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Honest no-foo speaker cable question

Discussion in 'audio' started by deebster, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Currently using 2 x 5m lengths of Chord Sarsen, which is quite a thin cable and from reading a few threads have picked up comments about using something of 2.5mm or larger cross-section, especially for longer runs.

    So the simple question is, would I potentially hear any improvement in using something a bit thicker?

    No complaints with what I have but as I could do with an extra metre I was thinking of changing. Only interested in the basics, so was looking at Van Damme blue 2.5mm or similar.

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    Don’t buy the 2.5, buy the 4mm and yes, the thicker cable will sound obviously better/different than the thin.
    whatsnext likes this.
  3. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I'll endorse the choice of Van Damme. I'm using the 4mm Blue. No nonsense cable which works. I'm quite capable of making this stuff up into what I need, but being a lazy sod these days I got Mark Grant to do mine.
    Here's his site.. though it looks like he doesn't offer the 'blue' anymore.

    zippy and whatsnext like this.
  4. early

    early pfm Member

    westsea likes this.
  5. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    i use the 2.5 mm van damme and 6mm van damme . not a huge difference and very happy with 2.5mm from mark grant
    whatsnext likes this.
  6. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    Copper wire at 2.5mm diameter has a resistance of 3.5 Ohm per Kilometer. Um whats that er 0.0035 Ohm per meter. Whats the impedance of yer speeka? Typically 4 to 8 Ohms so what effect do you think dropping this resistance to a lower value will have on speaker performance - zilch. You'll find that the changes of speaker load with changing temperature will completely swamp any resistance of these cables.

    What can affect the sound with certain amps like the old Naims is the inductance of the cable i.e. how many twists per meter or so.


  7. demotivated

    demotivated pfm Member

    Thicker cables give a drier bass due to less resistance [more damping]. Bigger effect with bass reflex and long lengths. I would try thick vs thin to see what works best. Usually very audible
  8. whatsnext

    whatsnext Naimless

    I tried a speaker cable that was much thinner than what I was using. Many were speaking of amazing things from this cable. The bass was so dry it was like a desert. I patently awaited the much spoken of ‘burning in’. Perhaps because of the desert it never changed. I sold them as soon as I could. Thankfully the purchaser was happy.
  9. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    I use 4mm van damme..the 6 did nought that i could hear in my system and is a bit unweildy to boot. Mull's link to markGrant looks perfect tho mine came from Paul at Wychwood audio. Good plugs are worth paying for.
  10. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    Check the dc/lf resistance of the actual speakers to assess this. In practice the speaker resistance may well be over and Ohm. That's in series with the actual 'damping'. So if the cable resistance is well below an Ohm it will make no real difference to this.

    More likely is cable resistance + inductance interacts with the speaker load versus frequency variations (as shown in many reviews) to slightly alter the overall frequency response (an to a small extent, distortion).

    However if you're using a low-feedback valve amp or traditional Naim design the output impedance of the amp will have more effect in most cases.

    Outcome as DV suggests for most real cases.
  11. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Using Van Damme LCOFC 6mm myself, I didn't perceive any difference between it & my previous QED silver anniversary cable but then again I am a little sceptical about these things so wasn't necessarily expecting to. It is spectacular VFM compared to most foo speaker cable & should comfortably survive a nuclear blast. Before anyone asks why I bought new speaker cable if I wasn't expecting to hear any difference the answer is I wanted the QED cable for my JR149s as the standard cable that was fitted was looking a bit scruffy.
  12. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    This Chord stuff is pretty thin. 18 AWG, 0.82mm2 say the specs. Gear is Audiolab 8000a and Epos ES11s, so nothing out of the ordinary there I presume. I do wonder if it's any better than bell wire though.

    No problems with lack of bass, though it is a small room. Using your numbers DV, 6 metres of 2.5mm will be fine as far as resistance goes won't it?

    I need to know more about this. Was it in the O level physics syllabus?
  13. joleyami

    joleyami pfm Member

    Unless you have very low impedance Speakers, you won't hear any difference. But for the cost of 2.5mm or 4mm Van Damme, why not give it a try?
  14. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    hifinutt likes this.
  15. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    The VD Blue sounds perfectly adequate to these tired and jaded ears- very musical too.:)
  16. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    If you’ve got an O level in Physics then you won’t have covered this but you’ll be able to learn enough to understand what Jim is talking about above. As Jim says, it’s likely that it’s not just resistance, because with an AC signal DC resistance is only part of the story. Anything with any capacitance and or inductance will have a much greater effect once you get away from pure DC considerations. Any conductor has a capacitance and an inductance as well as a resistance, the key for a hifi designer is to make these negligible in your circuit. These act as filters to AC currents, just like a resistor acts on DC currents. Remember that a crossover consists of a network of inductors and capacitors that are specifically designed to sort low frequencies out from high and send them to the appropriate drivers. If your cables are doing a bit of this, even though they will be doing very, very little, you just might hear a difference.
    Rockmeister likes this.
  17. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    At least I didn't forget it then. Will there be a test on this sir? :p

    No VD 4mm at Mark Grant just the hifi stuff, but I prefer the single outer of the blue and - if I'm following the more techy side of this - 2.5mm. I'm not grasping how all the factors at play might apply to my situation too well yet though sorry. Or is it just a case of suck it and see?

    Another perhaps contentious question - if I get raw cable and use solderless banana plugs (I have these Sewell ones on the Chord stuff that I can reuse https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sewell-Sil...+plugs+sewell&qid=1565168069&s=gateway&sr=8-4) will that be alright, or should I get them soldered?

    Got some interconnects I want to do too so was planning on getting the iron out anyway, but if pre-made cables will be better than DIY I'll get them made up.

    Thanks for bearing with me all.
  18. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    They'll be fine. I used this style for years without any problems.


  19. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    The resistance, capacitance and inductance of the sort of cables under discussion will have zilch affect as the values of this stray stuff is so small. The values of the components that make the speaker will change by a much more significant amount during warm up - yes the speaker and its crossover will heat up and their values drift.

    However some amplifiers e.g early Naim are affected by these small values. Transistor amps employ emitter followers in their output stages and these are unstable and tend to oscillate in the UHF. To counter this a Zobel network is placed at the output that connects to the speaker. Naim thought they were being 'clever' and removed a critical component from the Zobel network a series inductor of around 5μH. So with a 'normal' speaker cable the output stage would oscillate in the UHF and heat up and might actually burn out. This loss of power to UHF may cause distorted output.

    Now the 'clever' bit. Naim used the inductance of the speaker cable to replace that missing in the Zobel network and this in effect from the amps perspective means that the speaker is not 3.5m or so away but rather connected directly i.e. the speaker cable 'disappeared'. Before the NACA4 became available Naim used to advise something like RS components 79 strand wire loosely twisted (3 turns per meter) to give the necessary inductance.


    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  20. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    What was their reason for removing the coil? Let me guess....

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