Speaker cable manufacturers


Hi all,
Not looking for recommendations specifically for a particular model of speaker cable, but looking to start by considering the companies themselves. I have a budget of $700 for a used set of 8ft pair of cables. My speakers are DIY Peerless and Sb tweeter 3 way hybrid open baffles. I want to try to avoid the cable-merry-go-round and go with a company the is generally highly regarded for making good stuff (low risk). I am considering Analysis Plus, JPS Labs. The only reason I am not considering the ultra small manufacturers is because I want to have the ability to sell later if need be and some of the really small guys don't have the recognition yet. Any additional manufacturers recommendations are welcomed
jimbones
Good bang for the buck and some what known you might want to consider:
Cerious Technologies speaker cables Nano Signature
Snake River Audio (many levels offered there)
Other wise all the major manufactures that you can easily see by looking at speaker cables listed on this website. There are so many it makes my head spin.
Lak, the manufacturers you recommend have nearly all of their products start above $1000, well above the OP's $700 budget. I'm not sure I would classify that as a "good bang for the buck".

I wouldn't dismiss the smaller companies just yet, as some of them have very good reputations with very good resale values. A couple examples that come to mind are Homegrown Audio and Clear Day.

Michael
Cable company doesn't manufacturers wires. they buy wire to make the cable, they manipulate the wires differently to create different sound. I've been using Clear Day and Connex Audio solid core 100% silver cable for many years and never thought of selling them. After all, Silver is less resistance and the best conductor known to man?
The companies I mentioned can be purchased new or used for $700 or less I believe. Just trying to add a bit of detention into the mix vs. the bigger better known companies.
When it comes to silver cables, don't forget Tempo Electric. They are well within your budget if you go with bare connectors.

All the best,
Nonoise
Thanks for the recommendations. Some of the companies I am not familiar with. I agree that they don't make the wire due to tooling costs, but some of the wire construction, shapes are unique. I guess the only way to find out is to try it. :)
The Big Silver Oval is proven, "sure bet." I've got them on my mains, and they simply get out of the way of the music. They made more than one iteration. Try to find the latest(IF you can find someone, willing to part with them): (http://www.analysis-plus.com/prod_spkrcable.html)
Most of these small cable companies sprouted up as a result of the work and study by Kimber, Audioquest, Tara Labs, Cardas and a few others. I'd stick with those guys if you want resale opportunity at anything close to what you are going to spend to "audition" them.

There are a lot of variables involved in cable selection and what you may ultimately enjoy listening through. You might discover that price has absolutely no bearing on what you like. Add to the mix the fact that some cables take several hundred hours to stablize and reveal their true character and you have a real chore on your hands.

Having tried many, many cables from different companies over the years, I've reached my own conclusions on what I consider to be the "house" sound of the big guys. I suspect that has a lot to do with their cable design theory, whether stranded, solid core, rectangular solid core, golden ratio, spread spectrum technology and so on and so on.

As you progress through their line, you mostly increase the size of the concuctors and that effects their inductance, capacitance and reactance that will impart a signature between the speaker and the amp, in the case of speaker wire.

In my opinion, you really have to listen through a lot of different cables for hundreds of hours to really get a handle on their signatures. If someone isn't willing to do that, and who could blame them, it's really not a very worthwhile expenditure of time and money and more of a roll of the dice on what to pick. And that's just for one amp and speaker combination!

Good luck. Ha!
Kimber 12TC

Good Listening

Peter
I guess I would ask what musical attributes are you looking for? How do you feel your system is lacking? Are you looking for cables that provide more power and fullness, or cables with more speed and resolution? Also, do you prefer a more immediate presentation, or a more laid back soundstage? Front row or mid hall?

You cannot have it all, no matter what others may say. It's all a matter of balancing the sound to suit your tastes. Some do it with equipment, some do it with cables.

Before we can give you proper directions, we need to know what direction you wish to head in, east or west.

Cheers,
John
WyWires...Blue would be in your budget
JMC,I am currently using Music Hose 750. It is too forward sounding and a tad bright and not as clear/clean as a a QED Silver Genesis that I demoed in my system. The MH is quite old by todays standards. I am looking for more laid back smoother and cleaner sound. I was thinking about the Oval 9 or the Oval Silver 2.
Jimbones, you say that you found the MIT MH750 not be clean/clear, which I agree with, however, you also say that you found it to sound forward and bright, which does not jive at all with my memory of this cable. It had a large, deep stage, but was a bit darker sounding.

Anyway, if you are looking for a laid back sound, I would skip the Analysis Plus cables. I found them to be very clear with good tonal balance, but very forward sounding cables, perhaps the most forward sounding cables I've heard. I had the Solo Crystal Oval 8's. You say that you are looking for laid back, smoother and cleaner sound. In my experiences, laid back and cleaner generally do not go hand in hand. They are heading in opposite directions. Cleaner sound generally occurs when the leading edge of the transient is quick, these cables also tend to have a quicker decay of the note as well, which leads to a cleaner sounding, more immediate (forward) presentation. The cables that sound laid back, which offer good stage depth, offer a slower, more natural decay of the note, though the downside is that they also are not as quick on the leading edge transient of the note. Just as one cannot find a full, warm cable that is also articulate and fast, laid back and cleaner tend to drive you in opposite directions.

If cleaner is your top priority, then the Analysis Plus may work for you, as they are smooth and clean, yet NOT laid back. You may want to try Tara Labs, Purist Audio, or Stealth if you want laid back. The Tara Labs and Stealth will be cleaner, though if you found the MIT cable to be bright, you may also find Tara Labs and Stealth to sound bright. Hell, even Analysis Plus will sound bright compared to my experiences with MIT cables. MIT are much like Cardas and Purist Audio, known for their fuller, deep 3 dimensional stages, yet rather dark sounding with some gear.
If your speakers are DIY have you considered DIY cables? Assuming you chose quality cable to wire the drivers in the speakers you could build speaker cables from the same wire.
Timrhu, yes I wired the speakers with OFC wire and Jantzen caps etc.

JC: When I say forward, I mean that the midrange sounded "louder and not clean" which gave it a more forward presence. When I demoed my friends QED Genesis silver it was smooth. And because is it tame in the midrange it did not call attention to itself making it sound more laid back but in reality was probably just cleaner. Not sure if my explanation makes sense. From my past experience (a long time ago) with silver is it usually sounded dry, brittle and edgy. Not so with the QED. Now since the QED is not found so easily in the USA I considered another silver cable. Another option is the copper Oval 9.
Cabledyne. Within your budget.
Well, since you seem to enjoy the QED, which is actually silver plated copper, not silver, you may look at other cables with similar conductors. Nordost and Audio Horizons offer silver plated copper conductors, among others I'm sure, but these are the only two silver plated copper cables that I've used. I wouldn't call either one of these smooth, but they are very revealing. Personally, I find these cables too bright for me, I think even pure silver is a bit smoother than silver plated copper, but as always, YMMV.

I see we have different ideas of forward sound. My idea of forward sound is a sound-stage that places you in the front row versus one with a more mid hall perspective. You describe a highlighted midrange band, which does sound more like the MIT cables that I've heard. MIT does have a deep 3D stage though, it is not a forward presentation in my sense, like the AP cables are. Some folks love that immediate, front row energy. I prefer a deeper more 3 dimensional stage.
I prefer the deeper sound stage, not front row. Now the MIT that I have is pretty old so i don't know what the current stuff sounds like. Nordost is very expensive
After owning most of the big name cable brands over the years, and recently concluding that Mapleshade were my preferred cable, on a lark I bought a pair of level 3 Anti Cables and they are much improved over the Mapleshades. They connect Manley NEO 250 monoblocks to Thiel CS6.
Nordost top stuff is very expensive, as is MIT's, Purist Audio, Tara Labs, Analysis Plus and many others. You could probably get a used pair of Nordost Heimdall in your price range if you want though. Very clear and revealing, with a nice deep stage. Smooth it is not though, you may find it a tad bright.
Ha ha JMC, everything is bright and not smooth to you, (I'm teasing you). Are clear, detailed and smooth mutually exclusive? Can something be detailed AND smooth? If so what cable has those?. my guess is that it may be revealing a not so great preamp/amo/source. (BTW my set uo is a AR SP8/Aragon 4004 mkII/Burson Conductor/Emotiva ERC-3 transport
Hi Jimbones

How about Morrow Audio SP5 speaker cables? Morrow Audio often has a used inventory on their official site at a discount. They periodically have discount offers ranging from 10% to 30% off the already lowered price. I think the Morrow Audio cables could fit your needs. I have the Morrow Audio SP3 speaker wire with various cabling from other manufacturers throughout my system that I find clear and detailed enough for me but also smooth. The smoothing may have been done though due to a majority tube front end. I have a phono tube preamp and a tube buffer for digital duties.
Detailed and smooth are rather exclusive, as you get more detail, you get less smooth.
Ahhh, CableDyne offers a silver cable similar to the Analysis Oval silver 2 and they offer a trial period with money back. I think i have found something here.
I second Purist Audio, maybe you are lucky to pick up an used pair of Venustas slightly above your budget. HiDiamond is well rounded and their D7 falls into your budget.
Both are excellent, no fatigue at all.

Re NordOst, I would try their current version to avoid the sharp edges they sometimes display. Heimdall(2) may indeed be the sweet spot for you.

AS you have DIYed your own speakers, I trust you use prime quality parts for the cross over, otherwise I would (re)start there.
Jedinite,

I am currently using Morrow SP2 for the high frequency run to my bi-wireable speakers. Before the Morrow, I had Anti-cables, and it seemed the Morrow was far superior for high frequencies.
Jazz, absolutely!! UPOCC wire, Jantzen coils and caps, Cardas Solder and solid copper posts etc.

The one advantage i have is since these are my speakers i can tailor the sound if it is too hot on the high end or mids. etc.
Caps have the highest impact and one should buy the best ones can afford (Mundorf Silver/Gold/Oil is also an alternative, Duelund being the best and most expensive), then binding posts, then resistors if one wants to go all the way. I haven't replaced coils yet.

Very important and often neglected is isolation under the speakers. My vote goes to Symposium for best value for money and Stillpoints Ultra SS or Five for the best results.
OK Cabledyne order is in. I purchased the silver series. I hope they sound good. I would hate to have to return them. Should have them in a week.
Detailed and smooth are not mutually exclusive, the answer is called "low distortion", which gives more true detail but also less fatigue and greater smoothness....on "smooth" sound sources.
System synergy matters ..... Big time.

Your search for quality speaker cables is a synergy alchemy that must
include the effects on all of : your electronics , your speakers , your other
cables (ICs and power), and your room particulars .

It will involve a hands-on actual test-drive experimentation at some point .
Your risk of a "bad" choice will likely diminish by sticking to the larger
manufacturers.

In any case, any "blind" ad hoc arbitrary $$ budget ceiling solicitation
alone without
consideration to the above will only get you heavily biased personal value
judgements with negligible assurance that they will actually sound good in
YOUR actual system
OK so I have only about 50 hrs on the new Cabledyne cable and switched back to the MIT 750's and here is what i find. The Cabledyne is cleaner and has more hi end energy. It is not fatiguing, no edge at all. (sometimes more hi end means fatigue) Instruments seem more life like. The differences are subtle but are there. I need more time with them but that is the preliminary observations.
Hi all,
I have been a big fan of the Audience AU24 "e" line of cables but are out of your budget I know. HOWEVER, last year I decided, after speaking with a different manufacturer that I would try some new cables. The Audience are obviously very good cables but I thought ultimately that I could find a better cable in terms of absolute transparency. These new cables were less than half the price of my then reference AU24 power cords and Au24"e" interconnects. When I put these new cables in starting with interconnects there was an immediate improvement in clarity, spaciousness and presence... and tonal balance (something the Audience was a bit lacking in). As it turned out after 10 or so hrs of continuous play a new level effortlessness, scale and 3D imaging became easily distinguishable the likes of which were new to me in my system. Now with well over 200 hrs I believe I have found my transparency holy grail... at least for the moment. The reference power cord from this manufacturer was another story altogether. After having several hundred hours on it and thinking it already better than the Audience AU24 at more than double the price, it wasn't until I drove some friends speakers with a more difficult load (4 ohm instead of my 8 ohm) speakers for a few days continuously that the power cord really left what I thought a power cord could do in the dust with its huge, powerful, effortless, TRANSPARENT, detail, smooth fully realized potential.

The cables are ZENTARA. USA made by a real accredited electrical and materials engineer with a tremendous resume. All his reference level products are priced at right around a grand. I Hope this is a helpful addition to the discussion.
Hi all,
I have been a big fan of the Audience AU24 "e" line of cables but are out of your budget I know. HOWEVER, last year I decided, after speaking with a different manufacturer that I would try some new cables. The Audience are obviously very good cables but I thought ultimately that I could find a better cable in terms of absolute transparency. These new cables were less than half the price of my then reference AU24 power cords and Au24"e" interconnects. When I put these new cables in starting with interconnects there was an immediate improvement in clarity, spaciousness and presence... and tonal balance (something the Audience was a bit lacking in). As it turned out after 10 or so hrs of continuous play a new level effortlessness, scale and 3D imaging became easily distinguishable the likes of which were new to me in my system. Now with well over 200 hrs I believe I have found my transparency holy grail... at least for the moment. The reference power cord from this manufacturer was another story altogether. After having several hundred hours on it and thinking it already better than the Audience AU24 at more than double the price, it wasn't until I drove some friends speakers with a more difficult load (4 ohm instead of my 8 ohm) speakers for a few days continuously that the power cord really left what I thought a power cord could do in the dust with its huge, powerful, effortless, TRANSPARENT, detailed, smooth, fully realized potential.

The cables are ZENTARA. USA made by a real accredited electrical and materials engineer with a tremendous resume. All his reference level products are priced at right around a grand. I hope this is a helpful addition to the discussion.
Ok so here is the results of my audition period with Cabledyne Silver reference Speaker Cables"
The Cabledyne speaker cables are beautifuly made. Somewhat thinner than I expected and very user friendly.
The SQ was detailed & clean on the hi end, more pronounced bass than I expected but NOT bloated. However the sound was forward, can be a bit too much.

My current cable is MIT MusicHose 750. It was not as clean and detailed but very close. Leaner in the bass but not thin sounding either. The biggie here is that the MIT sounded more relaxed, more condusive to longer listening sessions, lower fatigue.
In the end I returned the Cabledyne, only becuase it wasn't better than my current cable. If I had nothing to compare to I probably would have ended up keeping it. I really wanted it to make an improvement so my search continues but I am doubtful of finding anything.
JPS Ultraconductor speaker cables posses the qualities you seek and for pennies on the dollar. Smooth liquid huge bass and delicate highs without harshness and a nice wide and deep detailed soundstage. There was a pair on here for sale about a week ago for $135! I actually use the dual bi-wire version which my or my not sound the same but if they sound like mine then you might have found your holy grail for very little investment.

I run (8 ps audio noise harvesters in room and everything through a passive bybee TAD power conditioner) oppo 95> vtl deluxe tube pre> bel canto evo6> Magnepan 2.6r (original xovers but bypassing the binding post plate) using all JPS cabling including power cables. NO HARSHNESS AT ALL, ONLY CRYSTALLINE HIGHS, LIQUID MIDRANGE AND SUPER TIGHT POWERFULL BASS!

Everything is system dependent but in my system they sing!
like crack cocaine :)
May I suggest a test drive of the Transparent Audio equivalent?
is there a specific "model"? I'm open to it as long as the price isn't crazy
Jimbones,

It'd depend on your budget. What are u lookin' to spend?
600 dollars
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649078515-1_pair_of_transparent_audio_musicwave_plus_speaker_cables_spadespade_10ft_version_mm1/images/620904/
Or: http://store.transparentcable.com/audio/musiclink-musicwave/
I think a used pair of Acoustic Zen Satoris might deliver just what you're looking for. Nicely detailed with plenty of air but not hard or etched sounding, plenty of tonal weight and density without sounding too thick or overdone, and a deep holographic soundstage when it's in the recording. And you should be able to sell them at little/no loss if they're not to your liking, but I'd highly doubt that will be the case. Best of luck.
Jim,
I heartly recommend the Clear Day double shotguns. I switched from a hybrid Copper-Silver cables to Clear Day's all Silvers and the difference is absolutely amazing, to say the least. I have yet to update my system page.
All I can say is, talk to Paul at Clear Day and let him know your requirements. Depending on your speaker effieincy he can suggest you one of his combinations. You also don't have to provide your credit card details if you decide to audition the cables. Paul will simply send you the cables. If you don't like them, simply pack them in the same box that you received, and ship back to Paul. All you would loose would be the $7 in shipping the cables back.
As far as small companies are concerned - my Signal Cables were sold in less than 12 hours after I posted them on audiogon. Good Luck!
What did you decide?
neotech
Hey all. A good deal came up on an amp so I purchased and amp. I have to get back to cables as soon as I save some $$.
What amp did purchase?
Modwright KWA 100 SE