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  1. #1
    cvc
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    Home Depot Extension Cord

    If you want good sounding cable without spending big $, then go to Home Depot and buy the orange and black extension cord. That's right, the same thick cord we've all used for various jobs around the garage and yard.

    Buy the cord and cut the plugs at both ends. Strip the jacket off the end and you'll see 3 wires inside. I stripped the white and black wire. Obviously. you don't need the 3rd wire so don't strip it. I left the wires bare and screwed them into my speakers and integrated amp and was rocking in no time. Clean sound is exactly what you will get.

    Have you guys ever been to an independant audio shop? Where the gear is hooked up with something expensive like audioquest wire. Let me ask you this. If basic wire sucks so bad, why don't they have a run of simple wire that everyone uses (Monster) and plug it in so we can hear the music demo. Then switch to Audioquest or whatever they're selling so we can be completely blown away by the difference in sound quality. I mean, swapping out cable would take 2 minutes and they could sell lots of cable based on the huge improvement in sound. Right?

    Since no one does this I can only assume there isn't really a huge improvement. If there was they would easily prove it.

    A year ago a certain magazine ran a favorable article about using Home Depot extension cord. The writer also mentioned a famous speaker maker would use the commonly seen thicker black extension cord to hook up his speakers at various high profile audio shows and conventions.

    I've been using Home Depot cables and I'm very happy.

  2. #2
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    I only had the chance to listen to the HD cable once and it was not in my own system but in a friend's "cost no object" system. His system excels at soundstaging and the HD cable collapsed the soundfield drastically. He normally uses NBS Statement speaker cables and the difference was pronounced. It would indeed have been a good audio salon demo.

    In my "real world" system, the HD might have been fine but in his system I heard the biggest difference I've ever heard between two brands of speaker wire.

  3. #3
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    I have that article somewhere. Blind tests narrowed the gap between high-dollar cables and homebrew cables made using industry standard construction techniques.

    There is a terrific white paper written at Cal-Tech that was being exchanged on several audiophile forums a few years back that described a similar test. There was a range of wires including some esoteric brands compared to some humble zip cord. Conclusion was that there wasn't much difference using objective scientific measurements. Neither was there any improvement during subjective blind tests.

  4. #4
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    Were you blindfolded?

    Quote Originally Posted by musicoverall
    I only had the chance to listen to the HD cable once and it was not in my own system but in a friend's "cost no object" system. His system excels at soundstaging and the HD cable collapsed the soundfield drastically. He normally uses NBS Statement speaker cables and the difference was pronounced. It would indeed have been a good audio salon demo.

    In my "real world" system, the HD might have been fine but in his system I heard the biggest difference I've ever heard between two brands of speaker wire.
    This issue has been beaten to death, but here goes. I don't dispute that you perceived a huge difference between the two types of cables, but unless you are superhuman, you are susceptible to the placebo effect when listening with knowledge of which specific cables are being used. IMHO, the NBS Statement speaker cables are expensive sugar pills.

    Now, if you or anyone can consistently tell the difference between 14 guage Home Depot wire and the expensive stuff while blindfolded, I'll spend the extra bucks.

  5. #5
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    I use HD cord...

    ...a hundred foot length to boot...and the 60Hz tone from my mower, hedge-trimmer and blower is rock-solid and stable...suffice it to say the results are extremely clean and detailed...I'd go so far as to say none of the other wires are capable of such far-reaching effects and powerful extension. Current handling is simply the best even with difficult loads...

    jimHJJ(...and it's UL approved...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    jimHJJ(...and it's UL approved...)
    I SAW THAT!!!!

    Made my day..

    Cheers, John

  7. #7
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by NoMSG
    This issue has been beaten to death, but here goes. I don't dispute that you perceived a huge difference between the two types of cables, but unless you are superhuman, you are susceptible to the placebo effect when listening with knowledge of which specific cables are being used. IMHO, the NBS Statement speaker cables are expensive sugar pills.

    Now, if you or anyone can consistently tell the difference between 14 guage Home Depot wire and the expensive stuff while blindfolded, I'll spend the extra bucks.
    My dog swears she hears a difference.
    Look & Listen

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoMSG
    This issue has been beaten to death, but here goes. I don't dispute that you perceived a huge difference between the two types of cables, but unless you are superhuman, you are susceptible to the placebo effect when listening with knowledge of which specific cables are being used. IMHO, the NBS Statement speaker cables are expensive sugar pills.

    Now, if you or anyone can consistently tell the difference between 14 guage Home Depot wire and the expensive stuff while blindfolded, I'll spend the extra bucks.
    Nope, I wasn't blindfolded. I don't usually walk around or sit around with a blindfold on.

    You're right -- the issue has been beaten to death. See my blind listening test post on the Audio Lab. In other words, I decided against having someone else make the determination as to whether cables sound different to me. Your opinion about the NBS cables being expensive sugar pills is fine. I just don't happen to share it, at least as it pertains to this particular system. On mine, they may well have been a waste of money. On his, the HD wire needs to be relegated to its intended uses, as Resident Loser points out. I've no doubt it does a great job on mowers and other yard equipment. My HD wire currently powers my treadmill and does a fine job.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Monstrous Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicoverall
    I decided against having someone else make the determination as to whether cables sound different to me.
    This is a very pertinent statement. I too, have decided against someone else making determinations of how something sounds to me. The reason for this is all opinions I have read about concerning audio have been based on subjective listening tests. Somebody swapping components in his system and claiming a sound difference is a basically worthless claim to me since it is a subjective evaluation.

    For an evaluation to have any value to me, I would have to know and trust the judgement of the listeners (yes, many more than one are needed) and I would have to know that the testing included a full range of measurements and a slew of objective listening in a variety of scenarios. There are currently well known methods for achieving this although an overall good test is likely beyond the means of the average home audio enthusiast.

    I do find it curious though that many audiophiles are very adamant about what they hear yet are unwilling to have it confirmed. I suppose the fact that the many attempts to verify actual sonic differences in various audio components have failed leaves audiophiles with only their subjective results. And of course, these vary inconsistently from person to person for the obvious reasons which I have stated.
    Friends help friends move,
    Good friends help friends move bodies....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monstrous Mike
    For an evaluation to have any value to me, I would have to know and trust the judgement of the listeners (.
    Agreed. And the only listener I know well enough to trust the judgment of is myself, particularly since my system will be the one I use, both for the audition of the DUT and for casual listening. I trust others judgment with their own systems but that isn't of any value to me with mine.

  11. #11
    nerd ericl's Avatar
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    I'm kind of a skeptic when it comes to cables, but I also think they can help. Mostly I'm skeptical of the really expensive ones. but I haven't had a ton of experience with real high end cables and gear so I cannot really make an informed comment on them either way.

    But I do think another issue here (or should I say 'hear' - hardy har har!!) is that hearing ability varies so much from person to person. My buddy, for example, swears there's no difference between a dvd player through a component connection on my hdtv and vhs tape through a coax cable on his 1987 Emerson TV. He also can't see a thing without his glasses. But you know what? He's right; to him, there is no difference, and he is as happy as a clam with his vhs.

    An aside on the dbt issues: Do DBT guys demand DBTs to be conducted before they buy any other product? Why just cables? Are DBTs conducted with ANY other products be sides coke and pepsi? (I'm skeptical of those) And I don't mean just in audio, I mean the rest of the consumer world..

    eric

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    I'm kind of a skeptic when it comes to cables, but I also think they can help. Mostly I'm skeptical of the really expensive ones. but I haven't had a ton of experience with real high end cables and gear so I cannot really make an informed comment on them either way....
    An aside on the dbt issues: Do DBT guys demand DBTs to be conducted before they buy any other product? Why just cables? Are DBTs conducted with ANY other products be sides coke and pepsi? (I'm skeptical of those) And I don't mean just in audio, I mean the rest of the consumer world..

    eric
    In most of the consumer world, the differences among products is not disputed, because we can compare the products side by side. At Walmart, the Sony TV sits next to the Emerson and you can see the difference. Most products in the consumer world do not require elaborate setups to compare two products.

    Going back to audio equipment, the most obvious and undisputed truth is that speakers sound different. Although we may argue back and forth about which speakers sound "better," no one will argue that Speaker A sounds different from Speaker B. We've all had the sales guy use the switcher box to do the A/B comparison test. There are concrete reasons, both scientific and common sense as to why speakers sound different.

    However, there is simply no scientific or logical basis that I'm aware of, that would explain why any wire would be better than 12 gauge hardware store cable. Simply put, the perceived differences among speaker cables is more likely due to a placebo effect rather than an actual sonic difference.

    Going back to consumer products, I strongly believe that Pepsi tastes better than Coke. But I will also readily admit that this may all be in my mind and that in a blind taste test, I may not be able to tell the difference. Why can't the high-end cable proponents admit the same?

  13. #13
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    Probably could have gotten a better price or thicker wire if you bought 2-conductor wire instead. Maybe hard to find. I have some though, works fine and looks nicer than zip cord (mine have black casing). You could put those rubber boots they use on some fancier round speaker cables on the ends, add some nice connectors, and pass them off for audiophile cables.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoMSG
    Simply put, the perceived differences among speaker cables is more likely due to a placebo effect rather than an actual sonic difference.

    Going back to consumer products, I strongly believe that Pepsi tastes better than Coke. But I will also readily admit that this may all be in my mind and that in a blind taste test, I may not be able to tell the difference. Why can't the high-end cable proponents admit the same?
    Well, you use the phrase "more likely" in the first quoted comment and "may" in the second. I can admit that cable sonics "may" be imagined but there is too much personal empirical evidence against cable sonics being "more likely" imagined.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    An aside on the dbt issues: Do DBT guys demand DBTs to be conducted before they buy any other product? Why just cables? Are DBTs conducted with ANY other products be sides coke and pepsi? (I'm skeptical of those) And I don't mean just in audio, I mean the rest of the consumer world..

    eric
    No, they readily admit that DBT's are cumbersome and that it's very difficult for the average person to conduct one that will yield any usable results. Sort of a Catch-22... ya gotta do the tests to be believed but the tests themselves can't be believed. Better to dispense with them and just listen.

    Not by a long shot do all cables sound different on my system. In fact, more than half of them exhibited no sonic character I could discern from that of the others in that group. Different manufacturers cables tend to sound different from other mfg'rs, however. And it should also be noted that these differences are very subtle or, at least they were in my tests. Nothing to get excited about unless one is willing to pay dearly for a very small improvement.... IME. Some of us are. To others, it's not worth it. And, to your point, some folks can hear differences in some setups while others cannot. I've been on both sides of that equation.

  16. #16
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    This is beginning to sound like...

    ...a brokrn record...broken record...broken record...ffftttt!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    An aside on the dbt issues: Do DBT guys demand DBTs to be conducted before they buy any other product?
    It has been my experience(at least at this site) that DBTs are brought up when outlandish claims for wire/cables are made...

    Speakers sound different...components can sound different...however I have yet to see any real proof as to the difference wire can make...thus far it is all anecdotal...if you perceive some difference, well, goody for you. It's your system, your listening environment, your source material and, most importantly, your ears.

    Speakers and other components BY THEIR NATURE have the technical complexity coupled with the designers intent for sounding different...wire, however, is simply a conductor, a passive entity. There is absolutely no reason, nor any scientific basis, to think otherwise. The purity of the conductor material or the type of insulation that encapsulates it is, generally speaking, irrelevant.

    As long as the type of wire used is suited to it's intended purpose, wire is...well...wire. So, in a nutshell, if someone reports to hear a difference...OK fine...I think you are deluding yourself and are simply a victim of human frailties, and I most likely will point that out, but OK fine...HOWEVER, when specific claims are made for that passive conductor "improving" the highly subjective and variable near-intangibles of audiophilia, i.e. "air", "imaging", "inner detail", improved bass response and the like, all bets are off.

    jimHJJ(...and THAT is where DBTs come in...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

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  17. #17
    nerd ericl's Avatar
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    so you don't believe that variability in gauge, wire composition, geometry, shielding, etc can make any difference in the integrity of the signal being passed? Do you only take the word of DBTs or have you ever actually tried cables with differing geometry, composition, etc?

    *

  18. #18
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    ...the record's stuck...the record's stuck...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    so you don't believe that variability in gauge
    ...with wires of like gauge and length...no diff...smaller gauges can roll-off the highs

    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    ...composition...
    What composition? Silver? A marginally better conductor...low on the bang for the buck ratio. Teflon...basically flame retardant. Is it a better dielectric? There may be some advantages in long-loop, data transmisission freqs and I think Belden uses a foamed PTFE in some of it's coax...I was told by JR the Discwasher Gold-ens cables I use contain it and that he had a hand in designing them so they're OK...other than a nice build quality, I hear no difference between them, the TEAC locap stuff or OEM inclusions I use.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    ...geometry...
    Like CAT5...intended purpose: signal integrity at data frequencies...way beyond our 20Hz-20kHz...a bit of "trickle-down" hype IMO...a long-ago site regular once asked me about some old "silver" Western Electric single-conductor wire...the cache of WE lures and mystifies some...I told him it was only tinned 22ga. copper, wrapped in PE and covered with color-coded cloth...the truth tends to demystify...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    ...shielding...
    Other than rejection of spurious signals what does shielding do? If needed you can't do without it...more than what is required for the app won't really do more than make the wire thicker, heavier and more difficult to work with...It won't provide more "air"...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericl
    ...Do you only take the word of DBTs or have you ever actually tried cables with differing geometry, composition, etc?
    Never partook of a DBT nor do I intend to. I did however purchase(as an impulse item) a set of Polk Cobra's circa late 70s early 80s from my local high-end emporium. Took 'em home, wired 'em in...heard absolutely no diff, but hey they looked cool...within about two weeks my amp went up in a puff of acrid, green smoke...seems the "geometry" added too much capacitance which did not work well with the amp...had it repaired went back to the twin-lead...relocated my gear out of the listening area and used 10ga sound reinforcement(PA) wire...50ft/channel no less...the amp worked well in that configuration 'til I upgraded to my current HK Citation 19 and the PA wire works as well as it ever did...no reason to "upgrade"...

    jimHJJ(...and that's the story...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  19. #19
    audio ninja Haru's Avatar
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    Ive had my share of high end cables and still do. The HD's sound pretty dang fine to me and they are fun to make.

    Haru

  20. #20
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvc
    If you want good sounding cable without spending big $, then go to Home Depot and buy the orange and black extension cord.

    I've been using Home Depot cables and I'm very happy.
    Just last night I tried their 10-2 with ground Romex electrical wire and for my setup it made a very good improvement.

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