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Whats the best "Value" Speaker Cable?  

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
And what should I look for besides the gauge (I was thinking 14 or 12)... will need about 200 ft to redo my system. I was looking online because I live in a crappy town audio stores wise (best buy and circuit city). I went to home depot but they didnt seem to have any in stock.
post #2 of 91
lowe's??
post #3 of 91
Thread Starter 
I could try there but really is lowes the best place to get audio cable? I would think some internet website would have better stuff for less (like everything else)
post #4 of 91
There is no better. Wire is wire.
post #5 of 91
Cobalt.

I too thought wire was wire for years. Recently, I tried Cobalt just to see if I could tell a difference. Was not even close. Best $130 I ever spent. YMMV!

Good Luck,
Patrick
post #6 of 91
Markertek has some whrilwind cable (Standard speaker cable Part Number W12GA) $0.49/ft. White and Black 12 gage cable wound with rope and very nice soft flexible black sheathing.

Pulls nice, looks nice, strips nice, cost is the same or less than the ugly clear cable you can get from HD or LW.

I do agree speaker cable is speaker cable but there are other considerations, i.e. aestetics, size, ease to pull, durability...etc. I still can see no reaseon to spend tons of money on speaker cable though.

my $0.02
post #7 of 91
Yes, wire IS wire, provided it is of sufficient gauge for the length of run. jagouar, you didn't say how long the individual runs will be so we can't tell you what gauge to buy. 14 gauge will do you just fine up to around 50 feet. Over that, and I'd go up to 12 gauge. If you plan to run the wire inside the walls, then make sure you get wire that has a fire rating of CL2 or CL3. Most of these are marketed as suitable for in-wall use. The Home Depot/Lowe's clear-jacketed stuff does not meet these requirements, BTW.
post #8 of 91
If your receiver is like mine (Sony STR DE-595) dont get larger than 16 guage. I cant fit 14 guage or larger into the little holes without fraying some of the copper strands or bunching the wire up into an ugly ball mess.

Are Sony speaker holes non-standard or do I have dexterity issues, heh?
post #9 of 91
I've been real happy with the price/performance of the 4S11 quad style cable from Canare. You can find it HERE
post #10 of 91
I have 200 feet of this in my house and just put about 2000 feet of it in my parents new beach house.

Works great. Cant imagine spending more money. If you want a thicker wire, they have this is 12 gauge too. And if you buy a bigger spool, the price drops further.

Good luck,

E. J.
post #11 of 91
The only reason redundancy here is acceptable is because it could increase your trust in a particular response.

In this case, I want to echo, agree with and otherwise drive your full attention to filmnut's answer above. With speaker wire moreso than interconnects wire is wire, but wire gauge is where the difference in sound characteristics lies.

From filmnuts answer and your existing knowledge, you know the smaller gauge number equals a "thicker" wire. Get the thickest gauge you can that will fit into your binding posts, be it 14 or 12 gauge, or even more heavy duty if you want, but don't get caught up in name brands.

Just one (more) man's opinion! Good luck.
post #12 of 91
For those who think wire is wire, I agree you most likely will not hear a difference with "most" HT applications. But if you're REALLY into music, you might have another take. Cables have different resistances, capacititance, etc. which will effect the sound (especially imaging and detail), in particular at higher frequencies.

Check this article out!

Patrick
post #13 of 91
Well in regard to the article, I don't think it really says much at all. It finds on of the cables with the separate conductors significantly different in characteristics from most of the others - which have in general smaller variations from each other.

It examines from a (unjustified) technical viewpoint, under lab conditions, and finds on the whole small differences between most cable types.

However:
a) there is no testing relating whether these characteristics really make any difference at all when driven by a low output imedance amplifier.

This review falls into a large hole right at the start when the tests are introduced. It says they are going to test the cables..... then jumps to the fact they have a nice test equipment, and here are the tests we are doing. There is absolutely no relating the tests chosen to real world issues, justifying why the tests where chosen and what is important. It doesn't discuss the test setup - where the cables straight in mid air? Were they coiled?

In technical areas, there is always lots of detail. The good test is to say "So what"? - Show why it is relevant. E.g. a 0.1dB difference in insertion loss may be practically irrelevant.

b) It also doesn't examine that in real life, that there may be ground planes, other cables etc which may affect e.g. the capacitance, or induced noise or any other number of effects - and which may be overall more significant.

Overall, this looks like amateur testing to me - the details are the purpose, not meaningful considered analysis and results.

The conclusion seemed, to me on the balance to be weak. After really determing that there wasn't much difference, and that the cheap cables were little different from the others, the reviewer then seemed to choose based on aesthetics than anything else ! (Sad really) - and managed to justify a cable x 14 more expensive that the cheapest cable based on this.
post #14 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by avaholic
For those who think wire is wire, I agree you most likely will not hear a difference with "most" HT applications. But if you're REALLY into music, you might have another take. Cables have different resistances, capacititance, etc. which will effect the sound (especially imaging and detail), in particular at higher frequencies.

Check this article out!

Patrick
Sorry, but that article is an absolute joke. Where are the results of subjective listening tests? It has always been well known that different types of wire can have measurable differences in their various properties, but that is irrelevant. The only relevant consideration is whether such differences are audible under real world conditions and with normal program material. This silly article attempts to establish a qualitative performance ranking based exclusively upon test results of electrical properties. That's like declaring amp A to be better than amp B without ever listening to either one.

If you want to read a legitimate and informative piece on speaker wire, read this:

http://home.earthlink.net/~rogerr7/wire.htm

Pay particular attention to the part about the 1983 Stereo Review article. I read that article back then and it was extremely enlightening. Since then I've participated in dozens of blind tests of speaker wires as well as amplifiers. In none of these tests were any test subjects able to determine an audible difference between ANY wires.
post #15 of 91
I'm glad/surpise to see people actually saying "wire is wire". :)
I can't/won't spend a fortune on "expensive" wire on my low budget system (although I considered it until I totaled up my needs).
But I may consider THICKER wire next time I get the "upgrade/rearrange" bug. :)

Would it be a good idea to just buy 12gauge even if my longest runs are under 50'?

Can't remember how thick current wire is but they sound good and no hum/static :)
post #16 of 91
Filmnut, I like your comments and the article... seems quite rational and reasoned. I also learnt something - what the hoopla about oxygen free copper is.
post #17 of 91
Oh god, not this topic again.
post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by bob_vdi
Would it be a good idea to just buy 12gauge even if my longest runs are under 50'?
While this is far from a technical response, it is a fairly logical one ...

When making decisions regarding "how much is too much?" I typically look for the point on the price vs. quality curve just before the exponential growth occurs. If going from 14 gauge to 12 gauge will cost me 5-10% more, I'll probably do it, not because I can prove a benefit but because the incremental price is trivial.

This is where the "audiophile" wire loses me - completely. It isn't 5-10% more, but 500-10000000% (yep, that's 100,000x) more. Even if there were an audible difference, I *still* wouldn't buy it. Ditto for a $50K amplifier vs. a $2K one. "But the cymbals are more present!" Fine, I'll hire the band to play in my livingroom instead.

BTW, keep in mind that thicker wire DOES have drawbacks other than just price - it is harder to conceal and may cause problems at both ends of the wire with the connections to the speaker and amp/receiver. So even if 4ga wire were the same price as 12ga, I wouldn't use it.

BTW#2, I ended up with SoundKing 12gauge OFC wire from partsexpress.com for ~$0.40/ft shipped. I am running relatively low impedance speakers (4-6ohm) with ~10ft runs to the front three speakers and ~25ft runs to my rears and ~100wpc. I certainly could have used 14 or even 16 gauge wire with only minor audible differences.


Bill
post #19 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by filmnut
Yes, wire IS wire, provided it is of sufficient gauge for the length of run. jagouar, you didn't say how long the individual runs will be so we can't tell you what gauge to buy. 14 gauge will do you just fine up to around 50 feet. Over that, and I'd go up to 12 gauge. If you plan to run the wire inside the walls, then make sure you get wire that has a fire rating of CL2 or CL3. Most of these are marketed as suitable for in-wall use. The Home Depot/Lowe's clear-jacketed stuff does not meet these requirements, BTW.
FYI - Home Depot does sell CL2/CL3 rated in-wall stuff as well in 12/14/16 gauges. I used 400ft of the CL2 12ga stuff bi-wired to get the runs down to 9ga. It's extremely inexpensive as far as most HT stuff goes.

Kal
post #20 of 91
Personally, I like and use the Cobalt Speaker Cables, Interconnects and Video cables. My whole system is wired with Cobalt cables.

I'm still relatively new to all this, but I like the sound and video quality, I get using these cables. I'm very happy and satisfied with them.

I also like the quality construction of the Cobalt cables, and their aesthics.

Obviously, there are cheaper cables out there, as there are cables which sell at a much more expensive price; than Cobalt. But I'm very happy with them, as well as very happy and satisfied with Cobalt's Customer Service.

I've had no problems what so ever with their cables or their Customer Service.

I will only suggest to go with what ever fits your budget, what sounds good to you, and what appeals to your tastes....the best.
post #21 of 91
Get NBS Omega O. It's about $18750.00 per 10' pair so for 200' you'll end up spending around $375,000 for the cable, but it'll be worth it.....

Or, if you're feeling CRAZY, go for the Opus MM for $30,750 for 10' pair for a total of $615,000! Who needs 3 Ferarris anyway?!?!
http://gallery.consumerreview.com/au...es/opus-mm.asp



(anyone who pays more than $50 for 30' of cable should be ridiculed...)
post #22 of 91
Hello Jagouar,
Since you are running a total of 200', I second the suggestion to just order a roll of 12awg from partsexpress. However, if you are interested in hearing the actual difference that speaker cables/interconnects can make on a high-end system, feel free to PM me. I have yet to do a test with a customer in which they did not hear a distinct and audible difference.

Julian
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Armand28


Or, if you're feeling CRAZY, go for the Opus MM for $30,750 for 10' pair for a total of $615,000! Who needs 3 Ferarris anyway?!?!
http://gallery.consumerreview.com/au...es/opus-mm.asp

that is crazy.
"When I got them home and put them in my system they totally blew me away. I had them for 4 days and they made every recording better in a way I previously didn't think possible. "

he guy must of been paid 10 cents every time he lied in that review.
post #24 of 91
i recently put together this set of wires with parts from parts express. i figured the investment was minimal so i had little to lose. i have done a side by side comparison with some other higher end cables.

not to say that better wires do not make a difference, but i certainly didn't notice a difference between the "high-end" wire and the do-it-yourself version that's in this link: www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_10_2/ultralink-CL414-cable-5-2003.html
post #25 of 91
For regular "on the floor" duty, just get some *lamp cord* from the hardware store. Available in a variety of colors, it's actually better quality than the "clear" insulated monster-looking speaker cable, cheaper too.

For in-wall work, you *must* satisfy code. The parts express wire from Carol or similar rated stuff from Belden, Canare or others from a commercial source like Markertek would be the best choice.
post #26 of 91
could anyone tell me if there is any advantage to solid or stranded cable....

i can go with the cable is cable thing and i can see that the guage will be important just wondered if 1 solid conductor would be good/bad??

it will certainly be easier to connect and form round corners....

any opinions??
post #27 of 91
First off, I'd like to say that I CAN hear a difference between speaker cables, just not on lower-end systems (Unless you have high-end audio gear, don't bother). I am also an Electrical Engineer.

Now with that said, I've tried different audio cables out and have found that solid cable should be avoided for use as speaker cable. Practical issues aside (such as harder to work with, etc), The biggest problem has to do with skin effects. The frequency range of audio signals travel primarily at the outside surface or 'skin' of the conductor. Stranded cable has a considerably larger surface area than solid conductor cables. This directly translates into less reactance (AC equivalent of resistance) in stranded versus the same gauge of solid conductor wire in the higher frequency ranges.

There are lots of other design considerations to be taken into consideration - all of which have been discussed at great length elsewhere as to their actual audible results. I will say this, to my ears, stranded versus solid has one of the most audible effects on cable.

My opinions on audio cables and their effects on sound can be summed up in a few statements:

1) Low-level cables are much more important than speaker cables.
2) Most audio connectors create poor connections - with cheap RCA connectors being the worst, DIN being best. Direct soldered connections eliminate these problems.
3) Most cable designs and associated prices are pure BS.
4) Kimber Kable has the best budget cables that addresses all of the complex design issues in cables (just don't bother wasting money on their high-end).
post #28 of 91
for ht sound like dialogue, explosion, bullets flying it really does not matter that much

in stereo music you may be able to distinguish hall effects, sound stage, positions of various musical instruments, vocal, depth, imaging, transient, dynamic range ...... just that you may be hear more with music more dynamic than flat

best to test with male and female vocals, piano, violin, double bass, drum kicks

some can hear and some cannot and some speakers/equipment just make noise not music :-(
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by HiFi-Fun
Practical issues aside (such as harder to work with, etc), The biggest problem has to do with skin effects. The frequency range of audio signals travel primarily at the outside surface or 'skin' of the conductor.
I challenge you to provide a reference for that. From the research I've done (i.e., reading, not conducting actual measurements in my lab) I understood that skin effect is not very prevalent at audio frequencies, but only at much higher frequencies.
post #30 of 91
hey hey hey this is no rocket science

this ht hobby is for fun

just trust your ears and feelings
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