Cables best suited to electrostatic speakers


I've been active in this hobby for over 55 years and have never understood how the choice of speaker cables and interconnects might be significant factors in optimizing my various systems. I simply bought relatively expensive wires thinking that they must be OK if "audiophiles" are using them. Because others much more studied than I have such strong and diverse thinking on the subject, though, I thought I should try to educate myself further.

This comes up because I recently made some changes to my setup and am having some difficulty adjusting my hearing to them. Because they are several the variables are many. I've used Martin Logan and Magnepan for most of my listening career having very recently replaced Martin Logan Odysseys that I've used since new about 14 years ago, with ML Ethos speakers. Because these seem to be somewhat more sensitive to what's going on upstream, it's the change that I need the most help with.

My present system consists of Shanling CD100 CD player, Peachtree Nova as preamp, two DBX1531 equalizers, Peachtree 220 amp, Silversonic T-14 cable terminated at both ends with bananas and Martin Logan Ethos speakers. As most, I want detail and timbre without brightness. Because of age related hearing issues I recently added the equalizers for a relative boost in those frequencies above 3500 Hz; this has worked out nicely, btw.

I don't know if this is at all relative to the issue but I seem to have a particular sensitivity to frequencies in the area of 1400 Hz, especially when originating from a percussive instrument like piano, corresponding to the approximate frequency of my tinnitus. One of my concerns is that my hearing may be degraded to the point that modifications that result in subtle changes may be beyond my ability to detect them and any improvement that I can hear might only be psychological.

So, the bottom line goes to the subject of this thread; could it be that one type of cable configuration or material is best suited to electrostatic panels? It seems to me that there shouldn't be but, as I said, till now, I've paid no serious attention to cables in general.
broadstone
My speakers are ML CLX's and befor that I had prodigys. A total of 9 years with ML's the last 5 years with both speakers have been using Synergistic Research and could no be more pleased with the results. You might want to check the cable company's lending program.
Hi Jim,

The one thought I would offer is that the inductance of the particular speaker cable is likely to assume increased significance when used with an electrostatic speaker than when used with other kinds of speakers.

The reason is that the impedance of electrostatics typically descends to very low values in the upper treble region, specifically to 0.8 ohms at 20 kHz in the case of your speakers. And the impedance presented by the inductance of a cable will increase in direct proportion to frequency, and thereby become particularly significant in relation to that very low speaker impedance at high frequencies. The result being that if cable inductance is other than lowish upper octave extension will tend to be limited to a greater degree in the case of electrostatics, relative to what would occur if the same cable were used with a dynamic speaker, or with a non-electrostatic planar speaker such as the Magnepans. Especially if the length of the cable is longish, as the inductance of a given cable type will be directly proportional to length.

Of course, all of that says little or nothing about what kind of cable is likely to be subjectively preferable, as that will depend on many variables, including the output impedance and other characteristics of the amplifier that is being used, the sonic characteristics of the particular speaker as set up in the particular room, the recordings that are listened to, the upper frequency extension of the listener's hearing, listener preference, etc.

Best regards,
-- Al
I have always found that electrostatic speakers work better with low inductance, low capacitance and low to medium resistance speaker cables.

You can read HERE about this from Roger Sanders in one of his White Papers.

I have sold (was a dealer) and have personally owned nothing but electrostatic and planar magnetic speakers since 1980. Many, many pairs later, I still find this to be true.
mofi - can you give some brands that have those traits of refer to ? Thanks
Al, I had actually started this thread before our recent conversation referenced to an original one going back about a year and one half ago. After some thought inspired by you and the several here, I've decided to take a serious look at replacing my present system with tube based gear and revisiting the issue of cables after a decision is made. I will, then initiate a new thread today soliciting advice on how best to approach this.
Purist or Stealth would work well.
After experimenting with different types of cable - cables with solid core conductors sound the best to my ears with my Martin Logan speakers. Tara Labs RSC cables works great for me.
I have had EXCELLENT results on my Stats with Tara Labs 'The One'. truly musical, detailed AND transparent. fast, quiet, REAL..