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GA Russell

Suggestions sought: Speaker wires

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I need new speaker wires. My system is very old and not very good, but it's good enough for me.

Can anyone recommend good value (12 gauge?) wire?

*****

I am also looking at these Monster connectors.

http://www.amazon.com/Monster-QuickLock-MKII-Connectors-Terminations/dp/B000WXBY7I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=RVSBV717YT9&coliid=I21Q153PYMEZU8

Are they too good (and too expensive) for the appropriate wire? I suppose it would be foolish to have connectors that are a lot better than the wire.

*****

I will very likely be doing my shopping at Amazon, so I would appreciate links to their products unless you have a suggestion that you think is a much better value.

Thanks!

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I have spent quite a bit on speaker cables, and I hesitate to recommend anyone do that who is not into the whole "audiophile" thing. I recently replaced Monster Cable speaker cable in my Dad's system with a cable that Decware sells that I had in my main system for years (you can also buy this cable elsewhere, it's used in satelite communications). Just changing the speaker cable made such a difference that for the first time I was able to turn the tone controls on the preamp to flat settings and everyone heard a nice full sound.

In my main system I added Mapleshade Double Helix speaker cable and after a few weeks I'm really enjoying the sound. They're not cheap, but I spend money on my stereo and am used to this sort of pricing, for me it was worth it.

Many people swear by Blue Jeans Cables, so they are worth a look. If I were in the market for budget cables I would look for discounted ones or discontinued ones and would look into PCOCC wire. I've found this wire to be very smooth and yet also detailed. There are some interesting choices at www.accessories4less.com

Edited by jazzbo

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I think you need to mention your budget. My guess is that any 12g speaker wire will be fine.

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Thanks, guys!

I'll spend the evening studying your suggestions.

I'm going to ask my sister for this for Christmas, so I can't ask for anything too extravagant.

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Blue Jean Cables are the best bang for the buck. I have a set and they work as advertised.

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Also, after recent experience wth a pair of Cullen power cords, I myself would look into their speaker cables:

http://www.cullencable.com/index.php/products/speaker-cables

Going on a tangent, I have been very happy with the pair of Anti-cables hooked up to my Conrad Johnson set up. It took a while for them to break in, but when they did, it made a difference. Am looking at Morrow cables for my Dahlquists.

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The more I look into this, the more I think I need to consider a pair of inexpensive speakers and a bargain amp.

Any ideas?

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How long wires do you need? This may sound controversial, but for shorter lengths - up to 15-20 feet - you could probably use plain 120/240 V electrical wire if you don't own an audiophile system. It's very cheap and can easily be found in various shapes. I know of more than one well-regarded loudspeaker constructor that has stated this.

Internal wiring in average speakers is often fairly basic.

Edited by Daniel A

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monoprice for cheap but good wire. Blue Jean mid range. Next level might be Analysis Plus

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Define inexpensive and bargain.

It's my understanding that advances have been made in stereo system technology over the past forty years, and that decent components are much less expensive than they were then. I see that Amazon sells amps for $100, and speakers for $50.

That's my idea of inexpensive, but I have no idea if they are bargains. That's why I'm asking for recommendations from you experts!

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A new $50 speaker is probably not better (and maybe even worse) than much of what you can find used for the same price. If you're not into used hifi equipment I can see that the process of buying a pair of used speakers would appear as more of an obstacle, though.

Would you want to disclose what equipment you are using now?

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I think you get what you pay for in both initial sound quality and durability. Yes, the specs of new inexpensive stereo is much better than the better of the past, but specs are not everything.

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Maybe on of those Dayton Class T amps?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004JK8BDK

I haven't heard them, but people swear!

You ought to watch Craigslist for speakers. You might be able to find a decent pair for $50/each.

You'd be hard-pressed to upgrade from anything at $50-$100 budget.

Don't you receive review copies of ECM releases? What are you listening on currently?

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The last time I looked into speaker wire was a good 15 - 20 years ago, but back in the day, Audioquest was considered a good quality, less expensive speaker wire. Look into this: Amazon.

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How long wires do you need? This may sound controversial, but for shorter lengths - up to 15-20 feet - you could probably use plain 120/240 V electrical wire if you don't own an audiophile system. It's very cheap and can easily be found in various shapes. I know of more than one well-regarded loudspeaker constructor that has stated this.

Internal wiring in average speakers is often fairly basic.

There is lots of rubbish talked about Hi Fi and its an obsession in itself.

No disrespect to anyone here and if I had the money, one of the first things I'd buy would be better hifi, but the difference between speaker wires beyond a certain point is in such tiny increments I'd go for cheapest decent wire that does the job.

Years ago I moved house and left a bunch of stuff in storage. Of course first thing unpacked was the stereo and was gutted to find that speaker wire was in storage 100 miles away. Being a practical sort of guy, the only long enough piece of wire I had available was a long piece of flex from an old hoover. I duly cut it up and used it to connect my speakers as an interim measure. (Who needs to hoover anyhow...). Didn't initially think it sounded that good but when I replaced it with the good stuff, I couldn't tell the difference and any worries about the sound were more to do with the room and positioning than what was connecting everything up.

Anyhow I'd rather obsess about records I've never heard or alternate takes missing from my latest reissue...

More seriously, a decent budget amp or receiver would be first on my list, and new might be nearer $200-300. Something you'd be happy with for a while since my main Rotel is nearly 30 years old and still sounds fine...

Used is fine but best if its local and you can hear it working... Same with speakers, You can get excellent speakers really reasonable on craigslist gumtree whatever but the best speakers in my house came from freecycle and I picked them up for nothing from a lady who couldn't wait to get hese ugly brown B&W speakers out of the living room since they didn't match anything else...

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My experience is that expensive speaker wire does make a difference if you have a system resolving enough to hear the subtle differences. And it's very system dependent at that level, as other choices of power treatment, room treatment, and other cabling create a need for a "synergy."

Cheap cable generally imparts a grainy signature that may or may not complement or impair the sound of a budget system. If you have a budget system, try a few cheap wires and see which is the best fit (i.e. dark or bright, etc.)

I long ago went on a search for great sound and I don't spend money on some things others do so I spend a lot of money on stereo equipment, it's fun for me. I've made some serious blunders along the way and I've learned a lot and the process was very enjoyable. I've enjoyed a spike or two in my bank account the last decade and I now have a system where I can fine tune with cabling etc. and really get great listening. And I'm happy. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this course for others, but I USE my system as much as I can, more than any other machines I have, and I have a huge collection of recordings and movies, tv shows etc. to utilize. And it's still primarily about those, getting the most out of them. My life has been greatly enhanced by this pursuit. Other things are very important as well, family, friends, romance, a place in the flow of the world etc. I think I keep most of it in balance.

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I've had this discussion about sound memory before but chances are people are imaging the changes they claim to hear. There have been many studies showing that a human's audio memory is less than 30 seconds - most have less than 10 seconds. The time it takes to swap out speaker wires makes it pretty much impossible to remember what you heard previously. This gets even worse with the "burn in" argument. There is no way anyone can accurately remember what their system sounded like 100's of hours before. It's just not humanly possible.

I guess it's the 4 years of college (BSEE) and almost 30 years of working in a test lab, but wires simply cannot do what some people claim. Buy better cables because they'll last longer and look better, but don't buy them to somehow improve the sound of your system. It won't.

As for why I buy Blue Jean Cables... I will never buy another Monster Cable product again because of their lawsuits and I wouldn't buy any Mapleshade products because several artists who recorded for their record label have stated that they were never paid. Most of the esoteric cable makers are just too darn expensive, although I'm sure they make good speaker wires. Blue Jean Cables makes their speaker wires from Belkin's standard heavy gauge wires. They weld the connectors on so they should never fall off. They look pretty good (if I say so myself). They are relatively affordable. To my way of looking at it, they combine the best of everything.

I guess my advice in a nutshell is to buy what you think looks good, is well made and fits your budget.

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14 or 16 gauge lamp cord from Home Depot. Buy it by the foot, and get exactly what you need.

Kevin and fent99 are right. Double-blind tests consistently confirm this. I also have a BSEE, not that it means I'm an expert, by any means. Just a skeptic.

I recently received, for the first time, a catalog from Mapleshade. Had never heard of them before. Snake oil crap taken to a whole new level, in my opinion.

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I don't buy this thing I keep seeing about audio memory. If it's true then I and several others I know are exceptionally gifted in that regard, which I am unwilling to buy as well. But whatever.

I thought the same about Mapleshade til I actually tried and listened. I understand others don't go for this stuff and that's fine with me, but I keep an open mind. Some of their products work well.

Edited by jazzbo

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If that were the case, we wouldn't recognize the obvious difference between musicians' tones from record to record would we? How can I have a long term audio memory, but not a short term audio memory?

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