Does the"quality" of jumpers affect the sound?


I'm presently using Reality Cables and for the first time I'm using jumpers on my Tyler Sigs.
I had a run of Kimber 4TC from a previous system lying around which I took to a local audio store and had jumpers made.
Would a "better" jumper cable equate to better sound?
greh
Like four inches of wire will make a difference? This stretches credulity to its limits.
Like four inches of wire will make a difference? This stretches credulity to its limits.

LOL. Unfortunately Pbb, this fairly rational viewpoint is not widely accepted in these forums. Despite the fact that speakers have hundreds of feet of wire inside them, you can expect to be lambasted for such a radical suggestion.
The first upgrade from the brass bars that come from speakers to real jumpers can result in sound improvement. After that, I don't really know.

There is a school of thought that suggests you match the size(width) of the jumpers to that of your speaker cables.
If you don't believe that splicing a four-inch piece of inferior wire into your primary speaker cable run will effect the sound, then no, jumpers made from the same cable won't make a sonic difference. Use the brass bars. Whether using expensive jumpers make a big improvement, I can't say. I will say that inferior connections can certainly degrade the sound.
Read my Audiophile Law regarding jumpers:

http://www.dagogo.com/DussunV8i-jumpers.html
A pair of used or new Kimber jumpers wouldn't break bank.Clean them and especially your RCA's with Carig detoxit and if really into getting best connection get the silver contact paste from Mapplesahde (cheaper than Walker).I read a Fremmer article where some guy used fine grit paper and polished everything he could and would have doine inside of his ou lets if he could,but Fremmer said (his words not mine) that thie rwas a MAJOR improvement when the RCA's and baldes on his power cord were olished off.Obviously this isn't even froting on the cake.You sources,amp[ and especially speakers are the cake,wirring the froting and isolation and this type of tweaking the jimmies or shaved chocolate on the cake.But its somtimes that last bit that just makes it "right".Lot's of snakeoil in this biz but to certain degreee wirring (I am more skeptical or cautious price wise than most),isolation products,powerr condtioning can make discenable differences.It's just wehn I see folks spend 25% of a $5K budget on wires when 5% would do and they could have gotten more power or better speakers does the "tweak thing" become inane and unbalanced.
Chazz
I replaced my single wire speaker cable with biwire one because using jumpers along with the single wire cable didn't give satisfaction. Every jumper I used sounded different. So I decided to go for the Cardas Golden Reference biwire. It's not a real biwire cable though, but internally biwired, but what the hell...

Chris
Would a "better" jumper cable equate to better sound?
Greh


Possibly. It depends on the resolving powers of your equipment, and how carefully you listen. This question is very similar to the power cord question. If the electric company runs power in cables hundreds of miles, how can a 5 foot cord affect the sound? I and many others believe it does. However, YMMV, so only you can determine if it does for you.
FWIW, I heard a nice improvement when I changed my stock jumpers out for AQ Kilimanjaro jumpers.

John
I have always felt that the best jumper is "NO" jumper. Bi wire is much better IMO. The problem with that statement is that there are different beliefs if bi-wiring offers any better sound than using jumpers and a single cable per speaker.

I will give one example. Last year I purchsased a pair of Alon I Mk II speakers. They came with jumpers made from the same wire in which it was wired with internally. Yes, the system sounded good but something was missing. I removed the jumpers and I experienced a larger soundstage, sweeter top end, a more spacious sound but more than that I experiences better rhythym and pacing. The speakers opened up.
These were dealer Demos. The dealer told me they did not sound good with the jumpers. I didn't have a pair of bi-wire cables so I listened for about 3 weeks while waiting for the bi-wire cable to arrive. When I received it I inserted the bi-wire cable. I had removed the jumpers.

When I began to listen I really noticed an improvement all around. I tried several amplifiers in the mix and several combinations of cables and amps. I realized one thing and that was the Alons sounded better bi-wired. I placed the jumpers back on with several different expensive cables and still they sound more in focus with the bi-wire cable. A few months later I sold the Alons and I have tried several other speakers in the $2000 to $4000 range. Some sounded better bi-wired and some didn't. I guess it's all in the design. Many audiophiles say that bi-wire does not offer much improvement over a single wire system or a system with jumpers. I say trust your ears. I would use the same wire that my cables are made out of.
Let's assume it does make a difference. It still seems to me that a pair of brass bars (or the better copper ones) would have an excellent chance of outperforming two jumper cables of even super-premium pedigree because those cables are (1) longer -- usually 6 inches or more compared to maybe 2 inches for the bars; (2) have solder joints to spade or banana connectors on both ends, versus no joints whatsoever; and (3) are prone to higher inductance because the + and - are typically separated by a greater distance than with the simple bars.

I wish manufacturers would do away with biwiring as an option unless they are absolutely convinced it matters for their speakers (e.g., Vandersteen) or unless it is a speaker that is likely to be biamped. I also wish they would standardize on a single binding post diameter.
Drubin, I'm pretty sure every manufacturer that offers their speaker in a biwire version believes it absolutely makes a difference. Otherwise, why would they spend the extra money?

In my opinion, switching out the stock jumpers does make a difference.
If your connect your speaker cables to the tweeter/midrange binding posts and jump from there to your woofer binding posts, then the jumpers will have less affect on the sound than if you connect your speaker cables to the woofer binding posts and jump up to the tweeter/midrange binding posts.

IMO.

This is also what Von Schweikert recommends in their VR4 manual.
Two quick comments:

1) If the quality of the jumpers do not matter, there sure are many high-end speaker manufacturers who seem to supply high-quality ones, enough to imply that it does make a difference.

2) Best results so far for me: I use bare wire on the speaker end, and strip the wire jacket 2 inches and use the SAME wire to connect both ends.

Cheers!
I'm pretty sure every manufacturer that offers their speaker in a biwire version believes it absolutely makes a difference. Otherwise, why would they spend the extra money?
I wouldn't be so sure. I think many do it because it's "expected".
Tvad- Wiring into the upper post and jumping to the bottom is something I've been doing (and suggesting) for quite a while also from recommendations by Tannoy and Stuart Marcus (Vampire Wire). It's good to hear others using this technique.
I think the only way is to wire to the top and jumper to the bottom. The highs are much more sensitive than the bass so it makes sense.

Arthur
I agree about Wiring to the tweeter and Jumpers to the base. I also feel they make a difference. When I added AZ jumpers to my Hologram single wire cable, there was a clear improvement. Please also remember a clear advantage of single wire, when you change speakers. It seems more manufacturers are going back to Single pair terminals. What do you do with your expensive Bi Wires then. Just the situation when I changed to single pair terminal Acoustic Zen Adagios.
Now this is interesting; I've always just wired to the lower posts on my B&W's (I don't biwire). Is there a case for wiring to the tweeter posts, so the jumpers carry the signal to the bass drivers?
Any experiences in how it affects the sound?
Anyone ever try wiring the positive to the tweeter and negative to the bass while using jumpers?
Clio09, that's exactly how I do it. I honestly can't tell if there is a difference or not.
Make sure you speakers are capable of this first. FWIW, my speakers (Verity Audio Parsifal Encore's) have jumpers, but are not bi-wireable or bi-ampable. They have one crossover, and it is in the bass module. My speakers were designed for the speaker cables to be attached to the woofer module. Otherwise the mid/tweeter would be run full range, which could damage the drivers.

So know your speakers design before trying some of these suggestions.

John
Anyone ever try wiring the positive to the tweeter and negative to the bass while using jumpers?

Yes, that is the best way to single-wire if you have to. Otherwise, whichever part of the speaker you connect directly to will sound noticeably better than the part that gets its sound via the jumpers. The + hi/- one low method results in the most balanced sound across the entire speaker.

Jumper quality matters, but it doesn't take much to have very good quality for such short pieces.
Has anyone here tried the Cardas jumpers? I bought two sets of the Rhodium plated coppers and like them quite a bit but wish I would have just gotten the pure coppers to be honest.
Notwithstanding the statements about jumpers making a difference and connecting at either the high or low side, cross wiring + to hi and - to low, cannot make any difference since the current is AC and effectively the + & - change continuously according to the frequency.
Notwithstanding the statements about jumpers making a difference and connecting at either the high or low side, cross wiring + to hi and - to low, cannot make any difference since the current is AC and effectively the + & - change continuously according to the frequency.

Try it and use your ears to determine what happens. You and anyone else who actually does the experiment, will easily hear the difference. It's not that subtle.

We are forced to do it here on a regular basis with the Linn Akurate speakers which have a true 5-way split crossover makeing them quin-wireable. When choosing the best way to hook up our two speaker cables, there are obvious differences depending on which drivers get the direct connection.

The point you make about AC has nothing to do with the reason that a direct connection sounds different from an indirect one. If we were talking about illuminating a light bulb, your analysis would be fine, but the sound we perceive through a stereo system is a much more complex animal. Lots of things matter (are perceivable) in audio that don't matter in other applications.
Dave is absolutely right; in systems with enough finesse to reproduce sound delicately the changes between jumpers and wiring is detectable. Just yesterday I replaced the power cord on my Rega Saturn cdp with an MIT Oracle and the difference was easily discernable.

I don't spend a lot of time on tweaks which are of the nature that one has to ask, "...am I hearing a difference or not?" If it's a beneficial change/noticeable change it has to be discernable immediately, or else what's the point? When changing cables or jumpers, the difference on a good system should be such that one notices it immediately. The issue of whether it's preferred sound longer term can take a while, but the question of "does it make a difference" should take less than 120 seconds.

How about this? Does polishing a CD make a difference in how it sounds? Before you say "it can't" why don't you try it? If you've got more than a Denon receiver and Radio shack speakers, you'll likely hear the difference. If you have a high end system and don't hear a difference, I'm sorry to tell you... you have hearing loss.

I find it incredible that in this age of nanotechnology, molecular biology etc, where it is demonstable that minute variations can have critical impact many are holding antiquated beliefs that physical changes (is changing a calble from 16 Ga to 8 Ga, and from stranded to solid core enough of a change?) on such a relatively huge scale don't make a difference.
04-26-07: inpepinnovations@aol.com
Notwithstanding the statements about jumpers making a difference and connecting at either the high or low side, cross wiring + to hi and - to low, cannot make any difference since the current is AC and effectively the + & - change continuously according to the frequency.

I'm not so sure about the accuracy of this statement. First, with AC power, the + & - do change continuously, but not according to frequency, they change continuously according to time. The North American AC standard is 60 cycles per second.

Secondly, I was always under the impression that an amplifiers audio output was DC, not AC, is this not correct? If the amp does output DC then absolute phase polarity is an issue. Please let me know if I am incorrect, and amplifiers audio output is AC.

Cheers,
John
Well I have tried wiring the positive lead to the top binding post and the negative lead to the lower binding post and was pleased with the results. I had been doing this for about 2 weeks and decided to see if anyone else had the same experience.

As of today I'm going to try bi-wiring. I am using a pair of Virtual Dynamics Master cables for the top end and a pair of FIM/CRL Silver cables for the bottom end. Unfortunately, my amp has one set or binding posts per channel so I have to use banana adapters on the VD cables for the connection to the amp end while the FIM/CRL cables will be connetcd via their Bocchino spades at both ends. The banana adapters I am using are from Bocchino and are recommended by VD. They are certainly well built and solid.

Does anyone have an opinion as to whether it is best to stick with one brand of cable for bi-wiring?
John,
Since a speaker is essentially a linear electric motor it works only if the voltage and current vary creating a magnetic field analogue to the waveform - hence the current is alternating according to frequency of the signal.

The voltage at the amp output varies from + to - and as such is AC.

AC doesn,t just apply to power cords, but also to the input of speakers. Ever do the poraity check on speakers? One applies a 9 volt cell (DC) to the terminals and watches in which direction the cone moves and stops. The cone moves back and forth in sympathy with the varying voltage and therefore the voltage must alternate between + and - for the cone to respond to the frequency changes.
That is why direction on AC current carrying lines makes no difference, since the current is always reversing itself with the frequency.
Salut, Bob P.
Jmcgrogan2
All analog audio signals, regardless of their magnitude, are AC in nature. All Audio amplifiers or integrated amps connected to typical loudspeakers are designed to generate amplified versions of the incoming AC (musical) signal. Any DC should be very very low, as this will bias the woofers one way or the other.

in very bad situations, such as blown output devices in the amp, will there be massive DC on the output.

All musical instruments, in their natural state generate periodic (hence AC) waveforms. Drums generate impulses with ringing, but its still periodic.

The speakers require an AC signal or we would not hear much of anything. The transducers vibrate proportional to the AC signal, compressing and expanding the air, which in turn does the same thing to our ear drum.
Does anyone have an opinion as to whether it is best to stick with one brand of cable for bi-wiring?

If your goal is making your speaker sound more coherent, then sticking to one brand of wire is a good idea. I would even recommend making sure that the two cables of a biwire set are very close in design or identical if possible. The importance of this will have a lot to do with the speaker you have.

If the speaker is a two-way design, where the crossover point occurs in the critical midrange, it becomes more important that the two cables are identical or very nearly the same. In a three-way, where the crossover point occurs at a much lower frequency, you can often get away with a less expensive cable for the bass. Be aware that three-way speakers with more gradual crossover slopes (1st order) or a somewhat higher crossover point between the midrange and woofer, will benefit more from a nearly identical or better quality cable to the bass. Or to put it another way, they will show the limitations of an inferior or vastly different cable design used in the bottom half of the biwire.
Davemitchell,

I have a pair of Spendor 1/2e speakers which are a three way design. The crossover points are 3kHZ and 13kHZ. How would this affect things?
Dpac996 and Bob P., thanks for setting me straight. If it is AC then polarity should not be an issue, as the current is alternating 120 times per second. How come there is so much made of absolute polarity then? It doesn't seem to make sense.

Regards,
John
How come there is so much made of absolute polarity then? It doesn't seem to make sense.

Agreed - too much is made of absolute polarity. Relatve polarity and relative phase of signals in the frequency spectrum are much more important than anything absolute.
Clio09, check your specs again. That doesn't sound possible. The 3kHz sounds right, but I can't imagine that you'd have another crossover point up higher in the treble. I'd expect to see the second crossover point between the midrange and woofer at something like 300 hz.
John,
The "AC" that comes out of your amp is not necessarily 120Hz; it's audio band signal so it ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Maybe your thinking about wall household input frequency???

anyway, Your amp, any audio amp, in general basically modulates a DC power supply with the input waveform, to produce the amplified AC output. One could easily reverse both left and right speaker cable polarity (eg swap red/blk) and not notice a bit of difference (forget about active subs and the possible issues with phase there).

(aside-If all you heard was a 120 hz signal your power supply filter caps are probably out to lunch.)
Clio09 is correct. The Spendor 1/2 has two tweeters, as does the Harbeth Super HL5.
Davemitchell,

My last post did not seem to get through, or maybe the system is slow so I apologize in advance if this is a duplicate. The data I provided comes from the Spendor spec sheet. You can also see the specs here:

http://spendoraudio.com/exp800.htm
Clio, in that case, you would want identical cables ideally or at the very least, two cables from within one line that are very similar.

Your crossover point occurs in the critical midrange where our ears are most sensitive. The last thing you want is to have a change in character where the tweeter hands off to the midrange. Identical cables will insure continuity in this critical region.
Davemitchell,

I was afraid you would say that, but so far I'm enjoying the experiment and the sound. I'll try a set of identical cables from the same manufacturer and see what happens.