Speaker wire choices...

Discussion in 'Home Audio (Stereo Systems)' started by dB, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. dB

    dB Member

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    I'm putting together a modest hifi system...about $4k for speakers, integrated amp, DAC, turntable, and connectors. I'm willing to spend around $300 or so for a pair of 15' speaker cables. I know you can spend significantly more, but $300 seems to get you into some audiophile-approved options, such as AudioQuest Type 8, Anticable Level 2, or Mapleshade Golden Helix. I'd also be happy spending $15 on 50' of Monoprice 12g wire, which seems to get great reviews amongst the speaker cable mojo disbelievers at Audiogon.

    I'm sort of thinking of getting the Monoprice and one of the other options so that I can do a little testing to see if I hear any significant differences. For $15, I really have nothing to lose.

    Has anyone played the speaker wire game? What have you found?
     
  2. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    I know that there are endless arguments all over the internet about cables and interconnects. Sure, some of the stuff gets ridiculous and costs what a car should cost. However, I tend to believe that speaker cables actually can sound different and make at least as much of an impression on the music as interconnects (more!). I saw the newer Anticables at this year's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and thought that they were a real value. That would be my choice among the possibilities you mentioned. I would also suggest getting the 12g wire and comparing it to anything else you can get your hands on. You might be surprised!
     
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  3. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

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    When I did my surround, I Googled a lot of options. Spending a fortune wasn't in my budget.
    I found this highly recommended by someone who did audio tests.
    Go to Lowe's or HD, in the electrical department look for a spool of 12ga. wire made for low voltage outdoor lighting.
    Twin lead with a trace, stranded copper, 100' roll for about $35.
    I made up cables with a heat shrink marker, and a P-touch label under clear shrink, then bungled the three rears in white PEK and it lays next to the baseboard.
     
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  4. 57gold

    57gold Gold Supporting Member

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    Source for HQ cables, reasonable prices:

    https://www.bluejeanscable.com/

    http://www.cullencable.com/

    Have used products from both companies...great stuff, realistic prices.

    Use Cullen speaker cable and power cables for my guitar amps, Komets and Carol Anns. Big, sweet sound with them in the system.
     
  5. dB

    dB Member

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    The guy that makes the speakers mentioned Anticable as being a good match. He's also coming out with his own line of cables in January specifically designed for his speakers.
     
  6. guitararmy

    guitararmy Member

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    Without any scientific backing, I use my old trusty roll of zip wire, 16G and real copper...

    Unless you are running long distances, what you use probably won't make a big difference as long as it's not the cheap thin stuff.
     
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  7. scienceguy

    scienceguy Silver Supporting Member

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    Been using lamp cord from Home Depot for longer than I remember. Works for me, but then again I have moderate hearing loss in both ears so I may not be the best judge.
     
  8. Tahitijack

    Tahitijack Member

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    Cables are to home audio as strings are to guitar. Do your research, take your time and buy the best you can afford.
     
  9. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    My old neighbor was into Hi-Fi. I remember looking down on the floor and he had designed small blocks with notches in the top so the cable was up off the carpet. He said the static electricity in the carpet affected the sound. I'll have to take his word for it....I don't think my ears could hear that difference. :)
     
  10. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Don't get caught up in that snake oil world. If you search my posts, you'll see I'm a retired audio pro (40 years as a recording and live sound engineer).

    I use Mogami 2549 for balanced and unbalanced interconnects and Canare 4S11 for speaker cable.

    Source stuff from Redco or Blue Jeans Cable

    http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2549.html

    https://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/speaker/

    https://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/ultrasonic-welding.htm

    Not sure if you have chosen your speakers yet, but be sure to look at Revel. They make some of the best available at all price points. Do some research on them if you have not yet. http://revelspeakers.com/about-revel.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  11. dB

    dB Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'll check Blue Jeans and Redco. I have a pair of Spatial Audio M3's ordered. They are super efficient Magnepan style speakers.

    I am looking for an integrated amp with a built in DAC, or a stereo power amp/DAC. Any suggestions? I can spend up to $1500, but was looking seriously at the NAD c368. In another thread, it was suggested I look for separate components that have balanced connections...which I'm not opposed to, but means I'll have to look for used stuff on Audiogon.
     
  12. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    I'm a pro audio guy who uses some high end hi-fi stuff if it's no-nonsense and reasonably priced.

    For D/A, look for used Benchmark Media, Lavry or Mytek.

    I use Bryston power amps and an SP-2 preamp/surround processor, that has D/A built in, so you can feed it S/PDIF or optical digital in.

    Used market is the place to get best bang for your buck. Audiogon or ebay.

    You'll have more money to put into other things by saving money on cable.

    Seriously, look at Revel speakers if it's not too late. I'm a big fan of speakers that measure well and not a big fan of planar style speakers.

    Google Harman spinorama and look at any test results (Stereophile etc) you can see on Magnepan or other similar speakers.

    For $4K, you can get a pair of Revel Performa3 F208's, the speaker I chose to own. Beats speakers that cost 3 times that amount in double blind tests.

    http://www.stereophile.com/content/revel-performa3-f208-loudspeaker#1zZjGDFjjjPsqFyA.97
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  13. Funky54

    Funky54 Member

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    Yes. I have done a lot of A & B testing including blind with speaker cables. In my opinion it boils down to the speaker them selves and not the amp when it comes to what cable sounds best. Often the designer of the crossover or amp used a particular wire when he tuned things, and that wire many times is likely what sounds best. For example on many well built nice speakers bi-wiring or tri-wiring makes no difference… then all of a sudden you run across a speaker where it makes a huge difference. Many speakers do not have crossovers but huge filters between speaker posts and drivers that are not linked together internally or externally. These in my opinion are often when bi- or tri-wiring make a huge noticeable difference. (Same is true for verticle or horizontal bi or tri-amping) so that's why so many people fight over wire. The guys with systems that can't expose those differences call it snake oil and the guys that have heard it think it always applies. In truth it's trial and error. I'd start with nice inexpensive oxygen free 12 gauge wire and then get your hands on something exotic to compare. You can almost tune a system with wire if the crossovers design allow for it.
     
  14. Funky54

    Funky54 Member

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    Actually I completely disagree about planer style speakers… but you and I are sharing an opinion. I truly believe that at $1400 there is no finer speaker than a pair of magnapan 1.7 with a nice musical sealed sub. I personally run Acarion System Nola Speakers and not planers. I work for a retailer that is a Sonus Fabre, Wilson Audio, Monitor Audio shop. When I heard the 1.7 Maggie's with a Bryston b4 stt… holy crap that's a very very nice sound for a $1400 PAIR of speakers. I would probably need to spend upwards of $5000to get that level of detail and soundstage breadth.
     
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  15. dB

    dB Member

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    Yeah...the soundstage and detail are phenomenal with this style speaker. I went with the Spatials partially because they are significantly easier to drive than the 1.7's...as much as I'd love a big Bryston like that, it's a bit out of my price range and not really necessary to make the Spatials sound great.
     
  16. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    Here's another vote for just getting wire at Home Depot, or a whole roll of it from Lowe's, depending on how much you need. Pairs of 14 awg should be good enough.
     
  17. Funky54

    Funky54 Member

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    There are so many different combination and quality products out there. One does not have to be rich to have a very nice sounding stereo. Bryston is a wonderfully made well though out consistent product, but yeah it's out of my price range too. I actually sold my b4 (older non Sst version) and went back to outlaw audio… Then I went to old vintage Carver C-500's. So many options and things to try. That's one of the really cool things Bout audio as a hobby
     
  18. Alan Dunn

    Alan Dunn Member

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    I use Rhondo Supra 4x2.5 cable. The reason I use it is that its lays perfectly flat on the floor, has four wires so it can be attached to a Linkwitz-Riley crossover, oh and most importantly because it is cheap.

    Sound wise for a given thickness of wire it's near impossible to differentiate between cables - at any price.

    My advice ; Get the best speakers you can afford, find an amp that will drive them, add a source that matches your software and be done with it. Most importantly look for a sound that's enjoyable more so than realistic otherwise you will be wasting time money and effort trying to achieve something that simply is not possible.

    I'm yet to hear a speaker under $30k that would go close to realism and I have also heard many over $100k that sounded like crap as well.

    Audiophiles are a strange lot though - you hear them complaining about cymbals sounding harsh and so on and think - have you ever sat behind a drum kit ?
     
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  19. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    Usedcables.com is the best place to buy wire. The resale on wire is terrible. I would look at used Kimber, Nordost, and Cardas.

    For an amp with built in DAC, the best choice is the Hegel H80 coming in at just under 2K, new. You would need to buy a phono pre-amp though. The Hegel is excellent for streaming. http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/hegel-h80-integrated-amplifier/?page=2

    See audiogon.com for great prices on hi-fi. and needledoctor.com for TT needs.
     
  20. spence

    spence Member

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    dB likes this.

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