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