Cables for high efficiency speakers?

I've started to look at speakers to replace my Thiel 3.6s. I'll be putting almost all my dough towards the speakers, so I'm looking for good value in my choice. The speaker contenders are Horning Aristotles and Bastanis Mandalas. I know that Stealth cables are recommended for the Hornings...but $$$, so maybe next time. I need 4 meters!

Any other suggestions? I currently use mid-nineties Wireworld cables and I was told not a good choice for high efficiency speakers.
Why not? Exactly how do the requirements of high efficiency speakers differ? I would think that ,if anything, they would be less stringent. Why not try what you have now and see what you think.
Hi Stanwal,

Good question! That's exactly what I'd try first, but two things. First, I would have nothing else to compare, and second, I was told by a high efficiency speaker manufacturer that "silver" was a better way to go, and my Wireworlds were not adequate. That's why I'm asking.
Well if you want the best chance of getting all the detail and treble energy your system can deliver, than the best objectively measured conductor is indeed silver. If so I can recommend a medium priced pure silver cable by Homegrown the Silver Lace.(not really cheap anymore as silver is going up,up,)
If perchance you wish to hear a good pure copper conductor do it's thing. I like the pure copper braid by JENA labs. The intro level trio shouldn't break the bbank. I think it might yield a more balanced overall presentation.
Good Luck.
Did you ask the manufacture if his speakers were wired INTERNALLY with silver? And if not, why not? The best cable will depend on your amp, your room and your taste. I distrust blanket statements by manufactures or anyone else. Did he tell you why the Wireworld would not work? Did he give you a plausible rational as to why the high efficiency speakers had special requirements? I suppose that if they draw less power then a smaller gauge wire could be used but is there any other design factor involved? I use Homegrown to the Tweeters on my Spendor S 100s, Cardas copper to the woofer and mid. The best cables I have seen reviewed or have used have been copper but I haven't tried or used everything. My point about trying what you have first is related to my idea that there are two approaches to assembling a system. The first is to look for a sound that you like and are happy with; the second is to look for the BEST possible sound. I recommend the first as both cheaper and easier on your emotional state. In the first approach you try what you have and if you like it you can stop there. In the second you have to have at least two; you select one of these. But there still may be others you haven't tried that are better so you are on a never ending quest to compare them all. My advice is to live with your present cables for a while and THEN try to borrow or try out from one of the lending companies and see if there is a big difference.
I agree with Stan. I can't envision any reason why high efficiency speakers as a class would be best served by any particular kind of cable. Higher efficiency = less current flowing in the speaker wires, which (assuming everything else is equal) should reduce sensitivity to cable differences if anything.

-- Al
Auditorium 23 speaker cable.
Zu audio or Kimber Cable works great with high efficiency speakers. Cable with high efficiency speakers is not too much of an issue. I would not use a thick guage wire because a high efficiency speaker will react adversely to with skin effect. My friend uses Zu cables on both of his high efficiency systems. Ons system has a pair of highly modified Klipsch heresys and the other has a set of Zu Superflys. Both systems are killer and the Zu speaker wire made a noticeable difference in both systems.
Thanks all!

It is my intention to try what I have, as I've had them for fifteen years. I won't be on a never-ending quest. I'm asking the Forum, in order to avoid the hype of manufacturers and discover any recommendations from people with real experiences.

If I'm fortunate and see a pattern in the responses, I may choose and borrow a cable product to compare. Right now, I have nothing to compare or even a starting point. For me, this is a main reason to join a Forum.
OCOS and Supra Ply 3/4 are two that I would recommend. I use a 5.5m run with both 92db and 95 db speakers that have a smooth impedance curve. These cables work fine and won't break the bank.
I use Coincident TRS extremes in my system. This company specializes in high efficency speakers, amps, and cables. They are reasonably priced
Thank you for the recommendations. Stan makes a good point about silver. For example, the Horning speakers I'm considering are internally wired with copper. However, the Stealth cables that are usually recommended for them are silver. What's up with that?
I would also add a vote for TRS cables by Coincident I have heard them on Coincident speakers and they are excellent at retrieving low level detail and have excellent dynamic capability. I am not sure what the recipe is in terms of the wire's metal or gauge. I should note that I have heard them on other speakers and their performance is obvious. As for price well they are not easy on my wallet.
I want to add that StanWal's preference for Cardas copper is one that I also share but in a different application. There is no doubt however that it is excellent cable.
I would not use a thick gauge wire because a high efficiency speaker will react adversely to skin effect.
The degree to which skin effect may be audibly significant is controversial and highly debatable.

I don't want to get into a debate on that issue, but I think that the following facts may be relevant to Kenny's selection process:

1)What skin effect essentially does is to increase the impedance of the cable at high frequencies, relative to its impedance at low frequencies. If both impedances are negligibly small in relation to speaker impedance, however, the effect will be negligibly small.

2)Differences in inductance among various cables can be demonstrated by calculation to easily outweigh the effects of skin effect on upper treble frequencies. If the cables being compared have a similar physical configuration and differ only in gauge, the heavier gauge cable will normally have lower inductance.

3)The significance of both effects is dependent on speaker impedance at high frequencies. The higher the speaker impedance, the smaller the effects will be.

The bottom line, IMO: Don't put avoidance of skin effect among your primary selection criteria.

-- Al
Why would Zu audio or Kimber cable work great with high efficiency speakers ? Aren't they thick gauge?
I agree with Stan and Mechans about Cardas "copper." I've also used these interconnects for fifteen years, and whenever I add a little tweak for improvement, I can still hear it come through. These have been really good and dependable interconnects, but I will address a possible upgrade down-the-road.

How do you evaluate/measure skin effect?
How do you evaluate/measure skin effect?
It would take me several pages to go through the detailed calculations, but this is a summary of the methodology:

Alternative I:

A)If the cable consists of a single conductor for each leg (plus and minus):

1)Start with a wire gauge table such as this one, which shows, among other things, resistance per unit length for the various gauges.

2)Calculate the total resistance for the length of the cable multiplied by 2, reflecting the two-way round-trip that the signal has to make.

3)Calculate the corresponding signal attenuation at 20kHz (that would occur in the absence of skin effect), which (as a worst case approximation) will be dependent on the ratio of total cable resistance to the sum of total cable resistance and the impedance of the speaker at 20kHz.

4)As explained in this reference, make the simplifying approximation that the skin depth that will be utilized by high frequency signal components is equal to the depth at which the current density of the highest frequency of interest (20kHz) is attenuated to 37% of its value at the surface, which for copper at an exaggeratedly worst case temperature of 70 degC is in turn equal to 2837/(square root of 20000 Hz) = 0.02 inches.

5)Calculate the cross-sectional area of the conductor.

6)Calculate the cross-sectional area of the central part of the conductor that is bounded by the effective skin depth.

7)Subtract no. 6 from no. 5 to get the approximate cross-sectional area that will be utilized by the 20kHz signal.

8)Using the wire gauge table, calculate the resistance of the gauge that corresponds to the cross-sectional area calculated in no. 7.

9)Calculate the resulting signal attenuation at 20kHz, which (as a worst case approximation) will be dependent on the ratio of the cable resistance calculated in no. 8 to the total of that figure and the impedance of the speaker at 20kHz.

10)Subtract the number of db calculated in no. 3 from the number of db calculated in no. 9. The result will be a reasonable approximation of the high frequency loss due to skin effect.

B)If the cable consists of multiple individually insulated conductors, that are all equal in gauge:

The calculations are similar to those described above, except that resistances are first calculated for one of the individually insulated conductors, and the two resulting resistance numbers are then divided by the total number of conductors to get the overall resistances.

C)If the cable consists of multiple individually insulated conductors, that are not equal in gauge:

The calculation is similar to (B) above, except that the resistances of the multiple conductors combine as the reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of the individual resistances.

Alternative II:

Don't bother with any of the above and accept various published statements, by people who should know, that under typical circumstances skin effect losses at 20kHz will be on the order of a fraction of a db, and considerably less at lower treble frequencies.

-- Al
Al, thank you for this information and references. I think I'm following most of this, but if not a single conductor then must go with Alternative II?
If not a single conductor then must go with Alternative II?
No, I was not implying that. The calculations for cables that employ multiple separately insulated conductors just become a bit more complex, as I described.

BTW, cables that employ that type of construction, typically in sophisticated braided patterns, will usually have much lower inductance than cables that have only a single conductor in each leg (whether solid core or stranded). If the cable length is long and the impedance of the speaker at high frequencies is on the low side, the low inductance resulting from that type of construction will be far more likely to be beneficial to high frequency extension than minimizing skin effect would be, IMO.

On the other hand if speaker impedance at high frequencies is high, and the cable length is short, I doubt that either effect would be significant. And of course improved high frequency extension may not always be subjectively preferable, depending on the rest of the system, the room, the source material, and the listener.

-- Al
Good stuff and interesting. Thanks, Al.

Stan...I have to admit that I was told by a manufacturer that my Wireworld cable would perform better with my Thiels and not too well with the Bastanis. The recommendation was solid or braided silver, and they do make their own very expensive cables, but also have DIY silver cables at a much lower cost. The Stealth cables are also silver.

Ultimately, I'm going to let my ears be the judge, so get a couple of recommended samples from all your recommendations, get a loaner from the manufacturer, and compare them against my Wireworld cables.
Kenny I would recommend that you try some solid core silver speaker cables from Clear Day Cable, I use them on my Geddes Abbey 12A speakers with fantastic results, the Abbeys are 95dB efficient. If you contact Paul at Clear Day cables he usually has a pair that he will send you to listen to in your system to see if they are what you are looking for before you purchase. Paul is one of the "good guys" in audio.
Thanks, Dwr. Local dealers are becoming scarce these days, so it's good to find others who will ship you a loaner.
I just learned that the Bastanis speakers are internally wired with the same wire that's offered as their DIY cable. This cable is heavily silver-plated copper. If I wind-up with the Bastanis speakers, then it would make good sense to try their DIY cable.
That sounds very reasonable. I was a little dubious of the idea that a special cable is required for higher efficiency speakers for several reasons, one being the experience with my friends current systems. Friend A has a system not unlike mine in general principal, I have a CJ 350 driving either Spendor 100s or GamuT L5s, he has Lamm hybrids driving Wilson Sasha. Friend B has a very different system, custom tube amps from Brazil driving large AvauntGuard horns. Yet we all independently ended up using Cardas Golden Reference as speaker cable. I don't think that there is any question that THEORETICALLY silver is better. Several years ago B&W had one of their speakers made with all silver internal wiring and there was general agreement that it was a considerable improvement over the standard version, albeit at a much higher cost. But in practice this will vary. I have some Siltech long crystal pure silver ICs that I bought years ago when such things were semi affordable; but in my current system I am using Van den Hul ICs that are, in fact, non metallic instead. IN THIS APPLICATION I like their sound better.
Good points on the silver wire Stanwal. My previous speakers were Linkwitz Orions that I built myself, I originally used copper wire to wire them. After about 8 months of listening I rewired them with silver wire, and the mids and highs really opened up with the silver wire, quite a noticeable difference, I was surprised what a difference the silver wire made on those speakers.
I would seriously give the Clear Day double shotgun wires a demo.
I'd also recommend Clear Days. I preferred the single runs with my high efficiency speakers. YMMMV though, so try as much as you can.
Thank you guys, I will add Clear Days as a contender.
I use Lowther PM6A Ticonal in Carfrae horns.
The CAT6 was etched but direct & energetic.
The Tara RSC Master Gen 2 was veiled but fleshy with ex. flow.
The Cardas SE9 was soft but delightful with silky detail.
The 0.35mm solid silver was very detailed but no harmonics, no weight, no soundstage.
The VDH "Inspiration" is UNBELIEVABLE!
I've solder them (3.5m) directly to the drivers & match them with VDH "Orchid" IC with great success (although I like to audition the new "Mountain" in searching for even more transparency & inner detail).
This was quite unexpected as I've always choose Cardas instead of VDH.
If it's possible give them a try! -they are not pricey.
Thanks Geoch, I will consider the Inspiration, but they may be past my price point @ $1,700/8-ft.?
I paid 840euro for 3.5m pair, plus 90euro for 4 pcs WBT 061 bananas for the amplifier side.