Budget re-cabling


I am considering re-cabling (changing out receiver, SACD player) on the main room system (5.1 and 2.1).

Front: B&W Nautilus 804 Center: B&W HTM61 S2 Rear: temporary Infinity Reference 2 or Dayton 2 way. 

HDMI Oppo 103 to Onkyo TX-RZ810: if critical at all, budget $30 or so?

Cables: new speaker for front/center. 10ft left/right each, 6 ft center (or 25 total). Budget $5-$6 per foot (may consider suggestions up to $10 there is something to gain).

I know this budget is mind bogglingly high (never spent that kind of money on cables, but want to go all out). 

So what are the best speaker cables for way below $10/ft? Good comparison tests (with price in mind)? Maybe comparison with 'DIY' or 'Repurposed' (using commercial cable repurposed for audio)? Links? Read ups? 

 

NOT INTERESTED IN PIXEL DUST and ESOTHERIC CABLES. 

 

 

kraftwerkturbo
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Make your own with Neotech 16awg UP-OCC in Teflon wire from Parts Connextion. Excellent quality wire that's used in much more expensive cables. 

https://www.partsconnexion.com/NEOTECH-71448.html

@kraftwerkturbo - Many years ago I was in your position and dabbled in DIY solutions, thinking I could do a better job for less money.

Since then, and many cables later, not to mention thousands of audition hours, I realized that most of the cables available today offer very little in terms of real benefit.

To provide a little understanding as to what I believe makes a good cable, take a look at this thread

What Maked a Good Cable

If you are not really into DIY, take look at Audio Envy cables

  • they provide excellent value for money,
  • are well above average performers and
  • are modestly priced

If you want to upgrade to higher performance later, take a look at Zavfino cables

Both these cables use excellent wire, insulations and cable geometries

Here’s hoping I have saved you some money, time and effort

Regards - Steve

 

@lak I have the Micca on my radar. When they "PAIR" (and show 2 cables) do I get 2x 4m? The Raven cables at $250 ("pair") are already pushing the budget, but they offer free 45 days. 

@williewonka I just dug up the cables we found blow everything else out of the water 30 years ago when we had 'golden ears' and really were into audio (and I think Stereoplay magazine (Germany) a few years later tested and ranked them Absolute Spitzenklasse (highest category) next to $500/ft ables). I will certainly try them, but found I only have one long enough (and one really short!). Those are common coax, back then used for cable TV wiring in large multifamily buildings. 

I will check your leads/suggestions, see what it says.

 

@kraftwerkturbo You receive one pair (2) of 12' cables. Or another way to say it is you receive two cables and each one is 12 feet long.

@kraftwerkturbo 

My experience with the Micca cable was not that favorable.  Unlike many others it was overly warm in my system and hid details.

I much prefer the Canare starburst 4S11 speaker cables that I purchased from Blue Jean Cables.  For the cables you specify I believe they would cost about $170 plus shipping.  The Canare are available from other vendors.

 

 

@kraftwerkturbo - 30 years ago "audio cable science" was in it’s infancy - even the good ones were bad compared to todays cables

Some comanies, like Nordost, introduced cable geometries that provided improvements, but they still used OFC copper and large solid conncetors

Todays cables are vastly superior in evrey respect

  • low mass connectors that provide clear, clean signal transmission
  • superior insulations that reduce noise floor
  • metal purity and new manufacturing techniques produce wires like OCC copper and OCC silver for improved dynamics
  • noise floor reducing geometries

And it just keeps getting better.

I have good cables on my $300 mini system and it sounds amazing, compared to the cables it came with

Companies like Audio Envy have done all the hard work for you at a reasonable cost - you’d be surprised.

But remember, any new cables require at least 100 hours break in

Good luck with your quest - hope you find the right cable.

Regards - Steve

If you're not opposed to adding your own terminations, the Monoprice cable is really quite good.  It's very similar to Canare and other bulk cables, but tends to run a bit less. 

Signal Cable.

Frank is the consummate gentleman and knows his business.

I have personally spent much more, and gotten much less.

 

pinetreeaudio makes cables of all types, custom lengths, construction, connectors, very reasonable prices

https://sites.google.com/view/pine-tree-audio/speaker-cables/speaker-cables?authuser=0

small diameter, individually insulated strands, I used to use 8 wire (2 lines) telephone wire.

Now I make my own using OCC copper Cat8 cables, simply cut the connectors off, add WBT or other high quality connectors on. (similar but better than the old Cat 5 you described.

here’s a quickie find

https://www.ebay.com/itm/394460784966?var=663011200983&hash=item5bd7b1e946:g:zuoAAOSwj51jNUF9&amdata=enc%3AAQAHAAAAwBjwJuDYijSqOv%2FyGMxWSa8k6btHFi%2FyynKwuX9FoCbAPqhnejbLHa%2F%2F5IYpUM57WjoZPZAx3vurbPEXi6o0XgdCnJKcsPRSRZteU7YcT0yLrFqXmrZV9HqFbo6gLSgGcFZ3d8SA2DJAUwUvgN6VMRl841CgJ4UW%2FlFQKsBh3e5IFFMZa%2FhPZCnWZryEH4Ebi7%2BM5Ayh7hm569IdcNm%2F0kafBnWPHYonHvXsxURTXfCXiK2Yy4SvubCWdD3QmFdfSA%3D%3D%7Ctkp%3ABk9SR-Cc-u_oYQ

NOTE: make sure the conductors are pure copper, some, only the connectors are.

AWG gauge calculator

https://www.wirebarn.com/Combined-Wire-Gauge-Calculator_ep_42.html

i.e. 26awg x 8 strands = 17awg, much more than enough for home use lengths

If you're curious about going old school, look at 10 gauge Blue Jeans Cables at a little more than a couple of bucks a foot would be worth a comparison.

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I've been having a great experience with a brand called "World's Best Cables" shopping on Amazon. They give you choices for a lot of combination of cable and connector. I've replaced most or my older cables with this brand and they are not expensive. Probably the same price if I tried to buy the components and their assembly process may be superior to the home hobbyist. 

@lanx0003 Do you have a link to the full acrticle for the table? I assume the Mogami W2534 below is using (as speaker cable) two wires. And all leads plus the shield twirled/connected together into a connector? Or are those interconnect cable comparisons? (I have seen the Belden 8402 pre configured with RCA on ebay). 

 

 

Main product image for Mogami W2534 1 ft. Neglex Quad High Definition Micr 103-1008

In the context of cabling, I have read about the 'quality' of connectors (Solid Gold with pixel dust, silver, bad gold plated steel, etc). 

Yet, very little about a very critical point I can see, and that is the SIZE of the CONTACT POINT. One article compares all the fancy versions of silver and copper (going from 100 for cheapo copper to 107 for fancy expansive silver for conductivity), yet little is mentioned how much of the 7% more juice is lost in a badly designed CONTACT POINT. A banana plug for example male/femal combination my have just THREE super TINY contact point through which all that good juice has to be pressed through. If I had to design a speaker connector, it would look more like the battery post and clamp on your car to ensure the biggest possible surface area for the contact. 

Curious if tests (listening and measuring) have been done to compare for example a banana plug connection with (could be someone larger connecting area) spade connection? 

 

OP, I sincerely apologize that the table values were for interconnect cable instead of speaker cables.  But the renowned Belden speaker cables 10-12awg (5T00UP / 5000UP) is good performers and used by BJC.  The Part Express sells 5T00UP  for cheaper if you decide to go for larger wire.

Greetings 

@kraftwerkturbo I suggest you look at Kimber Cables. The 4PR or 4TC cables are a little past your budget but you will be very happy with them. Try going to your local audio dealer that carries Kimber. Try and buy them un-terminated, you should get a better deal. They are time consuming to strip the wires but you can save money by doing this yourself.

 I have used Kimber cables over the last 35 years in my systems. I presently use the 4TC cables in my second system, HT/2CH.  My main speakers in my second system are B&W 801 D series. I believe that the Kimber cables work very good with B&W speakers. When the 801’s were in my main system I used Kimber cables for many years. They sounded very good.

Your other options might be to look at the cables manufacturer in China. They do make some very nice cables. They also make cheap cables. Buyer beware.

As a side note, 35 years ago you could by Kimber 4TC for $1.00 a foot. This is no longer the case.

 I highly recommend the Kimber cables for your system.

Joe Nies

I have been using NVX Envyflex for all my systems for the last 5 years.  Wire is 100% OFC copper and silver tinned.   Very flexible and easy to terminate with your choice of fittings.  A lot of major manufacturers are using silver tinned ofc copper for various reasons.  I like that the silver doesn't corrode like copper and if it does tarnish it doesn't drop the conductivity.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/294771102116?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=aoP6Y7ltR_y&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=cQHiHiX-Tqa&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY

@kraftwerkturbo actually the bigger the connector the more the losses, the connector is the weak point.

AudioQuest sells several of their speaker cables in bulk, like the Type 4, Type 8, Rocket 33, Rocket 44 and the Rocket 88. Oh, and There’s a company called Audio Adviser that will, for a fee terminate them for you if you can’t do it yourself.

All the best.

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kraftwerkturbo OP

Yet, very little about a very critical point I can see, and that is the SIZE of the CONTACT POINT . . . A banana plug for example male/femal combination my have just THREE super TINY contact point . . .

Here’s a link to ETI connectors. If you look closely, the return is designed with only one point of contact. The goal was to avoid dispersion through multiple contact points.

_ _ _ _ _

Curious if tests (listening and measuring) have been done to compare . . .

Yes. A lot. Low mass is the latest trend.

The following are some of the innovators. None of them would be considered low budget.

- Kle

- ETI Research

- WBT

- Acoustic Revive

_ _ _ _ _ 

The best source for DIY is VH Audio.

Not an expert but super pleased with a mix of chunky Mogami 3103 DIY speaker level and smaller gauge custom Mogami interconnects from Pro Audio LA, including a Canart-like digital coax from Mogami for the slightly longer run RCA to 1/4” for my main amp input. Very affordable studio spec cable known for low capacitance…good match for my warm Wharfedale Lintons and REL T5i speaker array.

If you are looking for a good deal Silnote has demo cables advertised here 

for a fraction of the list cost

These are some of the most reasonably priced excellent performing cables. I've tried a few of the more budget cables (Analysis Plus Oval 12, Canare star quad etc.) and things are system dependent for sure. But I ended up going back to the Anticables Level 2.1 solid core 12g cables, and have found a sweet spot with them in my current setup. Also using some of their interconnects now too (mid level 3.1 ICs and 3.2 dig) with the best result so far. Replacing some that were more expensive. They have a higher end lines too, but these work very very well. I lurk here a lot and haven't posted in ages, but when I saw this post I was compelled to chime in not seeing any mention of them. You got some other good suggestions too, but these are so reasonable and damn good performing (190 bucks for 10ft pair with good banana plugs). Worth the experiment. Good luck

https://anticables.com/speaker-wires/2-channel#!/Level-2-1-Speaker-Wires/p/14618506/category=3449817

Personally, I really do not like 4S11's. They got me on the path to smaller is better. I much prefer Blue Jeans, but am not really a fan. I have found the Mogami to be very dependable and neutral; there is a reason they are used so widely in recording studios. If you are going the DIY route, I have found some absolutely outstanding stuff by stalking eBay for mil-spec airplane application cables. For me, the tin-plated are good and silver-plated are better. I have used them on and off for years. I am about to re-wire a room and found over 100' of cable on a spool for $50. It's leftover from the big reel, and I picked it up for $50. This is $5 per foot cable new. Narrow gauge, twisted, double shielded, quality copper, silver plated and teflon wrapped. Very low capacitance and resistance. I barely tip the wire with solder to keep the strands orderly and use the bare wire. On my systems, it is clear and not harsh. It may not work for you, but it is an inexpensive experiment. Forces you to look up a lot of specs to see what the basics of wire look like.(And yes, I believe there is "magic" in some wire. I also use some Zu cabling. It is almost as good - and is much prettier.)

This may be the first intelligent post on cables on AG ever.

I use these and like the sound and look: https://a.co/d/5lFo4TS

Full disclosure, i am a science guy more than alchemy/marketing.

As a science guy who does not believe in pixel dust and magic, you are severely disqualified in the audiophile world (speaking from experience, I am an engineer). You will probably never build your own power plant to make clean power, or plunk down $500 per foot for some speaker wire. 

 

@kraftwerkturbo I won’t be arguing with you if you say cables don’t make any difference and I won’t even ask the question why you decided to shop for new cables if there’s no difference, but I will make a recommendation.

Canare 4S11. Get it in bulk from BlueJeans cables with connectors of your choice (something like Viborg from amazon) and build it. Or just have BlueJeans build you a pair. While at it, their interconnects are also excellent. I built a new pair of speaker cables using the 4S11 with locking bananas from amazon for my marantz receiver and they sound great. Doubt you could do much better for your money. They’re good quality cables. 

@audphile1 I most certainly believe that cables make a difference! As does any equipment in the signal path. What I do KNOW is that for me spending $100/ft vs $5/ft has an exponentially smaller return on investment (for me: approaching zero). 

But searching for a better cable in the $0.50/ft to $5/ft class is certainly worth the effort, and trying out a few is doable without wasting valuable resources. 

 

The Link is possibly one of the Best Value for Money Wires available.

The Wire is 1.0mm Solid PC triple C, this wire superseded my use of Mapleshade Clearview Double Helix @ 8ft Lengths.

It has also been used to produce Interconnects built to the Helix Configuration as seen in another Thread on the Cable Section of this forum.

I have a substantial stock of this wire imported from Japan, using the FromJapan  Portal.

https://www.playstereo.com/en/cavi-di-potenza/3002-acoustic-revive-spc-av-triplec-speaker-cable-50cm-cut-sales.html

Both audioquest and wireworld make cables at all prices. I find that even the cheaper options from wireworld are of a high quality.

I’ll third (or fourth, or whatever) the Mogami 3103.

No need to even spend $5 ft. when you can spend under $3. Get it cryoed and it's even better. 

Better than Kimber 8TC in my book (sold a bunch of it that I’d used for years after experimenting a bit with the Mogami), which retails at $45 ft.

@kraftwerkturbo for receiver, for sure!!! That is why I went with Canare 4S11. I use Audience AU24SX in my main system. 

Sidenote: how come that speaker cable cannot be found USED! Knowing that most have gone through various sets and that they don't wear, I am surpised to see few used offers for sale....