Best Speaker cables on the cheap?

Aloha everyone, I am going to be upgrading my speaker cables from 12 gauge monster to something better. I dont have very much money to spend, maybe 50-75 dollars and i need at least a 10' pair. So far i think Kimber Kable 4PR seems to be my best buy, although Audioquest type 4 also was well rated, a friend of mine had them and for him they lacked bass, which i dont want. And i would like something terminated with all bannanas or half spades,half bannanas. But i can terminate them myself to save a buck. No, i dont really want to buy used either. Thank you.

Heres my system.

NAD C-370 amp
JBL ND310 speakers
Cambridge Audio D300 cdp
Clarity Wires "foxfire" Silver IC's
Clarity Wires "emberglow" Jumpers
If your buddy thought that the AQ's lacked bass, DON'T buy the 4PR's. They will definitely come across as lean with a "zingy" top end. While this adds a certain amount of "clarity" and "attack" to music, it becomes fatiguing after a while.

You might try some Axon 8. This is similar to some of the older AQ cables in design but slightly different. It can be purchased from Zalytron for about $2 per foot ( if i remember correctly ). It is equivalent to about 13 or 14 gauge when all is said and done.

If you do decide to go with this cable, do not wire it up as they show you on the diagram. There is a way to do this that extends the bandwidth and produces a much more detailed presentation. Drop me an email if you want to know the details on how to do this. Sean
Audioquest type 4 is very decent in that price range. I feel better than the Kimber.
AudioQuest Type 6 is superior to Type 4. It is one of the best cheap cables out there. And, one you should investigate. More powerful, full sound.

Kimber 4TC is right up there with the AQ cable, but more forward. Great for tubes and/or soft dome tweeters.

AudioAdvisor has had some KILLER deals, please check them out. I saw one of the new AQ cables, which retailed for $300 or $400 two months ago on clearance for $79!!!

I would also back up Sean as far as the AXON 8 goes. I am a big fan of this cable. Elliot at Zalytron does, in fact, sell it for $2/ft(as do all the other retailers). It is made by OrcaDesign, the US parts arm of JMlabs. Kimon Bellas heads up the operations, and is a SUPER guy. I do have to say that the sound is VERY much like AQ, as it was meant to be a copy of Midnight(9 awg)/Indigo(13 awg). However, it is 12 gauge in cross section. Difference in sound is attributable to the copper.

While I am at it, please check out used Indigo or Midnight. Wonderful cables at prices that are absolute steals.

And, if you can swing $200, look at Coincident CST 0.5. This is THE best deal in speaker cable today.
IXOS 6003 at $1.55 per foot unterminated with free shipping at

HiFiChoice Best Buy (see review)

speaker cable is a lot of hooey.......

Your system, and in fact the majority of systems in the world cannot resolve the miniscule differences in speaker cables that exist, if they exist at all......what everyone thinks they hear in speaker cables is either created through design manipulation of cables, creating false EQ networks, or is a psychoacoustic reaction to "changing" something in a system.

That said, Sean's suggestion is a good one....either AXON 4 or AXON 8 from Zalytron... $1/ft. or $2/ft. respectively.

Not trying to diss wire, but after you've built this stuff from scratch for a number of years, you will get to understand what really happens to electrical signals and why........concentrate on the circuits, forget about the wire. See Bruce Rozenblit's website and books.

Lotsa Luck
Just keep in mind that folks who don't believe cables matter have probably never owned or experimented very much with expensive cables. So they probably really don't know for sure. Some of those have poor hearing. I think you should experiment for yourself; even if it means borrowing cables to try out. Dbdicker is right about your system not being high resolution enough to spend big bucks on cables. But you should notice a difference over standard department store speaker wire.
The IXOS 6003 was my first upgrade in my current system. Excellent Value. My Favorite inexpensive cable. It also demonstrated to me the value of good speaker wire and have since traded up. I too had the old Monster stuff prior to the IXOS. Huge difference in a fairly modest system. I also agree that audio advisor does often have good sales, but if not on clearance, you pay retail for it.
For the IXOS 5003 at which is also; they will terminate the IXOS 6003 for no additional charge over the charge of the terminations. I think bananas are $9.99 for 4 (2 pair) which is one cable; and spades are $13.99. So for 20 feet (ie, two 10ft cables); the cable is $31 ($1.55ft) plus $20 to $28 for the terminations. So you are under $60 unless you are running bare wire which is then $31.
heres a really cheap...but effective especially on ss gear.
go to radio shack; buy 30ga magnet wire. cut to length. remove color coating (scrape with a knife) and attach to your amp and speakers. it will sound shockling better. can only do short runs though...not better than 8 feet.

do not laugh until you try it. i tried it with modestly priced gear (hafler 9180 power amp and nht 2.5i). it sounded so much better than the 1500$ transparents i killed me. should cost 4$ then buy the speaker cables cook book and make your own.
Sorry I am laughing. Hard to believe your system had $1500 speaker cables connected to $1200 speakers and a budget amp. No wonder it sounded bad. Too bad it is the system that would make the cables sound bad and not vise versa. (You really didn't did you?)
Do you suppose that 30 awg wire might be filtering out something unpleasant that the expensive and thicker wire is letting through? Maybe?

The AQ Type 6, Axon and Ixos cables recommended above all seem like safe bets. I would avoid the Kimber 4PR, but the 4VS is fine. 4VS sells for $3 retail and comes up here every once in awhile for about half price.
Haoleb: Here's a suggestion you probably won't want to follow, but I'll throw it out anyway: Why not keep your Monster cables, and just fiddle with your tone controls a little? You can spend an awful lot of time searching for the cable that gives you the amount of bass you want, when there's a knob on your amp for just that purpose. (Then you can spend your money on green pens or something!)
I already have enough bass with my monster cables, im sure theres nothing thats going to really make it lack bass. I think i might be getting some Clarity Wires "emberglow" speaker cables. But i will look around. Im looking for more detail and a smoother presentation than my monster cables. Then im done upgrading for a while! yay Thanks for all the responses also. What do you think of AQ F14? it was reccomended by stereophile. Just a thought
Try the TDK Super Audio Cable. I cannot hear the difference between it and Audio Magic Spellcaster II. It is $3-3.50 a foot.
PS- I wouldn't hesitate buying used from someone with a good reputaion here. I sold my IXOS at a bargain and they were as good as new. I also am not trying to sell you anything now. This is my hobby, not business.
I'm more or less in the same boat as the original poster, i.e., trying to eek out some decent sounds for <$100. Has anyone heard of a company called Tribute? They have these pretty looking flat 'silver coated' cables ($4-5 per foot) called "Tribute Silver" -- my local los angeles shop said these were more detailed and fuller than my base reference audioquest 4's ($2-3 per foot)... does anyone know?
Those are probably made by Tributaries. General consensus is that silver plated copper tends to sound somewhat bright and has a tendency towards upper midrange glare / possible sibilance problems. This will probably settle down after pumping some power through them for a while, but don't know how long it will take or how much that would change. Obviously, others might have different points of view on this.

If your dealer really is confident in the cables, ask him if you can take them home on a trial basis and return them if you don't like them. Keep in mind that they WILL settle in a little bit, so play them as much as possible and then give them a listen. Just for comparison sakes, when you think you know how the Tributaries sound, put your old cables back into the system and compare the two. That will give you some type of baseline to refer back to when all is said and done. Sean
Xiaohuang7 & Sean - Yes it is Tributaries. Silver plated copper. I have a bunch of it in my garage. I purchased it a long time ago when I was budget conscious. Looking back, I see it was a big waste of money. I would have been better off saving up the cash to buy something else. Now I have 100 worth of this stuff in my garage. Last week I used a 5' run of it to bundle up my cardboard for recycling.

Since it comes on a BIG spool, I doubt the dealer would let someone demo it. As soon as it's cut, it starts to tarnish... Quite frankly it's not that great and really isn't worth the price. Even the spools of copper Monster Cable is better than the Tributaries.

You might try they have a good selection of inexpensive speaker wire which can be used to make cheap cables in a pinch.

However - the magnet wire suggestion was a good one.

In the price target you seek, try CLEARVIEW GOLDEN HELIX CABLE distributed by Mapleshade records. I believe the design is based on high end Omega Micro cables by Lloyd Walker.
For information on Clearview, visit:

It looks silly but the stuff sounds pretty good. Of course the Double Golden Helix is better but.. it costs more.
Sometimes you can find it used on audiogon for a great price.

Sean, you might also note that Nordost Valhalla is silver plated copper. While I agree with the idea that silver plated copper has it's flaws, I think the faults you mention are more specific to cheaply made silver plated copper wire vs well engineered types.
Bwhite, quite honestly, i did not know the Valhalla's were silver plated copper. Thanks for making me aware of that. As usual, there are always exceptions to ever rule. Besides that, some rules shouldn't be rules at all : ) Sean
I just made a nice discovery. I also have some cheap 6' monsters that I'll use until I can afford something better. I've been dissatisfied with the upper frequency range. Reasoning that the close proximity of the two conductors in the cable was creating capacitance and mutual inductance, I separated the two sides of the wire and distanced them by about 4". I was surprised by how much that simple trick improved the sound. Give it a try. It's not the most aesthetically pleasing but since you already have the cables, it's free!
Well, good news, i won 100 bucks yesterday from the superbowl, and i plan to buy something this week. Im thinkin AQ type 4 or Clarity emberglow speaker cables. Thanks
Sell your JBL speakers before you start deciding which cable is better for what and whether its worth it. Talk about tone controls...I can hear the screaching sound of twisted metal from here.
Get the basic Nordost flat copper wires and run them in a shot gun or biwire configuration. Buy the bare wire and take an hour and terminate them yourself. Cheap and nice sounding.
Congrats on superbowl. Still gotta go w/ IXOS 6003 but I have owned Nordost Flatline and they are a step up. I have had AQ4 and liked above two better. Don't know the clarity.
Well, i just ordered 8 feet of AQ type 4.. I guess i will see how they are in my system and post results. Thanks everyone