Some old cables rescued me from computer audio.

I first brought this up under DIGITAL and since the results worked so well, I thought I'd share it here and see if anyone else experienced this.

In a nutshell (a big one), I couldn't figure out why my CDP was not keeping up with my iMac set up, which is a very simple one. With a lot of time on my hands due to a 5 week layoff, I tried an old set of Mapleshade copper ribbon ICs and was gobsmacked at what I heard. My TEAC PD-H600 never sounded this good. The iMac setup was nowhere near as resolving and detailed and yet, fullbodied. I still kept the Zu Missions as speaker wire and thought I had really lucked out.

A week later, and still bored, I tried the matching Mapleshade speaker wire and the window just blew wide open. The clarity was beyond what I though possible but all was not well in casa de nonoise. The lower mids and bass were weakened some and several rows back from the rest of the presentation.

Rummaging around, I found a pair of Clear Day silver speaker wire (single strand, not shotgunned) with bananas and bi-wired them with the Mapleshades. Man o man, if I could make these, I'd retire my crappy job and be happy. I have all the lower mids and bass of the Zu Missions save the clarity which always eluded them. Texture, definition, and tautness now occupy my lower end to compliment what I've achieved from the mids on up.

It's great to hear a bottom half that keeps up with the top half. It's a whole new presentation for me. Again, just thought I'd share and know that a lot of you have done this already so any feedback as to whether I should twist the two together as best I can or leave them separated would be appreciated.

It pays to keep the older sets around, just in case.

All the best,
If you're going to leave them separated, which I recommend (pairing the same kind of wires is likely better than electrically different ones), you should probably try to give them 6-8 inches of spacing between them for the most open sound. I too use (the balanced version) of the Mapleshade ribbons from DAC to Goldpoint attennuators that I installed in a pair of Monarchy monoblocks. I also use a DIP Combo between an Onkyo CD changer and the DAC so 2 digital IC's are needed. I tried Mapleshade Double Helix and they were fast, clean and transparent (but not at all lean) and they have ended up being the only digital IC's I've yet tried that didn't prove to have some sort of 'insertion loss' in this configuration - that is, 2 IC's were audibly just as transparent as one(!). I've always thought that, with Mr. Sprey anyway, the 3 physical wire design elements (conductor, connectors and insulation) are addressed equally well and nothing seems to be getting overlooked - can't often say that about everybody else, I guess. But, as he says: "A digital cable can make or break a DAC". I don't doubt it. Plus, he hates redundancy and, being a minimalist, straightwire kind of guy, I tend to agree with him on all that. I've heard of DIY'ers using, for example, copper wire on the inside of speakers for the ngative run on the tweeter and silver on the hot with great results. I don't really know of any reason why what you did with differing speaker wires shouldn't work very well, actually.
Ivan, thanks for the detailed response.
It will be no problem to keep them separated since the Clear Day cables hang low due their weight and the Mapleshade ICs are so springy, they literally 'float' around and stay clear of everything else. I've never handled a cable so easy to bend and tweak around the other wires and components.

I too, am interested in the double Helix speaker wire, thinking they could add to the bass and eliminate the bi-wiring but every time I listen, I'm just flat out amazed at what I'm hearing so leaving things as they are is in order.

I believe I read somewhere that Pierre got the idea of using such a thin wire with such a really thin coating when he was in England and some amp maker used that type of internal wiring. It worked, sounded great, and the rest is history, as they say. The guy knows his stuff.

All the best,
I know bi wiring has been done by others but does anyone know if any major make ever sold bi wire sets of speaker wire that didn't share the same sleeve/jacket?

It would make sense to, sound wise, but the looks would suffer somewhat. Considering the sound I'm now getting, I couldn't care less.

All the best,
I just bought 2 pair of the same speaker cables, one for the bass module and one for the tweeter. I then decided to try Kimber Kable 8 PR wires, bare wire from my monos to the speakers. I ended up staying with the Kimber 8 PR for the bass and keeping one pair of the Morrow Audio (silver coated copper) for the tweeter module. Yes, manufacturers package biwires together, or you can buy separate wires for two runs. In my case, using different wires yielded better results. Just buy what sounds the best to you.
Wow, five weeks to get an IC changed! You're slow! ;)

Seriously, Nonoise, glad you're having fun with wires. It opens a new world to system building, one with profound results. I would encourage you to take the next step and work with sets of cables. They do not have to be expensive, just consistent. You will find even more avenues to better sound via swapping around the entire loom of cables, including speaker cables.

Consider, if you use two cables one will be sonically superior - I find that a "better" cable is so across the fequency spectrum, not only in certain frequencies. Ergo, you would be more advantaged to have two of the better cables than one of each. This is why comparing sets is advantageous, because you can hear the holistic effect of the better cables. If you thought swapping around a couple of wires was impressive, wait until you hear what a fresh set can do! It will make the single wire change seem relatively inconsequential by.

Testimony such as yours is very valuable to the community, since there are always newbies and skeptics who have not tried even such simple changes because in principle they feel it's not worth it. You are now adding to the experiences which show that cables are critically important to tuning a rig. The difference is not small, and in fact only grows to be even more influential as the quality of the system rises.
I agree with Ivan that it would most likely be best to keep the biwired speaker cables separated from each other. They are conducting different currents and different frequencies. Twisting them together can only increase interaction between those currents, which biwiring is intended to reduce.

In saying that, I do not completely rule out the possibility that twisting them together might be subjectively preferable, but if it were I suspect it would be because of the introduction of colorations that are complementary to the sonics of the rest of the system.

Close spacing or twisting of + and - conductors that are carrying the same signal, btw, is a completely different story, and is often desirable because it reduces inductance.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks everyone!

I'm keeping them apart: don't want to mess with a good thing. I seem to have 'zero' smearing due to any kind of interaction between the highs, mids and lows.

I have this one CD (Acoustic France) where on one track, a woman walking across the stage, left to right. With every cable I had, there was a slight arc to her path, going higher as she reached the center, and going back down to the other speaker. When I first inserted the Mapleshades, she just went left to right on an even keel. When I added the Clear Day cable, nothing changed in that perception save the added body to the lower mids and bass.

There is something at work here and yes, this is the most fun I've had with my system in a very, very long time. Piano registers are very convincingly done and the instrument stays flat and parallel to the ground. Separation is the best I've experienced. This is so rewarding a gain for so little an investment.

All the best,
Nonoise, I first tried Clear Day speaker cables(reg. shot-gun) as a replacement for a set of DH Labs Q-10 speaker cables.They worked better in my system. Gone was that Hi-Fi sound that some silver coated copper cables gives you. The other copper cables I was using were from Audioquest (Gibraltar) combined with the Clear Day shot-gun everything was better, but I keep wanting to try something else besides the Audio quest.

I had a reel of Direct burial CL 3 rated speaker cables 16 awg 4 conductor. I cut 4 8ft lengths for both speakers. Two for the left and two for the right speaker. All 4 16 awg in one cable fit on a 10 awg spade with no problem. I did twist the DIY cables together to make on cables per speaker. They are twisted with the Clear Day Silver cables, but run right along with them with no problems at all.

So spade all around for this DIY cable. It replaced the Audioquest cables. Now the DIY copper cables are hooked up with the Clear Day shot-gun cables. This was the ticket to a much better sounding system. Everything was much better. No need to A/B anything. My system was full sounding and dynamic. It had a flow that was missing.That was two years ago.

Thanks Jejaudio,
I knew I wasn't imagining all of this. There seems to be a common element in all of this: the Clear Day cables and another brand of minimalist design.

All the best,
Nonoise, one thing I forgot to mention. I removed the outer jacket of the 4 conductor 16 awg DIY cable.

I have over the years of making my own speaker cables and powercords found that removing the outer jacket and braiding or twisting the conductors together can produce a much better cable sound wise. The less jacketing the better.

The Clear Day speaker cable is an example of this approach. So there is not alot of jacketing on either DIY copper cable or Clear Day cables.

I also want to clear up something in my last post. The Clear Day cables are already braided together. The DIY copper cables are twisted together. But I do not have both sets of cables twisted together. Both copper and silver cable are running right next to each other, from amp to speaker. Each speaker cable is 8ft. long.
That seems to be another common theme in the cables that seem to work for us (and others) which is a minimal dielectric or sheathing that minimizes the skin effect between the signal carrier and the protective cover.

Air seems to be the best. A loose fitting cover the next best.

Granted YMMV depending on the system those cables are in. It's always different.

All the best,