Why Do Cables Matter?

To me, all you need is low L, C, and R. I run Mogami W3104 bi-wire from my McIntosh MAC7200 to my Martin Logan Theos. We all know that a chain is only as strong as its' weakest link - so I am honestly confused by all this cable discussion. 

What kind of wiring goes from the transistor or tube to the amplifier speaker binding post inside the amplifier? It is usually plain old 16 ga or 14 ga copper. Then we are supposed to install 5 - 10' or so of wallet-emptying, pipe-sized pure CU or AG with "special configurations" to the speaker terminals?

What kind of wiring is inside the speaker from the terminals to the crossover, and from the crossover to the drivers? Usually plain old 16 ga or 14 ga copper.

So you have "weak links" inside the amplifier, and inside the speaker, so why bother with mega expensive cabling between the two? It doesn't make logical sense to me. It makes more sense to match the quality of your speaker wires with the existing wires in the signal path [inside the amplifier and inside the speaker].




After you spend mucho dollars on cables, some jerk moved your chair, 5 inches to the left or right or back. Then you’re buying more cables what a laugh.

Hi All,

I am new to the forum, but learn a lot from all the postings. 
@robbydouglas2 , I too purchased MIT RCA ICs and speaker cables in the late 90’s for my 5.1 HT system. After we moved into our new house, my HT system was banished and most of the equipment is stored in the basement. I did have a need to use some MIT ICs for my kids’ college systems. One of them was DOA, and I couldn’t recall what those little boxes on the MIT cables were for? Was it hype, or was there a bona dude purpose?

i had forgotten about the MIT gear until I read your post 😉

The problem I have with the "water hose diameter requirement for the sprinkler" analogy is that the sprinkler company is specifying a requirement for their sprinkler to work properly. A requirement that they’ve tested. Kind of like "use high octane fuel" for a performance car (and why using it in a car that doesn’t call for it is a waste). Still not a great analogy because it doesn’t take into consideration other parameters like your initial water pressure but whatever...

To make the comparison to speakers, do speaker companies specify the engineering requirements of the cable to make their speakers work properly? And how can they do that for some cables when the cable manufacturer keeps their "sauce" secret?

Is there some cable spec that the speaker designer is engineering into their product so that the result is what the engineer is shooting for?

The Magnepan 1.7i manual just says it supports cables up to 10AWG. I know the Vandersteen manual is way more specific on what cables to use.

The wires INSIDE the components (whatever quality they are) are there based on the engineer’s choice (balancing performance, marketing, and cost) so that wire is in those components purposefully.

If the manual says use at least 12 AWG, that’s probably the right route to take. Are there any speaker manuals that call for "use only oxygen free copper" or "use Audio Quest cables for best results"? They would if there was a marketing partnership!

Personally, I fall on the "buy a thick cable that looks nice but other than that, it’s not going to matter much" camp. But if the manual for a speaker said "use X gauge" I probably would.

So you spent money on all these improvements. Better cables, better fuses better feet better better better better better better and better. What happens when the better is 20 years old? If you reconnect all of the better on a new system, is it still better or is it no longer better because it is an older version of better.  an older version of better. If somebody tells you that cable that we made 20 years ago it was better. Is no longer better than the new batter that is shinier and a different color. Does that mean that the older ones better disappeared and you go with the new shiny better?

When cables get old and they lose their better, is there any way to obviously see that they lost their better?if you bought cables now and measured them on those fancy machines that scientist use….do the measurement numbers change as the years pass and they lose their better?

when a fuse company comes out with a purple fuse, does that mean that it nullifies the red fuse because it’s better? How exactly does that happen? If you took all the different colors of fuses and mix them up, would you be able to tell which one was better if you randomly put them back into your system?

if you change all of the feet on your system, does that make it sound better or is that a styling change?

i’m trying to figure out how much of this better is actually measurable. Do the measurements change once the item doesn’t look in style anymore?

do any of the better believers believe in a machine called the null tester?





I’ve been an audiophoo for a long time. 
Along the way, years and miles gone by, I’ve learned one thing…the most important cable is the Power Cord. 
Without it, you got nothing.