Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 45

Thread: Speaker Cable

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,776

    Speaker Cable

    Does using "Oxygen Free" cable to wire Hi-Fi speakers realy make any difference?
    I just use heavy plain copper cable and it sounds fine to me. Is the OFC cable just a marketing gimmick or am I missing something?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    3,416

    Re: Speaker Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by zebo-the-fat
    Does using "Oxygen Free" cable to wire Hi-Fi speakers realy make any difference?
    I just use heavy plain copper cable and it sounds fine to me. Is the OFC cable just a marketing gimmick or am I missing something?
    :-k
    As far as I understand, OXF copper is used when we need copper not susceptible to magnetic fields.
    But I have seen it used when the magnetic fields are very strong.

    My impression is that it is more a marketing gimmick (other factors are more important in speakers).

    Anyway, I found this link.

    EDIT to add: after having a look at Wolverine's link, maybe the reason OXF copper is used when dealing with strong magnetic fields, is because it is also free of iron impurities.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Marketing, IMHO. Some claim to be able to hear a difference in quality using solid platinum interconnect cables also, but in my experience, the electrons simply aren't picky enough to justify the exorbitant difference in price. Skepticism is definitely warranted where audiophiles' claims are concerned.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,653
    Total scam!

    You don't need heavy cable, either. Unless you have VERY long runs from your amp to your speakers, ordinary lamp cord (Zip cord) will do just fine for only pennies. The thick cables promoted some audio outlets are just a way of enhancing profits.

    The JREF page has had a series of articles on scams re audio quality and cable size. (www.randi.org/)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    16,686

    Re: Speaker Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by zebo-the-fat
    Does using "Oxygen Free" cable to wire Hi-Fi speakers realy make any difference?
    I just use heavy plain copper cable and it sounds fine to me. Is the OFC cable just a marketing gimmick or am I missing something?
    Here are some opinions:

    Link One
    Link Two
    Link Three (humor) Caution: adult language!

    I like this quote.

    The fact of the matter is that OFHC copper and pure unalloyed copper, both oxidize at around the same rates. Some cable manufacturers use the OFHC as an advertisement that it will not oxidize, or it will oxidize less than other copper conductor materials, but there is no truth to these claims.
    Just more devious ways to separate the consumer from lots of his money.

    I've been amused by high-end audiophiles since the 1950s. The people with the "golden ears" that don't change with the person's health or age, and can hear something in the sound created by that $200 a foot cable that you can't. Right.

    Now to find which type of magic marker it was that improved the sound of CDs when the ink was applied to the disc edge.


    [edit/add note]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,822
    Quote Originally Posted by Sammy
    Total scam!

    You don't need heavy cable, either. Unless you have VERY long runs from your amp to your speakers, ordinary lamp cord (Zip cord) will do just fine for only pennies. The thick cables promoted some audio outlets are just a way of enhancing profits.

    The JREF page has had a series of articles on scams re audio quality and cable size. (www.randi.org/)
    Agree, I've spliced unscreened twin bell cable to extend speaker cables without any drop in sound quality. Put your £/$ into decent speakers and amp.

    I know silver plated heavy copper is used in some RF applications but for audio it's a nonsense.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,776
    Thanks for the links, I knew I would be right about something eventualy!! =D>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,212
    Nothing beats the EMF shielded optical cables for scamminess. That scam has been less common lately; now the overpriced optical cables claim to have a higher speed of light, and thus less "skew". As if a femtosecond difference matters to a digital signal measured in kilohertz-- not to mention that the drift in the crystal oscillator frequencies of the digital audio circuits would totally swamp the optical cable's effects. :roll:

    Just more proof that my morals are keeping me poor: I could be getting rich selling quakery!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    My experience with cables: make sure the electrical contct and guidance is good (so a nicely attached copper cable which isn't rediculously thin), and if it's quite think isolated it gives less hum.

    Only step away from this approach if:

    *You play really loud and you really need a thicker cable because thinner ones melt through
    *You are annoyed with the almost inaudible electrical hum (I only hear it when playing nothing at very loud volumes...) and want better isolated cables.

    These very expensive cables may sound a very little bit better, but IMO it is totally not worth the expense. For 5 dollars a cable a normal person has all the quality he will ever need. For 1 dollar probably too, but these can have bad contacts, the cable itself usually is fine.

    If you want good sound quality, put your money in 5dollar cables and more expensive speakers, amp and sources. Bi-amping clearlygives a difference. The opinions onsimple biwiring are biased. My personal experience is that, given your speakers are honest double cabled speakers (no internally linked marketing stunt I mean) and an ordinary amp, running 4 cables (4 threads, 2 cables if you want, you know what I mean) to each speaker gives a slightly better sound. The bass is more independent from the high notes and vice versa (eg a continuous high tone doesn't drop away on a bass).

    Anyway if you're spending the money anyway, spend it on the gear and not the cables. (or on music, that's where it's all about right?)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,776
    Bi-amping clearlygives a difference.
    My speakers have two sets of terminals for bi-amping (currently linked together and fed by one set of cables per channel) Would it be better to use both terminals by just connecting in parallel with the existing cables, or connect the second terminals to be "B" channel of the amp? (the amp has A & B speaker connections) ?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    What models of amplifier & speakers are you using?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,776
    Denon tuner/amp, Monitor bookshelf speakers. (very small speakers, but they sound a lot better than my old and much larger Heybrook HB1's)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Could I bug you for specific model numbers?

    There's a method to my madness...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,776
    Dennon DRA-455 amp, Monitor Audio Bronze B1 speakers (how do they make such a good low frequency response in such a small box?)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    I'll start with the possibilities:

    *1 cable from amp A to each speaker, speaker bridged (as it is now)
    *2 cables from amp A to each speaker (would be plain bi-wiring)
    *2 cables, one from amp A and one from amp B to each speaker. Whether this is bi-wiring or bi-amping depends on your amp: if it just internally links amp A and amp B, you are bi-wiring but with a more elegant connection than when ramming all cables into the amp A plugs. Makes no difference for the sound wrt biwiring through A only. If amp A and B are truly separated (which they most probably are with a Denon) then you are Bi-amping. Now the most ideal situation would be when you could adjust amp A and B separately, then you could really use all the pros of bi-amping (you actually colour the sound for each CONE instead of speaker box then, but for this purpose you actually need 2 stereo amps in most cases, or even better 4 mono amps...).

    My advice: cables from amp A and B to each speaker, that probably gives you a bi-amped system. You can't colour each cable signal separately, but you have gotten rid of all the problems one cable can give (the bass speaker generating a current on its return and this way killing the high tone). There is a chance you haven't got a proper filter in your speaker or amp, but my guess is that you have (unless your speakers are from a supermarket and your amp is on closer inspection a "tenon" or something maybe..."

    I found that bi-wiring already works with cables from 1 meter. Even in the unlikely case that your system wouldn't filter its channels, you'd still have a biwired system.

    One more thing: a bi-amped system (I'm jealous, having just a Biwired one)) sounds "different". If you don't like the sound, make it single-wired again. It's your taste, not what "should" be best!

    At the moment I have a preamp going to an integrated amp, which has only amp A outputs, which are biwired to my speakers (speakers NEED 4 connectors each to biwire or biamp btw). My aim is to find 2 mono endamps, which I will biwire per speaker. That would still give me a bi-wired system, but with fully separated l/r channels and in full original class A (drool). My preamp has output A and B, so with 4 mono endamps I could make a Class A biamped separated system (anyone has 4 good old mono endamps he doesn't want anymore?). But even with 4 mono endamps I would only be able to change settings per channel, volume and colour would be the same per whole speaker. I would be very happy to ever find only 2 endamps I can afford, thinking realistically.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Quote Originally Posted by zebo-the-fat
    Denon DRA-455 amp
    This is why I was asking.

    Without needing to examine the speakers' capabilities, your receiver isn't designed to run a bi-amped configuration -- it's intended to run one or two pairs of speakers full-range stereo. A/B doesn't imply that there are two separate power output sections that can be dedicated to running high & low ranges separately (and there's no means of adjusting crossover frequencies, etc).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,776
    Thanks for the advice, I will play this weekend if I get a chance.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    OH so it does not have a crossover?
    Well that would give you an elegantly connected biwired system.

    Sorry my fault, I thought all Denon would have a crossover

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    My advice: cables from amp A and B to each speaker, that probably gives you a bi-amped system.
    Not according to the specs in this case.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,076
    It's a total scam.

    My engineering roomates and I researched this, while in college. We could find no valid reason why the chemical composition of the copper would make any measureable difference (much less audible difference) in the audio quality.

    We even went on to actually do some A-B comparisons (using borrowed 'expensive' cables from a local dealer), just to say we did it. I couldn't hear any difference between the 'expensive' cables and 18-ga "zip" cord -- neither could any of my roomates.

    We reported back to the dealer, who was not too happy, but he kept right on selling the expensive cable.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    OH so it does not have a crossover?
    Well that would give you an elegantly connected biwired system.

    Sorry my fault, I thought all Denon would have a crossover
    No worries, it's really necessary these days to examine capabilities on a model-specific basis, since manufacturers have a propensity for doing counterintuitive things.

    zebo: I'd recommend just running your speakers full-range as intended.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    Is there a difference in terminology between a biwired system like mine (cables directly connected with each other) or with a 4 speaker (2* stereo) amplifier, where the contact between the cones has to go through the amps? Without crossover, this officially isn't bi-amping, as there is no frequency difference between the cables (no crossover).

    Also there are external crossovers. Where do you need to plug them into your system?

    As it appears my Marantz Esotec Sc-6 preamp has no crossover, so I would need an external crossover to ever allow for real bi-amping.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    Looking at some electronics schemes, it appears that you connect the crossover between the pre-amp and the endamps. So you've got 2 channels (L+R) running from you preamp to your crossover, which has 4 outputs: treble L/R and bass L/R.

    This setup means the necessity for 4 endamps when you want to amplify L and R separately too $$$ I think I'll stick to separated biwiring as my future plans...

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    539
    Quote Originally Posted by zebo-the-fat
    Bi-amping clearlygives a difference.
    My speakers have two sets of terminals for bi-amping (currently linked together and fed by one set of cables per channel) Would it be better to use both terminals by just connecting in parallel with the existing cables, or connect the second terminals to be "B" channel of the amp? (the amp has A & B speaker connections) ?
    Don't do that. The speaker switching on some home stereo amplifiers is set up so that when speaker A and speaker B are both selected, the speakers are connected in series. The purpose of doing this is so that if you happen to have two sets of 4 ohm speakers and select them both simultaneously, the amp won't see an excessively low load impedance (most hi-fi amps are rated for a 4 ohm minimum load and most hi-fi owners don't know what the total impedance of two speakers connected in parallel is).

    If your amp is one of the ones that do this, you would wind up with the woofer and its crossover network in series with the tweeter and its crossover. It's very unlikely that this would injure anything, but it's guaranteed to sound extremely weird.

    Unless you can determine whether your amp connects multiple speakers in series or parallel, it's better to do your bi-wiring by connecting both cables to the same output terminals on the amp.

    The issue with speaker cable gauge isn't the ampacity of the wires. This becomes a concern only in really high-power installations like sound reinforcement systems. The issue is the resistance of the wires.

    The source impedance seen by the speaker is the series combination of the amp's source impedance (for most modern solid-state amps this is very low- a small handful of milliohms in series with a few microhenries) and the resistance of the wires. This forms a voltage divider with the input impedance of the speaker.

    The impedance seen looking into the terminals of even a single driver is a complex (in the mathematical sense) function of frequency. Both the magnitude and the phase angle of the input impedance will vary, often considerably, with frequency.

    The result of this is that if the wiring resistance is non-negligible compared to the speaker's input impedance, the amplitude-versus-frequency response measured at the speaker terminals will become lumpy even though the frequency response measured at the output terminals of the amp is flat. I've seen this happen. In one case an excessively small wire run from an amp room to the nearfield monitors in a studio control room (about 30 feet of 22 gauge shielded cable) produced amplitude-vs.-frequency variations of nearly 2 dB at the speaker terminals. This was not only measurable, it was clearly audible.

    For the run lengths in a typical home entertainment system, 16 gauge wire should be adequate, although there's no harm at all in going bigger. Don't waste your money on anything exotic- lamp cord or SJ from the hardware or electrical supply store will perform just as well as anything the tweak-os will try to sell you.

    While I'm on the subject of interconnections, I ought to mention that dirty and oxidized low-level connectors can produce considerable distortion. Oxidized metal to metal connections are nonlinear- in fact, metal-metal oxide junctions have been used to produce rectifiers for AC voltmeters (the ANSI standard for VU meters specifies a copper-oxide rectifier). This nonlinearity generates harmonic and IM distortion products.

    Again, an example. In the same control room that had the bad near-field monitor wiring, I found that if I measured the THD+N of the 1/2" mix machine in input monitor mode with my distortion analyzer plugged directly into the machine, it was 0.004%. If I connected the analyzer to the machine via the console patchbay, it measured around 0.25%. The cause turned out to be that the punchblock connections in the cable run from the console to the machine had deteriorated in the years since the installation was done. Reworking them eliminated the excessive distortion.

    It's a good idea to unplug and re-seat all the RCA plugs in the back of your amp, preamp etc. every few months to help break up any oxides on the contact surfaces and get a better connection.

    BTW, when I take over the world, the use of RCA connectors for anything will be a hanging offense, and snake-oil cable manufacturers who make claims about things like velocity of propagation which would be easily testable and yet hand you a load of anecdotes without any hard data in support of the claims will be burnt at the stake.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Nicolas: It all depends on the gear you're dealing with, as different product lines will be accompanied by different compatibilities and options... this makes it difficult and largely inaccurate to speak on the subject in general (I'd like to avoid confusion here, for the safety of the gear previously described). Bi-wired systems still require a crossover and IMHO are generally geared for higher-end products -- multi-purpose tuner/amplifier combinations like the one mentioned above really aren't intended to be configured in a manner other than full-range stereo.

    A bi-amped system of any reasonable quality will invariably be somewhat pricy, and if you're wanting to design a system along those lines it's best to do so in advance of any purchase rather than attempt retrofit products with more limited capabilities not designed specifically for other purposes.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    5,245
    Quote Originally Posted by ktesibios
    Don't do that.
    My thoughts exactly!

    I was too lazy to type a reply with the eloquence of yours. 8-[

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    14,078
    I'm not planning in modding my equipment or anything, but Marantz has made sperate crossover units, with normal RCA and speaker wire plugs to attach them to.

    But with all the differences in construction (and opinion) finding your way is rather difficult in audio land. Some people think that everything will blow your system, some think nothing will...

    Anyway my system is not blowing up in it's current config, it sounds better since I have biwired it (I tested it with pieces of music that really make the rather subtle difference clear), and as my system is completely designed to carry mono amps I'll certainly stay on the lookout for those. If I ever find the suiting crossover unit I'll see what I do with it. I'm not familiar with the Denon system mentioned, so asking the manufacturer might be an idea.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    228
    Quote Originally Posted by ktesibios

    BTW, when I take over the world, the use of RCA connectors for anything will be a hanging offense, and snake-oil cable manufacturers who make claims about things like velocity of propagation which would be easily testable and yet hand you a load of anecdotes without any hard data in support of the claims will be burnt at the stake.
    Can I be Grand Inquisitor please!!!!!

    I've had similar stories in HiFi shops too. My father bought about £1200 worth of Arcam kit from a shop once and the salesman was working on selling the £100 cable to him too. Convienietly that was the point I wandered into the shop, and informed the salesman that it was no better than any other cable. My father was given the cable, (that had apparently been assembled by virgins under the light of the full moon ) to try, and we took it home. Our comparison, was with telephone cable, and some domestic lighting cable both of which my father had lying about.

    Needless to say there was practically no difference between the £100 cable and the lighting cable. And the telephone wire actually sounded slightly better........

    There are times when I have needed to use low loss cable, mostly in high power HF work. But it is worth remembering that this was a professional requirement, that gave a measurable improvement.

    Also ktesibios, spot on about the corrosion on interconnects causing distortion. And can we include those TV UHF connectors in your purge?

    Cheers
    John

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    770
    Quote Originally Posted by ktesibios
    BTW, when I take over the world, the use of RCA connectors for anything will be a hanging offense, and snake-oil cable manufacturers who make claims about things like velocity of propagation which would be easily testable and yet hand you a load of anecdotes without any hard data in support of the claims will be burnt at the stake.
    And what, pray tell, would you propose in their place?

    Anyways, unless you're just itching to spend more money than you have to, something like this should be fine for your purposes.

    If you want OFC, they've got that pretty cheap too (this wire SHOULD also be slightly more flexible if it helps). They've got 100' of 14 gauge for $10 more and 100 ft of 12 gauge for $3 more still. I linked to 100' spools. They've got longer and shorter ones available too.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4,139
    Back in the late '80s, when I started getting into hi-fi, there was a fad for wacky products from a guy called Peter Belt. H-fi buffs can be a gullible lot.
    Mr. Belt believes that his products work because they alter the morphic resonance energy field surrounding the treated object. Changing the energy field of the object changes our perception of the object. Thus, Mr. Beltís products change our perception of the sound coming from our audio system. The sound is not changed in any wayóit is our brainís interpretation of the sound that is changed. This is not the sort of concept that receives great acceptance in the mainstream audio pressóyou know, the people who say there is no difference between zip cord and Nordost cables. Even in the alternative audio press, Mr. Beltís ideas have received little attention. The only articles that have appeared in the last few years are Greg Weaverís 1999 reviews of Beltís Rainbow Electret Foil (now known as Silver Rainbow Foil) and Cream Electret in SoundStage. (See www.soundstage/belt1, www.soundstage/belt2, and www.soundstage/belt3). Carol Clark discussed Beltís procedure for freezing CDs in your home refrigerator (www.positive-feedback/belt). She also reviewed his P.W.B Red "X" Coordinate Pen (www.positive-feedback/beltpen). Not much press for tweaks that, according to the reviewers, appear to work.

    After having read everything on the Belt website, I sent for the free sample of Silver Rainbow Foil being offered at the time. Upon receipt of the foil, I applied the small strips to a number of CDs and then froze the discs, twice, in my refrigerator per Mr. Beltís instructions. The foiled and frozen CDs sounded better than they had prior to the treatment. Intrigued, I ordered more of the Silver Rainbow Foil, along with some Cream Electret and Sol-Electret.
    .
    .
    .
    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue8/belt.htm

Similar Threads

  1. Problem with non-newtonian fluid and speaker
    By tusenfem in forum Space/Astronomy Questions and Answers
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 2011-Dec-14, 09:16 PM
  2. Space Cable
    By Crazy Tom in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 2009-Mar-30, 11:25 PM
  3. cable tv! woo!
    By Fazor in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 2006-Nov-15, 03:21 PM
  4. Speaker of the House
    By Cougar in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 2006-Nov-15, 02:37 PM
  5. Bart Sibrel was speaker at David Irving convention in 2004
    By Moonlighter in forum Conspiracy Theories
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 2005-Mar-18, 06:53 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
here
The forum is sponsored in-part by: