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Sure, 16 or 18 gauge lamp cord (12 or 14 gauge wire isn’t really lamp cord, although it may be the exact same style and quality) will do the job, and do it for decades, but isn’t this place about more than just doing the job?  I thought that most of us are interested in high performance speakers, and sharing ways to improve the performance of those speakers even more.

 

Buying upgraded drivers and crossovers, and finding and installing the best room treatments are regularly discussed in great detail, with very few arguments against these practices, some of which make big improvements and some which make incremental improvements.

 

And yet, when it comes to speaker cables, everyone inevitably falls into one of two camps:  the “18 gauge lamp cord was good enough for my grandfather, and goshdarn it, it’s good enough for me” camp, and the “bigger cables sound better” camp.  Not much is said against the zip cord gang, but the bigger is better crowd is called delusional or anti-rational, described as having more money than brains, followers of voodoo science, and so on.

 

Yes, there are some dubious claims made about some expensive cables (dielectric bias voltage, anyone?), but we don’t seem to have many, if any, members who fall for that stuff.  If you’re happy with the cable you’re using, great!  However, if someone else hears improved sound with the cable of their choice, that’s great, too, even if you wouldn’t choose it for your system.

 

Let’s just dial back on the name-calling and mockery, and try to agree that there’s more than one way to build a good- or even great-sounding system.  Can we do that?

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Excerpt from a notable article (from people who actually manufacture high quality cables and wiring harnesses)  on oxygen free copper loudspeaker wire:

 

Commonly used in consumer electronics, oxygen free copper is most frequently found in high end audio-visual systems, though individual oxygen free copper wiring custom cable assemblies are also on the market for the pickiest of music connoisseurs. Oxygen free copper is used for speaker wires, audio/video connector cable assemblies, and amplifier wires because of its purported higher conductivity, and supposedly better ability to transfer low-frequency sounds. Some manufacturers also state that oxygen free copper wiring provides better clarity of sound, and lasts longer than other, less pure, copper wires.

While all of the claims about the good things about oxygen free copper wiring have a degree of truth in them, for most consumers, oxygen free copper wiring is not going to be noticeably different than any other type of copper wiring. The increase in conductivity is minimal, and is not due to the de-oxygenation of the wire. Rather, the process of electrolytic refining also removes other impurities, notably, iron, that can cause resistance. However, even so, the increase in conductivity would not be noticeable unless the wire was extended to a great length, say, over 50 feet. Since no consumer product uses wiring of anything near that length, the increased conductivity is delectably useful at best. In fact, there is no substantial difference between the performance of oxygen free copper and other types of copper in virtually all kinds of consumer products.

 

However, outside of the realm of cutting edge scientific equipment, and extremely advanced copper cable assemblies, oxygen free copper has little practical use, particularly in the consumer world. Though a strong advertising phrase today, it is unlikely to stick around for longer than a few marketing campaigns.

 

Link to article

 

 

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Islander, you are the voice of common sense and restraint. A peacemaker :)  I need to work on that. 

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5 hours ago, Pennywise said:

A lot of oxidation with add resistance between the amplifier and loudspeaker, not exactly ideal.

 

5 hours ago, fmalloy said:

Every lamp cord I've seen connected to speaker terminals get brown and nasty from oxidation

 

4 hours ago, Tony Whitlow said:

So? Either they work or they don’t.

 

2 hours ago, jason str said:

Dad used lamp cord back in the day, it did green up like it was kept outside.

That's where people are missing out, the brow/greenish color adds to the warmth and colorfulness of the sound, the high price wire companies don't want you to know this but it's true. :huh:

 

 

Update; just went and checked the #14 OFC wire that has been connected for the last 10 years look copper color, no change.

 

Maby one day when the room is perfectly tuned I can get the better wire to wring out that las tiny percent of perfection, that is if I can find enough recordings worthy?

 

I am really disappointed with my good friend, a well regarded audio engineer/designer didn't point out the deficiency with my wires when he was here and went through everything,  We need to talk! :angry:

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@Marvel is correct the use of CAT cable to make audio cable has been around, I surely didn't invent it!! Here's a link to a site that got me started

https://www.venhaus1.com/diycatfivecables.html

although there have been others including some YouTube where folks used a friend holding one end, and a drill (input cable into chuck) and voila you can twist the full length cable pretty quickly.  It is the individual strands removal of insulation and twisting that is a bit of a pain, although there are folks who do it very quickly.  There's YouTube video of folks who do manual braiding of the full length cable ... that I should try.  My fav is a 3 cable set braided very tightly, looks really nice.  I think then, I'd combine a few of these into one cable and twist the full set using a drill.  I have CAT 5, but now CAT cable is up to 7 I think, so even more fun to be had.  If only my wife would do the braiding for me?

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23 minutes ago, dtel said:

 

 

 

 

 

I am really disappointed with my good friend, a well regarded audio engineer/designer didn't point out the deficiency with my wires when he was here and went through everything,  We need to talk! :angry:

 

=== yep, that’s what you should have addressed. “Ah, Chief - I’ve been wanting to mention I don’t think this rig sounds all that good, I think it’s the speaker/IC wires. How ‘bout we change them out while your here”? Keep us posted on the outcome —

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Copper oxides don't conduct electricity, so it increases the electrical resistance of the wire to your speaker. Also, the oxidation can spread to your speaker terminals. 

 

Lamp cord is meant to connect to...lamps.

Zip cord if that makes you happy.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Recently my wife and I have been hanging out with her good friend and husband. He is quite the audiophile so it's been fun getting to know him better. He is very much in the "cable camp" unlike most of the members here. He's also an electrical engineer so makes sense his interest are high in that area.

 

One day he shows up with some cables he found used. Audioquest Rocket 44, something like $700 new I believe. We plug them in and listen a bit. No doubt they sounded different. A few days later when I had the house to myself I decided to plug my "regular" high quality $40 cables in and listen for a while. Didn't take long for the Audioquest cables to get plugged back in. They just had more of a relaxed, live sound with better separation and bass. I don't really consider myself to be an audiophile so I don't have the vocabulary to really describe it but when I plugged my regular cables in it made the system sound more like I was listening to a stereo and with the Audioquest it sounded more like a performance.

 

He has also brought over a couple of power cables for my amp and there is a difference there as well. Nothing as perceivable as the speaker cables but even my wife could hear the difference and she doesn't know, or care, about any of this.

 

Now there are plenty of things he talks about that I think are snake oil or they are soooooo expensive that it's just not worth it. In his defense he always buys used because he even admits the prices are inflated to what the market will bare. We went to a high end audio shop to listen to some Wilson Audio speakers, he is a Wilson fan. The entire system playing was $80,000. I was expected to be blown away, I was not, I actually prefer my $4,000 system. Which is funny because the cheapest piece of equipment in that room was $5,000 and it was a phono preamp!

 

So what I am getting at is it's good to be open minded with some doubt thrown in. Being on this forum for so long I was expecting to hear nothing positively different from the expensive cables he plugged into my system. Now that I have actually heard them, I admit cables really can make a positive difference. Since I have purchased nothing I have nothing to lose if I didn't like them. Would I spend $700 full price on a pair? No. But I would buy used or experiment with a cheaper brand now that I know they can benefit a system more than I previously thought. Yep. Pretty sure Roy said they used Audioquest wire in the AK6 Klipschorn video didn't he?

 

Full disclosure these are connected to my Spatial M3 Turbos not Klipsch. I doubt I would have noticed much on my Forte IIs because they just hurt my ears so much in my room anyway. So definitely speakers/room, amp and source before cables.

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2 hours ago, richieb said:

 

=== yep, that’s what you should have addressed. “Ah, Chief - I’ve been wanting to mention I don’t think this rig sounds all that good, I think it’s the speaker/IC wires. How ‘bout we change them out while your here”? Keep us posted on the outcome —

When I see him I am going to tell him I'm disappointed, I have been using substandard wires and he didn't point that out to me, it's just not right, he should have said something instead of just leaving me in a bad spot.

 

I promise I will tell him this, I have a pretty good idea the look I will get and no telling what the comment will be.  

 

 

I will do it but also wanted to say there is nothing wrong with wanting better wires if it makes you happy why not, just like peoples speakers, cars, houses, and everything else, it's a personal thing for whatever reason. I'm just making fun.

 

Now even with that said if your paying crazy prices like some talked about here, to me, it's silly..........unless your room is specially designed, properly tuned and you have superhigh end speakers and last but not least, the money is no problem for you, then carry on enjoying yourself. 

 

But still sticking with the #14 OFC ugly wire. :emotion-14::emotion-19:

 

 

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1 hour ago, vondy said:

Didn't take long for the Audioquest cables to get plugged back in.

There no doubt the way cables are designed and materials used can change the sound. Just the way wires are put together as far as the number of strands and materials and how they are wound together all affect the outcome. It's just science on how to manipulate the electrons to have an effect on the other end. 

 

Now thinking about this I am trying to figure a way to add something in the line about halfway. It would be a place for the electrons to have a drink or whatever makes them happy but to just relax and have a good time, kind of like there own little club, they then leave all pumped up and having a good time sounding great.  Don't laugh it makes as much sense as magic rocks and a couple of other things. 

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12 hours ago, dtel said:

There no doubt the way cables are designed and materials used can change the sound. Just the way wires are put together as far as the number of strands and materials and how they are wound together all affect the outcome. It's just science on how to manipulate the electrons to have an effect on the other end. 

 

Now thinking about this I am trying to figure a way to add something in the line about halfway. It would be a place for the electrons to have a drink or whatever makes them happy but to just relax and have a good time, kind of like there own little club, they then leave all pumped up and having a good time sounding great.  Don't laugh it makes as much sense as magic rocks and a couple of other things. 

OK put a big dip in the line between speakers and amp. Make sure each end is precisely the same height and the electrons will puddle there and not drain off when you shut down. Makes the whole session next day better as these electrons have had a tranquil time of peace and quiet and are now ready to go.

  I have a question for bi-amped systems. Should I get organic non-magnetic field reducing towers and run both sets of leads together on one set of towers or split the two sets into individual tower runs? On the runs should I twist the pairs or leave them in straight flat symetrical order from end to end?  If I do it in sets how much distance do I maintain between sets and do they have to be precisely parallel? It's not just the cable after all it is how you run it from device to device.

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1 hour ago, Dave A said:

Should I get organic non-magnetic field reducing towers and run both sets of leads together on one set of towers or split the two sets into individual tower runs?

 

Inorganic is okay.  Running both high and low freq. lines together on the same standoffs will degrade the sound quality.

 

1 hour ago, Dave A said:

On the runs should I twist the pairs or leave them in straight flat symetrical order from end to end?

 

Straight/flat will accentuate both capacitance and inductance, so never do that.  But overly-twisted is bad, too.  Like with anything in life, moderation is important.

 

1 hour ago, Dave A said:

If I do it in sets how much distance do I maintain between sets and do they have to be precisely parallel? 

 

The distance between the precisely parallel (so important!) sets is dependent upon the distance.  Also, don't neglect the orientation with the Earth's magnetic field  (you want complementary angles with the left and right channel runs or it's all a waste of time).  The greater the run length, the greater the parallel separation you want, but don't get too carried away because too much is as bad as too little.

 

One important aspect which has been so far left out of this discussion is that lead lengths absolutely MUST be precise multiples of 57-1/8 inches.  That's finished length, I believe, if twisted, so be sure to allow for that when making cuts!  (Best to cut to final length after twisting, if possible.)

 

Edit to add:  Do not under any circumstances overly-tighten any zip ties on your wires!

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3 hours ago, Pete H said:

Once again, we seem to have beat this horse to death.

giphy.webp?cid=790b76115cdc091a693268312

True!!

Vast difference (Digital!) between Plugged In and Not Plugged in! 'On'. vs 'Off'!

Miniscule other attenuation factors!

John Kuthe...

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5 hours ago, Dave A said:

I have a question for bi-amped systems. Should I get organic non-magnetic field reducing towers and run both sets of leads together on one set of towers or split the two sets into individual tower runs? On the runs should I twist the pairs or leave them in straight flat symetrical order from end to end?  If I do it in sets how much distance do I maintain between sets and do they have to be precisely parallel?

Good question, I just threw the extra wire behind the center sub and behind each speaker, just let the electrons figure it out, who wants dumb electrons anyway.

4 hours ago, glens said:

Also, don't neglect the orientation with the Earth's magnetic field  (you want complementary angles with the left and right channel runs or it's all a waste of time).

True, it's like trying to get your toilet to flush in the opposite direction.

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42 minutes ago, dtel said:

True, it's like trying to get your toilet to flush in the opposite direction.

 

Up?

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Had that happen before, the 5yo grandson did it last, he panicked which is the standard thing for most people.

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10 hours ago, glens said:

 

Inorganic is okay.  Running both high and low freq. lines together on the same standoffs will degrade the sound quality.

 

 

Straight/flat will accentuate both capacitance and inductance, so never do that.  But overly-twisted is bad, too.  Like with anything in life, moderation is important.

 

 

The distance between the precisely parallel (so important!) sets is dependent upon the distance.  Also, don't neglect the orientation with the Earth's magnetic field  (you want complementary angles with the left and right channel runs or it's all a waste of time).  The greater the run length, the greater the parallel separation you want, but don't get too carried away because too much is as bad as too little.

 

One important aspect which has been so far left out of this discussion is that lead lengths absolutely MUST be precise multiples of 57-1/8 inches.  That's finished length, I believe, if twisted, so be sure to allow for that when making cuts!  (Best to cut to final length after twisting, if possible.)

 

Edit to add:  Do not under any circumstances overly-tighten any zip ties on your wires!

I had forgotten that 57 1/8" stuff.

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If you are going to twist wires, make sure you twist them clockwise.

 

Also make sure the left channel is connected to the left speaker, and right to right.  It doesn't make too much difference in rock music ("close enough for rock 'n roll") but with a classical orchestra, if you don't have left -> left, and right -> right everything in the center will be twisted.  Nothing is worse than twisted violins!

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