My general feeling is that speakers and amps are a little more susceptible to LCR effects than we give them credit for.
Meaning, cables matter, BUT... it's really small changes. So, possibly, but I wouldn't pay a lot for it. :)
My favorite all around cable is Mogami which is pretty affordable and comes in a couple of different gauges, including a quad you can put together as ~ 10 gauge.
Given the same material, yes, most likely. I did some comparisons long ago using power cords cut to be speaker cables.
Are you going to hear it? It depends, how resolving is your system? How experienced are you in listening?
Now if you are comparing different audiophile speaker cables, then it competely depends on overall construction… dielectrics used, geometry… stranded vs solid… etc.
Why? There are many threads on the subject.
@ghdprentice kinda said it all IMO without much further need….. ( quality build matters , not just bulk. Think important contributing and bespoke factors such as dialectic, Litz design, et al)
The only thing I can offer for you ponder as you navelgaze the lint in your navel , is a published opinion post on why “beefier” build speaker cables can indeed matter.
I wouldn’t bow to it as irrevocable gospel for all systems, simply because there are good reasons why exhibitors choose the “flat and thin” NORDOST VALHALLA / ODIN cables as one of the two major leader cable choices at the audio expos,.along with the “beefier” CARDAS CLEAR / CLEAR BEYOND models.( Note: you will never see cheap budget cables there for intuitive reasons …’nuff said)
I upgraded from NORDOST FREY to CARDAS CLEAR with improvements that were not subtle in MY system…( emphasis added );…surely others may have differing outcomes.
MT TAKE: it only reveals itself by hands on experimentation. From personal,experience, simply upgrading to a thicker gauge in like budget build / budget performance cables likely won’t get you much.
SPEAKER CABLES - From Alan Shaw (owner and designer of HARBETH)
” … So, the moral of the story is this: the most important factor of the loudspeaker cable that you should select is the amount of metal in the cable core. More metal means lower resistance.
If the core is round (as most are) then the correlation is simple: the fatter the diameter of the metal core the better because the electrical resistance between amp and speakerwill be lower.
Thin and really thin cores should be avoided regardless of how exotic the metal material is claimed as the lack of metal in the core conductor will increase resistance. That will reduce amplifier damping, effect the frequency response of the speaker and give unpredictable results that will vary from amp/speaker combination.
In general you’d expect moving up within a company’s product line should yield improvements, especially if in addition to gauge you get other improvements in things like quality of the conductors, geometry, connectors, dielectric, etc. So there are several variables at play here in addition to the gauge of the cable.
As indicated by the Alan Shaw quote, the main factor affecting the performance of a speaker cable is the aggregate area of the conductors…to a point - as discussed by @raysmtb1. IOW, if you have enough, then more will probably not change anything. How big you need is affected by the current you are driving, based on the efficiency of your speakers and the output of your amplifiers.
However, the other cable materials and construction factors can also make a sonic difference. As an example, my go-to choices here are both bi-wired cables, a stranded copper cable with two runs of 7awg to each speaker and the other being two 9 awg runs of a multi-strand, individually insulated, solid core copper cable. I can tell the difference between them but I like them both and probably 4 times out of 5, I prefer the smaller, multi-strand, solid core cable.
if you are pushing a lot of watts, 15awg could be small’ish. However, as others pointed out, you can go larger without breaking the bank.
Regardless of the quality of the copper, its treatments and the insulation used, and without considering capacitance and inductance, which is the speaker cable on the market with a larger copper section, therefore with less resistance for the same length?
If the cable is Duelund, then the quality remains the same, but the sound signature changes.
I prefer the 16 over the 12. Others don't.
I do wonder, however, whether some cable manufacturers deliberately (and unnecessarily) make their cables super thick to nudge the user's perception of them to one of power and muscularity in the sound.
Good question. Good answers. Long story short, decreasing resistance in speaker cable with fatter wire can improve speaker performance… how much it might help is a nuanced consideration that depends on how much current reaches your speakers now and how much capacitance and induction your current cables hold. A couple previous answers work well to bring peace of mind . Well reviewed studio quality cable brands like Canare and Mogami are safe cost-effective universal solutions. My Wharfedale Heritage Lintons love Mogami 3103, a quad arranged cable with two 12 AWG OFC wires and two inert strands to keep the spacing even in the cable.
With respect to 'not much amps flowing'. If your woofer eats a 200W impuls at 4 Ohm that (read up on Ohm's law) makes it 7 amps. Some speakers dip well below 4 ohm, and some peak power burst can be higher than 200 W. That is the reason why sometimes amps are needed that can deliver lots of amps (pun intended). Not sure how big the differences are in the esotheric heights of $10+/ft price levels, but back when, even the least skilled listener could accurately blind test the 'lamp cord' vs a 4mm2 multistrand even on our "LoFi" (Audiogon scale) systems. Interestingly, the by far best speaker cable we ever heard back then (and includes cables we would never spend our hard earned money on, but did A/B comparisons in listening rooms) was a coax cable used for cable TV distribution in large complexes (at 50 cents a foot from our wholesaler). Still have a section (40 years old) and eager to dig it out and power my Nautilus 804 with it, see what it does.
generally yes. Large wire size is required for the high current that flows for small fractions of a second during dynamic changes or big bass notes. a mellow song will sound the same with both but, just like in power cables, there are dynamic times when higher current flows, even if just for a picosecond. The simplistic calculations like others are doing in this thread are wrong. It is the google level of understanding physics. I have a physics degree from UofC.
Whilst increasing the gauge of the wire invariably changes the sound in some way the original post talks about Improving Sound Quality...
For me - improving sound quality encompases
NOTE: changing one of the above will improve sound quality a little, but the more things you change the better the sound quality
If you want to read more on this topic take a look at this thread
And if you really want to get into the nitty gritty of DIY cables take a look at
Regards - Steve
Good question. Good responses.
If it's possible to get you hands on the cable of interest, give it a listen in your system.
Referring to your speciflc reference to AQ: As the AWG increases, there are other changes in material quality, geometry, dialetric, shielding, etc. The differences will be taking in more factors than AWG alone, so it won't be a linear 15AWG vs 10AWG comparison. Also helps explain the price jump.
I have found that even 10 down to 8 will make a difference in my atc 19 standmounts.More in bass transients though.
Had Hollowgram II - 8awg.Which at times offered so much bass that it made my stand mounts sound like small floorstanders/felt like too much at times.After having these in my system for well over 15+ years...I wanted to compare some other like awg wires after reading diy projects reviewed.
Started DIY project with the usual wires.
Mogami 3104...8.5 awg.Great wire and on par with hollow grams with dynamics.I had to run these in hard to clean out some usual bloat and open high's and was rewarded nicely.Honest timber and Could live with them if really.
canare 4s11...11 awg.Felt like system needed more...good sounding though.Open and nice verve to it
Canare 4s12...10 awg.Felt very close to 4s11.Was bought by ghent cables redone.Could have used more hours.After 400-500hrs I felt i knew enough were they stood.
Furez 4/12...8.5 awg.Nice open sound to this wire/fep insulation?...glad i could get it when i did.These are up there with mogami 3104 in dynamics but touch more open.
My current wire is Zavfinos prema mrkII...9 awg.These are occ as well as hollow gram with center silver coated wire.These are the balance i believe my system needed.
I will add that i had a pair of Audio envy 9’s that were a great sounding wire.This cable bucked the awg theory that a bigger wire is more "effective in Quality"...so trying is the only way to know about the "sound quality" imho.In the end thought that is was the lowend that was the biggest trade off.
When you go up the AQ (and some other manufacturers) cable line you don’t only get bigger gauge wire. You get better quality materials and better connectors. You have to figure all this into equation. And connectors do make a difference.
I was given some heavy networked speaker cables years ago, but changed to a much lighter easier to handle 8 stranded set of 13 gauge aggregate braided wire.
No change for the worse, and having had my speakers apart, I know it's many times thicker than the internal wiring, inductors, or capacitors they use.
In my limited experience with this kind of stuff, here's what I found, with the same amp (McIntosh MA5200), same speakers (Revel Performa 3 F206 - 8 Ohm nominal load) and same lengths of (copper) cable (6 feet).
Going from 16-gauge Monster Cable to general all-purpose multiply shielded 16-gauge AudioQuest cable (cut from a large spool at the stereo shop) yielded a slightly improved sound quality ... I think. However, that could have been me just trying to convince myself that I could hear an improvement. That's how slight the improvement was ... if there was one.
Going from the same multiply shielded general all-purpose 16-gauge AudioQuest cable to 12-gauge AudioQuest Type 8 definitely yielded better sound quality. The improvement was, admittedly, relatively slight but immediately palpable or "hearable", if you will. I didn't have to strain or listen hard or for very long to notice the difference and I seriously don't think it was me trying to justify the expenditure. She Who Must Be Obeyed, never one to hesitate to give me a brutally honest opinion, when asked or not, said she could hear a significant improvement, as well.
Now, would going to good quality 10-gauge speaker cables and/or super expensive exotica cables with these same components yield even better sound quality? I seriously don't think so. I've done serious seat-time with the same components in stereo shops using super expensive exotica cables (e.g. AQ Robin Hood - apt name, don't you think ... rob from the poor; give to the rich - sorry; couldn't resist; Nordost; Kimber; Transparent). Granted, the acoustic characteristics of these disparate sound rooms varied, the wiring in the different buildings was likely different and all that jazz, and they were all using banana plugs (I'm a firm believer in high-quality spades at both ends, if possible). However, I still didn't hear any significant differences or improvements in sound quality from my home set-up. There are some who firmly believe they can, indeed, hear infinitesimally small improvements or, rather, differences in performance of various reasonably good and/or high-end quality speaker cables and connectors. If you are convinced that you can hear a difference in performance and/or sound quality that appeals to you versus one cable, connector or whatever over another and think it's worth it, then go for it!
Now, I don't have a Mikey Fremer system that would justify super expensive speaker cables, connectors, etc. I'd have to build a dedicated sound room to justify anything like that. Maybe someday ... if I win the lottery or some long lost relative leaves me a million-dollar inheritance.
I'm loving my Denon DCD-1700NE. It plays CD, SACD and DVD-R with high-res files.
sasho...The low end on the primas are on par <> with mogami 3104...mogami have a little more being 8awg cable.Mogamis rock solid lowend with a nice nuetral mids'high's make it a nice quality copper pair of diy wire's.The prima's with the center silver wire and build quality give the Zavfino a more open soundstage...were the mogami is flatter/nuetral side in a good way.
I am glad i did the diy project's to see were these wire's are in performance level to a ready made offering.
In the end the primas are the ones i ended my quest with and are sounding really good.Lowend is there with a nice open soundstage...solid very well thought out / made product,I grew tired of doing my own and was ready to try them.Glad i did,Recommended.Hope this helps.
If you have a speaker that drops down to 2.5 ohms, with an 8 foot speaker cable, going from 18awg to 10awg will increase the level, at that impedance valley, 0.3db, and the damping will go from 24 to 150. Audible? Maybe. If your speaker only drops to 4 ohms, those numbers are 0.2db and 40 to 250. Audible? Probably not. Those impedance valleys almost always happen at bass frequencies. This is a change from 18awg to 10awg, so a pretty severe change. Small gauge changes will have smaller differences.
How many watts or amps you are pushing out it not the relevant metric. The lowest impedance of your speaker is, though lower impedance means more amps at the same voltage.
Sasho...Zavfinos do offer refinement in low end.I wouldnt use them if they didnt.Cant see you not happy with them.As posted mogamis might have slightly more as they are a 8awg wire apposed to 9awg occ.More bass doesnt make for a better cable? imho...These are my results in my system i have found and did.
Also as posted the difference is the zavfinos offer a more polished broader spectrum vs nutralish/mogami 3104.You cant get away from the price difference as the mogami is a cheaper offering.As posted...i ended up with the zavfinos for a reason and am quite content with them.
New idea measuring speaker cable by AWG. Just buy some fairly heavy cable and stop obsessing. If it really mattered you would move your amps and speakers so they could be directly connected/hard wired. For instance, if I turned my monoblocs around they would connect to the speaker terminals with six inches of wire. But that's not good, most of us think speakers need to see some capacitance/inductance load and three or four feet of cable.
Or if you're the obsessive type spend $00000s on some smart arse speaker cable as long as you can afford to pay for.
The longer the run the higher the gauge generally. I have settled on Audioquest Type-4. It seemingly does not add or subtract from the music, and it is relatively affordable. Yeah, would I like to get my hands on a run or two of Auditorium 23’s? Certainly, but the prices keep going up up up....they are also not readily available, well even the Type-4’s are getting tough to find. Audio Advisor, seemingly one of the only places that will still sell you custom terminated runs are temporarily out of stock. The good thing about cables is you generally only buy it once. I run two pairs of the Type-4 for bi-wiring.
thespeakerdude 456 posts
I’m not sure what you have against farmers or Nova Scotia but I have a feeling you might have difficulty finding it on a map.
You may want to think long and hard on that statement. How did I know it was a little farmhouse in the middle of no where, unless I found it on a map? Not sure where farmer's came into the conversation. Do you go the the local farm for your audio cables? I go there for eggs. Wonderful people. They have an eclectic range of chickens. A box of 12 eggs looks like an easter basket, no paint required.
It's pretty much conventional wisdom that all cables need to get out of the way of the music, so why put more cable in the way of the music? My experience is not as vast as others here but I've had stranded and solid core, copper and silver, heavy and light gauge, and heavy duty terminations. and the best I've found is the thinnest, single strand of silver supported in an oversized tube with connectors pared down to the minimum to get the most out of my system, getting the most out of the way of the music.
All the best,
I thought about it, but as someone originally from Nova Scotia I still find your comment ignorant and offensive. Enjoy your eggs.
Sorry @sworksone , but if the company was from Iowa, they still would be in a little farmhouse in the middle of no where, and then you wouldn't have needed to be offended, but alas, they are not from Iowa, they are from Nova Scotia. Aren't you supposed to direct your anger at Quebec or Ontario or something?
@thespeakerdude I am in no way angry. I never get involved in the frequent audiophile forum disputes but I was put off by your comments and felt the need to say something. I’m not sensitive, but for someone to call an area “middle of no where Canada” which is 15-20 minutes from a town known as “The Hub” of the province I’m from (which is a 45 minute drive from the capital city), by someone I highly doubt has ever been there, was to me offensive. The fact that you’re not understanding of this after being made aware of it is to me rather telling, and I’ll leave it at that. Feel free to continue engaging, but I won’t be commenting further.