High end or Local speaker wires?

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spirovious

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Hi friends,

I wld like to discuss few things abt Highend vs Local speakerwires(loose).


1.Do really Highend wire(HW) improve sound quality(SQ)?(chord,QED,monster)
HW are 500/m whereas Local are 70/m.(even imported OFC from Taiwan &
China)

Local(loose) also claims they are OCF.In this case are HW worthy?

2. I found in most of local cables(not OFC)that the wire inside the coating
(insulation)is straight,whereas HW or loose imported cables are twisted
inside.So which is better?
The twisted wires actually increases cable length.

3. Many HW wires looks thinner than actually recomended.i.e award winner
chord company are only 8mm thick and recomended cables are 16 AWG.
Then how they improve on SQ?

4. HW & Local both are advised to solder at both ends.I found while you
solder,the copper of the wire turns black(due to Oxidation-Cu2O). That is
we are making it less conductive(ends of wires dont remain O2 free)
If you leave ends open & connect to device,they turn black within 2
months.So whats the solution?

5. Any otherway to improve SQ & cable installation?


Your thoughts and experiences will be valuable to me and all Forum members.
Pls. discuss.
 

murali

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After trying different speaker wires, let me tell you (my experience) that the wire quality indeed makes a huge difference. Personally I don't believe that makes like Qed, Monster etc can really be called as "high-end cables" and as far as I know, they are also made in China.
If you believe that the ideal speaker wire, or for that matter even interconnects, is the one that adds no or very little coloration to the signal that comes out of the component, you have to look for much more expensive cables. As far as my personal experience is concerned, I consider cables from companies like Kimber, Audioquest, Alpha Core etc true to the signals while those from Cardas, MIT, Straightwire etc add their own "touches". Some listeners like transparency and signal purity whereas some others the coloration imparted. So it depends on which camp you are in. If you are a purist, be prepared to spend at least 20-30% of the cost of your whole system on interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. You will never regret it.
Just my experience and opinion, please. Good luck.

> murali
 

audiodelic

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I've never believed in the snake oil discussion of high end wires. I believe even decent quality wire with the proper gauge would suffice for most high end systems. Calculate gauge according to speaker wire length you would use, the calculator should be available somewhere online.

There are lot of members on this forum who would totally disagree with me and would guide you in the opposite direction of paying out of your ass for high end cables. I guess its perspective rather than actual performance.

Go buy each: 1m of local very decent quality and 1m of uber expensive hi end wire and do A/B test. Let me also know the results. Happy hunting.
 

reignofchaos

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I've never believed in the snake oil discussion of high end wires. I believe even decent quality wire with the proper gauge would suffice for most high end systems. Calculate gauge according to speaker wire length you would use, the calculator should be available somewhere online.

There are lot of members on this forum who would totally disagree with me and would guide you in the opposite direction of paying out of your ass for high end cables. I guess its perspective rather than actual performance.

Go buy each: 1m of local very decent quality and 1m of uber expensive hi end wire and do A/B test. Let me also know the results. Happy hunting.

It depends on the rest of the equipment whether cables make a difference or not. You need highly resolving speakers, amps and sources before you actually notice a difference.There are way many more things that need to be changed or improved before spending big bucks on cables. However once you do that, cables are very very perceptible. However as I mentioned, its the last thing in the list to spend money on. There are lot many more things that affect the perceived sound directly.

Even in cables, I believe interconnects between the pre and source make the biggest difference. Then comes the pre-power interconnect and then the speaker cables. I've still not noticed any difference due to power cords. However I do notice a massive difference in tonality once power conditioning equipment such as a double conversion UPS is used.
 

Shuvc

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It depends on the rest of the equipment whether cables make a difference or not. You need highly resolving speakers, amps and sources before you actually notice a difference.There are way many more things that need to be changed or improved before spending big bucks on cables. However once you do that, cables are very very perceptible. However as I mentioned, its the last thing in the list to spend money on. There are lot many more things that affect the perceived sound directly.
@ROC, well put.
A friend once asked me to switch to better wires etc. with the general expectation that sound would be more detailed open etc. My first response was - "dude, I don't have air conditioning in my living room. If I need to hear more detail the first thing I would need to do is switch off the fan ! And secondly for better imaging, I need to get my a** off the rugs and sit properly in front of the system !"

So yes, there are possibly various other things one can do, to improve the listening experience, before spending a packet on more and more accessory equipment.

Btw, both of us are beginners in this audio journey and with negligible exposure to mid-high end systems.

ps: I did ultimately switch from a janta RCA - RCA cable which I was using as a digital coax to a DAC digital coax costing 800/-. There probably was a bit more smoothness to the sound .. but at most 5-10%, as per my perception. Conclusion - I could have lived without it.
 

murali

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Some of the comments prompt me for a response if the reader doesn't mind, especially fashionable references to snake oil theories. Let me assume here that we are talking of the role of wires in hifi system and not home theater systems and concerned with accurate reproduction of music. An interesting website (audioholics.com) was one of the first which started snake oil theories and now you find them selling cables and others and make a business out of it!
Some basic electrical engineering and physics, if you don't mind. Every cable in the audio chain has a specific purpose. An interconnect transfers a typical line level signal from one component to another and with a low source voltage and high load impedance, with negligible current flow, bandwidth and phase linearity are very important. Don't tell me that a Monster IC and a high-end IC do the same job here. A speaker cable transfers a medium or high voltage source from the amplifier to speakers at lower impedance and current flow can be higher. Cable impedance should be low so that it does not limit amplifier damping. Bandwidth is less critical and phase shift should be negligible. So based on science, if someone feels a "decent" copper wire can do such jobs in the same way as a high-end cable can, well, .....
One can listen to decent music using a Sony Playstation-1 and cheap amplifier, speakers and wires. No doubt. One can also listen to music with expensive components and cables. It is a matter of choice, passion, cost and affordability. At least we all agree that music is music for listening. Opinions differ. Let us not belittle facts and measurements just to prove one's superiority or knowledge. In any high-end music system, cables and accessories are part of the system. The lesson I learned in life with audio as hobby is to invest wisely, first in components, then in cables and accessories, within one's affordability and then sit down and enjoy music. I am sure this gives to at least some of us more joy and satisfaction than watching a Rs 2 lakh plasma TV with a Rs 5000 DVD player playing a mediocre movie.
Just my opinions, please. Happy listening.

> murali
 

ajinkya

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So based on science, if someone feels a "decent" copper wire can do such jobs in the same way as a high-end cable can, well,
> murali

Murali,
I don't understand this sentence. Yes, copper can carry all the necessary signals at the required phase and electrical characteristics that you mention. If the copper wire is pure enough (no mixed metals to degrade the signal propogation) then electrically speaking it is as good or better than most metals on earth.

I remember a similar debate in the early days of the internet where people were arguing that copper cannot carry high bandwidth required of DSL because it has only been used for voice so it has less bandwidth. This was of course, nonsense, since the 4Khz bandlimit came from the phone filters, not the copper cable itself. Today copper is used for DSL high bitrate data the world over, without any complaints.

The innovation in the 'high-end' wires for the most part comes from the materials used for insulation, connection, how multiple finer strands of the same conductor are combined electrically. Yes, they make a difference compared to getting a wire from your local raddhiwala. No, they don't make a difference that can be heard, for the price you pay for them, unless as ROC said, your equipment is that expensive that it actually brings out the nuances. I have not heard such equipment but then I am a listener at the midrange end of the hifi spectrum.
 

ajinkya

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I just thought of something. If signal purity is so important to these hi-end wire manufacturers, why don't they simply make wires out of fibre optic cable? That way they have no interference problems, pristine signal paths, almost no loss and the world is a happy place. Of course, someone is going to stand up and say that the conversion at the electrical-optical interface will degrade signal quality.:eek: You just cannot please everybody. :rolleyes:
 

murali

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some points on spirovious' questions 2 and 4:
(2) Cables carrying significant amount of energy (like speaker cables) have significant magnetic fields, a fact known for ages even from the simple telephone wires. Twisted pair is generally considered better than parallel but the better performance observed in 4-conductor cable compared to a double run of twisted pairs proves the significance of cable geometry. The difference between parallel and twisted pair can be substantially credited to lower inductance in twisted pair which is nullified when using a 4-conductor cable instead of 2 twisted pairs. The relationship between magnetic fields and stability possible with 4 conductors explains its superiority over twisted pairs.
(4) Connctors and how they are attached to wires are very important. Attaching connectors to wires under pressure directly with a good crimp and multiple setscrews and a cold weld gastight connection between cable and connector is better than soldering. Though soldering is efficient, all high-end cables use welding.
High-purity copper is a misused word, unfortunately. You can see OFC, OFHC, LC-OFC (Hitachi) and so many types mentioned by cable manufacturers. The purity of the copper and its plating considerably influence performance and don't tell me that there are no differences in wires bought in local market labelled as OFC and they are the same as what high-end cables use.
Trust this helps.

> murali
 

square_wave

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High resolution two channel or multichannel music setup with the listener sitting in the sweet spot.If the listener is not deaf, all wires and interconnects will sound different.:D
 
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Teja

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One can always count on this one for a proper heated discussion ;)

IMO, yes good quality cables will enrich your listening experience. But what is a good quality cable? Any cable of the proper gauge that has decent shielding & insulation. I consider the so-called "high-end" wires (Monster comes immediately to mind - costing an arm and a leg) a huge waste of money. You can find other wires that cost less than a 10th and provide the same quality.

There are so many articles and discussions around this topic on the net, and you will find ardent supporters on both sides. I can only say test it yourself and see if YOU can hear a difference.

Get a length of the "ultra-expensive" cable and similar length of regular philips speaker wire in the same gauge (I prefer 16), hook up one or two speakers to your source and play a variety of sounds. If you can hear a difference for the better, and if you consider the improvement worth the 10X cost, then go for the expensive cables. Otherwise, stay with the regular cables and spend the money you saved on something else that will add a direct tangible benefit to your setup.

FYI, I did this test about three years ago in the US with Monster speaker wire from a hi-end audio shop, regular speaker wire from Lowe's and 16-gauge electric wire from a discount shop. I can honestly say that I couldn't hear any difference in a stereo setup, nor could my wife or half a dozen friends. I returned the Monster wire and went with the speaker wire for aesthetic reasons (the electric wire was too thick and a horrible shade of orange). So, either my hearing isn't as developed as those audiophiles, or there is no difference between using an expensive or regular speaker-wire. And I believe its the later.

Cheers
Teja
 

reignofchaos

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Heh Monster is not high end cable. Its bargain basement cable which is sold for a high price :p. Try your luck with something high end like Siltech, Kimber, Transparent Audio, Usher, Audio Art, Acoustic Zen, Zu Cable, Tara Labs, DH Labs, Nordost or any other brand like that.
 

Teja

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Hi friends,

I wld like to discuss few things abt Highend vs Local speakerwires(loose).


1.Do really Highend wire(HW) improve sound quality(SQ)?(chord,QED,monster)
HW are 500/m whereas Local are 70/m.(even imported OFC from Taiwan &
China)

Local(loose) also claims they are OCF.In this case are HW worthy?

Please see my post above.

2. I found in most of local cables(not OFC)that the wire inside the coating
(insulation)is straight,whereas HW or loose imported cables are twisted
inside.So which is better?
The twisted wires actually increases cable length.
Yes, twisted cables increase length and resistance. But some say that the twisting cancels out the EMI/RMF noise generated due to induction. But others say that this is not needed if (a) the cable is run over only short distance or (b) if the cable is properly shielded. As you see, this is never a clear one-is-superior-to-the-other situation. I wouldn't consider this a big issue in selecting a cable for my home theater.

3. Many HW wires looks thinner than actually recomended.i.e award winner
chord company are only 8mm thick and recomended cables are 16 AWG.
Then how they improve on SQ?
IMO, they don't improve SQ - or let me say that whatever improvement it gives is not noticeably better than any decent 16AWG cable. At the best you experience a placebo effect. Again, this is MY opinion based on MY experience. You do your own testing and form your own conclusion. And don't go by industry awards - that usually is a you-scratch-my-back-and-I-scratch-yours kind of relationship between the manufacturers and the industry.

4. HW & Local both are advised to solder at both ends.I found while you
solder,the copper of the wire turns black(due to Oxidation-Cu2O). That is
we are making it less conductive(ends of wires dont remain O2 free)
If you leave ends open & connect to device,they turn black within 2
months.So whats the solution?
One solution is to have good connectors and clean them regularly - or just use bare wire. If you decide to solder (lazy guys like me do this), there are special high-conductive solder materials (don't know if they are available in India - I soldered mine with regular solder, though) that claim to minimize the solder effects. There are tons of articles on the net on how to do a 'proper' solder between speaker wires and connectors. Google it up.

5. Any other way to improve SQ & cable installation?
I always noticed that SQ increases dramatically when listening to my favorites and drops quickly when listening to my wife's selections :D

Cheers
Teja
 
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