What is the truth regarding speaker wire?

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edwinr

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I bought my moderately expensive interconnects and speaker cables because they had excellent connectors, and were flexible enough to cope with all the twists and turns at the back of my equipment rack.

I would be wary of very cheap cables because in my experience they have poor long term reliability and can't cope with regular plugging and unplugging.

I can't comment about differences in sound quality - I could never hear any difference ( maybe because I have cloth ears).

My 2 cents...
 

tonepub

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The only thing that 40pf per foot will make a difference on is a Moving Magnet Phono cartridge....

If you think I'm kidding, try hooking up a 400pf capacitor across the terminals of your favorite electrostatic speaker and see if you can hear the diff.

Considering the capacitance that is already in the panel of your ML's, plus whatever is in the crossover (If you have hybrids) the tiny bit of capacitance from the speaker wire isn't going to amount to anything. Those of you that have hybrid ML's, I guarantee that there is more than 3-400 pf difference just between the capacitance in your crossovers.

More often than not, what you are hearing is the interaction between the wire and your amplifier. The more current an amplifier can muster, how stable the circuit is and the relative damping factor will usually make it a little bit more immune to the effects of the cable.

As always, it's a case by case thing as was mentioned earlier.

Being that no cable is inert, they will all interact with your system somewhat and how it varies the tonal balance (and if you like that) will be different in every case.
 

nsgarch

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A little knowledge, can be a . . . . . .

40pf per foot is indeed a very low capacitance. A ten foot run (.0004 MFD) of such cable would have little effect on an amp or the sound of a stat -- which by the way is why Roger Sanders' stat speaker cable is 38pF per foot. However a lot of top selling speaker cable, if one bothers to check ;) averages 300 - 600 pF per foot and if you multiply that by 10 feet, you're talking .006 MFD, which is sufficient to give a rolled-off laid back presentation. Further, according to Roger, speaker cable used with ESL's should actually present a .25 - .5 ohm/ft resistance to damp out the high frequency inductance/capacitance resonance (between the transformer and the panel) of an ESL. Most speaker cable manufacturers strive for ultra-low resistance, which is actually counter productive when used with electrostats.

Unless one starts by investigating the electrical parameters of the cables one is planning to use, any listening tests of a system or the cables themselves would have to be viewed as inconclusive I would think.
 

Gordon Gray

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Mapleshade speaker wire

You all should check out Pierre's cables. 30 day money back on stock items.

They are silly, stupid thin (guage) and also solid core.

And yes, they are a great buy by any reasonable measure. Very quick, full bodied, and very transparent. From what I can tell, no colorations or emphasis in any frequency area.

Golden Helix to Double Helix cable. Approx. cost / 12' stereo pair is $115 to $455.

Longer "stereo" runs over 20', approx. cost is $6 to $8 per lineal foot.

888.236.2753.

GG
 

abhijit

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I have noticed a huge difference with the Speaker and Interconnect cables specially how the cable control the tonal character of the sound. With the Harmonix cable which I am currently using, I observed that the bass is very well controlled, correct balance of Mid and Hi frequency and the lots of air in the space. I never believed that a cable can make such a difference. I never regret of the huge investment I have made on the power, speaker and the interconnect cables.
 

twich54

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40pf per foot is indeed a very low capacitance. A ten foot run (.0004 MFD) of such cable would have little effect on an amp or the sound of a stat -- which by the way is why Roger Sanders' stat speaker cable is 38pF per foot.

Well if your flavor is low capacitance check out Frank @ www.signalcable.com

his "Ultra" speaker cables have a nominal capacitance of 18.5 pF/ft !! with a claimed nominal DC resistance of 3.2 ohms per 1000 ft.

All I can say is they feed very nice music to my Vantage's !
 

nsgarch

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Well if your flavor is low capacitance check out Frank @ www.signalcable.com his "Ultra" speaker cables have a nominal capacitance of 18.5 pF/ft !! with a claimed nominal DC resistance of 3.2 ohms per 1000 ft. All I can say is they feed very nice music to my Vantage's !
That seems to be what Roger is preaching. Of course 3.2 ohms/1000ft is essentially zero ohms/ft ;-)
 

Kruppy

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Well if your flavor is low capacitance check out Frank @ www.signalcable.com

his "Ultra" speaker cables have a nominal capacitance of 18.5 pF/ft !! with a claimed nominal DC resistance of 3.2 ohms per 1000 ft.

All I can say is they feed very nice music to my Vantage's !
Dave,
I thought your Ultra's were in your secondary system with your Totems and Jolida. Didn't you have something else set up with your Vantages?

Kruppy
 

Rich

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Well if your flavor is low capacitance check out Frank @ www.signalcable.com

his "Ultra" speaker cables have a nominal capacitance of 18.5 pF/ft !! with a claimed nominal DC resistance of 3.2 ohms per 1000 ft.
I just got a pair of these to check out with my Summits, along with some of Frank's Magic Power cords. As for the low resistance of these cables, I understand Roger Sander's argument in favor of moderate resistance with ESL's but I don't really believe it is absolutely necessary with the ML's. I think the ML's transformers are good enough to keep leakage inductance low and the L/C resonance in the supersonic range and so the damping effect of having medium resistance cables really isn't audible anyway. I have certainly never noticed any high frequency resonant peaks in the measured response of my Summits, so I have to assume that the transformers are high quality and therefore a medium resistance cable isn't necessary. I'll let you know what I think of these cables as I get them tested and burned in.
 

twich54

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Dave,
I thought your Ultra's were in your secondary system with your Totems and Jolida. Didn't you have something else set up with your Vantages?

Kruppy

Hi Kruppy, They are ! I liked them so much that I replaced my AQ 'Bedrocks' in my main system with Franks 'Ultra' cable as well. Also like Rich, I'm using his power cords as well.
 

slowGEEZR

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Hi Kruppy, They are ! I liked them so much that I replaced my AQ 'Bedrocks' in my main system with Franks 'Ultra' cable as well. Also like Rich, I'm using his power cords as well.
Dave, I like the AQ Bedrocks, though I'm currently using some other AQs (which sound just as nice), since my Bedrocks aren't quite long enough in the current setup. What do you hear with the 'Ultras' that you don't with the Bedrocks? Also, what is the configuration of the 'Ultra' (multistrand, fine wire, or large wire, copper, silver, etc.) I'll do a search to see if I can find. Thanks.

Nevermind about the design, I found it, but I'd still like to know how it betters the AQ for you. Thanks.
THE CABLE DESIGN

8 stranded copper conductors, Total of 152 Bare copper strands

Insulation for each conductor - PE

Shield - None

Outer Jacket - Polyvinylchloride

Effective gauge size per channel - 10awg

Geometry - Internal Twisted, Cross Linked

ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Nom. Capacitance - 18.5 pF/ft

Nom. Conductor DC Resistance - 3.2 Ω/1000 ft
 
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twich54

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Dave, I like the AQ Bedrocks, though I'm currently using some other AQs (which sound just as nice), since my Bedrocks aren't quite long enough in the current setup. What do you hear with the 'Ultras' that you don't with the Bedrocks?
Steve, my Bedrocks were more ideally configured (length wise) for my Plinius set up, whereas the Signal Cable 'Ultras' I had made to shorter lengths (four feet) for use with the M-150's.

I truthfully can't say that I heard any 'real' difference simply for the fact I haven't seriously tried !! Maybe someday when I have nothing better to do I'll play around A/B'ing the two. The 'Ultra' cable was/is a good cable that if I didn't like the MonoBlock set-up I wasn't going to be out alot of $$, well as it turns out I'm happy on "all fronts" !
 

slowGEEZR

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Excellent! I thought for a moment or two that I was going to have to give them a try. I was impressed with the pricing shown at their website.
 

mikesinger

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this is a age old debate that has gone on for decades. there is the julian hirsch school if it cant be measured then there is no difference to difference in sound in binding post and suspended cables.

A lot will depend on the resolution of your system- the more dialed in it is - the more obvious the difference is.

i would suggest borrowing some really good interconnects, speaker cables, and power cables and have a afternoon listening session - (dont look at the price tag - just listen).
 

liffy99

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Yep - definitely make a difference and in my experience more so than mains and signal cables.
I've tried several with my Prodigies (Van den Hul, Chord, home made Cat 5) but the best yet ???
Bog standard enamelled transformer wire (1.6mm) from Maplins (Tandy / Radioshack will have similar). Cost me £5 ($10) for 10m (enough for two 2.5m runs). It's stiff but very thin so easily hidden. You can buy cotton / silk sleeving if you don't like the reddish glossy colour.
 

Panel Man

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this is a age old debate that has gone on for decades. there is the julian hirsch school if it cant be measured then there is no difference to difference in sound in binding post and suspended cables.

A lot will depend on the resolution of your system- the more dialed in it is - the more obvious the difference is.

i would suggest borrowing some really good interconnects, speaker cables, and power cables and have a afternoon listening session - (dont look at the price tag - just listen).
I am skeptical of a lot of high-end products. Magic bricks, little wooden disc, power line cables. Many defy logic, and the golden eared gurus often refuse to participate in well designed double blind tests.

So, for speaker cable, I keep the runs as short as possible. And I get cable that is of a high enough gauge to minimize resistance..
 

Bruce Weiland

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Yep - definitely make a difference and in my experience more so than mains and signal cables.
I've tried several with my Prodigies (Van den Hul, Chord, home made Cat 5) but the best yet ???
Bog standard enamelled transformer wire (1.6mm) from Maplins (Tandy / Radioshack will have similar). Cost me £5 ($10) for 10m (enough for two 2.5m runs). It's stiff but very thin so easily hidden. You can buy cotton / silk sleeving if you don't like the reddish glossy colour.
Liffy,

Were the Van den Hul, the Third?

Thanks,

Bruce
 

Marman

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Actually, I misspoke. I am auditioning the Silver Reference Speaker cables, not the Ultras.
Hi Rich,

Also thinking of getting the Silver Reference? What do you think? Have you tried other Silver based cables?
 

Rich

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Also thinking of getting the Silver Reference? What do you think? Have you tried other Silver based cables?
This is my first experience with any silver-based cables. I was concerned that they may be too bright/detailed with the Logans, but that is simply not the case. They sound great and I am very happy with them. Happy enough, in fact, that I am planning on completing my signal path with the Silver Reference Balanced I.C. cables between the C.D./Pre and Pre/Amps.

I would characterize the sound as neutral, tonally rich, with clear and extended highs, gorgeous midrange, and deep articulate bass. The biggest difference I can tell compared to my Mapleshade cables was that the Silver Reference cables just seem to have more of a rich tonality to the sound. The Mapleshade sounded a little thin by comparison.
 

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