• 03-01-2005, 09:15 PM
    Shwamdoo
    What is important when buying cables?
    I really have no idea what to look for in cables. Here are my main questions.

    -Is gauge important?
    -If so, why?
    -How do I know what my gauge should be?
    -What do cable statistics mean?
    -Does the length of my speaker cables matter?
    -How does changing the power cord affect performance?
    -What are the differences between various connectors?

    And, I think that is it. Thanks for any help.
  • 03-02-2005, 06:14 AM
    markw
    Boy, you sure ask a lot of questions. ;)
    While some of these points can, and often are, argued incessantly, here's a good place to start to help you unravel those mysteries of the universe.

    http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/...ples/index.php

    BTW, where is Coppell? I thought he was a news commentator with a bad toupee.
  • 03-02-2005, 12:33 PM
    RobotCzar
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Shwamdoo
    -Is gauge important?
    -If so, why?
    -How do I know what my gauge should be?
    -What do cable statistics mean?
    -Does the length of my speaker cables matter?
    -How does changing the power cord affect performance?
    -What are the differences between various connectors?

    And, I think that is it. Thanks for any help.

    Important for what? The thickness of a cable affects its electrical properties, and is therefore "important". But for typical runs of home audio guage probably doesn't matter (keep in mind that the signal is going to go through many yard of very thin cable in spakers that use voice coils--so a little more thin wire is probably not going to make much difference, certainly no audible difference (other than volume).

    Cable "statistics"? You mean specificantions?

    Does length matter? Yes, but not so as you can hear it except for really long runs (my guess is hundreds of feet).

    Changing the power cord as the effect of changing the look of the power cord and making some people feel good. It also has the effect of making the person doing it look foolish.

    The differences between various connectors is that they connect differently. One obvioius difference is that some connections will hold together better under stress (like someone pulling at the wires). A suppose a really tight connection is desirable, but it is about 1,376 on the list of things to worry about for good home audio. I do think non-corrosive connectors are probably a good idea.

    What you should "look for" in cable depends on really simply answers to how you will be using it. If it is highly visible you want cable that looks a) beautiful, b) cool, or c) invisible depending on your taste. Cable that is highly flexible or is flat may also be useful in some applications. If you are worried about it, get 10 ga zip cord and move on.
  • 03-02-2005, 01:27 PM
    Shwamdoo
    Thanks.

    Markw - Thanks for the helpfull link. And, Coppell is right outside of Dallas, Texas...I have no idea why I didn't just put Dallas. I think I may just have to fix that. :)

    Robot Czar - Thanks for the advice as well.
    -On the first question, by important i meant does it affect performance in either a positive or negative way by buying a higher or lower gauge.
    -On the second question, yes I did mean specifications. I am just not sure how to interprit some of the commonly used specifications.
  • 03-02-2005, 03:36 PM
    MikeyBC
    The quaility of the connector and the grade of the copper/silver used in my opinion are the most important, The guage matters if youre using long runs of wire. But you usually only find good connectors on heavier guage wire anyway. A good quality connector will fit tighter and have a higher surface area for the signal to flow reducing the "bottleneck"
  • 03-02-2005, 07:05 PM
    Pat D
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Shwamdoo
    I really have no idea what to look for in cables. Here are my main questions.

    -Is gauge important?
    -If so, why?
    -How do I know what my gauge should be?
    -What do cable statistics mean?
    -Does the length of my speaker cables matter?
    -How does changing the power cord affect performance?
    -What are the differences between various connectors?

    And, I think that is it. Thanks for any help.

    Markw has already provided a link to the Audioholics site.

    The following link provides a table for recommended minimum gauges for speaker wire for different lengths and minimum impedances for speakers:

    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

    You ask specifically about power cables. Well, here is a link to an article by an expert:

    http://sound.westhost.com/cables-p4.htm#power
  • 03-03-2005, 10:34 AM
    mystic
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Pat D
    Markw has already provided a link to the Audioholics site.

    The following link provides a table for recommended minimum gauges for speaker wire for different lengths and minimum impedances for speakers:

    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

    You ask specifically about power cables. Well, here is a link to an article by an expert:

    http://sound.westhost.com/cables-p4.htm#power


    I have used the wire table in the Roger Russell link with mixed results. I relocated a pair of 4-ohm speakers which necessitated going from 8' lengths to 25' lengths of the 14 AWG speaker wire I was using. Much to my disappointment there was a very obvious loss of bass. To eliminate the possibility that the change in speaker location was the reason for the problem, I tried the speakers in the original location using the 25' wire. Again the bass was not as good as it was with the 8' wire. Using a pair of 8-ohm speakers, however, I noticed no difference in performance with the 8' and 25' wires. While the wire table could be a useful guide, it may not apply to all speakers, and some experimentation may be necessary for best results.
  • 03-03-2005, 12:13 PM
    royphil345
    My findings are exactly the same. I can absolutely hear the difference between 14 and 12 gauge speaker wire even on 15' runs. At higher volumes there is less bass and detail using 14 gauge wires. Found the same thing to be true with interconnects. Thicker ones = more bass and more detail.

    I'm not into buying high-priced cables, but I believe quality counts. 12 gauge copper zip-cord does it for me. In interconnects I just look for nice, heavy guage conductors and good shielding.