View Full Version : Speaker cables - ohms and resistence
01-12-2003, 07:44 PM
Perhaps a simple question for someone, but I would be most grateful for an (layman's terms please) explanation regarding the effects of thin and thick speaker cables and amp/speaker relationships.
I think I am correct in thinking that different types of cables present more of a 'load' to amplifiers? Does this have potentially serious effects or is it generally a slight effect?
ie. Should thick cable be used in certain cases and thin in others?
Many thanks in advance.
02-12-2003, 06:52 PM
I'm interested in this too. For example, Russ Andrews claims that thier 8TC speaker cable has better bass than 4TC because the former has twice the number of conductors. Is that universally true? i.e. does thicker = better?
02-12-2003, 10:01 PM
I'm probably going to regret sticking my head above the parapet on this one, because while the question you ask is a simple enough one, you will get no end of different, and strongly held opinions. w)
Do a search on the web for any of the high-end cable manufacturers (Transparent, MIT, Nordost, Monster, Townshend, Kimber and others...) and look at their claims, the research they have done that they say supports their claims, and you will come away pretty confused. It's not that this science is all wrong (some more than likely is, as is so common on the web!), but the effects being demonstrated like proximity, skin-effects and the like are so small at audio frequencies that you have to say, in reality, it would be impossible for the human ear to hear it. :roll:
As a general rule, for a given length, using thicker wire is better as it reduces DC resistance. Go too thick and the inductance starts to become significant. Make the cable flat like foil and place the two conductors in close proximity like Max Townshend does and the capacitance becomes significant. Too much inductance or capacitance starts to cause phase anomalies, and can cause rolloff of treble frequencies. Some manufacturers like MIT and Transparent deliberately place a filter network consisting of capacitance and inductance in the cable to alter the cable's frequency response. Generally these effects are small though. ;)~;-)~:wink:
The best advice I can give is to go for good quality cable like Kimber, that is properly terminated so that corrosion at the contact points doesn't set in. I prefer spade terminals. The cable needs to be thick enough that its DC resistance doesn't significantly reduce the amplifier's damping factor or your bass may become woolly, and it needs to be thick enough to carry the current that your amplifier will be driving into it or it might melt like fusewire! (probably slight exaggeration) By all means use the Kimber 8TC over the 4TC if you can afford it. Don't bother with bi-wiring, but replace the standard metal jumpers between the bi-wire terminals on the speaker with pieces of speaker cable. :nod:
If you have a money-no-object system then by all means try some of the esoteric cables if you want to. Some of them can make subtle differences to the overall sound of a system, but don't expect to be able to prove this in a blind test as most of the night and day improvements claimed by some for such cables disappear under rigorous testing procedures. w)
03-12-2003, 12:15 AM
Thanks Charlie. I'll try out some 8TC to see if it's any better than my 4TC.
03-12-2003, 09:10 AM
Excellent reply, thank you. Your points regarding bi-wiring is also interesting. I note that many higher end speaker manufacturers only provide one set of speakers terminals, which would suggest to me that the 'benefits' of bi-wiring might not necessarily fall on the side of the user!
03-12-2003, 09:27 AM
Your points regarding bi-wiring is also interesting. I note that many higher end speaker manufacturers only provide one set of speakers terminals, which would suggest to me that the 'benefits' of bi-wiring might not necessarily fall on the side of the user!
True, but I suspect that many manufacturers only put so-called bi-wire terminals on their speaker models because everyone else did, and bi-wiring for a long time was considered beneficial. I have suggested previously that these terminals should be renamed to bi-amping terminals since they allow bi-amping to be used - I believe the general consensus is still that bi-amping is often very worthwhile. By precluding this, it would seem some high-end manufacturers are limiting the user's choices. :(
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