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GA Russell

Suggestions sought: Speaker wires

232 posts in this topic

As long as you have the proper guage for the length you are running, the only other thing that matters is how pleasing you want them to look. Sonically there will be zero difference. 

I posted a speaker cable calculator here a few years ago. Might still be here. 

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14 hours ago, GA Russell said:

I'm enjoying re-reading all of this!  Scott and Jim, is it your view that Uncle Skid is correct, and that lamp cord is as good as anything else?

Electrically, lamp cord works fine. However, not all cheap wires age well. I've found that some standard, off-the-shelf lamp cord oxidizes quite a bit with age. Like this:

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire5.jpg

Now, I'm not saying that even this will affect the sound, but it certainly looks ugly.

I'm not an advocate for "Just get some cheap lamp cord from Home Depot and be done with it".  Maybe years ago, that would be me. Today, I'm more of a "Get some good quality wire and be done with it," guy. Whether it's super-expensive wire that looks incredible or some cheaper Belkin or Monoprice cable that looks like plain ol' wire - just get good wire.

Up in this thread, I recommended Blue Jean Cable. They use Belkin wire for their speaker wires. Recently, I needed to wire up the rear speakers for my surround sound set-up  so I bought a spool of 16 gauge Belkin wire from Parts Express: https://www.parts-express.com/belden-6200ue-16-awg-2c-cable-plenum-rated-in-wall-speaker-wire-100-ft-usa--102-1102. It looks good and works fine. Relatively cheap too, as I had a 50 foot option when I bought mine.

The other thing to remember about audiophile grade speaker wires is that some of them use ridiculously heavy gauge wire. This results in wires that look like jump ropes laying across your floor. You can forget about making tight radius turns with these "wires", as they just don't bend. They're nice to look at - almost a work of art - but functionally, they're a bitch to work with. In my recent surround installation, I had to run the wire above a dropped ceiling and down the wall on both ends. Heavy gauge wire would have made this difficult and probably would've looked ugly.

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Posted (edited)

Great photo, Kevin!  Thanks.

I'm happy to believe the opinion of the many that it is the rare person who can tell the difference.  However, what I read about the more expensive cables in the catalogues I receive discusses the thought and care that go into their design and manufacture.  Certainly it has been my experience that the products of people who take their work seriously are better than the products of of those who are content to do things the "half fast" (as Pete Fountain would say!) way.  Agreed?

Edited by GA Russell

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If you want a pretty cable, then get one. 

Just know you’re paying more only for it’s beauty. The sound it delivers will not be any better than an ugly cable of the same AWG. 

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15 hours ago, GA Russell said:

Great photo, Kevin!  Thanks.

I'm happy to believe the opinion of the many that it is the rare person who can tell the difference.  However, what I read about the more expensive cables in the catalogues I receive discusses the thought and care that go into their design and manufacture.  Certainly it has been my experience that the products of people who take their work seriously are better than the products of of those who are content to do things the "half fast" (as Pete Fountain would say!) way.  Agreed?

I would tend to agree that you want well-made speaker wires. But I doubt that those who sell super-expensive wire are merely "people who take their work seriously". I think you give them too much credit. I'd bet that most of them are people who take making money very seriously. If these beautiful heavy duty audiophile cables didn't sell, they wouldn't make them.

But I'm probably not the person to be asking about this as I've done many audio installations over the years with bare wire on both ends of regular ol' wire. This used to be the only way to wire up speakers. I always thought that they sounded fine. The regular use of wire terminations started in the late 70's. Back then, banana connectors were considered "audiophile". When I first started putting lugs onto my wires, it was for use in car audio and if you can believe it, I soldered them on with lead solder. Sacrilege!! :)

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On 13/08/2018 at 3:59 PM, GA Russell said:

However, what I read about the more expensive cables in the catalogues I receive discusses the thought and care that go into their design and manufacture.

I would humbly suggest that the credibility of the copy in a catalogue trying to sell you stuff is down there with fox news'.

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In fairness, I’m sure some of those manufacturers DO put a lot of thought and care into their cables. Unfortunately, they also put a lot of hopes, dreams, wishes, and prayers into them. All of which are inaudible, BTW. 

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