a beginner question about compatibility of cable metals for speakers (s video)


I have little technical knowhow.

But I understood the purer the metal material in the cable for speakers, the better the audio will go through, and the thicker the (amount of metal) in the cable, the better the audio will go through. Am I right?

I have a 120watt hifi (panasonic, new, middle-range quality sc-pmx100) to which i want to connect a pair of (in my assumption) much higher quality pair of old speakers (with double wiring input, by the way) Elac brand - made in germany - middle sized speakers.

I am located now in a rural area, and found brand new silver s-video cables never opened. Could I use this s-video cable for the speakers instead of the standard copper delivered audio speakers? (offcourse cutting the connections and just using the two wires as plus and minus).

Would I make any damage to speaker or amplifier? Would I get improved sound quality doing that?

Thanks for your thoughts.

The conductors in S-Video cables are commonly 26 or 28 gauge, which under typical circumstances would have too much resistance to perform in an accurate manner as a speaker cable. That would still be the case even if you were to use two of the four conductors in parallel for each signal polarity (+ and -), which would result in the equivalent of 23 or 25 gauge, respectively.

If the cable length that is required is particularly short, though, e.g. just a couple of feet or so, and/or if the speaker impedance is particularly high, e.g. 10 ohms or more, it might work reasonably well. Also, sometimes performance that is inaccurate to some degree can turn out to be subjectively preferable, or can compensate for inaccuracies elsewhere in the system or in the recording.

In any event, I would not envision any possibility of damage if you were to try it, assuming of course that no shorts are inadvertently introduced. Although if high power levels are being sent to the speakers more or less continuously the power dissipated in the resistance of the cables might cause them to get somewhat warm.

-- Al

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@rkrk - do you want to reproduce the full audio spectrum?

Although @Almarg is probably right - in that the s-video cables may just get a little warm - I do not believe 26 or 28 gauge conductors will effectively deliver the full audio spectrum.

What length would the cables be? the longer they are the warmer they will get

Very Basically - thicker conductors + higher quality copper = better sound

But it becomes much more complex when you start to consider cable geometry - take a look at...

The links above cover a single geometry, there are many more, e.g...
- conductors of varying size
- braided
- complex multi helix designs
- the list goes on..

Hope that helps - Steve

rkrk - if you like, send me a message with your address and I’ll send you a 6.5’ set of speaker cables made from braided cat 5 cable. I have two pairs, one with a larger conductor going to the mids/highs, which I’m going to keep as back up. (I just made some new speaker cables in consultation with @williewonka , but I’ll keep one set of braided cat 5 cables, just to have). The other set is just taking up space and I’d rather someone used them.

The specs: I made these from 7 lengths of cat 5 plenum cable (has Teflon insulation instead of PVC) per side. At the amp end they are separated into a positive and negative groups with silver plated BFA banana plugs. At the speaker end, they are set up to biwire. For each group of wires (+ & -) there is a HF and a LF subgroup. The speaker end is also terminated in silver plated BFAs.

Each of the 7 cat 5 cables has 4 pairs of 24 awg wires. Half go to the positive, half to the negative. So that means, at the amp end, each group (+ / -) has 28 wires which equates to a combined gauge of 10awg. At the speaker end each subgroup for the HF has 8 wires which equates to 15awg. Each LF subgroup has 20 wires, which equates to 11awg.

The second gen cat 5 speaker cables that I’m keeping are made from the same materials, are also braided, but have​ 8 lengths of cat 5, with the extra wires all going to the HF posts at the speaker. You probably won’t need the extra gauge that I did. I have big, power hungry speakers and amps that are 500w/channel. I decided that my mids/tweeters needed more ’space’ than the 15 awg my first set of cables provided.

Anyway, I hope that made sense. You can see pics of the cat 5 cables I’ll be keeping in my system page, but the set I’m willing to give you look almost identical, minus one run of cat 5.
Whole bunch more to it than metal and thickness and purity! Your on right track but speaker cable doesn't make lower level electronics higher level electronics! 1000.00 cables on like a receiver is not wise! Want to discuss more, let me know!

Wow, many thanks to all of you.

I guess I underestimated the complexity of speaker cables purity issue. And underestimated the kindness and patience of your folks.

It took me a while to do further research and I do get it a little nowadays (...finally) that gauge awg are american measures of cables, and that for an average amplifier of mine of 100 watt, (with medium sized speakers) probably a 12 awg would give best quality.

I do understand its better to have oxygen free copper rather than copper, and have skipped my silver wire idea. I will go with OFC.

I also understand in principe that many wire geometries, wire treatments, breaded etc have more effect - but due to complexity and my beginner understanding I'd leave the wire geometries and structures apart.

Once again thank you all.