I have seen about everything recommended, from bell wire to Romex. The sound of any cable varies from system to system, good cable with low resistance etc. less than cheap cable. I am as frugal as the next one but I think it is a false economy to use cheap wire. No, you don't have to spend mega dollars but I wouldn't use anything from HD. I think whatever credibility ABSOLUTE SOUND ever had has evaporated. If you want to save money at least get some good 12 gauge stranded from someone like Monoprice.
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Phil, do this. Buy a speaker cable from any well known and talked about brand...anticables as an example OR any other brand you see advertised here. Make sure it has a satisfaction guaranteed return warranty. Then get cheap wire from HD. Dont they (TAS) recommend a certain extension cord from their article? Try it out. See what you think. If you can go an extra step, buy some expensive speaker cabling, again with the satisfaction guarantee implication, and see if it is worth it. Hell, pay with a credit card...then returning the item won't be a hassle. Now here is the clincher...get someone else to connect the cabling without you knowing which one is being used. I would love to hear about your findings.
The speaker cable recommended by Paul Seydor of The Absolute Sound was
Home Depot's 14 gauge outdoor extension cord, notable for its orange and
black cover --hence the "HD-14" and "Halloween cable"
names that got affixed to it. A 50-foot cable cost under 20 bucks and you just
cut it to length.
Trouble is, the cable that Seydor recommended is not what Home Depot sells
today. I've compared them visually and they're not even made in the same
country. Whether today's "HD-14" is the same as what you got in
2004 is impossible to tell. But that "old" stuff was damn good. I used it
for almost two years, covered with black Techflex so it didn't scream HOME
DEPOT at me :-)
When I first hooked up my system i used wire from wally world.Shortly after i bought audioquest slate cable.I hooked up one of each.The side with the wally cable you could not even tell was playing.So yes cables can make a big difference. I tried Tara labs SPACE AND TIME NEXT.And also van den hul.Not much difference between these cables. Last week I bought A pair OF Aural Thrills Ubyte one meter cables.The change in my system was jaw dropping.
As long as you get as pure a copper cable as possible and the largest gauge you can handle, there will be little difference. I have tried several lawn and garden extension cords and didn't like them. They sounded weak and muddied. If you are going to go for the less expensive variety I recommend Canare 4S11. I really like the anti-cables but decided to go for short ICs and long speaker cables, thus the 4S11.
Just to set the record straight, as I said in my cable survey of a few years back in TAS, the model number and moniker of the Home Depot cable are entirely of my own devising: I was trying to be clever and inject a bit of wit into the proceedings. Yet many readers went to Home Depot asking for the cable by model number and of course the salespersons had no idea what they were asking for. The cable itself is strictly generic outdoor heavy duty--14 gauge in this case--extension cable in the orange/black color (so that it can be readily seen and thus not accidentally cut by electronic hedge shears and the like). Home Depot also sells a 12-gauge in a different color (yellow, I think). I wish I could say this discovery was my own, but I got the idea from the esteemed recording engineer Tony Faulkner, who once in a pinch used its equivalent in the UK to hook up an amplifer to his Quad 989s and found the results excellent, and Alan Shaw, the current owner and designer of all those great Harbeth speakers, also recommends something like this. Don't necessarily think you have to buy the exact cable I did, and you don't for that matter have to be stuck with the Halloween colors if you don't like them. A friend of mine went to an electrical supply house and bought the same cable in black (by this I mean not necessarily the identical cable but a three-conductor, 14-gauge extension cable, and I think I've also seen it in beige). For what it may be worth, I think I've gotten more feedback from this than any other single piece I've written for TAS, and some readers have been endlessly inventive, using, for example, two cables twisted together per channel. Whatever, it is seriously good, and gives the lie to the assertion that you have spend thousands per foot or meter to get a good cable. The reality is that the "sound" of a cable is in large part of a function of the interaction between the output characteristics of your amplifier and the impedance of your speaker system. If a cable changes the sound of your system dramatically, my colleague Robert Greene often says that's a sign you may need a better speaker (or possibly a different amplifier--though most modern competently designed solid-state units won't be much affected). It may also be a sign that the cable is behaving weirdly, as a few did way back in the eighties when audiophile speaker cables were gaining popularity. One model in particular made made some amplifiers oscillate (though, again, this is unlikely to happen with any competently designed present-day amplifier).
As one person mentioned the DIY White Lightning recipe works well. Basically patio extension cord from Wal-Mart:
Also, these are on my radar to try: http://www.tempoelectric.com/cables.htm
I bought the Woods Yard Master Patio Cord to make the White Lightning but have a question.
Is it important that the wire is used in the manner explained? In other words, I would like to use two leads of one cable to run to the positives of one speaker and two leads on another cable to run the negative leads (bi wire config) instead of green and white together for positive and black alone for ground.
I presume this would mess up the capacitance and resistance of the official White Lightning formula but thought it would be worth asking as it would make it easier to run the wire.
thanks again guys!
thanks Clio09 I hooked it up using the 6moons config.
I just twisted the ends together (without tinning the ends) and cut it into 8' bi wire runs to my Audio Note kit3 speakers.
Initial impressions of the White Lightning with only 30 minutes on them is:
nice midrange tone with good inner detail, slightly rolled off in the highs, the bass is a bit loose, overall nice tone and very listenable.
Not a major differance from my Audio Note Lexus bi wire cable.
I will give further impressions comparing it to the Morrow SP1 I have coming in a few weeks.
I did get the Morrow SP1 bi wire and listened to them for about a week. They had 100+ hours on them. I really liked them and during the listening time started imagining I may keep them. They have good detail and a neutral quality though a bit thin sounding - stop there! How good would the White Lightning be? A bit more full I imagined...
Well the truth is the White Lightning stomps the SP1. The musicians are back in my living room. The sound is much bigger and full sounding with low level details everywhere. It is like the governor has been taken off and my rig is running full bore.
To those that imagine the Woods cable has changed from the original formula a few years back I think it is safe to assume it has not. These things are really good. I paid $6.88.
I think I prefer them to the Audio Note Lexus ($1,500.00)which I was always very happy with and would not have sold except I am downsizing a bit.
and, like I mentioned above, when this is so good why bother with the Home Depot wire? They have to be the best deal I ever got on anything hi fi.
thanks again everyone!
fwiw: Mike Morrow recommends his cables sound the best with 400 hours of break in and I put about 150 on mine so take my 'review' with a grain of salt. Also I would like to say Mike is an all around good guy to deal with.
But in all my years I have not heard as much break in difference in wire as would be needed for the Morrow to surpass the White Lightning.
Clio09 it seems your comparison of WL to SP3 is about right, I can not imagine even the SP2 surpassing the WL...
After reading Paul Seydor thread I went out and bought
the 14 g wire,that has the teflon inside,then I went home
braided the bare wire end,I was shock how good this cable
is,the liquidity,the air,the sweetness of the music is
so obvious,my system is more musical,Iam using the cable
between the Musical fidelity 550 and my andra I.Iam using
the viva tube amp with this set up ,it will save you a lot
if you try it.It cost me $7.