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  1. #1
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    Changing Speaker Cables

    I am thinking of changing all the speaker cables in the house. The existing cables are mostly generic 12 ga stranded cable purchased from Best Buy, Radio Shack and Amazon. Some of the cables are over ten years old. I am wondering if the age of the cable have any affect on cables' performance. I plan to go with Blue Jean Cable. I figure i need about 200 ft.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    If you are just going to buy more 12 ga. generic cable I do not know if I would bother. I would check out any exposed area of the cables for oxidation. If any of the copper is discolored at any plugs or spades you are using or the cables have clear jackets and you see discoloring then they need to be changed. Otherwise I do not think cables have a limited lifespan.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  3. #3
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    All good things said about BJ Cables. I personally have not heard much differences with Speaker cables like I do with ICs.

    My advice is to get enough for one setup and see if it makes sense to replace it all.

  4. #4
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    I've had Audioquest but these DIY speaker cables ( not IC's ) are just as good.

    6moons audio reviews: DIY*Cables - The White Lightning Moonshine

  5. #5
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    I've had Audioquest but these DIY speaker cables ( not IC's ) are just as good.

    6moons audio reviews: DIY*Cables - The White Lightning Moonshine
    Although those speaker cables look cool, the performance might be waning

    If one going thru all that trouble, time and expense to DIY an speaker cable, why not go all way and choose a good quality wire also. I don't think an AC "extention cord" will give best performance as speaker cable.

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    There appears no oxidation on the cables. Most of the long cable runs are for the rear speakers. Perhaps I should just buy better cables just for the front speakers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mingus View Post
    There appears no oxidation on the cables. Most of the long cable runs are for the rear speakers. Perhaps I should just buy better cables just for the front speakers.
    That was where I was headed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    Although those speaker cables look cool, the performance might be waning

    If one going thru all that trouble, time and expense to DIY an speaker cable, why not go all way and choose a good quality wire also. I don't think an AC "extention cord" will give best performance as speaker cable.
    But wire is wire and any zip cord should be fine, Belkin or otherwise.

    Again I ask, have you tried them or are you just regurgitating stuff you read?

    What is the difference between a roll of Belkin wire and an extension cord, made out of Belkin wire?

  9. #9
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    "time, trouble and expense" - The White Lightning Moonshines ( Woods Patio cord from Walmart ) cost $6.00 for 40 ft. I'm not sure you can buy zip cord that cheap.

    The performance isn't waning. Come to Hornfest and you'll see it used with $30K gear.

  10. #10
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    But wire is wire and any zip cord should be fine, Belkin or otherwise.
    Looking at that extention cord, there are two things that can be improve upon: the material and its geometry.

    Quality speaker cable have good dielectric (insulation between conductors) properties that minmize loss due to frequency. Vacum is best dielectric and Air is next. Since those two are impractical, the next best dielectric are PTFE/Teflon and Polyethylene. So look for speaker wire with those dielectric.

    Cable geometry of that extention cord is a nightmare. You have two conductors vs one conductor wraped around each other which mean excessive capacitance....if not inductance. Noise pick up might also be a problem with such a geometry.

    For better cable goemetry you can go twisted on a cheap, or go with "star quad" four conductors design that minimize noise emitting and pick up.

  11. #11
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    Smokey,

    So you've tried the White Lightnings and didn't like them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    Smokey,

    So you've tried the White Lightnings and didn't like them?
    Smokey, so you have tried ANY cables and can tell us what sounds better or worse, or more theory?

    If you came to my house and listened to my JM Labs driven by a Rotel Receiver connected to70 feet of 4 different types/styles/gauge thin wire just twisted together where needed, you probably would not believe it. By what you wrote (paraphrased) above it just cant be.

    Be careful, you are reading yourself into a scary corner of Nay Sayers and Merry DBTers that have NEVER tried any of what they talk about. Mainly because they are probably scared that their whole religion of audio will go out the window. Many of those don't even have gear that would show a difference in cables even if they did try it.

    What cables are in your system and which ones have you removed because you didn't like them?

  13. #13
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Smokey, so you have tried ANY cables and can tell us what sounds better or worse, or more theory?
    More theories

    I think alot of people go on a merry-go-round when they start to "listen" to their cables. Cables attenuate signal they are carrying since they are passive, and the best we can hope for is to minimize the attenuation by using good quality cables.

    You go all day listening to different cables to see which one sound best, but best one was the one that had lowest [signal] attenuations. Now my question to you is:

    By listening alone, how would you know which cable is the best given the ear can not distinguish signal level of less than 1 dB and relying on [volatile] memory to weed out the best?

    Be careful, you are reading yourself into a scary corner of Nay Sayers and Merry DBTers that have NEVER tried any of what they talk about. Mainly because they are probably scared that their whole religion of audio will go out the window.
    I don't know about Neysayers or DBTers. I am just rying to tell you what the facts are about cables. Cables are the simplest components in audio chain and it is really not hard to figure what are they doing (or what they suppose to be doing). Which mean you have to question outlandish claims about cables if it is only based on hearing and hearsay.

  14. #14
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    Simply put the best speaker cable is the cable that does not degrade the sound. Are there degrees of degradation? Sure just like there are degrees of being pregnant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    More theories

    I think alot of people go on a merry-go-round when they start to "listen" to their cables. Cables attenuate signal they are carrying since they are passive, and the best we can hope for is to minimize the attenuation by using good quality cables.

    You go all day listening to different cables to see which one sound best, but best one was the one that had lowest [signal] attenuations. Now my question to you is:

    By listening alone, how would you know which cable is the best given the ear can not distinguish signal level of less than 1 dB and relying on [volatile] memory to weed out the best?



    I don't know about Neysayers or DBTers. I am just rying to tell you what the facts are about cables. Cables are the simplest components in audio chain and it is really not hard to figure what are they doing (or what they suppose to be doing). Which mean you have to question outlandish claims about cables if it is only based on hearing and hearsay.
    We all can read, some of us actually use practical experience in our life. When you do more than read, come back and tell us what you learned.

    So now like the rest of the DBTers, you are claiming we are all deaf and delusional. I have been involved in this same conversation for 15 years and I have seen and read the Naysayers Bible.

    Next you will tell us that all amps sound the same, as you read and listen to music from your PC.

    You are just blowing Smoke.

  16. #16
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    I see Smokey drives a big old DODGE! He has yet to answer the questions.
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    Answer the questions, Smokey

    CAN a difference in cables exist?

    SHOULD a difference in cables exist?

    If differences exist, WHY do they exist?

    CAN differences be measured?

    CAN we hear things that cannot be measured?

    CAN things be measured that we cannot hear or sense?

    CAN two things that are measured to be identical be proven to be perceived as different?

    Can perception be verified with scientific testing (NOT belief; actual perception)?

    - Have you ever tried different cables in your system?

    - Please describe cables (make/model or if DIY how constructed).

    - Did you hear a difference?

    - What are your reference components?

    - Do you have any hearing issues that may impact your ability to detect differences?

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I can hear differences in cables so they do exist.

    Yes I think cables will end up sounding different. A cable that is neutral in one system might interact in another system and change the sound. Can one cable work between all amps and all combinations of speakers with their varying electrical characteristics? I do not think their is a cable yet that can.

    Measuring specs of a cable when it is not connected to an amp and sending a signal to a speaker is similar to me as testing the output of an amp into a simple 8 ohm resistor.

    Speaking of neutral to my ears and in my experience I have never heard a stranded cable I would call neutral. I am sensitive to strand interaction and the cables sound fuzzy/hazy to me. My speaker cables and IC's all use solid cord cables.

    Maybe one day when we have more high performance wireless products will the cable debate end. Until then with our current technology cables will sound different in different systems.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  19. #19
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    My very first speaker cable beyond zip cord was 8 gauge Hartley Reference Cable. Other than an increase in bass my system was not resolving enough to comment more about the cables. I tried other 12 gauge cables but was never impressed. I even tried some Kimber Kable and PBJ IC's and had the same reaction I do with stranded cables.

    My first big cable moment was some Radio Shack solid core hook-up wire I read about in Stereophile. A pair of Tara Labs solid core speaker cables won the top honors. Years later I did own some Tara Lab cables. My next solid core speaker cables were a pair of AudioQuest flat cables which I think might have been called F 14. Later I purchased Nordost Flatline Gold and Black Knight IC's. They were good but they had more of a sonic influence than I liked.

    Now I am settled in with either AQ Slates or AntiCables both bi-wired. I have discovered I like the AntiC's when they are not twisted. My IC's are both from Alpha Core with the TQ2 from the SA8001 to the S-300I and the Micropurl from the Moon 110LP to the S-300i.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

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