If the system is warm, try Analysis Plus Oval 9. I saw a pair for sale here for about $200 and were 10'. Check out my system for comparison to yours; I really like my set.
savesome money and pull apart some plenum rated cat5 cable 35 cents a foot at home depot. Use a single run of two wires on each side so you can make say a 10 foot pair out of ten feet of cat5 because it is in double runs..oh man I should finish my first coffee before I srat wrting here. Just hook it up with bare wire. You can make some great ic's with this stuff too.
I second the cat 5 idea.
look here: http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/triple_t_e.html
I've made these and they are a pain in the ass, but kind of fun hobby for a weekend.
Get the best cat-5 you can get (Belden 1585A CAT 5 Teflon coated or similar), it doesn't cost that much more compared to the investment of labor. Just buy a huge box of it from an online computer vendor. (I think for a 10' pair run you actually need 150ft of raw cable!)
The ones I made were fast and open with good detail and ok slam, great deal for the price.
CAT-5 is not designed for optimum audio listening. Yes, the shielding is good but it's only 18 gauge for the + and 22 gauge for the original. It may sound clean but without any bass and I would be scared to run 200 watts into it for a few hours.
I have whole house audio with CAT-5+ runs of up to several hundred feet. I chose to run 16 gauge speaker wire for all of the in-wall/ceiling speakers.
You don't have to spend a lot. You may even find some older tara, apature or vecteur wire for 10 to 20% of what it cost new.
Feel free to email me on suggestions,
Shielding on a speaker cable is not typically a desirable attribute. As such, what makes you want that specific feature ? Using a low inductance speaker cable is typically the preferred method of minimizing the susceptability of the system to picking up RFI. One can obtain good results like this without having to resort to an actual shield.
Having said that, you might want to look for some Kimber 4TC or 8TC. Both tend to sound pretty open without having a hard high end. The Analysis Plus Oval 9's may also work for you, but i think that these cables are HIGHLY system and personal preference dependent. I'm sure that there are plenty of other cables out there that others may have greater experience with.
If attempting to build CAT 5 cables, be aware that there are different grades of CAT 5 and multiple design geometries out there. Some can be highly capacitive, to the point of requiring Zobel networks so as to minimize the potential for damage to an amp from high frequency oscillation.
Other than that, you might want to try working with speaker placement a bit more if you haven't already done so. Sean
In response to the CAT-5 suggestions: At one time I considered doing this, but lately it seems to have fallen out of favor with the "in crowd" :) Considering the amount of work it takes to make a set, at least the Chris VH recipe, I'm shying away from doing it.
Sean: I've heard similar things about the Anaylsis Plus...you either love em or hate em. The reason I mentioned the shielding is due to all the A/V clutter between my amp and speaks. Do the Kimber flavors you mention fall into the low inductance catagory?
Does anyone have experience with Jon Risch's Belden 89259 DIY? Will this wire meet my needs?
Thanks to all for your replies so far.
If you decide not to go DIY consider Nordost. Their cables seem to work well in a wide range of systems. They are fast, transparent and will not exaggerate warmth in any system. (OTOH, I've heard some Audioquest models called "dark" or "warm", so be careful with them.)
Used Nordost Blue Heaven in a 3m length (118") would sell at slightly above your price point. Nordost Solar Wind, the next model down, should sell for rather less.
Shielding around speaker cable is generally a terrible idea, as Sean said. Any conductive material near an electrical signal will interact with (and so degrade) the signal. Nordost cables have about the lowest inductance and capacitance around, so shielding is rarely necessary. We've never picked up any noise with our Nordost cables and interconnects.
Hope this helps, enjoy the music whatever you do!
Snipes: All i can say about the AP Oval 9's was that i gave them WAY more of a chance than they ever deserved over here and in a couple of different systems. Put me in the "glad to see them go" category.
As far as the Kimber's go, they are very low inductance and somewhat high in capacitance. This is due to their braided geometry, which is also good at rejecting RFI / EMI. I would not really call them "overtly lean" so much as i would say that they are not dark or heavy at all. A pretty reasonable tonal balance and a good bang for the money. For the record, the nominal impedance of Kimber 8TC is about 20 ohms and the 4TC is about 40 ohms. Believe it or not, these figures are actually pretty good compared to a lot of other cables.
As to Doug's suggestion of Nordost, this is another cable that some love or hate. My experience is that they tend to sound very fast, very detailed and noticeably lean. If a system is sounding slow and bloated ( more likely with a vented speaker than a sealed speaker ), they might be a great match. Otherwise, they tend to lean things out too much for my liking ( probably because most all of my speakers are sealed ).
As to Doug's comments about their electrical characteristics, Nordost's are lower in inductance than quite a few cables but not in the same league as Kimber's or many of the other braided / spiral wrapped type cables on the market. The nominal impedance of the Nordost design is at least twice as high as that of the Kimber 4TC i.e. right around 100 ohms ( give or take ). As such, you get less power transfer, which could be part of the reason why you have less bass weight / warmth than some other, lower impedance cables.
Regarding Chris VH's CAT5 cables, i found that they had TREMENDOUS bottom end. However, i always thought that the top end was tizzy or splashy sounding. Much of what one hears with these cables will depend on how they are constructed. How good / bad and how tight / loose the braid is will obviously alter their electrical characteristics. Just bare in mind that they are a very low inductance / high capacitance design. They are about three times as capacitive as Kimber 8TC and half as capacitive as Goertz MI-2's. As such, a "short" length of cables might be okay but if you have to run more than about 8 feet or so, i would recommend running zobels just to be safe. As a side note, use the Teflon CAT5 if you want to experiment as the standard CAT5 sounds even tizzier.
Never tried Jon's 89259 speaker cables so i can't help you there. Many folks that have tried them say that they are leaner than Chris' CAT5 design ( probably good for you ) and cleaner up top ( probably good for everyone ). This might be a reasonable cable to check into although i am not a fan of using stranded coax braid as part of a signal conductor for audio.
Other than that, i would avoid using Tara, Goertz, Cardas, Audioquest, XLO, etc... cables. I don't think that any of these cables will do what you are looking for right now.
One more thing that might solve your problem without spending any money if you are basically happy with the cables that you have. Take a very heavy sock or two and try stuffing your ports. You can vary the amount and density of stuffing to "fine tune" how much leakage you get out of it. This will lean out the over-all presentation and may give you exactly what you are looking for with a little experimentation. Sean
PS... These are only suggestions based on my experiences and personal preferences. You might not like what i like so take everything i say / recommend with a grain of salt. In fact, you better take two grains of salt and a round or two of some fine European beer : )
I use the 47 LAbs OTA cable in my main system which is 24 gauge single runs and it is fabulous. This big wire for big bass idea is ridiculous. The cat5 I use for my second system the same way the 47labs single runs... I think that these elaborate braided cat 5 cable sound muc worse than simple single runs....
might want to try the monster 2.2 or 2.4 (biwire).
they are a highly underated cable. i am not a monster fan (tara, cardas, xlo..etc). but if you look at audio review & sterophile ( recommended components), you will see that they aare a very good.
they have a incredible tight bottom end, warm midrange and velvty highs. the cardas products has a tendency to be too warm and obsure the detail, with a midbass hump. the 2.4 "in my system" sounds better.
they can also be found on the used market, so they arent that much $$$$. they are the cable i have heard under $750 ne and $250 used.
my system -
pse studio v mono blocks ( similar to classe)
audio research ls 12 ( very neutral)
philips 963 ( incredible unit - best bargain hi-fi has seen in a long time)
alon II ( very revealing )
XLO signiture 2 & Tara master interconnects
hope that helps !!
My thoughts regarding folks using the 47 Labs type of cable are that they do not listen at sustained high spl's, nor do they have woofers with large motor structures that are capable of long excursion. My guess is that these type of speaker cables are connected to lower powered tube gear / higher efficiency speakers and most of the music listened to is primarily acoustic based, i.e. small groups performing jazz, female vocals with backing bands, acoustic guitars with low level vocals, piano's and vocal's and possibly some smaller orchestral pieces.
How far am i off Dekay, Chelillingworth, Brulee & others ??? Sean