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Thread: Best connection to speakers ?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diminish View Post
    If Mr. Shaw attributes sonic degradation to these boundries, wouldn't a cable free of them have the potential to "sound" better?
    I think the point - unless I've misunderstood - is that Alan Shaw does not attribute sonic degradation (i.e. something a human being would reliably detect) to these boundaries. But even if he did, I think point #2 is that even if you had a completely boundary-free speaker cable, there are still such vast numbers in the recording/reproduction chain before that it's hard to see how any such difference, if it existed, could be a meaningful difference.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diminish View Post
    ... with a total circuit length of 1000' feet (I think that's close to 330 meters). The sound was pretty terrible...
    The length is taller than the building im currently in and longer than a typical city block here...The reel weighs close to 90 kilograms? It will have a resistance of over 6 Ohms. Encasing and pumping liquid nitrogen into that reel might help it perform better. :-) only joking, dont try it.

  3. #23
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    Default The reality of 'speaker cable'

    I'd like to show you the reality of the speaker wire that you cannot change .... inside the speaker itself. It's called the voice coil.

    More here
    ....
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  4. #24
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    kittycat: "The reel weighs close to 90 kilograms?" A 500' spool of #18AWG weighs less than 3 pounds; just slightly more than 1 kg. 2 of them (1000ft.) would weigh less than 3 kg.. If there are any scrap yards that agree with your 90 kg. per spool estimate, I'd sure like to find one!

    EricW: I'm sorry, but I do think that Alan was making the point that these crystal boundries can effect the sound. Otherwise, how are they relevant to a discussion on speaker cables and their effect on sound quality? He asks "Why pick on the speaker cable as the villain of the piece? Why not pick on some other crystals somewhere along the line as the culprit for limiting sound quality?" Judging from his most recent post, it appears that Mr. Shaw does not attribute much significance to these crystal boundries, but others in the industry do. Here is a link to a paper published by Furutech on the PCOCC casting and purification process: http://www.acoustic-dimension.com/fu...ech-PCOCC.html

    Here, they clearly state that "These grain boundaries cause the same type of irritating distortion as current crossing from strand to strand." Of course, Furutech is in the business of selling PCOCC just as Harbeth is in the business of selling speakers. I don't think that there is an instrument or set of ears around that can detect a single instance of an electrical current crossing strands or traversing a crystal boundary. I can see where the cumulative effect of quite nearly 500,000 of these "junctions" (1500 per linear foot x 32 feet for a standard 8 foot pair of speaker cables) would be audibly inferior to PCOCC cables having 0 boundaries in this same length. My own experimental results (in home double blind A/B comparisons) agree with this notion. To be fair about it, though, the more expensive PCOCC cables are generally of better construction (insulation and terminations) than generic 79 strand wire. This may account for some of the differences. If you've done side by side comparisions on your own and either; don't hear a difference, or don't feel that the difference warrants the asking price, then quite obviously you should go with whatever makes most sense for your ears and your budget.

    Alan: With regard to your last posting on this subject; there is no link that I'm able to access {fixed now} I would be interested in learning "the reality of the speaker wire that you cannot change". Couldn't you use PCOCC to wind your voice coils? If you don't think that would be advantageous, I will defer to you on that. You make a wonderful finished product. It seems ironic to me that we're kinda at odds on this. If not for my extremely revealing Harbeth M-30's, I don't think that I would be able to detect differences in cables. I "shopped" for CD players with my old Vienna Acoustics Beethovens, and could not readily or replicably differentiate between a $6,000 Marantz R7 playing SACD's, and my old ($350) Marantz 63SE playing the CD layer. With the Harbeths, I can usually tell the difference between my CD player's analog outputs and my DAC (using the same disc with levels matched). I can identify a (good) SACD recording vs. the CD layer usually in the first minute of playback. Speaker cables were the area where I, personally, noticed the biggest disparity.

  5. #25
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    Default Cables and why why why is the speaker cable so important?

    Sorry link now fixed.

    No; we will continue to use standard copper wire in our voice coils. We are as certain as we can be that under A-B conditions using our switch-over relay box [picture attached] strongly held opinions about cables diminish to zero. Alan asked why the cable from the amplifier unit to the loudspeaker cabinet bethought to be so critical that it is more influential than the sound of the even longer wire that is the drive unit's voice coil? Perhaps time we ran the Speaker Cable Challenge with a $1000 prize for charity. We would be more than happy to be proved wrong for a good cause.

    The fact is that we don't actually care a jot about speaker cables. Please buy and use whatever lights your bulbs. We do care that the inexperienced would-be Harbeth user maybe deceived into thinking that he must spend serious money to get the best from his speakers. That is hog wash. He needn't spend a bean. That is our entire position.

  6. #26
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    I respect Harbeth's opinions because its impossible to argue with a product that sounds so realistic. As a consumer, I prefer to buy a product that is not reliant on other products to perform at it's optimum. I've only been here on the HUG for a short time. Seeing the rather inflexible view on cables and a general distaste for the subject, I will focus my energies instead on taking what I can from the vast pool of shared knowledge present here. I do suggest that you reconsider your "entire position" as stated above. If a customer or would be customer doesn't "spend a bean" on anything but Harbeth speakers, all he's going to have is a nice pair of speakers.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diminish View Post
    If a customer or would be customer doesn't "spend a bean" on anything but Harbeth speakers, all he's going to have is a nice pair of speakers.
    That's funny, and what is known in the trade as a reductio ad absurdem argument.

    However, I don't think the phrase "needn't spend a bean" was meant to be taken entirely literally. If I could essay a translation: "Buying the appropriate Harbeths for your room and budget should be your first priority and will pay the largest dividends in improving the sound you get at home. Don't obsess over the perceived need to buy expensive sources, amplification and cables - though feel free if you have the budget and it causes no hardship - because they will cause either no improvement, or marginal improvement, compared to the improvement caused by getting Harbeths."

    That's how I interpret it anyway, and experience tells me it's true. I only wish I'd learned the lesson much earlier (i.e. several pieces of equipment and several thousand dollars ago).

  8. #28
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    Default Buying cables - on a street market

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    That's funny, and what is known in the trade as a reductio ad absurdem argument.

    However, I don't think the phrase "needn't spend a bean" was meant to be taken entirely literally. If I could essay a translation: "Buying the appropriate Harbeths for your room and budget should be your first priority and will pay the largest dividends in improving the sound you get at home. Don't obsess over the perceived need to buy expensive sources, amplification and cables - though feel free if you have the budget and it causes no hardship - because they will cause either no improvement, or marginal improvement, compared to the improvement caused by getting Harbeths."...
    That is precisely our point. But really, you don't need to spend money on cables ... as I found out for myself. Last year I was in China, mooching around in a street market when I discovered not one, but a whole row of market stalls selling exotic speaker cables. There were literally hundreds of drums on show ... every diameter, colour, construction and material you could ever wish for - a buyer's paradise. The sellers were unable to demonstrate the cables, and they didn't look like 'audiophiles' to me. It was instructive to see how they set about trying to sell their wares to me, the browser.

    The process went something like this .... ( I was given a running translation by my guide)

    1) Correctly profiled me as a visiting westerner.
    2) Enquired as to whether I was living in China and setting-up a home system or buying to take home to overseas country (i.e. could they sell me heavy cable)
    3) Identified that I was not interested in garish colours (bright pinks, greens, purples)
    4) Mentioned one of two western speaker cable brand names that I'd be familiar with ....
    5) and alluded that the cables were 'made by', 'made like' or copies of those cables
    6) and when I reacted positively to the familiar brands started to display those ...
    7) Highlighted the most novel construction emphasising multi-strand, metal plating, flexibility, translucent sheaths etc. etc. probing for my response
    8) Cheerfully reeled-off cables and allowed me to handle those mentioning their unique features (don't underestimate touch in a sales situation)
    9) .... with a running commentary about their guaranteed audio abilities (based solely on their physical appearance, hearsay etc.)
    10) Rapidly calculated price as I expressed an interest in various ones, conscious of weight

    I was sold, sold, sold! Couldn't wait to buy! Seriously exciting! So many beautiful types and styles and colours. It was like being in a candy store. And the price ..... pence. Dirt cheap. Now how is that possible? Is it that the margins are so huge that even a street trader can almost give it away and make money? Were these seconds? If so, it tells us something about the costs of manufacture because the copper can be recycled.

    Obviously I bought some and was assured that there was a limitless supply available. It was so exciting to stroke the smooth cable and flick the strands at the cut end. I was 100% convinced before I even connected it. Which, come to think of it, I still haven't done.

    Audio dealers rely upon cable sales. We support our dealers. It follows then that you should spend as much money as you can afford on cables at an authorised Harbeth dealer. But please be aware that is not possible to isolate the audio performance of the cable from your tactile, emotional, psychological contact with it. For that reason alone, we are not comfortable discussing here, on the manufacturers-run HUG forum, the merits of speaker cables in the absence of objective pragmatism. As EricW says ...

    I only wish I'd learned the lesson much earlier (i.e. several pieces of equipment and several thousand dollars ago)
    And that really is the end of the story as far as speaker cables here on the HUG goes.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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