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  1. #1
    mcc is offline
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Cable geometry vs. Cable size - help?

    I've been pretty happy with my system, which is an old setup consisting of a Quad 44/405-II, Celestion 300s, and a never Harman Kardon HDCD player, wound together old, old, old Monster XPs that are already green, sticky, and thus probably oxidized. Interconnects are some real old Technica cables that I found lying around. I had my eyes set on the Kimber Timbre and the Kimber 8PR, but before that, I had a look at my dad's system, which makes mine a pretty sorry sight (Threshold 4000 I think, Audio Research Pre-amp, B&W 801s...). I asked him what speaker cables he had hooked up, which were real huge, well insulated looking cables.

    They were high-tension power cables. That's right. POWER CABLES. He's a surgeon who managed to get some power cables that connect his cardiac catheterization lab of the hospital to our local power station. So I guess they've gotta be real good cables, cause peoples' lives depend on it in the middle of surgical procedures.

    His system sounds dang good. What do you guys think: does the geometry of the Kimber cables outweigh the sheer size and insulation of such power cords? I probably know the answer already. I just want to hear it from someone so I can justify to myself spending so much money on cables when I can get more of those humongous power cables for free.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    If by "real good" you mean copper, then yes, they are. These lines are most likely carrying 480 volts from the transformer to the main panel. They are as well-suited as speaker cables as any other intact and similarly-sized copper cable. However, A/C power lines are typically manufactured with fewer conductors of a larger diameter, making them less flexible, and therefore possibly harder to work with behind your equipment. The fact that they are installed in a hospital is not relevant, they are the same type that are hooked up to the fryer outlet at your local McDonalds.

    Along the same vein, many people install "hospital rated" outlets or plugs for their systems, thinking they are somehow better at carrying the current. Essentially, the rating indicates that the ground engages before the hot or neutral in order to minimize arcing or sparks, which would not be good in an oxygen-rich hospital environment.

    A 12-ga speaker wire from Home depot will carry the signal just as well as anything designed for A/C current, for a lot less money, and certainly better than oxidized Monster Crap.

    By the way, "high tension" refers to the much higher voltage primary lines, not the voltage coming off the step-down transformers and into the buildings. Think 48kV or more.


  3. #3
    Forum Regular Rockwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    There is no good reason to believe that either of those somewhat exotic cables would provide audible performance improvements over generic speaker cable. Of course, if you can get your dad to more hospital powercables for you, then you would have similar bragging rights wonder my insurance premiums are gong through the roof!
    Last edited by Rockwell; 01-12-2004 at 03:03 PM.
    "You two are a regular ol' Three Musketeers."

  4. #4
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Cables are designed for a specific purpose. The reason the high voltage cables are so thick is because the insulation must be sufficient to protect everyone near them from shock or electrocution. No speaker cables would require such heavy insulation. Some speaker cables use very heavy gage wire. This cuts down the DC resistance. So does a shorter length. For most home installations, 12 gage wire is far more than sufficient and even 16 gage which I use myself is adequate. Claims or more accurately inuendos and suggestions by sales people, manufacturers, and the testimonials of audiophiles notwithstanding, there is no evidence to support the notion that some audio cables will improve the sound of your home sound reproduction system regardless of cost. Personally, I'd clean up those old Monster cables if I were you and re-use them.

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