Combining different speaker cables for bi-wiring?


After spending the past few weeks trying different types of speaker cables with my system, I narrow down my choice to two brands of cables but I couldn’t choose on more than another.
The first cable I liked was giving all the details and dynamics I was looking for the highs and mids, but was lacking punch and solidity for the bass.
The second one I picked was giving me all the punch and fullness in the lows, but was too bright in the high frequencies.
Should I bi-wire my speakers using the first type of cable to drive the highs and the second type of cable to drive the lows?
Is that a common thing to do?
Would that affect timing and pacing between treble and bass?
Thanks for helping.
Cheers,
mboimare
This comes up a lot. Generally, if you use two different brands or types of cable as a biwire set, you will have sound that is less coherent than if you stick to two identical cables or, at least, two similar models from the same company.
There are as you know 2 ways to go on this.

Myself, I would go for one brand for the top and bottom. I also switch them periodically so each cable is breaking in fully.

But, I can see the other view on this, optimizing the benefits of each cable strong points for the frequenecy extremes that they will be seeing.

But, I still think in the end, your speakers were made as a set and a set of wires of the same type should be used through out.
Otherwise, there may be a large gap in quality when one cable passes off to the other.

Just one mans opinion.
It actually makes more sense than using the same cable. In fact some people don't even use the same amp (bi-amping). Some cables work better than others for certain applications.
Since the high and low frequency drivers are completely different devices, each with its own sonic character, connecting them with different wire is of no concern.
I recently had a bi-wire set-up with a pair of CRL/FIM cables on the bottom and a pair of Virtual Dynamics Master 2.0 cables on the top. While to me the sound was fine, it wasn't what I was quite expecting from bi-wiring. The sonics of each cable were clearly audible and as Davemitchell points out the set-up was somewhat non-coherent.

In the end I'm looking for a one brand solution to try out. However if I had my druthers I would bi-amp, with a tube amp for the top end and a solid state for the low end. I think bi-amping is a better solution than bi-wiring.
open the amp and make sure your speaker cable is the same brand of cables used inside.
If you prefer the frequency characteristics of the different cables it makes sense to use them where they sound best. Some manufacturers use different wire gauges or materials in their cables meant for internal biwire to take advantage of those characteristics. You found them on your own.
I'd spend my money on a Marchand electronic x-over...
My experience is that chosing one cable for its low-producing cabability and chosing the second cable for its mid/highs can make a huge difference. I've had three sets of biwire speaker cables, upgrading each time. I noticed the improvement over using jumpers, but nothing like when I started wiring for the traits of the two frequency ranges. The best I've achieved thus far is high-end MIT cable for the high/mids and a silver hybrid for the bass. I reasoned that the silver would tighten up my bass, and that's exactly what it did.
Interesting thread.

I bi-wire with DH Labs and use the 14ga T14 on tweeter and the heavier 10ga Q10 on midbass driver on my ACI Jaguar monitors.
This has been recommended by many users in using DH Labs in a bi-wire setup. The wire is the same I believe, though, just different gauges.
I don't see why, in general, there would be a problem using different speaker wire brands unless there is some specific requirement for capacitance or inductance.
Since the high and low frequency drivers are completely different devices, each with its own sonic character, connecting them with different wire is of no concern.

I share the same opinion as with Eldartford. In my system the bass is entirely handled by the subwoofer with my mains producing only the midrange and high frequencies in high-passed configuration. In fact, I have 2 pairs of different interconnects(not speaker wires) that transmit the low frequency signals, a pair from preamp to subwoofer and another from sub to power amp.
There can be a surprising degree of difference in sound from one cable manufacturer's product to the next. I have used braided, networked, flat, etc. speaker cables and IC's. It is possible to achieve a very pleasing sound using combinations of cables.

However... try switching the cables around a bit. Move the mid/tweet cable down to the bass. You will notice a difference in presentation. At times I have had four complete sets of cables to mix/match for reviewing purposes. While all thse have been fun to season the music, I have consistently returned to a single manufacturer's cables for my reference listening. I generally do not mix the cables on my critical listening. However, there are exceptions, such as the Eminent Technology LFT-8A's, which I found that using a flat cable on the mid/highs and a networked cable on the bass was to my ear superior.

Dave M. is correct regarding the coherency. While one may enjoy what is obtained by mixing the cables, one begins to wonder "what if" in regards to having the "better" sounding cable on both the highs/lows. If one cable is consistently better on bass and upper range, then that's your cable, and you would likely be happiest to use it (or another in the same line) across the board.

In general, I've found that the best way to determine which cables to own is by comparing entire suites of cables. Yes, this can get quite expensive. You may end up with two or three sets lying around and/or several thousands of dollars tied up temporarily until some can be sold off.

It's not all fun and games at that point, BUT you can find the best cables to please your ears that way. Before I became a reviewer I relied on reviews of popular cables to determine which ones I would try.

When you switch speakers, it's not a given that your favorite cable will mate with the new speakers pefectly. However, I have generally found that the cables I prefer I do tend to like top and bottom on most speakers.

Finally, I have found that when you hear the "right" cable on your system, you may feel that it makes as significant a difference as a front end or amp upgrade. I have been absolutely shocked at what improvements are possible with power cords, IC's and speaker cables. If you are bound to find the ultimate sound with your system, then pursuing your "holy grail" cable is worth it.
I have used Silver cables for bass and Copper/gold for mids and tweeters when Bi-amping. Maybe if I had more money I would have went with same cables but it worked great for my situation.
In general it is not a good idea to use different brands of speaker cables to bi-wire,there are too many problems sonically that can occur as the amp and speakers are seeeing different signals due to phase, inductance,capacitance,ect. The overall sound can and ussually sounds disconnected. Allthough on first auditioning you might be impressed, Longterm this will start to aggravate.
My experiance has also shown it is always best to place the better cable of the same brand for the bass then the treble,and not to mix silver with copper. Better yet, is to give the MIT line a try, there bi-wire cables are specifacally designed to address this problem. And have always proved superior in these types of applications. I am sure if you try the Mit cables within your budget you will be more than satisfied with the results. I have tried many different combinations and after purchasing my Mit Bi-wires I am totally satified, and my cable hunt is over.My only problem is that I keep upgrading within the MIT line as it keeps getting better and better and my system keeps reaching new hights as my bank account gets lower, but I love this hobby and puchasing my MITS has been the best thing to happen to my system.
In general it is not a good idea to use different brands of speaker cables to bi-wire,there are too many problems sonically that can occur as the amp and speakers are seeeing different signals due to phase, inductance,capacitance,ect. The overall sound can and ussually sounds disconnected. Allthough on first auditioning you might be impressed, Longterm this will start to aggravate.
My experiance has also shown it is always best to place the better cable of the same brand for the bass then the treble,and not to mix silver with copper. Better yet, is to give the MIT line a try, there bi-wire cables are specifacally designed to address this problem. And have always proved superior in these types of applications. I am sure if you try the Mit cables within your budget you will be more than satisfied with the results. I have tried many different combinations and after purchasing my Mit Bi-wires I am totally satified, and my cable hunt is over.My only problem is that I keep upgrading within the MIT line as it keeps getting better and better and my system keeps reaching new hights as my bank accoount keeps reaching new lows, but I love this hobby and puchasing my MITS has been the best thing to happen to my system.
MIT cables are not all you make them out to be, pulling the entire line was the best thing my father ever did for his sound. Audioquest trounced them in every way.