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  1. #1
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    Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Interested in opinions on whether the speaker or the amp component has the most impact on synergistic selection of a speaker cable. Perhaps another way of considering the question would be that if we were to later change the least impactful component, we would be less likely to feel the need to also change the speaker cable. For my interests, we'd be talking about cone speakers and solid state amps, but I could also see where opinions might vary based on the technologies employed, etc. But perhaps we just can't generalize here?

  2. #2
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    'synergistic' selection needs to take into account length of cable run with respect to gauge of wire. This combined with quality solid electro-mechanical connections are first and foremost.

    Everything else is mostly audiofool BS

    Ok, perhaps I did 'generalize' a bit ………...
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  3. #3
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    i've done the 'uber' spendy speaker cable thing. years ago i used -2- sets of Transparent Audio Opus MM speaker cables to bi-amp my VR9SE's. over $60k at list price. kinda crazy. did sound awesome.

    8 years ago i switched from those TA Opus to use the same wire used inside my speakers. i use Evolution Acoustics TRSC (triple run speaker cables).......and not looked back. however your speakers are voiced, and assuming your system has a neutrality sort of sound, hard to get much more synergistic than that.

    i prefer to avoid any sort of network boxes at this point; but i do respect the whole grounding thing and speaker cables using that approach do have attraction to me (although i've not used them).

    i think the right answer to your question is that 'it depends'. if you like the tonal balance of your speakers (of course, to listen to your speakers requires speaker cables and amps), then getting something close to what your speakers are using likely can't go too far wrong. OTOH if you need a tone control of some sort then it's flavor to taste time.

    most systems are speaker-centric, so that should be the most significant influence. and if you are trying to judge an amplifier, it helps to know the speaker cables are working in tandem with the speakers.

  4. #4
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Right, Mikado. And I recognize that much will also depend on what one is trying to achieve with the selection, e.g., looking for a neutral cable or trying to compensate for brightness somewhere in the audio chain, etc. The question I'm interested in here is confined just to the relative contributions of the speakers vs. the amp(s).

  5. #5
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSOphile View Post
    The question I'm interested in here is confined just to the relative contributions of the speakers vs. the amp(s).
    Ok, then look no further than Spectral amps. From what I am told they are very capacitive sensitive, thus there supposed 'marriage' with MIT. The same can be said for electrostatics, their capacitive nature tends to favor lower capacitive cables for best speaker / amp synergy.
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  6. #6
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    My finding is that it’s more the listener, but if I have to pick one, I would say the speaker. The power cable affects the amp more IMO and the IC between source and pre.


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  7. #7

    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    i've done the 'uber' spendy speaker cable thing. years ago i used -2- sets of Transparent Audio Opus MM speaker cables to bi-amp my VR9SE's. over $60k at list price. kinda crazy. did sound awesome.

    8 years ago i switched from those TA Opus to use the same wire used inside my speakers. i use Evolution Acoustics TRSC (triple run speaker cables).......and not looked back. however your speakers are voiced, and assuming your system has a neutrality sort of sound, hard to get much more synergistic than that.

    i prefer to avoid any sort of network boxes at this point; but i do respect the whole grounding thing and speaker cables using that approach do have attraction to me (although i've not used them).

    i think the right answer to your question is that 'it depends'. if you like the tonal balance of your speakers (of course, to listen to your speakers requires speaker cables and amps), then getting something close to what your speakers are using likely can't go too far wrong. OTOH if you need a tone control of some sort then it's flavor to taste time.

    most systems are speaker-centric, so that should be the most significant influence. and if you are trying to judge an amplifier, it helps to know the speaker cables are working in tandem with the speakers.
    Hey Mike. What do you mean when you say “most systems are speaker-centric”?
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

  8. #8
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Hey Mike. What do you mean when you say “most systems are speaker-centric”?
    i mean just that; the speaker's character is dominant, and if you are trying to 'solve' a system imbalance caused by the speaker then you are chasing your tail. so it's better to choose the right speaker (and speaker cable), then the rest follows. we are speaking here about the signal path.

    for example; if the speaker has an inherent 'hot' or 'tipped up' high frequencies (as perceived by the owner), then to solve that you will be adding another coloration to tame it. every time you add coloration you lose a degree of musical truth. i'll point out that there are lots of viewpoints on what 'tipped up' means, or what gear might be colored. depends on your sonic compass.

    the speaker will also be significant in limiting amplifier choices.

    which is why most systems are speaker-centric; the rest of the system and room are there to optimize that speaker.

    some of us have multiple speakers, so in those cases it's different. i'd view that as having multiple systems, with each speaker choice version still speaker-centric.

  9. #9
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post

    which is why most systems are speaker-centric; the rest of the system and room are there to optimize that speaker.

    .
    I'll agree with that, yet I see way too many folks trying to resolve issues with 'wire' that should have been first addressed with speaker/room/acoustic interaction adj first and foremost.
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  10. #10

    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Speakers are the most colored and have the highest distortion of any of the components in your
    system. All of the sound in our stereo systems we hear comes from our speakers which means all systems are “speaker-centric.”

    Hopefully people aren’t choosing speakers that they know have anomalies they don’t like and think they can tame with cables.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

  11. #11
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Good discussion, guys. Mike L's statement (below) seems like a good summary to me:

    "most systems are speaker-centric, so that should be the most significant influence. and if you are trying to judge an amplifier, it helps to know the speaker cables are working in tandem with the speakers."

  12. #12
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    The two loudspeaker cable considerations are:
    1] the loudspeaker frequency/impedance curve.
    2] length of the cable.

  13. #13
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    With all due respect, in my opinion, there are more factors in play regarding differences in sound attributable to loudspeaker cables than the two you mention. Some examples: cable and connector materials, cable and connector quality, cable geometry, shielding, etc.

  14. #14
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSOphile View Post
    With all due respect, in my opinion, there are more factors in play regarding differences in sound attributable to loudspeaker cables than the two you mention. Some examples: cable and connector materials, cable and connector quality, cable geometry, shielding, etc.
    all of which does NOT requiring spending the stupid $$ that 'some' insist upon !!
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  15. #15
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    all of which does NOT requiring spending the stupid $$ that 'some' insist upon !!
    I’ve been an audiophile for at least 35 years now, I tried many cables and at every price range.
    These days I’m using basic Belden cables ( blue jeans ) and I’m very happy with it even though it’s by far the cheapest item in my system.


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  16. #16
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    all of which does NOT requiring spending the stupid $$ that 'some' insist upon !!
    "stupid $$" is open for debate depending on business costs and perceived benefits delivered to the user. I can certainly agree that some cables are vastly overpriced.

  17. #17
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    all of which does NOT requiring spending the stupid $$ that 'some' insist upon !!
    "stupid $$" is open for debate depending on business costs and perceived benefits delivered to the user. I can certainly agree that some cables are vastly overpriced.

  18. #18
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSOphile View Post
    Some examples: cable and connector materials, cable and connector quality, cable geometry, shielding, etc.
    While each of these factors can occasionally enter the picture, each would be situation specific. With reasonable cables and reasonable systems, none would be high on the list.

  19. #19

    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    I've done a fair bit of reading about this in the last year, and to the best of my understanding, the predominant factors are the impedance curve of the loudspeaker and the amplifier design that create an "interaction" that the speaker cable must be capable of dealing with. I used to naively think that speaker cables were simply "big wires" that carry current to the speaker drivers, but I've come to realize its considerably more complex than that. For one thing, certain loudspeaker impedance curves can cause an amplifier to become unstable and oscillate, and in this situation, the design configuration & complexities inherent in the speaker cable design and geometry as well as he amplifier design plays an influential role. My understanding is the worst kind of geometry are parallel wires, that is, "zip cord" style speaker cables.

    Also, some folks think that the current in a speaker cable flows through the conductors like "water in a tube", and that is absolutely not what happens; its quite a bit more complex than that. What speaker cables actually carry is an electromagnetic wave which propogates along the cable, and thus is subject to "summations" and "cancellations" that any series of waves is; they are also subject to "reflections" which are influenced by the cable length. Further, velocity of propogation (Vp) of this EM wave varies by frequency. These different "Vps" are part of the why speaker cables and their design are amongst the most complex and also important cables in a stereo system (next to power and digital cables).

    Couple of last points: speaker cables are subject to current resonance modal distortions as well as RF from gigahertz computer CPUs and GPUs, where, for these bandwidths, they can function literally as antennas, picking up the RF and feeding it backwards into the amp, only to be re-amplified as noise.The latter is why it's really a bad idea to a computer or any high-bandwidth CPU functioning as a music server anywhere near your main audio rack and speaker system.

    So, yeah, there's a lot going on that a speaker cable must deal with...

  20. #20

    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSOphile View Post
    With all due respect, in my opinion, there are more factors in play regarding differences in sound attributable to loudspeaker cables than the two you mention. Some examples: cable and connector materials, cable and connector quality, cable geometry, shielding, etc.
    That is correct. Also reflections and current modal resonance distortions are factors.

  21. #21
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    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    'Puma Cat' most of what you read, applies to cables in the hundred Megahertz range. At audio frequencies, speaker cables just don't work that way.

  22. #22

    Re: Component influence on speaker cable selection?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSOphile View Post
    With all due respect, in my opinion, there are more factors in play regarding differences in sound attributable to loudspeaker cables than the two you mention. Some examples: cable and connector materials, cable and connector quality, cable geometry, shielding, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    That is correct.
    My opinion too. Absolutely correct!

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