AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like the author of this thread, I noticed that Stereophile's Recommended Components List this year included the following in the speaker cable section:

Radioshack 18-gauge solid-core hookup wire: $3.99/60 ft. spool

"Ridiculously cheap way of connecting speakers, yet ST reports that this cable is okay sonically. You have to choose for yourself whether to space or twist a pair for best sound (or even whether to double up the runs for less series impedence)."


The price certainly can't be beat as I'm looking at moving my HT equipment from under my screen to off on the side of the room and will need around 100 feet of speaker wire to do my front three speakers.


Anyone else who tried these DIY speaker cables care to throw in their 2 cents on how they compaired to other store brands?


(Figured I'd start a new thread as the subject line in the other is probably making a few overlook it).


Thanks,


Kal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,211 Posts
I used a double run of Home Depot 12 gauge in-wall rated speaker wire for my front speakers. By doubling up the runs I created a cable that was around 9 gauge. Although the cable is more expensive than the Radio Shack cable at $0.99/meter Canadian, it is much better suited for a longer un than the lighter 18 gauge cable and is still very inexpensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,211 Posts
Kal, I have no complaints about the results. I feel that the most important factor in a speaker cable is its gauge, particularly for longer cable runs. I can't see how you can beat a price of $1.98/m for 9 gauge in-wall rated cable.


By the way, why don't you come over sometime and see the finished theater?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
I'm using the Radio Shack speaker cables in my system and no problems that I've seen, but I am running the RS 16gauge wires. My runs are not too long maybe 20-25 feet to the rears and the fronts and center are close to the receiver.


I think I paid 8 bucks for my spool, way cheaper than Monster or Home Depot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,755 Posts
That cheap RS cable has been on Stereophile's list for several years now. Funny though that standard 12AWG has never appeared on that list, despite it being an incredible value - at around 35 cents a foot from many suppliers.


There are any number of inexpensive ways to wire speakers. I've seen #14 wire sold for as low as 20 cents a foot. This works fine for most applications. I've known people to use Cat-5 ethernet cable, left over from construction sites, in parallel, braided runs. You can buy a lot of #12, then make a double run, twisting into a pair and even then using two runs per speaker to biwire them and still be at around $1.40/ft. Plus this stuff is essentially oxygen-free to boot.


John Dunlavy, twice winner of the Stereophile Speaker of the Year award, has proclaimed on several occasions that standard #12 is as good as any other speaker wire in the world, based upon his own extensive tests. He even designed and sold a $400 pair of speaker cables that he said could not be distinguished from #12 in listening tests, even though they did measure better.


Tom B.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott B
I used a double run of Home Depot 12 gauge in-wall rated speaker wire for my front speakers. By doubling up the runs I created a cable that was around 9 gauge. Although the cable is more expensive than the Radio Shack cable at $0.99/meter Canadian, it is much better suited for a longer un than the lighter 18 gauge cable and is still very inexpensive.
Hi Scott! Stopped by Home Depot yesterday for something else and took a look at their speaker wire....


Just to confirm - the stuff you used had black and white stranded wires with a green surround? The stuff's rated for in wall use and mentions "oxygen free" on the shield. It's also twisted which was nice to see. $0.92CAD/foot. Not bad. Pretty much makes the price negligible in relation to most other HT stuff. This is the stuff you used right?


The only other 12 gauge speaker wire they had is what most people would probably consider 'standard' speaker wire: the standard copper coloured semi-clear shield (branded RCA). Nothing special. Isn't rated for in-wall use, no mention of 'oxygen free' (though this doesn't guarantee anything by itself), and non-twisted.


Kal


P.S. I'd love to see your setup! Thanks for the offer! Didn't know everything was complete!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
828 Posts
Another not too terrible option is Belden 83030 (you can see it at Belden's website - www.belden.com ). It is silver plated copper hook-up wire with TFE insulation, 16 ga., and comes in about 10 colors, including red and black. A 100 ft. spool of each (red and black or about 50 cents/ft.) would cost about $100 with shipping from distributors like www.newark.com. It is good in single and double runs have tried both and actually tested it against a $600/pr. (12 footer) of a name co. and preferred the double run of the 83030. The Home Depot wire is not terrible either. I actually preferred the 4x16 gauge stuff doubled up vs. the 12 gauge. Some brands of low voltage outdoor lighting cable are not bad either, they usually come in 14 or 12 ga. and are not expensive. Another very good economical option is JSC wire and cable, http://www.jscwire.com/. Their 4x16 gauge Hi-Strand Stuff is good as speaker cable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,189 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by kal



The only other 12 gauge speaker wire they had is what most people would probably consider 'standard' speaker wire: the standard copper coloured semi-clear shield (branded RCA). Nothing special. Isn't rated for in-wall use, no mention of 'oxygen free' (though this doesn't guarantee anything by itself), and non-twisted.
Kal, I'd stay away from the semi clear stuff for in wall use or for anything else. One of my friends put some 12 gauge semi clear shielding (he bought it as Costco) in his walls and now the shielding has a gummy sticky feel to it and the copper is now green. I have fixed my friends problem by using in wall CSA approved 14 gauge (short run) cabling at just under a buck a foot. I use the same for my mini HT setup upstairs. This stuff works well - over 1.5 years and the shielding is still like new (recently wired my full sized HT). I bought it at a local "audiophile" B&M store that also does HT installations.


I have seen the Home Depot in wall wiring you mention with the white and black insultation and green outter insulation - looks decent but didn't buy it because the store only sold it in 500 ft rolls more than what I needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Stereophile is starving to death.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
I used to use the 10ga RS stranded wire for my main speakers before my DIY cat5. I had my wife and a friend over and we were comparing Kimber 8tc with the Cat5 and a slipped in the RS zip cable. Everybody shrieked immediately and made me throw it away.


Should work fine for surrounds, but I wouldn't recommend it for center or front speakers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
To achieve a good tight twist with teflon coated silver plated copper

wire, chuck one end of a double run in a hand drill, tie the other

to something. Turn on the drill at low speed. The cable will twist

perfectly, the wire will "shrink" as it twists, so you physically move

toward what you tied it to. Release the wire once the twist appears

"close knit." At this point, the wire will snake all around itself, but it's

easily untangled and you end up with a completely professional twist

without the work needed to do it by hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,801 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Thomas-W
Using a drill to twist Mil spec wire destroys the adhesive air-tight seal between the wire and the insulation. Don't do it. Twist it by hand allowing the loose ends to rotate freely.
Assuming that's true (I haven't personally verified it) there should be several easy ways to work around it. The labor saving of using a drill is too attractive to pass up, especially for long cables.


1. You could just reseal the ends. It would take a long time for any air to seep into the gap between the wire and the insulation so I can't imagine the cable being instantly ruined by breaking the seal. Trim a couple inches off the wire, strip it and seal with glue or adhesive heat shrink.


2. You could easily build a non-twist jig for your drill; something like a small scrap of wood with a bolt through the center and big fishing swivels mounted next to the bolt. Chuck the bolt in the drill and tie or tape the wires to the swivels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,421 Posts
catapult


You're missing the point ANY method the holds the ends ridged while twisting the wires spins the insulation over the metal wire inside and separates the bond.


Especially with Teflon and it's benefits; it particularly important NOT to have separation between the insulation and the wire itself.


The only way to properly braid/twist Teflon insulated wire is having a second person hold the starting end loosely in their hands allowing them to freely relax as the wire is being twisted/braided. Any other method destroys the conection between the wire and the insulation.


If you have additional questions about this contact Jon Risch. He'll be glad to provide the full blown scientific/engineering reason for using the proper technique
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,801 Posts
Quote:
You're missing the point ANY method the holds the ends ridged while twisting the wires spins the insulation over the metal wire inside and separates the bond.
Thus my suggestion of the swivels. Perhaps I didn't explain it very well but the method I have in mind would not rotate the wires. The drill rotates but the wires do not. I guess I'll just have to twist a pair with lines along one edge and prove it to myself. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
I think it is very unlikely that twisting lightly with a drill is going to break the airtight seal between the teflon and the wire.


Sure- microfractures in the wire may be problematic, but air leaks?


The Cat5 wire is twisted in a very similar fashion in the manufacturing process.


Also- my braiding technique induces a fair amount of kinking and twisting!


I'm not contending that the braided and twisted wires are the same, but in my experience their performance is indistinquishable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,421 Posts
Like I said check with Jon Risch. He's the moderator of the Cable/Tweaks/DIY section on the Audio Asylum. He's very specific about hand braiding/twisting teflon insulated wiring. He'll tell anyone that asks the 'why' of not using a drill for this process....


It has nothing to do with microfractures. The drill will separate the Teflon from the raw wire.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top