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduc...ds=floyd+toole for more detail. A shorter introduction is in my WSR article: http://www.madronadigital.com/Librar...stortions.html

In a nutshell, listening tests show that we can hear differences of 0.5 db in frequency response if it is broad in nature. If a speaker has a broad impedance dip that is at low impedance, it can interact with the impedance of the cable and change the frequency response and cross the audibility threshold. Whether this happens or not is dependent on the speaker's impedance curve and the impedance of the cable. Read Arny's posts in this thread for similar explanation.

Note that my measurements for the most part focused on DC resistance. For proper analysis you also need to add the AC impedance for the above computation.

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post #80 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 09:57 AM
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I use this cable, and I'm 99.999999% sure that using a different cable will have no audible difference whatsoever.
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Maybe it is more about having the proper cable. That at some point you have diminishing returns. So having a really crappy cable makes a difference.

James Reid:D
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post #82 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post
Same goes for longer lengths for more accuracy.
More accuracy? I am showing measurements down to 0.00001 ohms/foot. What were you going to do with more "accuracy?"

But sure go ahead and run the test and show your results. Let's see if you get a different outcome.

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post #83 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
Yes, No, Maybe...


However, if a straightened out metal coat hanger can carry an audible signal, then pretty much anything can.

Better is in the eye of the beholder, and as the old adage goes, "A fool and his money are soon parted".
Ive been using coat hangers for years, the sound is unbelievable. I also tried bicycle chain but the hangers proved much easier turning corners.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gecko85 View Post
I use this cable, and I'm 99.999999% sure that using a different cable will have no audible difference whatsoever.
How is yours so cheap over there?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/100ft-2-Cond...dp/B00GFCZKRU/
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Originally Posted by xvfx View Post
Yikes, that's expensive! Do you have a local supplier with similar cable?

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Chances are highly unlikely. Most times I can never get what I want locally. Locally cables of any sort are a rip off compared to online 99% of the time.

I'm no audiophile but I'm trying to tweak an old Logitech z-5500 system for a while until I can get into some serious 5.1 or whatever speaker setups and receivers/amp/decoders.

Some sites said to get away from the supplied cables your product comes with. Then this thread reminds me when I first got into picture calibration. Then the above lengthy post, my head exploded.

Any advice?
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post #87 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
More accuracy? I am showing measurements down to 0.00001 ohms/foot. .
No you didn't.


"....The unit I have used here is a portable unit which has resolution down to 0.1 milliohm and accuracy of 1% (plus 5d). ...."


A factor ten off and you neglect the fact that 1% accuracy means full scale accuracy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
What were you going to do with more "accuracy?"

But sure go ahead and run the test and show your results. Let's see if you get a different outcome.
.

Waist of time. The differences are not significant enough to become audible in a typical setup.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
nothing vague about it at all, you may want to review the opening post

you can then weigh in on it or not, that is up to you

note that the first half of that post was simply to inform the reader, give context, to what peaked my renewed curiosity

--------------------------

to the newly created user name who questioned what different means:

1 different means not the same

2 the term 'good' was used within a quote as it were. perhaps i should have used actual quotes but i thought it was clear. it was the question posted on another site, as I noted. My questions were different* my questions spoke to the lack of agreement on the issue of a cables


*defined in #1
That would be Garidy!

Yes, different does mean not the same; however, you have implied, not clearly stated, a biasing of the word, within your sentence structure. You clumsily are suggesting (or as another has stated "Vaguely") that the difference is good. I was merely looking for clarification.

The most correct answer to your question, as worded is: a "Good" cable will not have an audible sound at all (sonic-signature to overly), making it 'Good', making them synonymous; making the answer, no.

The science of it all, is fascinating; however, largely irrelevant for discussions relating to audio, when short cable distances are in use (3-4 meters). This is likely why so many in this forum aren't interested repeating the exercise that you have tabled.

I think the mantra may be: Bring something new, or don't bring it at all! This isn't my personal mantra, just a summary observation. But I must say, I don't see anything new.

I think your thread is about to be overrun.
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post #89 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post
No you didn't.
"....The unit I have used here is a portable unit which has resolution down to 0.1 milliohm and accuracy of 1% (plus 5d). ...."

A factor ten off and you neglect the fact that 1% accuracy means full scale accuracy.
I didn't measure just one foot..

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank
Waist of time. The differences are not significant enough to become audible in a typical setup.
"Typical setup..." Now that is scientific.

Typical forum argument. "Your data is wrong but I am not going to lift a finger to create my own."

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post #90 of 604 Old 07-23-2014, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
You can't use a regular DMM as the lead/contact resistance will dwarf what you are measuring. If you read my post, you see that I used a specialized resistance meter that has four probes. All of my data is in milliohms, i.e. one thousands of an ohm.
That part is clear. Your reporting isn't. You have noted the resistances in standard notation, which created the confusion. As milliohms, I can develop some buy-in, as to there being DC differences to the magnitudes that you have recorded, within the same lengths, but of different cables At the Ohm level, some contention was developing, within my own mind.

Now with this understanding, I can comfortably state that these measured DC difference's, are not useful in predicting much of anything, when the power supply is outputting, a stable source, of higher AC Current (such as an AVR). IMO the scope of this review is not encompassing enough to draw a concrete conclusion about the sonic qualities of any of the cables in review.

If it were that easy, that 5K piece of test equipment would merit that you and others outlaying the cash; however, as you have personally stated, their is no practical benefit, for you and most others. Suggesting to my mind that your cited, lessor test setup, is of even less usefulness.

Impedance and Group Delay measurements would be more useful, but still largely irrelevant at this length.
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