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Best sounding and value for money speaker cable?


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#1 mathew_rt

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 04:40 PM

I want to ask what experience do you have with speaker cables and what is the best sounding and value for money cable? I know there is a lot of snake oil and hype about speaker cables and also crazy prices.
I am in the process of buying speaker cable and want to post this thread to see other members opinions.


Speakers: B&W Signature 805 - Amplifier: Marantz PM 14 - Source: Marantz SA 14, Marantz ST 17 Tuner - ICs etc: Audioquest Python interconnects, Canare 4s11 speaker cables - Visual: Panasonic VT20 58" Plasma

#2 eskcapee

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 09:07 PM

Mathew , perhaps you could advise us as to what length of cables do you need and what sort of budget you have, it might make it easier for some to suggest some of the better quality cables , members have tried and thought were good value for money.
Out of the few cables that i have tried , i found dh labs silver sonics q10 & q14, van den hul cs122 , nordorst flat line gold , and canare quad 4s to be good value for money , or course it would nice to try before buying IMO.
good luck with the hunt
cheers
eskcapee

Edited by eskcapee, 11 September 2010 - 09:08 PM.
spelling

naim cdx2 cdp , supratek malbec amps,spendor sp2/2 speakers, vpi scout tt, gsp reflex p-stage


#3 mathew_rt

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 10:38 PM

Hi Eskcapee

I require a 5 meter pair and my budget is around $500 for new or preowned cables.
I currently own Canare 4s11 cable and have had them for the last 5 years.
I have not compared the canare to any other cable as i have not had the opportunity to.
If you have any suggestion let me know.

cheers.
Speakers: B&W Signature 805 - Amplifier: Marantz PM 14 - Source: Marantz SA 14, Marantz ST 17 Tuner - ICs etc: Audioquest Python interconnects, Canare 4s11 speaker cables - Visual: Panasonic VT20 58" Plasma

#4 kdoot

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:33 PM

Hi Mathew, I'll share my experiences first and then offer a suggestion or two afterwards.

I'm on my third set of speaker cables. First was Transparent "in-wall" cable, a normal kind of stranded copper, bi-wired using unequal lengths L/R. Approx cost $50/m which I now consider was a rip-off but the shop has to make money on something, right? This cable was really rugged and easy to live with.

After changing speakers and furniture I found that the best speaker position was too far away from the amp for the shorter pair of cables so I was using the longer pair as single runs. There did seem to be some loss of sound quality without the bi-wiring so I went to a different shop and asked about bi-wire cables. Was convinced to try some better quality single cables instead, and ended up buying Van Den Hul D-352 Hybrid that ended up at about the same cost per meter as my first ones but produced more body and a more extended top end with greater detail. Physically it was still well protected but had a kind of flat cross-section which made it a bit trickier to route.

Just recently I've upgraded to RibbonTek speaker cables (and interconnects) from Lenehan Audio. In my system, these have been astonishing. Bass is so fast, and deep, and articulated. Treble is pure and focused and seems totally effortless. The clarity and resolution is such that I got better results from changing cables than from swapping an entry-level mass-produced DAC for an over-engineered hand-made all discrete unit. The only downside is that the RibbonTeks actually are a very flat, wide ribbon of copper in a loose-ish protective woven sheath. They're not very easy at all to route and are probably quite easily damaged.

They're not exactly "cheap" but in terms of value for money, with sound quality as the main criteria, I reckon the RibbonTek cable blows the others away.


Now... having said all that, I see your photo there and wonder if there aren't better things you can do to improve your sound than spend $500 on speaker cables. You've got those 805's right up against the back wall, the left one's practically in the corner, there's polished wooden floors with no apparent covering, furniture (a table with chairs?) right in the middle of the sound field...

Can you describe what kind of deficiency you're hoping to solve by changing cables? Perhaps there might be other remedies that don't involve spending money, or which would give much better results per dollar invested.
Lenehan ML2 Reference with "limited edition" stands < Ribbontek cables < Rotel RB-990BX (upgraded caps and wire) < Ribbonflex interconnects < Metrum Octave < Dtek digital cable < Audiophilleo 2 with PurePower < Mac mini with Audirvana+ doing upsampling and volume control

#5 eskcapee

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:41 PM

Mathew, the canare cables are quite good, there are a lot of good cables out there in the price range your looking at, perhaps cables that gel with your system will require some testing in your system, i have been lucky in that my local hi fi shop has been good enough to loan me cables to try over the years and he manages to carry good quality cables at all price points ( i think his plan is to to sell me a 10k set of nordost vahalla speaker cables one of these days, i keep telling him he should look me up in my next lifetime as i cant see spending 10k on some cables fitting in with my current spending plans for this life :confused:) .
You might also want to check out previous post/threads in this forum section and do a search on speaker cable threads and post in the forum .
Caxton hi fi in brisbane is where i brought my dh labs silver sonics Q10 cable from and it,s within your budget, his web site has a link to dh labs site and i think he has a shop or agent in melbourne.
cheers
eskcapee

naim cdx2 cdp , supratek malbec amps,spendor sp2/2 speakers, vpi scout tt, gsp reflex p-stage


#6 dirty

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 12:46 AM

Sound Reference is the Melbourne store, 38a Johnson St Fitzroy, upstairs, run by a young man who used to work for Caxton, lots and lots of good gear and he is happy for you to listen to as much of it as you like.

They quite often have a bit of second hand gear as well.

http://www.caxtonaudio.com.au/

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#7 Zaphod Beeblebrox

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 08:24 AM

I want to ask what experience do you have with speaker cables and what is the best sounding and value for money cable? I know there is a lot of snake oil and hype about speaker cables and also crazy prices.
I am in the process of buying speaker cable and want to post this thread to see other members opinions.


Depends on the impedance curve of your speakers (NOT the quoted impedance) and the length of the cable. NOTHING else matters. IME, the best value for money cable is RG213/U, which is a high power coax cable designed for industrial use.
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#8 mathew_rt

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 08:47 AM

Hi Kdoot

Yes you are right. My positioning of the speakers is very poor and the floor boards and the cathedral ceiling doesn't help.
I had to comprise with the misses with decorating the house and this was the only spot i could put my hifi.
Its tough. I wanted a room solely for listening purposes but got a little corner of the house with tables and chairs in front of it.
I have had my system for nearly 6 years without upgrading and since have had the bug for upgrading speaker cables as i currently have a set that cost $100.
I posted this thread because i am skeptical about spending good money on cables that might not provide a sonic difference as i know and have been advise there is alot of snake oil with cables.
A friend of mine said some cables provide a sonic difference but it is marginal and even then it more of a characteristic difference rather than an improvement.
What are your thoughts on this?

Cheers.

Edited by mathew_rt, 12 September 2010 - 08:49 AM.
error

Speakers: B&W Signature 805 - Amplifier: Marantz PM 14 - Source: Marantz SA 14, Marantz ST 17 Tuner - ICs etc: Audioquest Python interconnects, Canare 4s11 speaker cables - Visual: Panasonic VT20 58" Plasma

#9 kdoot

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:24 AM

Yes you are right. My positioning of the speakers is very poor and the floor boards and the cathedral ceiling doesn't help.
I had to comprise with the misses with decorating the house and this was the only spot i could put my hifi.
Its tough. I wanted a room solely for listening purposes but got a little corner of the house with tables and chairs in front of it.


Ouch. If you were in my neck of the woods I'd buy you a beer to commiserate.

I have had my system for nearly 6 years without upgrading and since have had the bug for upgrading speaker cables as i currently have a set that cost $100.
I posted this thread because i am skeptical about spending good money on cables that might not provide a sonic difference as i know and have been advise there is alot of snake oil with cables.
A friend of mine said some cables provide a sonic difference but it is marginal and even then it more of a characteristic difference rather than an improvement.
What are your thoughts on this?


In my experience, cables do make a difference. The questions - as with all things hifi - are whether the difference is real or imaginary and whether the difference is worth the asking price. But you're right about snake oil, there's a lot of product out there with impossible claims and ludicrous prices.

What I try to do is try before I buy, unless the asking price is so low as to make the exercise good value purely for the fun of it. For example, Zaphod's suggestion of using RG213/U will set you back maybe $50 for your 10m worth of cable. ZB is known around here for giving solid advice based on real practical experience... so I'm interested in giving that stuff a go myself.

Tell you what. If you can find that cable for $50 or less, give it a go. If you don't like it I'll buy it from you.
Lenehan ML2 Reference with "limited edition" stands < Ribbontek cables < Rotel RB-990BX (upgraded caps and wire) < Ribbonflex interconnects < Metrum Octave < Dtek digital cable < Audiophilleo 2 with PurePower < Mac mini with Audirvana+ doing upsampling and volume control

#10 mathew_rt

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:44 AM

I guess for $50 its worth the experience.
I will give it a go
I sometimes spend $50 on a friday afternoon at the pub.
Hehehehe
Speakers: B&W Signature 805 - Amplifier: Marantz PM 14 - Source: Marantz SA 14, Marantz ST 17 Tuner - ICs etc: Audioquest Python interconnects, Canare 4s11 speaker cables - Visual: Panasonic VT20 58" Plasma

#11 Zaphod Beeblebrox

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:59 AM

A friend of mine said some cables provide a sonic difference but it is marginal and even then it more of a characteristic difference rather than an improvement.
What are your thoughts on this?

Cheers.


Marginal, yes. You can gain far better improvements by room treatments.
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#12 ltmon

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 01:54 PM

Anyone want to split up a 100M roll of RG213/U? I need maybe 10M total myself. Or does anyone know anywhere to get this in short lengths?

A couple of options:
http://www.photonage.com.au/ $230 (Search for RG213/U, Dynalink, never heard of them)
http://australia.rs-...duct&R=5217972: $520 (Belden, much more name brand)

The Belden has much better specs. Loss per 100M at 100MHz on the Dynalink seems strangely high?

Edit: misread the specs, they are both reasonably standard specs with nothing too odd. The Belden does have nearly 50% greater cross sectional area in the conductor, however, so the extra copper alone probably accounts for much of the cost difference.

Cheers,

Luke.

Edited by ltmon, 12 September 2010 - 05:33 PM.


#13 kdoot

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 02:32 PM

ltmon, great idea. I'll wait to see what mathew wants to do first as I've already made an offer there but potentially I'd be interested in 10m.
Lenehan ML2 Reference with "limited edition" stands < Ribbontek cables < Rotel RB-990BX (upgraded caps and wire) < Ribbonflex interconnects < Metrum Octave < Dtek digital cable < Audiophilleo 2 with PurePower < Mac mini with Audirvana+ doing upsampling and volume control

#14 mathew_rt

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:47 PM

Hi guys

Do you know if this cable can be terminated to bi wire?
If so i would be interested.

Cheers
Speakers: B&W Signature 805 - Amplifier: Marantz PM 14 - Source: Marantz SA 14, Marantz ST 17 Tuner - ICs etc: Audioquest Python interconnects, Canare 4s11 speaker cables - Visual: Panasonic VT20 58" Plasma

#15 kdoot

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 05:17 PM

Not that coax cable is going to be tidy anyway, but doesn't your amp have A and B speaker outlets?
Lenehan ML2 Reference with "limited edition" stands < Ribbontek cables < Rotel RB-990BX (upgraded caps and wire) < Ribbonflex interconnects < Metrum Octave < Dtek digital cable < Audiophilleo 2 with PurePower < Mac mini with Audirvana+ doing upsampling and volume control

#16 Paul Spencer

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 09:31 PM

Matthew,

To bi-wire RG213U, you will need four lengths, two per speaker. It's a coax cable with a centre conductor and a shield. You connect the + to centre, and the shield to -ve. You need to strip the cable to expose the conductor and shield, then you add lead out wires. It would be quite bulky to do it with biwiring. You can neaten it up with techflex and heatshrink, and you'll need some soldering.

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#17 ltmon

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:14 PM

Altronics have RG213/U per meter, a new product it seems (W4920) so I'll give that a go -- cheap enough to simply try out anyway, so I'll buy a few meters.

I don't know which specs to pay much attention to, but it matches the more expensive Belden brand in most areas, including capacitance. The conductor size is identical at 7 x 0.75mm.

As quick side note: Altronics quotes both the manufacturer specs and their own test results, which is nice.

#18 56oval

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:21 PM

Solid core mains cable .
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#19 dimka

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:14 PM

what is the width of the copper conductors of the solid core mains cable? any with Teflon insulation? where to get them?
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#20 ltmon

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:08 PM

@dimka: http://www.altronics...a=item&id=W0588

2.5mm2

#21 Tapet

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:24 PM

I made up a set of these. -> http://www.tnt-audio...ca/ubyte2e.html out of RG213 and they sound great compared to jaycar's top of the line (thickest) speaker cable.
The Cat5 idea maybe worth investigating to. Few different ways to go with Cat 5 but same site has plans for that to.