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Having experience of both the AudioQuest FLX/SLiP 14/4 and AudioQuest FLX/DB 16/4 bulk speaker cables in my computer workstation system, I find they are an impressive example of how wire and cable technology has progressed over the years. For little cash outlay, the AudioQuest FLX designs provide big bang for the buck performance for an inexpensive product line. So, in the case of folks who might reject the use of external bi-wire cables based on the cost-factor of two runs of speaker cables per loudspeaker, the AudioQuest FLX design might be the ticket vs. using a bi-wire jumper configuration. So here's a suggestion:
First-off, the design of the AudioQuest FLX design is not the same as Canare's star quad cabling, which feature a conventional stranded conductor design, while the AudioQuest FLX features a concentric lay design that performs closer to that of a solid core conductor, in that distortions due to strand interactions are reduced in a more sonically optimized manner. Spatial information and overall coherence is greater than a typical stranded conductor speaker cable as a result, IME. This is not to say the concentric lay design is equal to that of a solid core design, but I find it superior to more conventional lay stranded conductors, and offered at a lower price point than a usual higher-performance solid sore design.
The AudioQuest FLX design has two model types: The SLiP which is marketed as in-wall cable, and the DB which is marketed a direct-burial cable. From what I can tell, they are similar if not the same in effect, with only the color of the cable jackets being noticeable. Otherwise, the difference to consider from an external bi-wire configuration POV is the use of a 14/4 cross-connected star quad FLX cable for the low-pass binding posts, and a 16/4 cross-connected star quad FLX cable for the high-pass binding posts. The smaller 16/4 FLX (13 AWG aggregate gauge) provides a more airy and nuanced treble characteristic while the larger 14/4 FLX (11 AWG aggregate gauge) provides a bolder presence and stronger bottom-end. Since the metallurgy, dielectric, and geometry are the same, there is good integration of the high-pass and low-pass sections.
I found bi-wire sounds better when not jacketed together.
Image: This diagram of the cross section of a 4-conductor cable is in black and white except for the red colored positive plus signs (+) for a reason, since it's the only thing that's important about a cross-connected star quad wiring scheme.
It's easy to terminate a 4-conductor cable that's expressly indicated as a star quad cable, since there are two conductors that are color-coded as positive (+) and the other two are color-coded as negative (-).
However, there are multi-color 4-conductor cables that can be confusing to terminate, with a different color for each of the four conductors. It's easy to understand what is necessary to wire any 4-conductor cable via a star quad geometry by thinking of the configuration as being *cross-connected*. This means the opposing conductors within the cable bundle are tied together, rather than side-by-side which may be intended as a dual-channel cable with perhaps less crosstalk, while a star quad cable is always a single-channel cable, with two conductors per polarity that are cross-connected.
The benefit of a star quad geometry rather than side-by-side is lowered inductance, and superior noise rejection/suppression vs. a twisted pair, for example.
In the case of the 4-conductor AudioQuest FLX, there are Black, Red, Green, and White conductors.
A single-channel, cross-connected star quad wiring scheme is:
Black and Green are tied and connected together for negative (-)
Red and White are tied and connected together for positive (+)
A 2-channel in-wall or internal bi-wire scheme is:
One channel: Black for negative (-), Red for positive (+)
Other channel: White for negative (-), Green for positive (+)
Is the quad configuration of use when the two pairs are not using the same frequencies?
Like biwired speaker wiring. (does it matter?)
Also is it any good if only one pair of a quad set are in use at some times? Or would two sets of twisted pairs better in that case?
IE is a quad twist best if BOTH sets are in equal use?
"Is this as useful when the 'pairs' are used for different frequencies. like biwired speaker cable(?)"
There are no benefits if a 4-conductor cable implemented as an internal bi-wire cable is wired cross-connected. The benefits of a star quad wiring scheme depends on all four conductors being used for a single run.
A typical 4-conductor, four color-coded internal bi-wire wiring scheme is to connect the two pairs of separated wires side-by-side rather than cross connected, which is the opposite of a star quad wiring scheme which optimizes the electrical fields of a single run by cross-connecting all four wires together.
The reason why some 4-conductor speaker cables feature only two color codes such as Canare's star quad cables, Kimber's KWIK speaker cables, VH Audio's Flavor 4 power cable, etc. is that they are designed or intended for a cross-connected star quad application, which requires all four conductors to be used for a single run. They are not intended for use as an internal bi-wire cable.
"Also is it any good if only one pair of a quad set are in use at some times? Or would two sets of twisted pairs better in that case? IE is a quad twist best if BOTH sets are in equal use?"
The best option is to use two star quad cables, one run for the high-posts, the other for the low-posts, which is an external bi-wire configuration.
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