Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Speaker Wire Gauge & its effect on bass output

  1. #1

    Speaker Wire Gauge & its effect on bass output

    Hello,

    I recently performed a few tests of two different speaker cables in my system to try and determine which one provides the most accurate, true to source sound. The first pair of speaker cables are ones that I have lived with for a few years and could be considered to lean towards the more exotic at $500 per channel for a 15ft length. These cables are said to be made of stranded 7ga "zero crystal" copper. These are standard 2 channel stereo cables with spades at both ends. I'll leave the brand name out of the equation to avoid a potential food fight.

    The second pair of cables I purchased are made up of 2 X 7ft lengths (half the length of the original cable per channel) of Mogami 3104 quad cable in a semi bi-wire configuration. At the amp end they have just one cable per pole to the positive & negative posts on the amp. At the speaker end they have 4 cables to split the signal feeding my bi-wire capable speakers. Each of the 4 conductors in the Mogami are 12ga. In my configuration the Mogami setup provides roughly a 9ga wire at the amp side (sum of 2 x 12ga wires twisted together) and 12ga connection at each of the speaker posts.

    From the start you can see that this is not exactly an apple to apples comparison considering one method uses a much shorter partial bi-wire configuration and the other does not but my interest is more surrounding an explanation on the differences in bass output between the two cables.

    When using my original cables (7ga wire) I can hear a fairly obvious difference in bass output after I switched to the new Mogami cables. The original cables seem to provide more bass output in all areas but the question of the day is if this additional bass output is an accurate representation of how things should sound or if its somehow over bloating the bass.

    With the Mogami cables in place I don't necessarily think the bass output is shallow or lacking but if I had to put words to it as a description I would say its sound is faster in the bass region with very little if any overhang and a very even presentation in general with no frequency standing out over the other. Bass signals in a song passage are gone almost as quickly as they appeared.

    So given the descriptions above I am left with a few questions for those who are more experienced and or have experienced a similar result during your own testing at one point or another.

    1. In a perfect world, should a 12ga stranded conductor be able to carry enough electricity (say 500watts) to provide more then adequate (ie..audiophile overkill stamp of approval) power over fairly short distances (say under 15ft) when compared to a 7ga conductor?

    2. Considering that the Mogami cable is half the length per channel of the original cable does it seem strange or out of the ordinary that it would have less bass output then a 7ga cable or is this result more related to using a thinner gauge wire?

    3. Again taking into consideration the fairly short distances at play how much would capacitance/resistance contribute to the differences heard between the two cables? Its my understanding that in most cases a thicker cable would have less resistance but more capacitance then a thinner cable. Is it possible that the added bass I hear when using the 7ga conductor wire is because it is "storing" electricity thus allowing it to be more readily available to supply the next note in a song passage verses a thinner conductor which may fully drain all available electricity in the line after each note is played thus resulting in less available electricity and the need to re-supply after each note. Is storing electricity necessarily a good thing to do in speaker wire applications verses taking each sip straight from the tap?

    Lastly, as another test in how a thinner gauge wire effects bass output I tried the following. For the past several years i was using the above mentioned 7ga wire to feed the lower speaker posts of my bi-wire capable B&W 803 Di2 cabinets and I also used the jumpers supplied by the manufacturer to feed the Mid/Tweet section which appear to be 14 gauge at best. During the experiment I decided to swap the wires around so that the 7ga wire fed the upper Mid/Tweet section and then used the jumpers to feed the bass section. This experiment was a short one! With the thicker wire terminated to the upper posts I heard a very uneven presentation of music where the Mid/Tweets sounded almost unwieldy and the bass sounded uneven and and lower in volume. So given the results of this test it seemed that wire gauge does indeed play a part at relatively short distances which begs the question whether what I heard between the bass output of the 7ga wire verses the Mogami cable is the result of some strange over abundance of capacitance in the 7ga wire or that the thinner cable in general is just not able to supply enough electricity to the speakers when powered by an amp delivering up to 500 watts of power.

    I would be interested in hearing any of your thoughts on this...Thanks

  2. #2
    Addicted to Best! A.wayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Front Row Center
    Posts
    1,342
    Mogami is excellent stuff ,considering how reasonably they are priced , so I'm not suprised by your dilemma

  3. #3
    Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Cleveland Ohio
    Posts
    285
    a] Unless you turn-on a full volume test tone and leave the building, an 22AWG wire is more than adequate, current wise. But you will have problems in other areas.
    b] The added capacitance will not affect the audio, but may make the amplifier try to turn into an oscillator.
    c] Some bass-reflex alignments have more bass output when you use smaller higher resistance wire.

  4. #4
    WBF Founding Member/Member Sponsor Johnny Vinyl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Oakville, ON
    Posts
    6,247
    Quote Originally Posted by A.wayne View Post
    Mogami is excellent stuff ,considering how reasonably they are priced , so I'm not suprised by your dilemma
    Agreed. I use Mogami IC's on my active monitors (PC) and have a pair of 6ft -3104 speaker cables (spades both ends, not bi-wired however) on order.
    I love the smell of vinyl in the morning!
    John Adrian Spijkers - "Live Life! Leave A Legacy!"
    AudioQuest - Genesis - Jolida - McIntosh - Nitty Gritty - Nottingham - Ortofon - PS Audio - Rega - Valab/King - Wave Acoustic

  5. #5
    WBF Technical Expert/Member Sponsor
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Monument, CO
    Posts
    2,947
    Cables do not generally add anything to the sound by themselves. Sonic changes relate to interaction among power amp, cables, and speakers. In your case I doubt the 7 AWG cable is going to "increase" the bass, but it could provide better bass than the 12 AWG cable for various reasons, thus making the bass seem to stand out more compared to the treble. It is possble the stranded configuration has higher capacitance and thus reduces the treble, but that seems unlikely... What amplifier?
    Don Herman
    "After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley

  6. #6
    WBF Founding Member/Member Sponsor
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9,649
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
    a] Unless you turn-on a full volume test tone and leave the building, an 22AWG wire is more than adequate, current wise. But you will have problems in other areas.
    b] The added capacitance will not affect the audio, but may make the amplifier try to turn into an oscillator.
    c] Some bass-reflex alignments have more bass output when you use smaller higher resistance wire.
    Since when is 22 AWG adequate for hooking up speakers to a power amplifier?

  7. #7
    Hello and thanks for your replies. The amplifier is a PASS Labs X250.

    I understand in this case its impossible for me to expect anyone else to say which cable is more realistic/true to source but based on continued listening I'm not sure that I'm sold just yet on the 7ga cables bass presentation. I have no doubts that it definitely sounds more bass heavy but the part I guess I'm struggling to figure out is if this heavier presentation is how it should sound or is it a sign that the thicker cable is sustaining/dragging out the bass passages more then it should be.

    Maybe what i need to do is find a few albums/tracks that offer good examples of different types of bass and compare the wires in that way. Maybe a track that has very punchy, well defined bass in it and another track that has more slow/low extended bass and see how the cables compare in that way?

    I would certainly welcome any suggestions of such albums/tracks to use as my guinea pigs

    Thanks again

  8. #8
    Super Moderator treitz3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    The tube lair in beautiful Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,127
    Hello, cjf. Nice amp. You may want to entertain some of the following;

    Tool - Undertow
    Donald Fagan - Morph the Cat
    Evanescence - Anywhere but Home
    LIM/DXD The Sheffield Lab - Drum and Track Disc*
    The Kromata Percussion Ensemble - from the Musical Heritage Society*
    Sheffield Lab -Kodo - Heartbeat drummers of Japan*

    *preferred

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

    I post my own opinions except when posting as a moderator in green.

  9. #9
    WBF Technical Expert/Member Sponsor
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Monument, CO
    Posts
    2,947
    Note "comparing the wires" will find the one you prefer; that might not be the most accurate. Nothing wrong with that, just a point to consider. One possible way to reduce that effect is to ask what others think of each track/CD and see if there's a consensus on "loose" and "tight" bass or whatever.
    Don Herman
    "After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley

  10. #10
    Member Sponsor microstrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    7,410
    You should remember that most of time our perception of bass quality is also seriously affected by the performance in other zones of the spectrum.

    Jeniffer Warmes "Ballad Of The Runaway Horse" is often considered a good test for bass articulation. A good recording of Stravinsky Le Sacre du Printemps or Firebird are also good choices - bass should have control or these musics loose all their rhythm. IMHO Mercury Living Presence recording of Dorati with the LSO is an excellent choice.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. stylus force gauge
    By puroagave in forum Calibration Devices
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 02-16-2014, 04:03 AM
  2. Speaker positioning for bass
    By RBFC in forum General Audio Discussions
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 01-13-2011, 02:32 PM
  3. What speaker gets the bass most right?
    By caesar in forum General Audio Discussions
    Replies: 67
    Last Post: 12-28-2010, 10:02 PM
  4. Replies: 14
    Last Post: 09-09-2010, 11:08 PM
  5. Speaker Positioning: Bass or Imaging?
    By RBFC in forum General Audio Discussions
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 08-16-2010, 03:01 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •