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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided to start this thread because I've hardly seen much debate on this topic. I had to Google "hook up wire" to find posts about hook up wiring! Many of the posters that I did find talked about their scrap wire they used for their speakers, and so very few knew about good hook up wiring. Because this is such an important part of speaker building, I'm surprised I haven't read more posts about it. I have heard high end speaker salesmen talk about its use in their speakers when I visit their showrooms, but considered it as a sales pitch. DIY is always a learning curve!

I have recently become friends of the owner of the Audience, the AuriCap Capacitor Company. They sell more products than the AuriCaps.

A builder I'm wiring a house for said he had a friend who sells the capacitor "thingies" and he would introduce me to him if I was interested. His friend would be John McDonald, the owner of Audience.

We spent 3 to 4 hours visiting via emails about his company and their various current projects and told me the importance of using a high quality polished copper hook up wire for my crossovers to the terminal cup and also wired to the drivers. Each strand of copper wire in the Auric wire is high quality polished copper and the insulation is some high tech product so it doesn't melt from the soldering and protects the wire from corroding and deteriorating. You can learn more from visiting their site at http://www.audience-av.com/.

I have used scrap wire from my wire bin to hook up my speakers. Mr. McDonald sent me some free #18 and #21 gauge Auric wire to rewire my center speaker. I have posted a link to their company on my website and will post my results as well. It is the same wire they use when they build their speakers and it is also the same lead in wire that actually sticks out of the AuriCap capacitors for the crossover board connection.

I've always been under the impression that when we hit our speakers with a #10 thru #14 wire from our amps and receivers, that we should maintain that wire size or a little smaller on the inside of the speaker cabinet to the crossovers and from the crossovers to the drivers. Wrong~~~~~

I was concerned that because I drive my speakers fairly hard, and may step up to a 200 watt amplifier, I would be cautious about using such a small wire.

Here is a cut and paste reply from an email I received from his audio engineer at Audience, Mr. Roger Sheker regarding this issue:

"Mike,

We are using 400 watt amps with the 21 AWG wire in our setup but have very efficient speakers so it is no problem for us. We found the lighter wire to sound significantly better in our setup. I would envision a problem only if you were using 82-84db efficient speakers in a very large room and playing very loud party music. Replacing the 12AWG with the 21AWG is a very major reduction in mass and should help the sonics a lot. The only real test is to try it and check to see if the wire gets warm. I would be very surprised if it did. However if it does it will rapidly deteriorate and the good sound will vanish with no harm done. Twist all the wire pairs together a few turns per foot to reduce the inductance and get the best possible sound."

I beleive I've seen this twisting method in some vintage Bozak speakers that Mr. Macintosh helped Mr. Bozak design. I thought the twisting was to keep the wires together, not inductance reduction.

I accidently crushed the dome of my Morel midrange in my center speaker and am expecting delivery of a new one any day. This past weekend I removed all of my old wiring from the center speaker and installed the Auric wire according to their specs and when Mr. McDonald saw the photo, he said I did a great job and I was in for a very big surprise in performance when my new driver came in.

I should have the new MDM55 midrange installed by Wednesday and will post the results. I used the #21 gauge for the tweeter and for the Davis midwoofers. I used the #18 gauge for the Morel because it is 89.5 dB efficient; and then used #18 gauge for the final hook up to the terminal cup.

Stay away from lead solder and try to use solder with silver in it or at least a 63/37 rosin core electronics solder for your work.

Here is a close quarters pic of the wiring before I attached the baffel. I can mount the mid in from the front without disassembly as the center speaker is back in the house and in my HT setup. I'll post an update when it is finished and tested.

If the wire performs like it is supposed to, I'll be rewiring my mains soon! The wire is not very expensive compared to what you might have in a good DIY speaker project. ($1.35 to $2.00 per ft, depending who you purchase it from).

Please feel free to post any comments about your experiences with the various hook up wires like the Auric.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Good post. Thanks for sharing.

I don't get how the "reduction in mass" affects things, but I agree that if you are using the proper wire gauge (i.e. not heating up), stick with the smallest you can justify. There's inadequate, over designed, and over the top. You want to be at "over-designed" :)


And yes, the twisting does reduce inductance, more importantly, induced current from those wires leaking to another set.
 

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And yes, the twisting does reduce inductance, more importantly, induced current from those wires leaking to another set.
I don't care for twisted wires in speakers. The problems addressed by twisted wires as interconnects don't exist in speakers, while the twisting does result in higher capacitance and resistance for a given lineal run. As for gauging, large wires are no more beneficial inside the box than they are outside. The same applies to exotic/expensive conductors or insulation.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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The only thing I've ever worried about from an inductance standpoint is putting the bass signal onto the tweeter after the crossover. I wouldn't worry about it hurting the tweeter (it would have to be a BIG bass signal to induce that much on the tweeter line), but tweeters are so sensitive that some distortion might creep through. Of course, just separating the wires carefully accomplishes more -- and you're right, it's nowhere near as bad as signal wires.

I usually only do a loose twist to keep the wire pair together. I stick with 14 to 16 gauge for the woofer, and don't go smaller than 18 guage for everything else. Mostly I just use whatever speaker wire I have extra spools of.

I stay away from esoteric stuff, although I usually try to get a high strand count (mostly because they are more flexible).
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well; reporting time......:clap:

After installing the new Morel MDM 55 and firing up the system, the center speaker sounded very good with the Auric wire.

The problem I have in providing the group with an answer as to whether or not it improved the sound and clarity; that's a tough call. It sounded so good before I installed the Auric wire.

I just used some XM channels off of Direct TV and didn't use any CDs or DVD material because I had another project waiting on me. (I have more clean-up from Hurricane Ike).

I can't justify building another computer and setting it up in the house for speaker testing which would give me some more definitive results before and after making modifications to my speakers, but the speaker does perform extremely well. After I have had the opportunity to watch some good movies with decent soundtracks or music DVDs or SACDs, I may be able to have a more positive answer. If I were in the business of building speakers for a living, I would have all the tools I would need.

I do see eye to eye with Bill Fitzmaurice that the large gauge wire inside the box is probably unnecessary. As far as the exotic insulation, I have a 1000 foot roll of #12 gauge stranded oxygen free speaker wire made by Belkin. If it would have had a better or more exotic insulation on the wiring, it wouldn't have reacted with the copper and turned a slighter shade of light green. The wire is ok, but needs cleaning before terminating after stripping off the insulation.

Because this is a topic not found much in the forums, I find it a challenge to do some more investigating and getting with the engineer with Audience about the wire and insulation to see if they have some testing reports, charts, or details. I'm also going to try to find the high end speaker companies who only use this type of wire in their designs, whether it is for a sales pitch, or if they can provide information why it is so important to them to use it. That is what keeps this hobby so interesting to me; I'm always wanting to learn more.

I would encourage a high end speaker manufacturer or salesman that may possibly read this thread to chime in about their use of the wire like Bill did.

I'm convinced that my center speaker sounds fantastic with the Auric wire. I'm beefing up a resistor on the band pass section of the crossovers in my mains sometime soon, so the speakers have to come apart anyway, and if I can justify enough improvement using this wire, I don't have any problem spending the $150 or more it will take to rewire them with the Auric wire. They are 5 foot tall and I'll need a lot of wire.

I appreciate everyone's comments and participation in this thread. :T

Mike
 

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The probability that hook-up wire makes a significant difference is small, but the cost of using better wire is also small, so why not use the best that is reasonbly affordable and over-build from the start?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The probability that hook-up wire makes a significant difference is small, but the cost of using better wire is also small, so why not use the best that is reasonbly affordable and over-build from the start?
Excellent point!

Had I known about the better wire from the start, I would have certainly used it if I knew for sure it would be a better wire. My speaker project has gone on for several years and I'm constantly improving my system when I get more knowledge. That includes better xover components and drivers. Again, that's what DIY is all about! :rolleyes:
 

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Elite Shackster
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If it genuinely improves your performance then it's worth it, but I'd have some hard data before investing $150. Personally, I can't see how running a smaller gauge can improve performance but I'm always learning:)

I took a look at their website and I'm a bit leary of any products they may be selling. They offer some esoteric power cables and a product called the 'auric illuminator' which is supposed to enhance resolution of CD's and DVD's through some very unscientific (but convincing sounding) methods. I don't want to rain on your parade, but if you don't find definitive improvements, I don't want you to get duped :R
 

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The probablility of objectively quantifying a difference in many of the things we do is vanishingly small. The probablility of there being sufficient investigation of most of these matters to objectively determine that there is no difference, in a manner that is convincing that all of the possible variables have been considered, is also rather small. That said, the rational thing to do is to overbuild if you have any doubts of the efficacy of a design. If you have no doubts or don't care, then use the cheapest components available.

Some would rather debate the issues than actually enjoy the results. That is fine. I am one who might fall into that category. For many, however, the matter is much more practical than theoretical...and you could say that debating such matters is abusing one's brain.
 

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If it genuinely improves your performance then it's worth it, but I'd have some hard data before investing $150. Personally, I can't see how running a smaller gauge can improve performance but I'm always learning:)
The fly in the ointment where 'higher quality' wire is concerned is that it can't alter the weakest links in the chain, which are the voice coils and inductors. When you consider how much plain old enameled copper are contained there a few feet of even pure platinum hook up wire is insignificant.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Bill,

I like the way you put things in perspective.

If perhaps the wire either myself or others may have used for hook up wire is or was inferior in our builds, the hook up wire would then become the weakest link and an upgrade would be in order.

A high quality finished product doesn't have just one or two good parts in it, but rather a combination of the best affordable parts available to acheive this goal.

I've been looking at other companies that carry the hook up wire and Parts Connexion has 8 manufactureres of hook up wire, including the Auric and also Mundorf, a very well known company. That tells me there must be more than just hype about good wiring: http://www.partsconnexion.com/catalog/wire.html

This link may be worth looking at because some of the manufacturers explain more about their wire and why it is recommended for internal hook up wiring.

I agree with lcaillo to overbuild rather than skimping on such a small investment as hook up wire to ensure the best possible sound. Most of us have spent so much time and money to build our prized speaker systems to have the best we can, so that in itself would justify the upgrade in wire.

Auric builds their own series of full range line array speakers which are extremely efficient, so they don't need wire larger than #18 gauge. I beleive they use #21 gauge in their speakers with no crossovers. If I were to rebuild my mains, I would probably use a larger wire than they offer for my Lambda woofers.

I'll post more if I can get some data from the mfgs.

Mike
 

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I'll post more if I can get some data from the mfgs.

Mike
What you'll get from manufacturers is justification for buying their products. That's the nature of business. OTOH claims like stranded copper; each strand individually polished for better electron flow verge on a snake-oil pitch. The idea that a polished wire will pass electrons better than a non-polished wire flies in the face of basic physics. I personally pass on doing business with any manufacturer whose ad copy contains gross hyperbole concocted from whole cloth.

Wire does make a measureable difference. However, that difference is so infinitesimal that it takes the most sophisticated tools to measure it, with sensitivity that greatly exceeds that of your ears. Moreover, where differences are measured there is no correlation between the cost of the wire and the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Classic example of what you are saying Bill:

I purchased a shiny "Gold plated" Monster battery post terminal block to hook up some #8 wires to my Alpine amps for my service truck. They got my $25 to $30 bucks. Every other day I was cleaning the corrosion off of the terminals. I ran to the auto parts store and bought a lead terminal with a wing nut for $6.00 and haven't had a problem since. Dis-similar metals corrode and cause electrolysis! As an electrician I should have known that but the packaging looked so good! They too have engineers and should have known this problem, and probably did.

I've got an email in to the engineer. It will be interesting to hear back from him.

I'm not pushing their product but after getting involved with this topic, I would like to find a close to it and want feel satisified I'm building the best I can without throwing money away.

Thanks Bill....:T
 

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Long before you'll get any improvement in sound from using more expensive hookup wire, you'll improve sound by changing to a better crossover design.

The crossover design I use is the Charged-Coupled JBL TM design. I start with good quality polypropylene caps (Solen), which are moderately priced.

How the CC design is different from ordinary crossovers is it uses capacitor series pairs, in place of single caps, throughout the circuit. The reason for the series pairs is to be able to place a positive 9v charge to the common point of each pair of caps. This, in effect, keeps the caps always on. So as the audio signal goes from positive cycle to negative cycle, the phase shift (distortion) does not occur, as it would when crossing the dielectric zero point.

The result is quite an improvement in the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
PT 800,

I would love to see a schematic or a link to a photo of that JBL xover design.


Bill:

I have heard back from the engineer about the more expensive hook up wire. This may be the wire just for the folks that want to say that they have this type of wire in their speakers or it may indeed make them sound better. It is for the reader to discern. As you say, it may not be noticeable to the human ear but here is the engineer's reply:

"Mike

You did some nice work there, looks good.

The wire twisting in pairs is very important as this keeps the paired signals close canceling the generated and just as important externally received signals. It increases the capacitance and reduces the inductance. The increased capacitance is not an issue as the amp totally ignores the extra current required to charge and discharge it however If the inductance is increased the amp has no control over the stored energy and it is absorbed by slowing the current flow and released into the load as the current flow starts to fall. Rule of thumb is a capacitor resists a change of voltage and an inductor resists a change of current flow. Both store energy but a cap stores it as a voltage charge and the inductor as current flow.

Hook up wire has several properties that will influence its ability to pass a clean signal. This seemingly simple product is very complex when you really get into it. There are electrical interactions between the electrical field and the dielectric. This can act as distortion or coloration if an improper insulation is used. Teflon is best with expanded polyethylene a close second however Teflon has issues. The process of making Teflon uses fluorine a very toxic and corrosive gas. This gas is released by Teflon throughout its life and is another reason to not use it in cookware! This gas will immediately start to deteriorate/corrode any metal it comes in contact with bare copper being very susceptible. Silver is much more impervious to this action and is the reason why most all Teflon wire is silver coated. This introduces a dissimilar metal problem into the mix with differing conductivities and transmission speeds, not recommended. There is the further issue of the very high temperatures needed to make Teflon coated wire. This is very harmful to the copper and can reduce its conductivity rather dramatically.

The conductor itself is quite important as well. It should be very high conductivity with minimum oxygen contamination as well as the minimum number of crystals per foot. Both are factors in recovering low level information and presenting a life like sound. There is also the issue of eddy currents to consider, these are destructive and impede signal flow. To have the minimum eddy current interaction the wire must be finely stranded in layers with alternate layers wound in opposing directions. This does not eliminate the problem but shifts it to a much higher frequency out of our area of interest. Note that this is where low mass comes into play, automatically low mass means lower eddy currents. This is why no larger wire than absolutely necessary should be used. There is also the problem with so called skin effect that I am not convinced is anything other than an eddy current problem. This increases the wires impedance at higher frequencies and is why wiring to tweeters should never be larger than 20 AWG.

Add all this together in a properly designed, sized and implemented hook up wire and the result is very noticeably better sound with the most noticeable part being low level information retrieval and high frequency clarity.

Roger"


Most of this makes sense to me and I think I'll probably go ahead and re-wire my mains when I beef up one my midrange resistors. My mains sounds so fantastic already and I have so much time and money invested in them at this point that I can justify the added expense to know that I have done everything possible that I can, to have the finest sound I can get out of my system without making any other major changes, ie new crossovers or drivers. My center speaker is a testament that the combination of a good crossover design with the good wire gives me great results. I may not be hearing any improvements because of the Auric wire, but I am listening to a very fine sounding speaker, regardless.

Mike
 

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I just noticed that you said it will cost $150 to rewire the speakers. Why so much? The wire I saw on their site was $1.14 per foot. $150 seems rather much just to feel good about over-building. Just to be clear, I really do not expect that it will make any difference. My point was that if it did not cost much there was no reason not to do it. No way I would put $150 into hookup wire inside speakers.
 

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PT 800,

I would love to see a schematic or a link to a photo of that JBL xover design.
Mike
Its really quite simple. You take any crossover schematic, for each original cap, you substitute with a pair of caps, that are each twice the value of that cap. Series pairs, that are each twice the value, result in total capacitance equal to the original cap value. (example: one 4uf cap replaced by two 8uf caps, wired in series)

Then a 6 megohm resistor is connected to each common point, of each pair, with the other end of the resistors then connected to the positive side of a 9v alkaline battery and negative side to ground.

These XO designs are only used by JBL for their top of the line speaker systems (K2 9800 and Everest DD66000)

The ones I built for a pair of 30 year old 3-way L212s cost me a little over $300. The original XOs were on one card for each speaker, but for the CC XOs, it required one card for each driver, for a total of 6 cards. Twice the caps @ twice the size takes alot of room.

If I were to build a pair of CC XOs for my newer PT800s the cost would be over $450 (needs bigger caps).
You can read more over at
http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5433&highlight=L212
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I didn't put a measuring tape to the speaker and measure the wiring. My 2 mains are very large and there would be two wires to each speaker, so I just threw out a number. I have 5 active drivers in each cabinet, plus the terminal cup and of course we don't count the 4 passive radiators. If I had to spend $150.00, I certainly would. If I needed to buy a more expensive and larger wire for my Lambda woofers if the #18 gauge Auric isn't large enough, that may increase the cost if I needed to purchase some Mundorf or other wire. I always shoot high. My center speaker sounds so good that I don't mind spending the money. Its sound may well be due to the new wiring.

I have no other hobbies or interests or go out, so I'll be spending what others may spend on a couple of nights out or 1/2 price of a ball game ticket.

It's all in where your priorities and interests are.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the link and the reply. I've saved the link to the crossovers in my audio favorites and your post in a word document for when I get more time to look at it. I'm still cleaning up from Ike.

Thanks again, Mike

Its really quite simple. You take any crossover schematic, for each original cap, you substitute with a pair of caps, that are each twice the value of that cap. Series pairs, that are each twice the value, result in total capacitance equal to the original cap value. (example: one 4uf cap replaced by two 8uf caps, wired in series)

Then a 6 megohm resistor is connected to each common point, of each pair, with the other end of the resistors then connected to the positive side of a 9v alkaline battery and negative side to ground.

These XO designs are only used by JBL for their top of the line speaker systems (K2 9800 and Everest DD66000)

The ones I built for a pair of 30 year old 3-way L212s cost me a little over $300. The original XOs were on one card for each speaker, but for the CC XOs, it required one card for each driver, for a total of 6 cards. Twice the caps @ twice the size takes alot of room.

If I were to build a pair of CC XOs for my newer PT800s the cost would be over $450 (needs bigger caps).
You can read more over at
http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5433&highlight=L212
 

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Thanks for the link and the reply. I've saved the link to the crossovers in my audio favorites and your post in a word document for when I get more time to look at it. I'm still cleaning up from Ike.

Thanks again, Mike
You're welcome, I sure don't envy you having to clean up that kind of mess. Good luck!
 
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