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Old 24th July 2013, 12:57 PM   #1
tilroh is offline tilroh  Australia
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Default quick speaker wire question

I've always used two strands of CAT5 per channel in between my FE166 BIBs and NAD 3020 because I've read the added impedance is helpful for solid state amps.

Soon I'll have a EL34 SET amp. Should I go back to lamp cord?

Thanks, Mack
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Old 24th July 2013, 01:05 PM   #2
Mooly is online now Mooly  United Kingdom
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Some solid state amps (Naim circa 1980s 90s ?) come to mind as one that had problems with certain speaker cables. These problems were instability/oscillation and destruction of the output stages on the amps.

Most normal sensibly designed solid state amps incorporate an output inductor to prevent the cable causing unwanted effects and making the amp immune to capacitive loading.

I would imagine a valve amp is immune to all that anyway and so the real dominant factor is the resistance of the cable. No rights and wrongs here, lower resistance has to be better with regard to losses, but if thinner cable raises the resistance and thus the damping factor and actually sounds better subectively...... so you have to just try the two and see which you prefer.
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Old 24th July 2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Most modern speakers are designed for use with a SS-amp and lowZ cables. Using a tube amp with a normally highish Zout is already stretching it, so I would move back to lamp cord or even something fatter.
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Old 24th July 2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Most modern speakers are designed for use with a SS-amp and lowZ cables...
...but the FE166E/En is not one of them. The FExxE / FExx6En series were all designed with a view to their being used with high output impedance amplification. Ditto for the FExx8Sigma and the current FExx8ESigma range (I've had this from the man who designed them BTW).

Many low Q wideband drivers may benefit, if used with a low output impedance amplifier from some added series resistance. Depends on the box alignment too of course & whether it was designed to account for this or not. Since as output impedance increases the amplifier becomes somewhat less affected by series R & L, I wouldn't worry about it too much, but shifting to a heavier gauge wire isn't likely to do any harm. If possible, I'd stick to solid core wire though for long-term consistency.
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Old 24th July 2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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Scottmoose, thanks for filling me in on that particular speaker.
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Old 24th July 2013, 09:07 PM   #6
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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It wasn't that long ago that a single very fine conductor ( i.e. #30 magnet wire) per pole was all the rage among certain HE speaker / flea-watt (triode) amplifier phreaks - but bare enameled wire is certain is a pain to work with

mack - as Scott suggests I'd stick with the CAT5
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Old 24th July 2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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2.5A Domestic Ring Main cable makes VERY GOOD speaker cable, and it's cheap as chips.
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Old 24th July 2013, 10:22 PM   #8
tilroh is offline tilroh  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
.....
mack - as Scott suggests I'd stick with the CAT5
Thanks for the advise, I'll keep my 0.8 ohm wire.
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Old 25th July 2013, 06:29 AM   #9
GM is offline GM  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
........but if thinner cable raises the resistance and thus the damping factor........
It does, so DF decreases with increasing resistance since itís the nominal impedance divided by the source impedance [amp output impedance + series resistance from, wiring, XO components].

GM
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Old 25th July 2013, 06:38 AM   #10
GM is offline GM  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
but bare enameled wire is certain is a pain to work with
3 ga, yes, but 30 ga?! Why?

I guess I've been fortunate as I haven't had any problems with the various small gauge magnet winding wire I've used.

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