Speaker cable diying?

Hello All I am not trying to open a can of worms with speaker wires but, I had a few questions? In the past I worked for a speaker cable company as a sales man for a short time I woun't even get into that!). One question was always on my mind? Why all the hype and all the ba,ba,ba, junk. How come there is not a cable out there that doesn't change the sound of your speakers like a (eq) everytime you change wires? I am looking to make my own cables? So what type of meterial can I use that will not alternate the sound of my music and just let music flow thru the wires? Sorry I had to know I have been waiting to ask this question? Thanks N.S.
 
Cerro THHN 6 gauge STRANDED. Try Home Depot or Lowes. Twist the conductors around each other at a rate of about 1 turn every 18" - 24". Use as little solder as possible, better to use no solder (pressure-fit connectors). Was discovered and reported by an audio rag a few years ago. Works pretty well except that the wire is VERY stiff.

Certainly off-topic for this forum.
 

TonyTecson

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-05-29 2:57 am
Maybunga, Pasig City
Hello All I am not trying to open a can of worms with speaker wires but, I had a few questions? In the past I worked for a speaker cable company as a sales man for a short time I woun't even get into that!). One question was always on my mind? Why all the hype and all the ba,ba,ba, junk. How come there is not a cable out there that doesn't change the sound of your speakers like a (eq) everytime you change wires? I am looking to make my own cables? So what type of meterial can I use that will not alternate the sound of my music and just let music flow thru the wires? Sorry I had to know I have been waiting to ask this question? Thanks N.S.

it's a matter of belief, if you believe you can hear differences, you will....it is also a mater of taste, if you want nice looking things, then that will work for you...finally it is a matter of wallet density, the more awash with cash you are, then the more likely you will fall for these cables....
 
it's a matter of belief, if you believe you can hear differences, you will....it is also a mater of taste, if you want nice looking things, then that will work for you...finally it is a matter of wallet density, the more awash with cash you are, then the more likely you will fall for these cables....


Yes understand were your coming from its a matter of taste but, were does it end? So much hype around cables thats why I quite reading the streo magazines. The hype with the speaker of the month or what ever. This is why I enjoy diying. Savings me money and I learn something new not everyday but, alot. Thanks for your post it's right on:D. N.S.
 

TonyTecson

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-05-29 2:57 am
Maybunga, Pasig City
Yes understand were your coming from its a matter of taste but, were does it end? So much hype around cables thats why I quite reading the streo magazines. The hype with the speaker of the month or what ever. This is why I enjoy diying. Savings me money and I learn something new not everyday but, alot. Thanks for your post it's right on:D. N.S.

we DIY because we can....:D
not to save money but to do something without commercial considerations.....;)
 
Indeed it is so. Any cable will have capacitance, resistance and inductance in varying degrees. It will play a part in the amp/speaker circuitry. How big that part is and what it will play will vary from system to system

I agree. Very system dependent, here's why IMO:

The cable is a passive filter sitting in between input/output sensitivities/impedances & damping factor of any given signal chain of source, amp(s) and speakers.

That 'transparent/flaccid/liquid/musical/melodious' sound people hear in valve amps is the audible result of low(er) damping factor. Whether this desirable depends on material/music being listened to.

By general comparison S.S sounds veiled, hard, rigid, mechanical, fast, tight and controlled - this is high damping factor. Whether this desirable depends on material/music being listened to.

This amp voice is determined by the amp designer (negative feedback etc.) within/limited by the capabilities of the overall amp design. Valve, S.S, Class etc.

So for example: IMO valve amps are more likely to amplify (make audible) the properties (resistance, capacitance, inductance) of any given cable due to lower damping factor (lower pumping force into the properties of the cables) between very sensitive, sonically 'delicate' components.

So an extreme example would be: a valve pre amp with small SET valve mono blocks with long interconnects and speaker cables in a large room with very sensitive speakers. Cables will matter most.

The inverse: would be powerful solid state gear in a small room, with short cable runs.. cables will matter less.

And everything in between: it never ends. Disclaimer: I don't put this forward as fact, chisel it in concrete, this is just how I reckon it works.
 
Speaker wire performance is highly influenced by voodoo and BS. Nelson Pass has a paper on various gauges of lamp wire and their degradation of signal. You actually need to get pretty skimpy to effect (affect?) sound quality, like 24 gauge. Just make sure what you're buying is copper. Decent copper 14 gauge is great. 16 gauge is a bit cheaper and probably fine too. I bought a couple rolls at Fry's that were copper clad steel wire. That stuff is horrible. You can tell if you strip the end, copper twists together nicely, steel doesn't. A magnet works too.
Cat 5 is really good stuff. Each pair though has a different number of twists per foot, so the propagation speed of the signal is different on each pair. This is to prevent crosstalk between pairs. Of course, there's no possible effect in the audio band, but it'll keep you awake at night now that you know. Hook together the orange and blue pairs for one conductor and the greens and browns for the other.
I have some show-off cables I made. I found a massive roll of twisted pair 16 gauge stranded silver wire with teflon insulation in purple and grey. It was $10 at a surplus store for like, $200 worth of silver. 5 of the wires would fit into the dual banana plugs I had, so I did a flat braid of 5 twisted pairs. They look like the crap in the magazines you need to submit a credit report and a blood test just to get a price. They sound just as good as lamp wire.
-cheers, Marshall
 
Speaker wire performance is highly influenced by voodoo and BS.

Whilst I tend to agree, especially for speaker cables, perhaps there's less scope for the cable properties to effect the sound, I'm not so sure to be dismissive about interconnects.

But here's an experience I once had on speaker cable/connectors with S.S amp: on a pair of DIY 6 & 1 two way speakers:

I had put these fairly cheap, store bought speaker terminals (4 posts on a stepped arrangement for bi-wire) on a rectangular, black plastic plate. Nothing fancy. They came with this stepped connecting strip, that connects one set of +/- posts to the other above/below etc. I had been listening to the speakers with the tweeter connected onto the system via this connecting strip. With just one set of speaker cables. Thinking nothing of it.

Just as an experiment, I bi-passed the supplied connecting strip, bi-wired directly onto the tweeter and there was very audible increase in the output from the tweeter.

There was a pretty audible amount of resistance in this cheap binding post 'connector strip'. I didn't understand why at the time, but I wanted to figure out why..

Don't just look at the cable in isolation with a measuring device. You have to consider the cable in context of the amp/speaker(s) at either end, and consider the interactions of the input sensitivities, input impedances in relation to the cable. For better or worse, valve gear (generally) is much more sensitive/delicate to this stuff, no?

The electrical properties of a cable will vary according to it's length, composition.

For speaker cables I reckon there's less scope for audible differences due to the higher voltages..

But for interconnects I reckon there's more scope to hear shifts in tonal balance etc. but audibility of the cable will be depend on how electrically delicate your system is..(for better or for worse) And and your ability to hear into your system provided by room acoustics; room ambience.

After the above experience, it makes me wonder...What about solid core or braiding? what happens at quantum electron level? Hmmmf?
 

benb

Member
2010-04-24 1:52 am
The best speaker wire is a single 4-foot electric dryer power cord for each speaker. This may limit speaker placement, but it's worth it to hear the signal just as the amplifier designer intended it to be.

Don't put two in series just to get more physical separation between the speakers, it'll degrade the sound by that extra 0.003dB that makes all the difference.
Hi. Indeed it is so. Any cable will have capacitance, resistance and inductance in varying degrees. It will play a part in the amp/speaker circuitry. How big that part is and what it will play will vary from system to system

Regards /Bo
Bolding those again. I've read claims that the Expensive Cables have excessively high values of one or more of these, so that when compared to "ordinary" cables, Indeed They Do Make A Difference In Sound! It's different, these cables cost a whole lot more, so this more expensive cable MUST be better!
Speaker wire performance is highly influenced by voodoo and BS.
So THAT's what Frank was singing about! Don't buy that Sears speaker wire.
FRANK ZAPPA - COSMIK DEBRIS LYRICS
 
Expensive Cables have excessively high values of one or more of these, so that when compared to "ordinary" cables, Indeed They Do Make A Difference In Sound!

seems very plausible, a tuned/optimised cable: and you'd try, prefer one that subjectively improves the sound you're getting. So you're kind of paying for the tuning, nice packaging etc. the intuitive, looks better, must sound better.. whatever floats your boat
 
Personally I'm a fan of Cheap wires Lamp cord or Cat 5. I freely admit Bias :)
Long documented 'trick' to improve warmth / add bass to a tizzy system was (is) to fit high (relative) resistance speaker wires.
That little factoid has made a lot of people a lot of $$ selling foolish price bespoke wires.. for years.
Simple Cheap DVD cablings.. the red yellow and white RCA connector things that were included with one's $50 DVD player?. Typically make for good to V good (Cheap as Dirt ) interconnects. Because their design spec includes/considers Capacitance.
Whereas in 'audio' one has to pay thru the nose for that secret ingredient.
Truly a weird world we've all helped build :)
 
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On my amp, there is an RCA pre amp out and RCA power amp in, that's connected by a very short (10cm) interconnect. For an experiment; I once changed this for a

Simple Cheap DVD cablings.. the red yellow and white RCA connector things that were included with one's $50 DVD player?.
About 60cm long.

the sound was ever so slightly duller, rolled off at the top end. Not extreme, but audible.

I put the short ones straight back on.

hey! we been kicked out of Full range maaan....ooooh never been here B4
 
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