cables vs wire?

Oh boy I'm way over my head but hear goes: just bought Totem Staff and NAD bee355 amp. And i'm ready to use plain old speaker wire? What speaker cables do you recommend and does it really make a difference?

I confess I heard a difference of cables in the store but i'm lost and don't really want o spend more money.


novice who is enjoying his first really good speakers at 60.

My experience is very limited, but I have heard a very small difference in a listening test between $7 hardware store wire and a $2,000 pair of cables. In my case, I would be far ahead investing the $1,993 on better components that speaker cables alone. There is the possibility that various cable designs will have some impact on the final sound. After a lot of reading I became convinced that the resistance of the cable was the primary factor in most cases so I use 10 awg cables from Blue Jeans Cable.

I don't hAve the ultimate system and can't imaging speaker wires being the difference between it sounding good or bad. I also think there is more placebo and snake oil in cable designs than science, but there is science as well. It is extremely difficult to distinguish between the two.
Congratulations on your purchase. I hope you enjoy the music from it. My
advice is DON'T rush to spend on cables just yet - neither for speakers or
interconnects. Don't know how new your just purchased gear is, but if brand
new, give it time to break in. At the least, give yourself time to get very familiar
with what it sounds like with whatever wire you have at hand. If brand new, both
speakers and amp will likely change the sound they produce over the first 100+
or so hours. Again, let things burn in and let your ear get acclimated first. Blue
Jean Cable offers some good basic, entry level wire. For a little more money,
consider Grover Huffman ICs and Clear Day speaker cables. Morrow Audio is
another possible source. There are many others. You can make yourself crazy
trying to cover all the wire options. I personally don't think you have to spend
megabucks on wire to have something really good. Others will disagree, no
I'll second Blue Jeans. Great way to dip you toes into the water without spending big money
I think it is important to distinguish between different and better. Depending on your level of equipment, any money you spend can go towards things like amplifiers, preamps, etc., where I believe you can achieve more objectively real sonic improvements for the dollar. At some level it then comes down to personal preference and small differences that may be improvements.

You really need to figure out your goal for the hobby. There will always be something better out there. I have lost the itch to improve now that my system is at a level where I am never unhappy with its sound. I have heard better systems, but I wasn't unhappy when I returned to my own. I generally buy now out of curiosity rather than a goal to improve.
What is the length of speaker cables that you need?
Since your speakers have bi-wire terminals, are you considering bi-wiring them or a single run of speaker cables with jumpers?
Are you using the factory jumpers or something else?
Also, is there anything about the sound of your system you would like to change slightly, e.g., bass too loose, not enough bass, too bright, etc?
There are several options you can consider that are not expensive and should sound quite good.
A third vote for Blue Jeans Cable. Great cables, prices and service. No voodoo. My entry- and exit-level cables, and everything in between.
Brian, I was in the same boat as you when I began to suspect that speaker cables might not be all the same. I didn't want to spend a lot, and let's face it, the prices can be plain crazy. A regular on another forum I frequent suggested a different type of cable. One made from solid core wire, not strands of copper. Audioquest Type 4 would give me a good noticeable improvement over the Oxygen Free Copper fine strand 12 gauge I had.

I wasn't sure, but thought that for 5 bucks a foot(buying in bulk on the cheap) it would cost me about $120 for 2 12 ft lengths, and I could handle that. Well to make a long story short, I was quite impressed at the improvement. I didn't know that I was missing anything, but the new cables gave improvements.

The music sounded more focused or accurate. Again, I didn't know what to listen for or what I was missing. But the stranded cable definitely was inferior. A problem with this forum is you can dozens of responses, each different and it's hard to winnow it down to a course of action. The help I got was on another forum, and I only suggest it because it really made a difference.
Trust your own ears. Let things settle in. Give it time.
There will NEVER be consensus on this subject.

I've always stayed within my budget and found some great cabling without the hyperbole. Darwin Silver ICs and Tempo Electric SCs (with bare ends) give me everything without sacrificing anything.

Use what sounds best in the context of your system and your system only.
I can't stress that fact enough.

All the best,
Good post Nonoise,
Nonoise nailed it, but one more thing to emphasize: I had both the Totem Forests and Arros in prior systems, and they were both speaker and IC cable "fussy".

Silver plated OCC copper worked best.

(1) As a modest priced cable, Chord Rumour worked well.
(2) Totem's own TRESS (knockoffs of the Chord) worked best, not surprisingly, because that is what they are wired with internally.

IMO look for a used pair and good to go. There is a set for sale on
they do, but not too much per dollar.
Its a useful tweak that can often be heard in many but not all cases.

Emphasis on a tweak. Some might might suggest to buy their expensive cables and save money elsewhere, if needed. That's putting the cart in front of the horse. I would not go anywhere that approach is suggested.