Speaker Cable Questions

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
This is what I use. I got this with the Prodigy speakers when I bought them used. It's what the original owner used until he passed away. They sound good to me. He had some nice equipment.

Are you saying you can’t pull the plug at the back of your speaker?

That sure seems like it should be easy, as these speakers are usually a couple feet off the wall.

Assuming you can unplug them, the risk of removing the speaker cables with the external amp off is nil. If the amp is on, *it’s* at risk if you touch the speaker leads, though that would hopefully just blow a fuse in the amp rather than cause real damage.

If you can’t unplug them for some reason, I’d at least wait until the woofer amps shut off. The manual might tell you that info, but I think it’s around ten minutes.

I can pull the plugs out, but they are nordost red dawn power cables which are a bit of a tight fit. So it's just a PITA to do so each time I want to swap cable. It's the most minor of problems - just wanted to understand. Thanks for the comment - what you described is what I was thinking.
This is what I use. I got this with the Prodigy speakers when I bought them used. It's what the original owner used until he passed away. They sound good to me. He had some nice equipment.

View attachment 23496

These are not cheap! Just looked up and $2,100 for 3 meters. A bit more than I want to spend, but if it ends the journey ...

I keep hearing about signal cables again and again - and you're right, they certainly don't cost an arm and a leg.

What is it about them that you particularly like?

simple really, good specs(resistance, capacitance), good construction and a fair price.

You had stated that some cables 'sound better' with some music over other music ?? There is simply no real logic to that from any perspective I can think of. Speaker differences with respect to room interaction, yes I can clearly vouch for that.

Also - after reading up around the forums, I believe you started with Mogami 3082 at one point. What made you switch to signal cables, and any differences you noticed with the sound on MLs specifically?

No that wasn't me, I've used Frank's(Signal cable) along with some balanced DH Labs (bought used) IC's for as long as I can remember.

Again, in the end it's your money but I for one follow the science not the 'flavor of the day' !
simple really, good specs(resistance, capacitance), good construction and a fair price.

You had stated that some cables 'sound better' with some music over other music ?? There is simply no real logic to that from any perspective I can think of. Speaker differences with respect to room interaction, yes I can clearly vouch for that.

No that wasn't me, I've used Frank's(Signal cable) along with some balanced DH Labs (bought used) IC's for as long as I can remember.

Again, in the end it's your money but I for one follow the science not the 'flavor of the day' !

It's an age old debate, we can agree to disagree. That said, what I was specifically referring too was some higher end cables that have a more romantic tuning. They're playing with some of the characteristics of the wire for a house sound. But if it's not flat, even if it's pleasing - I have found - it will make certain recordings sound better and certain recordings sound worse based on what the cable is doing to tonality, and how the recordings themselves are tuned.

That aside, what really surprised me was that I could hear a difference between pro wire. The Mogami 3103 and Canare 4s11 specifically. Mogami is more forward and detailed, Canare is smoother and more musical. Put another way, the Mogami is brighter and the Canare is warmer. Now, it could be that it's an interaction with the amp, an interaction with the ESLs, or something else - but it was there. I preferred the Canare. Sure it's possible that there is a cognitive bias there, but I don't know why I'd gravitate toward cheaper pro wire - the Mogami is the more expensive of the two and I already bought it. In fact, the Mogami looks nicer, has nicer connectors and is fully dressed as I had it custom made. I got the Canare 4s11 fromk B&H and it's plain jain. It's not night and day by any means, but it's enough that it changes my enjoyment significantly, and yes - I believe if I did a double blind ABX test I would be able to pick it out. I have no doubt I could pick out the higher priced audiophile cable vs the pro cable - not because it's better, but because it's different (I like the pro cable better).

What I really love about these speakers is the ability to tune them. I can adjust the rake and get more lower treble, or adjust it the other way to push it back a little. I can turn up or down the bass with a knob. What I'm finding is that since the speaker is so tunable, I want something as flat as possible - because if there are any significant peaks or troughs that a cable is causing, it makes it that much harder to tune the speakers.

I reached out to Frank at Signal Cables and I think I will give them a try. That said, I'm nearly certain that my long term cable will be the Canare 4S11. I have only been auditioning cables for a week or two - but after some extensive listening, I think that works the best for me and what I've described above.

Anhow, I very much appreciate both your help and guidance - as MLs are definitely not the simplest of speakers - and it's really helped to get me going.
Last edited:
Hi Dave,

Hope you and family are well.

FWIW. I do not consider Shunyata Research (SR) to be "a flavor of the day" cable manufacturer but a company that is very much science oriented. Clear Image Scientific (CIS) is a medical company that has done research on eliminating the effects "noise" has on low level signal resolution and visual imaging systems.

CSI and SR were both founded Caelin Gabriel. If this interests you, check out the CIS website. It may change your mind regarding SR and the flavor of the day comment. FYI, I have the Signal Cable Silver Resolution speaker wire in my system (40 foot runs) and am very pleased with the product. And, like you, I am a big fan of Frank.

Be well.

Last edited:
hey Gordon, all well on this end, hope the same with you !

My flavor of the day comment was not aimed at any one individual or company, rather to a person who spends more time changing out cables and chasing ghosts instead of listening to music.
I'm still going back and forth with all the cables I have on hand, and I'm focusing on the frequency balance primarily. I'm glad I decided to finally plug in the Canare 4s11, because my initial impression is I might like it best. That said, I've just listened to it for 30 min - so early impressions are always subject to change!

From brightest to darkest here is how I'm hearing the cables I have. Many are pro cables and may have readily available specs which explain some of this, some of the Audiophile brands do not.

Nordost White Leif
Belden 5T00UP
Mogami 3103
Canare 4s11
Moon Audio Black Dragon
Mogami 3082

While the effective frequency range of each cable is more complex than this, I felt like this - high level - is best I can explain what I'm hearing.

I really, really like the Black Dragon - and if this system was for music only - I might go with it. The sound of that cable is perfect for jazz. That said, watching a movie, because of the touch of warmth - dialogue becomes slightly set back which is a consideration because I don't have a center channel.

Also while the cable sounds utterly fantastic on certain music, the same things it's doing to frequency response may not be best for another genre. The Black Dragon sounds best on jazz and vocals. It's close, but lacks a slight bite on some rock. Certainly not all. It is definitely a pleasing and easy cable to live with long term, because it's sooooo smooth. But at the expense of some sparkle. Though it's got more than the 3082.

I plugged in the Canare, and it seems to sit smack dab in the middle of the Black Dragon and the Mogami 3103. In fact, for these 6 cables it seems to be smack dab in the middle. I need to listen longer, but so far it has just the right amount of sparkle without being overbearing. What I mean by this is where the upper mids sit. You want them to pop, but too much quickly leads to fatigue. Too little leads to boredom. To me, the cable that works best gets this right. Onn Elysium, by Al Di Meola for instance - with the 3103 his lead guitar can sound overbearing. It's smooth as butter on the Black Dragon. Maybe too smooth. With the Canare, it both pops and has enough smoothness to be pleasing. Like real life: a distorted electric guitar will jump out at you - but to listen on a hifi system you want to strike the balance so it's exciting but not fatiguing.

The Canare 4s11 I got at B&H and is made by sescom. If I go with this cable, in the end, I may get a custom version from Performance Audio, or another cable builder, just for aesthetics and because I can pick the exact connectors I want. Nonetheless this is a nice build with locking banana connectors.

Really, really interesting process in listening to all these cables. As mentioned, I hear differences in cables - and I know audiophile cables are, in many cases, intentionally different. What I'm really surprised by is that the pro cables sound as different as they do with these speakers. It probably has something to do with electrical characteristics of these cables - but I can't pick up a pattern yet. Maybe someone smarter me can.

In the interin, I'm gonna leave the Canare in for a couple days and see how that goes.
Hi mate, just wanted to add another 50cts worth on Nordost, since that's what I use.

The Leif series is there lowest end, so within that price range there's plenty more options. As you're well aware, it's all about synergy and finding the right balance. Your ears, your system = personal preference.

I will say this though, going back around 91/92, started with Monster, Cord Cobra, Kimber, MIT, Cardas, Van Den Hull and finally onto Audio Note, which had WBT connections on their interconnects, so that was nice! Around 98/99 one of my dealers recommended I try a flatline type cable that was completely unusual to anything I've come across. It was Nordost SPM reference which stands for Speed-power-musicality, talk about marketing! Anyway I tried it, and oh my! Then it was oh my on the price as well... so at the time I could only afford Red Dawn and Blue Heaven.

At first they were a bit on the bright side, speakers were Maggie's MG20 driven by VTL and Manley Labs tube amps. After a while things slowly settled but bright they were. So I changed over to a full Cardas loom and kept that until I ended up with the Apogee Diva's and Conrad johnson Premier 8A monoblocks, partnered with the ART preamp. Then I was able to get hold of the SPM cables once again, along with other Nordost accessories and that was it! Really tops!

Now this has all changed again, fast fwd to 2022, and they have the Norse series plus Supreme reference series, which is right up there! I certainly don't want to divulge in 30grand cables at this stage, since we're in a bit of a recession at the moment, plus other priorities in life, such as dental checks... So I settled for what I can afford, Nordost Frey2 with Tyr2 speaker cables, partnered with CJ amplification driving CLX's, it's at a supreme level compared to anything I had.

However, I have tried the Valhalla and Odin cables and all I can say is, those are in a completely different league. Can't afford it now but one day I'll get there! Step by step...
What these cables partnered with ML full range stats is unbelievable! Sometimes I do wonder if all this stuff is voodoo or science but when you do actually hear it for yourself, it was very very hard for me to return those cables.

So when you say Nordost Leif is bright, yes their lower end series has this tendency, most probably due to the silver plating on top of copper. In their top tier cables, starting with the Norse series, it's all about micro mono-filament and dual mono filament tech, plus the specific FEP dielectric they use... like I said must be voodoo...

At the end of the day, I thought to myself what's the point in trying to measure all this jazz, I don't even know where to start, so might as well just try one to listen first and then make judgements... And wow! Did I listen... simply outstanding level of performance! There's only a handful that can truly compete at this level. However, it costs a bloody fortune! I guess it's their pricing structure because of their products being so labour intensive and still made in the USA not China! It takes 8 hours to make just 1 meter of their micro mono filament cables, obviously not made anywhere else I guess.

If by any or the slightest chance you ever get to try either the Frey2 or Tyr2 or even the Valhalla series, you'll understand straight away what I'm referring to.

Hope your cables search goes well! As you can tell I've lost the plot with Nordost, it's being my preference for decades.

Cheers, and keep those fine tunes playing!
Last edited:
One more small point of 50cts worth;
It obviously depends on system gear and especially the speakers, without a doubt.

For example, when I had the CLSIIz's driven by CJ's Premier 11A and a VTL preamp, the Nordost Red Dawn speaker cables & Blue Heaven interconnects, although quite good, still had a slight tingy bright affect that Andrew.H is referring to. So I switched over to Cardas and they were a better match in all areas, including speed, so not too shabby.

However, that very same gear was used on Quad ESL's, and the Nordost Red Dawn + Blue Heaven combo proved to be better still! I'm not sure what it was to be honest but it's definitely system dependent, and I was going in circles, trying all sorts of combos. One would deliver better LF detail whiles smearing the highs, whiles others were incredibly transparent in the midrange but lacked bass layering, if that makes sense.

Finally shifting to the higher end of Nordost is definitely a different dimension altogether! And so is the price... if only they were bit more affordable, just a tad bit!
Cheers, RJ
Ok folks I’m not sure this response is going to have any earth shattering info but I'm just going to throw it out there to show my results in my system on 4 different sets of cables and I have a 5th set of silver resolutions coming from Frank at Signal Cable in 3 weeks or so.
My system is Oddysey speakers with new panels (80) hours on them
Krell KSA 100MkII AMP
Backert Labs Rhumba 1.2 preamp
Rega RP8 TT Dynavector 17D3 cart
Allnic H-1201 phono pre
Oppo SACD player
Benchmark DAC3 HGC DAC Blue Sound Node 2i streamer
All Morrow IC cables
The 4 sets of speaker cables I’ve tried over the last 3 months from least liked to best I’ve heard in this system
1) Sanders DIY MOGAMI 3082 cables. These only lasted 5 days in the system it was all I could take. There was nothing I liked about these cables lifeless and dull.
2) Bluejeans Belden 5T00UP with their locking bananas. These sounded pretty good but in the end were just the opposite of the Sanders, they were a touch too bright for me.
3) Jon Risch cross connected DIY cables. I like these a LOT very nice clarity good tight bass really no complaints at all with these. I thought the search was over with these but nope!
4) Clear Day Silver single run cables. First off I want to say you can’t get these cables any more. Paul Laudati the owner of the company and builder of all the Clear Day cables isn’t with us any more, Cancer took him out of the game a few years back at only 60. Believe me when I tell you Paul was one of the nicest most informative people in the audio business, he is sorely missed. Ok so Like I had said earlier I have a pair of Silver Resolution Cables being made by Frank at Signal Cables. So I was thinking last night hey I have 2 pairs of those Clear Day cables here I’m not using I should put those in the system to see how they sound so I hooked them up this morning and I’ve been listening for 4 hours now and I was totally shocked. I’ve listened to them thru the streamer/DAC, and the SACD player so far, and I have no idea what the inductance, resistance, capacitance is on these cables but holy cow the beautiful sound coming out of these speakers is just absolutely RIGHT on this system. Crystal clear high end and nice tight low frequencies with a seriously wide sound stage. It’s going to be interesting to hear the Silver Resolution cables when I get them. I’ll add the comments on those when they get here.
Last edited:
After living with the ML Expression 13As for 6 months, and finally getting my Pass Int 60 a month or so ago, I am enjoying my system immensely.

As Streamer/Dac/Amp/Speakers are really maximized, I've take a look at finding the perfect speaker cable.

First a question:

As I have been swapping in and out cable more frequently then I typically would, is it necessary to unplug the Martin Logans, (I am obviously turning off the Pass amp). My thought is yes, since there are amps in the subs - but I may be being overcautious and it's a big PITA.

I know talking cable is always contentious, and it's not my intention to convert anyone that doesn't believe cables make a difference - but I certainly do. In fact, I was astonished at how much I could hear the difference cables make due to the resolution of the ESLs. In regards to cables I tried, until I got all components set up, I was just using bulk Snap AV OFC cable. Since, I've tried a number of entry-mid level audiophile brands (Nordost and Moon Audio), as well as pro cable: Mogami, Belkin.

To my ears, the Nordost and even Belkin are too bright, so I've eliminated them. In terms of Mogami, I've tried both 3082 and 3103. The Moon Audio Cable (Black Dragon), is quite good - as it adds a touch of warmth and the vocals sound eerily "in the room" good. That said, I keep coming back to the Mogami 3103, as it's more neutral. If I predominantly listened to vocal oriented music, the black dragon would be the clear winner - but I listen to a lot of jazz, and the extra relative little bit of sparkle on the Mogami 3103 is appreciated. The 3103 is high quality pro cable, but inexpensive, and I got it custom built at Performance Audio.

So it's down to the Black Dragon and the Mogami 3103. Both are pure copper; the Black Dragon is OCC and the Mogami is OFC. I am going to spend another week or so listening to both before I make a decision. My gut is telling me that it's going to end up being the Mogami and here's why: The Pass Labs and ML13, backed by my Chord Dave/M Scaler is so good - it really benefits from the cable that sounds most like nothing. The 3103 is dead neutral and absolutely nothing is added and nothing is missing. The Black Dragon is sweeter, and as a result the treble is pushed back a little more. I have used the black dragon cable on headphones with great success and really like it's sound signature. That being said, as mentioned, I think with a setup this good already - the 3103 might be the winner. But, before I make that decision - I need significantly more time with the Black Dragon speaker cable as I have only had a short time to listen to it.

For those that have tired both pro and audiophile brands - what ended up being your preference? I'm curious if others have found that with ESLs, pro cable is the best solution.

Incidentally, I am using Belden 1800f for my XLR interconnects. I have to do a fairly long XLR run from DAC to Integrated Amp - and in addition to audiophile cables being prohibitively expensive at that length, I wanted the lowest capacitance pro cable I could find - to ensure I don't experience high end role off, and it was either that or Mogami. I bought the Belden as I got it from Blue Jeans Cables, but may consider replacing it with Mogami 2594 if I end up settling on the 3103 speaker cables, to have a fully Mogami signal path.
Pics of my DIY Mogami w3104. LOVE the natural, unaltered, pureness of this cable. I've had blue jean, cardas, naim audio, and audioquest and none sounded as transparent or balanced as the Mogami.


  • 20210418_092511.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 0
  • 20210418_092421.jpg
    2.3 MB · Views: 0
  • 20210418_092438.jpg
    1,017.1 KB · Views: 0
I really enjoyed the Mogami 3103; it was my second favorite of all the cables I tried: pro and audiophile.

Ultimately I settled on Canare 4s11, as I found it a little smoother than the Mogami. The Mogami had more sparkle. It's completely subjective which one you prefer. I wonder if I liked the 4s11 more because it was star quad; if that's the case - maybe I would have preferred the 3104 if I had tried it.

Anyhow, both cables are exceedingly neutral and well extended from top to bottom. I've been using the Canare now for weeks and love it.

I ended up getting a pair of both the Canare and Mogami made by performance audio. Even with carbon colored tech flex, cable pants, and locking carbon fiber adorned bananas - it's very reasonably priced. Your cables look great - I just haven't built cables in years. Performance Audio was a good option for me to get really aesthetically nice cables that look great and sound great.

Thanks all for your opinions on this thread!
..Silversmith Fideliums..I’ve done the speaker cable A/B’ing ad infinitum and the Fideliums are something truly special..

Really cool design, seems logical. The price is very fair too when you compare to other cables. Those really must be light. What cables had you previously been using before these? What speakers are you using them on?

"Has anyone experienced this phenomenon, where if you raise a speaker wire off the floor it sounds better or different?
"He points out that the waveguide physics model explains very nicely why interconnect, loudspeaker, digital, and power cables do affect sound quality. And further, it can also be used to describe and understand other sonic cable mysteries, like why cables can sound distinctly different after they have been cryogenically treated, or when they are raised off the floor and carpet."
Last edited:
I have a full loom of Nordost O2 now but started with F2 then T2 then V2 then Odin. Each time I wanted to stop but the next level was just that much better and my CLX’s kept saying give me more. Recently I auditioned the new Odin Gold. Settled on one PC feeding my QB8. It was a big jump up. Looking at adding some more but need to save up for that to happen. When Nordost came to my place they connected 4-PC’s , two set of interconnects and then speaker cables. Just sounded so good can’t get how good out of my memory.