Cables, Cables

I am sure this was asked many times before, but anyway here I go…
I've been using Home Depot 12 AWG copper wire, bi-wired. It sounded very good to my ear. After reading up some, I've decided to buy some really nice pre-made wire; after all I am always looking for some improvements. So, I bought Audioquest CV-4 not bi-wired. Brought it home, connected and the sound became flat and dull. Am I misunderstanding something here?
Buyer's remorse. Stick with them a little, and they will wind up sounding exactly like the HD. Which should tell you all you need to know about the utility of cable "upgrades."
Very constructive response, Pabelson...without even asking Moganes what his system consists of you already had an answer.
Lots of stuff going on with cables that can cause a noticible difference depending on cable construction, length, guage, etc as well as how an individual cable interfaces electrically with the amp and speaker. No easy answer to your question, unless........

You forgot to reinstall the jumpers in your speakers when you connected your single runs. You may not have operative tweeters. Wouldn't that be embarrassing? :-)
Thank you for your responces. My system is pretty simple. I have Kavent hybrid integrated amp, Rega Jupiter CD player and havily modded Klipsch speakers. I did not forget the jumpers :P Between the both cables system sounds completely different. I can not believe that $70 Home Depot wire can out-do $700 namebrand cable.
You should try the home depot 6 gauge wire: I forgot what it's called, TNN something but it's for high current machinery or something or another.. the wire is made up of many strands of varying thicknesses of solid core pure copper. The wire has a black sheathing and is very directional (the direction of the type on the sheathing is the direction of the signal). This stuff is extremely stiff and difficult to work with but should embarress many high end cables also.
I can easily believe that inexpensive cable can outperform expensive cable. For example, I bought some expensive well known flat cable with spaced wires and put it work replacing some much less expensive, much more ordinary twisted 14 guage audiophile cable. This flat cable produced a balance tilted towards the highs at the expense of the bottom end of the spectrum. Crystal clear, but just, for me at least, tonally unbalanced. In another set up I relocated some equipment and went from 10ft of 12 guage cable to 40 feet of the same cable. Rolled off the highs and the bass became mushy (probably the same thing because often its the high frequency overtones that make bass seem fast or slow). Its a crap shoot re proper cables unless you understand the specific needs of your system, electrically speaking. Sounds like you made a good connection with the HD cables, lots of other folks have.
Moganes, did you connect the speaker cables to the top terminals? Or whatever the mid-high terminals are on your speakers, that's where the speaker cables should be connected to. In case you hooked up the speaker cables to a woofer terminal, your lifeless sound may be a product of the jumpers providing signal to mid-highs and not the speaker cable. Take a look.
Do try Audphile1's suggestion and also be sure the jumper is decent -- not the stuff that typically comes with the speaker. A short length of the Home Depot wire should do the trick since you had good experience with it.

If it still sounds worse, even after some burn-in, enjoy the Home Depot wire, sell the Audioquest and think of all the money you're saving!
Ozfly, good point. Something I forgot to mention is the jumpers quality.

Another thing Moganes, let the cables play for a while before you make up your mind. You may get used to this sound and not be able to go back to the HD wire.

Also, when you get better, more revealing cables, the flaws of your components show much easier.

AQ cables in general have a bit of a dark character to their sound.
A few years back I was using black 18 gauge zip cord for my tweeters. It was quite good and bettered LAT, Kimber, and JPS mid-line cables.
Any difference is likely to be inaudible or just barely audible - the huge difference you describe sounds like a problem somewhere (crossed wire giving incorrect phase maybe?).
I switched to Home Depot 14 ga outdoor extension cord (HD-14) after reading a glowing review in The Absolute Sound that pitted this stuff against 500-buck wires. It's still in my system 18 months later. Replaced Omega Mikro which replaced Mapleshade which replaced Kimber 8TC. Obviously YMMV, but don't be surprised at how good this cable is. I could almost guarantee that it's better sounding than the AQ CV-4. Dave
I have been using Home Depot 6awg mixed with some 22awg solid silver teflon coated wire. I have compared it with some other cables and can't justify spending the money. Just because it costs more means nothing. I am going to cryo treat them next, has anyone tried this with any HD wire or cheap cables?
Thanks for all the responses. I returned the AQ cable and thought I'd try Nordost by-wire cable. Now, there is no audible difference between this $1400 wire and $70 HD wire. Hmmm, I think I will stick with HD. At least it works very well in my setup.

Does anyone know where to get some flexwrap?
kinda of a silly question..did you break in the audioquest cables (ie 2-3 weeks of constant use)?
keep the home depot wire
What kind of interconnects do you have between your cd player and integrated?
Monster Interlink cables... Nothing fancy :P
Moganes, in this situation, replacing the speaker cable is not the first thing you need to do.

I am suggesting you follow this plan if you want to effectively upgrade your cables(and it's completely up to you what to do with the $1400 speaker cable now), but:

First of all, you need to upgrade the Monster Interlink interconnects. This change(the interconnect upgrade), is the one that's going to reward you with most improvement. This is the first and the most important link in your system - cables between your CD player and your integrated. If you return the Nordost sp cable, you can get decent interconnects used here on a-gon for under $300/m with the money you get back for the sp cables.

I am a fan of Acoustic Zen interconnect cables and speaker wires, so my suggestion is a pair of Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference MkII interconnects.

Second is the speaker cable upgrade, since you have no separate amp and preamp.

Last but not least is the power cord upgrade. The one I found works really good on both digital and analog components is Audience powerChord.

Remember though that the speaker cable will only carry the information from your integrated amp to the speakers. The amount and quality of information that gets TO your integrated from your cd player is the most important.
Then all the rest will follow - speaker cables, power conditioners, power cords.
Best of luck.
Thank you. I will try this and report back. :)
Please let us know how it turns out.
Rega is a nice player so your system should benefit from better interconnects.
Responding to your entry about upgrading your cables and having a dull flat sound. Were you able to correct this?. I am asking becuase I just purchased a pair of CV-4 cables and I pick them up next week. Are these just a big hype or are they for real?.

Brad from Sacramento
I was able to correct it. After trying many, many cables and interconnects. I ended up with Zu Gede interconnects and Zu Wax speaker cable. Interconnects did make all the difference, I am still not sure that speaker cable is an upgrade from DIY Home Depot speaker wire. :)
As you found out Audphile 1 gave some good advise. I had Monster Interlink 400's in my system for many years and used Monster M1.4's speaker cables. Never gave it any more thought as I had read many articles that said cables made no difference and in my experience this was true.

Then after upgrading my components to a certain level I thought, what the hey, I'll buy some better cables just to make me feel better. I expected no improvement and to be honest was only upgrading for looks and bragging rites.

I started out with bargain cables replacing the Monster's with Outlaw PCA's. I figured that since there wasn't going to be any effect on the sound these were reasonably priced, big and cool looking and had locking connectors, which is a good thing.

To my surprise the sound changed when I rolled these cables in. Not drastically, but significantly. The bass was deeper with more detail, the highs actually seemed to be a little rolled off, everything just had a warmer sound. And, for the first time I realized what a big soundstage sounds like. The Monster were just dead flat in this regard.

This was the first time I had ever heard a difference and since I bought a Naim CDP and many Naim owners routinely recommend Chord cables I figured I'd experiment further.

I bought a pair of Chord Cobra IC's and ran them from CDP to preamp (Arcam AVP-700)(Still using the Outlaws from pre to power)and for the first time in the 30 years I've been into this hobby I heard more than a subtle difference between cables. Not snake oil or a psuedo effect of wanting to hear a difference, but a real difference.

To make a long story short, I continued down the slipperly slope of trying different combinations of cables until I found the one's that worked best with my system (Eichmann eXpress-6 series II. I love these cables).

IMO, IC's have a bigger effect on the sound than speaker cables, but then again I only tried one set of new speaker cables. They made the difference I was looking for and I was done (Alfa Core Goertz MI-2's) looking. Well I may try a pair of Eichmann's in the future if I can find a good used pair at a good price. But, just because I'm so happy with their IC's, not because I'm unhappy with the Goertz.

Anyhow, just for giggles I rolled the Monsters back in and the magic disappeared. I went between the Monsters and Goertz speakers cables and could hear no difference what so ever. Then I went back to the Eichman's and it was quite easy to hear the difference between the two speaker cables. The 400's were just not revealing enough.

I now feel like I've cheated myself for many years not believing cables made a difference.

But, I will also add that when rolling cables you have to remember it all starts at the source, which BTW, your Rega is pretty darned good.

If you continue to experiment (which you probably will now that you know there is a differnce, I recommend you buy used from this site and if you don't like the cable you wont lose much reselling. Also, you started with some pretty high dollar cables. It's not really about the price, it's about the synergy and how a specific cable works with your system.

BTW, which Klipsch do you own? I've owned the Cornwall's, Cornwall II's, and LaScalla's in the past. I tell you this because while horn speakers have many outstanding quality's that other speakers can't match, they also are not the best at presenting good depth and width to the sound stage. Not to knock your speakers, because I still miss mine, but this is just what I've experienced. And, I mention this only because this is one area where cables can make a huge difference, but maybe not so much with the horns.

You want to really hear your Klipsch sing put a good set of tubes up front. This will make a huge difference. Much more than you could ever hope to obtain from various cables. I had a nice set of class A mono blocks on mine for the longest time, and then a friend lent me a cheapo kit integrated tube amp (can't remember the brand, but I think it was dynaco, or something like that)and it was pure magic. Horns and tubes are a match made in heaven IMO.
Thanks for sharing your "cable experiences" Jack. I think that it parallels similar experiences for a lot of us out here. Sean
Why should pre made wire sound better. Most cable co.s don`t own a single piece of test equipment. Almost none have manufacturing facilities. They buy the cables OEM; mark them up astronomically & rely on the ad copy & audiophile gullibility to send them to the bank grinning from ear to ear.
As a devout cable nut, I can say with absolute certainty (all laugh) that some cables need over 200 hours of settling time to reveal themselves. Cables that are dealer demos don't usually need a full weeks worth of current, but some new cables don't open up for a long time. The point is that anybody who swaps cables and listens for a day or two and then makes a value judgement hasn't given the cables a fair shake. I've had cables that started off sounding bad and actually got worse after about 75 hours of continuous current, only to open up with glorious splendor after 200 hours. There is a reason for this anomaly, but that's another thread all together.
For that much money, the companies should burn them in for you already!