Speaker cable vibration?


After trial and error, I discovered that a certain 'edginess' and lack of coherence I was hearing from my speakers was due in part to the physical vibration of the speaker cable and connectors. As music was playing, I felt the connectors where they connected to the binding posts, and they had significant vibration, in direct relation to what the drivers were doing. Also, to a lesser degree but in the same vein, the speaker cable itself was also vibrating.

I then tried damping the the cable and connectors with very DIY items from Home Depot -- pipe insulation and felt washers for sinks. The result was a much tighter, smoother more natural and direct sound.

I am in the middle just now of receiving different speakers after selling off the ones I was using. I have wondered if poor binding post insulation was the culprit, and will find out more definitively once I try the new speakers and see if vibrating binding posts are still an issue.

I bring this up, because:
1) The issue seems significant in its affect on the sound
2) I haven't read/heard much about this before (I would think any significant source of vibration would have been jumped on by the tweak companies by now)
3) Why haven't speaker cable companies addressed this
4) Curious to hear from others

The sound has been improved, but looks-wise, I've got speaker cable wrapped in pipe insulation. Not very WAF to say the least. I do know of one company -- Acoustic Revive -- that I think has some sort of insulation in their connectors. FYI my speaker cables are thick Synergistic Research with WBT 0645 banana connectors.
tholt
I use Herbies audio lab vibration control dampers on my ic`.

It`s a start.
Just checked his site and he now offers binding post washers. I might get a set of those myself.
While they were in business Virtual Dynamics had a couple of videos on dampening cables and how to DIY.
Capt369, did you notice a difference with the Herbies in place?
Tholt, I`ve had the ic dampers in place for the past five yrs. If memory serves, I did notice a positive difference. I will do a current a/b when my amp comes back from the shop.

Herbies does offer a full money back guarantee if his products don`t work in your system.
One other thought, Have you considered re terminating w/spades? Lots of audio experts extol the sonic virtues of spades over bananas.
Thanks for starting this thread THolt and thanks Capt369 for contributing. I'm going to look into those binding post washers from Herbies. I have a pair of KEF Q300s and when I was playing music at normal levels the speaker binding posts were vibrating a bit when I touched them. I was checking to see if some tweaks I had put in place were secure and noticed the vibration. The speaker cables were secure as were the tweaks and the binding posts were screwed in tight but I felt a lot of vibration back there. I put a 5lb weight on top of each speaker but the music sounded really funny.

I don't remember if the other bookshelves I've had in the past had that much vibration/resonance in the back or in general.
Capt369 - spades vs bananas, is your comment directly related to the vibration issue or just in general? I am not debating your feedback, but would like to hear if spades have been said to ameliorate vibration over bananas
Tholt, I was speaking in general terms. Well, plus the fact that places like Herbies don`t offer speaker cable termination dampers for bananas that I`m aware of. Bobby P. of merlin speaker fame told me years ago that spades were sonically superior to bananas. It makes sense, in that, there`s more surface to surface contact.
Spades are a better connection.
Not a single person reading this can hear a difference between a spade connection and banana connection using the same cables/speakers.

Nobody.
Binding posts sould not vibrate...tighten them! Do it now! I use spades at the amp and bananas at the speaker, so any differences are cancelled out...heh heh...I do have various sorbethane based items stuck under pretty much everything but the wire (including Silverline Preludes that have Vibrapods under them...try that...it works) and that actually makes sense to me (amps and other devices vibrating less is good), where wire vibration doesn't, at least in the cable I use that has each solid wire in its own little isolation tube. What about the wire vibrating INSIDE the speaker? That has to be a horrifying nightmare of wire torture and if you imagine yourself as a tiny witness to the goings on inside a speaker box...well...it's just VERY upsetting. Wait...I need a moment to weep quietly...there...all better...The Vibrapods under the speakers keep a lot (really a lot) of sound from going into the floor which can easily be tested with your toe. Or my toe.
I didn't say a word.
Banana plugs have more mass (surface area) and sound far worse, IMO, than a low profile spade.
For once I agree w/Audiofeil
Audiofeil is wrong because apparently Sonic_genius hears a difference, and he's not shy about it. The Anti Banana movement is alive and well, and causing grief among Vandersteen and vintage Creek users. Personally, I live an open and welcoming life where Spades and Bananas can coexist in peace.
10-29-11: Audiofeil
Not a single person reading this can hear a difference between a spade connection and banana connection using the same cables/speakers.

Nobody.

But hundreds,dare I say thousands, will claim they can!!!!
'But hundreds,dare I say thousands, will claim they can!!!!'

True, and under the rules of high-end audio, their claims must be respected. To do otherwise leaves you open to the charge of being 'an inexperienced fool'. Trust me, I know from experience. :)
10-31-11: Rok2id
True, and under the rules of high-end audio, their claims must be respected. To do otherwise leaves you open to the charge of being 'an inexperienced fool'. Trust me, I know from experience. :)
Rok...I never said I didn't respect other people's claims now did I? BTW,I've been called much worse than "an inexperienced fool"!!!!
"Respecting claims" led to Tice Clocks and Mpingo discs. I can "hear" the difference between logic and myth most of the time, and claiming to hear a difference between spades and bananas makes you a "connectist".
I am surprised no one has claimed to be able to hear the little strings vibrating. The ones in string theory. Or perhaps hear stars going supernova. One member recently suggested I see a psychiatrist. I did, and she said after the lobotomy is done, I will be able to hear everything. Including wire!! Oh goody goody.
Well I found with my KEF Q300 bookshelf speakers that not only do the binding posts vibrate but the whole enclosure of the speakers vibrates when music is playing. Top, rear, sides... I know. I know. What did you think was going to happen?

I guess I'm used to the internal bracing and thicker cabinets of the bigger older KEF floor standers where you don't feel much vibration when you touch the speakers when music is playing.
Harbeth makes very expensive speakers that vibrate like crazy...part of their design.
I have found the easiest upgrade to many speakers is simply to pull the crossover out of the box. Even without updating capacitors, this generally yields a significant improvement. I assume the sound inside the box has quite a deleterious impact on crossovers.
Go see a doctor seriously. Read your post again, obsessed with your equipment rather than just listening and enjoying music.
11-30-11: Highend4me
Go see a doctor seriously. Read your post again, obsessed with your equipment rather than just listening and enjoying music.
Highend4me (Answers | This Thread)

Posted to an audiophile forum in a site that sells nothing but audio equipment, your "obsessed with equipment" comment is curious, Mr "Highend4me". Further, I think it's you who need reread my post, in particular the part where I write "The issue seems significant in its affect on the sound," and tell me how that's not related to enjoying music. But thanks for the advice. I was hoping someone with real enlightenment would finally chime in.
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I can't hear the difference but I dampen the speaker cables to impress ;odie Foster.
My g/f went to Yale with Jodie Foster...and, trust me on this, it is possible to get Jodie to vibrate.
Ah, love how this thread is going...
I would like to add that the new speakers I use now do exhibit vibration from the binding posts and through the connectors and speaker cable. Have not experimented with any damping, but my experience tells me that binding post vibration, and by extension the speaker cable itself, is common?

Since vibration is generally considered 'bad' in any component, I'm curious why this hasn't been discussed/addressed more.

Maybe I do need to see a doctor
...or see if I can get Jodie Foster's take
'Since vibration is generally considered 'bad' in any component, I'm curious why this hasn't been discussed/addressed more.'

the entire point of all this is to create vibrations. (speakers & phono cart) Aren't there are more important issues to be addressed.
The solution to vibration is to leave your system off. It lasts longer, and you're not kept up at night worried about all that damn vibration. If only all that pesky music wasn't made up of vibration...what about the wires in my 400 watt bass amp? My guitar amps...it's just too much to think about. Jodie...Jodie...
Poor Jodie, here comes another one!
I have padded nuts bigger bolts, felt, squirrel tail, anything you need to make your system sound better. Just let me know your budget.
Damn! I originally posted this as legitimate food for thought, but I should have been wearing my Sarcasm-deflecting bathrobe in hindsight. I usually have to don it whenever I call my mortgage broker, but you guys caught me off guard. Alrighty then, I'll go back to my vibrations and try to make peace with them. Who knows, maybe we'll end up baking cookies together. Thanks for keeping it real.
Rok2id - to address your specific post, I wasn't referring to speaker cones vibrating (wait, those are SUPPOSED to vibrate???), but the binding posts and the cables connected to them. Never mind.
Hey THolt

I got another pair of bookshelf speakers that have binding posts that are recessed into the speaker rather than the ones the stick out and I still did feel some vibration from the posts. Those speakers were connected via spades rather than banana plugs. For my KEF Q300 speakers that I felt vibrations from the binding posts that stick out I went to a bare wire connection and I still felt vibrations.

Have you ever spoken to any diy speaker builders or pro speaker builders in general here about the vibrations from the binding posts? If so what did they say? Also I wonder if you tried a vintage speaker with push pin connections if you would feel any types of vibration back there? Maybe in your speakers if you could put some blu tack or a piece of dynamat on the interior to absorb the vibration it would help?

Now I did talk to one audiophile who had a big dollar system about speaker cable vibrations and he combatted it with pipe insulation that he wrapped around his cables. That and some cable elevators but I don't remember what brand.

I'm guessing membership is having some fun with you and are trying to tell you not to take this issue seriously. I mean if Harbeth has speakers where there are binding posts that vibrate I'm guessing it isn't much of an issue?

I'll report back when I check my floorstanders for binding post vibrations.
'Rok2id - to address your specific post, I wasn't referring to speaker cones vibrating (wait, those are SUPPOSED to vibrate???), but the binding posts and the cables connected to them. Never mind.'

I got that. I was just sort of irritated that you would discover that the posts and cables were vibrating. How / why did you do that? How did they give themselves away?
I would think that the degree of vibrations in binding posts, cables, or anything attached to a speaker cabinet for that matter, would be in direct proportion to how solidly the speaker cabinet was constructed.

I have found, for my taste, that I end up choosing speakers with really solid enclosures like Thiel and Von Schweikert because they sound better. To me, I meant to me! Whew, that was close. And not that it matters, but Jodie was over here last night and we cranked the Von Schweikerts and the twin RELs to an uncomfortable volume, and could barely detect any vibration at all in the binding posts or speaker cables.

Jodie said casually, that in the forth dimension, she heard some really kick ass audio gear that was immune to vibrations, but that we shouldn't hold our breath because they are made with materials not currently available on Earth (apparently, shipping charges would be a bit prohibitive).

Hey Tholt, where did you get your anti-sarcasm robe? I could've used it a couple of threads ago!
I put sorbothane Vibrapods under my speakers...now MUCH less vibration goes into the floor from the main speakers so my cables seem to just lie there peacefully while moving the electrons along. They are massaged by the subwoofer a little, and I think they like that...who wouldn't?