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