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External speaker cables vs. internal speaker cables


lyeerluna
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Ok, I'll explain. I spent the extra money on some decent Kimber cables to go from my NAD amp to my recently acquired 1987 Forte's. When I opened the speakers up to do the crossover upgrade, I noticed the wires going from the crossovers to the components were little, skinny, kinda crappy looking wires! I wondered why am I spending the extra money on speaker cables for enhanced sound quality when the final link in the chain is possibly the weakest? I guess my question is would I gain any significant sonic benefits if I replaced the little crappy cables with the same cable I using to connect them to the amp? I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask this question, so I apologize if this issue has already been adressed in this forum. Has anyone tried this? Was it worth it? Thanks for the input! Brian

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Understood. Anyone else have any opinions on this?

First, let me say welcome to the forum! Now that I'm done laughing about anyone else on here having opinions on cables, let me tell you that you have opened up the flood gates so brace yourself.[:o] All I will say is that you should buy what you like, what you think works well, and spend the amount of money that you're comfortable with. I changed out the wires in a set of Cornwalls, just because it made me feel better, not that I thought it was going to make it sound any different of that Paul W. and the group didn't know how to figure out what wires would carry the signal properly.[:P]
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Brian,

Fancy speaker cables is one of the big scams in audio! All that is required is that their DC resistance be a tiny fraction of the woofer voice coil resistance. Ordinary hardware store lamp cord satisfies that requirement perfectly! All you need to do with the wires inside the speaker is to see that they are not corroded. Check to see that all the spade lugs to the connections are clean and that's it! You might loosen each screw and re-tighten it. That can improve things sometimes due to unseen corrosion under the lugs.

Al k.

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Over the years....klipsch has been upgrading the wires in their Heritage products. One model reportedly has platinum coated wires and platinum coated terminals.

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Don't use lamp cord from the hardware store. It's one of the worst wires you can use. Just because there's been a big scam with some cables doesn't mean you should simply buy the worst thing out there. And just because the speakers sound good now, doesn't mean they can't sound better. Continuing with the same cable external to internal makes sense, at least for the woofer. The tweeter carries much less current and doesn't benefit from a large gauge like the woofer does. What we want is a low resistance cable with clean high purity copper (or silver) with minimal grain boundaries. We want conductors with a smooth surface in tight but thin insulation with a low dielectric constant like teflon. We want minimal oxidation. We want minimal internal vibration of conductors. And we want good connections.

At least use a high purity copper wire in teflon. Solid core wire benefits from having less surface area to oxdize, it's easier to have a tight insulation, and it makes for a better screw-down connection without an added soldered or crimped connector. (Actually, reducing the number of connections through-out a system is a good approach.) I like Nordost 2-Flat. It's a flat, thin (16g) high purity solid copper conductor in a thin white extruded teflon insulation. It has very low inductance, capacitance, and resistance. I compared it to several other cables including heavy gauge lamp cord, and I liked it best for good bass, instrumental timbres, and weighty transients. Seemed the most coherent. None of the stuff I tried was terribly expensive. (Now I make all my cabling.) Stripped back a half inch you have a spade for screw-down connection (one less connector). It makes great woofer wiring, with one exception. Like a lot of solid core wire, it wiggles and vibrates unless held down. I use dabs of silicon glue to hold it down, and one can try a loose wrap of teflon plumber's tape. It's been said in this forum before, that just making better connections inside the Forte (solder 'em) is one of the best upgrades. I figure, if I'm going to make better conncetions, I'll just use some better wire, too.

Kimber cable is successful because it uses good copper conductors of different cross-section that fit tight in a thin teflon insulation. The weave minimizes vibration, emf noise and hum. Kimber and Neotech also sell very good solid core teflon coated wire.

Lamp cord is designed for maximum flexibility, that's all. It has many low grade copper conductors with zillions of grain boundaries loose packed in a thick insulation with a high dielectric constant that blurs the signal. Imagine all these oxidized wires vibrating against each other. Not great for conducting delicate music signals.

All of the original crossover parts in the Forte are lousy. Sonicaps are a good replacement, and so are the Erse Super Q inductors for the woofer. Best thing is to make a new crossover with the parts on a board that can be mounted on an inside wall, or mounted on the back, covering the hole where the terminal cup was, or mounting it in the hollow base. I have my own new Forte crossover parts laid out, have yet to mount them.... Critesspeakers.com makes a new crossover, and so does DeanG and popbumper.

Put in some decent wire with really good solder connections, then have a beer. Happy listening!

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