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Speaker cable basics required.

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I currently do not know what type of speaker wire[or is it cable] i have connected to my speakers. I've never paid attention to this subject so i have a small collection of different lengths of cabling and various sizes.

So i thought seeing i've got my nice new Polk speakers i should get some cables that are correct for them. They are rated 8ohms and i'm assuming that will dictate the kind of cable i should get?

 

Does the amount of strands in the cable matter?

 

Is it crucial to get the correct gauge?

 

Does it matter if the 2 cables are of different lengths? One side is 3.6 feet, the other 7.6 feet.[yep, i know we went metric a long time ago.] 

 

Thanks.

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The overall gauge of the wire matters in terms of making sure to not limit the current going to the speakers (especially the bass) but beyond that you'll get yourself into a massive debate because while there is some science behind constructing low resistance low capacitance low inductance cable and shielding, there is absolutely no universal agreement about which of these matters and how much. Some will argue a $5 cable is as good as a $5000 cable. Additionally there has been a huge debate about if the lengths differ.

I'd say pick something that is very affordable but better than the cheapest garbage cable you can find that is of decent gauge, keep the lengths as short as possible, don't worry about different lengths on both sides, and try that to begin with. After that read read read about cables and be dazzled at how much science + pseudoscience + witchcraft there is as to what makes a good cable and make up your own mind.

 

I'm a huge fan of the base model wywires (blue) because it's quite large gauge, uses air dielectric and litz wires and doesn't bother with shielding, but even that's quite expensive compared to regular speaker cable. Peter at deephzaudio is the local supplier in Australia.

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The thickness of the wire will be determined by the length needed..

The longer the distance the thicker the wire..to put it quite simply..

If your cable length is 10' or less, then 16g. twin flex is all you need.

If you have to run a cable 20' or more, then you will need multi strand 14g. or 12g. wire..

Always err on the thicker side..

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Over the years, I’ve tried literally over 60 or more different  speaker. cables   It’s not all to do with thickness or length of cable.  Can be huge differences in the Material used in the cable as well. Copper. Silver coated copper. Combination of those.   The amount of strands, or solid core.   In saying that, I’ve tried very expensive cables which sound great on one set of speakers, and crap on others 

 

Ive settled on a fairly inexpensive Canare cable, which works for my speakers.    It’s a try and listen scenario.   

 

Good of luck with this topic lol 

Edited by Bill125812

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Yeah, to describe the never-ending Speaker Cable debate as "spirited" would be the understatement of the century - LOL.

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From what I discern in that article, 79 Strand cable carried the best performance  

http://www.qed.co.uk/speaker_cables/profile/qed_classic_79_strand_cable.html

 

however a earlier article by Cyril in Electronics and Wireless World also praised highly RG58 coax - using the inner core

and having the shield floating  for each cable- in so doing achieving a Faraday shield effect along the length of cable.  I think Cyril

at that time said RG58 was the bargain of the century.  I use RG58 myself and find it very good.

 

To clarify further you use the inner of RG58 for positive with shield floating, and a separate RG58 cables inner for negative 

with its shield also floating. You need to shop around for good quality RG58 as there is cheap rubbish, vs better type.

Noting too RG58 has limitation with its power handling capability. I use 2x Quad 306 so 70w per channel at other times

a Net Audio Mk 3 Quad 405 so about 120w per channel. In both situations the cable has not been a limiting factor. 

 

Noting also Cyril advocates a Zobel network at the speaker lead, reception end , see post   Three Zobels ideally

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/190300-zobel-network-2-print.html

Edited by stereo coffee
Clarified RG58 cable use

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2 hours ago, stereo coffee said:

Noting also Cyril advocates a Zobel network at the speaker lead, reception end , see post   Three Zobels ideally

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/190300-zobel-network-2-print.html

A properly designed passive crossover will have already taken into account the variable impedance of each driver it serves without a zobel network. In my experience adding a zobel network and working off the impedance of both the driver and the zobel network in parallel only worsens the sound, even if it technically makes the load the amplifier is seeing more constant. Of course this could also be amplifier dependant and the amp's ability to drive a varying load versus the added complexity of more components in the crossover - even if the zobel network is not directly in the signal path and only in parallel. As always, it's more about implementation rather than technology.

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3 hours ago, stereo coffee said:

From what I discern in that article, 79 Strand cable carried the best performance  

http://www.qed.co.uk/speaker_cables/profile/qed_classic_79_strand_cable.html

 

however a earlier article by Cyril in Electronics and Wireless World also praised highly RG58 coax - using the inner core

and having the shield floating  for each cable- in so doing achieving a Faraday shield effect along the length of cable.  I think Cyril

at that time said RG58 was the bargain of the century.  I use RG58 myself and find it very good.

 

To clarify further you use the inner of RG58 for positive with shield floating, and a separate RG58 cables inner for negative 

with its shield also floating. You need to shop around for good quality RG58 as there is cheap rubbish, vs better type.

Noting too RG58 has limitation with its power handling capability. I use 2x Quad 306 so 70w per channel at other times

a Net Audio Mk 3 Quad 405 so about 120w per channel. In both situations the cable has not been a limiting factor. 

 

Noting also Cyril advocates a Zobel network at the speaker lead, reception end , see post   Three Zobels ideally

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/190300-zobel-network-2-print.html

In the SNA how to archives is a cable design article using coax. I couldn’t find it.

 

I have used coax TV antennae cables for interconnects and they are very good, with clean sound.

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