The last time I tried using door bell wire in my system, It sounded too edgy, and I got this terrible RINGING......
(You should have known someone would have gone there!)
(You should have known someone would have gone there!)
Doorbell wire is 20awg, but thermostat wire is 18awg. Doorbell wire comes in pairs and thermostat wire comes in a variety of configurations including a pair, many odd numbered parings but also an 8 wire version.
If you took the 8-wire version, used every other wire to each of the two poles (4 wires per pole, pos and neg) then you would have an aggregate 12awg cable. The skin effect brigade will like the doorbell wire better. With that, I would use four of the twisted pairs, themselves twisted in a star-quad configuration so also 4 wires per pole, for an aggregate 14awg. Arguably, this would be the better cable of the two.
With either, use two separate runs for bi-wire. If you can find the wire with polyethylene insulation, that would be much better, IMO, than PE and even better than teflon. You could do much worse.
I don't think it was labeled specifically as "doorbell" wire, but I have used the thick solid copper "hook up" wire in braids and it worked very well.
I got some much more sophisticated speaker cables and abandoned my project, except for use as the jumpers on the speakers themselves. I think the wire is better than the brass ?? alloy the stock jumpers were made of. The speakers sound great.
Douglass_schroeder, I read your article and came away with what I've been believing for some time now: amps don't make much of a difference but cables do. It was an enjoyable read and I really felt for you.
But there's one thing that I can't get my head around and it's that the ABX tester didn't add anything to the equation. Somewhere, in the back of my head, there's this nagging suspicion that it was an equalizer of sorts since no component can be completely neutral.
We're talking small (even minute) degrees here and from what I've learned, that's
all it takes to make a difference or to mask a difference.
All the best,
Audiolabyrinth, just because some manufacturer pastes their logo on it and puts it in a fancy bag/box/aluminum case, doesn't make it particularly better. Cables consist of copper (or silver) wire, dielectric material, geometry, damping materials, shielding (or not) and connectors. I understand there is research behind most of the top cables, but there is also a lot of marketing spin and fairy dust. You don't have to pay a lot of money to get good sound. I have heard, many upper range cables from manufacturers like Purist, Cardas, Audioquest, AZ, and others and, mostly, I prefer cables I have made myself. If the OPs doorbell or thermostat wire is CDA 101 OHFC copper, and the dielectric is PE, this is about as good as is being used by many of the top cable makers. That it is solid core gives it an additional boost in my opinion. You shouldn't make the guy feel "unworthy" just because he isn't spending a bundle on cables. We will never agree because IMO the impact of a cable will never equal the impact of a component on how a system sounds.
People cannot hear the difference between cables for many reasons. It could be their system that is not resolving enough, could be their hearing instrument or just negative placebo effect since they often strongly believe, that cables cannot sound different. Often they feel defensive about inability to hear the difference (if I cannot hear, nobody can) and post questions about lamp cords or thermostat wires to find confirmation from the other people. Since wire is inexpensive just try it - If it sounds good to you then use the cheapest one, even if it is barb wire (be careful). No right or wrong here.
All I know is I can hear a significant difference between cables on my system, even 12 gauge monster cable from best buy, I can hear a difference between 5ft,6ft, 8 ft even with this cable, going from Tara Labs the one cable system to the zero gold, omega gold, cobalt power cord was a revelation I will not forget, was huge!
When the efficacy of expensive cables or tweaks is challenged by someone who might be considered to be a skeptic about such things, especially where the claimed efficacy seems unexplainable or quantitatively counter-intuitive on the basis of generally recognized science, it is common for responses to be along the lines of "if you haven't tried it, you can't have an opinion."
It seems to me that such a response would be no less applicable to those who would challenge the efficacy of specific inexpensive or DIY cables such as those being discussed here, theoretical considerations about metal purity and other factors notwithstanding.
Al, you read my minds on that one!!!!
The difference is cheap tweaks are well cheap and less risky.
Expensive tweaks are well expensive and hence more risky unless one is certain of the results beforehand, which is often NOT the case.
By definition, it is NOT the case with a "skeptic".
So one can make of it as they would from there.
05-09-15: GeoffkaitGeoff, the second sentence of your post is certainly true. However I believe that a solid core (single strand) 54 gauge wire would have a diameter of less than 1/1000th of an inch. Not sure how one could connect such a wire to speaker and amp terminals without it breaking.
Also, for any reasonable length it would have a resistance that would be absurdly high for a speaker cable application, in the vicinity of 400 ohms for the combined resistance of two 8 foot conductors. That being a good thing, because if its resistance were low enough to not severely limit the amount of current flowing through it, and to produce reasonable volume levels and sonic results, it would either melt or go up in flames as a result of the current it would be carrying. Perhaps it would do that anyway, though.
You might want to re-check your facts on the Omega Mikros.
Smaller gauge wires work fine for speaker cable, you just need to use a lot of them.
HT used 19, 24 awg OCC copper wires insulated with air formed polyethylene, per leg, in their Pro-11 plus cable. In their new line of cables, including the new version of Pro-11, they have taken to using multiple, individually insulated wires in a range of sizes from 20 to 24 awg. Not all that different from cables that could be made using multiple doorbell wires.
Al, I used to work with Pierre who runs Mapleshade and am quite sure of my facts. The Omega Mikros are the brainchild of Ron Bauman. I was exhibiting at the CES with Mapleshade and those 54 ga cables way back when. You might have missed my post where I mentioned I accidentally stepped on those particular cables. ;-). Follow?
Geoff, yes, I apparently missed the post you refer to. And your comment that you asked if I follow is subtle enough to go over my head, although my guess would be you are saying that you accidentally stepped on them and they broke.
In any event, I'll add to my previous comments that a consequence of the approximately 400 ohm combined resistance of two 8 foot lengths of 54 gauge wire would be, if used in conjunction with an 8 ohm speaker, that approximately 2% of the power being put out by the amplifier at any instant of time would be delivered to the speakers. The other 98% would be dissipated in the wires as heat. And for a 4 ohm speaker only 1% of the power output of the amp would be delivered to the speakers, with the other 99% being dissipated in the wires as heat.
Although the wires would perhaps be able to dissipate that heat without overheating, because the maximum amount of power the amplifier would be capable of putting out would be reduced from its 8 ohm power rating by an amount approaching 98% in the case of a solid state amp, or a bit less than that in the case of a tube amp.
Disclaimer: I use a Mapleshade maple platform, and Isoblock footers :-)
Peace and regards,
"Pseudo skeptic" ;-)
If a system or the owner of that system cannot hear a difference between solid core and stranded wires,then spending big bucks on expensive name brand wires is a waste of money.
Cheap bell wire used as speaker wire should sound different(less boomy)than cheap stranded wire.
All amps do not sound the same ,all wire does not sound the same.
All tubes do not sound the same, all fuses do not sound the same.
And on and on, as it should be.
If everything sounds the same, then stick with what you have and enjoy the music.
If a poor recording sounds the same as an expensive 45rpm reissue, then stick with the system you have.
If cd's sound as good as vinyl, stick with what you have.
If everything sounds the same and it's pleasing to your ears, then stick with what you have and invest no more money.
If that 1970's solid state receiver sounds better than todays best, then stick with it,and by all means use your trusty 18 gauge lamp cord for those press-wood multi drivers.
If you rely on the specs then don't even buy an audio system. Just read the sheet music.
Remember your ears are easily fooled,and snake oil is everywhere.
Still difficult to believe that different amps all sound the same if level matched. If that is true then we should all be using very inexpensive amps. You did find cables made a difference. I don't think that argues for the use of very inexpensive cables, however it wasn't clear that solid copper wire would be a bad idea.
My two cents worth is a conductor for speaker cable applications should be no smaller than 32 gauge, lol, and having enough to become 4 gauge or bigger with each negative run and positive run, and of course reasonable dielectrics to accommodate such a cable not be polluted by the sound of a lessor dielectric that most audiophile's do not know they hear!