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How important is speaker wire?

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:19 PM   #1  
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Default How important is speaker wire?

Can you hear a difference to the average listener? If its important what guage speaker wire is best? Does brand or type matter?
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:58 PM   #2  
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check out this article by Roger Russell

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

It gives recommended wire sizes for different impedance speakers and distances

Bottom line: Don't spend your money on fancy cables (i.e. Monster Cables)
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:21 PM   #3  
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaker_wire
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:55 PM   #4  
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Yes, it is VERY important to use the right gauge of speaker wire. To simplify, suppose for a moment that your house was on fire. Would you rather for the Fire Dept. to arrive with a couple of garden hoses, or with their regular, LARGER diameter fire hoses ? Speaker wire works in much the same way. Just as a hose transports water from the hydrant to the burning building, speaker wire transports the electrical current from your receiver to your speakers. The larger the gauge of wire, the more current it can deliver to your speakers. And the larger gauge wire can do it in a more efficient manner, as well. Brand names really do not matter. You need not spend big bucks on over-priced, over-hyped brands ( such as Monster ). Your best bet is to go to www.monoprice.com for your wire and cable purchases. They have best prices on the web, as well as great, user proven products.

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Old 01-20-2010, 09:39 PM   #5  
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That is a LOADED question. There are those that believe it makes no difference at all, and there are those who believe it is imperitive in an audiophile system to have good wire and IC's. I certainly think the more you spend on higher quality wire and IC's the better the sound, but whether it's worth it is a personal decision, and for me, it's a no. I have typical 12 guage wire with standard no name IC's on a very nice sysem. I saw on audiogon.com some IC's going for 10,000 dollars...WOW!
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:58 PM   #6  
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As long as you follow the recommended wire gauges in the following guide you will have no problems nor will any so called "better" cable be of ANY benefit.


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Old 01-20-2010, 10:16 PM   #7  
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I agree. Just so you use the correct gauge, you will be fine... even with regular 'ol lamp cord. Going a bit bigger than reccommended surely won't hurt anything. Truth is, alot of these people that spend big bucks on thier speaker wire do it because they can. It just looks pretty. These same people also have components and speakers that cost more than my home, so what's a few thousand more for some cable?

I'm just fine with my monoprice wire.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:40 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamebred View Post
I agree. Just so you use the correct gauge, you will be fine... even with regular 'ol lamp cord. Going a bit bigger than reccommended surely won't hurt anything. Truth is, alot of these people that spend big bucks on thier speaker wire do it because they can. It just looks pretty. These same people also have components and speakers that cost more than my home, so what's a few thousand more for some cable?

I'm just fine with my monoprice wire.
Hi gamebred...what is the quality of monoprice wire? low end?
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:03 PM   #9  
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Taken from the above referenced white paper:

What about oxygen free wire?

Oddly enough, it isn't the freedom of oxygen in copper wire that makes any difference. The process of removing oxygen also removes the impurity of iron and it's this impurity that can cause the resistance to be slightly higher. The difference in resistance between copper wire and oxygen free copper wire is too small to be significant for speaker wiring. It can be considered to be ordinary copper wire as far as the recommended lengths of copper wire in the table. Oxygen free copper wire can be more expensive than ordinary copper wire.

What about silver wire?

Silver wire has lower resistance compared to the same gauge of copper wire. Smaller silver wire can be used for the same resistance. It may cost more, though.


The proper gauge of the wire is what is important, not the cost. If you have any doubts, go up one size (i.e. use a 16 ga instead of a 18 ga).
Monoprice is just fine. Home Depot wire will also be just as good.
dave

Last edited by DaveJ; 01-21-2010 at 11:05 PM.. Reason: added underline and bold for effect
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:04 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pglore View Post
Hi gamebred...what is the quality of monoprice wire? low end?
It is as good as any other...
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:12 AM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pglore View Post
Hi gamebred...what is the quality of monoprice wire? low end?
I use monoprice's speaker wire for my install business. I like it a lot. The stranded conductors they use are easy to work with, especailly when I use banana plugs. I would call their cables good quality.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:32 AM   #12  
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FYI on speaker wire. There are many people who feel that Roger Russel isn't the be all, end all of speaker wire. To be honest, I think it's naive to believe that there isn't a difference between wires that cost thosands of dollars and wires that cost 3 dollars. Same goes for interconnects...you can hook up a system with IC's that cost hundreds fo dollars, or the crappy ones that came with yoru VCR back in 1989. Both produce sound, but is it better? I'd say it is from what I've heard. Again, the question is, is it WORTH it? My answer is no, but many people feel it is...and not just rich people who throw their money around. If you're interested, PM me, and I'll forward you a link to another forum that had a big discussion on speaker wire and Roger Russell...it was very interesting.

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Old 01-22-2010, 09:49 AM   #13  
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Sorry, I don't buy that. As long as the individual conductors are made of copper and the proper voltage drop is taken into consideration, there is NO difference. If one can attach a voltmeter to both the ULTRA expensive wires and the el cheapo and the resistance = 0, how can one be better than the other? Ohms law cares not about the price or wires. All wires, regardless of construction, are capable of a certain amount of capacitance. Only a secondary device can take care of that.

I would love to see real world proof that the expensive wires outperform the cheap ones.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:23 PM   #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pycroft View Post
FYI on speaker wire. There are many people who feel that Roger Russel isn't the be all, end all of speaker wire. To be honest, I think it's naive to believe that there isn't a difference between wires that cost thosands of dollars and wires that cost 3 dollars. Same goes for interconnects...you can hook up a system with IC's that cost hundreds fo dollars, or the crappy ones that came with yoru VCR back in 1989. Both produce sound, but is it better? I'd say it is from what I've heard. Again, the question is, is it WORTH it? My answer is no, but many people feel it is...and not just rich people who throw their money around. If you're interested, PM me, and I'll forward you a link to another forum that had a big discussion on speaker wire and Roger Russell...it was very interesting.

Pycroft
Sorry, I have done extensive testing on wires and interconnects while working on my Masters degree in audio engineering discovering that the higher priced, smoke and mirror wires, cables and interconnects are just that, snake oil. Thousands of hours of testing, research, A/B comparisons, double blind tests using groups of no less than 100 people at a time confirm all of my findings. The test groups were composed of other engineers, scientists and audiophiles so that there no tin eared or uninterested subjects. I agree with Roger...

The human mind and body are truly amazing things and if you fool yourself into believing the expensive cables, wires and interconnects are better, you will hear it that way. But, there is no sound empirical or subjective data to prove such nonsense.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:36 PM   #15  
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Do you believe that speaker wire and IC's can change the sound? Believe it or not, I've heard expensive IC's that I didn't like as much as cheaper IC's. So, can they change the sound in a system given that everything else (source, amp, preamp, speakers, etc.) are the same?
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