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Finally, proof speaker cables can affect sound with sufficient difference to meet the audible threshold...

GXAlan

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In the same vein as this thread from @amirm, I found some data showing that different diameters of speaker cable can translate into differences in sound that reach the threshold of audibility.


TLDR?
1) It's great science from L-Acoustics, which is one of the "Big 3" of live touring speakers. Never heard of L-Acoustics? They powered Adele's residency in Las Vegas and are the speakers used at places like the Hollywood Bowl. It's a well-respected audio company.

2) The research was done with 70/100V commercial speakers.

3) They did mathematical simulations and compared them to real measurements with a microphone. In some cases, the predictions were overzealous in the size of the difference, but the actual measurements still confirmed the overall predictions.

4) They were looking at distances as high as 150 meters in length! That's about 220 washing machines lined up shoulder to shoulder!

So how does this apply to the home environment?

Speaker cable differences can be measured using conventional tools. There is no magic that is unmeasurable or something that can only be heard by your ears. I think this is pretty clean science from L-Acoustics.

Audiophile cable manufacturers now have a clear and easy way to convince the objectivist crowd that their speaker cable actually makes a difference. Do the measurements to show us the difference and specify what length it took to reach the audible threshold when comparing the different cables as well as the speaker and amplifier being used. In fact, if audiophile wire manufacturers published the differences when measuring the whole industrial spool between their entry level wire and their premium wire, that would actually go a big way into taking speaker wires out of the snake oil category. It's perfectly reasonable to add the disclaimer that the difference decreases as the length decreases, and everyone would understand the need to consider their own hearing thresholds, their room needs, and how much they value of "bragging rights."
 

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benanders

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In the same vein as this thread from @amirm, I found some data showing that different diameters of speaker cable can translate into differences in sound that reach the threshold of audibility.


TLDR?
1) It's great science from L-Acoustics, which is one of the "Big 3" of live touring speakers. Never heard of L-Acoustics? They powered Adele's residency in Las Vegas and are the speakers used at places like the Hollywood Bowl. It's a well-respected audio company.

2) The research was done with 70/100V commercial speakers.

3) They did mathematical simulations and compared them to real measurements with a microphone. In some cases, the predictions were overzealous in the size of the difference, but the actual measurements still confirmed the overall predictions.

4) They were looking at distances as high as 150 meters in length! That's about 220 washing machines lined up shoulder to shoulder!

So how does this apply to the home environment?

Speaker cable differences can be measured using conventional tools. There is no magic that is unmeasurable or something that can only be heard by your ears. I think this is pretty clean science from L-Acoustics.

Audiophile cable manufacturers now have a clear and easy way to convince the objectivist crowd that their speaker cable actually makes a difference. Do the measurements to show us the difference and specify what length it took to reach the audible threshold when comparing the different cables as well as the speaker and amplifier being used. In fact, if audiophile wire manufacturers published the differences when measuring the whole industrial spool between their entry level wire and their premium wire, that would actually go a big way into taking speaker wires out of the snake oil category. It's perfectly reasonable to add the disclaimer that the difference decreases as the length decreases, and everyone would understand the need to consider their own hearing thresholds, their room needs, and how much they value of "bragging rights."

(4) is the part that taught me the most [about myself]: despite being raised on an education of inches/feet before going into the sciences, I still have an easier time envisioning 150m than I do 220 washing machines lined up shoulder-to-shoulder.
 

HarmonicTHD

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In the same vein as this thread from @amirm, I found some data showing that different diameters of speaker cable can translate into differences in sound that reach the threshold of audibility.


TLDR?
1) It's great science from L-Acoustics, which is one of the "Big 3" of live touring speakers. Never heard of L-Acoustics? They powered Adele's residency in Las Vegas and are the speakers used at places like the Hollywood Bowl. It's a well-respected audio company.

2) The research was done with 70/100V commercial speakers.

3) They did mathematical simulations and compared them to real measurements with a microphone. In some cases, the predictions were overzealous in the size of the difference, but the actual measurements still confirmed the overall predictions.

4) They were looking at distances as high as 150 meters in length! That's about 220 washing machines lined up shoulder to shoulder!

So how does this apply to the home environment?

Speaker cable differences can be measured using conventional tools. There is no magic that is unmeasurable or something that can only be heard by your ears. I think this is pretty clean science from L-Acoustics.

Audiophile cable manufacturers now have a clear and easy way to convince the objectivist crowd that their speaker cable actually makes a difference. Do the measurements to show us the difference and specify what length it took to reach the audible threshold when comparing the different cables as well as the speaker and amplifier being used. In fact, if audiophile wire manufacturers published the differences when measuring the whole industrial spool between their entry level wire and their premium wire, that would actually go a big way into taking speaker wires out of the snake oil category. It's perfectly reasonable to add the disclaimer that the difference decreases as the length decreases, and everyone would understand the need to consider their own hearing thresholds, their room needs, and how much they value of "bragging rights."

… and if you need to run 150m than just use 10mm2 instead of 4mm2 and you are golden (more or less). ;-)
 
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Speaker cable differences can be measured using conventional tools. There is no magic that is unmeasurable or something that can only be heard by your ears. I think this is pretty clean science from L-Acoustics.

I agree. That has been one of the foundation stones of logical measurements.

. Do the measurements to show us the difference and specify what length it took to reach the audible threshold

How do we define the "audible threshold" out of a group of perhaps as many as several thousand people?

And if the "audible threshold" becomes obvious to all when the length of all cables surpasses hundreds of meters, what good does that do to listeners with audio equipment in regular residential homes ... or even worse, in apartments? What will have been proven?

Jim
 

kemmler3D

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How do we define the "audible threshold" out of a group of perhaps as many as several thousand people?
Either find the threshold where (say) 99% of people can no longer detect something, alternately find the lowest threshold that at least one person can detect with p=0.01 or so. I'm not a scientist and this is just my casual guess as to how you'd define it.
 

Ron Texas

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Yeah, running skinny 18 awg speaker wires will mess things up because of the impedance. There's lots of cheap 12 AWG wires around which don't have that problem.
 

sam_adams

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Mnyb

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Good for installation in gyms and restaurants where 70 or 100 volt distribution is used or really long normal speaker cables . Possibly if you build in wall speaker cabling for a whole house sound system ?

It also depends on the specific speakers used , if it has perfectly linear impedance over the whole spectrum it would just be a drop in level , still audible in some cases .

A typical speaker have varying impedance so certain frequency ranges would start to get emphasised or subdued and possibly the bass tuning could get affected, just like if your amp had very high output impedance.

For normal lengths and gauges nah :)

But it would be good to have a common metric to what’s happening and avoid the “magic talk” .

It’s bit telling regarding the usual snakeoil vendors that they claim certain kind of properties regardless of length or application.
 
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GXAlan

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And if the "audible threshold" becomes obvious to all when the length of all cables surpasses hundreds of meters, what good does that do to listeners with audio equipment in regular residential homes ... or even worse, in apartments? What will have been proven?

I don’t think audiophile cable manufacturers are willing to demonstrate how their $100 cable differs from their $500 cable in the first place. This is the main reason I referenced the double blind test that showed differences in amps (because they went into clipping occasionally).

Now, anyone who says that speaker cables make a difference, we can ask “can you prove it?” And if anyone says “you cannot measure it”, we can point to articles that show these types of big differences.

This is nice compared to the older paper cited by @sam_adams, which is also good but limited. This paper
1) shows the speaker’s impedance AND phase. (Speaker B)
2) specifies the amplifier, so we know it has a stated high damping factor

1704382898576.png


On the other hand, what if it turns out 50m is how long it takes to see a real difference? Would be it foolish to buy it at 49.99 m? Unless someone is asking for advice, I don’t really care how other people spend their money

Heck, we can even do this with DBS cables from Audioquest. At what length can you show me the measurable effect? Audioquest says it’s skin effect and L-Acoustics has shown us impact of skin effect.

The obvious answer is that when L Acoustics products sound bad, they lose business. They are in the business of delivering good sound. Second, in these arrays, you don’t use golden ears — you use measurements so they need to deliver consistent measurements. They don’t need to upcharge anyone for cables.
 

sam_adams

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This is nice compared to the older paper cited by @sam_adams, which is also good but limited. This paper
1) shows the speaker’s impedance AND phase. (Speaker B)
2) specifies the amplifier, so we know it has a stated high damping factor

The Audio magazine article linked above contains information on both the speaker models and the amplifiers used in the testing that was omitted from the linked paper:

Speaker A: Acoustic Research LST/2 - 3-way design

Speaker B: Burhoe Model Green - 2-way design

Amplifier A: Mark Levinson ML-11 (Limited info available here.)

Amplifier B: Nikko Alpha 230
 

fpitas

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Audiophile cable manufacturers now have a clear and easy way to convince the objectivist crowd that their speaker cable actually makes a difference.
True. And as soon as pigs take wing, they'll get right on that!
 

Cbdb2

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100 meters and a 70/100v system. Why are we even talking about this? And a little EQ will fix that problem.
And audiophool cable makers will stick to the BS thats been working for them, they won't even read this paper.
 

tmtomh

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Interesting results for all you people out there using 200m of speaker cable in your home sound systems.

Now, don't exaggerate - the article says it was only 150M! :p

Seriously, though, as others have noted, this is not new - a small/high enough gauge wire at a long enough length will impact the measurable frequency response.

As with so many things in our hobby, it's about degree: at what wire gauges and what lengths do things start to get dicey? And as is often the case, the answer is, at gauges higher than wire we can easily and cheaply buy; and at lengths longer than 99% of us ever need to worry about.

In fact, I've spent more time typing this comment than worrying about my speaker cables.
 
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GXAlan

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100 meters ... Why are we even talking about this?

Because that’s what it takes to show a difference…

So if you’re not running that type of distance…
… you don’t have to worry.
 
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