Just use AQ and be sure to biwire.
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I have always been a big fan of the Goertz MI speaker cable, especially with high-powered amps and/or low impedance load requirements. I originally purchased a 20' pair of copper MI3s to use with my Apogee hybrid ribbon speakers and have used them since with many other components.
Although they are not as popular or as pretty as most of the current wire jewelry, I find that they (almost) usually sound great and are a tremendous value for the money. Just don't step on them or put any strain on the cable end terminations and they just work great.
If you go with Goertz, keep in mind that if those cables are used without the Zobel networks Goertz supplies their ultra-high capacitance (especially in the case of the MI2, MI3, AG2, and AG3) has been known to cause some solid state amplifiers which use significant amounts of feedback to oscillate and self-destruct.
Also keep in mind that the longer the cable, the greater the capacitance. And from the perspective of the amplifier biwiring will double the capacitance.
Good luck. Regards,
Yup, listen to Johnny. He's the best in the country, other than Mr Vandersteen in setting them up. He sells the AQ's with them because he knows how neutral they are and how great they sound together. All of us who own the Vandy's have posted about using AQ and we do it for a reason. Also, keep the runs as short as possible. Less than 8' will sound best if you are able to set your system up that way. Most any of their DBS cables will sound awesome.
Keeping it simple is usually best. Let us know what you will do.
AQ is one of the most neutral out there and that's what a properly built and designed speaker needs. Vandersteen's fit that bill (as do others). In speaking with an audio engineer/designer, he said that he's had many of the top named cables on his bench and many couldn't even pass a square wave. They clipped them and it didn't matter what materials were used, they just weren't designed properly. Two of the four important things to think about with cables are:
1. can they pass a square wave
2. will they keep the time alignment between all frequencies.
The problem with any DIY silver cable that folks talk about is that you are getting your wire from someone else so that means you don't know how it was drawn and handled. That's a major problem with silver wire. If silver isn't worked properly, you will get what we in the 90's said was a hot wire. It can sound amazing if used correctly, but very few DIY's can work it properly and that also means consistently as they just aren't set up for it.
There are plenty of cables that sound awesome in one aspect, but not in another and that ruins the sound of great components. You are dealing with different needs between frequencies, so a company that gets bass right and isn't getting mids AND highs correct makes no sense if you are trying to max out your speaker purchase.
In speaking with an audio engineer/designer, he said that he's had many of the top named cables on his bench and many couldn't even pass a square wave. They clipped them and it didn't matter what materials were used, they just weren't designed properly. Two of the four important things to think about with cables are:I'm not sure what that designer was trying to say when he exclaimed that many of the cables on his lab bench could not pass a square wave??? Can you explain his comment since it seems you had a 1-1 conversation with him?
Music is not square waves by any stretch of the imagination.
So, what's with the not passing a square wave correctly?
One thing I can imagine is that he was checking the slew rate capability of the cable. If not designed correctly, the slew rate could have been messed up due to higher parasitic capacitance. Also, if there is more inductance in the cable that could form a LC low-pass filter & limit the high freq content the cable could carry. Do you think he was checking this for those cables on his lab bench?
I don't think that cable can keep the time-alignment amongst various frequencies but i think that it could keep the phase relationship amongst the various freq. Time alignment would become a factor for a loudspeaker where time is required for the sound from the various drivers to integrate correctly at your listening position.
But, yes, extra C &/or L can definitely mess up the phase relationships of the frequencies in the music signal traveling thru the cable & that in turn could mess up sonics thru the speaker.
The problem with any DIY silver cable that folks talk about is that you are getting your wire from someone else so that means you don't know how it was drawn and handled.Nah! I dont agree that this is the principal limiting reason for making one's own DIY silver cable. A better supplier for DIY can always be found - you might not like the price but it can be found. The manuf definitely didn't know any better who drew their bulk silver cable - they were just as clueless. If you are going to tell me they knew who & how their silver cable was drawn then I'll have to say that you are quite naive. Search the archives - there are 100s of cables from many, many manuf which were deemed "hot wires" by the users.
I think that the principal reason for not doing one's own DIY cable is that one does not fully understand how to keep the finished cable low capacitance & low inductance, retain the phase relationship of the music signal as its passing thru the cable, termination - as in impedance of the finished terminated cable so that it's correct for the intended use, etc.
You are dealing with different needs between frequencies, ....I don't think so! The needs for all the frequencies remains the same - make the cable low capacitance, keep the resistance portion as small as possible, keep the parasitic inductance to a minimum.
This was already alluded to by Almarg.
if you want to read a really nice thread on cables, read this one - many good contributions in this thread:
Bomb, yes the conversation lasted an hour at least. I don't think I said more than ten words during the whole conversation. I know that he was talking about being able to take four measurements that are basic physics. I'm sure that you know what they are, but I'm sorry I don't. I could have sworn he said square wave and he did talk about capacitance of the cable being as low as possible and he spoke about using various materials to shield the cables. He then spoke about finishing the connections properly so that you don't loose information there. I am sure you are correct in regards to phase alignment. For some reason I thought he said time alignment also, but you would know more than I based on your response.
As for silver, I do understand enough metallurgy to realize that if the wire isn't handled properly, it won't sound good no matter what you do with it. I know some smaller manufacture's of silver cable who know how to use it, but I've only found one who I trust and in the end, I need a totally neutral cable for my system as I've spent way too much getting my components correct. The AQ DBS cables work really well as others have said and there is a reason that nearly every VAndy dealer sells them. Just getting back on track of the thread, but thanks for your response and clearing up a few things in my post.
Statements that an audio cable or component can or cannot "pass a square wave" are often bandied about in relation to audio, but without specific QUANTITATIVE elaboration they are meaningless and potentially misleading.
Depending on the frequency of the square wave, on the transition times between its higher voltage and lower voltage states (i.e., its risetimes and falltimes), on the time-scale at which it is observed, on the degree of degradation of the square wave that is considered to be the threshold between passing it and not passing it, and on whether the degree of degradation corresponding to that threshold has any likelihood of being audibly significant, either every cable in the known universe or no cables in the known universe or any number of cables in between can be considered to be able to "pass a square wave."
Since in this case the person making the statement was an engineer and audio designer he presumably and hopefully was basing his statement on parameters that are meaningful in the context of audio. But even if we make that assumption, the degree of degradation of the waveform corresponding to the threshold between passing and not passing a square wave will be debatable, with it being possible to make a technically plausible case in support of a wide range of characteristics.
Finally, the ability of a cable to "pass a square wave" may be significantly dependent on the output impedance of the particular component which is driving it, to a greater or lesser degree depending, again, on the various parameters I've referred to above. Although that possibility is most likely to be applicable to interconnect cables, rather than speaker cables which are being discussed here.
So I would take any such statements with grains of salt liberally applied.
Thanks, Unsound. And kudos to Goertz for providing quantitative information about the square wave response they are depicting. Other manufacturers commonly show such waveforms with no indication of time scale, or of the test conditions under which the waveforms were obtained.
Still, though, both the relevance and the meaningfulness of this information are questionable and debatable. For a number of reasons:
1)The sheer perfection of the response that is depicted for their cable, on a time scale that would reveal imperfections involving much less than 1 us (1 microsecond, or 1 millionth of a second), leads me to question whether they have really used a 4 ohm speaker as a load (as stated), or if instead they used a 4 ohm resistor. A good quality 4 ohm resistor would provide an essentially perfect match to the 4 ohm "characteristic impedance" of their cable at essentially ALL of the many ultrasonic and RF frequency components which together constitute the very fast transition times of the test signal, while no speaker will come close to doing that. In fact, in much of the ultrasonic region the impedance of most dynamic (box-type) speakers may very well be a closer match to the 100 ohm characteristic impedance of the "conventional" cable they were comparing with. Which in turn could very possibly reverse the results of the comparison, making the "conventional" cable the winner.
Suspicion that the load which has been used is a 4 ohm resistor rather than a speaker is further heightened by my next comment.
2)Based on the conventional definition of risetime and falltime, that being the amount of time for the signal to transition from the 10% point to the 90% point between the two voltage levels of the square wave, it appears that the rise and fall times resulting with the "conventional" cable are around 8 us. That corresponds to a 3 db bandwidth of 0.35/8 us = 43.75 kHz, which would probably be low enough to cause phase shifts that are audibly significant under some circumstances.
However, after doing some calculations the only explanation I can think of for how use of a "conventional" speaker cable could result in such a limited bandwidth would be the low pass filter formed by the interaction of the inductance of a cable having considerably higher inductance than most audiophile-oriented cables, with a load impedance that is low enough to be in the vicinity of 4 ohms at ultrasonic and higher frequencies. As I indicated above, dynamic speakers are likely to have impedances which are MUCH higher than that at ultrasonic frequencies, which would result with the conventional cable in MUCH faster risetimes and falltimes, and MUCH greater bandwidths. And consequently with a MUCH squarer looking square wave.
3)Many speaker cables have considerably lower characteristic impedances than the 100 ohm cable that was used in the test, often in the 10 to 50 ohm area. And of course the 25 foot length of biwire cable that was used is atypical of most setups. The shorter the length of that cable, the faster the depicted 8 us risetime and falltime would become, even under the unrealistic condition of a 4 ohm load impedance at ultrasonic and RF frequencies.
4)The overshoot depicted for the conventional cable, most of which occurs within 2 us and which is present only at the amplifier output and not at the speaker terminals, I doubt has much if any audible significance, and may be contributed to significantly by interaction with the feedback and other characteristics of the particular amplifier that was used. It is also way less significant than the overshoot, undershoot, and ringing that I would expect to occur with many solid state amplifiers which use significant amounts of feedback if the Goertz cables were to be used without a Zobel network. Which raises the question of how uniformly effective the particular component values used in the Zobels would be in suppressing that ringing across a wide range of amplifiers, having differing gains, bandwidths, and feedback parameters.
I could go on. But again, even though I commend Goertz for providing this information, and you for citing it, it probably raises more questions than it answers.
Al, Well you put much more thought into that than I would ever have ever dreamed of. Kudos! The cable length did catch my eye as being atypical to say the least.
I was merely trying to put the OP's question in relationship to CTsooner's 04-29-15 post.
In that re: the CTsooners concern about keeping time alignment between all frequencies: the folks at Alpha-Core (Goertz) once told me that they used Thiel loudspeakers. Thiel used to recommend the Goertz cables. Of course when Jim Thiel was still alive and in charge at Thiel, time alignment was one of his priorities.
I have found the Goertz MI cables to work best with my Thiels so far. I have not heard the Goertz cables with Vandersteens (though I've heard many different Vandy's, many times, in many different systems and in many different rooms. Though only speculation, I would think the Goertz speakers cables would work especially well with Vandersteens. Many others that have tried the pairing seem to agree.
Alpha-Core offers a generous return policy, I'd suggest the OP give them a try.
Guys, thanks for clarification. THe conversations I have with this guy are always above my level, but I understand the gist of it. I'll try to be more careful in the future when posting, but I'm glad some of you folks kind of knew what I was trying to say. For some reason, cables have always had a dark cloud around them. I think it's in part because folks don't usually listen to them side by side and just take others words as gospel. Just interesting to me.