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Old 24th May 2003, 07:48 PM   #1
dave k is offline dave k  Canada
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Question speaker cables

can anyone tell me what speaker cable would be the best. the DH LABS T-14 or the twisted pair belden setup of two 89259 setup.using a tube amp and cambridge cd.
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Old 25th May 2003, 01:27 AM   #2
greg7 is offline greg7  United States
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Default cable thoughts

I have direct experience with T14. I'm no longer a fan of silver-plated copper wire, although alot of the sound results from the cable geometry IMO. The T14 is very bright in the mids and especially treble. Now that's with SS amplification. With a tube amp it might be a good match. Depends on what you like as well. I prefer a smoother sound now -- I now use Cardas Quadlink. I've heard good things about these DIY designs based around Belden. I've heard you can get better sound than Belden with a twisted CAT design, though. Check www.audioasylum.com cable forum for belden, CAT and T14 feedback. There's a ton of DIY activity with CAT and Belden. Signal cable has an inexpensive copper speaker cable design that looks ok but I never could find the design. Signal cable sells a commercial version of Risch's Belden interconnect so I assume the speaker cable is another DIY interpretation but it may be their own design.
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Old 25th May 2003, 07:37 AM   #3
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Hello Dave,
I have used 12-pair indoor telephone cable for years.
Fan out the pairs and group all the whites together as one conductor, and ditto all the colours.
This will give plenty of conductance, and gives a very low inductance connection.
I have used this on many systems and I find it gives a very fine result every time.
You should be able to obtain it at electrical wholesalers, or from metals recyclers.
Either way it is cheap, and the results very good.

Eric.
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Old 25th May 2003, 08:55 AM   #4
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I am going to very mild-mannerdly make the statement that I have come to my own personal conclusion that speaker wire matters to the sound quality of your speakers about as much as a big pile of baked beans.

I used to be a beleiver. I THOUGHT I heard such undeniable differences between various speaker cables and interconnects, until one day I was doing a comparison between a 1 meter, 500 dollar cable and a 25 foot Radio Shack gold series cable. i listened to my favorite tracks with the Radio Shack cable, and then got up to swap the cables. In one of those weird brain farts, I changed CD's as usual, but without realizing it, forgot to go back to the expensive cable.

I sat down and listened to track after track, amazed at the better sound quality of the better cables that I, in fact, hadn't even hooked up. The highs were smoother, the bass was tighter, and the mids were more natural sounding. When I went up to change CD's, I realized my mistake. Dumbfounded, I shuddered at the thought that all the money i had put into cables might be wasted. I went back and did the most open-minded, honest listening of my life. Being for the first time in doubt of the importance of good cables, I wanted to reassure myself that my money was well spent. I listened for literally hours. Replaying tracks and litening to each individual part, each instrument, over and over again. I listened for improvements in soundstage, clarity, definition, anything that might prove my money was well spent. I wanted to hear a difference, but for the first time, I opened my ears to both cables. I didn't want to hear a difference so badly that I pretended to, or told myself that I heard a difference. I really wanted to know.


I had come to the conclusion that I couldn't hear a difference.... at least at the moment. I decided to try to prove that a difference could be heard somehow, maybe just not by me. I was at the time a salesperson at a respectable audio boutique where we were absolutely obsessed with cables. We put more emphasis on cables than on the equipment itself, mostly because we felt that it didn't matter what equipment you got if your interconnects were going to ruin it. For fun, I took a few employees into a room and sat them in front of a pair of Energy Veritas Floorstanding Speakers (2.8's I believe, the older, GOOD ones), running off of an Adcom stack. I showed them the two cables and asked them to tell me which sounded better. I first played the "low end" cables and listened to my fellow employees reem them for their lack of detail, soundstage, their harsh highs, and the other usual retorts. I then went behind the stack and unplugged the RS cables, so my colleagues could hear the "switch", and then put the same cables back in again. I played the same track again. Suddenly the highs were smoother, and the bass had this great power that it had lacked before. The soundstage was HUGE.....according to my subjects. After I hit stop, I notified the group of my plot. This was first met by silence, and then every single one of them left the room pissed at me, accusing me of trying to bring down the sales of the store.

After this experience I have tried numerous times to see if anyone can hear a difference between cables. I of course now do it without tricks. I simply don't reveal the good from the bad until after the subject had stated which demo they thought was using the high end cables. I think a cable costing 500 dollars of even just a few hundred should sound significantly better than a 20 dollar cable, enough that you should recognize it everytime in a blindfolded test. Never has anyone gotten 5 out of 5 in my tests.

I hear that Richard Clark does a test like this at autosound 2000 and nobody has ever gotten a perfect score. He is also a disbeleiver in the need for high end cables.

I encourage people to take their high end cables and have someone do a blindfolded test on them with some radio shack specials.

Remember the story of The Emperor's new clothes, and don't feel bad or left out if you don't hear a difference. Nobody ever seems to under these conditions.

I'd be happy to hear anyone's input on the subject.
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Old 25th May 2003, 09:26 AM   #5
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Default Cable Can Matter

Quote:
I'd be happy to hear anyone's input on the subject.
Yes, I have a young friend who is formally studying film and sound production at college.
I gave him a pair of 12-pair cables described in my post above.
He performed a BLT to his lecturers, comparing the original speaker cables (unknown type) to the 12-pair cables in the college mixdown studio.
All lecturers present much preferred the telephone cable, and so much so that it is now standard equipment in all the studios at the college.
This cable costs around AUS$2.00 per metre, so cost is not part of the equation.
Other similar comparison tests have given the same result.
Cable electrical values are important with most amplifiers and speakers, and can and do cause differing sonics.

Eric.
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Old 25th May 2003, 11:11 AM   #6
MadMax is offline MadMax  New Zealand
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Default Re speaker cables

Hi I just made cat 5 cables and they sound better to me, I relize that I might be hearing things but hay the cat5 was free and I enjoy trying things out. Maybe its some thing to do with singal strand ie signal jumping from strand to strand
Cheers Max
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Old 25th May 2003, 11:32 AM   #7
greg7 is offline greg7  United States
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Default cable differences

This is an interesting area of discussion. I used to be like you guys. Faced with the myriad of cable choices, most of which are $$$, I settled on DH Labs based on the 'giant killer' rep they have from reviews and such. I was of the opinion that having a cable with low C, I and R with good shielding and purity was a done deal, no hype. Well, my system was way too bright / uptilted on most recordings -- to the point where it would give me a headache and fatigue. I began demo'ing different components trying to figure out the source. I ended up trying some budget copper interconnects from a local dealer (just IC's, leaving the DH Labs speaker cable in my system) and it tamed the brightness considerably -- to the point where even a non-audiophile could easily tell the differerence IMO. I think a lot of the high-end is a matter of sonic preferences. What's real important to person x doesn't matter to person y, so the differences in sound between two cables may not matter to person y if it's in areas that are inconsequential to person y. Things like bass, tonal balance, soundstaging, etc. vary in importance to one person to the next. Plus, as we all know, differences in sound quality are diminishing returns in the high end -- gotta spend a lot more typically for a minor improvement in most cases. It's simply the nature of the hobby beast I've learned. One major difference between a Radio Shack cable and a very expensive audiophile one is conductor purity. Generally in a decent (revealing) system you should hear the lack of purity in the Radio Shack cable as grainy and harsh from all I've read from people who've made this comparison. Plus, the quality of the connectors comes into play. Blind testing is a very controversial topic in hifi -- even Stereophile has an interesting article on amplifier blind testing on their website where they found people couldn't blind identify a really cheap one versus a very expensive one. So I'm at a loss for why one of the previous posters to this thread couldn't hear differences between a really cheap and really expensive cable in controlled listening. Just trying to postulate. I'm curious to see what others have to say. For background, I'm a fairly skeptical, down-to-earth person (IMO) in hifi. I've built a pair of kit speakers and tend to take a lot of reviews with a grain of salt.
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Old 25th May 2003, 08:51 PM   #8
chops is offline chops  United States
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I know that different cables change the sound of a system. I have heard them in my own system plenty of times along with other systems. However, I do not think that it is the cables that are adding or taking away from the sound.

What I think it is, is that when you introduce a cheap, poorly constructed cable between your amp and speakers, your amp is having to work harder because it has to push the signal through an inferior conductor with a higher capacitance.

If the amp is working harder, it is also running hotter which induces more distortion, clipping, worse frequency response, etc.. making it sound strained and grainy with less power reserve.

Most amps always sound better within the first few watts of their output, with better frequency response, alot lower THD, better s/n ratio, and cooler running. If the amp can stay in this part of the output range, sending the signal through a more effiecent, conductive, less resistive cable, then that alone is going to improve the sound of the system quite a bit.

And that is what I think causes the improvement in sound quality. The same goes for interconnects as well.

It's kind of like an engine. If you replace the stock, restrictive airfilter and exhaust system with a high performance, free flowing set-up, the engine is going to perform better because it can "breathe" easier.
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