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    Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

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    Sprags

    Posts: 129
    Join date: 2013-02-27

    Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:45 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 12:08 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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    Join date: 2012-05-05

    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by DarthBubba on Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:53 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 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling correction)

    Sprags

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    Join date: 2013-02-27

    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:59 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 3:48 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 4:00 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 8:07 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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    Join date: 2013-02-27

    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:22 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 6:18 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

    Posts: 129
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    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:50 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 7:50 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 9:18 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 9:24 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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    Join date: 2013-02-27

    Re: Cables: Speaker and RCA Types

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:46 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 6:14 am

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

      Current date/time is Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:52 pm