RCA Cables

I've just built new speaker cables and jumpers using 12 ga OFC and Sewell Strike banana plugs. I really like these plugs, by the way. Very easy to install and they have great contact with the wire. But that's off topic. I want to upgrade my RCA cables and I've found some reasonably priced interconnects with both solid cores and some with wire strand cores. Can I get some opinions from the gallery about which is the better alternative? My thinking is the strand wire is probably best but I'm no Electrical Engineer.

Polk SDA SRS
Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
Pioneer Elite SC-99
Oppo UDP-203
Polk CS350 center
Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
Polk AB700 4X surround

Best Answer

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Answers

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,460
    edited September 27
    Both are used in the real world. your preference to be honest. Audioquest built their business on solid wire. Most others use a small stranded wire, some others use different wire diameters within the same jacket.
  • Has there been any testing that would indicate one's better than the other?
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,267
    Most of the RCA cables I've used have been pretty much a larger single center conductor, or maybe a couple small conductors...but I can't say I've seen many that have a number of fine strands for the center conductor.

    Really depends on your gear as well. The more revealing your system is, the more you are likely going to hear the difference.

    What is your budget and how many cables are you looking for?
  • mlistens03mlistens03 Posts: 2,322
    All the generic IC's I've seen have tiny, tiny strands of wire, although those are generic, and that's not what we are talking about.
    Micah

    Main system: Technics SL3200, Shure M97xE, Lafayette LR1100 for tuner, Hagerman Audio Labs Bugle 2 phono stage, NAD C352 integrated, Boston Acoustics VR 2, Boston PV500, generic ICs, and BJC Belden speaker cables.

    Desktop: Dell Precision 690 running iTunes, Yamaha RX-v665, Monitor Audio R90s, Velodyne VA-907, generic ICs and speaker cables.
    I've always thought the goal of high-end audio was not to have your neighbors bang on the wall and say, 'Turn that darn music down' but to have your neighbors bang on the wall and say, 'Tell your friends to go home and you can practice later this week'.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,122
    Conductor type is just one of many variables in a cable's performance. If you are considering building your own IC's, I'd suggest talking with Doug about the Furez cable he carries. They are still some of the best budget IC's I've heard and play very well in full SS systems.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • gmcman wrote: »
    Most of the RCA cables I've used have been pretty much a larger single center conductor, or maybe a couple small conductors...but I can't say I've seen many that have a number of fine strands for the center conductor.

    Really depends on your gear as well. The more revealing your system is, the more you are likely going to hear the difference.

    What is your budget and how many cables are you looking for?

    I was looking at ugreen cables and they seem like a good value. My budget is really not an issue but I don't see much value in esoteric cables.
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,460
    Audioquest Evergreen?
  • pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Audioquest Evergreen?

    i8umms9674df.png
    These cables from ugreen are the ones i was looking into. They seem to have a good size wire strand core and seem to be decent build quality at a good price. I'm considering Fospower as well, which use a solid core. If i did this right, these images show the differences.
    yfrpmggtl6yu.png
    szzxdq1yu9d3.png
    56ez57wm2u5m.png
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,460
    I'd throw those away.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,161
    I'd use them to tie up my Tomato plants....but for audio, umm....no.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • pitdogg2 wrote: »
    I'd throw those away.

    Can't really toss them because i haven't bought them. :wink:

    I'm not one of those guys that thinks a cable adds all that much to a sound system. I think a cheap set of connectors or cables will keep a system from sounding its best but if you gave me two cables with the same materials and construction and said cable 'A' sounds better because it was blessed by the Pope, i'd have to question that. What I'm looking for is opinions on which is the better material: multi-strand or solid core. It sounds like no one can prove one is better than the other. My gut tells me the multi-strand is possibly going to be better simply because speaker cables are multi-strand.

    Am I off-base?
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,019
    edited September 28
    Since it appears you are not looking to go crazy on the cost: Blues Jeans LC-1 cables. Quality materials, solid construction.

    bluejeanscable.com/
  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,019
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    I'd throw those away.

    ...My gut tells me the multi-strand is possibly going to be better simply because speaker cables are multi-strand.

    Am I off-base?

    Yes, you are focusing on just one tiny part of cable construction. Cable geometry, insulation materials, connector quality/construction all play an important role too.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,460
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    I'd throw those away.

    Can't really toss them because i haven't bought them. :wink:

    I'm not one of those guys that thinks a cable adds all that much to a sound system.

    I think a cheap set of connectors or cables will keep a system from sounding its best

    but if you gave me two cables with the same materials and construction and said cable 'A' sounds better because it was blessed by the Pope, i'd have to question that. What I'm looking for is opinions on which is the better material: multi-strand or solid core. It sounds like no one can prove one is better than the other. My gut tells me the multi-strand is possibly going to be better simply because speaker cables are multi-strand.

    Am I off-base?

    way off base


    You came here asking us to tell you which is best..... WHY? use your own ears to make that determination. Those are cheaply built cables nothing more nothing less. Cables CAN and DO add much to your system as a whole this is something you have already dismissed. yet then go on to say that cheap cables can keep a system from sounding its best. Which is it? can't have it both ways.

    Go buy some very good used cables Audioquest, Kimber, MIT and a multitude of others come to mind.
    As I said I would not waste a dime on the cable you have a picture of. There are many many better quality cables out there to be had.
  • I don't think you understand. I'm ONLY asking if solid core or multi-strand is better. The pictures were for reference.
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,267
    edited September 28
    What I'm looking for is opinions on which is the better material: multi-strand or solid core. It sounds like no one can prove one is better than the other

    I'm not trying to take what you stated out of context...but here's my best approach...

    You are looking for opinions, as well as possibly proving one over the other.

    My opinion, yes, cables sound different, sometimes better, sometimes worse. I've experienced it, many, many others have as well. It wasn't placebo, I could hear things with one cable that I couldn't with another. What I could hear is more natural detail and not just a "sound".

    Again, this was dependent on the rest of the gear. My first CD player and my first pro-logic receiver, did not really care too much about cables. When I dove into seperate components like a higher quality CD player, preamp, amp, then the cables came more into play.

    What happens with electrical signals with different types of cables can be measured.

    Here's a good read:

    https://www.belden.com/blog/broadcast/understanding-skin-effect-and-frequency


    As far as solid vs. stranded....tough call. Seems solid is more favorable, and when using stranded, a "Litz" type which coats each individual strand helps dramatically.

    I have recently re-wired my speakers with litz wire, which is stranded, replacing non-coated stranded and the difference was substantial...night and day difference.

    However, this is comparing 29 year-old stranded wire with stranded wire having a much higher quality surface as well as being coated. Night and day difference.

    So this concludes that better cables can sound better.

    The cable debate goes on and on, deep into the archives of many forums. You will likely find that interconnects will use both but like Dskip mentioned, is based on the total construction...again, it's a science. You will have to experiment with your gear.

    My gut tells me the multi-strand is possibly going to be better simply because speaker cables are multi-strand.

    Speaker cables can be both, but seems the majority of the higher end cables use solid core rather than stranded.

    To be frank, don't go by your gut. If you want to try the stranded vs. solid speaker cable...then may I suggest try a cheap stranded speaker cable..like some Monster XP on a spool, then try some Audioquest Type-4.

    You can be the judge.

  • ^
    Yup. Night and day
    I just made that exact swap (monster to type 4) and just dayum.

    Your question sounds to me like this:
    Which is better? A V8 or a V6 engine.
    Umm in what context? Are they both equal displacement, aispiration, weight, same chassis, same drivetrain etc.
    maybe I am off base, but asking about a construction type of cable as to make a decision which is better is just like asking that question above, which actually the answer is V8...
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,161
    Bluejeans-Signal Cable-Audioquest, 3 companies you should be looking at.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,019
    I don't think you understand. I'm ONLY asking if solid core or multi-strand is better. The pictures were for reference.

    It's not that simple. There is no definitive answer to that question for all the reasons already listed.
  • CoolJazzCoolJazz Posts: 510
    Since you keep trying to reduce the scope to just half the signal path, lets go to one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet.

    Solid is a design for wire that's not moved around, stranded for flexibility and being moved around. That said, I've always found myself drawn to the sound of the solid conductor wire...but I'm not a habitual "fiddler" that can't leave things alone.

    You've mentioned for some reason "proving" which sounds better but also ask for opinions. Then seem to reject the opinions given. I'm not sure that encourages people to offer up much discussion.

    Proving is tough since the connection is dependent on what's it's hooked to and everyone here has different systems obviously. The wire can't and doesn't perform on it's own in a vacuum. It also doesn't work by just "sending" a signal through the one wire, it's actually a current loop interconnecting systems and with unbalanced, sharing paths. Without taking the time to understand it's a "system" you are listening to, and rejecting all advice that you've asked for, you are almost certain to miss the mark with any purchase.

    CJ
    A so called science type proudly says... "I do realize that I would fool myself all the time, about listening conclusions and many other observations, if I did listen before buying. That’s why I don’t, I bought all of my current gear based on technical parameters alone, such as specs and measurements."
  • This is a little frustrating for me guys, because I'm not disagreeing with anyone. I don't think once in all these exchanges i said i think anyone is wrong in their opinion. I just want to know what opinions people have about the type of interconnect is best, not the brand. It's like asking if tube amps are better than solid state, and if you have an opinion, why? Instead i'm hearing from some that if you buy this or that brand you're making a mistake.

    Please don't take any of this personally. I'm a relatively data driven guy and I'm skeptical of hype so I continue to ask for information until I'm satisfied. It annoys the crap out of my Wife, believe me.

    So, anyway, I did some more searching on the web and I found this site which turns my thinking upside down.

    www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/intere.html

    Basically this guy is a proponent for high quality, solid core interconnects for this reason. Below is a quote from this site.

    To strand, or not to strand - that is the question here
    (from Cabelitis, a very avantguard play - spoken by the Hero - the Son of an audio-cablemaker)
    As we already mentioned second order effects, lets have a look at some other relevant ones.
    In my experience all stranded Cables where each single conductor is made from several strands of copper that are not insulated from each other imparts an unpleasant harshness and brightness to the sound.
    There are a few theories why this is so, if you want to read one of the more nutcake flavored ones, it comes from Ben Duncan. He proposes that copper-oxide forms between the strands that encourages non-linear conduction (little "mV" Diodes).
    I shall keep out of this (there are pages full of letters on this in Wireless World), but as said I prefer solid conductors over stranded ones.
    Litz-Style cables where each conductor is insulated from the others are usually much better or we can use single strands of solid core wire.
    There is an argument that rectangular thin but wide conductors improve at the frequency extremes. Short of using Foil Tapes, one can use a few thin and round conductors (say 42 Gauge Magnet wire) run parallel, similar to the style of Cables from Nordost.
    One more second order effect is the interaction of the signal current (as small as it is) with the shield. This will induce eddy currents in the shield that again will degrade the sound. Plenty of spacing helps but again, it reduces the effectiveness of the shielding.


    So, I think I have my answer after all. I'll look for decent quality solid core interconnects at a price that I'm comfortable with. Thanks to everyone for offering suggestions.
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,122
    Tube vs solid state also depends on application which I think is being missed here. Neither choice is bad but even generally speaking one is not superior to the other when so many other factors go into how a component performs.

    I can tell you the only solid core conductor I had was the audioquest cv-8 and while I liked them at the time, having much more experience now I can tell you they would never find a way back in my rig. I also know of several other brands that build off solid core and ears I trust tell me the cables are atrocious. On the same side, there are plenty of stranded designs that are atrocious as well.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,460
    edited September 28
    well then Anti-cables should be your choice they have all kinds of data on their cables.

    No matter how much data you have it cannot replace your ears and the gear in front of those cables....
  • Well, from what i understand Anti-cables have 100% signal loss so that is not an option for me.
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,613
    Well, from what i understand Anti-cables have 100% signal loss so that is not an option for me.

    While I don't care for their sound, if they had a 100% signal loss there would be no sound.....hello!


    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,122
    F1nut wrote: »
    Well, from what i understand Anti-cables have 100% signal loss so that is not an option for me.

    While I don't care for their sound, if they had a 100% signal loss there would be no sound.....hello!


    I think his comment was tongue in cheek, not referring to the brand itself.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,582
    In defense of those that have said "don't buy that cable" they are saying that out of experience...trying to save you money. This is something that will have to be proven to you by your own trial and error. You seem to have some preconceived notions, yet, state that you're asking for people's experience. As previously mentioned, you can't have it both ways. Pick a jumping off point and experiment. Decide for yourself.

    As also previously mentioned your gear will also play a big role. A receiver and BR player from a department store may not respond to cable changes.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • DSkip wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    Well, from what i understand Anti-cables have 100% signal loss so that is not an option for me.

    While I don't care for their sound, if they had a 100% signal loss there would be no sound.....hello!


    I think his comment was tongue in cheek, not referring to the brand itself.

    exactly. In my mind I am HILARIOUS.
    Polk SDA SRS
    Yamaha M-65 (2x, bi-amped)
    Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Oppo UDP-203
    Polk CS350 center
    Polk MC-60 4x Atmos
    Polk AB700 4X surround
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