Doubling a Set of Speaker Cables

While reading a "professional "review of the Daedalus Audio Ulysses Floorstanding Speaker, the reviewer is adamant about the improvement TWO sets of speaker cables connected to each speaker - regardless of the brand - makes.

This is something that crossed my mind long ago, prior to reading it now, but I’ve never realistically considered trying it nor have I ever come across this in a review. At face-value it seems to me this technique would do more harm than good. I’m wondering if there are any folks on the forum using this technique of two sets of cables (and as mentioned in the article this is irrespective of bi-amping or merely using a smaller gauge) and if so, can/do you vouch for any "improvement" one should expect.

Hi Hal,

The author of the review you linked to often posts here, as member Douglas_Schroeder, and I recall that he has made the same point in threads here in the past. He has experience with a particularly wide range of speakers and cables, and he is a very good writer. All of which adds to his credibility, of course.

I personally have not ever experimented with doubled runs.

I note that he states in the review that his "guess is that the primary benefit is in the increased total gauge, a variable I believe is primary to the attainment of superior sound. Very simply put, the more metal, the more musical nuance and grace." The halving of resistance that will result from using two identical cables in parallel, relative to the resistance of each cable, could also be accomplished by using a single cable three gauge sizes larger. However the doubled pair of cables will also reduce inductance by a factor of two, while using a single cable that is three gauge sizes larger and is otherwise similar in design will not come close to doing that.

However reducing the **length** of a single cable by a factor of two, where possible, will cut both resistance and inductance in half, and will presumably also reduce the degree of most other cable effects that are conceivable. Antenna effects being a notable exception, although the significance antenna effects may have in a given system, if any, will depend on amplifier characteristics such as feedback and bandwidth, as well as on the RFI environment. And consequently those effects could be either better or worse at longer or shorter lengths, with little or no predictability.

I’ll mention also that larger gauge sizes are increasingly prone to skin effect, although the audible significance of that is highly debatable IMO. (I don’t wish to debate it here, if others who may post subsequently disagree).

The potential downside of doubling a speaker cable is that the total capacitance is doubled. Although aside from a few cable types having ultra-high capacitance, which is done in a few cable designs as a means of achieving ultra-low inductance, speaker cable capacitance is usually not very important (in contrast to the importance interconnect cable capacitance can have in many applications).

These and other parameters and effects that may be affected by doubling a speaker cable run will have greater or lesser significance depending on the impedance characteristics of the particular speaker, and often depending also on the design of the amplifier. And of course subjective reactions to the sonic consequences of all of this will differ widely among different listeners . So despite my respect for Mr. Schroeder’s formidable experience I would not extrapolate too broadly from his findings.

Finally, a belated thank you for the nice words in your message the other day.

Best regards,
-- Al

There is a good way to test the theory yourself. Clear Day offers speaker cables in single runs, double runs (x2), and shotgun double runs (x4). You may try them all out, returning and not paying for what you do not wish to keep.
@almarg thank you for putting this into perspective, including a mention as to the credibility or lack thereof of the author of that review. I imagined this post would spark some interest for you, obviously because of the Daedalus speakers themselves. Furthermore, you’re welcome :)

@bdp24 thank you for the information about clear day. I did take a cursory look at their site
and will give the matter some more reading. Honestly though my "gut" feeling is that testing (albeit just a trial) could be more trouble than its worth. I liken this to "if it ain’t broke don’t fix it" kind of thing. Besides, I’m already content with the sound I'm getting (although remain open to improvement). Is double cabling something you have tried with success? This is the essence of what I’m looking to understand by writing this thread. Curious if there are any forum members that have actually tried this and can attest to a perceived or measured improvement.

No, I haven't done double runs myself gdhal. Paul at Clear Day recommends his Single cable for high impedance/sensitivity speakers, Shotgun for medium, and Double Shotgun for low. I went straight for the Double Shotgun version of the Clear Day speaker cables.
@almarg Thank you for the excellent information. Have you any direct experience with Paul Spelt's Zero- Autoformers? It seems to me that they have the opposite effect over doubling (or more) a speaker cable run, do I understand that correctly?

Vicweast, I have no experience with the Zero autoformers. As you no doubt realize, their main purpose is to increase the load impedance seen by an amp, in situations where the impedance of the speaker itself would be too low to be optimal with the amp that is being used.

They are intended to be placed close to the speakers, which will minimize the length and hence the effects of the cables connecting them to the speakers (see the photo of a typical installation on this page). And I would expect the effects of the cables connecting them to the amp to also be reduced, since the resistance and inductive reactance (the inductive form of impedance) of those cables will be a smaller fraction of the load impedance than if connected directly to the speakers.

-- Al

I have had positive results doubling speaker cables - but have never compared to a single set of better cables...
I have ran a shotgun configuration for years.  I rather quite like it.  I have found it depends on the amp and speakers, but for the most part, a worthwhile endeavor.
So make yourselves happy, but it's quite possible that doubling speaker cables is also doubling cable capacitance, and I'm not sure about inductance.

Anyone who wants to measure this realatively cheaply may wish to acquire a Dayton DATS V2. Fairly accurate, especially for the price.

Not saying changing capacitance, inductance, etc. just wanted to add to the discussion about how this may be working.


... it’s quite possible that doubling speaker cables is also doubling cable capacitance, and I’m not sure about inductance.
Hi Erik,

My initial post above addressed that. Paralleling ("doubling") identical speaker cables will double capacitance, which under most but not all circumstances will not matter. It will also cut inductance (as well as resistance) in half. The reduction in inductance is most likely to make a difference if speaker impedance at high frequencies is low (the impedance presented by an inductor increases as frequency increases), and/or if cable length is long (cable inductance is proportional to length).  Electrostatic speakers, in particular, tend to have very low impedances at high frequencies. 

That difference, if it occurs, would be in the direction of greater accuracy of signal transfer, but of course whether or not the improvement in accuracy would be subjectively preferable in a given system to a given listener is another matter.

-- Al

I appreciate the feedback from all of you. At least there are some goners here that have tried this doubling technique and report positive results. That too gives me something to consider.

I'm currently using Belden 5T00UP wire. That's not entirely by choice and is somewhat dictated by cost as I simply wouldn't feel comfortable spending hundreds if not thousands on cables, like the Graphene cables mentioned in another thread or many of the other exotic cables out there. In addition, I'm connecting the bare wire to the binding posts and they wouldn't accept a larger wire / small gauge, so to even try doubling I would need spade connectors or similar.

This is an excerpt from the Blue Jeans Cables website. While this has essentially been stated in this thread, they sum it up rather eloquently.

"Because speakers are driven at low impedance (typically 4 or 8 ohms) and high current, speaker cables are, for all practical purposes, immune from interference from EMI or RFI, so shielding isn't required. The low impedance of the circuit, meanwhile, makes capacitance, which can be an issue in high-impedance line or microphone-level connections practically irrelevant. The biggest issue in speaker cables, from the point of view of sound quality, is simply conductivity; the lower the resistance of the cable, the lower the contribution of the speaker cable's resistance to the damping factor, and the flatter the frequency response will be. While one can spend thousands of dollars on exotic speaker cable, in the end analysis, it's the sheer conductivity of the cable, and (barring a really odd design, which may introduce various undesirable effects) little else that matters. The answer to keeping conductivity high is simple: the larger the wire, the lower the resistance, and the higher the conductivity. "

I will plead guilty to using a double run or shot gun style speaker cable set up ... I started with a single run of Ridge Street Audio Poiema !!!'s and then added a second set for all the reasons Al mentioned ... lower resistance lower inductance and lower impedance

 These are high purity silver based flat ribbon cables in cotton with no shields ... I choose them because IMO flat ribbons offer greater band width .. better noise rejection and are relatively immune to skin effect

  I started with a single run of the RSA P!!!'s and then added a second set ... the difference wasn't night and day ... more like dusk to dawn ... but all positive with no down side

 The basic metrics of Bass - Mid Range and Treble along with dynamics and sound stage show little or no change ... but the overall presentation was more relaxed and natural sounding with more swing and sway (PRAT)

 I could tell immediately that there was an improvement, but was hard put to put my finger on what improved

  My WAG is the reduction in impedance allows for faster and easier signal flow and transfer ... thus the improvements in speed .. edge detail .. trailing/decaying  transients and notes starting and stopping ... which make for a more relaxed natural presentation

  I run my set up a little differently than the conventional way shot gun set ups are run  ...rather than stacking one speaker wire set on top of the other set at the binding post ... I take each individual + and - pole of the individual speaker cable and tie them together at the amp and speaker termination this way each individual run is either positive or negative ... hopefully reducing the inductance of the + and - poles in a speaker cable that induce from the Positive run to the Return or Negative run when both are run inside the same sheathing

   If you are looking to improve something in the basic metrics of your system that is lacking ...  this won't help much ... I don't see it improving some characteristic problem in your system that is a problem ... it is more a enhancement of the general presentation sorta like waxing you car after washing it

 The washing of your dirty car brings back all the glory of that custom paint job but the waxing just brings out or enhances the custom color

 The washing is improved and enhanced by the waxing .


     Enter your text ...

Skin effect is a problem in high voltage power lines. Not speaker cable measured in feet.

Jusr like power lines, gauge is the primary factor. 10 awg or lower and your golden.
how can you effectively connect double runs to the binding posts? 
Guess it would depend on the kind of post you have. You could make a J hook and wrap the cable around. Or if it has a hole in the center, place them through that.  The gauge of the wire would be the limiting factor.

Point is, whether you run a single or double pair, as long as the gauge is of sufficient thickness, the construction of the cable is rather unimportant. 

Thats is why I recommend 10 awg, a single run of that is going to provide all the signal transfer you'll need. Regardless of the hype from people who make a very nice living off of selling cable for many many multiples over cost. 

The dirty secret is that the majority of cable company buy these cables in bulk from a few manufactures, put a nice fancy covering on them. Write paragraphs worth of dubious merit and hope somebody will plunk down big cash for nothing.  

Let me ask everyone this, if hook up wire is so important, then why didn't people start making a big deal about it during the golden age? When home audio and serious 2 channel reproduction was all the rage?

You ever take a peep inside a speaker crossover? Do you not see the thin gauge wire and push connectors and everything else? Do you honestly think a few feet of cable will matter? 

People want to improve the quality of their systems.. Unfortunately the great majority fall victim to the the predators that are around. Take a good look at some of the most prestigious components available.
If the designer thought adding some esoteric hook up wire would be beneficial, wouldn't they use it and advertise it? 

Yes, cables can make a difference, but for the most part because they alter the signal path through increased resistance or capacitance etc..

You can achieve this remarkable change in sound with cheap lamp cord and a few resisters wired in line. Try it...  
@miko71 I tend to agree with you. This is why I am using Blue Jeans Cables (10 gauge Belden wire) and have posted Blue Jeans write-up on the matter previously in this thread. They do sum it up rather eloquently. 

That said, it is noteworthy that certain manufactures (such as clearday also mentioned in this thread) have a purpose built double cable, and that I found at least one "pro" review (of a rather high end speaker too for that matter) raving about doubling the wire.

Hence this thread is merely to solicit the opinions and facts of our resident experts.
I don’t know if I qualify as an expert, I can say that I’ve been involved with serious 2 channel music reproduction for over 25 years. Starting with a hand me down Fisher 400 at the tender age of 15 or so...

Way before the Internet and when you actually had to go to the store to see these things and speak with and learn about this hobby.

If there is anything I have learned over the years is that sound quality is subjective at best. There are people that have never attended a live show, heard a concert hall, have any idea how music being made sounds....

One other thing, and this addresses your op. People who review components and accessories today have for the most part, replaced testing with opinion.

I have no doubt that adding/removing cables can change the way the system sounds by altering the resistance and so forth.

Doing so may by accident/addition/omission have a equalising effect that the person finds agreeable.

I personally would much rather have a base line in which to work with a minimum number of variables.

My approach is to establish that base line with quality equipment and interconnects/wires should be of robust construction and have the ability to provide a secure, reliable connection.

It is my opinion that cable companies and reviewers have not done us any favor with treating accessories like components.

What is it that you are trying to achieve? See, I think the pitfall is that for the average audiophile, swamping out a power cord, interconnect, speaker cable is relatively quick and easy.

The perceived difference is notable and because a minimum amount of effort and skill level is required, it is something, given the law of averages a great many people can participate in.

When you have a hobby like music, it transcends all boundaries. Financial being the key here. So, given the Capitalist business model, of course you will have available for purchase cables that range from a few pennies per foot, to ones that cost thousands per foot.

These companies are "for profit" enterprises. They are not obligated to consider anyone's well being.

Just like everything else offered for sale, there are products made to target a certain demographic.

In Audio, that is where the lines blur because you have reviewers with their own financial considerations. The same for the magazines. 

The simple facts do not change, wire is used to transmit a electrical signal. Now if it is wrapped using an equation found in a dusty, forgotton tome in an abandoned monastery while employing brine soaked unicorn intestines and it costs $8,000 per 1/8 foot.. I'm sure someone who has the means will buy it.
Go for it , I have to assume a second set of belden wont break the bank . For you to get the answer you are looking for it's the only way . Have fun experiment !