Speaker cable

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by dosfromclare, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. dosfromclare

    dosfromclare
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    Hi there,

    This may seem naive question but hear goes.. What difference will I notice if I swap out my Sony supplied speaker cable with good quality IXOS cable or similar ? Thanks...
     
  2. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    You might hear a difference, equally you might not. Bit of subjective question really, some people hear differences, others don´t. Its worth doing a search of the Forums as its come up various times.:)
     
  3. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Even if you do, remember that "difference" and "improvement" are not necessarily the same thing!
     
  4. buns

    buns
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    I am one who considers cables of relative importance. In my opinion, the difference between the horrible crappy cable supplied with systems and the cable you can buy for £3 a meter is enormous. It is possible the best sound for pound upgrade you could make. But others disagree! It depends on how analytical you are, many in here notice picture quality differences where i see none.

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  5. MikeK

    MikeK
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    the difference between the horrible crappy cable supplied with systems and the cable you can buy for £3 a meter is enormous

    No offence, but how can you say a cable is "horrible crappy cable", when you don't know what it is, and how can you say that a cable which is £3/m will make an "enormous" difference over it, when you don't say what the £3/m cable is either.
    Also the system and speakers are unknown, as is their usual use - there are many systems around, used in such a way that the quality of the speaker cable used will make absolutely no difference (and no improvement) whatsoever, even if you spent £100/m.

    Most of the opinions expressed about cables are highly subjective - once you remove this from the equation (blind or double blind listening tests), then the same people who can hear the clear improvements, suddenly struggle to hear any difference at all, especially with budget kit, where clear compromises have been made elsewhere.

    True, I wouldn't recommend very thin 13 strand copper cable, or bell wire either, simply because they are not really up to the task of carrying the electrical load of an average hifi system, unless it's very small (ie low volumes and highly sensitive speakers).


    Still, if people are happy to shell out good money for this smoke and mirrors, then fine, it's their money - I really don't have a problem with that.
     
  6. buns

    buns
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    I was making the assumption that if the cable came with the system, it will be little more than bellwire......unless sony are bucking the trend that is. £3 cable i was generalising to, ok, to be more precise, the cable talk cable (3.1 i think......its a long time since i used it!) would be a vast improvement on almost any system. Even a mini system of about £300 would benefit from cable such as this.

    I am of course again assuming someone to be taking care to have the correct cable lengths, correctly connected.....generaly to be used correctly.

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  7. MikeK

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    We'll just have to agree to disagree on this! :)
    Depending on the original cable, there may be some slight differences, but "vast", come on!! :)

    What I would suggest to anyone interested (and I admit it's not really that interesting) is to try it yourself.
    Take your present cable and compare it to CT3.1 - but importantly, try the test blind so that you have no idea which cable you are listening to.
    If you can consistently hear improvements with one cable, then that's the better cable for you (regardless of cost).
    Not all cables will sound absolutely identical, but what I will say is that any two similarly constructed cables will be indistinguishable from each other.
    And always remember that even if you feel you can hear a difference, is that difference really any improvement? - it's all too easy to convince yourself that if an expensive cable sounds slightly different to a cheap cable, then those differences must automatically be improvements.

    One of the cheapest "upgrades" from bell wire is simply 1mm/1.5mm solid core mains lighting cable, which can be bought for 10-15p/metre.
    Doesn't look that great in the living room though (if it's visible that is), and I'm sure some committee would decide it was inappropriate due to it's similarity to "real" mains cable.
    Crimped and soldered GP banana plugs (to stop the ends oxidising) and you're done!

    You can simply pop a driver out of most budget speakers (even those from respectable makers), and see how important they think the wire is - they'll have used cheap electrical hookup wire, probably around 5p/metre, if that (and that's before you mention what the VC of the driver(s) is made from, and the quality of the crossover components used etc etc)
    Higher end designs may use something more exotic though, but they have to justify the prices somehow, and this helps, even if it makes little, if any, real difference to the sound.

    Of course, all this is assuming just a couple of metres of speaker cable to each speaker, and "normal" speakers and listening levels. If you wanted to drive a pair of very low sensitivity, low impedance speakers, 300ft away, at insane levels, then things would be a bit different!
     
  8. buns

    buns
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    If you want the real low down on cable designs, get looking at tnt-audio's diy cable section.

    If anyone wants to argue about cables in higher end systems...... i can go on that one alllllllll day! With cheap and crap cables, my system sounds little more than average for its cost. With good cables (not expensive, they are home made) the system sounds well beyond its cost, noise from the mains can be removed, the effect of external fields can be lessened.

    but anyhow...... some will never agree on this kind of thing! :rolleyes:

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  9. Len

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    Poor old dosfromclare [County Clare or the Suffolk village?]

    Only wanted some advice and got an argument.

    Surely you can't go far wrong with the 10% of budget rule. Which is... whatever your system cost... expect to spend 10% of the budget on cables and interconnects. Now of course it's subjective because there's no point doing it if you're aurally challenged. But one of the things quality cable does is eliminate low level hum and buzz. If you listen to your system now and it sounds fine... then don't worry about it. If you hear artefacts in the sound then maybe... and it is a maybe... new cables will improve the quality and clarity. But if your system is for example an all in one with spring clips for the cable at the back it will be like putting go faster stripes on a Lada.

    Personally with music I can't tell that much difference... but with surrond sound I can.

    Hope that helps.
     
  10. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I've got a Sony mini-system.

    When I added some terminals to the supplied speakers it was clear that the cheap 13-strand stuff used to connect them to the system was also used within the speaker enclosure in areas I couldn't get to easily. I used a more expensive cable and at a longer length but couldn't notice any difference - presumably due to the wire "bottleneck" within the speakers.

    I recently replaced the speakers entirely with some Mission bookshelfs and subsequently the cable (to QED original at about £2.50/m). In response to this thread I've tried using some cutoffs of the original (supplied 12-strand) cable. There certainly WAS an improvement in overall performance and clarity.

    I know this post is just repeating what has just been suggested, but having been through this situation firsthand I can only recommend upgrading the cable once you've got some speakers with better overall construction. Until then I really wouldn't bother unless you just want longer lengths which is a different matter entirely.
     
  11. dosfromclare

    dosfromclare
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    Thank you all for your comments and passion on this subject. I think that I will wait until I upgrade the speakers and maybe look at what options I have then. I am not unhappy with what I am getting from the system today, but I am doing some work with flooring which prompted the thoughts about laying cable.

    Thanks again to all.
     

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