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I am trying to limit capacitance on a 14ft run of speaker cable by using the minimum wire gauge possible. What effect should I look for if the resistance in the cable is too high? I am experimenting with the Chris VenHaus cables using only a single 9 pair cable.
I have a 300B PSE amplifier. I require a 15 ft run. I have tried several combinations of Cat 5 braids. Four pairs, (3 for bass 1 for mid/tweeter), twelve pairs (9 bass, 3 mid/tweeter) and 24 paris (17 bass, 7 mid/tweeter). The four pair combination sounded very thin but detailed and clean, with tremendous instrumental separation but limited dynamics. The twelve pair sounded more full, with better tonal colours and richness, with improved soundstaging and dynamics but lacked ultimate bass definition. The 24 pair sounded congested with no dynamics, destroyed the sound staging and had a tendency to clip. I have presently settled on very thin copper magnet wire for the bass (gorgeous slam and bass definition and texture) with a 7 pair braid (two 3 pair braids bound by a one pair). This has enormous "attack" and is the best combination so far, but I am going to thin down the 7 pair to a 3 or 4 pair braid because the mid and treble are a little too emphatic.
Now this goes against much of the a priori discussion on this forum but in my system using my ears it works.
that your system was sensitive to different ga. of Cat5 per section. Especially when bi or tri-wiring, it is imperitive to find the right combination of pairs for each section. Over-gauging or under-gauging does make a big difference. That's what is so cool about the Cat5 cable- you can "dial-in" until you get the best sound. The magnet wire on the bass baffles me, though..... but you hear what you hear :-) Enjoy.
If he is using thin magnet wire on his woofer input, I would think there would be too much resistance in the wire over a long length. Even speaker wire must obey Ohms law and it seems to me this would be like adding a resistor inline. I would believe the woofers draw enough wattage where extremely thin wire, 14 ft long, would cause a problem, unless the speakers were already bass biased.
I have to say, this is not a conventional configuration. What I understand is that your low end improved when you went to extremely small wire? I may have to experiment with this some. Perhaps making up a three pair cable and bi-wiring it with a 9 pair. Then I can swap the two in high/low positions and see what the effect is. Actually the single 9 pair sounds great but this hobby is like golf, until someone shoots a round of 18 no golfer will ever be happy. We audiophiles don't even have a definative ultimate goal to shoot for! Thanks very much for the input.
Thanks to each of you for great food for thought. My experience to date (one week) with the 9 pair cables is actually very good. They sound MUCH better than the Monster Cable Bi-Wire they replaced but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing anything with the smaller wire gauge. The imaging is much improved; especially in the vocals, due to what I believe is improved mid-base clarity. This makes me believe that I am not suffering any problems with bass damping. I listen with and without a sub in the system depending on the music/mood. Even with the full frequency range going to the mains, bass does not seem boomy. The jazz discs with stand-up bass passages sound very natural and image well. A pleasant change from the Monsters. To make sure, maybe what I should try, is to bi-wire with a second set of 9 pair cable and see if I notice any improvement. I am using a 9000ES as a source; Chris VH fine silver interconnects (which are working very well, Chris, review to come soon) a B&K AVR-307 receiver and B&W 804 mains. Audioengr, you really didn’t answer my original question and I would like to have your input. If I indeed have under gauged these cables, what is your opinion on its effect on the sound? Do you agree with Jon that the main problem would be found in the low-end damping which should cause boominess? Thanks again for everyone’s help
Higher resistance is not necessarily going to help with capacitance. In the CAT5 recipe, if you reduce the pairs to reduce C, you also increase R as a consequence. This is not necessarily the case for other designs.
The things that tend to happen with higher R cables are:
loss of bass punch and dynamics, more speaker related resonances apparent, and some other subtle things. The bass would be the most noticable. In some cases, due to the reduced damping of the bass, it can sound stronger at some frequencies, and lead to boominess.
Some speaker systems have a very even impedance, and damped bass, with few electrical or electromechanical driver resoannces, and these would affected minimally.
Each system responds slightly differently though.
9 pairs would equal approx. better than 15 ga., which is not too shabby.
I experimented with 30 gauge RS kynar in a bi-wire situation.
I have NO idea what possible effects this might have on any particular amp or other equipment, including my own for that matter...
After a few comparisons with different configurations I settled on a single run back from the tweeters, left everything going to the woofers and the positive connections to the tweeters CAT 5:
Effect? I thought it sounded really, really beautiful, but then I noticed it also made my tweeters somewhat brittle under demanding conditions. I didn't know what that was about... so the kynar came off.
My tastes run decidedly toward laid back, and thin wire definitely delivered by toning down the fatiquing factors and making the whole effect very sweet and fluid. As expected there was also a cost, in dynamics, punch and forward detail.
Trade-offs are hell...
I think you will ultimately end up with a poor sounding cable due to your paranoia about capacitance. Better to add a reasonable amount capacitance in order to achieve really low-inductance. One generally comes with the other. If you use coupling techniques rather than large gauges to achieve low-inductance, this will limit the capacitance. At one end of the spectrum is 2 really large gauge conductors (very low capacitance, but high inductance). The other end is a Goertz-type ribbon that is laminated with dielectric between the layers (very low inductance and very high capacitance). There are lots of designs in between that involve multiple twisted-pairs.
In my experience, the biggest difference you will hear is constricted dynamics and less bass "slam". What are your other components?
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