Speaker Cable-The Best of the Cheap?

Hi all, I must confess, I've used relatively inexpensive 12ga Monster Cable for quite a few years, and is pretty much due to the four 10ft runs of cable I need in my own system.

Can someone here please recommend a similar cost, similar gauge cable that would perhaps exceed the Monster Cable's performance, and build quality?

The Cable does not have to be terminated, this I will do myself.

I'm open to all suggestions, and would also like to know who would be the best business to buy this said cable from?
Thank you all, Mark
The Orange 12ga extension cord at Home Depot.
Search "home depot" in the discussion forum here under "cable" for many comments on the subject. I recall a magazine article where it beat some much more expensive cables in a blind test.
Good luck!
kIMBER 4pr is worth a listen for better hihgs and midband reproduction,But I suppose it depends on your system and your personal listening preferences.
I have 20ft runs of Vampire Wire continuous cast(some companies market it as "single crystal") copper 12 ga. They are two separate cables(1 red, 1 black). The quality of the copper is substantially better than Monster and many other cables. Call Stuart at Sound Connections.

You could be up all night, or several nights, reading old posts in this forum on that topic. If you'll do a search on the cables suggested above and add 'Canare 4s11' to the group you'll find a lot of very useful information, and a lot of marginally useful opinion.

The answer will be, as always in these forums, 'It depends.'
I second the Canare 4S11.
Canare 4S11
Paul Speltz' Anti-Cables at $60 for a 6ft pair. Without doubt and without any dependencies.
I also 2nd the motion on the Canare 4s11.
Sorry, you also asked about sources for cable. The Canare 4s11 is available at http://www.markertek.com/index.asp for $.69 a foot.

Markertek has a huge site that's difficult to navigate and sports one of the worst search engines I've ever encountered but if you'll type '4s11' into the search box at the top of the home page it should get you there. There are also two smaller gauge variants of the 4s11, 4s8 and 4s6, that might work for some applications.
The Home Depot wire mentioned above and praised in a review in The Abolute Sound is sold as 14 ga (not 12 ga) outdoor extension cord.. It's orange with a black stripe. I started using it more than a year ago and have been extremely pleased with it, especially since I started configuring it in "shotgun" fashion -- one entire 3-conductor cable in the forward/+/black direction and another in the return/-red link. I used to use $500 speaker cables but like this stuff better. It's also replaced almost all the pricy detachable power cords in my system with equally positive results. Good luck, Dave
Go for the Canare 4S11. Great cable for the price.
Thanks for the correction (14ga, not 12) to my gauge comment on the Home Depot wire. And also for your power cord comment too. I haven't tried that yet. And I further agree with your assesment of the performance of the HD wire. I use better stuff in my 2-channel 300B based system (Stealth UR_$1600 list price) but the HD wire does a nice job in my Home Theatre system and I've had NO desire to change it since trying it. And it's certainly anti-TRIP/easy to SEE. :-)
Good listening!
You might want to consider Audioquest Type 2 or 4. Very good sounding inexpensive cables.
Hi All, Many good recommendations thank you.
The Canare 4S11 sounds interesting, and at the .69 a ft sounds mighty reasonable enough.

As I see, the Canare 4S11 is a 4 conductor Cable, which each wire strand being said to be 14ga.

I just need to terminate with two Spades on either end.
Since I have vintage Mac gear, with the horribly tiny Terminal Strips, I was thinking of Purchasing Cardas Spade Lugs, the ones specifically designed for Vintage Mac Gear, and then larger Spades at the Speaker Ends, As I have upgraded Edison-Price large solid copper 5-Way Terminals on my JBL Speakers.

Is there any special way to properly terminate these Canare 4 conductor Cables, or no? Does it matter which two are combined to be crimped-soldered to each of the lugs? I would assume also, that two 14ga Wires combined per lug would have superior performace-
less loss versus one 12 ga wire? Correct? Mark
Connect the white/clear white and red/clear red on the 4S11. Use crimping sleeves and a crimping tool. Easy.
It'll be obvious when you see the cable.
Myraj, this stuff is altogether TOO easy to see. I finally covered mine neatly in black Techflex and damned if it doesn't look exactly like REAL cable (sounds like it, too). Dave
Combining the two 14-gauge connectors by crimping or soldering them together to one terminal will give you the equivalent of an 11 gauge conductor, one 'size' bigger than 12 gauge.
Since you have 12ga and want an improvement then by all means go to 10ga wires. This will have lower overall resistance than your monster cables by about 30%....although 30% improvement on a very small number is still a small number and of only incremental benefit - hardly worth it. (Compare this to the fact that 12ga is more than twice as conductive as 16 ga, arguably a worthwhile improvement for longer wire runs)

The comments above are according to electrical engineering and ABX blind testing, which say that the differences are likely to be imperceptable in almost all cases - call this the rational view.

Testimonials from many audiophiles, cable manufacturers and Hi-Fi shop floor salesman often tend to contradict science and blind tests; call this the irrational or anecdotal view ( a view which makes people worry that what they have is not good enough). Going for big or better speaker wires would remove the irrational fear of degradation in sound from lesser quality "cheap" cables.

I don't think it matters which view, rational or irrational, is correct (who knows, there will always be debate), but it certainly matters if the irrational fear affects your listening enjoyment even when you know you have what should be rationally good enough cables, in which case it is probably worthwhile addressing. (This is akin to the sports athlete who carries Mom's letter in his sock and wins....it doesn't matter that the letter has no scientific basis for improvement if it works)

However, if you bring yourself to accept the rational view then you can save some money and put it towards an improvement elsewhere.
Understood Shadorne, I agree, and there must be a point in which there are diminishing returns.

Just like audio gear, a $1,000 Speaker Cable will no doubt NOT sound 10 times better than a $100 one.

Yep, I've seen the Garden Hose sized varieties from the likes of Transparent, Cardas, Synergistic, etc and then almost have a heart attack when I learn of the price per a very short 6'-8' pair.

Sure, I understand the shielding added, sheaths,pretty shrink wrap, high grade connectors, even read about the water cables once!, but there must be a point where very little is gained with these very typical short runs of 6'.

Although Monster is probably the biggest name in Cabling, I have really never read much good about them, and they no doubt invest quite a bit more money into advertising, rather than into the quality of the products they sell.

The Canare sounds like a good way to go. Unfortunately, the terminations I would like (Cardas Spades both ends) will actually wind up costing more than the bare cable itself.

Still, with a little care, and patience on assembly, and good terminations, I would be willing to bet I'll see an improvement with the Canare 4s11-Cardas, versus Monster 12ga and Monster terminations. Thanks all, Mark
Sorry, that should've read "hear an improvement" lol
if anyone can spare 10' total of the canare 4s11, please email me privately as i really don't need enough wire to justify an order.

Markd51 you said, "Just like audio gear, a $1,000 Speaker Cable will no doubt NOT sound 10 times better than a $100 one."

Don't believe everything you hear.

The performance of a $100 pair of Paul Speltz Anti-ics made my $3500 ics sound quite veiled in the highs and bloated in the bass. But then a $600 pair of ics that I currently own provide a very good performance improvement over the Anti-ICs not to mention a bit of added musicality.

There simply is no hard and fast rule when it comes to cost v. performance. In fact the best adage to start clinging to is, "One must spend a lot of money to realize one doesn't have to spend a lot of money."

That's true of any hobby and this one being no exception.

I still say the Paul Speltz cables may be the best buy of this decade in high-end audio.

Spend a bit more and contact Greg Straly fro reality cables
One question I have concerning DIY construction, whether the Canare 4s11, or other DIY Cables, do some of you go to the extent of also sheathing the cable?

I've seen some pics of the Canare 4s11 just terminated, and heat shrinked, and it looks good, yet sheathing would add some "boutiqueness" I suppose.

Does anyone have any recommendations on Sheathing, what types are available, what will be the improvements gained, and where can one buy good sheathing, which is also reasonable in cost? Sorry for all the questions, but I suppose one never learns if one doesn't ask!
Thank you! mark
If by sheathing you are referring to the outer expandable braided sleeving, then CableOrganizer.com is a great source, and the sleeving comes in a wide variety of colors.

IMO, it doesn't do a thing to the sound of the cord, but it makes them more cosmetically appealing.

Also, Ramelectronics.net is a good source for speaker terminations, crimping sleeves and crimp tools.
"Just like audio gear, a $1,000 Speaker Cable will no doubt NOT sound 10 times better than a $100 one."
I cringe when I read that argument, which I've even seen in professional reviews. The relationship between price and performance is not linear and who would ever expect it to be? Of course it's all diminshing returns! The question is not whether a $1,000 cable sounds 10 times better than a $100 cable, it is whether it sounds $900 better TO YOU.

Off soapbox, and not meant as a snipe at Markd51.
The soft gray finish of the 4s11 is reasonably attractive and I've never bothered to sheath it but it's certainly a possibility if you want to make the cable less obtrusive by matching a carpet color, for instance, or more obtrusive if you're making some kind of fashion statement.

The brand of sheathing you most often see is Techflex. You can google that and find lots of information and sources. One easy source is Parts Express but there are many others.
Yes Drubin, you are correct in what you say, and it was a poor anology for myself to use-say. (I should know better!)

My goal at this point is to DIY four 10 foot runs of good, but inexpensive cable that will run from 2 main amps, to 4 speakers. At this point in time, I'm on a bit of a limited budget unfortunately.

Because of this, I think most will understand why I'm trying to keep costs very reasonable.

Some really great advice you all have given, and I thank you all again for your wonderful input, advice, and opinions! Mark