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Speaker cable - Aside from thickness, does it really matter?

Ro-Tang Clan

New member
Oct 22, 2013
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So I've just upgraded my speakers to the Kef Q900's from the lower end Mordaunt Short Aviano 6's. I'm using Van Damme's Tour grade Bi-wire speaker cable to my Yamaha RXA2050 AV Reciever. This cable has a cross secton area of 2.5mm and I was looking to get a thicker cable, preferably at 6mm thickness. I was looking at the QED Ruby Anniversary Edition speaker cable which was listed on a website as having a 6mm thickness, but for two 10m lengths (would be cut to make four 5m lengths for bi-amping) it would cost £60

However looking on Amazon I found I can get two 10m lengths of 10AWG cable for £20. The quality looks cheaper than the QED cable and it doesn't have any marketing spiel attached to it either, but does it really matter? Surely at the end of the day, cable is cable and the only real thing that improves the sound is thickness right? Or have I got this completely wrong? Here's the link to the cable anyway

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01J6G2N2G/ref=ox_sc_mini_detail?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3CSZO3LOI1P30
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
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Hi how Are you getting on with your new speakers.was it worth the upgrade.Are you having any problems with your old speaker cables if not I would keep what you have but if you're looking to upgrade your speaker wire then you will have to go for something more expensive like QED xt40 or chord clearaway at £10 a meter.
 

Ro-Tang Clan

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Oct 22, 2013
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seemorebtts said:
Hi how Are you getting on with your new speakers.was it worth the upgrade.Are you having any problems with your old speaker cables if not I would keep what you have but if you're looking to upgrade your speaker wire then you will have to go for something more expensive like QED xt40 or chord clearaway at £10 a meter.
Hey dude, yeah the new speakers are great thanks! I'm loving them at the moment although I was listening to some bass heavy music and whilst they're very nice and calming, I can't help but think they'd have more power and low end grunt using thicker cable. However I don't want to spend a fortune on cable if I don't have to. I don't care if QED's manufacturing techniques are better if it doesn't make it sound better. QED's XT40 is a 4mm2 cross section cable. If I was to grab a basic cable that has a 4mm2 cross section would I notice a difference in sound quality between the basic cable and the QED cable? Am I to believe the marketing hype that these cable manufacturer's put out, or is it all BS?
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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Your two wordings of 'marketing spiel' and 'marketing hype' (BS was another one) kind of make me wonder what your intentions are with this thread.

Reading your post again it seems to me you are firmly in the 'anti snake oil' camp and rather stir a little than seeking answers no?

If I tell you that the construction of a cable can certainly affect sound imo ... would that help?
 

Muddywaterstones

New member
Apr 21, 2016
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Here is a question which has sometimes stumbled through my mind without me ever really searching for an answer. If the electrical cable powering the amp is 2.5mm thick, is there any possible benefit in using a larger guage speaker wire?

I don't know the answer but logic would tell me no. 6mm seems ridiculous. I'm not saying it can't do a good job but it seems like overkill.
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
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Ro-Tang Clan said:
seemorebtts said:
Hi how Are you getting on with your new speakers.was it worth the upgrade.Are you having any problems with your old speaker cables if not I would keep what you have but if you're looking to upgrade your speaker wire then you will have to go for something more expensive like QED xt40 or chord clearaway at £10 a meter.
Hey dude, yeah the new speakers are great thanks! I'm loving them at the moment although I was listening to some bass heavy music and whilst they're very nice and calming, I can't help but think they'd have more power and low end grunt using thicker cable. However I don't want to spend a fortune on cable if I don't have to. I don't care if QED's manufacturing techniques are better if it doesn't make it sound better. QED's XT40 is a 4mm2 cross section cable. If I was to grab a basic cable that has a 4mm2 cross section would I notice a difference in sound quality between the basic cable and the QED cable? Am I to believe the marketing hype that these cable manufacturer's put out, or is it all BS?
these manufacturers are (believe or not)trying to help us get the best out of are equipment and for me is quite important.you have a very capable amp and speakers and for me I would invest in speaker wire and power leads.alot of people on here don't believe in it but I'm sure that they don't have door bell wire on there systems which means some wires do make some kind of difference.please I don't want an argument anyone just my opinion.if you can try to get some on lone or go to your local dealer and they should let you listen to some to see if you can hear any differences
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
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18,540
Muddywaterstones said:
Here is a  question which has sometimes stumbled through my mind without me ever really searching for an answer. If the electrical cable powering the amp is 2.5mm thick, is there any possible benefit in using a larger guage speaker wire?

I don't know the answer but logic would tell me no. 6mm seems ridiculous. I'm not saying it can't do a good job but it seems like overkill.
I think sometimes it can be what kind of materials are used and not thickness.im not an expert tho.
 

Ro-Tang Clan

New member
Oct 22, 2013
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[/quote]these manufacturers are (believe or not)trying to help us get the best out of are equipment and for me is quite important.you have a very capable amp and speakers and for me I would invest in speaker wire and power leads.alot of people on here don't believe in it but I'm sure that they don't have door bell wire on there systems which means some wires do make some kind of difference.please I don't want an argument anyone just my opinion.if you can try to get some on lone or go to your local dealer and they should let you listen to some to see if you can hear any differences

[/quote]

I'm not trying to start an argument, I just want a clear cut answer. However I do not agree that manufacturers are trying to help us get the best out of our equipment. They're a business and if they can throw enough marketing R&D at our faces to make us believe and buy into it, then they'll make a lot of money. I'm talking specifically about the Audioquest Diamond HDMI cable that retails at £1000+ per meter. In this scenario, HDMI is digital and consists of binary data and no amount of "SOLID 100% PERFECT-SURFACE SILVER (PSS) CONDUCTORS" can change the "clarity and dynamic contrast" as they so claim it can. With digital signals, the data is either there or it isn't, end of.

Obviously I know speaker cable isn't digital and completely different from HDMI, so I come here to seek answers. Does QED's Aircore technology which "utilizes two conductors of different diameters to carry the same audio signal" actually make a difference, or even enough of a difference to pay three times the price of a regular cable? Or again, it is all just marketing BS?
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
401
157
19,070
Unless you have very long runs, then 6mm sq. is overkill, and will not give you any improvement in sound.

Regarding cables made by Hi Fi cable manufactures, then not one has been able to provide any evidence that their cables make a difference, (Many have had to alter their marketing as it breeched ASA regulations) so my advice as always is, avoid Hi Fi cable manufactures at all costs, (they are nothing but rip off merchants who prey on the gullible) and get some cables from a Pro music store instead, although in your case, as you have already done this, you are good to go, so just sit back and enjoy the music.

BTW. If you do decide to try something from a Hi Fi cable manufacture, before purchasing, ask them to provide independent verifiable evidence that their cables make a difference. (The fact that they will either ignore the request, or say they do not wish to give their secrets away, will confirm that they are just con merchants)

Hope this helps

Bill
 

Ro-Tang Clan

New member
Oct 22, 2013
6
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0
drummerman said:
Your two wordings of 'marketing spiel' and 'marketing hype' (BS was another one) kind of make me wonder what your intentions are with this thread.

Reading your post again it seems to me you are firmly in the 'anti snake oil' camp and rather stir a little than seeking answers no?

If I tell you that the construction of a cable can certainly affect sound imo ... would that help?
Apologies if it feels that way, but I'm not trying to stir sh*t up, I'm just seeking answers. A lot of manufacturers shove marketing terminology in our faces in which they may be 100% true to how they've manufacturered it, but doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the end product. As I mentioned in my previous comment, the AudioQuest Diamond HDMI cable is one of them. Now I don't know enough about the science and physics of speaker cable to be able to know what kind of a difference, or a difference at all, the high priced speaker cable of these manufacturers will make. I always thought that the thickness is what will affect the sound and the shielding will protect it from interference. Is it not as simple as this? Is there actual truth to the claims manufacturers make?

For example, if I get the basic 10AWG cable I found on amazon, will voices in songs sound 'muddy' or will I lose out on the separation between the instruments as opposed to using a cable like the QED Ruby Anniversary or the QED XT40?
 

Ro-Tang Clan

New member
Oct 22, 2013
6
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0
abacus said:
Unless you have very long runs, then 6mm sq. is overkill, and will not give you any improvement in sound.

Regarding cables made by Hi Fi cable manufactures, then not one has been able to provide any evidence that their cables make a difference, (Many have had to alter their marketing as it breeched ASA regulations) so my advice as always is, avoid Hi Fi cable manufactures at all costs, (they are nothing but rip off merchants who prey on the gullible) and get some cables from a Pro music store instead, although in your case, as you have already done this, you are good to go, so just sit back and enjoy the music.

BTW. If you do decide to try something from a Hi Fi cable manufacture, before purchasing, ask them to provide independent verifiable evidence that their cables make a difference. (The fact that they will either ignore the request, or say they do not wish to give their secrets away, will confirm that they are just con merchants)

Hope this helps

Bill
Thanks for the info, I am on the more skeptical side of the claims these manufacturer's make, but if If I'll lose out on clarity by going for a basic cable, then I'll buy the hifi cables. Regarding thickness, I know that longer runs will require a higher thickness, but I also thought that a higher thickness will increase the power to the speaker?

For example, I remember watching build video's of when Steave Meade first did his 30,000watt speaker system in his Chevy Tahoe and he used something like 2AWG or 4AWG cable for each of his 4000watt 18inch subwoofers. Obviously being in a car, going from speaker to amp is a very short distance. Does the thickness only make a difference when you're running 1000+watts of power then?

My logic for wanting larger diameter speaker cable is to feed more power to the larger and more drive units in the Kef Q900's than with the Mordaunt Short's.
 

muljao

New member
Jul 18, 2016
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These posts do divide opinion and if I say that different speaker wire does not change the sound of your speakers provided the thickness is the same and that both makes are the same material, some will agree and some wont.

Below is an interesting link about speaker cables, but like everything else on the internet it's validity can be argued.

I believe that if you bought two lengths of oxygen free copper speaker cable that were the same thickness but different makes (one 100 ponds per meter and the other 10 pounds per meter) that they would both sound the same provided that they were as well made as each other. Different materials should have different resistances etc so maybe they would sound different, but I'd doubt I'd hear it unless the differences were so massive that it actually effected functuality of the cable. On a test bench I'd bet that even 2 lengths of the same cable, same manufacturer, thickeness and lenght would give different results on electrical properties, but the differences would likely be so small to make no difference

But then again I don't believe bi-wiring improves anything either.

FWIW 6mm cable is way overkill for a domestic situation in my opinion

http://machinedesign.com/blog/5-myths-about-speaker-wire

But if you can hear a difference, then who am I to say you can't.........
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
86
1
18,540
Hi, i did hear the Aviano 6's when i got my Dali speakers - the Dali's were much better considering they were cheaper. I see there is not much price difference between the Aviano's and the Kef Q900 - only 100 pounds in it- do you find it much of an upgrade?

As for the speaker wire - i have experienced with various thicknesses and haven't noticed much if any differences. I'm using 6mm Van Damme Lc-ofc cable at the moment but wouldn't go for 6mm again as in reality it is a little thick to fit into binding posts on most amps and speakers. The thickest i would go for would be 4mm. Be abit careful as some makes mention the thickness but it is the whole cable in total which includes the wire plus sheilding - so not so easy to compare makes and models.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
86
1
18,540
Ro-Tang Clan said:
So I've just upgraded my speakers to the Kef Q900's from the lower end Mordaunt Short Aviano 6's. I'm using Van Damme's Tour grade Bi-wire speaker cable to my Yamaha RXA2050 AV Reciever. This cable has a cross secton area of 2.5mm and I was looking to get a thicker cable, preferably at 6mm thickness. I was looking at the QED Ruby Anniversary Edition speaker cable which was listed on a website as having a 6mm thickness, but for two 10m lengths (would be cut to make four 5m lengths for bi-amping) it would cost £60

However looking on Amazon I found I can get two 10m lengths of 10AWG cable for £20. The quality looks cheaper than the QED cable and it doesn't have any marketing spiel attached to it either, but does it really matter? Surely at the end of the day, cable is cable and the only real thing that improves the sound is thickness right? Or have I got this completely wrong? Here's the link to the cable anyway

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01J6G2N2G/ref=ox_sc_mini_detail?ie=...
The Qed wire you mention is the same thickness as what you already have. The 6mm is the total thickness including jacket. So it is probably unlikely you will notice any difference from the 2.5mm cable you have already. I wouldn't bother with bi-wiring.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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A Christmas speaker cable thread... its been a while.

Rather than the 'I think this, I think that' approach, a bit of basic circuit analysis will show that at audio frequencies in the relatively short runs found in domestic installations, the only thing that matters is cable resistance.

The copper in decent electrical cables is all the same resitivity, and the resistance of a cable is a function of thickness and length. So, keep the cables short, have a decent thickness cable and that is as good as you can get. Everything (and I do mean everything) else is just marketing.

In answer to the OPs original question, all decent cables of similar construction, length and thickness will sound exactly the same. How could they possibly sound any different?
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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Muddywaterstones said:
Here is a  question which has sometimes stumbled through my mind without me ever really searching for an answer. If the electrical cable powering the amp is 2.5mm thick, is there any possible benefit in using a larger guage speaker wire?

I don't know the answer but logic would tell me no. 6mm seems ridiculous. I'm not saying it can't do a good job but it seems like overkill.
It is. Perhaps in Studios or live applications where miles of cable runs and 20000 watt amplification are involved.

Makes little sense at home.

A well constructed 1 to 1.5 mil cable is plenty.

Imho construction/materials are more important than gauge for your average domestic installation.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
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0
seemorebtts said:
Muddywaterstones said:
Here is a  question which has sometimes stumbled through my mind without me ever really searching for an answer. If the electrical cable powering the amp is 2.5mm thick, is there any possible benefit in using a larger guage speaker wire?

I don't know the answer but logic would tell me no. 6mm seems ridiculous. I'm not saying it can't do a good job but it seems like overkill.
I think sometimes it can be what kind of materials are used and not thickness.im not an expert tho.
Indeed. The thickness often comes in where perceived value is concerned. Most things high end are heavy, big and bling.

Even folks like VanDamned are not immune to this making 4 and 6 mil 'hifi series cables'. They'd be imo better advised to change how they build these home application cables.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
these manufacturers are (believe or not)trying to help us get the best out of are equipment and for me is quite important.you have a very capable amp and speakers and for me I would invest in speaker wire and power leads.alot of people on here don't believe in it but I'm sure that they don't have door bell wire on there systems which means some wires do make some kind of difference.please I don't want an argument anyone just my opinion.if you can try to get some on lone or go to your local dealer and they should let you listen to some to see if you can hear any differences

[/quote]

I'm not trying to start an argument, I just want a clear cut answer. However I do not agree that manufacturers are trying to help us get the best out of our equipment. They're a business and if they can throw enough marketing R&D at our faces to make us believe and buy into it, then they'll make a lot of money. I'm talking specifically about the Audioquest Diamond HDMI cable that retails at £1000+ per meter. In this scenario, HDMI is digital and consists of binary data and no amount of "SOLID 100% PERFECT-SURFACE SILVER (PSS) CONDUCTORS" can change the "clarity and dynamic contrast" as they so claim it can. With digital signals, the data is either there or it isn't, end of.

Obviously I know speaker cable isn't digital and completely different from HDMI, so I come here to seek answers. Does QED's Aircore technology which "utilizes two conductors of different diameters to carry the same audio signal" actually make a difference, or even enough of a difference to pay three times the price of a regular cable? Or again, it is all just marketing BS?
[/quote]

Yes. QED'S way of making cables, including the 'air core' makes a difference to sound.
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
66
0
18,540
Ro-Tang Clan said:
drummerman said:
Your two wordings of 'marketing spiel' and 'marketing hype' (BS was another one) kind of make me wonder what your intentions are with this thread.

Reading your post again it seems to me you are firmly in the 'anti snake oil' camp and rather stir a little than seeking answers no?

If I tell you that the construction of a cable can certainly affect sound imo ... would that help?
Apologies if it feels that way, but I'm not trying to stir sh*t up, I'm just seeking answers. A lot of manufacturers shove marketing terminology in our faces in which they may be 100% true to how they've manufacturered it, but doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the end product. As I mentioned in my previous comment, the AudioQuest Diamond HDMI cable is one of them. Now I don't know enough about the science and physics of speaker cable to be able to know what kind of a difference, or a difference at all, the high priced speaker cable of these manufacturers will make. I always thought that the thickness is what will affect the sound and the shielding will protect it from interference. Is it not as simple as this? Is there actual truth to the claims manufacturers make?

For example, if I get the basic 10AWG cable I found on amazon, will voices in songs sound 'muddy' or will I lose out on the separation between the instruments as opposed to using a cable like the QED Ruby Anniversary or the QED XT40?
the qedxt40 can help with separation of instruments and has a muscular presentation quite different to the normal QED.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
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QED have a quite good way of describing the sound signature of their cables. Read the literature.

As always, whether you like the result is another question as with everything hifi.
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
66
0
18,540
drummerman said:
QED have a quite good way of describing the sound signature of their cables. Read the literature.

As always, whether you like the result is another question as with everything hifi.
i agree with drummerman yes you have to listen to make your own mind up.read reviews too they can help with what you need.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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Muddywaterstones said:
Here is a question which has sometimes stumbled through my mind without me ever really searching for an answer. If the electrical cable powering the amp is 2.5mm thick, is there any possible benefit in using a larger guage speaker wire?

I don't know the answer but logic would tell me no. 6mm seems ridiculous. I'm not saying it can't do a good job but it seems like overkill.
Its all a bit more complicated than that. Wire size can be driven by many factors, permissible voltage drop, allowable heating, overall current carrying capability, resistance and so on. In the UK, a ringmain is wired with 2.5mmsq cable, fused at 32A. That's 8KW. Overhead grid powercables (the sort that hang from pylons) carry 100s of MW each (and are interestingly made from aluminium, not copper). Apart from the size difference of the conductor, the main difference is the voltage - the overhead cables can be operating at voltages above 500KV, home wiring at 230V. The power carrying capability of a cable is the product of amperage and voltage. Double the voltage, and the same wire will carry twice the power.

So, in answer to your question, a home audio amp is on average producing a few tens of watts, less than an old style 60W light bulb. Even a very inefficient amp draws very little overall power, perhaps a hundred watts or so, and can make do with a thin mains cable. Speaker circuits are different, they are relatively low voltage, high current and the accuracy of the signal is important.

An amp/speaker combination is an open loop servo - you want the speaker cone to move a distance that is exactly proportional to changes on the input signal to the amp. Losses in the speaker cable makes this difficult. Having a low resistance (thick) connection between the amp and speaker makes this easier.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
86
1
18,540
drummerman said:
seemorebtts said:
Muddywaterstones said:
Here is a question which has sometimes stumbled through my mind without me ever really searching for an answer. If the electrical cable powering the amp is 2.5mm thick, is there any possible benefit in using a larger guage speaker wire?

I don't know the answer but logic would tell me no. 6mm seems ridiculous. I'm not saying it can't do a good job but it seems like overkill.
I think sometimes it can be what kind of materials are used and not thickness.im not an expert tho.
Indeed. The thickness often comes in where perceived value is concerned. Most things high end are heavy, big and bling.

Even folks like VanDamned are not immune to this making 4 and 6 mil 'hifi series cables'. They'd be imo better advised to change how they build these home application cables.
I'm not sure what the ideal cable thickness is but copper is copper and most people won't splash out on pure silver conductors! My Van Damme seems to do a great job. Does any know whether its better to have many small copper conductors plaited together or a single conductor of the same combined thickness?
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
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Blackdawn said:
I'm not sure what the ideal cable thickness is but copper is copper and most people won't splash out on pure silver conductors! My Van Damme seems to do a great job. Does any know whether its better to have many small copper conductors plaited together or a single conductor of the same combined thickness?
If you are feeling keen, google 'strand jumping'.

While I have not seen a specific analysis on the subject, it would seem that a single solid conductor would be preferable to multiple strands.

There is a school of thought that 2.5mmsq twin and earth solid mains cable makes excellent speaker cable. Tough to bend, but it does at least stay put when you do bend it.
 

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