Is all speaker wire (home Entertainment system) the same? Better quality

in Techie Stuff
30 replies 551 views
FrankFalconFrankFalcon Forumite
18 Posts
First Post
We are currently renovating our house and are having the lounge replastered.  I have cut a tiny channel in the corner of each room to take speaker wires for my Pioneer home entertainment surround sound system.  In my shed I have a huge roll of generic speaker wire and was wondering if I should use this, or...are some speaker wires better than others?  I have attached a picture of the rear of one of the tiny corner speakers so you can see the connection type.  There is a row of connectors on the back of the big surround sound box that all 5 speakers plug into.

Thank you.
«13

Replies

  • tallmansixtallmansix Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    1,000 Posts Third Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭
    You are correct in thinking that speaker wires are not all equal.

    Generic speaker wire is ok for generic speakers like the one you have in the photo so the money saving answer is use the speaker wire you have already.

    If you aspire to be an audiophile then your generic speaker cable would already be used as the washing line and your bog basic Pioneer speakers wouldn't be allowed in your house. 
    YNAB enthusiast and extreme coupon-er.
    Discounts, coupons and cashback:
    2019 = £1,443.52
    2020 = £1,191,76
  • edited 12 January at 8:11AM
    IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
    21.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 12 January at 8:11AM
    Given that style of connection, on the back of the speaker, I doubt if you would notice any real difference in sound quality by using expensive cables.  I remember reading an article many years ago that showed that the type and positioning of furniture and even type of curtains, made much more of a difference to sound quality than speaker cable - but those were the days when there was a lot of nonsense being printed about speaker cables.

    If you are 'building the wire in', make sure you have something that will last and, if you have plenty of cable, maybe even consider running a second 'backup' cable in all channels.

    One other thing to consider.  Your next hifi is likely to use wireless speakers.
    Don't waste time on other peoples first world problems
  • CoffeekupCoffeekup Forumite
    180 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    As the 2 above posters have said ... The quality of speaker you have there you won't hear any difference if you spent extra on speaker cable. 

    On the other hand If you had a £200+ speakers with a £200 amp and a £200 cd player then it's worth investigating speaker cable.

  • CoffeekupCoffeekup Forumite
    180 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    If you aspire to be an audiophile then your generic speaker cable would already be used as the washing line and your bog basic Pioneer speakers wouldn't be allowed in your house. 
    Pretty much... I shudder at the thought
  • edited 12 January at 11:49AM
    HeedtheadviceHeedtheadvice Forumite
    2K Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 12 January at 11:49AM
    Speaker cable is, of need, very basic and for 99% of purposes any normal twin cable with low resistance is fine.

    The other 1% is for more special needs such as for audiophiles (those often with more money than sense and convince themselves irrelevent things make a difference! ooops! ), long runs from amplifier to speakers ( such as more than 10 metres or PA 100V line systems) or studios in professional use/4 wire (rather than 2 connections to each cabinet).

    Forget all the hype about noise, special copper etc. Not relevant.

    The most important aspect is the wire resistance. That affects what is known as the damping factor - the ability of the amplifier owing to it's low resistance to damp down speaker cone oscillations (movements not demanded by the audio, similar but no where as severe as ringing of a bell after being struck). Speaker manufacturers go to lengths to avoid that 'ringing' especially the better ones . Low resistance in the cables, connectors amplifier all play their part so using cable that has a big cross sectional area of conducter is good. It will not make your sound any louder but might improve it's quality.

    Your current system is not really worth spending a lot of money on (reasons given in other posts) but for the long run it could be worth installing substantial wire. It might improve the sound but will also be suitable should you improve your speakers in the future.

    You ask if your generic speaker wire is suitable. Most likely it is but bear in mind that all sorts of shapes and sizes are sold as speaker wire!! Some thing that has a copper conductor cross section of 1.5 sq mm (about 15 awg equivalent) will be adequate for most systems. Even half that for budget systems. If yours is of that order just use it. If it is very thin solid 'bell' wire maybe consider buying something! I would recommend using at least 0.5mm  stranded squared cable if only to help future proof. Good cable can be more than 2mm squared but unless you will be spending a lot on speakers in the future it will be a waste of money. Ivan makes some good points.

    When you install, if it is not colour coded, make sure you identify before connecting the wires. It is important to connect 'positive' to 'positive' (usually red as shown on you speakers) from amplifier to speaker


  • edited 12 January at 2:22PM
    Username03725Username03725 Forumite
    253 Posts
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭
    edited 12 January at 2:22PM

    The other 1% is for more special needs such as for audiophiles (those often with more money than sense and convince themselves irrelevent things make a difference! ooops! ), long runs from amplifier to speakers ( such as more than 10 metres or PA 100V line systems) or studios in professional use/4 wire (rather than 2 connections to each cabinet).

    Forget all the hype about noise, special copper etc. Not relevant.

    The most important aspect is the wire resistance...


    It's easy to sneer and be dismissive ; allow me to add a comment or two.

    Using audiophile as a derogatory term is to miss the point. Most people like music, it happens that a very small subset have the inclination, the desire and the wherewithal to take that to a higher level than a lot of other people would. It doesn't make us mad or stupid or weird, no more than buying a sports car does. Petrolhead seems to be a soubriquet that generally carries positive vibes, yet enjoying music to the best of our requirements and spending surplus income in a way that we derive enormous pleasure from is 'odd' and worthy of derision. Hmmm... ok.

    Different cables do sound different on a decent system. That's just an unarguable fact. There may not be much difference and someone not accustomed to picking out the detail and the feel of music on a good audio system may not immediately notice those subtle differences, but they exist, and when the source is a multi-thousand pound system the difference that a change of speaker cable can make can be seen as the final steps, fine tuning if you will. And trivially but also a factor is that some cables fit the house better. I once changed from NAC A5 which is very solid & inflexible to something called Witch Hat Phantom and is infinitely flexible and physically smaller, which allows me to hide it away more easily. That it sounded slightly better to my ears was the prime reason to buy it, but a neater living room is a nice side effect.

    Note too that length can be important. UK audio specialists Naim design some of their amps to use the speaker cable as a factor in impedance and inductance, and recommend a minimum length cable of 4m. 

    But to the OP, as above; looking at the type of speaker you plan to use you don't need anything extravagant.
  • EssexExileEssexExile Forumite
    5.5K Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭
    I wired audio around the whole house using mains flex many years ago. There's a whole load of stuff in the average house that will have more effect on the sound than the speaker cable. Use what you have.
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
  • edited 12 January at 2:22PM
    Username03725Username03725 Forumite
    253 Posts
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭
    edited 12 January at 2:22PM
    There's a whole load of stuff in the average house that will have more effect on the sound than the speaker cable. Use what you have.
    Quite. Bass traps, ceiling panels and room treatment for a start. Include isolation of the rack itself and on the rack between components - that makes a difference. And the best investment once you get past a certain point in your audio journey is to install a dedicated mains supply (CU, cable and wall sockets) to separate the audio system from the noisy mains.
  • flaneurs_lobsterflaneurs_lobster Forumite
    357 Posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    ✭✭
    "Hello, I want to buy a gramophone please" 




Sign In or Register to comment.
Latest MSE News and Guides