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Legend's advice on Cables

Newsgroups: aus.hi-fi
Subject: Speaker wiring
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 22:14:54 GMT

Hi Rod,

I was reading your post re: biwiring and I do have a few questions to ask you in regard to internal wiring of a loudspeaker and DC resistance. The min. impedance is close enough to 4 ohms. The distance from the posts to the tweeter in particular is 3.5ft, is 19AWG too thin a guage for this 3.5ft length?, external cable for the tweeter in 13AWG and 6ft. The mid drivers will be run with 15Awg. I have had so many mixed responses, I guess you could say I have asked too many people, but the problem is how do you know which people to ask. I 'd be very interested to hear what you think.



Hi Shane

Thanks for the above. Unfortunately the choice of speaker cable issue is much more complicated than the bi-wiring issue!

The main problem is that theory and practice are difficult to reconcile (always a problem for scientists and engineers who rely on them going hand in hand eg when building bridges or sending rockets to Mars). The theoretical factors affect a cable's performance are well known:- resistance (DC) capacitance (AC) inductance (AC) skin effect (AC) All should be made low - but how low? If you do theoretical calculations at audio frequencies then even cheap "bell wire" should be more than adequate. But people, including me, hear significant differences between cables (and I trained as a physicist)! Given that we don't understand why, it leads to people 'over engineering' cables, basically by amounts dependent on their budgets - I saw Kimber speaker cables in a shop in Sydney on Thursday as thick as my arm and costing around $20,000 for 2.5m. Sounded very nice but....!

The other problem is that people use cables (both speaker and interconnect) as crude tone controls eg to 'soften' a bright system. Again it is impossible to predict theoretically and so people 'suck it and see'. This is fine if you have plenty of money to make mistakes (a friend of mine spent around $3000 trying out different cables before he found ones he liked). And as Greg Borrowman (editor of 'Australian HI-Fi' magazine) once said to me 'life is too short to try every cable around' !

I can therefore only suggest that you try as many cables as time and budget will permit to find one that you like/can live with in your system. Such is the joy and pain of hi-fi - and why there is continuing controversy.

Hope this is of some help.

Regards Rod




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