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 Post subject: Homebrew speaker cables
PostPosted: March 28th, 2022, 8:48 pm 
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Joined: June 4th, 2013, 2:39 pm
Posts: 489
For over twenty years I've used a pair of bi-wire Acoustic Zen cables, which I picked up somewhere from someone, with my ProAcs. I've always liked them, and so does Tanya, who's always discouraged swapping them out. Over time I've tried some affordable substitutes only to be disappointed. But lately I've felt that they're really holding the system back as I've made other improvements. The bass, especially, seemed weak and ill-defined. I've always blamed my homebrew amps but at this point they really can't be the problem. Friday I decided to take a chance and went to Home Depot with some ideas in mind. Based on nothing more than intuition, I got some 8 gauge stranded electrical cable for the mid-woofers and a roll of copper, 5-conductor sprinkler wire for the tweeters. I paralleled two pairs of the sprinkler wires and left the fifth one out. On the amp end I use heavy-duty copper offset lugs that have a screw clamp to hold very large gauge wire. I snip the the ends to make spade-like connectors.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial- ... /310741784

The results exceeded my wildest expectation. The bass is deep and punchy, absolving my Williamson amps of any blame, the mids are amazingly transparent, and the highs are completely natural, no brightness or edginess. Very balanced and even presentation. The soundstage goes much deeper, dynamics are exceptional, and the spatial relationships between intruments and voices in the recording space are clearly laid out.. I was loathe the believe my own ears, but fortunately my listening pal from Blackstone came over Saturday and was blown away by the improvement--and I completely trust his ears.

I just thought I'd mention it in case someone is looking for an effective and affordable bi-wiring arrangement. All systems are different, of course, but for around $60 I'm more than happy. For single-wiring I'd suggest paralleling the two sets, but I haven't tried it myself. I would think it would work well.


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PostPosted: March 28th, 2022, 10:07 pm 
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Joined: February 28th, 2013, 1:19 pm
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Grover,

Neat! I know Charlie uses a composite of 8 Gauge, 10 Gauge and 12 Gauge stranded THWN cable, using copper compression lugs like you described, but not bi-wired like you are doing. I also have made this up and used it years ago but ultimately wanted to have something more flexible and therefore they are not in the system currently. I really ought to dig them out and try them again.

Successful $50 DIY tweeks are great! Speaker cable can get pretty crazy in price.

David


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PostPosted: March 28th, 2022, 10:15 pm 
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 4:17 pm
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Location: Parkville, Maryland
I've been down that road of different speaker cables only to be disappointed with store-bought "audio" cables. To make a long story short -- I found nirvana with "wires" never intended for power distribution or audio.

I have a pair Andrew Heliax plenum-rated micro-wave cables running under my floor from amplifiers to speakers. And with all the upgrades I've made to my system since I installed these gems they continue to stay out of the way of my improvements.


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PostPosted: March 28th, 2022, 10:30 pm 
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Joined: June 4th, 2013, 2:39 pm
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SoundMods wrote:
I've been down that road of different speaker cables only to be disappointed with store-bought "audio" cables. To make a long story short -- I found nirvana with "wires" never intended for power distribution or audio.

I have a pair Andrew Heliax plenum-rated micro-wave cables running under my floor from amplifiers to speakers. And with all the upgrades I've made to my system since I installed these gems they continue to stay out of the way of my improvements.


Interesting! Thanks for that idea, Walt. The ProAcs *definitely* sound better biwired, hence my frustration with that added expense!


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PostPosted: March 28th, 2022, 10:31 pm 
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David McGown wrote:
Grover,

Neat! I know Charlie uses a composite of 8 Gauge, 10 Gauge and 12 Gauge stranded THWN cable, using copper compression lugs like you described, but not bi-wired like you are doing. I also have made this up and used it years ago but ultimately wanted to have something more flexible and therefore they are not in the system currently. I really ought to dig them out and try them again.

Successful $50 DIY tweeks are great! Speaker cable can get pretty crazy in price.

David


That's what I thought he used. I do like the solid copper (it's about 20 gauge) for the tweeters. This combo is not too unwieldy.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2022, 7:45 am 
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Joined: March 12th, 2013, 11:12 am
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Makes one think when people who opinions I generally respect are going to back to heavy gauge stranded wires. But after all, that was what started the cable revolution way back at the dawn of the cable wars. I tend to prefer single run per leg, solid core (often ribbon format) cables but have recently gone with multiple, smaller AWG solid core cables. Have a 2x2' box so full of DIY and commercial cables that it is difficult to pick it up. But maybe its time to try something........ completely different.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2022, 8:40 am 
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Joined: February 19th, 2017, 9:43 am
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I've been using thermostat wire for years now. I use the 18-8 which is eight solid unplated copper 18 gauge conductors. I use one cable per leg which comes out to 9 gauge. Sort of like a poor man's litz wire. And its cheap. Not terribly flexible, but not bad either. I put the two legs in techflex.

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2022, 9:28 am 
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Joined: January 15th, 2015, 7:19 am
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Location: Baltimore MD
I know that Walt's speaker cables are from left field but from what I have heard they certainly bring the best his system has to offer.
I used Dave Raden's thermostat wire for quite awhile until someone gave be a nice piece of litz wire that has the equivalent of at least 12ga if not more. Must be over 300 individual connectors. My run is very short six feet.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2022, 9:29 am 
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Joined: June 4th, 2013, 2:39 pm
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TubeDriver wrote:
Have a 2x2' box so full of DIY and commercial cables that it is difficult to pick it up.


Yeah, me too. Something came together with this combination and it just works. I was really prepared fo it not to.


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