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Opinion on speaker cables........

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by cosmic023, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    Well i'm in the process of building my new cinema room.........and are in the process of laying cables.

    But now it's come to the speaker cables, and would like some opinions on the following cables before i buy.

    4 core speaker cable

    Ixos XHS233 (607) speaker cable

    These cables are gonna be installed into the walls, and under the floorboards and terminated in a face plate. So once in that's it, no turning back. Gonna be wiring up a 7.1 system, so it'll be ready for when i need a 7.1 system at a later date.

    I could use regular clear 16 guage cable or 79 strand type cable, but i thought these cable would be better ?? As most of my budget has gone into the building of the room, should i go with one of the above cables or wait and save up for a better cable ??

    I've searched and read all about the fancy cables, and DIY options, but these ii'd find ok for a 2ch listening system and a bit overkill for theatre use ??

    Your thoughts ??

    Cheers

    Cosmic023
     
  2. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    That Ixos looks a reasonable deal. If it's just for theatre use, why not use thick mains flex? It'll be just as good and costs pence.

    The cable industry has created a myth around cables. You've spent a fortune on amps, players etc. and then you are going to ruin it all with cheap cable???

    Theirs an interesting story about a hifi show where Quad where demonstrating some speakers and many people commented on the excellent sonics of the orange speaker cable they didn't recognise. Truth is, Quad had run out of cable and nipped across the road and bought some Black and Decker mains exension lead. Why? Because they know the truth.

    I would urge all people to just try mains flex against other cheap cables and see if they can hear a difference blind. You won't and you'll save a packet.

    Sure, companies like Chord and Kimber actually do research cables and you pay for that but most cheaper makes are zip wire off the reel.
     
  3. rozzar

    rozzar
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    that Ixos looks ok, but note that it isn't sticky any more- for the sticky stuff you'll have to pay more.
    my dad used to use mains, and cooker wire for his speakers and, ok, it sounds alright for budget stuff, but even QED 79strand has more dynamics and bass clarity for around £1/m. As an alternative to the Ixos, try the QED Qontour Incognito, around £2-2.50/m

    Yes, its a cliché, but would you put £50 Pirellis on a Ferrari Enzo? No, of course you wouldn't. So don't put cheapo wire on decent HT stuff.
     
  4. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    Ok thanks for the tips.

    Steve:
    I did read a few of your posts on mains cables, is this the regular 13A mains cable or 2.5mm twin core for house wiring ??

    Yeah ok, people can spend silly money on cable over cheaper versions, this has been talked about many times before.

    It's more about how the current flows, and the resistance of the cable what matters more.

    I suppose what suits you and your AV gear at the end of the day ??

    After all i heard about the story of the coathanger vs expensive cables, which fooled the reviews on a blind test !! lol

    Cheers
    Cosmic023

    Edit:
    I'm still interested in creating a cat5 speaker cable for my 2ch setup when the cinema room is finished.
     
  5. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    £50 tyres on a fast road car is not a good example. As a pretty experienced single seater driver, I know that tyres are 90% of your car. Cables are probably 5% of your system (unless you want to use bell wire). I personally believe that talk of any improvement / difference in the sub £10/m speaker cable arena is absolute rubbish and I would bet a grand of my own money that nobody could tell 2.5 T+E from QED bronze or Monster classic or whatever. Anyone want to put up a grand if they lose?

    Cat 5 however is a different matter. I have recently made some new cables with the recommended Maplin LSZH stuff and it sounds exceptional to me and for the cost, well worth the experiment.

    I'm basically a cynic and the Cat 5 is the only cable that I have ever heard to actually make a difference. I've spent plety on fancy zip wire over the years and it all sounds the same. Thin, thick, whatever. It's rubbish, all of it.

    I guess you need to ask the guys with the real high end gear what they use.

    By the way, when I talk of mains wire, I mean 2.5mm twin and earth like you would use for a ring main. Doubling up is a good idea if you don't have a good power section.

    All I would say is take the time to set up a blind test. Do it and see. It's the only way to find out for yourself.
     
  6. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    By the way, I would add that I have not really tried expensive speaker cables so would not like to comment on those. I'm taking about the better Chord and Kimber cables etc.

    I just think that debating the relative qualities of cheapo calbes is a bit pointless as nobody has yet been able to tell the difference in a blind test. Show me the facts and I'll change my mind.
     
  7. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I don't understand how when listening to a pair of speakers, an amplifier and turntable or CD player in a strange environment, anyone can pick out the sonics of the speaker cable to comment on.

    I am not entering the argument one way or another but merely commenting on the plausability of a story that has now become an urban myth. How do any of us know that the demo would not have sounded infinitely better if they had used proper speaker cable.
     
  8. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    Cheers Steve,

    A rule that most people say is to spend 10% of the cost of your equipment on speaker cable ?? Or is it an old tale that doesn't mean anything ??

    So a 100m of 2.5mm Mains cable is now on my shopping list.

    When you say double up, do you mean like bi-wiring ?? So you have 2 lot's of cable going from your amp to your spekaers ??

    Also with the twin core, does it have to be braided or can you just use it as it is ??

    Cheers

    Cosmic023
     
  9. Fat Tony

    Fat Tony
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  10. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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  11. Fat Tony

    Fat Tony
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    Cosmic! :thumbsup:

    Thanks - that will keep me off the forums a while!
     
  12. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    Tony, it's not my idea by any means and there are various ways to make the cables. A few guys on here came up with some good variations which are worth searching for.

    I personally use 4 cat5 cables per speaker for the fronts and centre. I divide them into pairs and connect the 8 solid colours to black and the 8 colour/whites to red. By joining the red and blacks at the amp I create a biwire cable with a bit more copper in it than the original TNT FFRC design. I did it like this not because I buy into bi-wiring but so I can passively bi-amp if I want to in the future by splitting the pairs at the amp end. For the surround speakers I have used 3 cat5 cables per speaker as in the original FFRC but I have used the CCRC design that I think CJROSS came up with. It's well worth having a fiddle with and very cheap.

    Cosmic, TNT have a Star cable thats 4 core mains flex but I've use T+E and it's fine. You could double up to create a biwire cable or just join the reds and blacks at each end. It's a matter of using more copper really. I've never done it but I suspect that one length is maybe not adequate for some amps/ speakers. Twisting them together would probably be a good idea if you have the space to run them.
     
  13. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    Steve,

    Well these cables are run behind a false 2x4 stud wall, between the two layers of rockwool.

    It's just i'd like to get the cable runs done now before the 2nd layer of rockwool goes in.

    Cheers

    Cosmic023
     
  14. nikyzf

    nikyzf
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    Just like to add that not all expensive hi-fi brands recommend exotic cables. E.g. Linn and Naim have own-brand speaker cables that are quite (relatively) cheap. The Linn ones are special only in having hefty (20A rating) conductors; I think the Naim is similar.
     
  15. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    when you say cheap, how cheap ??
     
  16. nikyzf

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    The cheapest Linn speaker lead is the LK10 (or L10, not sure if they dropped the "K") for around £2.50/metre I think. The next one up is the LK20 at £4.00/m. Above that they have the LK400 bi- and LK600 tri-wire. I've used LK20 for years, currently between Klout and Isobariks.

    Naim's speaker cable was the NACA4 at a similar price to the LK20; I think the NACA5 has replaced that. It's £6.95/m.

    Grahams is a long-established Linn/Naim dealer
    http://www.grahams.co.uk/buying/accessories.htm

    At these prices, you could easily spend more on the connectors.
     
  17. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    Is this Linn cable any good and is it still available ?? And if so where from ??

    At the minute, i'm still going with steve's theroy and the 2.5mm t/e cable.
     
  18. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    The solid core cable is great value for money but on long runs you can run into induction and capacitance problems.
     
  19. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    When you say long, how long........i'll be using runs of around 2-10 meters per connection, depending on where i place the amp.

    Is this ok ??
     
  20. nikyzf

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  21. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    That was a figure off the top of my head....it's more like 2-6 meters........would that be better ??

    The room is 13' 04" x 7' 09" (That's 4m 7cm x 2m 36cm for the euro folk ;) )

    It's just that i haven't decided where to put the AV gear yet, i expect it will be at the back of the room away from the screen wall. So i'm just over estimating the cable lengths, so when i do come to the cable stage i'll have enough.

    I might get some of the Linn cable for my 2ch setup, if i can find a Linn dealer near me.
     
  22. nikyzf

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    Simple answer is to wire your speakers with mains cable initially, and when you've decided on positioning, think about trying a few different leads. That way you won't pay for specialist leads any longer than they need to be.
     
  23. cosmic023

    cosmic023
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    Yeah true.........Damm sight cheaper for a 100m of 2.5mm t/e (about £30 - £35)
    than proper cable.

    I wonder what this Canare speaker cable is like ?? After all most of my connections are MG cables made with Canare cables.

    http://www.canare.com/speakercable.html

    Has anyone else used it ?? Looks very similar to the link i posted in the first post.
     

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