Need help buying new speaker cable


My Tara Labs Apollo speaker cable broke at the negative terminal end.  I will need to replace them.  What cables would you recommend?  I would like to know what cables out there would be comparable.  I would like to upgrade but they need to be affordable. A local dealer recommended Audioquest Robin Hood’s but they cost $2,000.  I just can’t spend that much money.  I am looking at Audioquest Rocket 88’s for $1,150.  Any ideas?  I would also like to know what the sound difference be compared to my Appolo’s?  I still have a difficult time you can hear a sound difference between one cable and another.  
C8ae46d2 13a8 4a9e 9672 691de36f1fddlarry5729
There are many excellent cables in your price range. The most established and highest selling companies are WireWorld, Transparent and Audioquest. Cardas and DH Labs (very cost effective) are also good companies I have used. If you are not hearing important differences, then I would work towards minimizing cost. Companies like Cablco offer rentals so you can compare. Used cables are sold at 1/2 price.

I would start with The Absolute Sound and Stereophile, the recommended products. Established companies like I am talking about have house sound… so if their top of the line is well reviewed and would sound good in your system, then the less expensive version will get similar sound for less money. If you system needs something or doesn’t then choosing the right cables can really be a good move. If my system is perfectly balanced and I want clear transparency I go with Transparent… if my system was a bit too analytical I would look to Cardas. All the brands I mentioned above are highly reputable and make great products (personally Audio Quest has never done anything for me).

But if the differences remain difficult for you to distinguish, then perhaps drop the cost way back and save it for the next component upgrade. Do that well and there will be a big sonic difference.
I replaced theTara’s on my stereo set (ESL’s) with Audio Art Cables. Big improvement.
Robert @AAC runs frequent sales, sign up.
I moved the Tara’s to the surround fronts to great effect.
Also, add Analysis Plus to your list.
If you're reasonably happy with the speaker cables, I would contact Tara Labs Customer Service and find if they offer repairs and, if so, how much it would cost. Then you can decide whether to repair or replace.
+1 turnbrown! Good advice! Why spend big bucks on a new pair and have to try to sell a damaged pair! I am sure Tara Labs can easily handle a broken connector repair.
I wonder what I would hear differently than what I have now?
I like the idea of repairing your cable.

I wanted Analysis Plus Crystal Solo Oval 8 but they were too expensive. Then, I saw a 14ft single length of it for sale used for 600. I bought it, sent it to AP and they cut and terminated it for 130 buck. To buy this new would have been about 2k.

Buy used, whatever you do.
Show me some engineering data that proves the superiority of cable A over cable B! Otherwise "golden ear" claims are just whistlin' Dixie! Ditto for manufacturer claims! They want your money!
Sure appreciate the help.  I just got off the phone with Tara Labs and they told me it would only cost $60 per end to replace the Y-Shaped speaker wire terminals.  Since I have had difficulty with connectivity issues, I might go this route.  The guy from Tara Labs told me my Apollo's are high quality speaker cable.  I have problems trying to keep their hollow banana plugs from working themselves loose.  I wonder if they could terminate the ends using Sure Grip banana plugs.  Someone told me these are spring loaded and they will fit firmer than the hollow banana plugs I am currently using.  The problem is when I push my cabinet back towards the back wall the left banana plug works itself loose.  Will these Sure Grip banana plugs stay on?
Here’s a pair of Acoustic Zen Satoris for only $449 that should be more than fine and save you some $$$...

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649776658-one-8-pair-acoustic-zen-satori-speaker-cables-spade-to-spade/
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I am currently using the Tara Labs hollow banana plugs.  The problem is, is when I push my cabinet back towards the back wall, I lose a connection on my left speaker.  I wonder if anyone has experience using Sure Grip banana plugs?  They are made of solid metal and according to a dealer I talked to they are spring loaded.  He said these hold firmer and they would be less likely to work themselves loose.
Any audio dealer near where you live can terminate those cables.  If you are having a problem with bananas why not  just get spades?
My ARCAM is not designed to accept spades.  If it could accept spades, I would have used them years ago.  I use spades at the speaker end.
Tara Labs told me it would only cost $60 per cable to repair my cables with a 2 week turn around.  I was just wondering is this the time to consider upgrading my speaker cable?
Either way the cables need to be repaired. Have them repaired by Tara Labs if you want to sell them at some point. If not and need bananas, order these locking bananas:   https://silversonic.com/products/connectors/locking-banana-plug-thin-style/
Call them to get the right size, etc.  Get four for all the amp end connections. Then have the cables repaired locally. In the meantime get a trial set from Cableco. You never know, you might like something better but you won’t find that answer here. You need to listen in your system. 
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Having owned a audio store value is important as well as quality
look at the Wireworld line ,very important conductor purity 
6-9s pure Copper , their dielectric is lowest commercially even lower then Teflon, the end conductors ,spade,banana are silver over solid copper not brass,much better sounding ,and your choice of connector ends type, even bywire 
the Equinox is outstanding for monies spent .
this includes the Starlight digital cable  .
perrotta consultants give excellent service and package deal $$
if buying more then one cable.
Your local dealer should lend you cables to demo at home you need to hear it in your system  I have Rocket 88 doubled biwired in my system and they are very good if I had shorter runs I would have robin hood or william tell 
audioquest sound great with Vandersteens and Aesthetix
in your system they could be the worst choice the repair time gives you time to demo

Enjoy the Music 
Tom
I bought Audioquest Rocket 88 $500 and Monoprice Monolith $50 speaker cable for my Parasound w/Forte iii system. Audioquest has slightly better highs and Monolith has deeper lows. For me there's not a $450 sound difference. I kept both as I'm not fond of returning things.  I use the Audioquest on the Parasound system and use the Monolith on a Cambridge w/ Ascend Acoustic system. Happy listening.
E3co
"I compared Monolith by Monoprice 14AWG Oxygen Free Copper Multi-Strand Conductors PE Insulated Speaker Wire with Gold Plated Spade Connectors, 6ft - Pair $50 to Audioquest Rocket 88 $500.
Parasound Hint Original with Forte 3’s. Music source Bluesound Vault 2i. Audioquest Niagra 1200. Pangea Cardas power cords.
Maybe there was a slight difference in bass extension in favour of the Audioquest. Definitely not a $450 difference."

???

DeKay
I'm very happy with my SilverSmith Fidelium cables. 
I am not going to delete my post above even if I seem like an atheist in a bible study group! In fact I have been buying and trying wire in my various HiFi systems since the late 70's! Interconnects and speaker wire. My favorites were the Verion Triaxial ICs made by Mitchell Cotter. I had six pairs. For speaker wire I used the Mogami 2477 Blue Neglex coaxial 12 gauge cable (bought a 40 foot piece from my local audio dealer for $40, cut it in half and terminated the ends). 
Remember that all these cable/wire companies want your money and they will say anything within legal boundaries to entice you to open your wallets! Call me suspicious, particularly when I read words like "quantum tunneling", "cryogenic processing", "perfect surface", "oxygen free", "directionality" ...
So hartwell do you have some t-shirts saying "SHUNYATA" with their logo?
A good spool of 12 gauge copper stranded wire beats them all. And cheap too!
Me....Analysis Plus Silver Ovals and worth every penny from power to RCA analog to XLRs to speaker cable to Digital..Audioquest everything is awesome or Nordost Valhalla or anything.  Most others I still own...transparent.. want to buy 1.5 meter speaker cables?  I've tried literally everything else on maple blocks and nonsense...
Jasonbourne - if you look at Iconoclast cables they measure each cable shipped and include documentation and show lower (I forget if it’s inductance or capacitance) than typical cables.
I tried their speaker cables and they were excellent and louder than my other cables, which were a bare wire stranded design with high purity copper. The only reason I didn’t buy them was that at the time Belden owned the line and wouldn’t sell shorter than 10’ runs.

Superior Measurements (especially in amps) don’t equate to better sound. Bascom King who designs some of the best equipment and does test measurements for magazines related a story of an amp that had much lower distortion than any amp he’s ever tested, yet it didn’t sound good.

While measurements sometimes help illuminate why a component sounds the way it does, but to pretend that measurement are the only thing to be evaluated, IMHO don’t belong on an audiophile forum. Even audioasylum has a no ABX policy. Also there are “ audio science” idiots who have sophisticated test instruments but supposedly don’t know how to actually measure things correctly, but who use their bogus number to schill their own cheap Chinese gear, since it measures so well.

Underwood Audio sells a house brand cable (I use their speaker  cables Diamond version and gold version) that is incredibly cheap and sounds great, though I haven’t A/b’d directly with higher priced cables, but I’ve had $30,000 top Audioquests to try out on my TAD’s.
Go to Home Depot & buy some stranded #12 to use while yours get fixed.That's why I get the big bucks.
My first thought when reading the title was that someone had started a gofundme for speaker cables.

Definitely have your cables repaired. Look at the terminals on your amp and see if there are any other connection options that might work better than bananas for you. You might even be able to replace the binding posts, but I’m not familiar with your specific amp. You could also check how your cables are run and if you have the right lengths. Your cable shouldn’t work itself out. Before upgrading your cable you might want to figure out what more precisely how this one is failing you (besides working loose and breaking).
I would say absolutely get your cables repaired you seem to like them now and ask Tara labs about other termination options if they exist. If you really must get new speaker cables in your price range Auditorium23 is hard to beat.
Don’t know whether to feel extremely sorry
For the people that get their wallets whacked or extremely P….d at the Industry and robbers for doing the whacking !! Well made up 12 gauge wire cables and or better Equipment and quit dreaming.
Hi Larry,

I don’t know which Arcam amp you own, or if all are the same. But I owned an Arcam Alpha 10 years ago, and it required BFA style banana plugs, such as Nordost Z-Plugs which are hollow. I used Nordost Super Flatline cables back when I owned that Arcam amp. I really liked that style banana plug and have been using them ever since. IMHO, they are a fantastic connector and I prefer them over spades. They have great contact area and, buy nature, have constant outward pressure, holding them firmly in contact with the inside of the binding post.

If it were me, I would get the cables fixed. For anything near that cost, you’re not likely to get anything better.

My current speaker cables are simple Audioquest Type 4, no frills cables from Audio Advisor. They use the BFA style, low mass banana plugs. I have bananas on both ends because I prefer them. They don’t loosen like spades sometimes do. I checked Audio Advisor earlier. All of their speaker cables said "temporarily out of stock". Likely a victim of COVID induced supply chain issues, or possibly staffing issues for building their cables.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
Why don’t you just fix what you have? If its just a terminal, cut back a small amount to fresh wire and solder or crimp it back on. I must have like 3 soldering irons and 5 crimpers laying around...honestly, anything beyond say audioquest type 4 and the like is a total waste of cash....
Yeah.  If you like your present cables, surely a no-brainer to re-fix the termination(s) and save $$$$.
For a good connection I recommend soldering, not crimping.
Or, better, first solder then crimp tight.
Many cable-geeks do not look inside their speakers to see what cables they have there. They may spend a fortune on cables that they hook up to very cheap internal wiring. Placebo-galore.
According to the tech people on the recent Inspiration 4 All Civilian mission to space, as well as the NASA tech people, the only wiring they use in crucial applications in space is a mil-spec branded wire from a company called Analysis Plus, with the specific product line being the “Big Silver Oval Audio Cables.”  From experience I can tell you they are superlative here on earth, too.
If you like your current cables have them refitted.

Otherwise, all the brands mentioned our reputable. All cables including power, speaker and interconnects are important and there are vast differences between them if one knows what to listen for and differentiate. However, all marketing crap is just that. These all have to be put in your system and listened to. 
What I can't figure out is why it drives people so batty that some people want to spend money on cables?

"Show me some engineering data that that wine you paid $60 for at the restaurant was really worth it."

See how ridiculous that sounds? We know there's mark up and we enjoy it anyway. Thing with cables is, there may actually be a difference that people can hear with more expensive cables and the mark up is worth it.

So, either there is no difference between cables -- and people like to pay more and enjoy the illusion.
Or there is a difference between cables, and people like to pay more and enjoy the reality.

Either way, those trying to "save" the cable spenders need to relocate their charitable efforts to people with actual problems, not first world discretionary spending problems. FFS, do some good where it's needed.
Hello,
I think you can repair this yourself. Straightwire sells those ZBanana ends. Also, Straightwire has very nice cables that dont
Fix Em!

Why not do it yourself?

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=wbt+banana+plugs&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlv6Cs9iX8wIVwAeICR1R1gMLEAAYAyAAEg...

If you send them in, you never know how 2 weeks can turn into 3 ...

You can use lamp cord, put your own connectors on while you wait, then hear the difference when they return fixed.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-Center-Pin-Quick-Connect-Banana-Plugs-Y293035/203726...




I would recommend spade connectors over banana plugs if your amp and speakers can handle spades. 
Most banana plugs allow for spin which means there is not a solid connection. 
But you mention you aren’t able to hear differences in cables so I wonder if your system is resolving enough for this level/cost of speaker wire. 
would right angle bananas be any advantage?

https://www.amazon.com/Goaycer-Banana-Plugs-Right-Angle/dp/B08NP5R3BB/ref=sxin_13_pa_sp_search_thema...=

I used WBT locking banana plugs to alternate/compare 3 different amps, there are many to choose from, here's one for the idea

https://www.parts-express.com/Stacking-Banana-Plug-with-Dual-Set-Screws-Poly-Carbonate-Sh-091-3608?g...
As an electrical engineer, and somebody who has a pretty extensive knowledge about wiring. I see absolutely no way ’ultra expensive’ high quality oxygen free stranded wire, regardless of the amount of strands it has, will in (short lengths especially) make any difference whatsoever.

With analog cables, sheilding is extremely important so differences in quality would surely effect the noise floor...

Please, somebody show me proof as to how this phenomenon of higher fidelity will be the result of me spending thousands on several meters of cable. Just because I don’t see how it’s possible doesn’t mean it isn’t, but none of my professors at RPI would jump on this bandwagon.
Making use of The Cable Company's inventory of used cables is the most practical way to find what works best in your setup. If you can't hear a difference in sound then just worry about how well they are constructed. Good luck. 
@larry5729, I trust you know nothing starts a fight in an empty bar faster than a discussion about speaker cables, right? I guess I’m with elliottbnewcombjr on this one. If you like the cables you have, why not fix ’em? Otherwise, I would suggest you read the following:

The Best Speaker Cable | Reviews by Wirecutter (nytimes.com)

Do Speaker Cables Make a Difference for Audio Quality? (lifewire.com)

Using Measurements to Clear up the Cable Controversy (lifewire.com)

calmont-eng-wire-gauge.pdf

What Matters Most in Speaker Cables? | Audioholics

Top Ten Signs an Audio Cable Vendor is Selling You Snake Oil | Audioholics

I’ve listened to high-end systems (at least 3 to 4 hours each time and sometimes more) wired with AQ Robin Hood, Kimber Cable Ascent Series (can’t remember model), Transparent (can’t remember model but several thousand bucks a pair), Monoprice (12 gauge), Monstor (12 gauge) and AQ Type 4 within the last year. All of those systems sounded very, very nice. The only credible way to arrive at any conclusions about which cables will sound best, to you, is to try them under your own roof in your own system.

Good Luck!
Unscrew one of your binding posts and see if you have a hole in the rod. If you do, see if the banana plug will fit in the hole. If so, you can feed the wire in from the top, bottom or either side and clamp it down with the nut. You should then have a more flush connection. If using Z bananas the nut might crush the shaft a bit, however it can be bent back into shape after use, if you want to re-sell.