Belden 1313A - project bi or sgl spk. leads.
I just purchased a set of Quatro Wood signature II speakers, and have to bi-wire. I looked at various speaker leads on found none that seemed to be a good compromise on cost and construction. Some, is more a religious faith purchase than sound, at least for what is being charged.
For both bi-wire and single-end wire speakers, I found that Belden 1313A has the foundation for an economical, and good sounding, speaker lead. This lead will allow you to enjoy a nice system, and save-up for those "monster" expensive leads. Just don't get too upset when you compare them to the kitted Belden leads.
OK, why a "kitted" project lead? This cable is designed for fire safety installations inside walls, as well as burial. The outer PVC jacket is not really there for sound quality, but fire retardancy (PVC is fire retardant) and crush (thick jacket wall) strength. With the outer jacket removed, what is left is an ideal Polyethylene insulated 10AWG oxygen free copper high-quality speaker lead in the making. Now lets make some noise!
1.0 To start your project, measure out the length of 1313A lead you would like in the finished form. Ten feet or so is about as long as I would recommend, as shorter leads will almost ALWAYS sound better than longer leads.
2.0 Lightly laterally score, DO NOT cut through, the outer jacket with a razor knife.
3.0 Pull the red and black twisted pair leads through the slit side of the insulation till all the jacket is removed.
4.0 Go to radio Shack and buy some slit black polyethylene cable harness helical tubing. It comes in ten-foot lengths. Get as many as your harness assembly requires. I your harness is ten feet you'll need two for standard wire or four for bi-wire.
5.0 Helical wrap each set of ONLY TWO wires with the PE helical harness. I know it is tempting to wrap four wires with the wrap for bi-wire, but avoid this temptation as it removes a lot of the advantages of bi-wire, isolating amplifier current in your upper and lower frequency range leads to separate runs. Yes, it's a pain at the start to untwist the helical PE harness wrap as it knots-up, but it gets easier pretty quick as it gets shorter.
6.0 Now you should have two to four PE insulation leads with a helical PE outer jacket. This is a very good set of leads for audio as PE is a stable dielectric, very consistent electricals across a wide frequency range, and has low capacitance characteristics, too.
7.0 Get some heat shrink tubing and prepare the ends, two leads in parallel, one black and one red, for bi-wire, or a single lead with black and red for standard interface. I made bi-wire "pants" by using three pieces of heat shrink. One big boot over the cable / spiral tubing end, and two smaller heat shrink tubes over the two of four individual cable leads. For one set I use RED and the other BLACK at each end so I can easily identify channels behind my stereo amplifier cabinet.
8.0 On the opposite end, do the same thing, but you should have one end with two black wires and the other two red wires in parallel for bi-wire. For standard wire, each end is the same, one red and one black.
9.0 Prepare the ends for Cardas or equivalent spade lugs, or what ever you need. Slide your heat shrink over the ends PRIOR to crimping and soldering your lugs. After crimp and solder, slide the heat shrink up and cover the bare crimp site and heat shrink.
1.0 Presto, you now have 10AWG oxygen free high conductivity copper, PE insulated and jacketed, low capacitance speaker leads.
These leads are almost free compared to the crazy cost of marketed products. A little effort on your part and you can at least keep your initial cost low while you decide how expensive a speaker lead you really need. And, you can compare to these leads as a reference to see if you are really getting anywhere. Copper and PE are neutral medium, and is a good match to the Quatro. The low capacitance of the leads is also easy on amplifiers. You can also A-B these leads to the PVC jacketed unkitted 1313A counterpart to hear what a difference the PE spiral jacket makes to the sound.
I can forward a PHOTO of each end of a lead to those interested in this "kit" lead.