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Thread: Thick cables sound better?

  1. #1
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    Thick cables sound better?

    Hi guys,

    I know speaker cable topic has been covered in this forum before, but want to double check with your opinion and feedback.
    Do thicker speaker wires, say, 10 or 12 awg, sound better than thin ones such as 16 or 18 awg?
    Googling on this shows mixed opinion, with some going for thick cables (usually audiophiles), but others showing skeptic response.

    Personally I've used 16g wires for my bi-amped 4343 with good results in my basement listening room.
    Depending on your opinion, however, I'm thinking of switching to thicker cables, at least for for the woofers.
    I hear thicker cables work especially better for sub-woofers.

    Any feedback and comments would be welcome.

  2. #2
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyonc View Post
    Hi guys,

    I know speaker cable topic has been covered in this forum before, but want to double check with your opinion and feedback.
    Do thicker speaker wires, say, 10 or 12 awg, sound better than thin ones such as 16 or 18 awg?
    Googling on this shows mixed opinion, with some going for thick cables (usually audiophiles), but others showing skeptic response.

    Personally I've used 16g wires for my bi-amped 4343 with good results in my basement listening room.
    Depending on your opinion, however, I'm thinking of switching to thicker cables, at least for for the woofers.
    I hear thicker cables work especially better for sub-woofers.

    Any feedback and comments would be welcome.
    I run my 4641 sub on (I believe) 12 gauge copper zip cord from a regular vendor - nothing fancy.
    Its powered by an old Harman Kardon Citation 22 in bridged mode - so its probably a MAX of 600 watts and usually much less.

    Until very recently I ran all my speakers on the same wire, pretty much. The biamped 4341 were wired the same - probably 12 gauge zip cord and banana plugs ... their woofers ran on 200w/ch amps first JBL/UREI 6260 amps, then later Adcom GFA-555 amps ... never a problem. More recently I have a B&K ST-202Plus amp on the mains - a great improvement in clarity of sound.

    The ONLY change recent is I now have a pair of Vandersteen 2CE speakers in that room, and Richard Vandersteen recommends biwiring them (not biamp) - so I recently switched to a pair of MIT Terminator 2 cables (off Craigslist) that I got pretty cheaply, as designer wires go.

    It DID seem to sound better on THOSE speakers than the regular old copper did -
    but I sure wouldn't have paid retail prices for those cables.

    Your mileage may vary - its YOUR Money.
    If you can hear a difference, spend your money as you like to be happy!
    2ch: Oppo, JoLida 502CRC, JBL L212, 18ti,240ti; Heath AS101, Von Schweikert VR4
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  3. #3
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    There are electrical engineering types of answers, there are "if it makes you happy" types of answers,
    there are "personal testimony" type answers, there are snake-oil answers, there are bullshit physics answers...

    I personally like the first two.

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    IMHE

    I've been tinkering since the early 70's. Back then when I was broke, but had gear that had been ordered from the PX , used whatever was available for speaker wire. Often spliced shorter lengths (most likely out of phase) and the big improvement was when I got a roll of 4 wire solid core telephone cable
    (24-26 ga ?)

    I now use 12ga underground lighting cable and to me, I think it sounds great.

    My understanding is that the biggest consideration for size of wire needed is:

    Length of Run.
    “If you think that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard,
    just wait a couple minutes!”

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    Senior Member Eaulive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    There are electrical engineering types of answers, there are "if it makes you happy" types of answers,
    there are "personal testimony" type answers, there are snake-oil answers, there are bullshit physics answers...

    I personally like the first two.
    I second that.
    My avatar: 4520 loaded with 2225H on E140 frames,
    1x B&C 12PE32 on custom front loaded horn, 2x 2426 on 2370.

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    Senior Member martin2395's Avatar
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    Thicker wire sounds different, but better? It depends.
    I always found thin 1.5mm copper to sound quite bass shy and shrill on the highs and 6mm2 was too dark and bass heavy to my taste.
    Of course YMMV, maybe you will find both cables to sound the same.

    Personally I like MIT cables very much, especially combined with powerful SS amps like Krell or Levinson. Currently I have a set of Magnum M3's and I would not trade them for anything else
    The magic boxes seem to work for me

  7. #7
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    Wink New war any one?

    Quote Originally Posted by martin2395 View Post
    Thicker wire sounds different, but better? It depends.
    I always found thin 1.5mm copper to sound quite bass shy and shrill on the highs and 6mm2 was too dark and bass heavy to my taste.
    Of course YMMV, maybe you will find both cables to sound the same.

    Personally I like MIT cables very much, especially combined with powerful SS amps like Krell or Levinson. Currently I have a set of Magnum M3's and I would not trade them for anything else
    The magic boxes seem to work for me
    Obviously, this is one of those questions which has NO definitive answer.

    From my own experience, I use short, large gauge cable in high current circuits (simple concept supported by simplest physics), such as my subwoofers, both lower and upper (bi-amped LFE channel in my HT rig). For my fronts and surrounds, I have just plain (I do think newish is important, since copper oxidizes rather quickly) copper cable 16 gauge.

    The only time I have ever heard a difference in cabling was with my simple is better, two channel rig - tubes from Decware, single driver speakers, close field, silver cabling. Can not say if it was the silver or the connectors or the braiding or the extreme short length or the routing or ... or ...

    That said, wanna talk about power cables?

  8. #8
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin2395 View Post
    Thicker wire sounds different, but better? It depends.
    I always found thin 1.5mm copper to sound quite bass shy and shrill on the highs and 6mm2 was too dark and bass heavy to my taste.
    Of course YMMV, maybe you will find both cables to sound the same.

    Personally I like MIT cables very much, especially combined with powerful SS amps like Krell or Levinson. Currently I have a set of Magnum M3's and I would not trade them for anything else
    The magic boxes seem to work for me
    I've heard about MIT cables. How do they match with your speakers, compared with other cables you used before, especially bass sound? As owner of 4343 like you, I feel strongly toward them...

  9. #9
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post

    Length of Run.
    Well, in my room setting, both speaker wires run about 6 ft.
    According to the standard rule, 16 awg would work.
    But I wonder if thicker cables, like 12 or even 10g, would get more bass...

  10. #10
    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyonc View Post
    Well, in my room setting, both speaker wires run about 6 ft.
    According to the standard rule, 16 awg would work.
    But I wonder if thicker cables, like 12 or even 10g, would get more bass...
    I've got the same 12ga. running to the A & B speakers ...4 foot run & 22 foot runs. Don't detect any difference once I've satisfied a minimum current requirement.

    Quoting gauge thicknesses of stranded seems different than gauge of solid.
    Someone on here (can't remember who) swears by very small magnet wire for speaker runs.

    NOT to go off the rails here , but the owner of Mapleshade touts fine gauge over larger wire for better sonics.

    http://mapleshadestore.com/feedback_speakercables.php

    he is echoing my earlier comment about solid core telephone cable , but his cost a lot more




    Clearview Golden Helix Speaker Cable
    optimized thin gauge, solid core design delivers punchier dynamics and transparency
    • superior to any multi-stranded garden hose cable, even with 250 watt amplifiers
    • our entry-level speaker cable; outperforms widely-praised cables costing 20 times more
    • offers excellent detail, sharp image focus, and surprising dynamic impact

    OUR RECOMMENDATION: Whenever possible, connect our cables using their prepared, bare wire ends without extra terminations. This will be your least-expensive, best-sounding option. Unlike stranded-wire speaker cables, our solid-core conductor does not fray--and, once bent into a J-hook, is just as convenient as a spade. Even though our offered terminations are the least intrusive-sounding spades and bananas available, they still do not sound quite as good as making a simple, bare WIRE connection to your speaker/amp binding post, screw terminal, et al.
    “If you think that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard,
    just wait a couple minutes!”

  11. #11
    Maron Horonzakz
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    Thicker would not nessarily give more bass...but your tone control would,,,, people talk about difference,,,when they should be talking about accurate compered to live scource,, i use barbed wire for a sharper sound

  12. #12
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    Someone on here (can't remember who) swears by very small magnet wire for speaker runs.
    I think it was Scott Fitlin ...
    2ch: Oppo, JoLida 502CRC, JBL L212, 18ti,240ti; Heath AS101, Von Schweikert VR4
    7.1: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

  13. #13
    Senior Member martin2395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyonc View Post
    I've heard about MIT cables. How do they match with your speakers, compared with other cables you used before, especially bass sound? As owner of 4343 like you, I feel strongly toward them...
    I like them very much, they take away some of the harshness the 4343 with stock networks has. They have great bass too!
    Funny thing is that you can clearly hear the difference just by connecting one speaker with the MIT and the other one with normal cable and by turning the balance knob left and right.

    However MIT's are not really suitable for stuff like Sonus Faber or some british speakers as they will probably sound too dark on top end because MIT's aren't the most dynamic sounding cables around.

  14. #14
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin2395 View Post
    Funny thing is that you can clearly hear the difference just by connecting one speaker with the MIT and the other one with normal cable and by turning the balance knob left and right.
    That's a great observation! Let me try them out in the near future.
    By the way, what's the awg of your MIT cables?

  15. #15
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeDome View Post
    From my own experience, I use short, large gauge cable in high current circuits (simple concept supported by simplest physics), such as my subwoofers, both lower and upper (bi-amped LFE channel in my HT rig). For my fronts and surrounds, I have just plain (I do think newish is important, since copper oxidizes rather quickly) copper cable 16 gauge.
    Well, I've just tried Monster 12g both for bass and mid/high cones in a break from 16g for both.
    With Miles Davis's Kind of Blue on CDP, my ears hear more bass on the one hand, but rather a bit dull sound from the mid/high.
    So, I changed to 16g only for the mid/high just like before, and the crisper sound I'm used to came back.
    Looks like these thicker cables work better for the LF woofers... Just my impression.

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