Internal Speaker Wiring ??

I just had occasion to pull a driver from my Thiel 7's and was quite surprised to see what looked like a rather "wimpy" wire connecting the driver to the crossover. It made me wonder if the "weakest link" theory applied to internal speaker wiring. In other words, am I foolish to spend hundreds of dollars on amp wiring and speaker cable when there may only be garden variety wiring inside the speaker ??
Finally, somebody noticed. Also look at the wiring from your amp board to the monstrous gold binding posts. Both runs are short , however, and generally based on engineering principle like adequate wire size to handle the expected current. With even decent wire, voltage drop at any frequency in that length is absolutely minimal and there is minimal exposure to stray pickup, especially at the signel levels involved. Good wire and good connections are technically desirable, however. If you are using LONG speaker cables, then technically there is the potential for coloration because of possible resistivity variation with frequency. Having one-foot long buss bars from your amp to speakers is ludicrous. Good connections are the most important consideration in short runs (actually important in any length run). IMO :)
I've never owned Thiel's and I am a little surprised to hear what you said given the extensive cross-over design they use--why go cheap on the wires? It does make a big difference as to which driver you are talking about. The tweeter may have what appears to be wimpy wire, but actually could be a very pure copper or silver that is well suited to the task. On the other hand, the woofer, will draw a much larger load and should have beefier wire. If it doesn't you could always fix that yourself, but be cautious as many designers figure in the wire (resistance) as part of the cross-over (network) design. I have no idea what Thiel's intentions are.
Abstract7's comments to first check with your speaker manufacturer is excellent advise. A number of years ago I totally rewired my Snell speakers, using the best Audioquest wire available. I was certain that I would get a terrific improvement, replacing the poor quality and puny wiring supplied by the factory. What in fact resulted was the most terrible tonal balance and phase shift you can imagine. I wound up returning the speakers to the factory. I expected that they would remove my wire, but instead, measured the speakers, factored in the changes, and swapped some parts in the crossover. After my speakers were returned, (with a substantial invoice), I was so mad at myself, that the improvements were a disappointment. The moral? If you change, be sure the factory says it will not alter the speakers electrical function in a negative way. By the way, my results have been just the opposite when applied to preamps and amps. I have rewired (replaced stock wire) in about a dozen units, and have always been rewarded with stunning improvements in sound, across the board. Best to you!
Albert's comments are not unique. Most current model speakers that are not "mass production scrap" are voiced using specific components. That includes the wiring. Altering the internal wiring can / does play with the end result of what you hear. The first manufacturer that i specifically know of that REALLY payed attention to internal wiring and did what most people would consider "strange" even by today's standards was Genesis back in the 1970's. Arnie went to great lengths to get exactly what he wanted out of those speakers even back then. He staggered gauges on the same driver, some were solid while some were stranded, etc... This was even done on very inexpensive bookshelf models way back then. Then there are manufacturers like Klipsch who uses absolute crap inside of the boxes. The wiring and most of the internals need to be changed if you really want to see what their basic design is capable of. They pinch the penny so hard to keep productions costs down that you can literally hear it "ringing" out for help : ) Once that is done though, you would have a hard time recognizing that they are the same speakers. Sean >
Sean: talk about junk cabling inside Klipsch; man it looks just like lamp cord. I was ready to rewire with D.I.Y. Kimber stuff (I even bought the wire). Then I learned that it will likely change speaker's voicing, especially if replacing copper wire with silver, so I never did it. Still I'd still like to put in some improved copper wire. Can anyone suggest a source? thanks
A good source for very nice copper wire is Axon. Their products are distributed by OrcaDesign. Parent company is JMlabs. They also handle Focal drivers, Solen/SCR caps, and all types of accessories. The wire is the softest copper available, although they do not specify purity. I have used it with good result. It is 20 gauge solid core wire. Insulation is PE I believe(may actually be PVC...). If you want teflon insulation, go to HomeGrown Audio, for 99.999% pure 22 gauge copper wire, with teflon insulation($0.39/ft, I think). But, I have found that speaker wire is much less critical of dielectric composition than interconnect. I am not sure of the price of Axon these days, but I can tell you it will be ridiculously cheap. To put it in perspective, they produce a speaker cable(Axon 8), using 8 of these conductors(+ filler/PVC jacketing). It is basically a mirror of AudioQuest speaker cable(falling between Indigo and Midnight). In construction and sound. BEST cheap speaker cable, bar none(although no audiophiles know about it). When I used to buy it, it was $1/ft!!! It may now be $2/ft. But, you are only buying one of the conductors; no filler or jacketing. So, you do the math... I can also echo the comments of those above. But, have found a good amount of success by going through the internals of a loudspeaker. I found that I came to use 17 or 19 gauge to tweeters. 15 or 13 gauge to midrange drivers. And 10 to 12 gauge to low frequency drivers(woofers/midwoofers). It is up to you, how you run the wiring internally. Early on, I went with braiding, and always stuck with it. Not to say it is the best, just my habit. One thing to bear in mind is when replacing parts on speakers(be they drivers, wire, or crossover components - ESPECIALLY crossover components), be patient. Allow them the proper time to run - in. Just like you would afford a new pair of speakers. Some of the best caps(MIT/Rel) sound absolutely horrible out of the chute. Leaving one with an enormous case of buyer's regret/panic. But, after a few weeks, there is no comparison. Don't panic. Just give things time. If you still feel that disappointment a month later, then you can say the change was for the worst. And, it is always a good idea to keep the old parts. Just in case... Good Luck!
I rewired my Infinity IIa's with Audioquest wire that matched my Midnight biwired (actually when I finished I used computer connectors (every solid core wire has it's own gold pin) at the speaker crossover/cable interface and wired every crossover to separate wires back to the amp!) I was happy with the results. On the midrange units I alotted 2 wires each way and on the bass three wires each way. I moved the low/mid midrange/high higher tweets crossovers out of the bass cabinet and put 'em in a box on the back. I also put in new ?inductors? the "Henry" calibrated gizmos from .. (HEY, I know what they are and what they do.. sort of, at least... if not the right name). I passed on replacing the caps as many said that was the most likely to change the sound in ways I couldn't compensate for and good caps would have cost a fortune in the FIVE way crossover and with all the kinds of caps available I couldn't decide which ones to get anyway. The end result was well worth the time and money for me. ( I changed this stuff at least 6 years ago.. and still love my speakers even with all the sonic imperfection implicit in the design.)
I have tried to get my speaker rewired and my amplifiers modified at a few different places and they refused to do it everytime. All for the above mentioned reasons. It happened enough to scare me not to even try.
Hey Bob, not to change the thrust of this thread, but what Klipsch do you have ? I have a rather long list of mods that i've used on dozens of Klipsch speakers that many others have followed with great success. I know that at one point in time it was a relative "staple" on the Klipsch bulletin board amongst those modding the older style models. You can start off small and work your way into the various mods, as it does get quite in-depth. Email me and we can get more specific. I'll have to dig the info back up though, so be patient. As to Trelja's recommendation of Axon 8, i have used / recommended this for several years now if someone is on a budget. It is much better than the large gauge "monster" type stuff that sells in the same appr. price range BUT should NOT be wired as they would lead you to believe going by the color codes. The cables performance can be greatly improved by using another method. I had posted this info over on AA quite a long time ago with several people responding that it did noticeably improve their opinions of it. If someone is running this, contact me via email and i can go into details. Coincidentally, this cable does not work bad with Klipsch speakers either. They like solid wire MUCH better than stranded wire as a general rule. Sean >
Sean these are classic Belle Klipsch circa 1978 with original metal horns. At $4500/pr. yet they're not even considered audiophile grade spk's (others' opinions; I obviously disagree) but I covered that in a previous thread & had other supporters, but no arguments. I will certainly be in contact & am gratetful for y'all sharing your knowledge & experiences. Klipsch bulletin board? I must find out about that!
Liz: yes those "Henry-things" are inductors all right; ROFL from your description, but not laughing AT ya ok?
I love my horns too, despite their acknowledged colorations which I'm hoping to tweak on. I already bought the Dynamat & lamb's wool & Kimber wire, but then I went on-hold as explained above. As an engineer I'm certainly a confirmed tweaker; by nature I just can't help it.
I owned a pair of Klipsch CF-3's. They were my last pair of speakers before journying into Hi Fi. I admit there were a lot of drawbacks but I enjoyed the sound. The horn tweeters really grabbed your attention.
Elizabeth, I did change my caps and resistors on my dunlavys
with crescendo caps and ohmite resistors from the sounic difference was amazing
good luck email me if you need any more info.