Are there any constants in speaker wire designs?


I've been looking at different speaker wires and the different designs and am wondering if anyone has listened to enough different speaker wires to know if there are any constants. Is there any "signature" sound that goes with similar designs? For example, does a four or eight wire braided (think Kimbel) have a particular sound quality compared to a basic two strand wire?

It seems that there should be some similarities amoung cables of similar design. The number of strands, braided vs. straight, gage, etc...

If there wasn't some truth to this it would mean that speaker wire designs are just random configurations.

Any thoughts?
mceljo
Why is "strand jumping" bad?
"Why is "strand jumping" bad?"

Strand jumping is related to skin effect that forces current to jump constantly to outside of thick speaker cable (where resistance is lower at higher frequencies). Copper impurities reside on the surface of each strand. Copper oxide is a semiconductor.

Isolating strands prevents jumping but skin effect still exists because strands are still in each others magnetic field (surface is increased though). Here comes helical winding on hollow tube (used by many companies like AQ or AZ) making each strand to be only in magnetic field of adjacent strands. Some companies use flat-woven design or flat copper tape to achieve the same. Flat copper tape is often used in crossovers inductors (for the same reason).

Don't ask me how significant skin effect is because I don't know. From electrical point of view it most likely doesn't have any effect but I don't pretend to know more than cable companies. Solid wire with limited gauge might be an easy compromise. Since skin effect starts at gauge 18 for copper at audio frequencies (20kHz) it is probably safe to assume that even 14 gauge solid wire (like very popular AQ type4) will do job nicely. It has a little more resistance but inductor in a series with the woofer has most likely as much as 0.1 ohm anyway.

On the top of these exotic geometries purity (and type) of metal might play a role as well as dielectric used that changes with the price of the cable with foam Teflon being the best.

My take on this: If it is all placebo effect what is wrong with it as long as it works? You paid for something that sounds better to you whatever the reason. On the other hand I installed once brand new AQ Indigo speaker cable and had for the first hour very muffled sound that changed for next few hours to overly bright to become smooth and balanced within few days. At the same time I read at this forum posts stating that there is no such thing as cable breaking.
buconero117...i competely agree with myself while I disagree with your point of view, except about buying more media, and...maybe?...also about cables sounding different.

my truth is that a cables, is going to make a systems sound someway...and the very same cables is going to make another systems sounds anotherway. i consider that suggestable, i mean significant.

when the monies gets involved, obviously its only up to me to judge if you paid too much.

you should also research/check out the silver-plated special edition gold standard, whereby we listen and use our own ears/judgement to decide what we like and are done with it and on to enjoying listening to music!

by the way, where do you find the double blind tester? I've only ever been able to find the once blind person/tester. is there some sort of gov't research study going on whereby once blind persons are given sight only to have it ripped away all at once by argumentative audiopiles to prove a pointless point involving the double blind?
Kijanki, skin effect isn't considered significant at audible frequencies. At 20KHz it'll be less than 0.2db, which is truly insignificant in the context of real speakers in a real room.

Strand jumping sounds like quasi-technical mumbo-jumbo to me.

In your final paragraph I think you touch upon the real issue - it is all just a placebo effect? From a technical perspective the answer is that there are no audible differences between well designed cables for any purpose, with the emphasis on "well-designed". For speaker cables you must have sufficient gauge and conductor quality, a reasonable trade-off between inductance and capacitance, and proper termination can be important, but beyond that you are paying for mechanical characteristics. Complex layering, individually insulated conductor strands, and fancy woven outer casings can be expensive to build and terminate. The fact that these features may not improve sound quality over 10AWG zip cord is beside the point. If you want a very luxurious and expensive-looking cable it will likely be expensive.

I'm not so judgmental about expensively built cables, at least no more than I am about, say, expensive watches. They don't tell time any better, but if someone is excited about a $50K watch and is willing to pay, I say go for it. My 10AWG cables look like the cheap zip cord they are, and they do not look awesome like expensive 1/2" diameter Audio Quest stuff. But if you choose to believe that these fancy cables sound better, well, there's no evidence *at all* that these cables are better than zip cord. The differences you hear are almost certainly imagined. So is cable break-in.
Seems like it would matter but all the cables I have auditioned over the years sound different. Lots of theories and of course it depends on your gear and what you 'think' you are hearing.