Are High End Speaker Wires Bunk?

Dr. SpecDr. Spec Posts: 3,780
edited September 2002 in Speakers
Polksters:

I thought this thread was pretty interesting. It certainly has garnered its share of reponses on the AVS forum.

Doc


http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=154014
"What we do in life echoes in eternity"

Ed Mullen ([email protected])
Director - Technology and Customer Service
SVS
Post edited by Dr. Spec on

Comments

  • madmaxmadmax Posts: 12,438
    edited August 2002
    Everyone to their own opinion but to me it seems that if you don't believe there could be a difference then you would never hear it anyway.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • burdetteburdette Posts: 1,205
    edited August 2002
    You have to consider a couple of different things, one scientific, one not.

    The "not" is that people are able to convince themselves of many many things. I think it highly reasonable to think that someone who drops a load of dough on something that is *supposed* to provide an improvement is, by God, going to hear an improvement.

    However, if you read that article, and the ones from Stereo Review / Sound & Vision (I remember that original 1983 article), they don't say that there is NO difference between ANY wires. It all depends on what you start with and where you end up. If you're running 24 or 18 gauge speaker wire over too-long a run, with tightly wound ends into spring terminals, so that you aren't getting much contact area, and you move to 14 gauge esoteric wire with ends that give you much better contact, then scientifically I think you'd have a case that you could measure and hear a difference. The question is whether you'd hear any *different* difference than if you made the move to quality 16 gauge zip with good contact rather than the esoteric.

    As I mentioned in a different thread, I choose to not debate the science behind wires and interconnects. I honestly believe that those guys who believe there are differences will continue to believe that regardless of what they read or hear, and if they've the dough to lay down, then they can enjoy those 'differences.'' As long as they aren't working to pass legislation that *requires* me to also lay down the dough.. more power to 'em. But I doubt, if the day comes that I bring home the equivalent of an LSi9, that I'll tell them I hooked them up with 16/14 gauge zip.

    I think the only time this subject is going to be ANY sort of an issue is when someone posts here asking for specific advice on what they should do. I'll read posts where guys are telling him he has to get a second mortgage to pay for wire... I can always post my opinion, and mine alone, without reference to anyone else's, and the person can make up their own mind.
    HT: Denon 1910, LG blu-ray, Def Tech ProCinema 100s, Stryke 12" sonosub.
    LR: Onkyo TX-84 (original owner), Aiwa AD-F850 (original owner), Philips TT (old school, 2nd owner), Philips CD (cheap-o), Monitor 5jr+ (original owner - actually, my wife is the original owner; she bought them new when we were dating - sealed the deal).
    Xbox 360/Wii/Kids: Old school huge Sony HD TV, Sherwood RD-6500, Philips DVD, pair Def Tech ProCinema 100.
  • AaronAaron Posts: 1,853
    edited August 2002
    But I doubt, if the day comes that I bring home the equivalent of an LSi9, that I'll tell them I hooked them up with 16/14 gauge zip.
    You would be really surprised, actually. The improvement I've gotten from speaker wire is certainly noticable, but I suspect some people couldn't hear the difference. However, the difference I've gotten with interconnects can be astounding. You would have to be practically deaf not to hear it. The other side to this is that I've tried other interconnects and speaker wire and haven't heard any improvement. I guess it just depends on the cable/interconnect.

    Aaron
  • GuitarheadCAGuitarheadCA Posts: 400
    edited August 2002
    I recently put Monster to the test, and TO ME they failed.

    I was at Good Guys, looking at the Z2 Reference Bi-wire thinking I've love to have a set. The Salesguy started talking his head off, so I put him to the test and brought the little plastic briefcase home.

    For three hours I switched between that and my 12 gauge Monster cable bought at CC. For the life of me I couldn't hear a difference. Sometimes I'd think I heard something more, only to switch back and realize it was still there. I also didn't notice any improvement in imaging.

    I can hear a difference between HK and Onkyo, between Infinity and Polk, Between Sony and B&K, but I could not hear any difference between the cables.

    I now strongly believe that Monster is as much or even MORE about selling through marketing than even Bose.
  • TroyDTroyD Posts: 12,144
    edited August 2002
    Please, let's NOT have another wire **** storm......

    Let's just say that I'm not saying that there aren't differences in wires and cables. I just think that, IMO, it is the area of audio that has the highest voo-doo and do-do factor. Having said that, if other folks disagree, I'm not going to say that they are wrong but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • RuSsMaNRuSsMaN Posts: 17,995
    edited August 2002
    do-do factor WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAa....

    I've heard a tonal difference in some interconnects, or at least I THINK I did.... Speaker wire, not a damn thing experimenting in the 'affordable' price range anyway....

    I agree Troy, Burd, GTHead, Max... I'll be happy to tell you what I have, and what I recommened in a 'sane' price range, but I do not care to debate the differences. Get what you like, and enjoy...

    The one thing I really do like about 'expensive' speaker wires is that they sure *look* cool....

    Cheers,
    Russ
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.
  • STUFFMDSTUFFMD Posts: 381
    edited August 2002
    Guys all I know is when I upgraded my wire my results were pronounced and more scientific. I am going to start off by saying that I was very very sceptical of higher end wire.I am running off an Onkyo 797 to Polk Rt800i's. At first I was running typical Ar wire you get at Best Buys. I was looking for al little more out of my system. Monster XP the same gague came down drastically and I decided to finally give it a try. I,m not going to say I noticed a huge sound difference because I didn't maybe a little crisper highs. What I did notice though was that my volume levels increased somewhere in the 15-20% range. I turned the volume down to get the same results. Which tells me if nothing else than my amp doesn't have to work anywhere near as hard to drive my speakers with the XP as it did with the old run of the mill wire.
    2 good things out of that in my book, more available volume when desired, and more longevity for my amplifier in the long run.
    Just my experience and 2 cents.
    Peace, Stuff MD
    Your system is only as good as your weakest component...!

    OnkyoTX-DS 797
    NAD C270/ Mains
    Mains: LSI9's
    Center: Cs400i /Biwired
    Rear: Fx300i
    Rear Center:CS 245i
    Dvd: Onkyo DVS 555
    Vision RCA 36" Premiere Series
    Bang & Olfsen RX Turntable
    Psw 350 Front/Psw 202 rear
    Kimber Cable 4TC Mains HF
    Monster Originals/Center
    Kimber Interconnects
    Monster XP Everywhere else
    PS2/Gamecube
  • Dr. SpecDr. Spec Posts: 3,780
    edited August 2002
    Without extending myself on too many fronts, I think it is safe to say that the speakers, far and away, affect the sound more (by orders of magnitude) than any other component in the system. Electronics are next, followed by interconnects, with speaker wire coming in last.

    I too have experienced a noticeable difference with interconnects, but not much difference at all with speaker wire (as long as the gauge is sufficent to carry the required current).

    Doc
    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"

    Ed Mullen ([email protected])
    Director - Technology and Customer Service
    SVS
  • GuitarheadCAGuitarheadCA Posts: 400
    edited August 2002
    Hey StuffMD,

    One time we had two identical sony HTIB's (not an uncommon occurance) so we wired one with the included 22 gauge wire, and another with XP. I noticed the exact same thing you did.

    The difference was also very noticable, the one with XP played louder at lower volumes. Our manager told us to use it as a monster cable demo. But it didn't sell me, because although it played louder, it didn't sound *Better*. The increased volume also brought more distortion sooner as well. Instead of the max voume being 60, it now brought the max volume down to 40. Just my .02
  • AaronAaron Posts: 1,853
    edited August 2002
    I recently put Monster to the test, and TO ME they failed.
    I've really never given Monster much of a test. I've only ever owned their cheap interconnects and their XP speaker cable. I always treated that stuff as being slightly better than patch cords and lamp cord. My good interconnects and speaker wire are MIT. They seem pretty good to me, but I really haven't experimented with other brands.

    Aaron
  • GuitarheadCAGuitarheadCA Posts: 400
    edited August 2002
    MIT?

    Where did you get it? Is it expensive?
  • AaronAaron Posts: 1,853
    edited August 2002
    MIT?

    Where did you get it? Is it expensive?
    MIT - Music Interface Technologies
    http://www.mitcables.com/

    Like most things, they range from affordable to not so affordable. I'm using their entry level Terminator 6 interconnects on my sub, and they're flat out amazing! I picked up a pair of Terminator 3 interconnects, but I haven't really tested them. I also have a pair of MI-330 Plus interconnects that are killer. For my speaker wires I'm using Terminator 3 cables with banana plug termination. Check out Audio Advisor (www.audioadvisor.com) for good prices on their stuff.

    Aaron
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,975
    edited August 2002
    I'm with Aaron on the MIT interconnects. I have the MI-330 II's and noticed a huge difference right away. After some burn in they improved a little more. What I noted was smoother highs and deeper/tighter bass with better seperation. After trying others in the less than $100.00 range I believe one must spend at least $300-$400.00 to really hear a difference.
    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."


    President of Club Polk

  • AaronAaron Posts: 1,853
    edited August 2002
    After trying others in the less than $100.00 range I believe one must spend at least $300-$400.00 to really hear a difference.
    What do you mean? Do you mean that you have to spend that much to hear any improvement (over cheap cables) or that you'd have to spend that much to improve on your MI-330 II's?

    Aaron
  • tom67tom67 Posts: 1
    edited August 2002
    hard to beleive that cables improve with age. From the time of manufacture to the time of discard at the landfill, the chief factor at work on any metallic substance is oxidation which degrades the conductivity of any cable.
  • AaronAaron Posts: 1,853
    edited August 2002
    That's not what AudioQuest claims (of course, they're a manufacturer). Anyway, read the following link to hear their take on burn in.

    http://www.audioquest.com/theory/theory5.html

    Aaron
  • TroyDTroyD Posts: 12,144
    edited September 2002
    Good thing that wasn't published by the BAS or we could just dismiss it out of hand. ;)

    I guess I'm sort of middle of the road on this issue as well. As for my Signal Cables, I will say they were an improvement over the cables I had....as far as burn in? I don't know, maybe, maybe not but I wasn't listening for it either.

    I'm just going to throw this out as a hypothesis. I've read that a person can only ACCURATELY recall a sound for a fairly short time. Given that, I would say that it is possible that if a person were to spend an outrageous amount of money on a pair of cables, brings them home and does NOT hear a significant amount of improvement, well, hell, they have to burn in. Give them a couple of weeks. Within that two weeks, it might be thought that the person can't reliably remember what they sounded like originally plus it gives some extra time for the placebo factor to kick in.

    I'm not endorsing this theory, I'm just saying it's a theory.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • nascarmannnascarmann Posts: 1,464
    edited September 2002
    I'm not endorsing this theory, I'm just saying it's a theory
    A damn good one I might add....;)
    Oh, the bottle has been to me, my closes friend, my worse enemy!
  • AaronAaron Posts: 1,853
    edited September 2002
    It's really simple to test burn in. Buy two pairs of interconnects or wire. Use one set for a couple weeks, and then compare it to the unused pair. If you hear a difference, then there might be something to this burn in thing.

    Aaron
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,975
    edited September 2002
    Aaron,

    I meant I had to spend that much to hear a difference from the under $100.00 cables. At this time I'd don't know what the next price point would be to hear a improvement over the $300-$00.00 cables.
    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."


    President of Club Polk

  • CrazyHeadCrazyHead Posts: 63
    edited September 2002
    My recommendations are as follows: good wire in the correct place can bring out the best in your gear. However, I am talking practical implementation. No $5,000 speaker wire will make anything sound better, IMO.

    For example... when I upgraded the internal wiring in my Jolida amplifier from the factory tinned copper connectors to a combination of solid 24ga and silver-plated copper, I heard a rather large difference in tonal clarity.

    The biggest upgrade you can make in terms of wiring is bi-wiring your speakers, if it's available. Even the LSi with their high-end crossovers just LOVE to be bi-wired! I have LSi9's and whenever I put the jumpers back in and run with a single wire, the speaker just sounds plain murky. When they are bi-wired, the clarity is incredible!

    -- Robert
  • nadamsnadams Posts: 5,874
    edited September 2002
    From the audioQuest link:
    Directionality: All cables are directional, from hardware store electrical cable to the finest pure silver cables. All AudioQuest cables are marked for direction. With other cables it might be necessary to simply listen to the cables in one direction and then the other. The difference will be clear-in the correct direction the music is more relaxed, pleasant and believable. While cable directionality is not fully understood, it is clear that the molecular structure of drawn metal is not symmetrical, providing a physical explanation for the existence of directionality.

    Is this for real? I'd never heard about this before. Just another marketing gimmick? BTW, people... I use cheap-o RadioShack wire for my speakers. A 50ft roll of 16AWG wire= $9 w00t!

    DooD
    Ludicrous gibs!
  • joe logstonjoe logston Posts: 882
    edited September 2002
    i use 12 ga. monster the white flat wire, the reason i use it because its flat to go under the carpet and it blends in with the off white walls, and the cables are paintable to, and they have real good insulation to. thats why i got the monster cables, not because they subpost to sound better that the cheap 12 ga. cable.
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.
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