The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
reasonable speaker cable of actual quality
Old 6th August 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 
chriscoleman's Avatar
 

reasonable speaker cable of actual quality

Piggy-backing off of the PMC TB2 thread... I'm looking to upgrade my speaker cable from 12-gauge Home Depot bulk to something of actual sonic value.

HOWEVER - I'm NOT looking for $100/ft audiophile esoteric snake oil cable made from golden unicorn hair...I'm searching for reasonably-priced, high-quality cable that will actually make a positive difference in my system. Perhaps somewhere around $50 for a pair of 8 to 10 ft. cables.

I'm currently using a Hafler P3000 to drive a pair of passive Dynaudio BM15's...around next Wednesday, the amp will be a Hafler 9505 (anyone need a P3000?).

Thanks for the suggestions...
Old 6th August 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Kimber Kable. You can use their 8TC, the black and blue stuff that's around $12/foot. Or, just use their brown cable for $3/foot. It's quite good.
Old 6th August 2005
  #3
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 

Why not use regular 100 amp cooker cable and save money?
Old 6th August 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I've been yapping about those cables a little, went through this quite a bit lately. By far the best speaker cable for the price I've found was Tara Labs Prism Klara. It used to be around $.79/ft, then went to $1.00/ft. And just as I was ready to put it everywhere... Tara discontinued it, of course.

They replaced it with "the same thing, only improved" according to them. It ain't. The new version is called Prism Klara PS -- they raised the price to $1.50/ft, it uses a different jacket, wider spacing between conductors, and who knows what else. Doesn't sound anywhere near as good as the original, it's a much darker, flatter sound, with more bass and less treble, and much less open midrange.

It still is pretty good overall, considering the price. And is far better than the old "power cord" (yes I've tried lots of it) or lamp cord. The Monster I've used is just junk compared to anything else, even the zip cord. An edgy quality, with sharp transients and difficult mids. Although of course there are a lot of different versions of MC and I haven't used them all. I'm sure Kimber has some decent ones, they've been doing this for a while, but I haven't used any.

The best audiophile cable I've used, not too exotic ($180 for 2 meter pair) is Kubala-Sosna. This is the cheapest they make, goes way up in price from there. It is just outstanding sound quality, check around some of the audio forums for some positive feedback. But while I liked it in listening systems, overall I felt it was a little too "lively" for my mixing needs. I like it when I want some impact and tremendous clarity, but somehow it's not as "neutral" as the original Klara, so for monitoring and mixing I went back to that.

IMO all cables are just equalizers. They will work differently in every system, depending on mic, preamp, mixer, converter, amp, speaker, whatever. So I just use what sounds right to me, with a given set of equipment.

Steve
Old 6th August 2005
  #5
Gear Addict
 
mixer's Avatar
 

second on the kimber cable tc8..best i have found for the money..
Old 7th August 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
I'm looking to upgrade my speaker cable from 12-gauge Home Depot bulk to something of actual sonic value.
there is a huge contingent of very opinionated audiophiles (is there any other type?) over at http://www.audioasylum.com who swear that orange Home Depot AC extension cords make the best value in high end speaker cables, bar none.
Old 7th August 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross
there is a huge contingent of very opinionated audiophiles (is there any other type?) over at http://www.audioasylum.com who swear that orange Home Depot AC extension cords make the best value in high end speaker cables, bar none.
Yes, partly from an old semi-serious "comparison" published in The Absolute Sound. I think this thing has grown from urban legends for a while.

Always curious, I tried it myself long ago. Yawn. Sounds like extension cord. Not quite as good as regular 16-gage zip cord. A fairly "soft", dull sound, weak dynamics. Better in some ways than that old AWG 10 Monster I had.

Try it if you want, as I said cables just modify/attenuate/enhance frequencies, maybe your system will like the way they do it. Mine didn't. Definitely compare to some Tara, Kimber, or Kubala-Sosna if you get a chance.

Steve
Old 7th August 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
chriscoleman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegybug
Definitely compare to some Tara, Kimber, or Kubala-Sosna if you get a chance.
Does anyone actually sell this stuff? I've found a few eBay listings, but I can't find anyone who will state that they carry and sell any of these brands, let alone list prices. I don't know of any high end stereo shops locally, but perhaps those types of shops might have this stuff?
Old 7th August 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Just a suggestion; try something that's solid-core and light in guage. Have some Cat-5 or Cat-6? Try it. Just try it.

(remember, it's not all solid-core.)
Old 7th August 2005
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Piggy-backing off of the PMC TB2 thread... I'm looking to upgrade my speaker cable from 12-gauge Home Depot bulk to something of actual sonic value.
Don't bother. There is no speaker cable upgrade. For real long distance you might lower the gauge, but other wise, the "actual sonic value" will be the same as very expensive fancy speaker wire.
Old 7th August 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

I don't think anyone here is suggesting 'very expensive fancy speaker wire' as much as the fact that some inexpensive solutions sound better than others. Sure, I've used lamp cord for years. It's fine. There's also wire that sounds better and doesn't cost a fortune. Not everything associated with 'hi-fi gear' is snake oil. I don't care if anyone changes their own wire, but I know what my ears tell me.
Old 7th August 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Does anyone actually sell this stuff? I've found a few eBay listings, but I can't find anyone who will state that they carry and sell any of these brands, let alone list prices. I don't know of any high end stereo shops locally, but perhaps those types of shops might have this stuff?
It can be a little challenging to find good cables, but not too bad. Yes, Hi-Fi shops are more likely to sell the higher quality cable. Not sure why that is actually, I think studio work can benefit from some of these too. But I don't go for the outrageously priced stuff some sell. Try these:

Kubala-Sosna... East - www.audioclassics.com (Frank), or West - www.pearlaudiovideo.com (Tom)

Tara Labs... Midwest - www.soundmindaudio.com (Brian or David), East - www.goodwinshighend.com (Alan or anyone there) , or West - www.soundscapeav.com

Kimber Kable... www.soundscapeav.com

In my experience these are all excellent shops, very helpful folks running them.

Steve
Old 7th August 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

also, if you clean the connectors with isopropyl alchohol and then apply Stabilant-22, you'll gain clarity.
Old 7th August 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 
chriscoleman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
also, if you clean the connectors with isopropyl alchohol and then apply Stabilant-22, you'll gain clarity.
oh great, this just turned into an audiophile thread.
Old 7th August 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
 
audioez's Avatar
 

I like the zip cord(used on lamps) that you can get at any hardware store. This works as speaker cable thumbsup
Old 7th August 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Piggy-backing off of the PMC TB2 thread... I'm looking to upgrade my speaker cable from 12-gauge Home Depot bulk to something of actual sonic value.

HOWEVER - I'm NOT looking for $100/ft audiophile esoteric snake oil cable made from golden unicorn hair...I'm searching for reasonably-priced, high-quality cable that will actually make a positive difference in my system. Perhaps somewhere around $50 for a pair of 8 to 10 ft. cables.

I'm currently using a Hafler P3000 to drive a pair of passive Dynaudio BM15's...around next Wednesday, the amp will be a Hafler 9505 (anyone need a P3000?).

Thanks for the suggestions...

I suggest you hit Autozone and buy about 15 pairs of auto jumper cables.........
I was part of a panel back in the 80's that did a double blind test of esoteric cables vs standard zip cord..There was a ringer in the bunch, jumper cables and it WON!!!
By a small margin, albeit but it did win.


Personally I have YET to meet a person who can tell the difference betwen 12 guage zip and some $20/ft esoteric.....
If YOU think you can, go ahead, but I'll tell you right now you are wasting your money.

When I was in college during the late 70's the high end store I worked for was expert at draining money from fools paying $100/ft for O2 free cable....
Even the most basic physics course will clue you in on that one :(
Old 7th August 2005
  #17
Lives for gear
 
bunnerabb's Avatar
Any decent OFC cable is fine.

Litz braids are ok.

Zip cord actually works well.

Short lengths, keep away from parallel electrics.
Old 7th August 2005
  #18
Lives for gear
 
chriscoleman's Avatar
 

From the sounds of it, I'll be sticking with what I've got. Thanks for the input everyone...

-Chris
Old 7th August 2005
  #19
Lives for gear
 

I think you'll notice a difference between the cheap $3/foot Kimber and the Home Depot that you're currently using. Don't let all the different suggestions dissuade you.

Here's a couple more links. The first one is for used cables. I think they're the same company actually.

Used Cable dot com

The Cable Co.

Nordost Cable is also very, very good. My favorite actually. If you see any good deals on Nordost Blue Heaven speaker cable, that's an excellent choice.
Old 7th August 2005
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Key word is difference. Every change in an audio system makes a difference. Whether it's better or not is up to the individual. There is no absolute truth.

Sometimes I wonder how we ever got beyond smoke signals...


Steve
Old 8th August 2005
  #21


The best speaker cables I ever heard were made from used welding cables.

Terminating then was a little tricky as they were about 1/2" diameter bundle of very fine copper strands.

You might try putting 0.5nF caps across the terminals of your speakers. That will change the sound too.....




-tINY

Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump