Speaker cable Vs. "normal" cable

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Goochie, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Goochie

    Goochie
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    I've searched already but not found the answer ;)

    I'm soon to start running some cables into the walls of my lounge for the rear speakers in my 5.1 setup.

    Currently I have a reasonably cheap set of Sony rears, wired with speaker wire that I bought from B&Q.

    However, now I'm looking to hide the cables, I thought it would be worth asking about cables.

    Can someone explain why I should use relatively expensive speaker cable and not just ordinary solid core twin + earth ? The T+E would be dramatically cheaper per foot than even a basic speaker cable - so other than "internet hear-say" can someone tell me why I should use speaker cables?
     
  2. Big_Si_Owen

    Big_Si_Owen
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    Oooo, can of worms! :)

    Depends whether you think copper is copper or expensive speaker cable makes a difference... There are a few schools of thought on this one.

    If you search for CAT5 speaker cable that'll give you an idea of the ideas. I've not tried out experimenting with CAT5 yet but plan to so don't know which side of the fence I fall. Certainly makes sense in my head that cross sectional area of copper should be what's important though...

    Also saw a link for making speaker cable out of coax cables when I was looking around too.
     
  3. Goochie

    Goochie
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    I'm thinking about conducting some tests by simply connecting the speakers up and laying the cables over the floor.

    By running the rear speakers only I think I should be able to hear any difference.

    The problem with that strategy is that the cables may all be perfectly good for my current speakers but may not do more expensive ones justice if I decide to upgrade at a later date.
     
  4. stevelup

    stevelup
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    A good compromise is to ignore all the absolute nonsense regarding speaker cable that costs £200 per metre, and also avoid any complete rubbish - especially if you are burying it.

    My recommendation would be to use the Van Damme Blue series cable - there is a power seller on these forums called Joe Fernand, or you can buy it from CPC or VDC trading.

    It's not expensive but it is good quality.

    Steve
     
  5. deckingman

    deckingman
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    Hi,

    IMO and also in my experience, the only thing that matters is impedence which needs to be as low as possible. In practice, this usually means copper wire with a diameter of 1.5 sq mm minimum. This is fine for smallish speakers and short runs. 2.5 mm is a better bet.

    Multistrand is better than single strand, primarily because it is more flexble and therefore easier to run. Also, something called skin effect could possibly start to have a bearing at audio frequencies with a single copper core of 2.5 mm (whether you would actually hear a difference though is another matter). It is not an issue with multi core cable where each conductor is smaller.

    Mains T&E is not ideal, primarily because it is not very flexible, and also because you are paying for the extra earth core which isn't needed. Twin core mains flex (multi strand) of 1.5 or 2.5 mm is ideal but you'll find this can be the same price as proprietary speaker cable like the Van Damme or Profigold etc.

    Some speaker cables can also be flat, which makes them easier to hide under carpets.

    My advice is to ignore anything you may have heard about spending 10% of your budget on cables and also ignore all the stuff about Oxygen free etc.

    There was a post here not long ago about a high end speaker manufacturer using Black and Decker hedge trimmer extension lead at a show.
     
  6. deaf cat

    deaf cat
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    Buy a length or so of 1.5 twin & earth and do a sound test with the cable you have and the mains cable, see what you like the sound of best ;)
     

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