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    Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

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    Sprags

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    Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:45 pm

    OK...so my new amp will be here on Tuesday. I've made up speaker cables using 12 gauge speaker wire along with Banana plugs. The cables are 6 feet long. The RCA cables I have are gold plated and also 6 feet long. The Speaker and RCA cables are about 10 years old. I've been using them with my current solid state equipment and to me they sound fine. Nowadays you see all these cables that cost more than the CD player and Tuner I'm planning on hooking up through my preamp. Somehow I can't see these as really being worth that much.

    Years ago I paid 30 bucks for a pair of monster speakers for my DCM Timewindows. The salesman insisted they would sould waaaay better. Quite frankly I didn't hear any difference.

    To me just like anything ...the price you pay for quality stuff is worth it but then there is the point of diminishing returns. These cables have to be the same way...right?

    Zimmer64

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Zimmer64 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:08 am

    Cables are a long story. I am not an expert, but what I have learned is that with speaker cables inductance is the issue and with interconnects it is capacitance. There are various recipes around on how to construct cables such that negative impacts are avoided to beginn with. Here is an article about interconnects: http://tnt-audio.com/clinica/intere.html and here about speaker cable: http://tnt-audio.com/clinica/spkcbl_e.html . Nelson Pass also wrote about speaker cables: https://www.passdiy.com/project/articles/speaker-cables

    Personally I use Vovox initio interconnects ( http://www.vovox.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=217&Itemid=738&lang=en ). They sound great, although not constructed according to above mentioned articles. (There you go :-) And they are still affordable.

    As speaker cables I use Cat 5 (solo or braided) computer cables with very good results.

    Enjoy

    Michael

    DarthBubba

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by DarthBubba on Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:53 am

    Sprags wrote:To me just like anything ...the price you pay for quality stuff is worth it but then there is the point of diminishing returns. These cables have to be the same way...right?

    Short answer: Yes

    Longish Answer: The price you pay is a matter of what the general market will bear, or your personal negotiating skills. How a wire "sounds" is a simple matter of inductance, capacitance, and resistance (LCR, hereafter) - and nothing more. There is no magic wire or magic length of the wire.

    An interconnect of reasonable LCR and adequate shielding for your RFI/EMI environment will sound like any other with the same measurements. If two interconnects sound different one of these measurements is out of whack. Be mindful that the interconnect is part of the filter that is formed by the output impedance of the preamp and the input impedance of the amp. That's why certain tube preamps have an awful time with solid state amps - their output impedance is so high and ability to generate adequate current is so low that sound anomalies follow.

    The same principles apply to speaker cables. Too small a cable acts like a resistor that your amplifier has to overcome. Some of your amp's power is wasted before it gets to the speaker. Some quirky, twitchy amps get crazy with bizarre speakers whose input impedance varies wildly with frequency. This doesn't happen much with tube amps because the tubes are isolated from the speakers by their output transformers. A certain highly regarded, very expensive transistor amp (of old) would go into severe oscillation and blow it's power supply fuses if attached to the older Quad "57" speakers with certain high priced speaker cables, but sang sweetly when plain old 12 gauge was used. Why? The high priced cables were low inductance and high capacitance, and added just enough capacitance to the amp's output that it went into oscillation. The plain old 12 gauge had lower capacitance and a bit higher inductance, and isolated the output transistors just enough from the crazy speaker load to keep the amp in it's safe operating region.

    So, your 12 gauge speaker cables will be adequate, if not optimum for your system. Twelve gauge wire has really low resistance, and your (presumably) tube amp's output transformers will shield the tubes from the speakers. If some stereo store sales person swears that his $125-per-foot speaker wires will "blow those lamp cords away" ask him to lend you a pair so that you can evaluate them in your listening room, on your equipment, with your source material, without him hanging over your shoulder. Same with interconnects. Just be sure they're adequately soldered and shielded, and not too long for your preamp to drive.

    Okay lurkers, let's start the flame war! affraid


    Last edited by DarthBubba on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:41 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling correction)

    Sprags

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:59 am

    What I found a little odd was back when I purchased the 12 gauge speaker wire that was what was recommended and anything smaller in diameter seemed to not even be available. Now when you go to the electronic supermarkets 14 ga. wire was the largest diameter available.

    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:48 pm

    I use and recommend Kimber 4VS speaker cables. I also use their 4TC cables but for the money the VS cables are a better bargain. I make my own interconnects using Homegrownaudio copper and silver wires. (Mostly copper these days as silver prices have jumped a lot over the last few years.). It's easy enough to do a simple 3-wire braid with 2 wires on the RCA pin and 1 wire on the RCA sleeve connected at both ends. The braiding helps reduce RFI and EMI interference.

    I find the braided cables have less distortion of the signal than your average parallel wire speaker wires. Same goes for the interconnects vs ordinary shielded RCAs. Trying Kimber cables is what got me into this hobby around 17 years ago. I've tried other kinds but always go back to the Kimbers. I also like the homegrown wire because its cheap, easy to strip and manipulate and makes for good internal wire on projects.

    Sprags

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:00 pm

    It seems kind of pointless to buy and or make new cables as the ones I already have sound fine.

    Found an article about how they did a blind test of expensive speaker cables and coat hangers...and no one could tell the difference. Seems how much people spend depends on how much they have spend .

    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:07 pm

    I looked up that experiment and found a lot to debate about it. When it comes down to it, if you don't care to try anything else then no worries. Live with what you got. But don't say cables don't make a difference if you haven't tried it yourself. And I wouldn't put too much faith in one experiment.

    I would also lump Monster with Bose. Massive marketing with average performance. Not all audio companies do this.

    I respect Kimber for doing things differently and selling products that in my experience do make a difference. Their really expensive cables are way out of my league. I would never spend over a thousand dollars for a set of audio cables. I can appreciate the labor involved (USA!) in building those cables and that's a good part of the price. Nevertheless, I'm as cheap as the next guy. The VS and TC cables work for me and have done so for over 10 years. Yes, they cost more than your average zip cord but they're more reachable and I feel they're worth it.

    Sprags

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:22 pm

    I'll check out the Kimber cables. Sorry for the reluctance to believe there could be much of a difference but as I said in the beginning ...there is a point of diminishing returns.

    sKiZo

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by sKiZo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:18 pm

    How about 11 gauge?



    I'm a big fan of Mogami - real quality at down to earth prices. Then again, only reason I got new cables is that the old ones won't fit to the new location once I finish building my VTA ST-120.

    Almost $3 a foot, but hey, I'm worth it. tongue

    http://www.performanceaudio.com/item/Mogami-W3103/5639/

    Sprags

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:50 pm

    I did a search for Kimber speaker wires and component interconnects and couldn't find a USA distributor. I'll check these out. The price seems more reasonable. Just as a quick search I saw prices for cables at Crutchfield and saw some prices start at around $300. To me that just seems way outrageous....for wire!

    My current setup is going to require 8 feet for each speaker. I'll round that up to 10 feet so 60 feet is not way out of line. 60 bucks is fairly reasonable.

    I also just happened to find another article on speaker wire here: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#anhonest .

    sKiZo

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by sKiZo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:50 pm

    I'm pushing 200wpc (400wpc peaks) thru the old Mogami 3013 cables and nary a complaint. Can't say as I see any reason not to recommend them. I don't use cable ends - works better if you just tin the tips enough to hold the wire together when you thread it in and avoid any whiskers that can short out. Theory is the bare wire forms better to the connection once you tighten it down. You'll also want to add support as needed - stuff is heavy and can stress the connectors. Garbage ties and S hooks work well if you're not particular. Stuff's surprisingly flexible for the size too.


    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:18 pm

    Sprags wrote:I did a search for Kimber speaker wires and component interconnects and couldn't find a USA distributor. I'll check these out. The price seems more reasonable. Just as a quick search I saw prices for cables at Crutchfield and saw some prices start at around $300. To me that just seems way outrageous....for wire!

    My current setup is going to require 8 feet for each speaker. I'll round that up to 10 feet so 60 feet is not way out of line. 60 bucks is fairly reasonable.

    I also just happened to find another article on speaker wire here: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#anhonest .

    www.audioadvisor.com carries them. In fact I just got in the mail a sales flyer with a bunch of Kimber cables included. I'm thinking about getting some just to have some extra runs and for other projects.

    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:24 pm

    sKiZo wrote:How about 11 gauge?

    I'm a big fan of Mogami - real quality at down to earth prices. Then again, only reason I got new cables is that the old ones won't fit to the new location once I finish building my VTA ST-120.

    Almost $3 a foot, but hey, I'm worth it. tongue

    http://www.performanceaudio.com/item/Mogami-W3103/5639/

    Mogami makes some decent low price cables too. But those speaker cables aren't doing anything different than the Monster designs. Just a different label. Their video and digital cables are reasonably priced although I prefer Bluejeans cable in those roles.

    Sprags

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:46 pm

    OK...now these two cable companies are selling a product that I can understand to be better than lamp cord or the cheapo or Monster RCA cables the electronic supermarkets sell for ripoff prices. And maybe there is some justification for those $2000 cables you see listed on Audiogon....but I can't wrap that around my brain.

    The Blue Jean cables and Mogami cables are more realistic in my mind. Thanks....Blake

    ramon68

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by ramon68 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:14 am

    $2,000 cables or $10,000 cables exist for one reason. There is a market for them. Sad.

    pjp3

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by pjp3 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:57 am

    I use cables from these guys: http://signalcable.com/speaker_cables.html

    Reasonable price, high quality and made in the USA!

    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:21 am

    ramon68 wrote:$2,000 cables or $10,000 cables exist for one reason. There is a market for them. Sad.

    To be fair some of those really pricey cables are very tricky and labor-intensive to make. They just can't be made on a large scale. The market for them is relatively small too because the vast majority of people want whatever is cheapest without regard to sound quality. The vast majority of people haven't heard the best in audio reproduction and just don't know what they are missing.

    I'm not saying there aren't idiots out there who buy things BECAUSE they're expensive. There are. But to say it's sad misses the point of some of these cables. It's like saying Porsches and Ferarris are sad. If nobody explores the limits of what's possible we'll never learn anything new.

    I do understand the points against this stuff. I know cables can be crazy marked up compared to what's commercially available. And there's a lot of BS cable sellers out there willing to take advantage of those who don't do their homework. Most consumers want "what gets the job done" for as cheap as possible. For some people, "what gets the job done" just isn't good enough. And they're willing to pay whatever it takes to get there. The same goes for almost any technology.

    Bob Latino
    Admin

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Bob Latino on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:07 am

    One one of our posts from last October I mentioned about a fellow on Ebay who sells speaker cables based on the Canare 4S11 "start quad" wire. These cables are well made and may be had with different connectors and in various lengths. I have a set of these here .. See link below from our forum ..

    Inexpensive well made cables ..

    Bob

    ramon68

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by ramon68 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:18 am

    A Porsche or Ferrari represents value for money. A high priced cable cannot do anything to improve the engineering or sound quality
    of the electronics that fed it. But you can count on it improving the bottom line of the folks who marketed it.
    Its wierd to hear an apologist for snake oil cables on a diy audio site.

    GP49

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by GP49 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:18 am

    ramon68 wrote:$2,000 cables or $10,000 cables exist for one reason. There is a market for them. Sad.

    I would modify that to "$2000 cables or $10,000 cable exist because somebody CREATED a market for them out of thin air."

    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:50 pm

    ramon68 wrote:A Porsche or Ferrari represents value for money.

    What value is that? What does it provide the owner besides a status symbol or mid-life crisis placator? To what purpose do faster than average cars serve? Something to bet on in a race? Something to collect? Or are they just a big waste of money?

    I think if I won the lottery I would buy one of those cars. And I wouldn't hesitate to buy a highly engineered audio cable either.

    To each their own.

    I don't see what the big deal is. Cables are just like any other passive device. Resistors can make audible differences. Capacitors can do it too. And the really nice capacitors come at a premium cost.

    They used to say all amps sound the same too. Yet here we are doing it ourselves because they don't sound the same.

    Captain Coconut

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Captain Coconut on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:39 pm

    Perceived differences in the "sound" of cables should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. Are the cables the same length? Are the connectors the same? What about L-C-R parameters? They are seldom, if ever, mentioned in a review. What about input/output impedance measurements with the associated components. Are they ever disclosed? Not usually. Was the listener in the same precise spot when evaluating? Sound stage cues can change dramatically if not. Any reviews that don't mention all of the above, should be thrown away. It's only entertainment otherwise.



    sKiZo

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by sKiZo on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:19 pm

    My cables are made of metal shat by the golden goose and spun by leprechauns under a blue moon, and insulation spun from the tears of angels by the hand of Aphrodite herself ...

    They're ok for now ... but I think I can do better ...

    corndog71

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:52 pm

    Captain Coconut wrote:Any reviews that don't mention all of the above, should be thrown away. It's only entertainment otherwise.

    So you're interested in the science behind it. And you concede that otherwise it's about entertainment. That's great!

    While the science side is fascinating, ultimately I am more interested in being entertained.


    Captain Coconut

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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Captain Coconut on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:22 pm

    Yes, but science can be entertaining. geek

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