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 Hi Fi Speaker Wire?

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:46 am Reply with quoteBack to top

As part of Project Bathroom ( note to self - must update blog when I have time to upload the pix), we put waterproof speakers in the bathroom ceiling, and wired them up to the hifi downstairs, by a long route out through the wall, up the front of the house, across the attic to the backs of the speakers above the bathroom.

I would have been quite happy to use bog standard cheap car speaker wire, but Edmundo came up with a roll of special de-oxygenated speaker wire. I also used it downstairs for the regular hifi speakers in the front room, but felt guilty about using miles of the (horribly expensive, apparently) stuff for the bathroom speakers. No worries, apparently it was 'liberated' after being left over from a project at Edmundo's work Wink .

What I don't get, and even Ed as an engineer couldn't give me a satisfactory answer to, is how the hell can you have hi-fidelity wire? Surely it conducts electricity or it doesn't, and the sound you get depends on the quality of your amp and speakers. All the wire does is take the signal from one to the other.

I grant you that poor wire could lose power by offering more resistance, but surely you could just turn it up? Anyway, whats wrong with ordinary, un de-oxygenated copper wire?

I suspect marketing bullsh*t for people short of something better to spend their money on, but maybe you know different?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:31 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Roy, oxygen free copper wire does not carode like the other stuff so not the raise in resistants over time, exspesaly if the wire is used in a long run from source, the patina that forms on the surface of the copper adds resistance, the signal does actaly run through the wire it run on the surface thats why when you look at referance grade speaker wire it has a higher strand count than a basic wire.
Like the speaker wire I use is a 12ga 1200 strand O2 free wire. typical speaker wire is 16 or 18 ga 50 to 100 strand. more surface, more signal, less loss.
and if the wire is being run through the wall for Inwall speaker use should be using CL grade wire, a good one I use for Inwalls is esotaric audio referance CL wire

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

For permanent installations I use "building wire" because of national codes. Its not just about the copper, its about the insulation. I only use "plenum" rated conductors for communication wire. As far as numbers of strands,Tesla first described the skin effect and the reduction of impedance at higher frequencies over a hundred years ago. The strands also allow a more flexible conductor but you never want any loops or kinks. The problem is that as the numbers of conductors increase, the surface area ratio increases to the point that any surface corrosion will cause signal loss. Since your copper was selected based upon price, discussions of Z/time are really not necessary. I would put my money into terminations and polypro three way drivers and not worry about marketing terminology.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Along the lines of what Packman said, the key is where the wire is going to be placed (e.g. behind the wall or out in the open), and then the ga reading. And as you noted, it's also about how easily the current flows in the wire. Can you hear the difference in the shower? No. But it may help with durability and certainly is important with regard to building codes. I'm doing the same now myself in the ceiling of a new addition. I didn't go crazy, but I found a good Belkin Oxy-free wire for a very good price on line so I went for it. As compared to Monster (rip off) Cable, I saved easily $50.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As the newly modded Razor said, it's about durability. I am an electrical engineer and I did do my senior design project on something that had to do with audio, so I feel I can speak with some kind of authority, though not modly like Razor's. Laughing

Monster Cable is crap (not because of quality, but because of price). It's expensive for the sake of being expensive. Now, there is a difference in sound between crappy, low durability cable and decent, thick cable. Let me define cheap cable... it's thin, with cheap connectors (if there are any) and bad solder joints (again, if there are any). Cheap cable will have a high capacitance, which can shunt highs. However, a name brand cable isn't the fix. Just buy some thicker guage, durable cable and you will be fine.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^

You'd be amazed at what knowledge you gain about electrical engineering once made a Mod. I can literally see through time as well...fascinating.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

High priced speaker wires are a big ripoff ... most use big words to hide the fact they use house grade copper wire, inside of garden hoses ...

The human ear can not detect minute change in decibel levels, and buying audiophile grade wires is pointless.

http://www.analysis-plus.com/pdfs/ctnowoval12sept2001.pdf

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The quaity of the cable can make a big diffence. on my autophile system which is krell 1000 class A Amps, martin logan Statement ES eletrostatic speakers, thornes turntable. you can hear a diffrence between basic wire monster cable and esotaric audio. and if I use my RTA on it you can see a huge diffrence. it dependes on what your looking for. and as far as strand count that is one of the biggest factors you take cheap radio shack 12GA 50 strand and kimber cable 3000 strand night and day diffrence. but the main thing is for your inwalls by most building code you have to use CL in wall cable, make sure you use well shelded good grade O2 free cable. the sheilding is very important so that is you close to any electical cables in the wall it wont pick up interferance.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I think that is all psychological. I have never seen any physical evidence that any difference can be detected, other than slight capacitance issues. I think most of that is a bunch of snake oil to be honest.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

JoJo you sound like someone how actuly think Bose is good stuff, puke

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

[smartass mode] If it were up to me, I would go wireless. [/smartass mode]
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

No sir. No highs, no lows- it must be Bose! My speakers are made by NHT. Bose speakers are good for what they do- surround sound. However, it is my opinion that they are not the best for listening to music.

I am no audiophile myself. But I am into high end guitar tube amplification. I have done a lot of reading and research on these things. I have found no reason for why certain ones would "sound" better. Copper is copper. It's just another tool of the marketers. For instance... you will very often see packages listed with "gold plated" connectors, to "optimize sound". WELL, techinically, gold is not that great of a conductor. In fact, it is significantly less conductive simple copper connectors. It is barely better than aluminum and comes no where close to silver, which is one of, if not the best conductor. It is used for its non-corrosive properties. However, it is marketed as a "sound optimizer".

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You are right on the button about gold. the only thing that gold does is that it keeps the connctor from develping carosion. the best conductor is actsaly bronze. silver is no.2. Kimber cable made a lot of silver cables. the problem with bronze is that pound for pound it is more expencive that silver when making wire with it and a lot more brittle. and as a former Bose dealer. they are no good for suround sound ether. apsalutly the worst imagining I have ever heard. and I told my old Bose rep. that....he agreed. but if you sell them you make money. If you can in good consance.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

JMRazor wrote:
I can literally see through time as well...fascinating.


I have to really squint, like when I try and see through a pixellated picture, but I do see what you mean.

I see the logic in the pro fancy wire camp, but I tend towards the Snake Oil side myself.

I found these nuggets on wiki:

Quote:
There is controversy among audiophiles surrounding the impact that high-end cables have on audio systems. The audibility of the changes is a matter of much debate. There are claims that, even among audiophiles, in a double-blind test it is difficult or impossible to distinguish extremely expensive, exotic speaker cables from ordinary lamp cords or budget 12AWG copper speaker wire

James Randi, a stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience, offered a prize of one million dollars to anyone who could prove his or her ability to distinguish an expensive high-end audio cable from an ordinary audio cable by means of a controlled listening test. [3] [4] Michael Fremer of the Stereophile magazine took the challenge, but satisfactory testing conditions could not be agreed upon, and the test did not take place


seems I'm not the first person to be dubious...

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Last edited by Roycropper on Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Lots of people get wrapped up in that stuff. I see more snake oil in the hifi world than I think I have seen anywhere else. Copper is copper is copper.

Here are a couple of amusing pieces of crap (only in m opinion) that you could also waste your money on:

http://www.thecableco.com/product.php?id=4749
https://www.virtualdynamics.ca/content.php?id=201&secondary_id=43 (yes, that is a $7,000 power cable)

People swear that these things make their audio equipment sound better. Why? Because if I spent $7k on a power cable, I would want that thing to sound incredible, among doing other things.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jojobean wrote:
https://www.virtualdynamics.ca/content.php?id=201&secondary_id=43 (yes, that is a $7,000 power cable)


Why be so tight with your money jojo. That price is for the 5 ft. cord. Why not get the 9 ft. cord? It's only $8574.00.

I admittedly do not know the finer scientific points of copper wire or fiber-optic cable, but I work with both of them. I do know you can reach upwards of 10,000 ft. on a pair of copper conductors (24 guage) and still have a good, interference free telephone line. I cannot imagine what in the world makes those power cables worth that kind of money. Gold is currently trading at around $880.00 per ounce. You could buy a 9 ft power cable with $8600.00, or you could buy almost 10 ounces of gold. I think I would go for the gold.


Last edited by Harry Bawls on Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

that is most defantly snake oil.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:13 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have cloth ears- I use bell wire!! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I agree with jojoBean. there is a *lot* of snake oil in hi-fi. My business is mostly at microwave/RF frequencies and "skin effect" is strictly in my ballpark. The kinds of higher frequencies Nikola Tesla was referring to are around 150KHz plus and well into radio frequency territory. Unless your particular application demands conductors as thick as thumbs, skin effect will not trouble you.

Use decent commercial or industrial cable with a generous cross section of copper and make good terminations such as soldered lugs. Follow my lead on power connections and leave a bit of grease under the lugs to resist tarnishing, job's good for ten years. it's always worked for me. If bi-wiring is your thing industrial control cables like SY control flex comes in a useful variety of core counts and up to 10 sq.mm cross section.
Image
Looks very nice, too Very Happy As an aside you can use this with Raychem S1125 adhesive and heatshrink booted, EMC shielded Amphenol connectors for that military-industrial aesthetic, or if you want your speakers to survive ten years up a comms mast.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jojobean wrote:
Monster Cable is crap (not because of quality, but because of price). It's expensive for the sake of being expensive ...Copper is copper is copper...




I totally agree!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:17 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I wouldnt go as far as saying its crap. I use monster interlinks because I like the way there constructed. how well the termanals are made and how tight they are. to me the exalent shielding is worth the money.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You are using shielded speaker cables? Or shielded interconnects?

As I said, they are not crap because of their quality. I said they are crap because of their price. Again, copper is copper. Monster is not using anything higher grade in their copper than anyone else. They are just charging more for it.

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harrya
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Joined: 23 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It's snake oil. However a thin cable or one with a high resistance may well increase the total resistance over a long length causing a lower output at the speaker and a roll off at the high frequency end.
Given that most people over the age of 21 are already losing the 15-20khz frequency band it won't make a hell of a difference.
As these are going in a shower it's clearly not a hi-fi application.
Since the cable was free use it Smile

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Connie L. Gus
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Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 6462
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The bottom line is that installing Monster Cable in a wall or ceiling unless it was stolen would be a code violation and a foolish waste of money in the USA.

Edit- All of the examples of Monster Cable I have seen or been offered did not have the required markings for use in a wall, in a ceiling, in wet or humid locations or in a plenum. This situation may have been fixed, but I don't care. I've talked with our head county inspector that is on the panel for the NFPA that oversees the National Electric Code about the ads for Monster Cable installed in movie theaters several years ago. We agreed that it was both hype and illegal. Copper is copper, but its the markings on the jacket that you keep your ass from being sued.

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packman
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Joined: 15 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I use monster interlinks. I use esotaric audio for my speaker wire 12ga 1500 strand count and real thick jacket on it. and only about $2 foot. excelant durability. as for the inwall wireing all Im saying is make sure you use inwall CL wire. its required for fire code and the stuff I used has very good sheilding in the outer jacket to protect from RF interferance for electic cables that your wire maybe run near.

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