Most important technical aspects of speaker wires? Capacitance, inductance, etc...


Looking into speaker wires, and technical specs or construction stated by companies, has anyone determined, measured of figured out WHAT are the most technical parameters for picking speaker wires? Is it Capacitance, inductance, gauge, insulation, construction, material used, shielding, etc...?

I do not buy thousands of dollars in speaker wires, specially for my $5K setup, but within reputable speaker wire companies being Furutech, Cardas, Audioquest, Nordost, etc... how would one pick wires? Obviously listening is the only real solution, however, many have to be broken in, not everyone has the options of trial, and it's a difficult task to complete if you're looking at multiple manufacturers, and various brands within each.

One last question, the outer sleeves used on high end cables, are they at all necessary outside of looking nicer?
alexb76
Some shops will let you borrow a length of cable, and I believe even some online vendors will do that for a fee that can be credited against purchase.

Just be open to the possibility that the difference is too small to pick out reliably, and that the wires inside the speakers themselves are likely to be no more expensive than this; https://www.amazon.com/Damme-Professional-Studio-Grade-12AWG/dp/B0034KDGFY/ref=sr_1_1?gclid=Cj0KCQjw...
alexb76,

Fortunately you already seem to know the answer is to go and find as many potential candidates as you possibly can and listen to them. Unfortunately you need to do this whether it is a lot or a few, whether they are new or burned-in or used, and whether they are anywhere near your budget or not. There's just no way around it, and the more you do it (even when it seems futile) the better result you will ultimately achieve.

I have auditioned a ton of them and would not personally recommend any of the ones you mentioned. Its not that they are bad, just that when compared side by side they do not give as high value for the money as comparable Synergisitic Research cables. The others tend to be more like band-aids or MyFi, which is why you will hear a lot of comments about system matching. A really good cable will sound really good in your system, period. Its the marginal ones that need to be "matched".

Its a lot of trouble but when you are up in the $5k system range well worth the effort. The general rule I have used for years is about 20% wire. But everyone messes that up so let me explain.

Its not telling you to go out and spend $1k on speaker cable. Its not even telling you to spend $1k altogether on wire (power cords, interconnects, speaker cables) its just to give you some idea what range to be looking in. Because you could spend $5k and wind up with crap, or $500 and not believe how much difference it made. $500 can actually get you a lot if you do it right. Realistically you would be looking at something like
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9bdha-synergistic-research-sr-core-speaker-cables-8ft-with-bana...
and
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9e47i-synergistic-research-reference-a-c-master-coupler-ac-cabl...
Either of which will be hard to beat for the money.


Another one you want to consider is cerious. They sound wonderful with my equipment, but... As mill states above, speaker cables are very system dependent. What are you using now?
It is hard to choose where to start.Listing your amp a ,speakers and budget will help get you some brands to research further.
The outer sleeves add only pennies to the cost of that was your concern.Sometimes it is necessary depending on the particular construction of the cable.
There are some superb reasonably priced cables out there.
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Thanks. About Synergetic Research cables. I’ve never heard those, BUT, attended a demo session by their rep or maybe even owner at AXPONA and found him to be incredibly sleazy, snake oil salesman and biggest BSer I’ve encountered in my entire life. Like they would do an A/B comparison and literally there’s no change in sound and he would BS something and convince ppl that they heard a difference. It was shockingly deceiving and just due to that session I was beyond turned off by anything they sell. As far as I’m concerned they're a bunch of crooks!  In comparison, Audioquest did another A/B comparison of their latest speaker wires and holy crap did I heard a big difference and they still didn’t boast as much as that sleazy guy at synergetic research. 

Now, I may have to try for myself to see if their speaker wires are any good and not snake oil but that demo literally made me question the entire company. 
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For 23 years I used Mogami Blue Neglex 2477 coax OFC 12 gauge to connect to my KLH Nine electrostats. 20 feet per side. I bought it cheap from my friend and local HiFi dealer - who received it as a sample. It was a 40 ft piece that I cut in half - cost was $40! SQ was excellent - never felt the urge to change for something else! 
@alexb76

I would consider OCC wire for your cable upgrade. There are quite a few cable manufacturers currently importing OCC bulk wire from Japan. The cable is inexpensive and sounds pretty amazing in any system regardless of the cost of the system. The best cable in any system gets out of the way and let’s you hear the components. The OCC cable gives the absolute purest base platform and gets you closer to true absolute transparency.

“OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) is the name given to the casting process developed to help defeat annealing issues and virtually eliminate all grain boundaries in copper or silver with a unique patented process. The OCC casting method uses specialized heated moulds in order to draw a single crystal up to 125 meters in length. With only a single crystal in very long lengths, there is an unimpeded free path for the best possible signal transfer. Along with this superior single long crystal structure, OCC provides copper and silver with the least possible oxides and other impurities”.
@lalitk 
Yes, that's why I am looking at Furutech bulk cables, the have both OCC and OFC cables that are premium quality and different gauges. They even have a very high end bulk cable with sleeves and all sorts of insulation just like the $1000+ cables, and hence my question as to what is really necessary. 

http://www.furutech.com/2019/01/23/17936/

http://www.furutech.com/2016/05/19/13047/
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“Copper is not a crystal element.” 😆 😆 😆


@alexb76 - I have used a selection of bulk cables from a few different manufacturers over the years and my favourite bulk cable is from DH Labs - similar performance to Furutech, but a lot cheaper

What technical parameters should be considered? - generally speaking ...
- Resistance for wire is pretty low and all the cables you are looking at will be OK
- Inductance can be an issue, but most bulk speaker cables have an acceptable level for most applications. Some amps (e.g. Naim) like to have around 1uH/meter of inductance (i.e. approximately 4 uH in total) because they have no inductive components in their output stage and require the speaker cables to provide it (so I have read)
- Capacitance is only and issue in cables when used with high current solid state amps (like Ayre, Gryphen and Naim) because it can drive amps to oscillation/destruction - even then the level of capacitance has to be very high in excess of 250pF/meter. NOTE: Capacitance is NOT an issue for tube amps

As for the type of metal used e.g. copper, silver plated copper, solid silver, OCC, OFC etc...
- For obvious reasons Solid silver is too expensive for most folk, but it provides the fastest conductivity
- Amongst the copper only variety of wire OFC and OCC is a good place to start
- but some copper wire from a specific brand can outperform other wires.

Another aspect of cable construction is cable geometry - i.e. how the conductors are formed into a cable
- twisting two wires together is a very simple cable geometry
- braiding is a little more complicated but more effective than twisting for keeping noise lower
- then you get into more complex geometries like the helix spiral - which reduces noise even further
- Using multiple wires for a single conductor can be productive, but beware of the overall capacitance

Cable Geometry is where my own DIY efforts reaped the biggest rewards in terms of clarity, dynamics and image.

But the wire that really stands out is the 12 gauge wire from Duelund.whic I used for my own DIY speaker cables

You can even get away with using it only as the live conductor and use a 10 gauge mil-spec for the neutral

https://www.hificollective.co.uk/wire/duelund-dca12ga-600v-tinned-multistrand-copper-wire.html
https://www.takefiveaudio.com/products/1827-mil-spec-10-awg-silver-plated-copper-wire-black-cryo-tre...

To start with - You can simply twist the two wires together - about one complete twist every 6-8 inches - add some heat shrink to stop them from untwisting and expandable sleeve and connectors and voila - you got a speaker cable that really performs well.

It will work better than most bulk cables and be compatible with most amps.

I would normally say the cables with some silver plating are more dynamic, but the Duelund tinned copper wire provides superb dynamic performance - better than the silver plated Mil-Spec wire I had previously tried

As for the insulation - for the most part I try to use Teflon insulation because it seems to result in lower overall capacitance - but the Duelind wire is the exception to that "general approach"

PLEASE NOTE - I stress the "general nature" of my comments above, because once you get into different wires, things can change dramatically and it really is a case of "TRY IT AND SEE".

Making your own speaker cables can get complicated - take a look the links below to see the most common issues that can occur...
https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-1/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-2/

https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-3/

If you want to get really serious about making cables to suit your system you need to know more about your amp and speakers to start with and then look at Cable Geometry. At that point you really have to consider Capacitance and Inductance

Hope this helped - Steve