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  1. #1
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    Speaker wire makes a huge difference!!!!!!

    I was the guy who upgraded from a HTIB to yamaha's ns-777, 555, 444(center) -

    I figured when I swapped out the receiver I could just use the existing wire (which was 20g, maybe even smaller) which came with the system, and not have to rerun the cables.

    I cam across a decent deal - $35 retail (per 50ft) marked down to 10$. So I jumped on it for a total of 150ft for $30.

    I switched out to silver plated 16g studio wire, AND OMFG!!!! Complete night and day differnce.

    If you havent splurged yet on good wire - check it out.

    There may be differences between brands I dont know. I bought $30 (150 ft) stuff - so you may not need to spend 100's for the extra performance.

    Again - the 100$ per 50ft may work better, I dont know. But I doubt it would improve it much further.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    There is some debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluforever
    I was the guy who upgraded from a HTIB to yamaha's ns-777, 555, 444(center) -

    I figured when I swapped out the receiver I could just use the existing wire (which was 20g, maybe even smaller) which came with the system, and not have to rerun the cables.

    I cam across a decent deal - $35 retail (per 50ft) marked down to 10$. So I jumped on it for a total of 150ft for $30.

    I switched out to silver plated 16g studio wire, AND OMFG!!!! Complete night and day differnce.

    If you havent splurged yet on good wire - check it out.

    There may be differences between brands I dont know. I bought $30 (150 ft) stuff - so you may not need to spend 100's for the extra performance.

    Again - the 100$ per 50ft may work better, I dont know. But I doubt it would improve it much further.
    The value of the high-priced $1000 (or $10,000) cable is debateable. But there is no debate around 20ga. wire -- it's useless and should never be used. I would suggest at least 16ga. regardless of length of run, preferably 14ga.

    What about those medium price cables, i.e. $200 - 500 per 6' pair? Given 'em a try if you like: you might notice some improvement depending on the speaker + amplfier combination.

  3. #3
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    These is apples...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluforever
    I was the guy who upgraded from a HTIB to yamaha's ns-777, 555, 444(center) -

    I figured when I swapped out the receiver I could just use the existing wire (which was 20g, maybe even smaller) which came with the system, and not have to rerun the cables.

    I cam across a decent deal - $35 retail (per 50ft) marked down to 10$. So I jumped on it for a total of 150ft for $30.

    I switched out to silver plated 16g studio wire, AND OMFG!!!! Complete night and day differnce.

    If you havent splurged yet on good wire - check it out.

    There may be differences between brands I dont know. I bought $30 (150 ft) stuff - so you may not need to spend 100's for the extra performance.

    Again - the 100$ per 50ft may work better, I dont know. But I doubt it would improve it much further.
    ...these is oranges....this is 20ga., this is 16ga. Difference? Probably...the true test is, wiring of similar length and gauge....BAMPPP!!! Note the last word...

    Some folks in the wire crowd, claim that silver-plated wires deserve a big thumbs-down...BTW are they actually "silver" as in the element Ag or just "tinned" which allows for easier soldering compared to bare copper?

    Pricing may be indicative...

    jimHJJ(...caveat emptor...)
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  4. #4
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    Im not debating the silver is better or worse thing. I guess Im saying the gauge is what I believed to make a huge difference.

    Excuse my ignorance, Im still learning!

  5. #5
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    I do have to say that using thicker wires makes a difference though...
    I just doubled my cable (I used the same cable, but instead of using one per speaker, I now use one per pole. which makes it 8mm˛ of speaker cable, per pole, per side (4cables of 2m lenght)) and it definately made a difference, both in lows as in clarity...

    Better wire of course, will be better than mine. I payed $40 for 6 meters of cable, I think that paying $100-$150 for speaker cable is reasonable, but I really don't see the point in buying $5k speaker cable.

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  6. #6
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Ditto

    Huge difference between 20ga and 16ga in sound. The 20ga will make your music sound thin and lifeless.
    I found a very small difference when going from 16ga to 12ga. But the price wasn't bad so I made the switch.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  7. #7
    Demoted to Low-Fi Carl Reid's Avatar
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    Pure Nonsense... Speaker wire makes no difference....

    I saved 60 of those little bread bag ties and joined them together, 30 each... and use them as speaker wire and the sound is fantastic....




    Ok seriously, different gauge makes a difference.... But the bigger debate with speaker wire is whether using more expensive wire of the same gauge makes a 'significant' difference...

  8. #8
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Kind of eye-opening, innit? Welcome to the believers in the cables-make-a-difference club.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
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  9. #9
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    Kind of eye-opening, innit? Welcome to the believers in the cables-make-a-difference club.
    Put me down for the maybe club. But I don't think my speakers can tell.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Put me down for the maybe club. But I don't think my speakers can tell.
    I'll join the maybe club too
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  11. #11
    Demoted to Low-Fi Carl Reid's Avatar
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    This review from Soundstage for Atelier First Horn Speakers is why I absolutely refuse to become obsessed with speaker wire.... Fear of becoming like this reviewer:

    Although the First Horns’ Cardas connectors work with virtually any speaker cable, it seemed goofy to use $2000 cables with $699 speakers, so I used some of the lower-priced cables in my collection. Thus, most of my listening was done with Blue Marble Audio’s $795 speaker cable, a neutral-sounding cable that has sounded good with a variety of speakers.
    Goofy??? Just Goofy to use $2k cables on a $700 speaker? But $800 cables on a $700 speaker is perfectly reasonable???? WTF????

  12. #12
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    some people are just crazy... I think its the gauge that makes the most difference.

    Right now i'm using a heavy duty extension cable chopped up. I lopped of the ends, but it in half and stripped the ends, i think its about 14 gauge, maybe 12... but its solid copper and the wires are all individually wrapped so no crosstalk.
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  13. #13
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Not sure what gauge my Clearview wires are, and I honestly dont care cuz they sound great in my setting.

  14. #14
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    PS Audio Xstreams....

    Well, here are my thoughts....

    I first used 14 and 16g Monster Cable for my 2nd pair of PSB speakers that I owned, then I upgraded to AudioQuest GR-8's and the difference was noticeable, but still lacking. Then I upgraded to the PS Audio Xstreams, which are the most rediculously thick cables on the market and I finally found what I was missing. The thicker cable seemed to bring more bass through. I am not saying that the cables are the cause for a difference in sound, they are responsible for bringing the signal accurately through and these were the first cables to actually bring through more low end presence, but also good performance all around.

    Often people state that it's the cables that are the 'cause' of the difference, when in fact it's the equipment all along, but you do need good cables to get that connection made.

  15. #15
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    For **** and giggles I decided to hook up the 20g on the left speaker and the 16g on the right. Then I played some test tones from a calibration CD I just picked up.

    Peruvian skies hit the nail on the head. With 20g, the mids and lows were definitely flat and lacking. The higher gauge helped them fill out much more.

    Since the yamahas were only $320 for rears and $400 for the mains, I cant see spending $100 per cable per speaker. I am a college kid on a budget, with 2 kids and a full time student wife as well.

    If your like me, and have to stick to a certain budget - there is a huge difference between the standard crap they give you in a HTIB - and for $30 (hardly an expense given the improvement) more - you can get a huge improvement.

    Ive always been a videophile, and up to this point, that has been the major parts of my investment. I kind of thought speaker wire was like component or hdmi cables - a certain grade of cable will give the best possible performance on short distances.

    Speaker wire is much different, and I experienced it first hand. Just in case you get any other noobs like me popping up - or sitting on the fence about a speaker wire upgrade - I say go for it. Even budget buyers like myself can tell a huge difference. Even my non audio/video phile wife can tell.

  16. #16
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Just one little clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluforever
    Peruvian skies hit the nail on the head. With 20g, the mids and lows were definitely flat and lacking. The higher gauge helped them fill out much more.
    Wire gauge is non-intuitive. As the gauge number goes lower, the wire gets thicker. i.e. 12 gauge is thicker than 24 gauge. ...much thicker.

    And, just to add to the confusion, if you double up wires of the same gauge, you effectively drop three gauges. i.e. if you double up a 16 gauge wires, you effectively have made a 13 gauge wire.

  17. #17
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    I'll join the maybe club too
    OK, welcome to the club. But two things....

    I would think that if anyone's speakers could tell the difference it would be yours.
    Are you using jumper cables? That new amp of yours looks like it would melt my 12ga wire.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    OK, welcome to the club. But two things....

    I would think that if anyone's speakers could tell the difference it would be yours.
    Are you using jumper cables? That new amp of yours looks like it would melt my 12ga wire.
    My speakers sure do that, but they are really not "High End". There is no Voodoo or magic in my speaker. Its all technology. It even contains a programm that lets you adjust the cables impedance for best matching. I believe its not down to the cable, but the impedance matching of the input and outputs and drive matching incase of active use.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    To further stir the pot

    Speaker cables do make a difference. I prefer solid core, single strand and minimal dielectric for cables and interconnects. Some of what people hear as more fullness I hear as distortion. Strand interaction to me makes things fuzzy sounding.
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  20. #20
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    My speakers sure do that, but they are really not "High End". There is no Voodoo or magic in my speaker. Its all technology. It even contains a programm that lets you adjust the cables impedance for best matching. I believe its not down to the cable, but the impedance matching of the input and outputs and drive matching incase of active use.

    -Flo
    Thanks Flo,

    This really tells me why some people hear a difference more than others. It has more to do with matching them to the speakers. Or in your case, having speakers that can be adjusted to match the cables being used.

    Oh, and if your speakers are not "high end". Then what are?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Thanks Flo,

    This really tells me why some people hear a difference more than others. It has more to do with matching them to the speakers. Or in your case, having speakers that can be adjusted to match the cables being used.

    Oh, and if your speakers are not "high end". Then what are?
    I think they are just "speakers" but none of this voodoo crap. They dont believe in a wooden construction, so they used cast iron. They found too many flaws in a passive design, so they used an active one etc.... I like products that have a real technical advantage and dont come with voodoo packages or "magic sound" when you use a rare african tree.

    :-)
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  22. #22
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    FWIW, the only published speaker wire test I'm aware of that reliably demonstrated differences under blind conditions was a test that Stereo Review conducted decades ago where subjects clearly differentiated between a 24-gauge speaker wire and a group of other thicker cables. But, that same test found that subjects could not reliably differentiate between a generic 16-gauge lamp cord and Monster Cable.

    But, when conducting any speaker wire comparison, you need to make at least some effort to control the sight biases, because it's been proven time and again that observations made when people can see the changes made to the equipment and cabling do not always correspond to the observations made when they don't know what changes were made. At audio shows, John Dunlavy and McIntosh reps used to demonstrate the effect of sight bias by pretending to switch out the speaker cables or interconnects, and let listeners gush on about how huge a difference they heard when in fact nothing had been switched out. I've done similar bits of foolery where I would pretend to switch out cabling or components, and friends of mine would observe "night and day" differences when nothing had actually changed between listenings. I've observed subtle differences between speaker wires in blind listenings, but they are nowhere near the magnitude of difference that a lot of people attribute to the cabling. IMO, the investment in megabuck cabling is better spent in more relevant areas like improving room acoustics.
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  23. #23
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    I believe that. I heard a distinct difference moving up from 16 to 12 gauge. I would probably tend to buy 12 gauge high-purity copper before springing for 16 gauge silver-plated though.

    I've experimented with quite a bit of wire over the years, although nothing too pricey. I find solid wires not to my liking. Possibly more accurate and just too revealing of weaknesses in my system / room acoustics. I've found the Monster Cable style braiding in most 12 gauge cables being sold clouds things up a bit to my ear. I found some finely stranded 12 gauge cables without the braiding and I've been satisfied with them for awhile now...

  24. #24
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    Doubling Cables and using both outs to one input......?

    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    Wire gauge is non-intuitive. As the gauge number goes lower, the wire gets thicker. i.e. 12 gauge is thicker than 24 gauge. ...much thicker.

    And, just to add to the confusion, if you double up wires of the same gauge, you effectively drop three gauges. i.e. if you double up a 16 gauge wires, you effectively have made a 13 gauge wire.
    What happens if I double up on my 12 gauge does it make them 4g or what ? Also, what happens if I were to run two cables from each of the possitive outs A-B on my receiver and also two from the negative outs A-B to only one pos and neg on a speaker would this drop my Ohms......or would I blow a speaker or what ? Does impedence suffer or change with using both outputs from the receiver to one input on a speaker.........do we get twice the power to the drivers and is this safe.......????
    I know thats strange; and I would never do some of this with my good stuff but maybe it would be interesting to try this with throw out equipment to see what might happen......
    Later
    Doug

  25. #25
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    No... You wouldn't get any more power using the A and B speaker outputs. Resistance is added when they're both selected at the same time, in order to prevent damage to the receiver. A and B speakers share the same power though.

    According to markw's rule, doubling a 12 gauge wire would give you the equivalent of a 9 gauge wire. Sounds right to me...

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