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SSE and which speaker cables NOT to use

cbutterworth

Member
2006-10-03 11:02 pm
I use DIY cables made from Cat5e based on the FFRC design from TNT-Audio on my solid-state Aksa amplifier. At least I think I do, as I cannot fully remember which design I used: I made the cables in 2004.

Given the worry over problems with some SET amps, I am simply using a small gauge Monster speaker wire. It seems like the cable is 18 or 20 ga. Anyway, it is pretty cheap and is really temporary.

However, I do remember the effect of adding a better speaker cable onto my AKSA amplifier both my wife and I were pretty amazed at the improvement when the FFRC was added.

So, while I want to try some other speaker cable options, I am very wary as I do not want to risk damaging my SSE.

I just purchased some outdoor 14ga extension cable from Home Despot and it seems that by soldering the three conductors together and running two lengths, you can get very decent quality speaker cable at a good price. I mean, 25 foot of extension cable can make two sets of six foot speaker cables.

OK, so I'd appreciate insight from the forum experts on what NOT to do!!!!

Thanks,
Charlie
 

cbutterworth

Member
2006-10-03 11:02 pm
Good reading, thanks for the link. I'll experiment a little with my current cables, maybe even relegate the outdoor extension cable to being an extension cable.

My wife is pretty critical and money cautious, luckily. I have known her to be very impressed by a few easy side by side tests we did early on in my audio nirvana quest. The first was swapping out a cheaper RS interconnect with a used Wireworld interconnect - she made me keep with Wireworld interconnect. The second was when we home auditioned new CD-players. She made me purchase the Rega Apollo over the cheaper NAD.

Thanks,
Charlie
 

tomchr

Member
Paid Member
2009-02-11 12:58 am
Calgary
www.neurochrome.com
What matters with speaker cables is the resistance. To some extent the capacitance and inductance matters as well, in particular for long cables (say >20 m).

The resistance is easy to deal with. Just buy a cable with a large cross-sectional area.

The inductance and capacitance are a bit trickier. The best approach I know of is to design the cable geometry such that the inductance is minimized. The Goertz MI-series is an example of such a design.

I don't get the logic behind the 24 AWG speaker cables (CAT5). A 3 m (10') cable made from two strands of CAT5 will exhibit 500 mΩ of resistance, not counting the connector resistance. This will limit the damping factor to 8 for a 4 Ω speaker, which is really quite pathetic.

I'm not aware of any Tubelab design that requires special consideration when it comes to speaker cables. Just use what you have and move on.

Tom
 
I don't get the logic behind the 24 AWG speaker cables (CAT5). A 3 m (10') cable made from two strands of CAT5 will exhibit 500 mΩ of resistance, not counting the connector resistance. This will limit the damping factor to 8 for a 4 Ω speaker, which is really quite pathetic.

In some cases the logic is that it sounds better. And sometines you can have too much damping. If you have an SE amp excessive damping is not something you are looking for.

Just try it.And other options. Pick the one that sounds best.

dave
 

tomchr

Member
Paid Member
2009-02-11 12:58 am
Calgary
www.neurochrome.com
In some cases the logic is that it sounds better. And sometines you can have too much damping. If you have an SE amp excessive damping is not something you are looking for.

I suppose it depends on your goal. If you want your amp to tightly control the speakers, you need low output impedance, including low cable impedance. If you don't want tight control, then a higher output impedance is desired.

I can certainly find scenarios where less control is desired. Speakers with pronounced break-up tend to sound better on tube gear with higher output impedance. The lack of control excites the break-up nodes less, and the overall sound improves. I wouldn't call a system like that precise by any means, but it can present nicely nonetheless.

Tom
 
I can certainly find scenarios where less control is desired. Speakers with pronounced break-up tend to sound better on tube gear with higher output impedance. The lack of control excites the break-up nodes less, and the overall sound improves.

Damping factor becomes irrelevent as the frequncy goes up. You are assigning the differences you are hearing to the wrong cause.

dave
 
In some cases the logic is that it sounds better. And sometines you can have too much damping. If you have an SE amp excessive damping is not something you are looking for.

Just try it.And other options. Pick the one that sounds best.

dave
Speaker cable isn't the component to fiddle with for sound "flavor" adjustment. It's a waste of time.

Speakers and room acoustics are where the real gain or loss of sound quality happens.
 
So i shouldn't bother with making the system better by optimizing my speaker cables?
Once the speaker cable copper is of adequate thickness, it has reached the optimum quality. For typical length in consumer setting, 12 ga. will do that (and then some). If doing something that alters the sonic character audibly, it's a downgrade. When something is at the top, only other place it can go is down.

My room is really quite good, and speakers don't stick around if they aren't up to snuff.
You mean they aren't perfect? OK, there's work cut out for you. Yeah, reroute the time and effort you were going to spend on speaker cables to room acoustics and speakers.
 
Once the speaker cable copper is of adequate thickness, it has reached the optimum quality. For typical length in consumer setting, 12 ga. will do that (and then some).

I have some 12g in a tote somewhere. Didn't sound as good as the skinny solid stuff.

You mean they aren't perfect? OK, there's work cut out for you. Yeah, reroute the time and effort you were going to spend on speaker cables to room acoustics and speakers.

The room is really good. I designed it 1st with an eye to sonics.

There is no such thing as a perfect speaker… even the best are maybe 10-20% of what they could be with further technological advances and greater understanding of the ear/brain. The ones we build are pretty good.

The work on speaker cables was done somerime ago… we do not obsess over it. We just suggest that people try all the options and trust their ears, Speaker wire in particular is very system dependent and one of the places that skinny/solid wire seems to work well is SE amps & FR speakers.

dave
 
I have some 12g in a tote somewhere. Didn't sound as good as the skinny solid stuff.
Didn't sound as good to you? Well, if you don't prefer the higher fidelity sound, that's your own burden to live with.
The room is really good. I designed it 1st with an eye to sonics.

There is no such thing as a perfect speaker…
But there is speaker cable performing audibly perfect, the one with adequate copper thickness.
even the best are maybe 10-20% of what they could be with further technological advances and greater understanding of the ear/brain. The ones we build are pretty good.
Like you and I said, they aren't perfect thus there's more work to be done so that it can get closer to perfection.
We just suggest that people try all the options and trust their ears,
And I suggested what is waste of time and the reason why.
Speaker wire in particular is very system dependent
It shouldn't be as long as the conductor (copper) is of adequate thickness. If the system still behaves differently with adequate size speaker wire, then there's something wrong with the system.
and one of the places that skinny/solid wire seems to work well is SE amps & FR speakers.
You seem uninformed on audio electronics.
 
Didn't sound as good to you? Well, if you don't prefer the higher fidelity sound, that's your own burden to live with.

You have never heard my system, how can you judge it?

I made a valid suggestion that the OP can try (or not) and you are now pounding on me. For my system 24g is adequate copper and produces higher fidelity than the 12g. I am not the only one to find this result.

Enuff said.

dave
 
You have never heard my system, how can you judge it?
I've heard and seen measurements of many adequate gauge speaker cables over the years. Only things matter for you and others running typical home audio setup speaker cables are L, C and R properties.
I made a valid suggestion that the OP can try (or not) and you are now pounding on me.
What you suggested is wrong tree to bark at in search of home audio sound quality. It doesn't matter how valid you think it is. The industry knowledge sees it as waste of time. You disagree? Take it up to the science of audio electronics.
For my system 24g is adequate copper and produces higher fidelity than the 12g.
If it causes audible difference from 12g. then it's due to inadequate amount conductor material causing too much resistance. Do you understand what "high fidelity" means? It seems that you don't.
I am not the only one to find this result.
There were (maybe still are) many who thought the earth is flat. Just because others do too, doesn't make it accurate.