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speaker cables stranded vs solid


dnanstad
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I'm running a McIntosh MC275 tube amp, a mcintosh c47 SS pre-amp and Klipsch Forte speakers.  Anybody on here have recommendations as to the best type and brand of speaker cable to put into this mix?  I've had Audioquest Rocket 33 (good), Morrow Audio SP4 (good) and now DIY audioquest type 1 (better).  

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On 5/3/2020 at 10:59 PM, Cal Blacksmith said:

Home depot, 14 gauge zip cord. Done!

 

Sure, that will get the job done fairly well, but if you want better than pretty good, bigger wire will always do it better.  I have nothing smaller than 12 gauge in my home, including for the surround speakers and the home theatre in the master bedroom.

 

As for the bi-amped main speakers, the woofers are fed by 8 gauge, while the tweeter wires are 10 gauge.  Those sizes may be a bit extreme, but when I’m listening to my system, I can be sure that at least one weak link has been fully addressed.

 

Another factor with the bigger speaker wires is that the damping factor of your amp is not reduced as much as it is with thinner wire.  This gives the amplifier a better “grip” on the drivers, so they can not only hit harder, they can stop harder, too.  Drivers can rebound from a loud note, introducing an artifact that does not belong in the music.  This is less likely to happen when the amp’s damping factor is not reduced by thin speaker wires.  A powerful amplifier, especially when combined with relatively large speaker wire, can produce sound with less distortion, giving you more realistic sound, in terms both of clarity and dynamics.

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3 hours ago, Islander said:

while the tweeter wires are 10 gauge.  Those sizes may be a bit extreme, but when I’m listening to my system, I can be sure that at least one weak link has been fully addressed.

I have some 2/0 welding cable that I might try for my tweeters. 😂

 

3 hours ago, Islander said:

Another factor with the bigger speaker wires is that the damping factor of your amp is not reduced as much as it is with thinner wire.  This gives the amplifier a better “grip” on the drivers, so they can not only hit harder, they can stop harder, too.  

 

A lot of people don't think about the dampening factor. Dampening factors of power sources have been covered here and other forums.

 

 

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I've always used underground rated low voltage wire, 12-g 

 

I think when I bought it, the manufacturer was Carrol Cable.  Got it at Home Depot and can't complain so far.  Gives the sound an earthy element.

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@Jeffrey D. Medwin thanks for the post re. mill spec cable. Same cable in Canada is about 4 times the cost! No bueno!

 

 

@dnanstad I’ve made my own cables out of Cat6 Ethernet cable (22 awg per strand, 8 strands per Ethernet cable, 3 Ethernet cables per speaker polarity cable). Braided results in nice “flat” cable, effective gauge 8, good sound and cheap as there’s lots of Ethernet cable usually from data cable jobs that is sold as excess. Takes time, patience and a couple of tools but very good results. Good luck in your search for cables.

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On 4/26/2020 at 4:36 PM, dnanstad said:

I'm running a McIntosh MC275 tube amp, a mcintosh c47 SS pre-amp and Klipsch Forte speakers.  Anybody on here have recommendations as to the best type and brand of speaker cable to put into this mix?  I've had Audioquest Rocket 33 (good), Morrow Audio SP4 (good) and now DIY audioquest type 1 (better).  

Who has got McIntosh should also invest money for the speaker cables. Made in Germany. If you are interested in these extraordinary Single > BI Wire  loudspeaker cables, please send me a message via this portal. If not, then you have seen them at least once

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6 hours ago, Edgar said:

Skin depth of copper at 10 kHz is only about 0.65 mm.

 

That is an interesting specification. I would like to see an image of the lab apparatus used for measuring this. If I ever grab a live wire and survive, it might make me feel better knowing there was no current below the surface. 😬

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16 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

Agreed, but what about tin-plated copper wire?  The wire description on the Knukonceptz site at knukonceptz.com claims that the tin plating of the individual very fine strands greatly reduces the skin effect.

 

Well, skin depth is only loosely related to the conductor material -- the better the conductor, the smaller the skin depth. Otherwise it's dictated by geometry. So the tin plating would have a very slightly larger skin depth than the copper. But think about that -- if the majority of the conduction is taking place in the tin plating instead of the copper core, then why are you paying so much money for the 99.9999% pure copper? It should be the other way around -- copper-plated tin core.

 

The only way to reduce skin effect is to use lots of very fine strands that are completely insulated from each other.

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1 hour ago, Edgar said:

 

Well, skin depth is only loosely related to the conductor material -- the better the conductor, the smaller the skin depth. Otherwise it's dictated by geometry. So the tin plating would have a very slightly larger skin depth than the copper. But think about that -- if the majority of the conduction is taking place in the tin plating instead of the copper core, then why are you paying so much money for the 99.9999% pure copper? It should be the other way around -- copper-plated tin core.

 

The only way to reduce skin effect is to use lots of very fine strands that are completely insulated from each other.

 

Copper is a better conductor than tin, so most, if not all, of the current will be travelling through the many (462 strands in 10 gauge and 805 strands in 8 gauge) tiny copper wires.  Also, the tin coating gives the copper protection against corrosion.  It doesn’t work the other way around.

 

As an aside, Knukonceptz is charging the same price for their Karma Kables today as they did when I first bought the 8 gauge cable in 2005, $1.65 per foot, while the 10 gauge is still only 1.09 per foot, and the 10 gauge is available in 100 foot rolls at a slightly lower price.

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13 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

Copper is a better conductor than tin, so most, if not all, of the current will be travelling through the thousand or so tiny copper wires.  Also, the tin coating gives the copper protection against corrosion.  It doesn’t work the other way around.

 

I was being facetious. Unfortunately, tone is difficult to convey in text.

 

The conductivity of tin is less than 1/6 that of copper. So, as you said, the majority of the conduction takes place in the copper, and the tin has negligible effect upon the skin depth except that it slightly insulates the strands from each other. But if you want insulation, then use an insulator, not a conductor. 

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2 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

I was being facetious. Unfortunately, tone is difficult to convey in text.

 

The conductivity of tin is less than 1/6 that of copper. So, as you said, the majority of the conduction takes place in the copper, and the tin has negligible effect upon the skin depth except that it slightly insulates the strands from each other. But if you want insulation, then use an insulator, not a conductor. 

 

You’re right, tone doesn’t come through in text.  And yes, actual Litz wire would probably be a bit better, but it would probably also be more expensive.  While I haven’t Googled it, I suspect that heavy-gauge twisted-pair Litz wire, with a thick but flexible cover over the two sheathed cables, might be hard to find.

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1 hour ago, Edgar said:

The only way to reduce skin effect is to use lots of very fine strands that are completely insulated from each other.

 

DAMMIT....  so the 5 rolls of 12-2 w/g Romex that I've stripped and have been weaving the individual wires into a "stranded" wire might not work the best...

 

Back to the drawing board.

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It’s funny how any mention that “bigger speaker cables sound better” is guaranteed to start a spirited discussion, all the way from “I use 16 AWG wire, and check it for hot spots just in case”,  through the humourous jumper cable comments and pictures, and of course “lamp cord was good enough for PWK (a long time ago)”, “I get tired of having to explain to people that 16 gauge is all anybody needs”, to the posting of the old minimum size chart for loads and run lengths.

 

That’s MINIMUM, folks.  Do any of us have minimum speakers or amplifiers, you know, the cheapest available?  I didn’t think so.  So why couple them together with the cheapest available cable?  A member who bought a pair of new La Scala AL5s was mocked for using a $400 subwoofer with them, so why not mock people who use the cheapest available wire to connect their premium amplifiers to their premium speakers?  Is it because you think there are too many of them?

 

Oh well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, right?

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