Please Help Me Choose a Speaker Cable


I need to replace my existing speaker cable setup with something more wife-friendly. I am currently bi-wiring with Audioquest Type 4 (tweeters) and Aperature 16 (woofers). About 20 years ago I bought the wires off a spool and had them built w/ banana plugs. You can see a pic of the offensive cable setup on my system page (https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/6318). I put a nice jacket over the cables hoping that would be enough to clean up the messiness.

What I want is something of equal quality that will also fit inside my VTI speaker stands. The stands have a 3/4 inch opening and the 4 banana plugs don’t fit through. I want to continue bi-wiring but would go single if the sound was just as good on a different set of cables. A bi-wired cable terminated with two spades at the amp side would fit through the stands (2 banana plugs might fit also).

I don't want to spend more than $600 and need a 10-12 ft. pair. There appear to be a lot of options on Agon right now. I see names I know are pretty good like Audioquest and Kimber. If I were to pick one I would probably go with the Audioquest Rocket 88 or CV-8 or maybe the PS Audio Xstream. Maybe there are better options for less? Will the cables in this price range be good as or better than what I have? If not, maybe I should try terminating the two cables into one set of banana plugs on the amp end to see if that fits.  I guess I would prefer spades because they would be more flush to the speakers, thus a little cleaner looking.  

Thanks.
treebeard1
Mogami


Have not heard of Mogami. So this is your huckleberry: https://www.amazon.com/Mogami-Gold-TRS-TRS-10-Balanced/dp/B001LNN2F0

 Certainly the price is right.  

lots of debate on this.  also consider a single wire cable with jumpers at the speaker...
It looks rather neat to me. But, I don't look in back of equipment much.
AQ Rocket 88's would be my choice with a double run.
Do you need bananas? Can you speakers accept spades? The latter are supposed to be better in terms of connectivity.
@jl35 
I certainly don't want to start that debate.  I don't know the answer but will need to figure it out via testing on my own.  Regarding the jumpers, I'm not sure how they accomplish anything.  The signal is not seperated until the end of the journey.  To me it seems the same.

@gdnrbob 
I kinda like it too.  Adds muscle.  But it's easy to see because of where it's located. Don't need bananas but I had spades on those wires before and they kept coming off or loosing connection.  Maybe it was the speakers problem.  It was a different speaker.

I notice a lot of more expensive speaker cables and interconnects have what AQ is calling a dielectric-bias system (DMS).  Is this something I should look for?  I have something like this on my interconnects but no batteries, just a bump in the cable.  Again, not loking for a debate for or against.
much is a matter of personal preference.  many find internal biwire to be useless and use either double runs or jumpers.  read the Vandersteen website comments on this,  regardless of which speakers you own.
After all those years, why is your wife suddenly against the cables you have now?  It looks quite neatly arranged to me.
@stereo5 
For 23 years she has been against the wires as well as the large floor standing speakers (replaced by R300s), the subwoofer that takes up the corner of the living room (soon to be replaced w/ wireless sub behind couch) and just about anything stereo-related.  If I have to chuck it all for a HEOS soundbar then at least I have great components to move to my basememt listening room.

I have been looking at reviews of the AQ CV-8 and they are all glowing. Haven't found a bad review yet.  They must be discontinued and have been on closeout for the last couple years.  Found a pair on Amazon for $360 with spades (retail was $900).  Sold by Music Direct for $90 less than they sell on their own site. They are not listed on the AQ site.
Then there's these cables on US Audio Mart.  At little longer than what I need though.
sell your amp and put monoblocks close to the speakers, then don't worry about cables

- how would she like that?

(actually, it doesn't matter if she likes it - the thing to do is to ask her if she likes the idea; she will like being asked)
@Treebeard, those are the ones I bought for my Vandies. They sound great to my ears and are supposedly an upgrade from the Rocket 88 (AQ's description), .
Only thing is they are 36v, mine are 72v. I think you can upgrade them, but best to contact AQ. Is single biwire okay for your speakers?
The price isn't bad. I say offer him/her $350.
@randy-11
Sounds like a great plan. I’ll ask her when she gets home :)

@gdnrbob
I sent AQ an email. It looks like the CV-8 is using the Star-Quad Series GO-4 configuration and the Rockefeller uses the Star-Quad Series AG-4 configuration, which is a step up. Although I’m not sure how the 36v vs 72v issue plays out. Either way, I think they are both better than what I have. Depending on upgrade costs I’m leaning toward the CV-8 on Amazon.  I'm leaning toward spades, which I know will fit through the speaker stands.
I found the original CV-4 a big step up from the Type 4
That's good to know @jl35
I still use both - the CV-4 for my home theater fronts and the Type 4 for computer system

Love AQ.

Have you looked at the used castle rocks that pop up here?
I love the Anti-Cables - quality product, superb sound, reasonable price for a 10’ pair!
http://anticables.com/speaker-wires/2-channel

If not that... then consider Blue Jeans cables, Better Cables, or Signal Cables - all good products at good prices - and... no BS.

Or... if you want an even better value... get some "magnet wire" on Amazon, and make your own! I did that, and they sound almost identical to the Anti-Cables for $50. Just get the 12ga or 10ga wire and twist a pair with a drill, sand off the ends and coat them with "Pro-Gold" and connect them. Oh yes... you’ll need to mark the pair "R" & "L" on both ends before twisting them to make sure you connect them in phase. Just use red tape on both ends of the "R" wire, or black tape on the "L" wire.

https://www.amazon.com/TEMCo-AWG-Copper-Magnet-Wire/dp/B00IAZNVX0/ref=sr_1_102?ie=UTF8&qid=14876...
I bet that's a stiff speaker cable!
@joey_v 
I have not but will keep an eye out for my second system.

@bassdude 
I have heard good and bad about anti-cables and blue jeans.  Probably due to the controversy around cables. I don't know what to believe but the anti-cables are about the same as the AQ CV-8s on Amazon.

So I pulled the trigger on the CV-8s for $360.  Seems very reasonable considering the brand, where it fit in the AQ lineup (retail $900), and number of great user and industry reviews.  Thanks to everyone for your help.  I have the same set of cables (AQ Type 4/Aperature 16) on my second system in the basement so it will be very interesting to see if I can tell a difference. If I can then I can explore more cable options for that system.
Those are line-level, not speaker level cables, but yes, they make good one's across the range that are flexible, compact and good sounding.
Just a thought. The entry level Transparent cables are said to be very musical. That was my experience a few years back. They were inexpensive and punched well beyond their price. Just an idea. Think it was called Musicwave. I know the absolute sound mag gave great reviews and still recommends them. Good luck on the journey. Cable is critical IMO. 

treebeard1...

Those look interesting - hadn't seen them before.

Do you have to replace the batteries every 5 years, or so?  Or just the cable - when the batteries die?

toderone...

Yes... the "magnet wire" is stiff and hard to work with... but... you don't need cable stands / lifts to insulate from the floor / carpet.  Same is true for the Anti-Cables.
OK...

Ordered a pair of the AQ CV-8's, also. Will try and compare them to my Anti-Cables 3.1’s and let you know how they compare. We’ll see.

And... I did discover you just replace the batteries, when they die.
@erik_squires  
What do you mean by line-level, not speaker level?  Are you saying they are interconnects?

@4425  
I'll keep that in mind for my 2nd system.

@bassdude  
I would love to know how they compare against the anti-cables.  I'll post a comparison against my existing cables as well.


Yeah, I have the CV-8 in my bedroom system, and they are very nice.
As a female, let me just say this: I think your original cables look very tidy! And I would've wept to see the Vandies leave. Curious about the CV-8 so looking forward to your report.
Rock on @rackon 
Mogami is a brand.

The specific link I saw was not for speaker cables but for 1/4" balanced, line level interconnects. :)

They make everything from RCA/XLR to speaker cables.

Best,

E
@erik_squires I get it now. Thought you were talking about the AQ CV-8 cables.
Cables arrived today and they sent bananas instead of spades.  The banana plugs are loose and don't fit real tight.  I was able to string them through the speaker stands but it was a real chore and the sharp turn back under the speakers puts extra tension on the plugs, which are not super tight.  If I keep them I will need to always check the connection behind the speakers.  I'll probably send them back this weekend and try for spades.  Bummed out.  I was looking forward to testing these out this weekend.
Sorry to hear about the bananas not fitting. That's why I like spades. Definitely send them back, you don't want them slipping out and possible grounding your amp.-(which is something I did once, luckily the fuses contained the short).
Johnny R at audioconnection recommended the Castle Rock for Vandy speakers. He said my Rockefeller's were 'entry level'. Though I have to say that if they are entry level, they do sound pretty good. I would imagine your CV-8's should surpass them.
B
also have to make sure you get the right size spades...
Get in touch with Amadi cables. Hand made in the States from OCC silver or copper, he often sells right here on the 'Gon for more than reasonable pricing. Here's an email address if he isn't listing anything at the moment: ama7gr@yahoo.com
Search under Amadi and you'll find a couple of threads discussing his cables -- very, very good considering the price.
Hands down audio art cable. I was stunned by the improvent.
I would go to the black cat cable website and read up on those the guy hand makes them and is a master cable designer
Every cable sounds different  attached to different equipment..only you can determine which is better/worse, by auditioning them in your system.
As always, I sanction Erik's recommendation. I have Mogami 3103 speaker cable, self-terminated, and it is very worthy.  I recently got Von Damme 2x6mm speaker cable and it is maaaaybe a bit more detailed than the Mogami.  You can half your budgeted expediture with either of these cables. Many folks like Clear Day's Shotgun speaker cable, too, and it is well under your budget.  Personally, I would avoid speaker cable with silver content as it has alway seems bright to my ears.  


I always thought the Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ or Audioquest Clear cables sounded very good. Reasonable in used condition now.
<dealer disclaimer>
Purist Audio Design makes excellent cables.  With a $600 budget you can find Purist Musaeus Rev C and Purist Musaeus Praesto bi-wire speaker cables at your 3.0m-3.5m length need...they are such low noise, high detail, musical cables, it's hard to find fault with them.  I haven't heard a cable outperform them at each price point.  Good luck on your search.
Thanks for all the recommendations. I sent the AQ CV-8 cables back for replacement. If these don't work out I have many suggestions to try!

hi i have used various cables over the last 35 years , i would like to suggest Townshend audio DCT isolda speaker cable , Townshend audio have been around some 5 decades there factory is over here in the uk everything is manufactured to a very high standard, please check the company out on the internet , theres some great deals for there DCT isolda speaker cables on ebay.co.uk you could pick up a 3m length for around 450/500gbp you will not be disappointed the openness and 3D imaging can come as a shock if you are not used to it the overall sound remains very natural , i also use there fractal interconnects the designs of these cables makes for some very interesting reading i am not a dealer or have any financial interests involved , im just offering some very honest and hopefully helpful advice regards john    

As @rackon said, I thought your existing cables looked pretty tidy as well.

Time for a dedicated listening room :)

Kimber Bifocal X
Well... I must admit... the AQ CV-8 speaker cables are pretty impressive. Just received them and hooked them up to compare to my Anti-Cables 3.2 speaker cables.

Premature first impressions:

Great soundstage and imaging, very airy - maybe a bit better than the AC’s
Great clarity and resolution of detail - maybe a bit better than the AC’s
Great extension in treble, lots of fine detail (brushes on cymbals, etc.)
Treble balance maybe a bit greater compared to bass and mids - brighter sound
May be a bit cooler sound, not quite as warm, rich and weighty as the AC’s
Bass may be a bit better defined and textured... and maybe a bit less prominent
Mids are very clear also - voices are very life like.

The CV-8 seems to have a sound a bit more like silver cables - which is good, if your prefer the lighter, airy sound of silver.

The AC’s, of course, sound like high-quality copper cables - which is also good, if you prefer the warm, rich sound of copper.

Although premature... I like the AQ’s a lot, because I like the sound of silver cables, which these remind me of.

I’ve always been a bit skeptical that there was much difference in the sound of cables - except that silver cables always seemed to have a bit greater clarity and resolution of detail. And, while there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in the sound of the AQ’s over the AC’s, others might think there’s quite a noticeable difference.

I would recommend either, depending upon your preferences - both are great values.
Oh... and... almost forgot... the AQ CV-8 speaker cables seem to make the speakers more efficient - they're louder at lower volume levels on the pre-amp POT - by maybe... 15%+.

Not sure I understand why... but... that's the case.
@bassdude 
Thanks for the review. As you know,  I had to send mine back. The replacement cables should arrive early next week and I should have thoughts by the end of next weekend. 
Treebeard, where did you get the CV-8? I'd like to try them myself.
Bob
I would suggest you have a look at Morrow Cables (online). They have a range of differently priced cables and have had some excellent reviews.
(I use them myself and am pleased) They offer pre-used by those who are upgrading to one of their more expensive cables (as you can do also when you are able)
Wow, I ordered the replacements via Amazon yesterday afternoon and Music Direct delivered them today.  I took them down to the basement stereo (rig #2) and did a quick comparison.  Immediate observations are they are clearer, more detailed in bass (but less bass that my Aperature 16), have a wider soundstage and are more forward sounding.  My basement system has the same bi-wire setup that I have in my main rig listed above.  I will reserve a full analysis until they are more broken in.  I will be playing downstairs continuously for about a week before moving them to my main system.  That should give me a good head start on break-in.

@gdnrbob  
I got them on Amazon, sold by Music Direct.  There is also a pair available on Agon for a little more.  

The packaging indicated the CV-8 was a cable grade located between GO-4 and AG-4.

enjoy