The idea for this thread came from @sautan 904 op titled “Who thinks $ Speaker cable really better than generic 14awg cable?
SO WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK? OR I AM THE LAST PERSON TO FIND OUT THAT EXPENSIVE CABLE JUST A RIP OFF?
Some are, some are definitely not. It really is a matter of discovering what brands out there (and there a lot) offer the best performance for your money. Some are really worth the money and clearly they offer a big increase in sound quality. It seems the dealers you used were not very discriminating about what brands they carry. This does not surprise me since I have found many are not well informed. You really need to seek out somebody who has compared different makes of cable and really believes in what they are selling.
So I thought it a good idea to pool knowledge on this subject and make a list of what people are using and why. This is my current preferences:
Speaker: Hi Diamond 7
IC XLR: Hi Diamond XLR 3
Ethernet: AQVOX, Vovox
The Hi Diamond speaker cable was so much better than other cables I have tried to date. The increase in musicality, depth and detail in bass, increased sound stage and cleaner more detailed top where some of the benefits I had with this cable. The same can be said of their XLR interconnect.
The Vovox I have only been able to compare with some generic cables, and it is much clearer than those. I intend trying some other brands in the near future and I will post my findings.
Ethernet cables I find make a difference and I am currently using both Vovox and AQVOX, compared to various generic makes and the blue Meicord these are both much preferred, opening the sound stage and lowering the noise floor.
Power cables I haven’t so far experimented with a great deal, I’m using heavy Belden cables that are part of a dedicated mains spur arrangement, so that each individual piece of equipment has its own spur. In order to test cable types I will need to introduce a mains block (Shunyata?).
I currently use the following speaker cables: High Fidelity Ultimate speaker cables (current model) HiDiamond 8 speaker cables Cerious Technologies Graphene speaker cables ***The best bang for the buck speaker cables I've ever heard and strongly recommend is the Cerious Technologies Graphene speaker cables***
I currently use the following Power Cords: High Fidelity Ultimate and Ultimate Reference power cords Cerious Technologies Graphene Blue and Red power cords Furutech Nano-Ag-Au FP-SO22N (14 gauge) [the Furutech power cords were made for me or I made them] FP-SO32N (12 gauge) FP-S55N (10 gauge) DPS-4 (11 gauge) ***The best bang for the buck is the Furutech Nano-Ag-Au FP-SO22N (14 gauge)***
Agree with LAK on the wonderful Furutech Nano SO-22N. Great cord and only $19 foot on sale at VH Audio.
The new Duelund 16 gauge stranded and tinned copper wire in oil impregnated cotton is my choice for both speaker cables and ICs. $10 per meter and replaced over $2500 of cabling. Best value in speaker and IC wire out there.
Not all the cables created equal, their performance varies based on the material and design philosophy. It would be worthwhile to disclose the components associated with your choice of cables.
I have seen from numerous cable threads that we go on debating the merits of expensive or reasonably priced cables. But very few has discussed in detail their reason for picking a brand of cables along with their electronics.
IME, your components plays a vital part in your choice of particular brand of cabling. Based on your component design, they are either well or poorly executed which could make them immune to cable upgrades.
We must keep in mind, everyone perceives or hear changes with cable upgrades differently. So let’s chimed in based on what we have tried in our system instead of hearsay or your opinion about a particular brand of cables.
Thanks for the recommendation. I have been looking to replace my speaker cables for a while. Looks like parts express have Duelund Silver foils cables on sale. I would like to try them out. How many hours of initial burn-in you recommend with these cables?
I would not go for the silver foil, but stick with the stranded copper. Try it first. Amazing cable. Twist the positive and negative run every 1.5 - 2 inches. Hook up with the bare wire on both ends for best sound. It will not oxidize. Don't let the price fool you. Give it 100 hours of burn in.
It covers the merits of a helix geometry for Speaker, Power and Interconnect cables
I have spent over four years trying different power cables and geometries from... - bulk Furutech and DH labs cable with good connectors - braided designs using Romex and Furutech conductors - and finally the helix design, again using romex and furutech conductors
My conclusions as to why they work may not be 100%, but the fact is they work extremely well
The quality of the conductor does improve sound quality attributes such as dynamic performance and bass control, but other attributes such as imaging, details and clarity are clearly attributable to cable geometry
I also applied the same geometry to speaker and interconnect cables and found they provided significant improvements in sound quality.
Still skeptical? - As @toddverrone - a fellow member that has built and uses all three - thanks Todd :-)
Indeed, the helix cables sound amazing. Plus, they look interesting and are fun to make. I also like the fact that you can customize them to your system.
Want 10 gauge silver plated copper? No problem. 14 gauge rectangular copper OCC conductor? Do it! Silver connectors? Rhodium? Gold? Choose your own adventure..
Now, if you hate DIY and/or need brand name bragging rights to feel good, these are not the cables for you. But if you want incredible sound and a super low noise floor for the cost of a few hours and a few hundred dollars to do all the cables in your system, you’ve found Nirvana.
I like the sonarquest because their attachment system let’s me use Spade connectors on the ends of the cables, which I prefer. But the iego connectors area very popular and well liked on this forum, so again, your choice.
As for ICs, there are so many choices. I went with solid silver conductors from vh audio, which is also where I purchased my KLEI pure harmony RCA connectors.. but again: what do you want?
Speaker cables? Forget about it! You have a dizzying array of materials to choose from. I used cryo’d silver plated copper from take five audio. Really, there are so many choices, I’m not even going to bother listing them. If people have questions though, Steve or I are happy to answer.
Man, we sound like a tag team sales force! Ha! I just love making cables and sharing knowledge and Steve's design is solid.
@toddverrone - tag team sales force eh? - sounds like a plan :-)
Another fellow audiophile up here in the Toronto region is going to give them a try - I think he will be very happy also.
On the plus side - they are probably the last set of cables you will ever acquire (unless you build a set with better conductors)
On the negative side - the resale value is perceived to be about $0.50 - it really puts people off trying them unfortunately.
As for any other readers that may be sitting on the fence - this happened to me recently...
I took the cables down to Georgian Audio Video (a large audio store) for the owner to try. - I'd previously demoed just the power cable and he was on the fence also - we started by just replacing the power cable on a receiver and he was amazed at the improvement - he then connected the speaker cables - what followed was a frenzied swapping of cables and components to determine if the improvements applied to all components equally. - the staff there are now believers that cables do make a difference for any components
If you are sitting on the fence I would suggest you try the cables in the following order... 1. Speaker cables - they will let you hear the improvements of the other cables more clearly 2. Interconnects - these will provide better imaging and clarity 3. power cables - these will provide more speed to the dynamics and more space around the performers
If you are not into DIY, the only other cables I am aware of that comes close to the Helix are the gZero line of cables from KLE Innovations of Melbourne Australia
Give either of them a try - you will not regret it :-)
@lalitk I take your point about system details and had intended listing but ran out of time during op.
So this is my best system as it stands at the moment (please read in conjunction with op)
Boenicke W11 speakers with Bybee speaker bullets Mola Mola Makua pre/dac and Mola Mola Kaluga Power amps fidata NS10 server Lumin S1 (digital out) streamer Aqvox switch
Inserting the HiDiamond cables into the system really brought the system to life, more energy, more musicality. USB, I would like to experiment with other cables, any suggestions? My weak point at the moment is probably the BNC/BNC studio grade cable to Neutrik 75/110 ohm BNC/AEB adaptor for use with the Lumin. The pending U1 will enable me to use AEB straight through. Having had success with HiDiamond I would choose their cable.
I found that both the Aqvox and Vovox Ethernet cables really helped open up the sound and reduced the noise floor in a similar way the introduction of the Bybee Signal Enhancers produced. Any other makes recommended?
I’m looking at Shunyata power products and cables at the moment, is there anybody that has had experience of these that would like to comment?
@lak Thanks for your comments about Furutech, I’ll take a look.
@grannyring Dueland make very fine components. The distributor here in the UK has had very good feedback on their cotton covered cables. It’s based on an old WE wire. What system are you using it with?
@williewonka Your helix cables sound interesting, I’ll follow that up.
@toetapaudio - if you have any questions about the helix cables ask away - Todd and I are always willing to assist a fellow DIYer.
Re: Sonarquest - they are not like some other connectors from the far east... - The prongs of the mains plug are very flat - providing maximum contact area - the silver plating is very heavy compared to competitors - the IEC connector clamps like a vice - I plug mine into an old component a couple of times before connecting to an active component - just to relieve that initial tightness.
I have compared Sonarquest to a couple of established brands and they performed better - but I have not compared them to the likes of Furutech and Oyaide - that would be interesting, but I’m not about to splurge just for the sake of curiosity.
Vanguard also produces a more reasonably priced silver plated copper connector, but the Sonarquest is definitely of a higher quality and their IEC’s clamp more securely.
What about connectors with gold or rhodium plating? - Silver has the highest conductivity of all metals - copper is second - Silver can be plated directly onto the copper - metals such as Gold and Rhodium (both have lower conductivity ratings) requires an intermediary plating material which also lowers the overall conductivity of the connector.
If you are constantly plugging/unplugging the connectors - perhaps rhodium is the toughest plating - but I’ve probably connected my cables over 200 times over the course of my "experiments" and the silver plating is still good
Hope that helps - Steve - a Brit-turned-Cannuck hybrid :-)
I have previously discussed my use of MG Audio Design interconnects and speaker wires. First I fond out about MG Audio Design from the writings of Arnie Nudell. I latr found outthat Paul McGowan of PSAudio also used them. But at $1600 for a one meter pair of their top of the line interconnects were too much for my budget, but that theysold half meter pairs for $900. Far, far better than $1800 Audioquest and also Audience AU24se interconnects. Not just better, but much, much better. Spposidly the Colorado Society compared them to top of the line Nordhost, and Nordhost came in second. As for MG Audio Design speakerwires, they are another story. Previously I was using a single Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wires for speaker wires. At the time I also obtained a one foot pair of then Shunyata's top of the line speaker wires. I connected the Shunyata speaker wires to my speakers and four 18 gage Jenna Labs hook up wires betweeen the Shunyata wires and my Rega Orisis integrated amplifier. It worked. The Jenna Labs 18ngage hook up wires-MG Audio Design combination really worked. The Jenna Lab wires allowed the Shunyata wires to do their work. I later doubled up on the Jenna Labs hook up wires and the sound was again even bettr. Finally I added 4 more Jenna Labs hok up wires to the total. That is 12 of them total. With the third Jenna Labs hook p wire attached to each of the four MG Audio Design wires I was then able to have a sound that is close to what I would have if I only was using the MG Audio Design wires alone. BY the way, the one foot MG Audio Design topof the line speker wires goes for $900. Considerably less than the $4800 for a six foot pair. The Jenna Lab Wires are $6 a foot. I have the equilivant of a 14.5 foot pair of speaker wires. Total price under $1800. In conclusion. these are not just an affordible pair of good speaker wires. To achieve their equal would be cost wise out of the question or most. I have been involved in high end audio for over 45 years. Oh yes, I have positively no financial or other involvement with these products. And I also know that Jenna Labs and John Curl are very good friends and have even worked on projects together over the years.
Personally, I think interconnects are more important. If your speaker wire is a large enough gauge, I haven't been able to tell a huge difference in speaker wire, as long as the length is within reason.
handymann: I totally agree. In fact speaker wires were the last and final part of my audio system to attend to. I myself had been using a single Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wire per channel-4 in total in place of regular speker. It was not ntil got a one foot pair of the Shunyata speaker wires and combined them with the Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wires that I started my speaker wire project. But believe me, if you ever had the chanch to try out ssay the speaker wires that Michael Fremer or Jonathan Valin use, you would notice the diference. It is just the obnoxious price of the really great wire products that reates the problem. I guarentee that if you evr heard my speaker wire system in your audio system you would notice the difference. I just obtaine a one meter pair of MG Audio Design interconnects for half price and hooked up my McIntosh Mr74 tuner to my Audio Research LS27 tube preamplifier. On a total MG Audio wired audio system. Audio magic. Oh yes, my speaker wire combo starts $900 for the first foot and $72 a foot. And I guarentee it would cost you thousands to even come close to my set up. After all, an audio system can only be as good as it's weakest link. That is a fact.
When I first built the system I still have (twenty-five + years ago) Fatwyre was a cable lending company. I tried about 10 or 12 different speaker cables, and about the same amount of interconnects finding out what worked best with the components I have. At the time my cap was $1K for an 8 foot pair of speaker cables and $400 for a 2 meter pair of interconnects. After all was said and done on speaker cables a friend loaned me a pair of Straightwire Maestro cables. Turns out they were the charm and I bought them from him. Turns out Monster Interlink 800 worked the best for interconnects (then) and I had a pair custom terminated since my amps use double single ended to connect balanced. Those pairs started to fall apart after 25 + years and I ran across a 25 foot single Straightwire Maestro balanced interconnect on eBay and bought it. FWIW, the Straightire facility is about 15 miles away from me and they are GREAT guys and re-terminated that piece of cable into 4 "jumper", 1.5' balanced female XLR to double male single ended cables and a 3 meter balanced pair. I had already partially converted to Straightwire Maestro balanced and this finished it except for the Straightwire silver cable (forget the name, maybe Creshendo) from the XA5400 ES SACD player to the ARC pre.
toetapaudio: That was 6-7 years ago. They were the ones prior to their "anaconda" model which themself were noteworthy as only costing $4000 for a six foot pair at the time. In fact it was back in 1983-4 when I first learned about Randall Research hook up wires from Ken Mavrick-an southern California audio dealer. Ken began by rewiring his Fried speakers and later pair of Spica'a with Randall Resesach wires. They made an incredible improvement to the sound. Later I learned at the time that using top end hook up wires in place of the much more costly top end speaker wires was, in fact, the best cost verses performance speaker wire avaliable. As the prices of top end speaker wires has increased over the years, myearly discoveries made even more sense. It was just by chanch when 6=7 yers ago I obtained a then one foot pair of Shunyata's then top of the line speaker wires that it all came together. Hooking up the shunyata speaker wires to my speakers, and using the 18ngage Jenna Lab's hook up wires between them and my amplifier did the job. And then some. I later discovered MG Audio Design wires and it really got good. I later added a second run of the Jenna Lab wires, and finally a third. There was a time and a place when I realized that my wire combination really works. The Jenna Lab hook up wires are so totally excellent that they allow the MG Audio Design speaker wires rely do their stuff. Both companies are very small wire manufactures of the highest order. Simply by combining them together really works. Much like I used to see audio dealers combining Audio Research and VTL electronics together, my speaker wire combination really works. I have absolutely no personal or financial involvement in the matter. Just a satisfied customer.
toetapaudio: 12 wires altogether. By chanch when I began my experiments with Jenna Lab hook up wires, I had all the wires necessary. I am an old timer and thus still require my audio equipment within easy reach of my right hand, thus the need for a long speaker run for the left speaker. At first I began with one single Jenna Lab 18 gage wire to attach between my amplifier and the, at the time and one foot long top of the line MG Audio Design wires. That is 4 Jenna Lab wires. I next added another Jenna Lab wire-8 in total-to the equation and notced much better audio reproduction. Actually due to its great sound reproduction at the time it was only by chanch that I added 4 more Jenna Lab wires to the total. 12 of them. The results were spectacular. I have been in audio for nearly 50 years and I know what I herd. What I still hear. Anyway it was done very basically very simple. The 6 let channel Jenna Lab wires are 11 feet long. At both ends hand wire 3 each at both ends. I use a sort of loose binding post to connect to the one foot MG Audio Design wires at one end, and the same 3 wires directly to my amplifier. I then wrap all wire visible parts completly with electrical tape. The whole thing takes minutes to put together. And you can order both wires on the internet, although it is great to correspond with the owners themself. If anyone is around Boulder and wants to check it out, call me at (720) 550-6908. Again I have no fiinancial interest whatsoever, other than I myself was able to take advantage. Just an experiment that went right.
todderrone: Compared to mine, total length is 12 feet for the left speaker ad 11 for my right speaker, your speaker lengths are relatively short. I am only using such lengths due to my present set up. I could probably cut off two feet of the Jenna Labs hook up wires if I had to, but their present length does not seem to make any difference. When using top end wires, being them or interconnects or speaker wires, I do not believe their length matters. Of course it is their cost which is the deciding factor. Luckily for me I had the necessary length of the Jenna Lab hook up wires already. Again, if I had to pay full price for a 14.5 foot pair of speakers would be under $1800. Not cheap, but subtract $72 a foot for a shorter length. My speaker wires are the equal of the top of the line MG Audio Design interconnects in audio quality. It is only possible due to the extremely low cost of a one foot pair of MG Audio Designs top end speaker wires-which go ofor $900. I used to tell Geg that he charged too little. The top of the line Nordhost interconnects go for $17,000 for aa .6 meter pair. MG Audio Design charges $900 for a .5 meter pair of theirs. That is the only way that I was able create such a truly superior speaker wire. That and Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wires which go for $6 a foot. ruly a stroke of luck for me anyway.
This may not be the correct thread but has anyone tried the Mundorf silver/ gold hook up wire using the helix design? I made a pair of 1/2 meter interconnects with 24 ga wire, cotton core and Absolute Harmony RCAs several weeks ago .They probably have 100 to 150 hours on them now, connecting Bel Canto 1.5 DAC to Van Alstine T10 pre. I was concerned the cotton core would overdamp the fine wire but that does not seem to be the case. The depth of soundstage increased with clearer placement of instruments and surprising vocal nuance. What permutations have others experimented with?
I myself replaced my then Shunyata power cords a few years ago with Audioquest power cords because I found them much better. I currently am using eight Audioquest power cords plus twp of their Niagara power strips. But I hae also found that my $400 JPS power cord with my OPPO 105 player works much better than a three times the cost of an Audioquest model. The same thing for the power cord that comes with my Rega Orisis integrated. Far, far better. But if I try out the JPS of Rega power cord with any other audio product, the Audioquest will perform much, much better. Recently I tried an $1280 Audioquest power cord on my Oppo 105 and he sound sucked. Big time. When I replaced it with my $400 JPS power cord, it sounded wonderful. What I have said is perfectly true. I could eaily demonstrate these facts n a demonstration. The changes in audio performance are easily recognized as soon as the changes in power cords are made. Just something more to think about.
@maine95 I made a pair of ICs using the helix design and the pure harmony connectors. I didn't use mundorf, but I did use 24awg solid silver in cotton. I purchased mine from vh audio. I used his unicrystal OCC silver and, instead of teflon or PET tubing, I used his hyperflex tubing. It's amazing stuff. https://www.vhaudio.com/wire.html Then, for the neutrals, I used an OCC copper magnet wire I bought off eBay. It sounds great and helps the IC keep it's shape better. http://www.ebay.com/itm/112418636937
If you look at my system page, you can see the ICs.
@toddverrone did a little research after posting and found your cable on my audio alchemy. I actually used the VH design. Yes, the bass clarity and timbre continue to improve. Did you find that the neural stayed in place on the Teflon tube?
toetapaudio: Previously I was using Shunyata Python CX power cords but a few months ago I tried a $695 Shunyata power cord on sale by The Cable Company with the same results. None could compare to the Audioquest NRG10's. Presenly I am using 2 NRG's on Martin/Logan SL3 speakers. I am using 4 NTG100's, which are almost as good as the NRG1000's, of which I am using one. I was fortunate to be able to purchase most of the Audioquest power cords from a dealer in Ft.Collins, who has to upgrade his own every time Audioquest upgrades their power cords. He is due o do hat soon as Audioquest is avout to come ou with their latest oferings any time now. I am also usng two Audioquest Nigara power strips, which replace an Ayre filter and a PS Audio regenerator. As Hert Reichert has found out, a Audioqust Niagara 1000 power strip is ery, very good for the money.
@lak , I’m interested to find out more about your Furutech Power cables. Are the 55’s better everywhere or only when supplying power to specific components? How do the other Furutech cables compare? Thanks.
@toetapaudio, I think the Furutech Nano-Ag-Au FP-SO22N (14 gauge) sounds best on all front-end components, better than the 55's. I used the larger gauge cables on power conditioners or larger draw amps because hypothetically the 14 gauge wire might not handle the load.
I know there are some out there that want me to comment on the DPS-4 (11 gauge) wire. Unfortunatelly I have not had the time to do a compairson of the DPS-4 (11 gauge) vs the FP-SO22N (14 gauge), but I will do that within a week.
@lak thank you for the information. Glad to hear you like the 22 for the front end. I’ve not heard of the DPS-4, is that new? Hi Fi Advice recently tested another variant called the FP-TCS31 and gave it praise compared with an older Furatech cable called Alpha. I will find the review and post a link. Also, I have read that the best NCF connectors make a significant improvement. Have you any experience of these connectors?
toetapaudio....cable manufacturing can be a complex undertaking...therefore more expensive. Unique metal core, fancy windings, etc. all make a difference. In truth you have to find the cable that voices with your system to your satisfaction. That effort may or may not result in an expensive cable. I use ClearDay cables....not expensive, but they work very well with my components. If you touch base with ClearDay, he'll send you a trial set for a free evaluation. I have no financial interest in ClearDay...only like the results.
Guys try Mojo Audio cables probably the best stuff out there. I tried them all but keep going back to his cables. I still think his products comes with a 30/45 day return. I have his power cords and interconnects in my system. My hunt is over Enjoy the music
@maine95. Sorry for the slow reply. I'm a mess from a mountain bike crash..
The neutral stays in place without a problem using the foamed Teflon tube from vh audio. It's squishy, so I just kept the neutral coil a little tight and it locked itself in place around the foam tube.
I'm with @grannyring on this. Duelund DCA16GA speaker wire is cheap and crazy good. You can have world-class speaker wire for as little as $100 depending on what length you need. I spent $160 because I needed 12 foot runs, that's still cheap. Plus very little-to-no break in time needed to hear a difference. Only disadvantages are the initial smell out of the package, and the cloth wire jackets pick up a lot of hair and dust on your floor.
I'm going to try some of the Duelund interconnects using the same wire someday.
@mmrkaic (why do mentions not work with all members?)
Unfortunately, I don't have the equipment to perform those measurements. If you do, I could make a new PC and send it to you to measure, since I need one anyway.
Out of curiosity, why am I being subjected to the Spanish Inquisition when everyone else recommending commercially available cables is not? I've yet to see a manufacturer who provides the info you're asking from me..
Sorry, did not want to subject you to any Inquisition, let alone Spanish. :))
But I think that you yourself have asked the key question -- why so many manufacturers don't provide those numbers?
I use 12 AWG speaker cables that I bought on Amazon for~$15 and the power cables that came with my amplifier. If I paid more, I would feel really stupid and exploited. Now, I have a Ms in physics and know a bit or two about electrical circuits, conductivity, electrodynamics etc., so bold claims about "the sound of cables" don't impress me too much.
@mmrkaic. No Masters in physics here, but I did study biochemistry and taught chemistry and physics. So I understand the skepticism. I was skeptical too, that's how I ended up doing DIY. Constantly seeing people talking about cables made me curious, but I wasn't willing to drop lots of cash to see what all the fuss was about. My initial experiments confirmed that they do make an audible difference, so then I was willing to use more expensive and better materials..
I practice and teach yoga. There's plenty of science behind some of the 'claims' of yoga, but plenty of claims without any scientific studies to support them. But I don't care about science when I'm practicing. I just do my practice and notice changes in my bodymind. After 20+ years, I'm aware of what yoga can and cannot do for me. I've decided to take a similar approach to audio. Use logic/skepticism to keep my mind in check, but remain open enough to notice things. Because if you're always skeptical, you can miss a lot. But if you're always open, you can be filled with a lot of rubbish.. so I walk that line between the two, often falling to either side. But that just helps me see the line more clearly.
That said, I just looked and LCR meters aren't too expensive. I'll need to get one soon.. because curiosity is fun!
"I use 12 AWG speaker cables that I bought on Amazon for~$15 and the power cables that came with my amplifier. If I paid more, I would feel really stupid and exploited. Now, I have a Ms in physics and know a bit or two about electrical circuits, conductivity, electrodynamics etc., so bold claims about "the sound of cables" don't impress me too much."
My dear friend, there is no appeal to authority here, just an explanation why I don't fall for pseudo-scientific BS that is peddled by many in the audio community.
Incidentally, the actual logical fallacy that you insinuate is more accurately called "appeal to improper(!) authority". Having an advanced degree in physics is not an improper source of authority, when we discuss physical phenomena, such as electric conductivity.