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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I understand the supposed benefits of having seperate wire networks for signals to run through (high freqs like to travel near the surface of the wire low in the center), but all else being equal is it better to have multiple strands of jacketed wire that add up to say 14 gauge, or a single multistranded 14 gauge wire?


Also, while I understand the theory of the "wire network" construction does the signal really act as if it is in a single wire or does it instead behave as if it is in many smaller wires? (e.g. does this theory hold water?)
 

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It simply a matter of flexibility. That's the primary reason for stranded wire in speaker cable. 12AWG is 12AWG no matter how you slice it. 12awg stranded speaker wire is considered 12awg 2conductors. The number of strands each is made up of, the more flexible the cable.
 

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Actually, separate conductors will often have a somewhat lower inductance than a single stranded 12ga. cable. This is the theory behind a lot of "litz" cables on the market.


Best bet is to keep the speaker cable runs as short as you can - 3 ft. of 12ga. radio shack cable is still better than 10 ft. of exotic cable. Best of luck,


John
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Agreed.


However, I am planning to build a Home theater and the speaker cable runs from my equipment closet will be quite long (50'+).


I want to get the signal to my speakers as cleanly as possible but I don't want to (can't) spend gobs of money on exotic speaker cables. I have heard about DIY speaker cable methods using Cat5 cable but wanted to know if the benefits would be worth all the time it would take to make cables of this length.


I have done a bit a research on the subject since I asked my question and I am of the opinion that it probably is worth it but I have also heard that the these designs exibit high capacitance. Is this a big problem? Do the benefits of these designs get negated when such long runs are used? How can I lower the capacitance of the wire yet retain most of the added performance? Should this even concern me?


Sorry, I know just enough about electronic theory to know that I really don't know all that much. :p
 

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I know that you said you have been researching the DIY CAT5 speaker cable, but in case you have not seen this one-----> http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/cat5questions_e.html

I too was worried about capacitance but the link helped me out. My cables were only 10 feet and took around 7 hours each to complete. And to all those who believe that high end speaker cable is "snake oil," after a double blind test with a musician friend, the DIY CAT5 cables came up big...
 

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Even though current flow will be the same, I believe that solid wire connections of the same wire gauge as stranded wires are much better in many aspects. Granted it is much tougher to twist and turn but there is less chance of getting frayed connection at the end terminals. Solid wire is harder to cut through while stranded wires can get cut and change the cross-section of the wire. Maybe searching for why electric power companies prefer it over wire strands would lead to better reasons. I would also suspect that stranded wires also contains more capacitance because it has more wires separations. At an atomic level there has to be some space between those strands and that serves as the dielectric between the wires. Maybe that is why your high frequencies mediums are constructed with solid wire. But then again, this capacitance is probably in the order of picofarads and lower that I don't thinks this will have such an affect on audio signals.
 

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its not the effect upon the audio signals so much as it is a question if one's amp or receiver is going to have issues with capacitance. I don't know about presently, but Naim and Spectrum amps had issues with capacitance causing them to malfunction. as far as 50 feet goes, its difficult to answer with any degree of assurance if there'll be any problems. keep in mind, that although your end to end length is 50 feet, the actual length of wire will be greater.

the braiding lowers inductance (less attenuation of the upper audio spectrum) at the expense of increased capacitance. as to whether this attenuation of the upper audio spectrum is audible, all I can say is that controlled testing to date has been unable to establish the ability of people to reliably to distinguish any two cables of similar length and gauge regardless of any permutation of capacitance and inductance in level matched, blind conditions. However, if as a matter of preference, keeping cost to a bare minimum, you'd like to lower the inductance a tad, consider buying something like 14x4 cable. You'll have two runs of 14x2. take one wire from each strand and twist the ends together. You'll now have in effect 11 gauge wire with somewhat lower inductance than were you to buy conventional 11 gauge. There are far more important things that'll affect your sound quality than the agonizing over wires such as your speaker placements, room acoustics, how many people are in the room, etc. Regardless, leave a few extra feet for the inevitable moving around :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kirknelson
I understand the supposed benefits of having seperate wire networks for signals to run through (high freqs like to travel near the surface of the wire low in the center), but all else being equal is it better to have multiple strands of jacketed wire that add up to say 14 gauge, or a single multistranded 14 gauge wire?


Also, while I understand the theory of the "wire network" construction does the signal really act as if it is in a single wire or does it instead behave as if it is in many smaller wires? (e.g. does this theory hold water?)
Skin effect (high frequencies propagating along the surface of the conductor) is an RF phenomenon; audio frequencies are much, much, much too low for this to be a factor. The notion of high-frequency and low-frequency conductors in a speaker wire is bunk. What matters primarily in speaker wire is series resistance, which should be low. In normal wire, the next consideration would be inductance, which ideally should be low as well (though some amplifiers like to see a little inductance in the cabling). Capacitance, which should be low, should not be an issue but sometimes has been in speaker cables with strange windings intended to minimize inductance. Some amplifiers oscillate into capacitive loads.


Stranded, multiple stranded bundles, and solid conductors will all behave essentially the same at audio frequencies, except for differences in the above mentioned electrical parameters. So the most practical thing usually is stranded copper wire of reasonably low gauge relative to the run length.
 

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well said MD
 

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Like Chu Gai said- well said MD.

We ought to start some debunking threads, backed by authoritative references. And include some basic engineering info- Ohms law, capacitance, inductance, etc.

Way too many forum members are spending time and money chasing wild geese, when they could be listening to music, designing and building their own equipment, or investigating such esoterica as binaural sound or Dynaquad

.
 

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"Way too many forum members are spending time and money chasing wild geese"


It may be that a percentage of those "geese chasers" have made small, but significant, improvements to their systems. This forum needs discussion, humor, advice, and dissent. It does not need people debunking honest questions, especially in light of the fast growing market of cable, power conditioner, and vibration control manufacturers.

Market forces would seem to indicate that some of the "geese chasers" are onto something.
 

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that's a lot of could haves, may haves and all. yes, you're right there are market forces at play here, but as to whether they serve the community or serve themselves makes for interesting after dinnner conversation.
 

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"It does not need people debunking honest questions, especially in light of the fast growing market of cable, power conditioner, and vibration control manufacturers."


Uh, so if there is profit involved, debunking is bad, and should be discouraged or forbidden? I'll remember that in the future...(snort).
 

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APG,

The debunking comment I made was in reference to someone asking a question. We may disagree on the answer, but no one's question should be refuted on absolute terms, especially when so much involved ( musical tastes, room acoustics, speaker design, listening levels) in audio is different from one person to the next.

The only reason I mentioned "market forces" is that since the number of companies who make cables/conditioners seems to be growing, there is an obvious demand for their products. Some companies make sell "snake oil", some (Monster) overcharge for what they deliver, but why are so many people purchasing products that supposedly make little or no (measurable) difference in their systems. I can't put it down to marketing, since high end audio companies do such a poor job of reaching the public. So what is causing the demand ?

Not snorting, buut very curious...............
 

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Micheal B:

I was cleaning my bookshelves, and came across a bunch of "Audio" mags from 1982. In the back pages, there are lots of little ads for various "Snake Oil" devices. Not one of those companies is still in business. (Except "Monster"- but that's another story...)

It's simple- they spring up, chase a fad until the market is gutted or wises up, and they fold. Market Forces at work. Nothing new here.

If a person is asking a question based on misinformation or downright lies, and isn't challenged on those assumptions, and other forum members then take that same information as truth because everybody here seems to agree with it, then we are all guilty of perpetuating fraud.


To debunk the original post:

"(high freqs like to travel near the surface of the wire low in the center)"

A distorted view of the "skin" effect. I recently addressed it in another post. Applicable at RF, (I've lived with it, measured it accurately and can model it, for years.), this effect is negligible at audio frequencies. You still see it taken as gospel here. Bad, Bad pseudoscience!


"while I understand the theory of the "wire network" construction"

Obviously, he does not. Network theory has many facets, from software, ("ethernet crashes"), to hardware, (Impedance matching of AC power networks over "The Grid").

His question can be modeled easily with Kirchoff's laws to show that, all else being equal, multistrand cable is no different from single strand.


"So what is causing the demand ?" You ask?

Ignorance. Not stupidity- most people here are quite bright. They just lack the basic information. And a certain amount of pride is involved as well. Somebody who spends $500 on a power cord just cannot admit that there isn't a difference- they _honestly_ believe that the "sound" is better.


Having followed the Snake Oil trail for quite a few years, here's a few that really did pan out:

Massive plinths for turntables and tube amplifiers to prevent microphonics.

Regular degaussing of non-ferrite tape heads.

Time-alignment of speaker drivers.

Gold-plated connectors.

Binaural sound.


These all had scoffers- especially Binaural sound, which depended on close attention being paid to absolute phase and headphone-ear frequency matching, in order to provide what experimentalists call 4-Pi reproduction from two point sources. Psychoacoustics did eventually catch up.
 
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