I have used Tara Labs Space and Time TFA Return II speaker wire for many years. Cable Company still sells a 10 foot pair for like $100. Your can order longer lengths. Call me fool, but I have auditioned speaker wires from Cable Company at 3 - 4 times the cost of these Tara cables, even Tara's newer designs and more expensive speaker cables, and I still prefer the TFA. Oh I hear the differences. The Space and Time is what gives me the most realistic sound though. Really depends on your system, tastes, expectations, etc more than anything else. Some guys like a recessed sound, or there system needs help in creating a large soundstage. My Magnaplaner speakers do that for me by design, so I do not need cables that accentuate in a false way the scale of the performance. Overall, I do prefer a more upfront presentation (row 25) rather than row 100.
I think it is very system dependant, but one last thought of mine is this: Interconnects are more important than speaker wire in my opinion. In other words, I have used just plain old thick Monster Cable copper wire available anywhere, and used interconnects of $250 - $500 range with greater effect on the improvement in sound, than spending $250 each respectively on speaker wire, each pair of interconnect, etc. in relation to a budget.
I have had alot of different setups in the last 21 years, and these thoughts always seem to ring true in each system. I have had affordable $2000 hi fi setups, and $25,000 setups.
Just my two cents.
By the way, I may just be the lucky one out there, but I have had no financially justifiable results with aftermarket power cords either. Yes, I can hear a change, but not in a positive manner or a justifiable cost sort of way. I HAVE seen a benefit from dedicated electrical lines from the circuit box. All this probably has alot more to do with the "quality" of the power in your area than anything else, # of factories, etc.
Happy Listening, write if ?'s
AlphaCore Goertz MI-2 Veracity cables are excellent copper cables for the cost. They should be within your budget.
Don't laugh, but recently Absolute Sound did a speaker cable shootout. One of the entries was a pair of cables homemade from 10 gauge extension cord from Home Depot. It did extremely well. It's a lot cheaper than commercial stuff, and pretty cheap to try out.
I am currently using HOME DEPOT cables. The minimum is to try them out. Just pick out the cables an twist them together about 2 twists per inch and then sit down and demo them. You can break them in by using them in a electrical curcuit first if you prefer, for instance using them with a lightbulb or some sort of resistor. I have used the #6, #10 and #16 gauge depending on run length and multiple twists. For instance on the #16 I used 4 wires braided much like a hair braid. It was fun but also inexpensive to try, and it worked for me. I only have 20 watts a channel though.
The Home Depot wire was actually 14 gauge outdoor extension cord rather than 10 gauge and was reviewed by Paul Seydor of TAS. It will cost you next to nothing to try it. I use an entire cable (3 conductors) in the forward/+/"red" direction (i.e., from amp to speaker) and a second cable in the reverse/-/"black" direction. I terminate them with the thickest gold spades I can find at Radio Shack (their house brand). Mine have replaced a variety of $500+ cables and pretty much slaughtered some $1200 ones in a friend's system. If you like the way it sounds, you can then invest in some black "Techflex" to cover the garish (orange with black stripe) Home Depot stuff. Good luck, Dave
PS If you're not rolling your eyes at this point, you might try running the "+" cable in direction of the embossed lettering on the cable jacket, and the "-" link in the opposite direction. Believe it or not, this stuff does seem to be directional.
12AWG CL-3 rated OFC installation cable to the woofers (it's really cheap).
Whatever you are currently using to the mid/tweet.
I could be completely wrong as I've only seen pictures of the Spelz cables, but one of the concerns I had when considering them was they appear to be bare wire with little if any insulation on them. In my real world setup with wires running everywhere, next to each and behind the TV, my concern was one of the spelz cables picking up lots of interference. Could this be an issue? FWIW I use Kimber 8TC and am very satisfied and it won't break the bank.
Try the Star quad Canare cable in 14 AWG. Already twisted pair and acceptable looking (.65/ft). Pretty decent all around cable for the $.
If your handy, try the Jon Risch CC89259 cable recipe. It will cost close to 100$ for an 8ft pair with techflex and good terminators. But it really kicks butt. I'm about to unload my Transparent ultra XL biwires for a double run of this stuff. (plinius SA 250 MK IV into Martin Logan Requests).
If you are not into building your own cabels, Element Cable pretty much utlizes the Jon Risch recipe on their twisted pair speaker cable. 18 foot run would be somewhere in the $275 - $350 range.
I use Luminous Audio Renaissance speaker cables www.luminousaudio.com they are reasonably priced cables. If you want to bi-wire you will need 2 runs per channel as they be can't be bi-wired internally. I have put these cables up against Analysis Plus Oval 9, Kimber 8TC&4TC combo, and PS Audio xStream bi-wire. The luminous cables have always come through with a much warmer sound than the others...
The HD cable is something you can get and make for next to nothing (I did it), but I wouldn't seriously consider using it as my standard cable for my system. Maybe as a hold over cable until I got better or different cables, etc.
The HD has alot of grain and grit to it. With the prices of DH, Signal, Kimber, Alpha Core, etc. being pretty low and being much better than HD stuff, these are where the "bang for the buck" really is.
Grain? Grit? Sounded a lot better to me than some $1200 stuff -- to its (former) owner too. I like it better between SET monoblocks and Gallo Reference 3 speakers than anything else I've tried. You may too. Or you may not. Dave
I'll second the Home Depot 6AWG power wire, it's cheap and i've had many people tell me it sounds great. Thousand dollar cables are insane!
Thanks to everyone so far. You have given me great suggestions. Looks like I'll have to try a few of these out!
I understand why the SpeltZ did not work with your
speakers, If I were you I will use strands,not
I would say that 12 GA. magnet wire that has been braided is one of the best bang for your buck speaker cables and you can improve them alot more by putting QuickSilver GOLD contact enhancer on them. This is a major break-through product that people are going to be talking about for a long time to come!
Jayctoy, since you understand why the anticables did not work well can you explain it to me? Because of the inductance factor I understand the rolled off upper mids and highs, but what about the powered 14" subs? They aren't moving the air they should either.
I've always felt that signal degradation had something to do with it on the 18ft runs. One of the guys at the Cable Company once suggested to me that the subs are not getting all the signal.
soundstring.......very neutral and great resolution and extension... state of art at a dirt cheap price.. have to spend a lot more to do better..