Subwoofer cables

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

Spaceghost1

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
Boise Idaho
I have a Dynamo 1000 and have it wired with a cheaper cable. Any recommendations on what would be an efficient but affordable cable? What difference does it make if you use a $50 cable as opposed to a $150 cable? Can you tell the difference in sound? My receiver is a Yamaha TSR 5830. Looking to upgrade it but only a step or two higher. Thinking more expensive cables might make a difference on higher dollar amps/receivers but maybe not so much on mine.
 

Robert D

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
2,034
Reaction score
468
Location
Ohio
I use Monoprice on my PC receiver and it works great on my Definitive subwoofer. On my main home theater system I use one by Wireworld and its more expensive. Wireworld has some that are pretty affordable. IMO the Monoprice is just fine.
 

ttocs

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
312
Location
Highland Park, IL
How long is your subwoofer cable?

I've gone up to 22 feet with a DIY RCA cable with no issues. In years past I used a 35 foot RCA cable by AudioQuest. These days I use wireless from processor to each subwoofer location.
 

MisterB

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
70
Reaction score
48
Location
NE Illinois
I've got two ML 1100X's. I just bought two 10' subwoofer cables from Blue Jeans Cables to run from my preamp to the subs. Nicely made. Solid connectors. About $40 a piece. Personally, I wouldn't spend a whole lot more than that on a subwoofer cable. I'm not saying cables don't matter, but in the order of where I'd invest more, subwoofer cables are near the bottom of the list for me. Any soundly built, well-shielded RCA cable is going to adequately carry the line level signal between preamp and sub.
 

Spaceghost1

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
Boise Idaho
How long is your subwoofer cable?

I've gone up to 22 feet with a DIY RCA cable with no issues. In years past I used a 35 foot RCA cable by AudioQuest. These days I use wireless from processor to each subwoofer location.
I’m not 100% sure but I’m guessing my cable is around 12 feet. Got it at Radio Shack over 20 years ago and never bothered to upgrade it. How much did your AudioQuest cable cost?
I've got two ML 1100X's. I just bought two 10' subwoofer cables from Blue Jeans Cables to run from my preamp to the subs. Nicely made. Solid connectors. About $40 a piece. Personally, I wouldn't spend a whole lot more than that on a subwoofer cable. I'm not saying cables don't matter, but in the order of where I'd invest more, subwoofer cables are near the bottom of the list for me. Any soundly built, well-shielded RCA cable is going to adequately carry the line level signal between preamp and sub.
Thanks for the info. With my system I’m not sure if you could tell the difference between the $50 or the $150 cable. Two 1100Xs huh? Bet that sounds good. Never thought about running two subs but my room isn’t all that big. What you running them with?
 

ttocs

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
312
Location
Highland Park, IL
I’m not 100% sure but I’m guessing my cable is around 12 feet. Got it at Radio Shack over 20 years ago and never bothered to upgrade it. How much did your AudioQuest cable cost?
About 11 or 12 years ago the cost for the RCA cable was a little over $100, don't recall exactly, I bought it with a Rel subwoofer. Other than being shielded for protection from extraneous noise, the only consideration I could think of with an RCA cable is voltage loss over the length of the cable.

Whether using wired or wireless, the bass response in my system is just as good either way, and I'm using six subs so if there were an issue I'm sure I'd hear it. I'm happy with either method.

For a 12 foot long cable all I'd look for is quality construction and proper gauge.

Using information from Rane Corporation I make my own RCA and XLR cables. I don't do it to save money. I make my own because I want them to be made to length using the wire of my choice, and have quality connectors like the Switchcraft XLR connectors on all my balanced cables.
 

MisterB

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
70
Reaction score
48
Location
NE Illinois
Thanks for the info. With my system I’m not sure if you could tell the difference between the $50 or the $150 cable. Two 1100Xs huh? Bet that sounds good. Never thought about running two subs but my room isn’t all that big. What you running them with?

My room isn't very big and not uniformly shaped. Adding the second 1100X really helped smooth out the bass response. The 1100X's are paired with ML Impression 11A's driven by a McIntosh C2700 tube preamp/MC462 power amp combo.
 

Spaceghost1

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
Boise Idaho
About 11 or 12 years ago the cost for the RCA cable was a little over $100, don't recall exactly, I bought it with a Rel subwoofer. Other than being shielded for protection from extraneous noise, the only consideration I could think of with an RCA cable is voltage loss over the length of the cable.

Whether using wired or wireless, the bass response in my system is just as good either way, and I'm using six subs so if there were an issue I'm sure I'd hear it. I'm happy with either method.

For a 12 foot long cable all I'd look for is quality construction and proper gauge.

Using information from Rane Corporation I make my own RCA and XLR cables. I don't do it to save money. I make my own because I want them to be made to length using the wire of my choice, and have quality connectors like the Switchcraft XLR connectors on all my balanced cables.
Thanks for the scoop, making my own cables actually sounds like fun except I have arthritis in my hands after 37 years as an electrician. Still might, who knows 😁 but I have a little remodeling to do in my living room, mainly new flooring (which can be done in a short period of time) and how I want to set up the “Great Wall”. Does look nicer cut to length. Probably get a $50 or a little cheaper one to tied me over. You make your own speaker wires too?
 

ttocs

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
312
Location
Highland Park, IL
Thanks for the scoop, making my own cables actually sounds like fun except I have arthritis in my hands after 37 years as an electrician. Still might, who knows 😁 but I have a little remodeling to do in my living room, mainly new flooring (which can be done in a short period of time) and how I want to set up the “Great Wall”. Does look nicer cut to length. Probably get a $50 or a little cheaper one to tied me over. You make your own speaker wires too?
Well, for the record, I don't really "enjoy" making cables, but I "do" enjoy tinkering, so it's sort of a love/sorta-like relationship going on. And with all that experience as an electrician, I know you know all the tricks for stripping wires, which is the worst of it for me, even with one of those nifty self-adjusting wire stripping tools. Sorry for your malady with the arthritis. It sucks when we just can't do what we were once able to with little effort.

Yes, I make my speaker cables also. I've experimented with a variety of types over the years. But what started it all was a fortuitous moment in time when a friend bought a really nice processor/amp/speakers and some Rocket 88 speaker cables by AudioQuest. I had my two pair of lower end AQ speaker cables - the higher of the two being $180, and my buddy let me borrow his next level up cables which were about $400 at the time, his new Rocket 88 cables, plus the dealer let me borrow a pair of cables that were one step higher than the Rocket 88's for the weekend. So I had a bunch of cables ranging in price from $50 to almost $2000, plus I wanted to compare to zip cord just for fun.

The zip cord had no bass and lots of treble. My $50 cables sounded better, my $180 cables sounded even better, but none of the higher priced cables sounded better than my $180 cables. The higher the price, the less treble there was and bass was accentuated. This is when I began learning about Capacitance and Inductance. After a lot of experimenting I ended up being satisfied for a few years with 14AWG 4 conductor wire that I buy by the spool and twisting pairs together. I've also tried some unusual wire arrangements along the way.

But right now I'm using 12AWG solid wire. I stripped the insulation off of one wire and twisted the pair together. I like it, my amp has never run cooler, the sound is awesome. I haven't measured the LCR yet for this "cable", but will sometime soon as I'd like to experiment some more.
 

Spaceghost1

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
Boise Idaho
Well, for the record, I don't really "enjoy" making cables, but I "do" enjoy tinkering, so it's sort of a love/sorta-like relationship going on. And with all that experience as an electrician, I know you know all the tricks for stripping wires, which is the worst of it for me, even with one of those nifty self-adjusting wire stripping tools. Sorry for your malady with the arthritis. It sucks when we just can't do what we were once able to with little effort.

Yes, I make my speaker cables also. I've experimented with a variety of types over the years. But what started it all was a fortuitous moment in time when a friend bought a really nice processor/amp/speakers and some Rocket 88 speaker cables by AudioQuest. I had my two pair of lower end AQ speaker cables - the higher of the two being $180, and my buddy let me borrow his next level up cables which were about $400 at the time, his new Rocket 88 cables, plus the dealer let me borrow a pair of cables that were one step higher than the Rocket 88's for the weekend. So I had a bunch of cables ranging in price from $50 to almost $2000, plus I wanted to compare to zip cord just for fun.

The zip cord had no bass and lots of treble. My $50 cables sounded better, my $180 cables sounded even better, but none of the higher priced cables sounded better than my $180 cables. The higher the price, the less treble there was and bass was accentuated. This is when I began learning about Capacitance and Inductance. After a lot of experimenting I ended up being satisfied for a few years with 14AWG 4 conductor wire that I buy by the spool and twisting pairs together. I've also tried some unusual wire arrangements along the way.

But right now I'm using 12AWG solid wire. I stripped the insulation off of one wire and twisted the pair together. I like it, my amp has never run cooler, the sound is awesome. I haven't measured the LCR yet for this "cable", but will sometime soon as I'd like to experiment some more.
I use #12 stranded, not a big fan of solid and stranded reduces “skin effect” but will look into what might be better.
 

ttocs

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
312
Location
Highland Park, IL
I use #12 stranded, not a big fan of solid and stranded reduces “skin effect” but will look into what might be better.
Speaker wire is a tuning device. It's kinda like using bass and treble controls to some degree, but also playing with all the connected devices such that they're all operating in the happy zone.
 

MisterB

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
70
Reaction score
48
Location
NE Illinois
Speaker wire is a tuning device. It's kinda like using bass and treble controls to some degree, but also playing with all the connected devices such that they're all operating in the happy zone.

I've tried building a few different speaker cables over the years, but I'll admit I don't really know what I'm doing from a technical standpoint. I try DIY approaches I find online and evaluate if it sounds good to me or not. So far, none have been smashing successes. There was that one time I spent a week braiding multiple lengths of cat 5 into a single cable, stripping each of those little 24-gauge wires and grouping half into +, half into - and terminating with bananas. Looked pretty cool. Sounded awful... lol...

Recently, I took some Monoprice 14AWG 4-conductor stranded, separated the conductors, then took red and black and twisted them together, took green and white and twisted together, then took the two twisted pairs and twisted them together to make a single final cable. I connected Red and Green for +, Black and White for -, terminated with bananas. Somewhat similar to a cross-connected coax design that another MLO forum member posted about recently.

I listened for a couple weeks. Bass felt more pronounced, but highs really seemed rolled off. My guess is that maybe the capacitance was too high? None of my multimeters measure capacitance, so wasn't able to check. But to confirm what I felt I was hearing, I swapped them out with generic 12-AWG stranded cables. Highs are back, but maybe a tad too bright now. My dealer has bulk Audioquest Rocket 11 cable that they like to use a lot. I'm tempted to give that a try.

Your 12AWG solid cables sound interesting. Can you share some more info on how you built them? Not sure I'm following what you described above.
 

Spaceghost1

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Location
Boise Idaho
Speaker wire is a tuning device. It's kinda like using bass and treble controls to some degree, but also playing with all the connected devices such that they're all operating in the happy zone.
Lol, well I am an electrician! Converting to electronics has been a challenge at times.
 

ttocs

Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
312
Location
Highland Park, IL
I've tried building a few different speaker cables over the years, but I'll admit I don't really know what I'm doing from a technical standpoint. I try DIY approaches I find online and evaluate if it sounds good to me or not. So far, none have been smashing successes. There was that one time I spent a week braiding multiple lengths of cat 5 into a single cable, stripping each of those little 24-gauge wires and grouping half into +, half into - and terminating with bananas. Looked pretty cool. Sounded awful... lol...

Recently, I took some Monoprice 14AWG 4-conductor stranded, separated the conductors, then took red and black and twisted them together, took green and white and twisted together, then took the two twisted pairs and twisted them together to make a single final cable. I connected Red and Green for +, Black and White for -, terminated with bananas. Somewhat similar to a cross-connected coax design that another MLO forum member posted about recently.

I listened for a couple weeks. Bass felt more pronounced, but highs really seemed rolled off. My guess is that maybe the capacitance was too high? None of my multimeters measure capacitance, so wasn't able to check. But to confirm what I felt I was hearing, I swapped them out with generic 12-AWG stranded cables. Highs are back, but maybe a tad too bright now. My dealer has bulk Audioquest Rocket 11 cable that they like to use a lot. I'm tempted to give that a try.

Your 12AWG solid cables sound interesting. Can you share some more info on how you built them? Not sure I'm following what you described above.
Your Red/Black/Green/White "twisted pair" pair (it's what this arrangement is called in an article I read) is supposed to be a really good DIY cable.

My current "cable" is very simple. It's just 12AWG solid wire, twisted at about 5 twists per foot, one bare, one coated, and is 8 feet long. I just measured one of the cables with my cheap LCR meter and get:

3.2µH (0.4 per foot)
175pF (21.8 per foot)
0.03Ω (0.00375 per foot)

So the Inductance is probably a bit high, but the sound is good. Keep in mind that I'm also using AntiCables ZERO Autoformers which probably play a role in why this cable design works well for my system. My big take-away on this is that each speaker cable I've tried with high Capacitance has not sounded as good. I've read in a lot of articles and forum comments that high Capacitance "shouldn't" matter much for the audio spectrum, and it's Inductance that "should" be very low. My ears just don't agree with that for my system.

Here's a photo on one of the cable ends.
IMG_8665.JPG


I had some spare Green 12AWG, so that's why it's green. And no, I'm not going to cover it with anything as that would change how it measures, so I live with Green for now. Once I get my system back together I'll post some photos in the System section, which I've never done before because I keep not being totally happy with the layout, but I'm close to being happy, I think . . . .
 
Top