I think high-end speaker cables are worth it (within reason). - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I think high-end speaker cables are worth it (within reason).

Now when I say "high-end" speaker cables, I mean cables from $10-$20 per foot per cable. In my experience, such cables really do offer a bit better sound, and much better construction than the average speaker cables. Personally, I prefer 12 AWG cables, because I think going lighter gauge can make bass a bit weaker and going heavier gauge can make treble a bit weaker. I think 12 AWG is a happy medium.

Anyways, I am sure I will get responses that high-end speaker cable is nothing but snake oil, but still many people (including myself) do notice a difference with higher-end speaker cable.

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post #2 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper5121 View Post
Now when I say "high-end" speaker cables, I mean cables from $10-$20 per foot per cable. In my experience, such cables really do offer a bit better sound, and much better construction than the average speaker cables. Personally, I prefer 12 AWG cables, because I think going lighter gauge can make bass a bit weaker and going heavier gauge can make treble a bit weaker. I think 12 AWG is a happy medium.

Anyways, I am sure I will get responses that high-end speaker cable is nothing but snake oil, but still many people (including myself) do notice a difference with higher-end speaker cable.
I think the only factors that matter are the gauge, and the material the actual wire is made out of - i.e. CCA vs. OFC vs. Silver.

I think believing a $200 cable sounding better than one you made yourself for a fraction of the cost (using the same gauge, and wire composition) as the expensive cable is somewhat of a placebo effect.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 12:14 PM
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My only experience with higher end cables has been for the worse. I swapped generic RCA cables that came stock with an Arcam product, for Audioquest golden gate?, and the sound got drastically brighter, and sounded terrible.
Then a couple months ago I tried switching my simple 12 gauge high strand copper sewell speaker cables out for Kimber 8PR's. I was hoping to hear an improvement, instead it had about the same bass, slightly recessed midrange and brighter, rougher highs. They weren't drastic changes, but for the worse.
Before that I used 12 gauge high strand copper cables from acoustic research for about 20 years. I've heard many high end cables at audio stores and shows, but I doubt if any of them made a positive change to the sound.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 12:44 PM
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Ah, must be a slow afternoon...
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 12:50 PM
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Yeah, sometimes they look better, so might worth it.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 12:58 PM
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Changing the sound of your system through speaker cables is about the least effective way to do it. Yes, there can be very tiny measured differences from different speaker cables, but all you are doing is EQing the system in the most unpredictable, roundabout, and insignificant way possible. Just DSP/EQ the response curve you want, don't chase it using cables. It'll sound better and be far cheaper in the end.
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper5121 View Post
Now when I say "high-end" speaker cables, I mean cables from $10-$20 per foot per cable. In my experience, such cables really do offer a bit better sound, and much better construction than the average speaker cables. Personally, I prefer 12 AWG cables, because I think going lighter gauge can make bass a bit weaker and going heavier gauge can make treble a bit weaker. I think 12 AWG is a happy medium.

Anyways, I am sure I will get responses that high-end speaker cable is nothing but snake oil, but still many people (including myself) do notice a difference with higher-end speaker cable.
cables at that price unless proprietary are no better than cheap cables. now yes a dirt cheap cable will sound bad but go ahead an buy 12awg speaker wire from amazon (made by amazon) for so much less than a dollar a foot then use you $1000 cord for the same length run and in a blind test you will never be able to tell. all that matter is the cables. what is the resistance how well shielded is it etc. same thing for hdmi, I have a 35 foot cable that cost $40 or so and it passes full 4k 60hz hdr 10 bit 4:4:4 I could have spent $100-$500 but all I would have done is waste money for no gain except maybe pretty colors.
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 01:06 PM
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I will say maybe once you have a $10 million dollar theater and the best of everything then maybe solid gold cables all around are acceptable. In that case the cables are better cause you can store your money in the walls and ceiling rather than the bank haha.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by aats View Post
Yeah, sometimes they look better, so might worth it.
This I can agree with for sure.

Nothing wrong with aesthetics playing a role with a "furniture accessory, (cables), or furniture, (speakers/amps etc)" for a home environment.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I will say maybe once you have a $10 million dollar theater and the best of everything then maybe solid gold cables all around are acceptable. In that case the cables are better cause you can store your money in the walls and ceiling rather than the bank haha.


That is actually genius until you realize folks are stealing copper cable from building sites!

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post #11 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I will say maybe once you have a $10 million dollar theater and the best of everything then maybe solid gold cables all around are acceptable. In that case the cables are better cause you can store your money in the walls and ceiling rather than the bank haha.
Silver. It has a higher conductivity.
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 03:16 PM
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The more resolving the speakers and gear, the more obvious the differences. Good cables are transparent to the source, you are in no way adding anything that wasn't already there.

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post #13 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ratbuddy View Post
Changing the sound of your system through speaker cables is about the least effective way to do it. Yes, there can be very tiny measured differences from different speaker cables, but all you are doing is EQing the system in the most unpredictable, roundabout, and insignificant way possible. Just DSP/EQ the response curve you want, don't chase it using cables. It'll sound better and be far cheaper in the end.
Agreed. Speaker cables are not tone controls.
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post #14 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 04:11 PM
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I splurged for the best quality speaker cables for perfect sound quality so they would provide my speakers with the most accurate signal possible.

Just a rough guess, I'd say I have around $30 invested in cables for my LCR, probably another $30 for my two surround speakers due to longer runs. So about $60 total for my five speakers. Another $30 or so for my subs.

Again this is an estimate based on Monoprice 12g speaker wire at about 50 cents/foot plus a couple bucks for banana terminals for each speaker.

I don't think the cost of the system has any relevance on what kind of cables are used or how much they cost. Sure, there is cheaper cable available if you go with CCA or smaller 16g, but for probably under $100 for the best cables money can buy(as far as actual sound quality goes), its not worth saving money for cheaper cables that might not be up to par.

Would I spend $10/foot? That would be pretty silly when you can't beat the sonic performance of 50 cent/foot cable.
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post #15 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 04:57 PM
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I too splurged lately and bought these $20 speaker cables ($2/foot) with banana plugs built into the ends!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CYGMDL6

I love them: They allow me to setup my speakers with a nice clean look, and with a color that matches my speakers. It also avoids the tedious process of splicing wires and attaching banana plugs manually (a process I’ve grown very tired of). So for aesthetics and for convenience, I absolutely recommend splurging on some nice $20 speaker cables, if you can justify the cost.

But do they make my speakers sound better, or different at all? No, of course not.

If you think you hear a tonal difference from your expensive speaker cables, I’m sorry but you have simply fallen for a scam. It’s been said a million times, because it’s true: the science on speaker cables is well understood. The only ways speaker cables can possibly change the sound signature can also be achieved for pennies (and is generally going to be inferior to every other kind of proper equalization or filtering) with off-the-shelf analog components and wires. Most expensive speaker cables don’t even add analog filtering components though, and in fact don’t change the sound at all (what you think you hear is placebo).

Anyone is free to disagree with science, in the same way that anyone is free to be gullible or foolish if you really want (you’ve been warned; so if what you’re doing makes you happy, more power to you). But this does not mean spreading lies and myths is okay. You can believe whatever you want, but if you make an extraordinary claim (like “different speaker cables without any different inductance capacitance or resistance, sound different audibly”), you need to be able to prove it.

This topic has been rehashed a billion times over now, so I don’t think the believers will suddenly be convinced by this internet post. But to those who do believe, I ask you to ask yourself this:

Would you bet actual cash money (equal to the value of these expensive speaker cables), that you could tell your audiophile cables apart from coat hanger wire cables, in a double blind test where you have as long as you want to listen to each cable?

Because if you aren’t willing to take this risk, then when would do you literally put the same money down, by buying them?

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post #16 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 08:49 PM
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Anyways, I am sure I will get responses that high-end speaker cable is nothing but snake oil, but still many people (including myself) do notice a difference with higher-end speaker cable.
Of course you will get such responses! It's a very contentious subject in these parts. You're not the first one to state that they notice differences with higher-end cables, and you won't be the last....

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Originally Posted by Viper5121 View Post
Now when I say "high-end" speaker cables, I mean cables from $10-$20 per foot per cable. In my experience, such cables really do offer a bit better sound, and much better construction than the average speaker cables. Personally, I prefer 12 AWG cables, because I think going lighter gauge can make bass a bit weaker and going heavier gauge can make treble a bit weaker. I think 12 AWG is a happy medium.
I do believe there is something to be said for a cable that is built with quality materials and solidly built terminations (good looks don't hurt), and while many will scoff at $10-$20 a foot, it's perhaps not totally unreasonable (I'm more in favor of the $10 end of the spectrum....). At some price point, it does become worth it if you find something that you really like. You have to figure, time is money too. I'm a fan of DIY (to an extent) so I built my own, for WAY less of course, and I'd propose they will sound as good as anything out there and they have the look I wanted. BUT - it did cost me time, time I will never get back, and for many that loss is simply not worth it - a totally valid philosophy when considering spending money (on anything) that might otherwise be considered at least absurd.

Don't know if I agree with the 12AWG vs. heavier or lighter gauge and the treble/bass thing, but I'm not a trained listener and I doubt my aging ears could pick up such differences if they existed.

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post #17 of 21 Old 08-21-2019, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ratbuddy View Post
changing the sound of your system through speaker cables is about the least effective way to do it. Yes, there can be very tiny measured differences from different speaker cables, but all you are doing is eqing the system in the most unpredictable, roundabout, and insignificant way possible. Just dsp/eq the response curve you want, don't chase it using cables. It'll sound better and be far cheaper in the end.
bingo!
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post #18 of 21 Old 08-25-2019, 01:26 PM
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So, I bought two strands of kimber kable 8vs (12ft) for my LR, but did some only because I got them for $40 total.

I like them, especially since they are the one wire in my system I cant hide, so their quality isnt an eye sore. The effective 9awg ensures I can feed the towers all the current they can take (well more than they have now). But as for sounding different or better? Not one iota of sonic difference from my self built 14awg (Amazon occ with good banana plugs).

While I have no regrets about the purchase (again, they look great and are very well built), they solidified the idea that paying extra for cables is silly
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post #19 of 21 Old 08-25-2019, 01:43 PM
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So, I bought two strands of kimber kable 8vs (12ft) for my LR, but did some only because I got them for $40 total.

I like them, especially since they are the one wire in my system I cant hide, so their quality isnt an eye sore. The effective 9awg ensures I can feed the towers all the current they can take (well more than they have now). But as for sounding different or better? Not one iota of sonic difference from my self built 14awg (Amazon occ with good banana plugs).

While I have no regrets about the purchase (again, they look great and are very well built), they solidified the idea that paying extra for cables is silly
The Kimbers are nice looking which is reason enough to consider them as you say if you can find them for the kind of money you paid.

But I just ran a calculation for how much I'd have to spend on 2x20ft lengths from Kimber direct bare wire, no connectors, which is what I'd need for either of my setups.

$492.80.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #20 of 21 Old 08-25-2019, 02:20 PM
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The Kimbers are nice looking which is reason enough to consider them as you say if you can find them for the kind of money you paid.

But I just ran a calculation for how much I'd have to spend on 2x20ft lengths from Kimber direct bare wire, no connectors, which is what I'd need for either of my setups.

$492.80.
Yep, looking them up, I knew I couldn't say no (found em at a pawn shop). But I can't fathom paying retail for any cable like that, no matter how nice they look (both my parents are physicists, so I like to consider myself reasonably well versed in things like that, and knew I would expect no difference).
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post #21 of 21 Old 08-25-2019, 03:05 PM
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I upgrading speakers = Improvement in sound quality.
I upgraded my AVR & added an amp = Improvement in sound quality.
I upgraded my Sub = Improvement in sound quality.
I changed out my old expensive monster cables wire for Amazon basics 14awg OFC wire when I reconfigured the room = No change in sound quality.

Some swear by premium wire, cables & interconnects and will spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Some just like to brag about their stuff.
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